Holiday Windows Are Back – & Don’t Miss These Other South Philly Displays!

They’re back!  This evening,  we lit our 27 holiday windows with portraits of the many great neighbors,  shop owners,  and dogs  (lots of dogs…)  we’ve met since moving to South Philadelphia in 2012.

So,  if you’re dining or playing near the  “Singing Fountain”  between now and New Year’s Day,  we hope you’ll check out our windows at East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.

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Our first holiday display in December, 2013.

THE  FIVE-MINUTE  HOLIDAY  TRADITION

As you may know,  it all started when we were sitting at our third-floor kitchen window,  waving to neighbors who couldn’t see us.

“Maybe we should put life-sized photos of ourselves in the windows to let people know when we’re here,”  Kate joked.   “Then we wouldn’t feel like we’re spying on them.”

Within seconds,  it had morphed into something wilder.

“Wow – what if we took photos of the neighbors and their pets and put them in the windows, too?   We could do it for the holidays!”

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Bella – the longtime,  gracious queen of Tasker Street who will forever remain in our hearts – with Victor,  her faithful human companion.

And so,  15 months after moving to South Philadelphia,  we found ourselves explaining to people we barely knew why we wanted to take their photos.

Fortunately,  South Philadelphians have a sense of humor – even if they did roll their eyes after we left.   That first year,  we signed up 26 neighbors,  4 dogs and a baby.

15_11_23-3-dave-christopher_0027Dave shows off his best side while lifting Fernando and Barney into a window.

 It was only then that we realized we’d have to wash our 27 windows….and light them at night….and put timers on the lights….and find an affordable way to print the photos.  (Tip:  The large plastic lawn signs at Staples are perfect,  but wait for a sale.)

15_11_23-4-kate-mellina“Hey,  Dave – I thought you were going to Photoshop out some of those wrinkles for me…”   “Oh, wait — you did…???”

And after worrying that it’d be a total bust,  we wound up on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Christmas eve.

NOW  SHOWING  IN  A  WINDOW  NEAR  YOU

This year,  we’ve added one new portrait.  And,  yes,  if that nose looks familiar,  it’s because Jean is Kate’s younger and (sigh) slimmer kid sister who moved to the neighborhood this year….

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Now there’s another Mellina sister to deal with….

THE  HOLIDAY  TOUR  STARTS  HERE!

And,  if you’re anywhere near South Philadelphia this season,  don’t miss the fabulous decorations on these three famed streets:

• 1600 block of South 13th Street,  between Tasker & Morris (2 blocks from us)

15_12_09-02-miracle-on-south-13th_9828Click here to read our 2015 blog post about the annual  “Miracle on 13th Street”.   (And,  yes,  they’ve added many new delights this year!)

• 2700 block of Smedley Street,  between 16th & 17 and Moyamensing & Oregon

2015_12_28-2-smedley-cm_0763
The 2700 block of Smedley Street is always a traffic-stopper.   Click here to read our 2015 blog post about it and Colorado Street.

• 2700 block of Colorado Street,  between 17th & 18 and Moyamensing & Oregon

2015_12_28 6 Colorado CM_0797.jpgSanta beckons last Christmas from the 2700 block of Colorado Street.

 And leave time to explore the whole area between Oregon,  Moyamensing,  16th & 18th Streets,  where you’ll literally find hundreds of homes and front windows festooned for the holidays,  each grander than the last.

Happy holiday season!

Kate & Dave

Flip the Script (Part 11): And So This Is….Thanksgiving

It’s been two weeks since the presidential election,  and we’d like to thank the more than two dozen artists,  writers,  and performers who offered words of pre-election encouragement from our South Philadelphia windows….

16_10_21-1-vote-tasker-side-dc_8280Click here to learn about the 28 inspiring Philadelphia artists who spent the pre-election month smiling  from our windows.

…and the hundreds more warm-hearted souls who let us photograph them for our blog….

composite-photoClick here to scroll backwards through all 11 of our pre-election posts,  starting with this one.

HOW  IT  ALL  BEGAN….

We dreamed up our non-partisan photo project this summer,  during a depressing campaign week that painted America as a failed experiment — with a candidate who somehow made it okay to overlook insults against minorities,  women,  the disabled,  the armed forces,  prisoners of war,  our allies – seemingly against basic human kindness itself.

And we did our best to put aside our own political leanings to remind people  (including ourselves)  of the goodness that built our country and the goodness we can still create together.

…AND  MOVING  FORWARD

But healing is largely missing from the holiday menu this year:  No one could have predicted that the candidate with over two million more votes would be declared the loser,  and that the Ku Klux Klan would be planning a public victory parade – or that the election results would be hailed with racist graffiti and taunts against children and adults in cities all around America,  including our own.

This Thanksgiving  will be an especially hard one,  with families split along ideological lines and feelings so raw.

So where do we start?   There’s only one clear path….

