Top 5: Philly’s in Bloom

Lights! Camera! Bloom! That was this year’s theme for the Philadelphia Flower Show, as all things floral and botanical collided with cinema. With a theme that promised to “Celebrate the Movies,” the flower show featured attractions that offered something for everyone of all ages. I had the opportunity to attend the press preview and gawk at the massive and intricate floral displays and feel like a kid again with all things Disney-themed and so can you. In case you missed College Night  at the Philly Flower Show on March 5 because of the snow, you still have two more days to go think spring, and with $20 student tickets, why not? Still need convincing? Check out my Top 5 highlights from the show.

1. Disney! Disney! Disney!

The show warmed the heart of anyone who grew up with Disney, and I was no exception, as there were displays dedicated to both the old and the new stories from the Disney canon. There was a moody Nightmare Before Christmas display as well as a magnificently designed “Aladdin’s Wedding” display, but I have to say the “Cinderella’s Wedding,” display captivated me the most with its ceiling-high floral centerpieces and it’s cleverly placed glass slipper.

2. Out to Lunch

There were various displays that featured an “out to lunch” theme, and each display served as a scene that was accompanied my an imaginative back story. Each scene was created to represent a lunctime setting in different parts of the world and with different characters. My favorite was the scene that told the story of an afternoon lunch on the French Riviera between Alfred Hitchcock and one of his muses.



3.A Bit of Light Shopping

If the kaleidoscope of bright colors and artfully designed exhibits wasn’t enough, there was also various food stations and vendors sprinkled throughout the show. My favorite was a cart that was selling various plants and herbs as well as self-contained mini gardens housed in glass jars, many of which had miniature fairy statues inside.



4. Let It Go

Just when you thought you were done with Disney, the show wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to Frozen, and while I have yet to see the movie, I definitely wanted to belt out “Let It Go,” after seeing an icy exhibit that was covered in soft white flowers and “snow.”



5. The Marquee

Maybe it’s the part of me that loves anything 1920’s but I was in awe of the art-deco style marquee that welcomed visitors at the main entrance, with a sign that read “Lights, Camera, Bloom.”

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Top 5 Careers: For Techies
and People-People Alike

Every good organization or company needs a mix of people to make sure that everything runs smoothly — the data and technology people make sure that all the details are squared away and the bugs are taken care of, and then the marketing, sales, and just generally gregarious people make sure that the world knows all about the organization and what it’s doing. Luckily for you, we’ve got jobs and internships from both of these worlds in this week’s Top 5 Careers. Are you a data, numbers, or tech person? CubeSmart and Boom are looking for you. And you outgoing, people-people should check out the positions at Campus Philly (represent!), Chloe Johnston Tours, and Fringe Arts.

Campus Philly: My Philly Summer Program Intern

If you’re looking to gain extensive experience in the nonprofit world and help promote and run our summer career program, apply today to for our My Philly Summer Program internship! My Philly Summer, now in its fifth year, is a program that introduces students who are interning in the region for the summer to Greater Philadelphia in all its summertime glory through in-person presentations at over 20 companies, and puts on the My Philly Summer Party, the premier networking event for over 200 regional interns. Responsibilities for this position would include assisting in event planning, outreach, and presenting at the different companies.

CubeSmart: Pricing and Revenue Management Analyst

Number people, this one’s for you. CubeSmart, a national storage facility company based in Malvern is looking for an analyst to help them review and analyze the pricing and revenue side of the business. Responsibilities for this job would include reviewing and determining pricing at the unit type level for stores, proposing and evaluating the efficacy of promotional activity, and developing and executing project-based analyses to drive revenue growth.

Chloe Johnston Tours: Sales and Marketing Internship

Chloe Johnston is a startup company that provides upscale tours of cities, including Paris and New York, with specialized activities such as flea market tours and restaurant experiences. Based in Devon, the company is looking for a sales and marking intern. The intern will work closely with each member of the team, will be given independent projects, will assist with events, and will do outreach on behalf of the company for each product line. This internship is available for college credit.

Boom: Front End Developer

Maybe coding is more your speed — if you’re a recent graduate and have a background in HTML and CSS, then Boom Visibility is looking for you. Boom is a website design and search engine marketing company in Media that works to optimize their clients’ web presence. They are looking for a front end developer to work closely with designers and project managers on a variety of projects, including responsive design, wireframing, banner ads and other parts of digital marketing campaigns.

