PHILADELPHIA, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a fitting climax to the 25 day, French-themed Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, the "tres grande" celebration will take to the streets on Saturday, April 30 with an all-day free STREET FAIR, transforming Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts into a Parisian boulevard complete with local restaurants and merchants selling unique tastes and wares, outdoor cafe tables and chairs, a grassy park with activities including a walk-through maze for children, AND a giant Ferris Wheel! In an effort to maximize comfort and space, in a precedent-setting move, Philadelphia's main thoroughfare will be closed to traffic for six blocks from Chestnut Street to Lombard for the duration of the event.
Slated to run from 11am until 8:30pm, the entertainment extravaganza will offer area residents and visitors of all ages the opportunity to enjoy and participate in countless fun, cultural and some once-in-a-lifetime activities with no gate charge. Two stages – at Pine Street and Sansom Street -- will offer non-stop music throughout the day, featuring virtually every genre of global sound. Headlined by the spectacular and electrifying Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, whose multi-ethnic beat will hit the Pine Street Stage at 6pm, the musical feast also includes Watcha Clan, whose spiritual sound melds African, Berber, and Arabic Gnawa trance music to hip-hop, Balkan brass and Sephardic folk, on the Sansom Street Stage at 4:45pm, Nicole Atkins, a North Jersey-bred singer/ songwriter who is quickly becoming an indie music darling on the Pine Street Stage at 4:15pm, and niche musical talent ranging from African Soukous wonder Diblo Dibala to Drummers with Attitude (DWA) -- a diverse group of student drummers and dancers from Bristol Township middle and high schools.
With street performers and activities to delight the crowds, the event culminates with a breathtakingly spectacular performance by world-renowned French "Celestial Art" troupe La Compagnie Transe Express. Making their East Coast debut, these extraordinary aerial artists will perform their signature routine, never before seen in the region, as they are lifted 150 feet in the air by a giant crane, accompanied by lights and pyrotechnics just as the sun is setting.
Below is a list of performers and activities scheduled for the PIFA STREET FAIR, including:
Pine street Stage
PhillyBloco | 12pm – 1pm
Modeled after the blocos of Rio de Janeiro, with their large percussion sections and harmonic/vocal accompaniment, PhillyBloco is comprised of twelve drummers, electric guitar, bass guitar, vocals, horn section, accordion and Brazilian dancers, who perform a raucous mash-up of SAMBA, FUNK, REGGAE and more made popular by both Brazilian and non-Brazilian artists including: Olodum, Timbalada, Monobloco, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.
Mucca Pazza | 1:30pm – 2:15pm
The marching band that thinks it's a rock 'n roll band, Mucca Pazza is a collection of shameless band nerds wielding instruments of incongruous traditions, sometimes in competition, often in cooperation. Many of them played in traditional marching bands in high school -- others wanted to but couldn't because they played violin or accordion, and no one had yet come up with the amplified helmet. They play everywhere from punk venues to orchestral halls, public parks to public radio, diva palaces to dive bars. And while some have called them "circus punk," and some say they're "geek love," no one calls them dull.
The Thermals | 2:45pm – 3:45pm
An indie/alternative/post-pop-punk rock band from Portland, Oregon, The Thermals, over the course of seven years and four LP's have tackled a variety of life subjects from religion and politics to death with no small amount of passion and fervor, irreverently running roughshod over such issues with a level of moxie and gusto the likes of which the post/punk/pop/power community had never before seen. Now, for their fifth LP, The Thermals have battled (and perhaps even conquered!) the deepest and darkest of all popular art themes- love.
Nicole Atkins | 4:15pm – 5:15pm
Presented in association with Live Nation
Effortlessly blending rock, blues, country and soul, 28-year-old singer/songwriter and North Jersey native Nicole Atkins' star has risen steadily since her debut album Neptune City and her recently released Mondo Amore which hit the charts in February. A renaissance artist who studied illustration at UNC Charlotte and still has her own mural business, Atkins draws on life's history – both her own and others' pain and joy – for inspiration, bringing a painterly quality to her music, merging colors and sounds with both words and her remarkable voice.
SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS | 6PM – 7:30PM
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have come a long way since their humble beginnings nearly a decade ago. Steeped within the gilded and gritty sounds of gospel, soul and funk, this nine-piece Brooklyn troupe has continued to electrify fans, DJs, critics, record collectors, and bloggers the world over with their authentic and heartfelt sound.
Sansom Street Stage
*In front of the Sansom Stage the UArts Bucket Drummers will perform at 11am to get crowds energized!
Hot Club of Philadelphia featuring Denise King | 11:30am – 12:15pm
Established at the end of 2001 by guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig, and violinist Mark Campiglia, Hot Club of Philadelphia is an acoustic jazz quartet, dedicated to playing and preserving the music of Django Reinhardt, while adding their own style to the process. Performing with them is Philadelphia jazz vocalist Denise King who has recently been splitting her time between Philadelphia and Paris, France.
Rupa & The April Fishes | 12:45pm – 1:30pm
Rupa & the April Fishes hold up a carnival mirror to life and present a warped, humorous and occasionally disquieting reflection. Sequestered beneath Rupa's infectious and captivating melodies are thought-provoking themes that address life, love, art, death and the real and artificial divisions that keep us apart. The San Francisco-based musical agitators are specialists in crossing borders and building bridges and with this new album they effortlessly blur the boundaries of genre and geography to create a sound Time Out has called "global agit-pop".
Diblo Dibala | 2pm – 2:45pm
Born in 1954 in Kisangani in the Congo (now Zaire), Diblo Dibala is the one of the hottest African Soukous lead guitarists around. In 1981 he moved to Paris where the Soukous scene was growing in popularity and became a sought-after session musician, creating and joining many different forms of live performance bands. Dibala and his band were just featured in New York in January at the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters Global Fest event.
Blitz the Ambassador | 3:15pm – 4:15pm
A Ghanaian-born, Brooklyn-based emcee/composer, Blitz the Ambassador plays with a 6-8 piece band called, The Embassy Ensemble. Last summer, he played alongside The Roots/Talib Kweli at Celebrate Brooklyn and opened Public Enemy at Central Park Summerstage. He is featured in the global TV/online campaign for Def Jam's new video game, Rap Star, and is currently recording his new album and putting finishing touches on a short film he shot in Ghana, set for release in 2011.
Watcha Clan | 4:45pm – 5:45pm
Watcha Clan has always exhibited a visionary spiritual eclecticism in its sound, stretching from Gnawa trance and drum n bass to hip-hop, Balkan brass and Sephardic folk, with thriving bass-heavy pulsations countered by Sista K's show-stopping vocals. "Diaspora Hi-Fi was more a travel through my background and roots," she says. "Now my obsession is 'the wall', both concrete and abstract." Radio Babel (the band's new release) is predominantly concerned with destroying boundaries everywhere.
On the Trampoline:
Flippin Out | 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM; 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM; 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
This amazing new show features top athletes from North America, including Olympic Medalists, performing against the transparent wall –running up, flipping and twisting off a clear wall and platform, as well as traditional snowboards, skis, triple flips, and twists and heights of 25 feet or higher.
At the Amphitheater:
Christopher Agostino's Transformation Show | 11:30 PM – 12:15 PM, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM
A world of stories comes to life on the faces of the audience. In his series of Transformation! Shows Christopher Agostino presents traditional folktales and his original stories — illustrated by his amazing facepainting on the faces of audience volunteers. In a playful storytelling style, combined with mask and makeup art from the same world cultures that tell such tales, he creates a unique performance that completely engages audiences of all ages.
