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Archive for the ‘Queen Village/Bella Vista’ Category

On a recent Saturday, my date and I went to the Philadelphia Flea Market held that weekend in Headhouse Square, near the east end of South Street. Dozens of vendors were crowded under the covered walkway between Lombard and Spruce, spilling out onto the sidewalk on both sides.

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My date’s stats:

 Blog: Claire Folkman: A Web Comic

Age: Started blogging in September 2008.

Likes: Beef, noodle soup, word bubbles, young love.

Dislikes: Superheros.

Little Known Fact: Ms. Folkman is a vociferous reader of dime-store romance novels.  She likes them for the happy endings.

Favorite Cheap Date:  Free Student Recitals at the Curtis Institute

Claire Folkman is a self-described mid-twenties art hipster who writes an autobiographical comic about a mid-twenties art hipster named Claire Folkman.  But that is by no means all.  She is also a conceptual artist, a memoir comic web-blogger, and a most charming date. She has an art show coming up May 6-July 7, 2011 at the DCCA in Wilmington (accessible by SEPTA!) featuring her captivating video work that transforms life’s absurdities into one profound comic strip (or transforms life’s profundities into one absurd comic strip). Meanwhile her blog contains wry and insightful comics, reflections on art school classes and critiques, and musings on everything from the best drawing markers to babysitting to Lady Gaga.  It is updated (usually) on Wednesdays, and definitely worth following.

As for our date, when Claire told me she would take me to the Philly Comix Jam – a monthly gathering of comic enthusiasts that meet at Manny Brown’s on South Street to draw together – well, I was nervous. I mean, this seemed about as intimidating as being brought to a party by a first date to meet twenty or so of their best friends. But as it turned out, I was silly to worry. Everyone at the Comix Jam welcomed me with open arms and assured me that I needed no more drawing skills than a third grader to participate and have a good time. And it turns out they were totally right.

How cheap we talkin’:  The Comix Jam is FREE, and Corona and Dos Equix are $2.50 until midnight.

Why this will impress your date: Not all comics are about Superheroes. Memoir comics are about feelings, too. Plus, no one is going to stop you if you just want to sit and draw hearts around your date’s name all night long.

Score Extra Points: By stopping for a bite first at nearby Tattooed Mom’s.  $1 beef or bean tacos plus half-off all draft beer every Tuesday until 10pm!

The Inside Game:  Don’t forget, it’s BYOP.  (That’s Bring Your Own Pens/Pencils).

Next Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011! Otherwise, mark your calendar for every third Tuesday at 8pm. Click here for more info.

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It’s that time of the season: the excitement of the holidays is over, the novelty of snow has worn off, it’s f*ing freezing outside, and it will be for the foreseeable future. Under these conditions it can be very hard to get excited about leaving the house for a date.  Unless it involves curling up next to a fireplace with a perfect winter beer like I did on a recent date at Hawthorne’s in Bella Vista. Click here to read the full date review at drinkphilly.com!

Cheap Date writes a monthly column for Drink Philly featuring cheap dates for drink lovers.vOr for those of us (read: me) that drink on dates just so as not to throw up from nerves…

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The Fitzwater Café is a bright, cheerful, and surprisingly affordable brunch spot in Bella Vista.  A classic breakfast of eggs, toast, and home fries is only $5.00, which means you can order bottomless coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice without breaking the bank.  For those with more of a morning sweet tooth, Pancakes and French Toast are each only $5.50.  After a leisurely brunch, it’s only a short stroll to the Fleisher Art Memorial  gallery at 719 Catherine street.  In addition to curating multiple art exhibitions throughout the year, the Fleisher also offers free (with membership) art classes for both children and adults.

How cheap we talkin’: $5.00-$5.50 for breakfast, $1.75 for coffee, $2.95 for O.J., and approximately $3 for a must-have shared dessert (plus tax and tip). Entry to the Fleisher is FREE!

Why this will impress your date:  As the oldest free community art school in the United States, Fleisher will impress both history and art buffs.

The Inside Game: The key at Fitzwater Café is to be careful with add-ons. Berries on your pankcakes will cost an additional $3.00, and each omlette ingredient is $1.25.  So stick to the basics and save room (and $) for dessert!

Score Extra Points: By pointing out the other art hidden in the hallways at Fleisher: There’s a copy of a mosaic from St Mark’s Basilica near the elevators, and  near the restrooms hangs a pop-art piece spoofing the Snickers ads from a few years back with the text “Haterectomy.”

Next date:  Any day except Sunday. Fitzwater Cafe is open for breakfast 7:30am-2pm everyday, and the Fleisher gallery space is open 10-3pm Monday-Saturday. Note: When school is not in session, the Fleisher is NOT open on the weekends, so double check the gallery schedule before you go! 