FringeArts: Patron Services Internship

The FringeArts Festival takes place every year in the middle of September, and (as you can imagine) lots of help in all different kinds of areas in needed to make the festival the success it is every year. If you are organized and good at fielding inquiry calls, then this might be the perfect summer internship for you. Applicants should have excellent customer service skills and the ability to work with databases.

Top 5 Events: Philly Variety

William Cowper said, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.” In the spirit of that notion, this week’s Top 5 Events are varied and distinctly entertaining. From discounted tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show and 76ers games to making books and enjoying slam poetry, these events all offer something different. Whether you’re into sports, dance, poetry, or all of these things, there’s something for everyone!

Open Arts College Night: Philadelphia Flower Show
When: March 5, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch Streets, Philadelphia Cost: $20 (Open Arts members)

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s longest-running and largest indoor Flower Show. Floral displays of epic proportions and artistry put on by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society sprawl across the convention center. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Movies” and features arrangements inspired by Disney and Disney-Pixar films, such as CarsFrozenMaleficent, and more. The flower displays are as unforgettable as the films they mirror, and you’ll definitely be impressed at this annual Philly tradition. Campus Philly’s Open Arts College Night will feature a night of show tips, giveaways, and special guests in the Pop Up Garden. This is an inexpensive way to meet up with some friends and hang out at one of the most beautiful events you’ll see all year!

First Friday: Book Arts
When: March 6, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where: Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

Take a journey to the past at this lecture and workshop about making books. The Books of Secrets exhibit showcases the many hours that alchemists spent reading and writing in manuscripts. Chemical Heritage Foundation Fellow Stefano Gattei will present a talk about the art of books at 5:30 and 6:45, and activities that highlight the craft of making books will follow each session. After learning about the art of books, such as frontispieces and production, you can get creative and make some art of your own. You can copy old script at a calligraphy station, create your own marbled page, or even try the delicate art of hand-stitching a book. In an age of Kindles and smart phones, this event is a great way to get in touch with the physicality of books that makes them so artful. Admission to the museum is FREE, so be sure to check out the other fascinating exhibits on display!

The Philly Pigeon: Philadelphia Poetry Slam
When: March 6, 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Where: PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th Street, Philadelphia Cost: $15 – $20

Do you love words? The Philly Pigeon provides poets a chance to practice their voice and improve their performing skills. On the first Friday of every month from October to May, there is a three-round elimination poetry slam that is open to anyone interested in performing a three-minute piece. The slam also features a local artist and an out-of-town poet. This month’s featured guest is Elizabeth Acevedo, an accomplished artist who is the Women of the World Poetry Slam representative for Washington D.C. Before the show, writing workshops offer poets a chance to sharpen their poems and focus their writing. The workshops are from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. on the night of the slam, are free with admission, and are taught by the evening’s featured poet. So come out and work on your skills, or just enjoy a night out listening to local artists!

76ers Student Rush Games
When: March 6 & 7, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Where:  Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia Cost: $15 – $25

Friday and Saturday nights at Wells Fargo Center are all about college students. Sixers home games through the remainder of the regular season will be discounted for students, making it the perfect time to catch a game with some friends. Lower level seats will be just $25 and upper level seats only $15. The March 6 game will feature the Utah Jazz, and March 7 the Eastern-Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks will be in town. Be sure to have your student ID in order to claim your tickets! Since you’re not shelling out money for tickets, you can have dinner in Center City and then catch the Broad Street Line directly down to the stadium (AT&T stop), or grab a bite to eat and hang out at nearby Xfinity Live! before the game.

Philadelphia Youth Dance Fest
When: March 8, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Where: University of the Arts, Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia Cost: $22

This pre-professional dance festival is designed to celebrate the intense dance training of many artists. Over 200 talented and aspiring dancers between the ages of 13 and 18 come together and are offered a venue to share their art. This includes dancers from over sixteen different companies, such as the Babylon School of Dance, Philadelphia Dance Theatre, Dance Elite, and more. A variety of genres will be showcased at the festival, featuring everything from ballet and contemporary to jazz and hip hop. If you appreciate dance and its many forms, this show is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the art form. If you aren’t familiar with dance genres or have never been to a dance show before, this event is a great way to become exposed to various forms.

