Five events to watch for in July

July is marked by energizing events on and around campus, including a battle of the bands at World Café Live and an ice cream social at Morris Arboretum.

Legs and heels in a fog of red
Laura Storck’s “Night Moovz No. 2,” part of the Composition in Concert exhibit at Lightbox Film Center. 

Summer is in full swing in July and excitement—and yes, some humidity, too—is in the air.

Following the Fourth of July festivities early in the month, Lightbox Film Center hosts an opening reception for a brand-new “Composition in Concert” exhibit, highlighting the relationship between film scores and visual arts. Mid-month, Morris Arboretum hosts a see-and-be-seen ice cream social celebrating the birthday of the Arboretum’s founder, John Morris. Rounding out the midsummer month is a “Brewhouse Rock” concert featuring an amalgam of local breweries that gather for a good-spirited battle of the bands at World Café Live. 

July brings all of the fun and frivolity around campus. 

Composition in concert (Tuesday, July 9, 6 p.m.)

The latest exhibition at International House’s Lightbox Film Center explores the intersection of film scores and visual arts. 

On display is wall art that is in conversation with the soundscapes of film, placed in the context of art theory and history. The larger idea is to consider how the music of film and visual art tackle—or are influenced by—politics, culture, and technology. 

The exhibit coincides with July film series “Shimmering Synths: The Film Music of Tangerine Dream,” a series of screenings that showcase electronic music group Tangerine Dream, a German band founded in 1967 that’s composed dozens of soundtracks for film and video games.

At the exhibit’s opening reception is food and drink, meet-and-greet opportunities with the exhibit curators, and a screening of two 10-minute films, “Matrix” and “Permutations,” by renowned visual artist John Whitney

Momma Sandi presents We All Have Tales (Wednesday, July 10, 11 a.m.)

Penn Museum hosts a summer-long weekly series highlighting cultures from around the world. Here, Momma Sandi performs “The Trickster Tale,” a character-building, interactive performance from the oral tradition that sees the Trickster character travel through and glean universal lessons from African folktales and African American folklore. 

Sandi is an Afro-Caribbean storyteller who co-founded JUBALA!, an ensemble of storytellers that work to preserve the oral tradition. She uses words, songs, and movement to tell inspirational stories that audiences can pull from during times of hardship or self-doubt. 

Founders’ summer ice cream social (Thursday, July 11, 6:30 p.m.)

To celebrate the birthday of John Morris, who, in the early 20th century, famously owned the Morris Arboretum grounds with his sister, Lydia Morris, Morris Arboretum hosts this “Founder’s Day” summer ice cream social in the Out on a Limb canopy space. 

Sundaes are scooped by Bredenbeck’s Bakery of Chestnut Hill. Performing at the event is the Late Entry Quartet, a barbershop quartet—a type of musical group established in the time period of the Morris Family. The group is not tethered to instruments and roams freely—perfect for a sprawling garden environment like the Arboretum. 

The social is also timed with the opening of “The Historic Garden: Preservation and Pleasure,” in the Arboretum’s Upper Gallery. That exhibit features historic images of the gardens from John and Lydia’s time living there, juxtaposed with photos of the gardens today.

Voices of Africa (Saturday, July 13, 5 p.m.)

Audience member dancing with sunglasses on
Audience members dancing during a 40th Street Summer Series concert in July 2018.

Headlining this month’s 40th Street Summer Series of concerts: Voices of Africa, a choral and percussion ensemble that performs the sounds of the African Diaspora. The African Cultural Arts Collective, which covers dance, singing, drumming, and more, has traveled the world for 35 years showcasing their rhythm and gospel.

Opening the show will be performers from the Center for Creative Works, an arts program that supports adults with developmental disabilities. There will also be giveaways and activities for kids.

The 40th Street Summer Series began in 2005 as a collaboration between the University, The Rotunda, and the University City District as a way to support local businesses in a historically slow time of the year. Each year since, it’s been a summertime staple event for the community that also touts diverse family-friendly programming.

The series moves this year to 39th Street, between Locust Street and Walnut Street, to accommodate construction of New College House West at 40th and Walnut streets.

Brewhouse Rock (Sunday, July 21, noon)

A convivial good time, World Café Live hosts the inaugural Brewhouse Rock, in which local breweries form musical groups to compete in a battle of the bands. Participating breweries from Philadelphia and South Jersey are Yards, Victory, Weyerbacher, Tonewood, Double Nickel, and Crime & Punishment. 

Hosting the event is a duo of comedians: John McKeever of HBO’s “High Maintenance” and Tim Butterly of Comedy Central’s “Delco Proper.” Influencers from the Philadelphia beer and music communities will judge. The winning brewery selects a charity to donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds. 

Want to know more about what’s happening around campus? Find out more through Penn Today’s curated events calendar. Have an event you’d like to suggest for the calendar? Email Staff Writer Brandon Baker at