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September 29, 2014

The Franklin Institute Launches New Conversation Series Let’s Talk About Your Brain Tonight, Monday, September 29 With Help From A Former Philadelphia Eagle

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

The Franklin Institute launches a brand-new lecture series all about the brain and neuroscience to accompany the recent debut of new permanent exhibition Your Brain. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Have you ever wondered what’s happening inside your noggin when you are injured, stressed or simply trying to make a decision? The Franklin Institute can help.

In conjunction with its awesome new permanent exhibition, Your Brain, a brand-new after-hours series Let’s Talk About Your Brain: Conversations About Neuroscience and Society launches at The Franklin Institute tonight, Monday, September 29, and runs monthly through the winter.

A huge 8,500-square-foot exhibit, Your Brain provides a comprehensive look at neuroscience, and offers visitors a chance to explore a complex and often misunderstood organ.

The interactive, seven-gallery exhibit aims to help each visitor understand that the brain and nervous system underlie all human behavior, that it is always changing, and that knowledge of this crucial organ has the potential to help us evolve as a society.

With its new Let’s Talk About Your Brain conversation series, The Franklin Institute’s scientists and leading experts from the Greater Philadelphia area delve even further into brainy topics on a monthly basis, with topics ranging from sports-related head injuries to Alzheimer’s disease to how addiction affects the brain.

Each of the six conversations are designed to be super informative, engaging, relatable and often interactive. Plus, the talks are moderated by The Franklin Institute’s Chief Bio Scientist — and lead developer of Your Brain — Jayatri Das.

The new programming kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. with Head Games: Sports and Traumatic Brain Injuries featuring speakers including Douglas H. Smith, M.D. Director, Center for Brain Injury and Repair and former Philadelphia Eagle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter.

Next month, the series takes a look at the criminal mind in Born Bad? Violence, Punishment, and the Brain on Tuesday, October 28. For the complete schedule of monthly talks, see below or check online.

Tickets for what’s sure to be an engaging series on gray matter are $15 for non-members, $10 for members and available online.

Let’s Talk About Your Brain: Conversations About Neuroscience and Society
When: Monday, September 29, 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
Cost: $15 for non-members, $10 for members
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September 29, 2014

Popular Theater Series A Play, A Pie And A Pint Brings New Plays, Pizza And Drinks, To Society Hill Playhouse, Starting October 2

A Play, A Pie and A Pint

A Play, A Pie and A Pint returns to the Society Hill Playhouse this October with casual theatergoing. (Image courtesy Tiny Dynamite)

Philadelphia-based production company Tiny Dynamite is devoted to staging contemporary theater in unconventional settings.

This October, the company returns to the, appropriately, cozy Society Hill Playhouse to reprise its popular A Play, A Pie and A Pint series, with a four-week run starting Thursday, October 2.

Each week brings in a new one-act play by a different theater company, to be savored with a slice of pizza and a beverage, all for the low price of $15.

The novel concept has proven to be hit with local audiences and critics alike. Curtain time is 6:30 p.m., and shows run for just an hour, which makes for great after-work entertainment.

This season’s roster includes The Letter of Last Resort, a comedy by David Greig presented by Inis Nua Theatre Company , October 2-5. A hit at the Edinburgh festival, the storyline revolves around the musings of England’s Prime Minister, who must figure out what to put in a letter, to be sealed and stored in a secret submarine, and which will only opened if London is destroyed.

Next up, Caryl Churchill’s A Number, presented by Tiny Dynamite, runs October 9-12. Directed by Rebecca Wright, winner of a 2012 Independence Foundation Fellowship, this drama ponders the question: what would you do if you discovered that there might be more than one of you in the world?

Then, Azuka Theatre Company takes the stage with A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity by Douglas Maxwell October 16-19. Come see this comedy to find out if the mismatched companionship and profuse profanity help Annabelle move past her grief.

Finally, Interact Theatre Company wraps up the series October 23-26 with We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened by Emma Goidel. The plot deals with a pair of over-zealous researchers who concoct fake results in their Siberian lab; the ensuing repercussions set off a host of hilarious misunderstandings.

All shows are followed by post-show discussions with the cast and playwright.

Be advised, past productions of A Play, A Pie and A Pint have sold-out, so if you want to catch any the offerings, don’t delay, buy your tickets now.

