A city rich in history that's tucked between rolling farmlands and deep, dark forests, Philadelphia is an ideal spot for Halloween antics. So in the spirit of the season, we’ve put together our top five haunted houses in the area.
Terror Behind the Walls Named the No. 1 haunted complex in America by the Travel Channel and AOL City Guide, Eastern State Penitentiary's haunted attraction is all about location. Set inside a 180-year old prison with a long list of paranormal sightings, this scare-a-thon doesn’t need theatrics — the setting is creepy enough. And to celebrate its 20th Anniversary, Terror Behind the Walls organizers have added two new attractions to this year’s lineup. Through Nov. 12, $20-$30, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave., 215-236-5111, easternstate.org/halloween.
Pennhurst Asylum Set in the abandoned complex of Pennsylvania’s largest and most notorious mental hospital, this haunted abode (pictured) doesn’t need to add much to give visitors a sense of unease. With a history of inhumane treatment, cruel and unusual punishments and various surgeries, this place has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations. Today, visitors can walk through the buildings and grounds while being spooked by characters derived from the asylum’s most terrifying tales tales. Through Nov. 12, $15-$40, Pennhurst Asylum, 100 Commonwealth Drive, Spring City, pennhurstasylum.com.
Fright Factory This massive factory space serves as four separate haunted attractions — all of which prey on real-life fears. Look into the freaky “green” experiments of the iChem Industries, make your way through the haunted asylum where paranormal activity stems from tortured patients, brave the cemetery’s gothic mausoleum, or journey through a system of twists and tricks that might make you question your own sanity. Through Oct. 31, $30, 2200 S. Swanson St., frightfactory.tv.
Bate’s Motel and Haunted Hayride Set on the grounds of Arasapha Farm, the hayride takes advantage of the farm’s extensive, dark woods, which creates the perfect setting for a Hollywood slasher film. If the outdoors aren’t your thing, head into the Bates Motel for a full-scale haunted house where creative makeup artists will have shuttering under your covers for weeks. Through Oct. 31, $15-$40, Arasapha Farm, 1835 Middletown Road, Glen Mills, thebatesmotel.com.
Sleepy Hollow Hayride and House in the Hollow While slightly farther out, this terror attraction presents a haunted manor with state-of-the-art effects and talented actors that have been perfecting the haunted concept for over 22 years. The home features seventeen rooms and a cellar, elaborate details, and secret passageways. The hayride takes advantage of 230 acres of farmland and a corn field for those who dare to mix claustrophobia with a creepy Children of the Corn-style chase. Through Oct. 30, $11-$35, Active Acres Farm, 881 Highland Road, Newtown, houseinthehollow.com.
Born in 1667 and hailing from Transylvania, Johannes Kelpius held the deep-seeded belief that the world was coming to an end. Inspired by the "Book of Revelations," Kelpius expected a woods-based heaven to emerge at some point in 1694. Rooted in his convictions, Kelpius and a small group of followers set their sights on an up-and-coming province in America, known as Philadelphia. Settling in Wissahickon Creek, Kelpius anxiously awaited the next phase.
What happened after that is, well, history, but you can learn more about it and explore how Philly's hilliest enclave was created when the Spiral Bookcase and Friends of Pretzel Park present The Secret History of Manayunk on Saturday.
"We just want to share another facet of what Manayunk is," says Ann Tetreault of the Spiral Bookcase. Thom Nickels, author of Manayunk as well as Philadelphia Architecture, will be on hand to speak; tour guide Nicholas Bucci will present a Kelpius exhibit; and the Kelpius Society will give a lecture, as well.
It's a lot of Kelpius to handle, but as Tetreault says, "He's kind of a big deal."
Sat., Sept. 17, 2-6 p.m., free, Pretzel Park, 4300 Silverwood St., 215-482-0704, thespiralbookcase.com.
Pandora's Box of free speech was thrown open in October 2010, when political analyst Juan Williams appeared on The O'Reilly Factor. When the NPR commentator spoke about Muslims on airplanes, the lines of free speech and controversial remarks came head to head.
NPR deemed those remarks inappropriate enough to justify his quick termination. Then Williams, adding fuel to the fire, called this decision a, "chilling assault on free speech."
Nearly a year later, Williams is back with a new book detailing the situation: Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate. Within, he finds the platform to tell his side of the story. He sees his case as a mere microcosm of a media-wide effort to censor differing opinions, and claims that this effort stifles the honest debate that helps American politics move forward.
Williams comes to the Free Library tomorrow, promoting his book and his message. Don't miss the chance to see a longtime media figure fight back, speaking loudly about a topic he argues many want silenced.
Tue., Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m., $15, Free Library, Central Branch, 1901 Vine St., 215-686-5369, freelibrary.org.
