Philadelphia refuses to stop having new wonders and hidden gems. Almost anywhere you look you can find something different, something exciting. Most recently I found it in the back of a graffiti-clothed alley off Girard Street called Open Space. Walk in the back door at 1014 N Marshall St. and the venue opens to a stark contrast of the city that surrounds it: aptly named, the venue is white space. Simple. Modern. Clean. It serves as a blank canvas for whichever event it’s hosting; one standout was a concert celebrating Philly’s budding rap scene Sept. 29.
That night, the clean space was decorated carefully by the event’s sponsors: Jack Daniels, Converse and Kicks USA, featuring an urban exhibit with newspaper collages displaying the new Converse Chuck Taylor 2. Converse also added a modern touch to their presentation, using virtual reality to tour one of their stores. The bar was open for an hour, serving Jack’s smoothest varieties: honey and fire. A Reebok representative was there to spread the word about his collaboration with the blown glass exhibit in Old City. Open Space is where creativity thrives, where connections are made.
All of these sponsor exhibits still did not take away from why guests were there. The DJ table stood on a riser, slightly above the rest of us. White mac computers mirrored the white space and black speakers and microphones contrasted beautifully. It all stood waiting to be used for art, as space yearns to be filled.
The liquor is flowing and everyone is having a good time. The dude experiencing virtual reality was reaching for a pair of shoes that only he could see. The artists were there partying too. All were dancing: audience and artist were
irrelevant titles. We were all celebrating hip hop. We were celebrating the way it forces us to dance. Kanye came on and we began celebrating as a unifying force.
In classic drunk fashion, all the attendees were talking. One kid told me about touring with Travis Scott, Lil Uzi and Joey Bada$$; I felt my jaw on the floor as he told me backstage stories and showed me shots from the tour. The event’s host was working the floor, making sure all were comfortable and welcomed, but I couldn’t imagine feeling any other way.
I met more people: the DJ was in a pink getup, the bartender danced as if it were her last night on earth and the next performer began working the crowd.
Follow @openspacephl on Instagram to get updates on more events. Their next is a free food, music and arts festival from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 15.