A Play, A Pie and A Pint
When: October 2-26
Where: Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. 8th Street
Cost: $15
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September 29, 2014

The King Of Prussia Beerfest Royale Returns This Saturday, October 4 With Craft And International Beer, Music, Food And More

The King of Prussia Beerfest Royale returns on October 2 and 4 with more than 100 brews, live music and more. (Photo by Weld-Photography for King of Prussia Business Improvement District)

The King of Prussia Beerfest Royale returns on October 2 and 4 with more than 100 brews, live music and more. (Photo by Weld-Photography for King of Prussia Business Improvement District)

Raise a glass! Beer-centric good times arrive at the King of Prussia mall for the annual King of Prussia Beerfest Royale which hits this Saturday, October 4.

The beerfest starts on Thursday with a special happy hour event and continues with the blockbuster beerfest on Saturday.

Look forward to brews from more than 50 breweries from across the globe — from Pennsylvania to Belgium — in addition to live music, food and alfresco fun.

Read on for our guide to the festival.

Overview and The Layout

The festival starts with a Donnerstag: Happy Hour on Thursday, October 2 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Get in the spirit with all-you-can-consume food and beer pairings, beer-infused cocktails, a cigar lounge and live music by The Hoppin’ John Orchestra and more. Take note, the happy hour has sold out in year’s past, so be sure to snag your tickets.

The main event on Saturday is split into two sessions, from noon to 3:30 p.m. and 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets grant unlimited access to taste brews from more than 50 brewers in two tents with live music on two stages and an outdoor beer garden.

Both sessions feature the same lineup of brews and food, so choosing which session to attend can be purely based on timing.

The alfresco festival is held in the parking lot adjacent to DeKalb Pike at The Court at the King of Prussia Mall — near The Container Store — and is only for folks over the age of 21.

The Brews and Food

The Beerfest Royale promises a wide array of both craft brews and international beers. Guests can expect representatives from more than 50 breweries pouring a total of more than 100 beer samples.

Participating local breweries include Conshohocken Brewing Company, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, Sly Fox, Troegs and Yards.

Cheers! Beer of all sort fills the King of Prussia Mall parking lot for the annual Beerfest Royale.  (Photo by Weld-Photography for King of Prussia Business Improvement District)

Cheers! Beer of all sort fills the King of Prussia Mall parking lot for the annual Beerfest Royale. (Photo by Weld-Photography for King of Prussia Business Improvement District)

Participating international breweries include Hoegaarden, Peroni, Stella Artois and Duvel.

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September 29, 2014

Cheu Noodle Bar Hosts Its Ramen Rumble Chef Showdown With Vernick Versus Elmi Tonight, Monday, September 29, 6 P.M.

Cheu Noodle Bar

Tonight, September 29, two renowned Philly chefs face off in a head-to-head ramen competition at Cheu Noodle Bar. (Image courtesy Cheu Noodle Bar)

Food fight!

Tonight, Cheu Noodle Bar pits two of Philadelphia’s top chefs against one another for another edition of its noodle-soup face-off: A Ramen Rumble.

Since opening in last year, Cheu owners Shawn Darragh and chef Ben Puchowitz have welcomed crowds of noodle-lovers to their compact Washington Square West dining room. With a smartly edited menu of snacks, small plates and — of course — big bowls of noodles, the chill spot has soared to the top of many hot lists.

This past spring, the Cheu guys launched a series of tasting competitions featuring local chefs from some of the city’s finest restaurants, and tonight’s match-up is sure to be a battle royal.

Tonight, Monday, September 29 starting at 6 p.m., chef Greg Vernick of Vernick Food & Drink in Rittenhouse will go head-to-head with chef Nick Elmi of Laurel on East Passyunk.

Both chefs claim incredibly impressive resumes and operate highly lauded restaurants, but tonight rumble-goers can taste their creations for a bargain.

For a prix-fixe price of $25, attendees will score a mini bowl of ramen from each chef, plus one beer and a voter’s card — to vote for your favorite bowl of ramen.

The event is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend showing up early — the action starts at 6 p.m. — and putting your name on the wait list.

Service will last until the chefs’ soup supplies run out tonight, but note that the teams have been prepped to prepare plenty of noodles, so don’t let a line scare you off.