- Jerry Blavat reads tonight @ the Free Library
- BOOKISH: No Gossipy tell-alls here
- THINK TANK: Delaware County Green Party Meeting, 8/3
We never thought board games would ever need to go all speakeasy, but its happening. Bingo has gone underground and it’s ready to party. Taking the old-time pasttime out of nursing homes and church socials, the Underground Rebel Bingo club has adapted the game to a younger, wilder generation. Originally started by two guys in their basement, the bingo phenomenon is now out of control. Setting up on major stages across the world, Rebel Bingo events offer a wild night of excessive drinking, sexy “call” girls, face paints and following “B-5” with “Fuck-you.” Yes, there’s lots of swearing. Even if you are a bingo winner, the crowd determines whether you are truly a “winner” or a “loser.” If you lose, you might get a giant “Fuck you” banner in your honor.
With rules like “no boring people” and “no customer service,” the group re-envisions low-key. Not unlike Fight Club, the number one rule of Rebel Bingo is to keep it undercover. For fear that the old regimes of Bingo will hear about the rascal takeover, this group has decided to keep the whole deal on the DL. “If you don’t know who we are yet, it’s because we haven’t told you.” Their meeting locations are only told to ticket holders. However, we got a little insider info for the City Paper crowd. Ripping through the Blockley in U City, the raucous rampage of a game will only be in town for one night, so don’t miss out. But remember, what happens at bingo stays at bingo.
Even if the most French thing you’ve ever done was eat french fries at Chez McDonald’s, you’re still considered French on Bastille Day, at least according to Eastern State Penitentiary. Thursday, July 14 marks the 17th year for one of the summer’s most anticipated events, the annual Bastille Day Festival, which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. This year, the four-day (July14-17) extravaganza features a bar crawl, French cuisine, a street festival and so much more!
Fairmount French Fling Bar Crawl
If the French know about anything, it's how to drink. Starting at 7 p.m. tonight, eight Fairmount bars, including Fare (2028 Fairmount Ave.), London Grill (2031 Fairmount Ave.) and Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Ave.), will have Kronenbourg 1664 beer specials and Mouton Cadet wine specials … drink up!
Fairmount Goes French
Julia Child isn’t the only one who mastered the art of French cooking … some restaurants in Fairmount did, as well. Friday night, restaurants including The Belgian Café (601 N. 21st St.), Jack's Firehouse (2130 Fairmount Ave.) and Bridgid's Bar & Restaurant (726 N. 24th St.), will offer French dishes on their menus. After dinner you’ll have the choice of viewing a French-themed film, Ratatouille at 7 p.m. at Mugshots Coffeehouse (2100 Fairmount Ave.) or The Hunchback of Notre Dame at 8 p.m. on Eastern State Penitentiary’s (2027 Fairmount Ave.) lawn.
Bastille Day Street Festival
The focal event of the festival begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday in front of Eastern State Penitentiary with activities for everyone in the family. Dressed in your favorite 18th century French garb, you’ll be able to enjoy French food, kids’ activities, a pet parade, fashion show, costume contest and live entertainment from Philly Musette, the Bearded Ladies Edith Piaf Cabaret Street Performers and Peek A Boo Revue Can Can Dancers. It will surely get you in the mood to storm the Bastille (Eastern State) at 5:30 p.m. and drag Marie Antoinette (Terry McNally) to the guillotine!
When you think of a discoverer, Victorian-era brutes with yellow jodhpurs and handle bar mustaches may come to mind. Right out of a story book or history lecture, this image isn’t something we equate with the modern man. Except one modern man is just that, mustache and all. Charles Brewer Carias licked his fingers and twisted the ends of his stache as he took the stage at the Union League this last Saturday. Invited by the wild British adventure group, The Adventurists, Carias was the featured guest at their afternoon tea and gin event. The Venezuelan has been called the greatest discoverer and adventurist of our time. Never having to leave his native country, the now 72-year-old has discovered the largest quartzite cave, largest sink holes, a bevy of new species and quite possibly the oldest organism on Earth — a 1.5 million year old silica. The explorer covered all of this in his lecture as well as his most exciting news: he has found El Dorado.
Since he was a child, his father told him he needed to specialize in something to make a living. That was too limiting for this future explorer, though. “’You must concentrate yourself’, my father would say. But I am an encyclopedist.” It didn’t help that when he was a child, men would come to visit his family home, talking about finding the “lost cities.” Of course, the most famous of these lost cities is the treasure trove El Dorado, the City of Gold. The search for this lost city may be the push for all of Carias’ explorations. It would seem that many of his finds, including ones only yards from his house, happened haphazardly while searching for the City of Gold. At the end of his life, he tells the audience that he has finally found it. Contrary to legend, the golden city is actually a prince who lived on Lake Manoa. Carias’ own shirt is embroidered with the marking of the prized lake. While slightly different than legend would have it, according to Carias and his family, there still is gold there. He confided to me that while he knows where it is, he won’t have officially discovered it until a new Venezuelan government takes over — one he hopes will be less “greedy.” “If I don’t make it, I have put a team of my son and a few friends together to discover the city at the right time.”
It’s Fusion Week in Philadelphia. The Multicultural Affairs Congress-hosted “Carnival” is a talent-filled week of excitement, expression and, bless their hearts, free shit!
