Philadelphia Weekly is proud to present a stellar lineup of talent that’s been hooked up for your benefit with three free open-air concerts in Rittenhouse Square on the last three Wednesdays of August. Now in it’s 23rd year, PW’s pulled together three sets of talent from a bunch of different genres, ages and walks of life. If there were to be a theme, this year it’s movement—none of these acts will keep you standing still. And with dope DJs spinning before and during duo sets, each night’ll be sure to send you off into the night loving your fair Philadelphia.
Let’s break down each week, shall we?
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14th
DJ Lil’ Dave, Leana Song, and Leonard “Doc” Gibbs
Lil’ Dave’s an Illvibe Collective mainstay who’s steeped in hip-hop, but that doesn’t mean he’s not well-versed in, from his bio, “house, broken beat, brazilia, acid jazz, funk and UK-inspired soul and rare groove.” Leana Song’s a Northern Liberties-born drum and music group inspired by Ghanaian and Afro-Cuban rhythms, but interpreted through American jazz and folk perspectives. Shawn Hennessey, the group’s ubertalented lead songwriter and percussionist, is also the brainchild behind Hennessey Bonfire, a world pop project. Then the freakin’ legendary Philly percussionist, Doc Gibbs—a decades-long veteran and Philadelphia funk ambassador around the globe—will blow minds. He got his name and start with the late great sax man Grover Washington, Jr. and has been employed by the likes of Erykah Badu, Eric Benet, Wyclef and Emeril Lagasse. (That’s right, the “Bam!” guy on the Food Network).
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st
DJ Lee Jones, Valvin “V” Roane, and Alma “Lady Alma” Horton
Does Lee Jones need any explanation? The Temple alum’s been spinning parties all over the city since the ’80s and, with friends like King Britt and idols like Jazzy Jeff, specializes in reading crowds and giving them what they want. V has been working with our reigning soul princess, Jill Scott, on and off for about a decade, including backing her up with vocals on tours and on records. He’s also collabed with Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild, Justin Timberlake and Will Smith as a songwriter and producer – no slouch! Then, brace yourself for a lady who can really blow. Our beloved Lady Alma, who was discovered singing over tracks on the Silk City dance floor, has got a beautiful, full-throated set of pipes the city of Philly is proud to have anything to do with. In one of our favorite moments of hers in recent memory, she appeared on the amazing Kindred the Family Soul’s Love Has No Recession’s “Authentically You.” Man, it’s good, it feels like church, and she’s delivering a sermon. Her voice is truly a gift.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28th
Illvibe Collective’s Sonny James & DJ Skipmode, Mic Stewart and Cee Knowledge and the Cosmic Funk Orchestra
You know any Illvibe set’s going to be professional, knowledgeable and intuitive. Deeply steeped in classic hip-hop, they’ll start the night out right. No doubt Statik and Skipmode will spin some infectious jams like Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Tribe remixes. Thank goodness. Seems appropriate they’ll connect the dots on a night like tonight as Stewart, one of Philly’s most infamous up-and-coming emcees, takes the stage after winning the coveted Red Bull EmSee Competition, which was judged by Big K.R.I.T., David Banner and DJ Premier. Dude’s shared stages with Inspectah Deck, Schooly D, Raekwon and Black Thought, and tonight he’s gonna give us all he’s got. And how awesome is this conclusion? One of our favorite hip-hop groups of all time, Digable Planets, spawned great careers for all involved, including Doodlebug aka Cee Knowledge. Doodlebug’s project, the Cosmic Funk Orchestra, was founded in 2000 but put on hold for some Planets reunion dates; they got rejuvenated when Cee met drummer/engineer Gary Dann. Dann and Doodlebug started playing in the studio, and the CFO was reborn after Dann introduced Cee to guitarist Adam Charlton (reborn Adam Twelve).
And we can’t say who, because that’d spoil the surprise, but you won’t want to miss the night’s special guest. Just sayin’ — you were warned.
All the shows kick off in Rittenhouse Square at 7pm—our stellar DJ lineup starts rocking at 5, though—and close up shop at 9pm sharp. And they’re free.