Best Photos and Social Media from
Inclusive Leadership Conference

With nearly 400 students from 28 colleges and universities attending 24 workshops and a great keynote speech from Carlos Ojeda Jr., the Inclusive Leadership Conference that took place on February 14 at Temple University was a great success. The conference was produced in partnership by Temple University Office of Leadership DevelopmentTemple University Housing and Residential Life and Campus Philly with support from Vanguard.

Did you attend the conference and want to keep up the conversation about collaboration and diversity in student leadership? Use #CollaboratePHL to connect! Also, be sure to fill out this survey about your conference experience for a chance to win a $50 gift card

And now for the photos and social media of the day:

Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


Temple Tweet


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


So Excited Tweet


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


Keep Questions Tweets


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


Immaculata Represent Tweet


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference



Instagram with Comments


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


IKEA Standing Room Only



Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference



Pumped At Inclusive Leadership Conference


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


Natalie Nixon Tweet


Feb 14, 2015 Campus.Org  ~Inclusive Leadership Conference


Active Minds Insty


Rowan Tweet


Me and Bae Instagram

Want to see more photos? Check out our Facebook album! Thanks to everyone who came to ILC and hope to see you next year!

Photos courtesy of Al B. For and Jackie Papanier.

Best Ways to Be an Informed Voter

Pencil it into your planner, mark it on your wall calendar, set a reminder on your phone—whatever you do, don’t forget May 19. No, it’s not the last day of finals or the start of your summer vacation trip. Election Day is rolling into Philly, and that means that it’s time for your civic voice to be heard. Philadelphia’s primary elections are scheduled for May 19th, and will decide the city’s mayor, city council, and other positions.

Whether you’re currently politically engaged or not, you should care — care about this date, this duty, and its implications for the city and its inhabitants. Young people are the largest population in the city, which means that you decide who is elected and how the city’s future is shaped.

So how should you navigate this election season? Most importantly, you should strive to become an informed voter. From gathering information to interacting with the candidates themselves, here are a few ways that you can grow politically aware and cultivate your own decisions about the election and its participants.


Temple Has the Story
Temple University’s Center for Public Interest Journalism has joined Philadelphia Media Network and others to provide high-quality reporting on the mayoral campaign. The project, known as “The Next Mayor” project, focuses on the major issues facing the city and reports on more than just the typical political rhetoric and campaign commercials. The coverage is not only provided by various columnists and contributors such as reporters from The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News — original multimedia content is produced by Temple undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Media and Communication. The collaboration, funded by the Wyncote Foundation, offers accurate and in-depth election coverage and also features helpful data graphics and candidate information.

This is a great information hub for students, (in part) by students. It is a centralized space for updates on candidate positions and news regarding the campaign that you should check up on.

Know the Candidates
Sometimes we need to do more than click through articles to be informed. In order to decide who deserves our vote, sometime we need to see for ourselves exactly what people are saying and how they respond to questions on the spot. Luckily there are many upcoming opportunities for you to witness the candidates and even meet them.

The first of these events is Next Great City Coalition’s Philadelphia Mayoral Candidates’ Forum on March 3 from 6 – 8 p.m. The discussion will focus on the Next Great City Coalition’s 2015 policy agenda, a plan that envisions every Philly neighborhood as clean, safe, and efficient.  This discussion is a great chance to hear the candidates’ stances on the initiative and other issues. The forum is free and open to the public, but you can email at Campus Philly to be included in our student group for the event.

On March 30, you can get even closer to the issues at “In conversation with Philadelphia: A discussion between the mayoral candidates, the media and the city.” While the candidates will field questions from the journalists selected for the event, they’ll also be taking questions from you via Twitter. This interactive conversation will allow you to ask the candidates questions that interest you — how are you going to continue to retain the surging millennial population? How will you empower minority groups across the city? Come up with some questions and head over to this free event where you can have an active part (space is limited, so be sure to register).

Lastly, Young Involved Philadelphia, WHYY, and the Committee of Seventy will hold a City Council candidate meet and greet. All of the city council candidates will be present to meet with young voters. You’ll have the unique opportunity to talk with the candidates in person and ask them the specific questions that an article online might not cover.

