Calling all Philadelphians, here’s your chance to show some love.
This Saturday, June 11, the Oval on the Parkway will transform into a newly-designated city space filled with local music, artists, films, poetry and activities, courtesy of Love From Philly. The event will be hosted by 30 Amp Circuit — a local nonprofit founded by Andy Blackman Hurwitz that supports artists and musicians — and will focus on Philly culture, art and music, including West Philly rap pioneer Schoolly D’s 60th birthday celebration and dedication of the Schoolly D Skate Rink.
“No matter where I go, all over the world, people are intrigued by Philadelphia and no one can tell me why,” says Schoolly D. “Ain’t life grand? I’m excited to play Love From Philly. This will be the second time I’ve played on the Parkway and I am super excited for all of Philadelphia — young and old — to see their heroes. I love Philly so much. Everywhere I go, I represent the city.”
Schoolly D aside, Hurwitz’s curation of LFP includes a screening of Questlove’s Oscar-winning documentary, “Summer of Soul,” live salsa from Orchestral del Barrio, the mix of turntables, harp and poetry that is Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise & DJ Skip Mode united, spoken word queen Ursula Rucker, and events ranging from the TameARTZ Circus Collective of painters and dancers, The Parkway Poetry Collective (poet Blake Melvin hosts a Slam on the Parkway) and Klassic Contemporary Ballet dancing throughout the day.
Metro spoke with Hurwitz about all that Philly love.
What purpose does Love From Philly serve when it comes to locally-based music fests?
Primarily that it’s not a music fest. Music is the heart and soul of the event, but we’re equally dedicated to film, dance, art and really, creators of all kinds, all farm-to-table Philly. Along with local vendors, we’ve partnered with Philly Indy Film Fest and Tech Week to create an event that really digs deeper into the scene with a goal to create our own Medeci Effect: when talented people from different artistic backgrounds, mediums and ideas are brought together to collaborate, magic happens.
Beyond magic, what connects the dots of LFP’s organization?
The charity, the cause, which is the reason why Love From Philly exists to begin with — we are a 501c3 nonprofit specifically dedicated to the health and wellness of Philadelphia based artists, and we consider the ability to work as a form of wellness. 2022’s event specifically benefits longtime beloved Philly-music impresario Derek Dorsey and his horrific illness, an artist sustainability grant for poet Ursula Rucker, and programs with-and-for the Philly School District.
What can you say on celebrating all that makes Schoolly D so great?
He’s indisputably the originator of Gangsta rap and credited by everyone from Ice T to Kendrick Lamar as being one of the top 10 most important people in the history of hop-hop — he’s in the Smithsonian for crying out loud. I don’t think people appreciate that. Plus — his painting is incredible, he’s an amazing break-dancer and an underrated graffiti artist. Look at the record cover of “P.S.K. What Does it Mean” and you realize he was way ahead of the game… and West Philly proud through-and-through.
What was so successful about LFP’s pandemic virtual iteration that you knew to take this live?
The connection, the bond, the love that the musicians have for each other. That’s what blew us away during the virtual iteration — the chat room, where Ursula Rucker was hooting and hollering with Kurt Vile while Low Cut Connie was virtually hugging everyone. In a city known for cultural divisions, this event, and the lock-down really, brought everyone together in a special way because it sort-of felt like well… We’re all we got right now, and you know what? We got a lot. It was liberating.
Now that a single-day Love From Philly is live, this week, what’s next?
We plan on doing LFP on the first weekend-ish of May ever year following 2022. The big difference next year is that it will be a week-long celebration, spread through clubs, and some of the city’s larger cultural institutions, all leading up to the 3-day outdoor, free as always, event at the Oval. The team that brought us to the Oval — Our People Entertainment — have long term plans for the space, and we want to grow with them; make it all Philly, all-the-time to compliment, what Made In America does, which is global.
For more information, visit lovefromphilly.live/home