Black Spatial Relics, Clean Green Machine, Elephants and the Grass, and more

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, July 27-August 2, 2023

3 minute read
Group promo photo of the Memphis cast all in costume against a white backdrop
'Memphis' takes over the main stage at Upper Darby Performing Arts Center. (Photo courtesy of UDPA.)

July is coming to a close, but summer is far from over. With that comes a variety of events designed to inform, entertain, and expand. Yes! And…Collaborative Arts gets summery with The Clean Green Machine musical, and Black Spatial Relics hosts its annual summer convening. Upper Darby Performing Arts continues its 48th Summer Stage season with the popular Memphis, and People’s Light concludes its season with a twist on the acclaimed True West. Catch some summer movies with the annual BlackStar Film Festival and a screening of The Elephants and the Grass from a pair of Philly filmmakers.

Stay cool, Philly!

The Clean Green Machine Musical
July 26-28, 6pm
Holman Field, 6309 Cherokee Street, Philadelphia

Yes! And…Collaborative Arts hosts its seventh annual Summer Sort of Thing outdoor musical, The Clean Green Machine. Mother Nature has flown the coop, and we’re left with the job of managing the universe without an instruction book.

Black Spatial Relics Hybrid Annual Convening
July 27-30, 2023
Discovery Center, 3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia
Colored Girls Museum, 4613 Newhall Street, Philadelphia
Also streaming online

Black Spatial Relics, a performance residency about slavery, justice, and freedom, is hosting its annual convening this weekend. The hybrid event is “a space for a stirring up of a new hope, inspired entirely by the study of our ancestral and living leaders who have built themselves and their communities a daily practice of Black virtuosic hope.”

July 28-29 and August 4-5, 2023
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 North Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill

Upper Darby Summer Stage is entering its 48th season, and it's bringing its production of the Broadway hit Memphis to its main stage this weekend and next. Inspired by the legendary DJ Dewey Phillips and real-life events in 1950s Tennessee, Memphis takes its audience to the underground clubs where rock and roll was born.

The Elephants and the Grass
Friday, July 28, 6:30pm
La Colombe, 1335 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia

The feature-length documentary The Elephants and the Grass captures a mother-and-daughter story of survival, reconciliation, and hope set in a refugee camp in Uganda, while also chronicling the uncertain future of South Sudan. The doc comes from two Philly natives. The event is free and open to the public and will feature food from Weckerly's, Korean Taqueria, and beverages from Yards.

True West
August 2-27, 2023
People’s Light, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern

People’s Light concludes its spring/summer series with True West, the critically-acclaimed play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard. True West explores the mythos of the American West, and this edition is reimagined by an all-Asian American cast and design team directed by Mei Ann Teo with stage and screen actors Sanjit De Silva, Ron Domingo, Greg Watanabe, and Ching Valdes-Aran.

BlackStar Film Festival
August 2-6, 2023
Various locations and streaming online

The BlackStar Film Festival is back with five days of feature films, shorts, documentaries, panel discussions, workshops, and more. Be sure to check out my recent piece on BlackStar Projects founder Maori Karmael Holmes and keep an eye out for our reviews later in August.

Sign up for our newsletter

All of the week's new articles, all in one place. Sign up for the free weekly BSR newsletters, and don't miss a conversation.

Join the Conversation