Learn the Process
Being informed about candidate stances and their plans is imperative to voting smartly. But you also have to be knowledgeable about how to vote, too. First of all, you’ll need to register to vote. Young Involved Philadelphia’s Millennial Citizen’s Guide is an excellent resource for understanding the city’s political structure and voting process. Beyond your vote, you can become involved in the electoral process as a volunteer or committeeperson.

So get ready to get informed, learn about the candidates, and have your voice heard this primary season!

Top 5 Events: Creative Endeavors

This week’s Top 5 Events all tie to an artistic sensibility. Whether it’s viewing historic photos, learning about video game design, or watching films, your right-brain will be getting some exercise. But that doesn’t mean that if you’re not interested in artistic pursuits, you won’t find anything to do–there’s history, contemporary hobbies, and science here too! Take this week to dabble in areas that you may not be familiar with, whether it’s film (and the bad science behind bad films), sunprints, or female video game designers. You’ll gain new perspectives or skills from all of these events!

Creating Camelot at the National Constitution Center
When: Now through September Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia Cost: $13 admission

Creating Camelot: The Photography of Jacques Lowe features iconic and intimate photos of the Kennedy family. “Camelot” refers to the legacy of John F. Kennedy’s presidency, evoking images of myth and fairy-tale and the hope that accompanied Kennedy’s inauguration. While this is the legacy of the president, the Constitution Center exhibit explores the man, the family, and the moments behind it. Restored photos taken by personal photographer Jacques Lowe showcase the private and public life of the Kennedys and explore how the images were used in newspapers and magazines. A large touch-screen monitor featuring more than two dozen of Lowe’s original contact sheets and a film about Lowe’s connection to the family provide extra highlights at the exhibit. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain a more nuanced view of one of America’s most well-regarded presidents through the lens of Jacques Lowe.

Mega-Bad Movie Night: Anaconda
When: February 26, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Where: Academy of Natural Sciences, 19th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia Cost: $15-$25

After hours at the Academy of Natural Sciences will feature the “awesomely awful” 1997 classic Anaconda featuring Jennifer Lopez. While the film is showing, experts will be onstage to provide quips and funny comments on the scientific absurdities of the film. After the showing, you can wander through the Academy’s exhibits, including Dinosaur Hall and Butterflies!, with no crowds and kids running around. There will also be snacks and drinks (21+), live animals, and entertaining hands-on activities. So if you’ve got a nerdy side or are looking to tap into your scientific side, this is a great place to hang out and meet other people!

Salvage and Sunprints: Experimenting with Cyanotypes
When: March 1, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Where: The Resource Exchange, 1701 N 2nd Street, Philadelphia Cost: $5

The Resource Exchange reCreate featured artist Catherine Nelson will be demonstrating how to make sunprints with reclaimed materials at this unique workshop. Participants will learn how to make film positives and expose cyanotypes by drawing and laying objects on photographic paper. After exposing the print to the sun and drying them, you’ll be left with awesome-looking sunprints! Each person will make three at the workshop. All the materials will be provided by the Resources Exchange, but participants are encouraged to bring weirdly-shaped objects from home to “photograph.” This event is a fun way to get your creative juices flowing and to learn a new artistic technique. And you’ll go home with new artwork for your dorm or apartment, as well!

Game Changers: Women Making Games
When: March 4, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where: Stewart Auditorium, Moore College of Art and Design, 20th Street and the Parkway,  Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

Moore College of Art and Design is hosting a night to celebrate the success of women creating video games and animation and working in the video game industry. Three contemporary artists will share their experiences and provide an insider’s view of the gaming industry. The panelists will include: Alison Carrier, a UI/UX designer who currently works at Electronic Arts; Katy Farina, who works at Hullabalu and does freelance work for BOOM! Studios; and Casey Uhelski, a children’s book illustrator and T-shirt designer for The Yetee, which specializes in pop culture and video game T-shirts. This event is a great chance to learn about the video game industry and the women who are making their mark there!

Penn Humanities Forum: “Mississippi Damned” Screening 
When: March 4, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Where:  International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia Cost: Free!

The Penn Humanities Forum’s series featuring New Black Cinematography continues this week with a free screening of the 2009 film Mississippi Damned. This cinema series honors the work of Bradford Young, the acclaimed cinematographer whose work captures visions of African-American communities from New York City to Mississippi (including his recent work in the Oscar-nominated film Selma). He again presents a visual masterpiece in Mississippi Damned, which tells the story of three sisters who grow up in a small rural Mississippi town and struggle to break out of their family dysfunction. Enjoy a night of film at this FREE screening!

