Catch a movie under the stars

Dear Benny:
One of my favorite things to do on warm summer nights is watch movies outdoors, under the stars. Are there any outdoor summer screenings around Penn or in University City?
—Star Struck

Dear Star Struck,
You’re in luck: There are a few outdoor screenings scheduled in the neighborhood this summer.

On Wednesday, July 15, the Institute of Contemporary Art hosts a outdoor double feature in conjunction with the exhibit, “Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968.” At 7 p.m., the ICA will show “Sun Ra: Brother from Another Planet,” a 2005 video from legendary London DJ Don Letts, followed by the 1980 video, “Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise,” directed by Robert Mugge. The free event is curated by Jesse Pires and is required viewing for any Sun Ra fan. For more information, visit the ICA website:

If you’re seeking more traditional films, check out the free film series at International House this August—“Behind Blue Eyes,” which screens four of actor Paul Newman’s most memorable films.

First up on Aug. 5 is Richard Brooks’ 1958 flick, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Adapted by Tennessee Williams from his own play, this film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Newman and Best Picture.

On Aug. 12, Newman stars as pool player Fast Eddie Felson in Robert Rossen’s 1961 film, “The Hustler.” The film, which garnered Newman another Oscar nomination, also features a knockout performance from Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats.

On Aug. 19, catch the 1963 film, “Hud,” which fetched Newman another Oscar nomination and is based on Larry McMurty’s novel, “Horseman, Pass By.”

The series wraps up on Wednesday, Aug. 26, with the Great Depression revenge comedy, “The Sting,” the winner of the 1973 Oscar for Best Picture.

All films screen at 8 p.m. at International House; patrons should bring chairs and blankets. For more information, visit the I-House website at

Got a question for Benny? Send it via e-mail to or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106.

Originally published on July 2, 2009