Yesterday evening, at 5:30 p.m. on the dot, folks cutting through Rittenhouse Square on their way home were treated to a fashion spectacle unlike any they’ve probably ever seen.
Hosted as part of DesignPhiladelphia, the outdoor runway show was conceived by Candy Depew of CandyCoated in parnership the Philadelphia Art Alliance and innovative local designer, Lobo Mau. And just as the event description promised, the models strolled down the catwalk donning furball-esque quaffs and feline-inspired face paint. Going one step further, they even meowed, hissed and clawed.
While certainly a little bizarre, the theatrical presentation actually seemed befitting given the featured collection of one-of-a-kind, over-the-top fashions—a creative collaboration between Depew and Mau who share both an eye and appreciation for unique screen-printed textiles.
My favorite look was definitely the pink circle skirt with the black diamond decals, which was paired with a printed jacket covered in rosebuds and little gold diamonds.
The only thing that would have made the show better: the models getting on all fours and rubbing up on the ankles of passerbys.
As part of the Rookie Mag Road Trip, which just started yesterday in Brooklyn, some awesome ladies will be stopping in Philly today to hang out with their readers. The plan is to meet at Long in the Tooth (20th and Sansom) at 1 p.m. to shop for records and then over to Rittenhouse Square Park at 2 p.m. to make some crafts, all while I imagine some serious bonding will be going on.
Because it’s so wonderful, sometimes I feel it is a duty of mine to spread the gospel of Rookie Mag to those blind to it. Even if you’re no longer a teenage girl, it’s still the greatest thing ever. I often wonder what my high school self would’ve been like if I had it as my survival/sanity guide, which is probably a more confident, bad-ass and just generally cooler version of myself. Luckily for those of us post-teenage, it’s still completely enjoyable and helpful with articles about make-up, looking like David Bowie, honest advice about life and love and, really, just anything that may have ever crossed your mind about the quarrels of being a girl in this world.
I’ll be stuck in class and can’t make it, so to all of you who plan on going, say hi to Tavi for me!
Upon entering this Rittenhouse boutique, you’ll be greeted with the slight trickling from a waterfall descending on the wall, the low lights from the bejeweled chandeliers, and of course the gorgeous clothes adorning the hangers and shelves. If you look carefully there’s an obvious, yet subtle welcome to the store. A slender, curling tree reaching high up to the ceiling. “It’s my favorite part of the store,” owner Kiki Hughes says proudly while donning her signature rock-n-roll style with dark, voluminous hair.
Visiting Kiki Hughes will feel just like home. Well, if your home looks like an amazing walk-in closet.
This gorgeous shop makes for the perfect home for luxuriously kitschy clothes and accessories. Here you’ll find a slew of comfy knits, menswear-inspired blazers, and blouses in various hues and prints. Amongst your usual boutique buys are the real original, quirky pieces. Crushed velvet capes, fur shrugs, and—my favorite piece of the store: a black and burgundy velvet-lace collar neckpiece.
Kiki Hughes is the perfect place for ladies who have a classic look with a pinch of vintage flair and eccentricity. Kiki makes sure that no two pieces are alike, and loyal customers will always find something new and interesting. “I try not to wear things that I sell here, because customers would want to buy them right off my back!” Kiki jokes.
No, you can’t snatch up Kiki’s clothes as she’s wearing them, but you really don’t need to with such a fantastic selection in her store.
~ Jennifer Nguyen
Do all the Zara fans out there know that Zara’s online now? Finally. And you can eliminate those pesky shipping costs by having it delivered to the store. Thank gawd because the brand has more to offer that what you see on Walnut St. Seriously, the Philly store doesn’t do Zara justice.
This September they opened up online and all they have to offer abounds. And they make it easy for you.
For example, I bought this faux fur coat to go with an outfit. Picked it up at the store, and it was wrapped up all pretty. Unfortunately, it was more of a blue-black than the black-black I wanted (bastards in that regard).
So instead of my usual process of having the jacket sit in its box in my living room for weeks (which I would most likely trip over every day until getting the motivation to drag it to the post office – where I would wait in line forever as the clerks take their sweet ‘ole time – only to find out out weeks later that I got a store credit because I returned it too late), I just dropped it off to the Zara store with no hassle whatsoever. Done.