The six-day explosion of festivities stems from the Congress’ efforts to “fuse” together all of the world’s cultures into an elongated multi-ethnic extravaganza.
Now in its fifth year, the scheduled Fusion Week lineup boasts a wide range of electrifying events. Kicking off the whole shebang is “Celebrate Fun, Celebrate Carnival” at Hard Rock Café, which is bound to leave your eardrums in a frenzy after experiencing the live musical stylings of Sap Sounds, Alo Brazil, and DJ Jazzy Joe.
Throughout the week, multiple venues around the city will host a slew of cultural events, featuring headliners like Wine, Dine, and Dance (Reef Restaurant and Longue), Creole- and Cajun-based Zydeco-A-Go-Go (UPenn Museum of Archaeology), a mixer on the waterfront for Philly’s sociable professionals, and a hefty helping of Broadway via Walnut Street Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon.
Topping off the week’s crescendo of multicultural bliss is Fusion Week’s flagship event: The Global Fusion Festival. The free, all-day ethnic fiesta includes a host of culturally diverse events fit for all ages. Arts and crafts for the kiddies and cultural workshops and a few dazzling dance performances will help set the stage for the day’s headliners: Estelle, Melanie Fiona, Anthony David, and more.
And, if in the course of the week’s extravagance you feel yourself needing a little spiritual cleansing to clear the conscious of whatever booze-tinted transgressions that may or may not have taken place, the MAC has that covered as well. The final send off for Fusion Week “Carnival” 2011 is a Baptist Brunch Cruise on the brand new Philadelphia Belle. Can I get an amen?
Mon-Sun., July 11-17, various times and locations, globalfusionfestival.com.
Every city in the U.S. celebrates the Fourth of July, but here in Philly — the friggin' birthplace of independence — we’re going all out. So you don't get overwhelmed, we've put together a guide to some of the best events taking place throughout the city.
Also celebrating a milestone birthday this year, is the American Civil War. Start your holiday festivities with a visit to the traveling Civil War road show, featuring interactive exhibits and informative displays. Fri.-Mon., July 1-4, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sixth & Race streets, historicphiladelphia.org/index.php.
Then get an early fireworks fix at Independence Seaport Museum’s Fireworks Spectacular. Before the show starts, enjoy dinner and drinks at the museum. For a cheaper option, skip the grub and head to Penn’s Landing to peep the show at no extra charge. Sat., July 2, 6:30-10 p.m., $50, Penn’s Landing, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street, seaportfireworks2011.eventbrite.com.
With all the hot dogs and burgers fired up on the grill this weekend, don’t forget to take time out for desert. Philadelphia Chocolate Tours will host a patriotic Red, White and Blue chocolate tour with stops at a variety of local chocolaterias. Leave with your very own stash of chocolate-y goodness. Sat., Sun., July 2-3, 12:45 p.m., $50, 12th and Filbert streets, philadelphiachocolatetours.com.
Low on cash? On July 3, the Philly Pop’s are playing a free concert on Independence Mall. Pack a picnic, claim your spot on the lawn and enjoy the tunes. Sun., July 3, 8 p.m., Independence Mall, welcomeamerica.com.
Festival-goers can go wild this weekend at Taste of Philadelphia at Penn's Landing or the annual arts festival in Manayunk, but with all that to distract you, don’t turn a blind eye to the goings on in University City.
The 41st annual Clark Park Music and Arts Festival features nine bands, including Lion Versus, Arrah and the Ferns and Mount Joy. And 40 local vendors will set up shop, so bring some spending money. Toting kids? Don't worry about keeping them entertained — according to festival organizers there will be no shortage of games and activities made just for the little ones.
Sat., Sat., June 25, 6 p.m., 40th and Walnut streets, universitycity.org.
Later, walk a few blocks north to take part in the University City District and the Rotunda’s 40th Street Summer Series, offering up free concerts every fourth Saturday from June to September. This week's featured artists are the Sun Ra Arkestra and Elegant Cavaliers, a West Philadelphia drill team. Arrive early for free Rita’s water ice. And if that isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger, City Tap House (3925 Walnut St.) will offer food and drink specials from 6-10 p.m.
Sat., June 25, 12 p.m.-sundown, Clark Park, 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue, clarkparkfest.wordpress.com.
- Full House: A Series of Cabarets
- Latin Roots and Rhythms
- Mayaunk Arts Festival
- Facts and Fables
- Walk for Animals
- Death Row @ Eastern State
The crowds that swarmed the streets during the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival this past weekend were as diverse as the gathering itself. Performances by groups such as the Philadelphia Clef Club Youth Band, the Philadelphia Freedom Jazz Orchestra, and Christian McBride & Inside Straight alternated between two main stages and left jazz fans in a rhythmical frenzy, dancing and clapping to their beats. Local eatery Relish, along with other vendors and restaurants like Victoria’s Kitchen, served delicious soul foods while providing personal small stage performances.
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