Gaetano “Pop” Sciolla opened Sciolla’s Supper Club shortly after the end of Prohibition. Along with the Latin Casino and Palumbo’s, the Northeast nightspot was one of the “Big Three” nightclubs in Philadelphia.
Sciolla’s booked top acts, including Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Tony Bennett, Chubby Checker, Bobby Darin, Fats Domino, Bobby Rydell, Della Reese, Jackie Wilson, The Mills Brothers and The Platters.
Sciolla’s was later managed by Pop’s son, Anthony J. Sciolla.
Sciolla’s was the place “where the unknowns got their start.” One such unknown was Teddy Pendergrass whose mother, Ida, was a cleaning woman at the club. In interviews, Pendergrass said he taught himself how to play drums at Sciolla’s.
The 27th annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off this week with the screening of Ben is Back starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges as mother and son who are grappling with a history of addiction.
The story is ripped from the headlines as Philadelphia struggles to deal with the opioid drama unfolding on the streets of Kensington.
Executive Director J. Andrew Greenblatt said in a statement:
From our powerful, socially relevant and incredibly timely Opening Night screening of Ben is Back to the definitive look at Philadelphia music legend Teddy Pendergrass for our Closing Night selection, and the incredibly diverse line-up in-between, the films premiering in this year’s Festival will be discussed and remembered for a long time to come.
Artistic Director Michael Lerman added:
Andrew and I have been doing this together for ten years and I love that we continue to find fresh, unique films that delight and challenge audiences. I’m so proud of the program the team has put together and I can’t wait to share the adventure we have in store for you.
What’s in store is a lineup of more than 100 films over 11 days. As a curator of art, technology and social change content, my must-see films include:
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Price of Everything
The film is based on a true friendship. Art also imitates life. Before passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African American motorists used the “Green Book” travel guide to vacation without humiliation.
The Closing Night film, Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me, tells the untold story of Philadelphia’s legendary R&B singer whose “For Women Only” concerts were the stuff of, well, legends.
To view the full schedule and purchase tickets, go here.