The second annual Philly F/M Festival culls hordes of independent films and live music, emphasizing the interplay of the two media. Thursday night hosts the event's kick-off party as Philadelphia Slick douses the crowd with waves of toe-tapping beats and games of Simon Says. The neighborhood's lights dim on Friday as the film screenings begin at 7 p.m. with Sound It Out, a phonetically precise documentary that chronicles the last vinyl record shop in Teesside, England. Meet Me on South Street, The Story of JC Dobbs (September 24 at 6:30 p.m.) delves into Philadelphia's artistic subculture and underground crocheting scene from the 1970s to 1996 through the lens of one of its signature and now defunct musical establishments.
For one day in early December, more than 50 craft breweries will converge at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center for Valley Forge Beer Festival. Spread across two sessions, the Festival will feature more than 100 beers ready for sampling and critiquing, including special brews from Victory Brewing, Sam Adams, Sly Fox Brewing Company, and Magic Hat. As if that weren't enough to make you feel warm inside, the Festival proudly supports and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Committee to Benefit the Children, a Philadelphia charity that provides treatment and support to children with cancer, leukemia, and blood disorders.
Run by Anna Maria Florio, the daughter of Italian immigrants, La Cucina at the Market imparts vital culinary arts to its students in intimate, informative classes. Students plunge their hands into the world of handmade pasta in Making Handmade Pasta: Easy as 1, 2, 3, which runs through the art and science of noodle and sauce. In classes of up to 15 people, pupils knead, roll, and slice pasta dough to infuse homemade Italian entrees with a personal touch. Nascent noodle artists acquire the art of lengthy fettuccine and broad pappardelle, and afterward pastacrafters will be able to construct an edible sculpture of a penguin in formalwear using bowtie-mimicking farfalle.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) currently preserves and oversees acres of land containing Cape May's most notable Victorian-era landmarks, relying on a staff of 160 and nearly twice as many volunteers. At its inception, though, MAC existed purely as a volunteer effort. Passionate people came together with a simple mission: preserve area history. The founding members first joined forces to rescue the Emlen Physick Estate mansion?built in 1879?from demolition. Successfully fending off the bulldozers, they went so far as to restore it through volunteer man-hours alone.
Having preserved the mansion, the MAC crew decided to transform their volunteer-only organization into a staffed outfit. The new, full-time staff members did more than just run the mansion site; they set their sights, quite literally, higher. They restored the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse, a towering landmark that had been closed to the public for almost 50 years. They also undertook the restoration, repair, and oversight of Fire Control Tower No. 23, the last uncompromised lookout tower erected during World War II. They now oversee all sites, maintaining over 100 of years of history, which is presented through tours, events, and chats with talkative ghosts.
To keep the spirit of its musical roots ever near, House of Blues Houston keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi beneath its stage and proudly displays the traditional crazy quilt. As the only venue in the revered chain to be built vertically rather than free floating, House of Blues Houston stands as a pillar of entertainment in the Houston Pavilions complex. The hot spot’s Bronze Peacock Room commemorates Houston's rich history and the blues clubs where Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton held sway, and features an enormous hand-painted mural depicting other local legends such as Albert Collins and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
Tents and tables cover the grassy, waterfront lawns of Lake Lenape Park East for a two-day celebration of good eats and sips at the Waterfront Wine & Food Festival. Vendors work alongside students from the Academy of Culinary Arts to prepare fresh cuisine and stage cooking demonstrations, while winemakers pour samples to throngs of attendees. An outdoor wine garden provides a designated space to sip and dine while socializing, and guests can peruse hand-crafted gifts to take home to a loved one or someone they just owe a favor to.
Though most of the festival is unstructured, one of its core events is an amateur wine competition, where judges sample guest submissions of red and white wines designated as sweet and dry hybrids, vinifera, and soft or stone fruits. Live music from Atlantic City lounge singer Beth Tinnon and a steel band provide a lively soundtrack throughout the two-day shindig.