A Brief Intermission….

Our Unexpected Philadelphia website and blog have been online for a full two weeks now (yah!), and we’re taking a quick break to recover from the last six months of preparation.  (And yes, that scraping sound you heard was us dragging ourselves into the 20th — not totally a joke — century.)

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We’ll be back online after July 4th, but check out our latest post about Dumpster Diver Joel Spivak and his wacky National Hot Dog Month activities. (After all, what would summer in Philadelphia be without a South Street hot dog crawl, complete with jalapeno and crab salad toppings?)

Enjoy the holiday, and we’ll see you around town….!

Kate & Dave

Hot Dogs with a Side of Dumpster Divers

What do you do if you’re browsing the Internet and read that July is National Hot Dog Month?

If you’re Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Joel Spivak, and you have a big heart and unlimited imagination (check out these photos of his home and handiwork), you stage pop-up exhibits and hand out free hot dogs – lots of them – everywhere from North Philly to South Street.

15_6_27 3 Joel_CM1978(Joel Spivak in his 2013 Philly Hot Dog Month t-shirt)

This year’s improbable celebration kicked-off Friday on Philadelphia’s Fabric Row, in front of Maxie’s Daughter Fabrics, where Joel and friends handed out 200 free hot dogs to confused-but-happy pedestrians….

Continue reading

The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 2)

Kate continues the story….  (Click here for Part 1.)

It was January, 2013. Our 8,001 moving boxes had been emptied and recycled, and our new walls were painted — sometimes three or four different times.  And, yes, we could have easily opened a used-paint store from our kitchen colors alone….

15_6_23 1 Kitchen

Finally, there was no use delaying it:  It was time to open the 1960s  mystery photo album.

Arthur Tavani Album Continue reading

The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 1)

Sometimes the biggest adventures are the ones you don’t see coming….

It was April, 2012 and we had just moved into our South Philly home, which meant we could barely find the bed, let alone the sheets, and we needed a trapeze to navigate the shoulder-high boxes.

After three frustrating days and many tears (some of them Kate’s), we finally did the sensible thing:  We ran away to the Columbus (NJ) flea market.  At least if we bought junk there, we’d be able to find it.

But when we hooked up with our  friend Jerry at the Bagel Bums booth, he announced that he had a housewarming gift waiting in his trunk.  Jerry (not his real name; we’ll get our revenge later….) has a wild sense of humor, so we followed him through the parking lot with more than a little trepidation.


What could it be?  A Mayor Rizzo bobblehead doll?  A second-hand Eagles beanbag chair?  But when he threw open the trunk, we saw…..well, something we couldn’t quite identify:

Arthur Tavani Album

“Wow,” I said, “I’ve always wanted one of those…” Continue reading

Welcome to Unexpected Philadelphia!

Welcome to Unexpected Philadelphia – the photo website and blog!

In this blog, we’ll give you the stories behind the fabulous Philadelphia people and places on our new website, unexpectedphila.com. We hope you’ll visit the great photo galleries waiting for you there.


When we moved to South Philadelphia in 2012, we were looking for adventure. Kate was a found-object artist and feature writer by avocation. Dave photographed rock bands for an Asbury Park, NJ newspaper in his spare time. We’d owned a gallery, and loved hanging out at flea markets and quirky outsider art sites.

Happily, adventure found us:

In the form of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, with their inspired upcycled art and wildly imaginative homes….

Alden Cole Continue reading