Now if only H&M would get on board…
Jack Wills opened a store on 16th and Walnut streets Friday night at 5:30 p.m. With its pink and blue striped walls, map of the northeast and vintage books perched atop a fireplace, the store reminds me of J.Crew meets a swank ski lodge, and it’s a mecca of British pop culture.
Given its British roots, the men’s clothes are elegant in their simplicity. Everything garment in the store fits slimmer than its American counterpart; their blazers had a tailored look without actually being tailored, and the jeans were tighter than anything I’ve seen in America while still being really comfortable.
The nice thing about their men’s line was how almost every piece could be dressed up or down with several staples. Their blazers could be dressed down for a night on the town with a pair of slim dark blue jeans, or dressed up for lunch at the country club with a nice pair of khakis.
Much like the men’s line, the women’s line was very old school prep. Pressed oxford shirts, high waisted knee length skirts and leather loafers could easily be dressed up with the right accessories or dressed down for a day at the office.
The clothes aren’t cheap, but they appear to be well made. Given that the store sells well-made wardrobe staples, the prices aren’t terrible considering what you’re getting. If you’re into New England chic, Jack Wills is definitely worth checking out.
I’ve noticed that hats (not baseball caps) have, in general, come back in vogue in the city. I’m quick to say that Urban Outfitter’s presence offering of affordable hats have contributed, but then that rudely discounts all the boutiques offering quality pieces. To say the least, I have been greatly enjoying the variety and breadth of summer straw hats seen around town, and today’s Street Snaps is no exception. Continuing from last week’s more mature interviewee is this breezy example of how to dress for the summer while still being modestly clothed. And by no means is this a look confined to those of more age and experience — lengthy, ambiguous silhouettes can be so dramatic, which is almost always more head-turning than something “sexy.”
Martha, from Philadelphia.
What’s your favorite thing on today?
On your outfit.
“Oh, on my outfit? My shoes and my hat. Covers a multitude of sins. (laughs)”
Are there any trends that you’re tired of in Philadelphia?
“I am tired of the bare mid-drifts.”
The short, loose shirts cut into mid-drifts?
“Yeah, yeah… And I would like to see the long skirts come back. I like that!”
They’ve come back in style now.
“Yeah. (Husband suggests the ‘bare bellies’) And the bare bellies on fat people.”
Oh no! All right. Well I’ll keep the questions short here, unless you have anything else to add.
“I’m older. Very mature. Three children. Married fifty-five years — I was three, it was an arranged marriage. (laughs) No, no. But we were cyclists at one time, till my husband broke his knee and had a knee replacement. And we go to Florida for six months and live in Philadelphia across from the art museum for six months… And our life has ended up being very nice. We’re very happy. Our children are all seemingly happy.”
Nice. Do you have any tips or thoughts on cultivating a comfort in your own body?
“I always felt my job was to — and my husband felt the same way — produce these children so that they could be independent, support themselves — we weren’t rich enough to support them for the rest of their lives, we didn’t want to, and it wasn’t a question. After college, they were on their own and they had to take something in which they knew they would be able to support themselves. And that was important. We also said no to a lot of things. And whenever one of my sons says ‘you never took us to Europe‘ and ‘you never took us here‘, and I always say, and look how wonderfully you turned out. That shuts ‘em up.
“So… But you have to have a sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at life…”
Then what are you gonna do?
“My husband’s very funny. Last week we went to the Ritz, and he got me a big soda because it was free if you had to refill it. And he reached over and he poured the whole thing by accident all over me. Just before the movie started. I was sitting in wet clothes from top to bottom. But he went back and he said to the guy, ‘she was so thirsty.’ (laughs) Boy, was she thirsty! So all we could do was laugh about it at that point. But anyway, that’s not interesting.”
Well it’s always interesting to hear what people have to say. But anyway, any last comments?
“I love Philadelphia. I absolutely love it. I don’t like to go to Florida because I miss Philadelphia. I really do. And it has a lot to offer.”
If you’re looking for more Philly street style, visit Broad&Market, or check out the Street Snaps archive by clicking on the “street snaps” tag just below.