DNC Preview: Philly prepares for celebration of politics

City of Democratic love: Many storefronts throughout Philadelphia are stocking up on political swag, including this storefront on 13th Street in Center City. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

Hillary for America and the Democratic National Convention Committee have announced headline speakers for each night of the program.

On Monday, the speakers will be first lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Astrid Silva, a 28-year-old woman who came to the U.S. from Mexico with her parents illegally when she was 4.

On Tuesday, Bill Clinton will be joined by the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Dontre Hamilton, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Hadiya Pendleton and Sandra Bland, all of whom died under various circumstances.

Next Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak.

Next Thursday, Chelsea Clinton will introduce her mother.


Listening to those speeches will be delegates elected in the April 26 primary.

In the 1st Congressional District, Hillary Clinton’s delegates are Thaddeus Kirkland, Blake Rutherford, Anne Wakabayashi, Jennifer Lentz, Maria Quinones Sanchez, Angel Cruz and alternate Kathryn Huggins. Bernie Sanders’ delegates are Herman Douglass Brown, Amanda McIllmurray, Katrina Richter and Jacob Adeniran.

In the 13th Congressional District, Clinton’s delegates are Allyson Schwartz, Valerie Arkoosh, Betsy Kilkenny, Mike Stack, Charles Quann and alternate Pat Parkinson. Sanders’ delegates are Mark Cohen, Linda Fields, Melissa Robbins and Michael Rahming.

U.S. Reps. Bob Brady (D-1st dist.) and Brendan Boyle (D-13th dist.) are so-called “superdelegates.”


PoliticalFest, which first debuted during the Republican National Convention in 2000, is back.

Back then, the exhibit was set up at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

This year, exhibits will be at the following locations: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Hall F, 12th and Arch streets; National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.; The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St.; Philadelphia History Museum, 15 S. 7th St.; The Heritage Center of the Union League of Philadelphia, 140 S. Broad St.; National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut St.; and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St.

The nonpartisan exhibit combines multimedia and interactive displays, historical objects, live performances, panel discussions, interviews, political game competitions, screenings of famous speeches and special guest appearances related to American politics and government. There will be displays on Pennsylvania’s connection to the presidency and the roles of the media and entertainment on the road to the White House.

At the convention center, there will be a replica of the fuselage of Air Force One used by presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan. It’s been outfitted to match the interior of the plane used by Reagan.

The hub of PoliticalFest will be at the National Constitution Center.

PoliticalFeud will be hosted by former mayoral candidate Doug Oliver and include contestants such as City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, former Mayor Wilson Goode and former City Controller Jonathan Saidel.

PoliticalTrivia will be hosted by former CBS3 sports anchor Beasley Reece. Among the lawmakers who’ll be playing is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Melissa Fitzgerald, who starred in The West Wing, will host “Executive Powers: Celebrity Q&A.” She’ll interview actors who portrayed the president or someone who worked alongside the president in a movie or television show. Among those appearing will be Tony Goldwyn, of Scandal.

Fitzgerald will also compete against Richard Schiff, also of The West Wing, in a trivia game about the TV show.

PoliticalFest will be open from July 22–27. Tickets are $15, or $5 for children, students and senior citizens. Rates for groups of 10 or more are $10, or $4 for kids, students and seniors. Tickets are good for all six days at all seven locations. Veterans will be admitted free.

For more information, visit http://www.phldnc.com/politicalfest/


Philadelphia-area artists have created Donkeys Around Town, a program that features 57 fiberglass donkeys, representing the 50 states, five U.S. territories, Washington, D.C. and Democrats abroad.

Each donkey depicts iconic images of the state or territory it represents as well as the name of its state or territory.

The donkeys will be displayed through Sept. 5 at a number of accessible locations throughout the Center City area.

“Donkeys Around Town will be a great way to generate excitement about the DNC locally and nationally, engaging delegations from across the country and around the world, providing opportunities for the Philadelphia arts community, and bringing Philadelphians into the convention fun around town,” said former Gov. and Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee chairman Ed Rendell.

The Host Committee partnered with the Mural Arts Program and ArtJawn.com to find and work with about 30 local artists who painted the donkeys. The committee invited each state Democratic Party across the country to offer recommendations about the images that graced their respective state donkeys.

The donkeys were fabricated by Roe Fabricators, in Chester. They will be given to the delegations, if they want them.