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Now that Baltimore Avenue’s $1 Dollar Stroll series is done for the winter, why not head down to South Street instead?  That’s what my date and I did on a recent afternoon, and as it turns out, this underappreciated thoroughfare has lots to see and do, for next to nothing.  We checked out artwork on the walls in the Bean Café, had a competition for who could find the most hilarious album cover in the fifty-cent record bins at Repo Records, made friends with the store cat at Mineralistic, browsed shops with everything from edible underwear to x-rated comic books, and stuffed ourselves with South street must-haves: slices from Lorenzo’s and ice cream (well, frozen yoghurt) from Phileo.

How cheap we talkin’: $2.75 for slices, $2 for coffee or tea, $5-7 for yoghurt (it’s sold by weight – so be careful not to overdo it!)

Why this will impress your date: Because South Street is an iconic Philly attraction that has been referenced by everyone from the Dead Milkmen to Boys II Men.

Wait for it……around 50 seconds in…Yes!

The Inside Game: Do not try this within 2 hours after an Eagles or Phillies win.  (Unless getting shoved around by crowds of cheering fans and possibly getting thrown up on is your idea of romance).

Score Extra Points: By buying your date a little gift along the way, like a $1 trinket from the dispensers in Atomic City Comics, or a folkart tchotske from Eyes Gallery.

Next date: Anytime, day or night!  Lorenzo’s serves until at least 4am most nights, the Bean Café stays open until midnight every night, and Phileo is open until 11 on weekends and 10 most weekdays. 

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There is something undeniably romantic about curling up on a blanket, sharing some candy, and maybe a brown-bagged bottle of cold beer, and taking in an outdoor movie on a hot summer night.  Every Wednesday through September 1st, the Headhouse District Indie Film Series screens an independent film in Headhouse Square (2nd street between Pine and Lombard).  All films in the series have a connection to Philly (whether the film was shot in the area or the filmmakers are natives) and the directors are usually on hand to discuss their films or answer questions after the show.  If you don’t want to take a chance on an unknown indie flick, Thursday evenings through August 26, the River Stage at Penn’s Landing (Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut) also hosts a series of “Screenings Under the Stars” featuring popular films, such as Star Trek and, this Thursday July 15th, the Secret Lives of Bees.  Importantly, however, both of these screenings are located within walking distance of the Sweettooth Candy Storeon 4th and Bainbridge, a delightful old-fashioned bulk candy store (reviewed recently by uwishunu), where we had fun assembling a grab bag of treats before the film.

How cheap we talkin’: Per person, $3.50 for candy at Sweettooth. Optional $4.50 for falafel at Maoz and/or $2 beer or beverage.

Why this will impress your date: Because you can bond over your shared love of snowcaps and other obscure confectionaries.

Score extra points: By bringing a couple of cold brews, cleverly disguised, ofcourse, in brown paper bags.

The inside game: If you forget to bring a blanket, Headhouse has thick pillars along both sides to lean up against, which may offer a more comfortable position than indian style on cement.

Next date: Every Wednesday at Headhouse Square through September 1st. Every Thursday (except July 29th) at Penn’s Landing (Through August 26th, 2010).

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Host Eric Thomas reading the rules

Last Tuesday night, my date and I went to a Story Slam, a unique event sponsored by First Person Arts that is part theater, part stand-up comedy, part open-mic, and part game show. Ten volunteer contestants each vie to be named best storyteller of the night by regaling the audience with personal tales related to a predetermined theme.  Each story must be less than five minutes in length, and Judges award points for content and delivery.  Between sets, we were kept well entertained by quick-witted host Eric Thomas, who at one point put on a t-shirt bearing the slogan “I did Justin Three Times” and explained that — although he had bought the shirt for Justin Timberlake —  it had become very awkward for him to wear the shirt ever since the ascent of Justin Beiber because, in his words, “Bieber is a 15 year old lesbian.” That was only one of the many laughs my date and I shared as Thomas and the rest of the storytellers each took their turns on the stage.

After the Slam, which took place at L’Etage, a swank nightclub on the corner of 6th and Bainbridge in Queen Village, we meandered downstairs to Beau Monde, a cozy french-style crêperie that proved to be the perfect spot to indulge in a little post-show dessert.

How cheap we talkin’: $10 per person entry to the Story Slam.  One shared crepe at Beau Monde: $7-8, including tax and tip.

Why this will impress your date: I did mention that Beau Monde has Nutella, right?

The Inside Game: If you decide to order anything during the Slam, pay in cash so you don’t have to wait for your check at the end.

Score Extra Points: By putting your name in the bucket!  Nothing is sexier than an abject willingness to expose oneself to public humiliation.  (Remember, most of the shows are taped for You Tube).

Next Date: L’Etage hosts a slam every fourth Tuesday of the month.  There are also Story Slams every second Monday at World Café Live, which are open to all ages (L’Etage is 21+).  Check the First Person Arts web calendar to confirm upcoming dates.

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