There is something undeniably romantic about curling up on a blanket, sharing some candy, and maybe a brown-bagged bottle of cold beer, and taking in an outdoor movie on a hot summer night. Every Wednesday through September 1st, the Headhouse District Indie Film Series screens an independent film in Headhouse Square (2nd street between Pine and Lombard). All films in the series have a connection to Philly (whether the film was shot in the area or the filmmakers are natives) and the directors are usually on hand to discuss their films or answer questions after the show. If you don’t want to take a chance on an unknown indie flick, Thursday evenings through August 26, the River Stage at Penn’s Landing (Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut) also hosts a series of “Screenings Under the Stars” featuring popular films, such as Star Trek and, this Thursday July 15th, the Secret Lives of Bees. Importantly, however, both of these screenings are located within walking distance of the Sweettooth Candy Storeon 4th and Bainbridge, a delightful old-fashioned bulk candy store (reviewed recently by uwishunu), where we had fun assembling a grab bag of treats before the film.
How cheap we talkin’: Per person, $3.50 for candy at Sweettooth. Optional $4.50 for falafel at Maoz and/or $2 beer or beverage.
Why this will impress your date: Because you can bond over your shared love of snowcaps and other obscure confectionaries.
Score extra points: By bringing a couple of cold brews, cleverly disguised, ofcourse, in brown paper bags.
The inside game: If you forget to bring a blanket, Headhouse has thick pillars along both sides to lean up against, which may offer a more comfortable position than indian style on cement.
Upon entering Sweettooth, my date and I literally became like kids in a candy store. We ran up and down the brightly tiled aisles, exclaiming and reminiscing to each other over every favorite candy we’ve ever had, from sour cherry cola bottle gummies to rock candy crystals to kookaburra red licorice (a hard to find personal favorite of mine). The candy is $2.47 for 1/4 pound, and it’s easy for your eyes to be bigger than your stomach. We got about a half pound between the two of us (costing about $7 total), and it was more than enough. I think a good rule of thumb would be not to get a bag of candy bigger than your fist…
After examining every single jellybean and jawbreaker on the shelves, we headed north to South street and then east toward Headhouse Square. (Had we been going to Penn’s landing, we would have kept going east on South Street, then across Columbus Avenue). Being that it was around dinner time, we agreed we were hungry for a little more than just candy and decided to get sandwiches at Maoz vegetarian, a quick-order falafel restaurant (and global chain) located at 248 South Street. Maoz is fun in much the same way the candy store was – there are an array of different hearty salad toppings on offer, and you can assemble your own sandwich however you like. The “junior Maoz” falafel sandwich is only $3.68 (and still plenty big), but if you don’t like falafel you can also just fill your pita from their salad bar for $3.75, or add hummus for $.70 more. They are a bit messy though, so don’t forget to grab napkins.
We took our sandwiches and candy to the block-long covered market structure that defines Headhouse Square and caught the last few minutes of The Great Unknown, who played a set before the film. Featuring romantic, slightly distorted vocals, a banjo, and minimalist drums (the entire kit consisted of a bass drum, a snare, and two symbols), they played a soothing kind of Wilco-esque alt country music that was fitting for the setting sun.
Following their set, we set out a blanket on the ground in front of the screen that had been inflated for the projection. It’s not a huge screen, but it’s big enough for the space. There were a small handful of people already gathered, and as it got closer to the 8pm showtime, more arrived. Some people even brought their own lawn chairs. We didn’t have that luxury, but our simple groundcover was cozy enough. The film shownig that night was a coming of age story with some thought-provoking moments, but in the hit-or-miss world of low budget filmmaking, we agreed it was a miss. But we were able to laugh about it (a little too loud probably, in some places), and after all, it’s often the missteps on dates that make for the best inside jokes (inside jokes, in turn, being one of the most fun things about dating).
All in all, it was a perfect summer evening date - with candy to spare.