The donkeys that remain will be auctioned to the public by ArtJawn.com, with a minimum opening bid of $500 (not including shipping and handling fees). All proceeds from the sale of the donkeys will be pooled and split evenly among the artists who painted them, in addition to a $1,000 stipend they will each receive.

“Donkeys Around Town will just be great fun for the delegates and all Philadelphians as we hope that people will try to see and take selfies with all 50-plus donkeys,” said Kelly Lee, the city’s chief cultural officer.

For a list of locations of the donkeys, visit http://artjawn.com/dnc-flyer.pdf


Political Moviefest offers free films this week in Dilworth Park.

The Center City District had movie buffs vote on which political flicks would be shown on City Hall’s west side.

The four-night festival will go from Wednesday through Saturday. Movies will run from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

The movies shown, in order, will be Selma, The Manchurian Candidate, The American President and All the President’s Men.

Refreshments, popcorn and other treats will be for sale.


The official Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee merchandise pop-up shop is located at the Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Blvd.

The shop sells apparel, buttons, drinkware, lapel pins, magnets and key rings, all with Philadelphia 2016-centric designs.

“The opening of the pop-up shop is a great opportunity for Philadelphia residents as well as convention visitors to bring home special items commemorating the convention in Philadelphia,” said Kevin Washo, executive director of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee.

The 400-square-foot shop will be open through Aug. 5. Shop hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The online store can be accessed at www.phldncshop.com

All of the Host Committee’s merchandise is made in America.


The Rev. G. Dennis Gill, Rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, will preside over an interfaith service of prayer for the nation during the Democratic National Convention.

The service will take place on Monday, July 25, at 2 p.m. at the cathedra, 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

People of all faiths are welcome to come together to pray for the country.

The prayer service will be sponsored by the Philadelphia Liturgical Institute, an ecumenical foundation.


The Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, dug deep into its 200-plus-year-old collection to create a mini-exhibition for the DNC.

Presidential Archives: Letters, Hair, and Fossils showcases hair samples from Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, along with Ulysses S. Grant’s and Jefferson’s membership cards to the Academy of Natural Sciences.

The exhibit will be open through July 29.


Philadelphia Distilling, 12285 McNulty Road, produces Bluecoat American Dry Gin, the official Gin Provider for the 2016 Philadelphia Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention.

In celebration of the DNC, Philadelphia Distilling will be launching Drink-cision, an interactive cocktail campaign for both residents and visitors.

The official nominees are the “Martini,” made with Bluecoat American Dry Gin, and its predecessor, the “Martinez,” made with Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin. They will go head-to-head via online polls, with the winner announced on July 28 at 10 p.m. at The Franklin Bar, 112 S. 18th St.

Bluecoat enthusiasts will enjoy the victorious nominee cocktail, complimentary of Philadelphia Distilling.

To cast a vote, visit the Bluecoat American Dry Gin page on Facebook and hashtag #Martini or #Martinez.

Philadelphia Distilling, which opened in 2005, will be moving to a new location in at 25 E. Allen St. in Fishtown later this year. The space will host all distillery operations and offer a bar and restaurant, private event space, tasting room and outdoor patio.


The Broad Street Arts Activation project will transform Broad Street, from Arch Street to Washington Avenue, through a combination of paint, light, art and performance from July 23–28.

Local musicians and performers will entertain at temporary art spaces such as Lenfest Plaza (Broad and Cherry streets), City Hall, The Union League and Academy of Music.

“Philadelphia’s arts and cultural community is once again ready to embrace the national spotlight,” said Maud Lyon, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “The dramatic scope of this project will serve as a constant reminder to our guests during the convention that Philadelphia has one of the strongest cultural sectors of any big city in the country.”

The project will complement the Host Committee’s Broad Street beautification efforts, which include installation of large colorful planters, a mural on the Avenue of the Arts and a lighting program through the Center City District.

Additionally, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will host Make Art Philly, a day of art-making and crafting around the theme of voting in City Hall’s courtyard on Wednesday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


During the convention, the city expects some demonstration groups to march down South Broad Street toward the Wells Fargo Center.

For the safety of demonstrators and police officers, the city will be enforcing the ban on median parking on South Broad Street between Washington and Packer avenues.

Enforcement will begin on Sunday morning and continue through Friday. Curbside parking will still be allowed.

Residents are encouraged to check street signs to ensure there are no temporary parking restrictions. Residents whose cars are towed should call 215–686-SNOW to locate their vehicle. ••