Who’s ramen will reign supreme?

A Ramen Rumble
When: Monday, September 29, 6 p.m.
Where: Cheu Noodle Bar, 255 S. 10th Street
Cost: $25
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September 29, 2014

Coming Attraction: Chocolate: The Exhibition Opens October 11 At The Academy Of Natural Sciences Of Drexel University

Academy of Natural Sciences

Chocolate is made from the seeds of cacao pods which grow on trees like this replica in Chocolate: The Exhibition, on view at the Academy of Natural Sciences October 11 through January 2015.
(Photo courtesy The Field Museum)

This October, learn just how sweet science can be.

On Saturday, October 11, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University invites visitors to enter the wonderful world of chocolate with its newest exhibit, Chocolate: The Exhibition.

More than just a sweet treat, chocolate has played a vital role in history. Did you know that the chocolate business is a multi-million-dollar worldwide industry? Did you know this plant has been used as currency and as medicine? You’ll learn all of this and more by the time you’ve finished exploring this deliciously fascinating display.

Throughout the exhibit, visitors can participate in interactive activities like standing beneath a cacao tree in a replica of a lush rainforest and examining cacao seed pods. A series of mouthwatering displays will showcase everything from the tree-to-bar process to Mayan and Aztec beliefs about this very special food.

Entry costs an additional $5 on top of general museum admission ($15.95 for ages 13 and above, $13.95 for ages 3-12, free for kids under 3). Purchase tickets online now, or get them on site.

During opening weekend, October 11 and 12, the museum will offer chocolate crafts, tastings, shows, special displays, games and more.

Special programming and events will also take place throughout the exhibit’s duration.

Check the museum’s website for an updated schedule, and stay tuned for more sweet news on Chocolate right here.

Chocolate: The Exhibition will be open from Saturday, October 11, 2014 through Saturday, January 24, 2015. You’ll never look at a chocolate bar the same way again!

Chocolate: The Exhibition
When: October 11-January 24, 2015
Where: Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: $5 plus general museum admission ($15.95 for ages 13 and above, $13.95 for ages 3-12, free for kids under 3)
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September 29, 2014

Manayunk Restaurant Week Returns To More Than 15 Restaurants With $15, $25 And $35 Dining Deals, September 28-October 10


Manayunk Restaurant Week returns to more than 15 eateries throughout the neighborhood, including Winnie’s Le Bus, pictured above.(Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Looking for a deal on dinner?

Following the blockbuster Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival, Manayunk Restaurant Week brings dinner deals to more than 15 restaurants throughout the neighborhood.

Depending on the restaurant, three-course meals will ring in at $15, $25 or $35 — plus tax, tip and any alcoholic beverages.

Visit Manayunk Brewing Company for elevated bar fare and house brewed craft beer, Derek’s Restaurant for plates like lobster bisque, butternut squash ravioli and tuna and avocado tartare, Winnie’s Lebus for eats including fish and chips and pumpkin soup and Taqueria Feliz for Mexican bites.

Also participating with a $15 menu is Beast and Ale, the brand-new retro-styled resto from the team behind the Feliz Restaurants.

The full list of participating restaurants, their menus and price points is available right here.

Happy dining!

Manayunk Restaurant Week
When: September 28-October 10
Where: Participating Restaurants
Cost: $15, $25, $25 plus tax and tip, depending on the restaurant
More info:

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September 26, 2014

The Oval Returns! The Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s Awesome Pop-Up Park Hosts Two Festival Weekends This Fall, October 3-5 And 10-12

The Oval

With its sweet skyline views, free entertainment and shaded beer garden, The Oval is a super spot to spend an autumn day. Check out the pop-up park on two weekends this fall. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

If, like us, you already miss the alfresco good times of The Oval, then heads up: The Oval returns in October with two weekends of family-friendly festivities.

The pop-up open-air public space put the “park” back in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as a month-long summertime installation, transforming an island of asphalt and surrounding lawns at 24th Street and the Parkway into an eight-acre entertainment zone.

The temporary space offered up free live entertainment, tons family-friendly programming, outdoor movie screenings, a lineup of food trucks and (wait for it!) an amazing beer garden.