Top 5 Careers:
Numbers & Nonprofits

This week’s Top 5 Careers are about working with numbers and opportunities to work for unique organizations. Maximize your creativity by being a graphic design intern, crunch some numbers as a tax assistant intern, or be an associate and work with finances and nonprofit organizations. Want to know more? Check out this week’s Top 5!

PREIT: Part Time Tax Assistant Intern
Want to get hands-on experience working in the finance industry? Learn the ins and outs of working with taxes and administrative work. As a tax assistant intern you will process tax returns, provide administrative support to the tax department and assist with the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) Charitable Fund duties.

USA250: Research and Communications Internship, Spring 2015
USA250 is on the hunt for someone who can blend together strong writing skills, social media savvy, and creative-problem solving to be their research and communications intern. The organization is prepping for the 250th anniversary of America’s independence, and needs interns to research upcoming events and perform outreach, as well as work with social media and donors. Candidates should have an “entrepreneurial spirit” and a can-do attitude.

Ycenter: Graphic Design Intern
If you have a vivid imagination and technical skills, then you will fit right in as the graphic design intern for Ycenter. Be a part of a project that will have an international impact in places like India and Africa by using your skills to help build a training kit that will be used for Ycenter students. Interns can work from home, with weekly meetings at the Philadelphia office.

InterAct Theatre Company: Production Apprenticeship
Recent graduates can take part in production apprenticeships with InterAct Theatre Companywhere you will provide support on main stage productions, props construction, and administrative work. There will also be additional opportunities to  work with educational outreach and play development and casting.

Opportunity Finance Network: Associate of Knowledge Sharing
All about research and numbers? As the Associate of Knowledge Sharing for the Opportunity Finance Network  you will implement online surveys, research topics, and help with various publications.

Making a Difference: Becoming
Civically and Politically Engaged

While the view outside may still scream “winter,” it’s time to get in a spring state of mind, and that means getting ready to rock the vote with this year’s primary elections. The elections will take place on May 19, 2015, and that means that anyone who is registered to vote can use their powers for good and nominate local Philadelphia candidates for Mayor, City Council, City Commission, and Sheriff as well as other official state positions. While it is often all too easy to get swept up and swept away in the promises, campaign rhetoric, and frenzy that can surround politics, it is important to keep the emphasis on the issues and the people who are affected by them.

That’s where organizations like the Committee of Seventy, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization, come in. Established in 1904 to combat corruption in Philadelphia, the organization now functions as a good government group that aims to inform citizens and to fight for transparent government.

Committee of Seventy’s Senior Policy Analyst, Patrick Christmas, shared some insight into his work with the organization and their mission.

Christmas is unique in that his transition into the political sphere was an unexpected one. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 2008, he worked as a science teacher at Fels High School in Northeast Philadelphia for five years. How did he make the leap from classroom to politics?

“During my time there, it seemed to me that politics and the way our government functions is as significant an impediment to our schools doing well as anything else…I wound up studying government in grad school and through my graduate studies found out about the Committee of Seventy and the work that it does,” said Christmas.

After interning at the Committee of Seventy in the summer of 2012, Christmas went on to snag the position of Senior Policy Analyst, where a typical workday consists of “checking up on the news” and “getting up to speed, because for any of our work to be impactful, we have to know what’s happening out there in the world,” said Christmas.

The organization strives to keep citizens up-to-date about upcoming elections and voting, as well as implementing initiatives that fight for fair elections and ethical politics. Some of these initiatives have included getting political candidates to be more detailed in their solutions to the city and state education crises and leading a coalition of 185 groups to educate voters on how to be prepared for voter ID laws. In one sentence, the mission of the organization is to “work for better and more honest government.”

As college students, many of us are just beginning to realize the great impact that our voting and voice can have in shaping and positively influencing the political landscape on both a local and national level, but sometimes the demands of being a college student and a millennial can eclipse our engagement with politics.

As a self-professed former “casual observer” of politics, Christmas says that in regards to this, college students “are so in tune with what is happening with your classes and on your own campus…there’s so many distractions going on…that you may not be paying attention to government politics on the local, state or federal level.”

