After nearly two decades in prison, Isaac Rivera was ready to remake himself. The 41-year-old from Lancaster served time after a 1997 arrest on assault and rape charges, but he felt that his violent past was behind him – if only he could find a way to jump-start his reinvention.
In some ways, Quaker City Coffee partners Bob Logue and Christian Dennis have lived parallel lives. Both men grew up in Frankford, developed keen eyes for supply and demand, and became entrepreneurs. For Logue, that meant becoming a partner in Federal Donuts and Bodhi Coffee, catering to the city’s foodie culture.
Wallace Peeples, better known as Wallo267 on social media, had been out of prison for all of 117 days when I met him, and already he had 50,000 followers on Instagram. A short item in the Times Herald reported back in 2014 that a Graterford prisoner was found with three cell phones, five chargers, five headsets, an iPod and a wireless hot spot.
Proceeds from Thursday’s show at Boot & Saddle with go toward the music nonprofit Beyond the Bars. Local rapper Chill Moody will headline a benefit show tomorrow night at the South Philly venue Boot & Saddle. Proceeds from the concert will go toward Beyond the Bars, a nonprofit that aims to increase music education resources for incarcerated juveniles in Philadelphia.
The sanctuary of Christ Centered Church is a small and spare 65-seater in a storefront in Philly’s Fairhill section, more than packed on Sundays for sermons and Bible studies that empathize with the members’ challenges without excusing the life choices they’ve made.
Redemption through music. This is the mission of Songs in the Key of Free, and organization that is showing solidarity with incarcerated individuals by bringing their voices, perspectives, and experiences to the public via song. It’s a collaboration with the SCI-Graterford Prison, The Curtis Institute of Music, and a handful of volunteers that help inmates realize their musical vision.