The official season of The Oval wrapped up in August, but we can soon relive the summer cheer under the autumn sun. For two weekends — October 3-5 and October 10-12 — The Oval will host all of the elements of the summer pop-up, as well as fall-appropriate activities and happenings.

Outdoorsy Weekend, October 3-5

To welcome the fall season, The Oval kicks off its October festivities with Outdoorsy Weekend, three days of camping-inspired activities and events.

Head out to hang out in the Yards Brewing Company beer garden, enjoy live music, fire pits, fireside stories, sing-a-longs and free film screenings, including a showing of the camping-themed Wes Anderson flick Moonrise Kingdom and the classic 1961 family film The Parent Trap at night.

Plus, on Sunday local outfitter Fireside Camp Supply hosts a tent pitching contest and the weekend caps off with a live screening of the Eagles vs. Rams football game.

Philadelphia County Fair, October 10-12

The following weekend, The Oval makes for proper fairgrounds for a three-day Philadelphia County Fair.

Get ready, there’s going to be a Ferris wheel on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus carnival games, farm animals, face painting and seasonal activities.

Also, look for a wine and cider garden from Frecon Farms, nightly film screenings, live bands and much more.

Stay tuned for more on fall fun at The Oval!

Fall at The Oval
When: October 3-5 and October 10-12
Where: Eakins Oval, 2601 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free
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September 26, 2014

The Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade Returns To The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, This Sunday, September 28

Celebrate the 2014 Puerto Rican Day Parade which brings a fiesta to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday, September 28. (Photo courtesy Concilio)

Celebrate the 2014 Puerto Rican Day Parade which brings a fiesta to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday, September 28. (Photo courtesy Concilio)

Dancers, floats, musicians and general Puetro Rican pride spice up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, which hits Center City this Sunday, September 29.

Beginning at noon, the parade will fill the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 18th Street to Eakins Oval at 24th Street.

Look forward to a multi-hour parade — expected to end around 3 p.m. — featuring more than 1,000 participants celebrating Puerto Rican and Latino culture through live performances, visits by schools and community groups, appearances from local celebrities, colorful floats and more.

The free festival, which is presented by the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (Concilio), is expected to draw crowds of thousands and will also be broadcasted on 6ABC.

The Puerto Rican Day Parade is part of the city’s Hispanic Heritage Month happenings, check out our full guide.

Puerto Rican Day Parade
When: Sunday, September 28, noon
Where: Starts at 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, ends at 24th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free
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September 26, 2014

Asian Arts Initiative Pearl Street Block Party Brings An All-Day Neighborhood Arts Festival To Chinatown North, Saturday, September 27

Asian Arts Initiative

The Pearl Street Block Party this weekend at the Asian Arts Initiative celebrates the neighborhood’s rich cultural diversity and artistic community. (Photo by Timothy K. Lee)

Once purely known as an industrial district, now the neighborhood just north of Chinatown — dubbed Chinatown North or Callowhill — hosts a burgeoning cultural scene, home to a wide range of artist collectives, galleries, non-profit organizations and other creative groups.

One of the hearts of this developing ’hood is the Asian Arts Initiative and its multi-tenant building chock-full of dynamic artists and community groups.

This Saturday, September 27, the Asian Arts Initiative’s exhibitions, programs and cultural development take to the streets for the Asian Arts Initiative’s second year of the Pearl Street Block Party.

All afternoon, the 1200 block of Pearl Street is set to transform from a underutilized alleyway into an art-filled fest centered around two main events: a community furniture build and a community feast.

Venture to this up-and-coming microcosm of culture to participate in a free, all-day neighborhood art festival with interactive events and intriguing projects and exhibits from the Asian Arts Initiative and partners including The Barnes Foundation, Callowhill Neighborhood Association and Friends of the Railpark, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Check out an array of Social Practice Lab projects created by Asian Arts Initiative’s current and past artists-in-residence and look to an outdoor stage to host music, dance and other performances by the likes of DJ John Morrison, the Philadelphia Suns, the Philippine Folk Arts Society, Hip Hop Fundamentals and Community Bollywood Dance Project.

Inside, see the Asian Arts Initiative’s new exhibition Neighborhood Workshop, a group show of contemporary artists responding to each of their respective neighborhoods via multidisciplinary works.

After 5 p.m., the Block Party culminates in an invitation-only community feast. Advance registration is required; email here to register.

On a regular basis, the Asian Arts Initiative’s gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., and stays open until 8 p.m. on First Friday each month.

Come out this weekend to support this emerging hub of Philadelphia arts and culture.

2nd Annual Pearl Street Block Party
When: Block Party, Saturday, September 27, 1-5 p.m.
Where: Pearl Street between 12th and 13th streets; access via Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street
Cost: Free
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September 26, 2014

Weekend Picks: Closing Weekend Of Spruce Street Harbor Park, Shopping Market At Dilworth Park, Opera On The Mall, Campus Philly CollegeFest, Puerto Rican Day Parade, Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival And More

Dilworth Park

Celebrate the weekend at the new Dilworth Park as it hosts an alfresco shopping market on Friday and live music on Saturday. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

It’s the first official weekend of fall, and the weather forecast couldn’t be better.

Philly welcomes the season with blockbuster festivals, smaller neighborhood block parties, events at the new Dilworth Park and the final weekend of Spruce Street Harbor Park — the seriously, seriously awesome pop-up park, restaurant and beer garden on the waterfront.

Bid farewell to Spruce Street Harbor Park this weekend with a rocking free concert on Saturday night and fall-centric festivities to boot all weekend long. Think pumpkin decorating, a photo booth and all of the food and drink goodness that we’ve come to expect at Spruce Street.

Opera on the Mall returns to Independence Mall on Saturday evening with a free simulcast of the comedic opera The Barber of Seville performed by Opera Philadelphia. Plus, the weather report looks merely perfect for an alfresco night on the mall, a live simulcast and a picnic dinner. Registration is still available: Click here to secure your free spot on the lawn.

On Sunday, the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival hits Main Street Manayunk with more than 40 food trucks, local shopping and a full-blown beer garden. Bring your appetite!

And again, the weather forecast is beyond perfect to take advantage of the push of alfresco happenings slated for the next few days. Take advantage!

Read on for our guide to this action-packed weekend.

Friday, September 26

Top Pick: Closing Weekend Festivities at Spruce Street Harbor Park (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Top Pick: StylePop at Dilworth Park

Top Pick: Art After 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Top Pick: The Philadelphia Orchestra Presents Season Begins (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Top Pick: Philly’s Awesome Beer Garden Scene

Independence Beer GardenA great hangout mere steps from Independence Mall.

Spruce Street Harbor ParkA pop-up beer garden and restaurant on the Delaware River.

PHS Pop Up GardenA tropical oasis on South Street West.

More Beer Gardens: And, of course, there are a bunch of other great beer garden options including Morgan’s Pier, Frankford Hall, Fergie’s, Memphis Taproom, Silk City, Opa and more. Full list here.

Phillies Homestand (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love and Gerlan Jeans ♥ Patrick Kelly at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Oktoberfest Happy Hour and Food Specials at Alla Spina

City 6 Ice Hockey Tournament at the Class of 1923 Arena (Fri, Sat, Sun)

King Lear at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Fri, Sat)

Final-ly Friday in Mt. Airy

Four Seasons Food Truck in Philadelphia (Fri, Sat)

Ommegang Raw at Pennsylvania 6

Costumes Of Downton Abbey at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Free Will Tap Takeover at Devil’s Den

Treasures of the Athenaeum: 200 Years of Collecting at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia (Fri, Sat)

September Twilight in the Gardens at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Hung Liu: Prints and Tapestries at La Salle University Art Museum

Prince Language at Morgan’s Pier

Kazumi Tanaka: Mother and Child Reunion at the Fabric Workshop and Museum (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park closes with a bang this weekend — a free concert, pumpkin carving, a photo booth, food, drinks and games to boot. (Photo by Matt Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation)

Saturday, September 27

Top Pick: Campus Philly CollegeFest

Top Pick: Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live — Free Admission to 16 Museums

Top Pick: Opera on the Mall at Independence Mall

Top Pick: Free Yoga at Race Street Pier (Sat, Sun)

Top Pick: The Great 12-Hour Tour

David Lynch: The Unified Field at PAFA (Fri, Sat, Sun)

PHAIR Open-Air Market at Headhouse Shambles

Pour The Core: Hard Cider Festival at The Navy Yard

More, below. (more…)

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