College students definitely inhabit their own bubbles that are filled with millennial priorities, and younger audiences may feel that politics are a part of a world that is too adult to really grasp, but organizations like Committee of Seventy provide opportunities to get young adults involved and active as agents of social change.

Students can work with their Election Program, which “recruits volunteers to get out there on election day and visit polls.” These volunteers are educated on voter laws and registration information so that can help answer voters’ questions at the polls or through a hotline.

Christmas’ parting advice for understanding and engaging in politics? “To keep it simple, I would just urge young folks to pay attention…to get involved because you can have real power in what happens in our community.”

Top 5 Events: Free Philly Fun

This week’s Top 5 cover a variety of events—you can crowd the streets for the Chinese New Year, create poetry inspired by massive sculptures, or grab some pizza and learn about ballet. And best of all, every event this week is FREE! So don’t worry about your wallet taking a hit; drop that cash in your piggy bank or get dinner before an event instead. Grab a friend (or a bunch of friends) and enjoy all the fun for no charge!

Verbal Sculpture: A Poetic Gallery Tour by The Philly Pigeon
When: February 18, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where: Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, URBN Center Annex, Drexel University, 3401 Filbert Street Cost: FREE!

Get your creative juices flowing! Verbal Sculpture is a slam poetry gallery tour conceived and performed by The Philly Pigeon, a local nonprofit poetry organization. The setting is American sculptor Chakaia Booker’s exhibition Are We There Yet?, featuring large-scale sculptures crafted from recycled tires. Local poets will create poems, or “verbal sculptures,” that are inspired by the artwork (which also includes paintings and prints).  And you can be a part of the poetic pulse of the night. At 6:30, a writers’ open studio will be held where you can respond to prompts written by the resident poets. After observing the various themes of Booker’s work, you can create your own spoken word pieces about the art. Then at 7:00, four of the top poets from The Philly Pigeon will present a curated tour-performance of the Booker exhibition. Don’t miss this fun night of creative discourse and art!

Midnight Lion Dance Performance
When: February 18, 11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Where: 10th and Race Streets, Chinatown Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

If you don’t have to be up early Thursday morning, enjoy a night in Chinatown to ring in the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse will make way for the Year of the Sheep, and firecrackers will burst on the streets. The Chinese New Year Midnight Parade will be led by the Philadelphia Suns lion dancers. Can’t make it out that night? Don’t worry; there are other ways to celebrate around the city. A Year of the Sheep Parade will be held on the 22nd, or there are various events being held at International House, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or Independence Seaport Museum.

February Japanese Film Festival
When: February 19 & 26, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Where: Room B6 Stiteler Hall, UPenn, 208 S 37th Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

This year’s Japanese Film Festival at UPenn is centered on dreams and dreaming. So leave your realistic expectations at the door, and step into cinematic worlds of imagination and Japanese culture. Two films are left in the series: Ten Nights of Dreams will be shown on February 19 and Jiro Dreams of Sushi on the 26. Ten Nights of Dreams is based on the novel by Natsume Sōseki and features ten vignettes that dip into the subconscious and present fantastical and weird visions. Sometimes wacky and sometimes nightmarish, this film is an imaginative exploration of the real and unreal. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is more rooted in reality—the documentary follows 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono. Jiro, considered to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, is still on a quest to perfect the art of sushi despite his acclaim and his age. Despite its realism, Jiro Dream of Sushi is a film about chasing dreams and capturing perfection. And, the spectacle of beautiful image after beautiful image of sushi will leave your mouth watering by the end. These great films showings are FREE, so don’t miss them!

A Conversation with Signe Wilkinson
When: February 19, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Where: Kelly Writers House Arts Cafe, UPenn, 3805 Locust Walk, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

Enjoy an afternoon of conversation with editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson. Wilkinson is best known for her work at the Philadelphia Daily News, and drew a syndicated daily comic strip for United Media from 2007 to 2011. She was the first female cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, served as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists from 1994-1995, and received a Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art & Design. Wilkinson’s talk will focus on “Redrawing Stereotypes” in cartoons. Whether you’re into comic books or the Sunday funnies, this discussion will be an interesting discourse on editorial cartoons, their messages, and their place in the media today. And it’s a great chance to hear from an acclaimed artist in the field for FREE!