16_10_28-270-tahi-nahl-neil-benson

BRINGING  IT  ALL  BACK  HOME

And so this Thanksgiving – when radio stations all over the country traditionally play “Alice’s Restaurant”,  that rambling folk ballad – what better musician to quote than self-described “folkslinger”  Arlo Guthrie,  in a fun-but-true riff built off a comment by fellow musician Pete Seeger:

 “If the world was perfect and everybody had money,

everybody drove a BMW,  nobody was homeless,  nobody ever got sick,

everybody was smart and…happy all the time,

you’d have to go an awful long way out of your way

to make a difference in this world.  

You’d have to do a whole hell of a lot to improve the way it was.

“But in a world that sucks,  like this one,

you don’t have to do very much at all.

 ♦

“There was never a time in the history of the world

where you could do so little and get so much done.”

16_11_24-arlo-guthrie-alices-restaurant-tour-dc_4575
Amazing Grace”:  Check out Arlo Guthrie’s fun,  inspiring,  and always rambling riff here on YouTube .

Time to get moving again….!

make-america-kind-againAnd,  yes,  we’ve been handing out dozens of these pins,  available at Via Delia,  to make ourselves feel better.   Sometimes,  you just have to get back in the game.

Happy Thanksgiving to all,

Kate & Dave

Flip the Script (Part 10): Nov. 8 Is Here, & It’s Now or Never

Well,  it’s come down to this….and there’s no do-overs after Election Day….

16_10_02-4-passyunk-windows-cm_5590Corny perhaps, but indubitably true:  Click here to learn more about these smiling faces in our South Philly windows – and about the hundreds more big-hearted Philadelphians we’ve photographed for our blog this month.

And,  yeah,  it’s easy to say that both major candidates are flawed,  and you don’t want to vote for either of them.  But their agendas are polar opposites,  and one of them will be elected this week.

And you  – and all the other smiling faces on our blog – will be living with the consequences for years to come.

NEED  SOME  MOTIVATION?

Today,  we’ll give you 63 additional reasons to pull that lever,  plus 7 of the four-legged kind.  (After all,  this is Passyunk Avenue….)

Thanks to all these smiling souls who stopped by our studio during the Oct. 29 Fall Fest….

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Flip the Script (Part 9): 48 More Ways to Beat That Pre-Election Stress

Over the past four weeks,  we’ve photographed scores of optimistic Philadelphians in our home studio,  as part of our pre-election,  anti-angst photo campaign…

16_10_25-01-vote-corner-view-dc_0137Click here to learn more about the smiling artists in our windows at E. Passyunk Avenue & Tasker Street – and our quest to show hundreds more upbeat Philadelphians on our blog.

ON  THE  STREET  WHERE  WE  LIVE…

Today we’ll stroll our South Philadelphia neighborhood to introduce you to just a handful of the equally upbeat business people and customers we’ve met during our four years here….

Metro Mens Clothing,  Halo Hair

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Flip the Script (Part 8): Our VOTE Windows on ABC’s Nightline & philly.com!

They say that a bad day is when you wake up and find a  60 Minutes  crew on your lawn.

Fortunately,  the same didn’t hold true for  ABC’s Nightline  last week.

16_11_4-3-nightline-kate-dc_5307_No warrants in sight:   Kate (second from left) with Nightline’s Ignacio Torres,  Jasmine Brown and Dan Harris.

STRESS?  WHAT  STRESS??

Nightline co-anchor Dan Harris and segment producers Jasmine Brown  (the lead producer that day)  and Ignacio Torres were in town to gauge the pre-election stress level in our hotly contested swing state.   (Hint:  Think high – very high.)

They also offered relief in the form of a daringly co-ed  (i.e., mixed Democrat and Republican)  meditation session.

In between,  they talked to us about our upbeat South Philadelphia window display….

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Flip the Script (Part 7): 65 More Ways to Beat the Blues

When we dreamed up our anti-angst, South Philadelphia window project this summer,  we knew this election season was going to get rough.

16_10_21-1-vote-tasker-side-dc_8280Click here to learn more about the upbeat artists in our lighted windows at E. Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street – and our quest to photograph hundreds more smiling Philadelphians.

But we had no idea how ugly it was going to get….

16_11_3-kate-in-door-2-dc_1289Go away!   I’ll be out on Nov. 9….of,  uhm,  2020.

NO  RETREAT,  BABY….

But it’s hard to abandon all hope when you can still find such goodness right outside your studio door.

So we are especially happy today to share more photos taken during last Saturday’s East Passyunk Fall Fest — along with another group of artists we’d like to introduce….

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Flip the Script (Part 6): Meet 8 More of Our Window Artists

Over the past several posts,  we’ve told you about many of the 28 artists,  writers,  musicians and performers who appear in our South Philadelphia window display.   (And,  yes,  if you’re not familiar with our pre-election,  anti-angst campaign,  you can read about it here.)

Today,  we’ll tell you about the remaining 8 artists overlooking South Philadelphia’s popular “singing fountain”….

16_10_02-4-passyunk-windows-cm_5590The view on our second and third floors at East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street….

16_10_02-15-asa-maisie-cm_5576….and the bottom line on our first floor.

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