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TONITE: Remain In The Light

Photo by JAMES EWING

Tonight, the Association for Public Art (aPA) will debut Open Air, a large-scale, interactive public art experience that uses a mobile app, 24 powerful searchlights and the voices of the city to transform the night sky above the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Open Air runs September 20 to October 14. To kick off this major world-premiere installation, aPA will host an Opening Night Celebration on Thursday, Sept. 20, 7:30-11 p.m. on the closed inner drive of the Parkway. The FREE public event will feature a performance by Grammy Award-winning acclaimed musician Rahzel, the “Godfather of Noyze” and a member of Philadelphia’s Legendary Roots Crew. Rahzel will set the Open Air lights in motion with his signature vocal ability to sing and rap while simultaneously beatboxing. MORE

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Want to beam yourself up? From anywhere in the world, messages can be recorded through the project’s website (www.openairphilly.net) or after downloading a free iPhone app debuting Sept. 20. Loaners will be available at on-site locations for the non-iPhone crowd. Messages recorded on the parkway — your smartphone’s GPS gives you away — are automatically bumped to the front of the queue. As the light pattern activates, its originator gets a heads-up on their phone and the canopy of roving searchlights briefly form a dome in the air above the person’s location. Anyone can simultaneously hear the speakers’ messages through the Open Air app or website or through two low-volume listening spots on the parkway. Or people can choose to simply watch the silent display as it travels through the air. Organizers expect the inevitable “Yo, Vinnie!” and “Go Eagles!” exclamations but urge participants to take the opportunity to say something meaningful, funny, inspirational, challenging — and appropriate. Online entries will be kept in check by users’ votes; on-site messages won’t be censored, but the light canopy and being visible in the crowd should act to deter offensive comments. MORE

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