BalletX: A Pie, A Pint, & The Process
When: February 21, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Where: Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE! (for Open Arts members)

So you know that en pointe is when ballet dancers are on the tips of their feet, right? But do you know how they do it? Or about the pointe shoe, and how it has been redesigned to allow dancers to stay en pointe for longer periods of time? Head to BalletX to learn about the evolution of the pointe show and contemporary ballet from the artistic staff, including artistic director Christine Cox, choreographer Norbert De La Cruz III, and Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Lauren Fadeley. And you can enjoy some pizza and beer (21+) too! This afternoon of audience engagement is great for everyone to enjoy, whether you known what a toe box is or not. It will also feature a demonstration by dancer Andrea Yorita. Be sure to check out BalletX’s Winter Series—discounted student tickets are just $25!

A Piece of Philly: Kate’s Top Picks

When you find yourself in a city, you might not know which way to turn first. Philadelphia is no different—you know about the historical sightseeing spots and the popular tourist locales, but what if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path? Well, no compilation or list will cover everything that Philly has to offer (because, if you didn’t know, there’s a ton), but we can at least start somewhere. Check out these colorful places in the city that are just some of my favorites.

World Café Live

Location: 3025 Walnut Street

You can hear everyone from well-known artists to local performers at World Cafe Live, one of the best places in Philly to enjoy good sounds. This multi-level venue, home to the renowned WXPN radio show, is a converted Art Deco factory building that hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Downstairs Live’s contemporary design and top-notch sound system make it the perfect concert hall for nationally-renowned artists. Upstairs Live is a smaller, more intimate space with an urban chic atmosphere where local acts can showcase their talent. Weekly Monday Night Jazz Jams and Philly Rising open mic nights highlight WCL’s commitment to local talent—both offer artists from the Philadelphia area an opportunity to get on stage and perform. Other awesome artists who have passed through World Cafe Live are David Cook, Melanie Martinez, and  No Good Sister. Check out their extensive full lineup here and be sure to see a show!

In the area: Both levels offer food and drinks, but for something different Koreana Food (which offers michi, bubble tea, and more) and Pizza Rustica (featuring wood-fired pizza, paninis, and charming white-and-red-checkered tablecloths) are good options. The Institute of Contemporary Art is nearby too, so check out some of the awesome art there for FREE!

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Location: 1020 South Street

Yes, odds are that you’ve heard of  Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens before or you’ve been already. But who’s to say you can’t go again? And if you haven’t already, it’s a must-see. “It’s such a unique place with so much to offer every time you go there,” says Tara More, a freshman at Villanova University. “It was awesome to see that an artist had a vision to take someone’s trash or recyclables and turn it into a beautiful piece of art.” The outdoor and indoor space, covered in glistening mosaics, was designed by local artist Isaiah Zagar. He constructed the madly imaginative space out of cement and funky pieces like bicycle spokes and shards of ceramic. The result is an inspiring creative labyrinth that can be viewed during the day or at night. In addition to tours, there are exhibitions and mosaic workshops. The admission is only $5 for students, and tours are available throughout the year!

In the area: Check out the distinctive Pan-Latin décor and delicious brunch menu at Mixto before a tour, or grab some coffee and relax at local-artwork-decorated Chapterhouse Café & Gallery.

Fishtown is a Catch
Location: Fishtown neighborhood

There’s too much in this flourishing Philly neighborhood to highlight just one space, so here are just a few must-see spots. Johnny Brenda’s is another awesome venue to enjoy good food and music; the menu, which changes so often that it’s only scrawled across chalk boards, features delicious locally-grown food and craft brews from the Philadelphia region (21+). Local bands representing the city’s extensive indie rock scene love to perform upstairs in the restored two-tier concert hall. If you’re less inclined to a music space, check out “hole-in-the-wall” Sketch , an art-themed burger joint that boasts meat and vegan options and an extensive toppings list (I personally recommend the smashed onion burger and their milkshakes). While you wait for your delicious patty, you can doodle and create your own artwork too! Or maybe Mexican is more your style—Loco Pez is another spot with character. It’s an affordable taqueria inspired by taco trucks in Los Angeles, and it features wallpapering with Mexican comics and a jukebox full of classic hits. For an even more relaxed scene, you should stop by Barcade (21+). It’s exactly what it sounds like: a bar and an arcade fused into one. You can grab a drink and enjoy over forty classic arcade games (with classic prices of only a quarter a game).