Goowins Balloowins | 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM, 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Enjoy a truly unique performance by madcap balloon artist Allynn Gooen, who fills the stage with his extraordinary balloon creations while leading the stories of Snow White and the Eight Dwarfs, The Wizard Of Oz, The Story Of Purim, and others, in which children from the audience become the stars. Traditionally, clowns and magicians twist balloons into creatures for kids, but Gooen uses balloons to turn the kids into creatures, capturing the imagination of children and adults alike. In addition to his own television show, Gooen has appeared on Nickelodeon, Shining Time Station, Fred Penner's Place, and at countless theatres and festivals around the world, creating an unforgettable show with a bang, a twist, and a POP!
Give and Take Juggling | 1:30 PM– 2:10 PM, 5:30 PM – 6:10 PM
Both highly interactive and captivating for all ages, The Spirit of Chautauqua, The Variety of Vaudeville: The Give & Take Show will surprise and please with its impressive juggling, comedy, and lots of audience participation. Using an antique calliope, traditions from vaudeville, circus arts, theater, and live music, they create a lively and wholesome show that feels fresh and contemporary.
Drummers with Attitude | 11:00 AM – 11:20 AM, 3:00 PM – 3:20 PM
Led by Kevin Travers, Drummers with Attitude (DWA) is a diverse group of student drummers and dancers from Bristol Township middle and high schools. The dynamic percussion group has been performing since 2000 throughout the area for the Philadelphia 76ers, Soul, Flyers and Phantoms as well as community events such as WXPN FM's All About The Music Festival and Bucks County Community College's Lead On Conference, generating media attention along the way that continues to expand their audiences.
In the Garden:
The Living Fountain | Special Appearances from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
A statue of a beautiful woman transforms herself with magical elegance into a living fountain. Delicate jets of water appear from her fingertips as a shimmering halo cascades from the crown of her head in this beautifully choreographed display. Indoors or outdoors The Fountain makes for a truly enchanting experience.
The Living Vines | Special Appearances from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Take pleasure in the splendor of The Living Vines. Gaze into their world as they gradually come to life in an exquisite transformation as two vines flow from one mesmerizing tableau to another, fascinating audiences as well as passersby.
PIFA, inspired by the Kimmel Center-Philadelphia's renowned performing arts center- is the city and region's first major international arts festival, celebrating the spirit of collaboration and innovation that characterized Paris from 1910 to 1920. Paris at that time was a center of tremendous creativity and ultimately shaped how we defined the arts throughout the 20th century. Featuring a feast of music, dance, fashion, fine arts, outdoor events, theater, literature, culinary arts and more, the festival celebrates Philadelphia's rich and vibrant cultural community. More than 145 cultural organizations have combined forces to produce more than 31 commissioned works and 135 events featuring more than 1500 artists over 25 days. From classical performances to new works inspired by the avant-garde spirit of that earlier era, family and children's programming to cutting-edge dance and music, and captivating productions to renowned French chefs and gravity-defying aerial artists, PIFA is truly a banquet for longtime arts lovers and novices.
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts gratefully acknowledges the generosity of its sponsors: lead sponsors the late Leonore Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation; lead media sponsor Philadelphia Media Network, which includes the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com; major sponsors Macy's, Sonepar and Wells Fargo and PIFA Information Booth construction sponsor Citizens Bank. In addition, PIFA extends thanks to Live Nation for their help in securing several of the musical acts featured in the April 30 STREET FAIR.
The full slate of PIFA programming can be accessed on www.pifa.org and at the Kimmel Center Box Office.
Tickets to individual performances and events can be purchased on the PIFA website, in person at the Kimmel
Center Box Office, or by phone at 215-546-PIFA. Tickets are priced by individual presenting organizations, ranging from FREE to the public to $125. For more information, contact PIFA at (215) 790-5800 or visit www.pifa.org. For further press information on PIFA, including credentialing and access to the festival, media appearances or interviews, please contact Nina Zucker Associates, (610) 667.0706 or [email protected].
Kimmel Center, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center. Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the University of the Arts' Merriam Theater. Our mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. The 2010/2011 season is sponsored by Citi, and the Broadway 2010/2011 season is sponsored by Verizon, and American Airlines. For additional information, visit kimmelcenter.org.
SOURCE Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts