Archive for the ‘Chinatown’ Category

On the first Friday of every month, Philadelphia’s art galleries stay open late and welcome everyone — from casual passerby to serious collectors — to come in and peruse their current curations.  The aptly dubbed “First Friday” has been happening, rain or shine, since 1991, and has become one of the city’s most visible and popular events.  Although historically focused on the 40+ galleries between Front and Vine and Market and 3rd streets in Old City, First Friday open houses are now hosted by galleries all over the city, from Space 1026 in Chinatown to the Projects Gallery in Northern Liberties to Highwire in Fishtown.  The best thing about this expansion is that, even though every First Friday shares the same core elements, depending on who’s showing what where, you can have a radically different experience every single time.

How cheap we talkin’: FREE!

Why this will impress your date: Because you can show you are as comfortable around refined oil portraits as you are around avante-garde video art.  This is a good thing, I promise.

The Inside Game: If you want to know who’s showing where, need to plan a route, or find galleries in a particular neighborhood, there are a lot of great resources for planning ahead, like this linked list of Philly art galleries.  Another great resource is Phrequency’s “DIY First Friday” list, conveniently organized by neighborhood. The Philadelphia Weekly also shares its pick of noteworthy exhibitions each month in its Arts and Culture section.

Score Extra Points: By doing a little homework before hand (see above) and then leading the way. Strolling from gallery to gallery is perfect for hand-holding.

Next date: Friday April 1, 2011! And then the first Friday of every month, all year round (approximately 5-9pm).

Keep reading for highlights from First Fridays past, and where to find the galleries that still have free booze!


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The Trocadero Theatre, located at 1003 Arch street in Chinatown, is probably best known as a live concert venue, but on Monday nights, the balcony plays host to a lively movie night featuring classic B movies or popular flicks such as Zombieland, Purple Rain, Goonies, and – the film we saw – Black Dynamite, a Blaxploitation spoof released in 2008. Without the usual distraction of a band, erratic stage lighting, and a packed house, I was able to appreciate what a beautiful theatre the Troc really is. The ornate gold proscenium arch framing the screen made it almost ironic that we were there to see such a low-brow film. But in a good way.

How cheap we talkin’: $3 admission comes with a coupon for $3 toward a drink. And if you arrive before 7pm (the show generally starts arounds 8pm), you also get a FREE beer and a bag of popcorn. And a raffle ticket.

Why this will impress your date: No armrests in between the seats means you can get your full cuddle on.

The Inside Game: As it gets close to show time, start staking out a place by the balcony doors so you can get in first and snag a good seat.

Score Extra Points: by throwing out this little known fact – the Trocadero is the only 19th century Victorian theater still in operation in the United States. It is listed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places.

Next date: (Almost) every Monday. Check the Troc’s calendar for listings.


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