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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With a diverse lineup of more than 50 features, the Lighthouse International Film Festival will pull back its curtain on June 3 for three days of films, panel discussions, networking, and parties. The nonprofit festival is dedicated to exposing innovative and compelling new contributions to the world of the moving image, granting audiences a sneak preview of the next generation of moviemaking talent while attracting a crew of serious critics, producers, and other movie-biz wizzes. Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear helm a star-studded cast in the opening-night film, Salvation Boulevard, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Foundation of the Arts and Sciences. Thereafter, feast eyes on a variety of genres and formats, including Dying to Do Letterman—a documentary that chronicles comedian Steve Mazan’s quest to perform his standup routine on David Letterman’s show, which becomes more urgent when he learns he may only have five years left to live. Fictional offerings include the Israeli feature-length Andante, about the only person who continues to dream in a nearly dreamless dystopia. A selection of both short and feature-length films ensures an apt match for attention spans of all shapes and sizes.