Introducing Our New Dumpster Diver House Tour: Meet Leo Sewell

When Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum moved to Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall in 2008,  they asked city artist Leo Sewell to build a replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch and arm,  which had originally been displayed in the park during the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

Leo obliged the children’s museum – with a fun-filled,  40-foot rendition that features everything from toys and skis,  to discarded license plates and road signs.

17_05_04 1 Leo Sewell Liberty Torch LSLeo Sewell’s Lady Liberty tribute took three years to plan and construct.   (Photo courtesy of Leo Sewell.)

PLAYING  IN  THE  (JUNK)  YARD

Leo’s introduction to the joys of junk came early,  when he explored the dump near his childhood home.   His dad taught him to use tools,  and soon he was shaping and assembling industrial discards into wonderful new objects.

17_05_04 2 Leo Sewell DC_1618Leo constructs a flamingo in his studio.   The bird and its partner now grace the lobby of a Florida business building.

With a BA in economics and an MA in art history from the University of Delaware,  Leo was living every artist’s dream by the late 1980s:   supporting himself full-time with his art,  and turning out witty interpretations of everything from people and animals, to grandfather clocks and sideboards.

17_05_04 3a Leo Sewell CM_DCA female torso with a rotary dial navel and plastic fish abs holds court with a cat and  penguin.   Leo is best known for his human and animal figures.

Inspired by his work,  fellow “junk artists” Neil Benson and Len Davidson invited him to become a founding member of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that merry band of local assemblage artists who socialize and exhibit art together.

NOTHING  UP  HIS  SLEEVE

Unlike many found-object sculptors,  Leo doesn’t start with taxidermy forms or other bases.   Instead,  he builds his pieces from the inside out,  adding layers of identifiable objects to form bones,  flesh and skin.   At the end,  parts of all three layers are visible.

17_05_04 5 Leo Sewell DC_1832Leo built up his “Ram’s Head Trophy” using everything from toys,  car logos and clocks, to a slide rule,  cabinet hardware and corn-cob holders.

Large pieces,  like the one below,  are typically hollow,  like a basket.

17_05_04 6 Leo Sewell AVAM DC_6029This lumbering stegosaurus greets visitors at Baltimore’s American Visionary Arts Museum.

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

1980 was a big year for Sewell:   He purchased his 1870s home,  a former carriage house in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village section,  and he met his wife Barbara.   The couple married in 1986 and have a daughter,  Abby.

17_05_04 7 DC_1848Leo isn’t the only family member skilled in fitting pieces together:  Barbara Sewell with one of her handmade quilts.

Their home is an inspiring mix of American furniture,  found and purchased art,  and Leo’s witty constructions.

17_05_04 8 Leo Sewell DC_1757Leo made the grandfather clock case and several of the smaller bulls-eye wall mirrors.  He also built the back on the church pew.  The graffiti painting is actually a rescued garage door panel.

17_05_04 11 Leo Sewell DC_1862Leo made the ski-embellished  jelly cabinet,  the chandelier,  the found-object rocket ship,  the wall art….and the cherry dining table.

THE  TOUR  STARTS  HERE

17_05_04 9 Leo Sewell DC_1624

Ready to tour Leo’s studio and imagination-filled home?   Click here to start!

As always,   when you arrive at our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website,  you can click on any thumbnail photo to page through larger versions of all the images.    You’ll also see a scrollable caption under each photo if you’re on a non-mobile device like a PC or laptop.

17_05_04 10 Leo Sewell DC_1609Larger than life:  Leo with  “My Girlfriend With the Golden Globes”  and  “Trophy for a Big Chef”.

Enjoy!

Kate & Dave

 

 

 

Claude Lewis – A Journalist After Your Heart

Last fall – when pre-election angst and anger were at their peak – Dave and I contacted over two dozen Philadelphia artists,  writers and performers,  and asked them to pose for our windows holding upbeat signs with words like create,  collaborate,  envision and,  yes,  VOTE….

17_04_20 1 Tasker Street Windows CM_5602Twenty-eight smiling artists lit up our South Philadelphia windows last October to remind us that we really do have more in common than not.

As you may recall,  participants included everyone from singer Bobby Rydell and comedian Jennifer Childs,  to jazz pianist Alfie Pollitt and sculptor Miguel Antonio Horn.

But there was one window,  front and center,  that was reserved for my earliest role model.

IN  PHILADELPHIA,  NEARLY  EVERYONE  READS….

Like today,  the late 1960s were a confusing and complex time to be a teenager and,  three days a week,  I’d rush home from high school,  tear open the Philadelphia Bulletin,  and read Claude Lewis’ column.

17_04_20 2 Claude Lewis Phila BulletinPhiladelphia’s first black newspaper columnist,  Claude Lewis,  during his Philadelphia Bulletin days.  (Photo courtesy of the Lewis Family.)

Lewis had a magical way of taking complex and often scary subjects and bringing them down to human size – to people and ideas that you could relate to and care about – and I longed to write like him.

So when Sister Dolores Donovan named me the new feature editor of the St. Hubert’s High School newspaper,  I screwed up my courage,  called the Bulletin,  and boldly asked to interview him.

MEETING  MY  HERO

And,  yes,  I still remember the thrill of hopping on the Frankford el in my high school uniform and saddle shoes and walking into the Bulletin.

I was a few minutes early,  so Lewis asked me step around the corner and take a seat.   But – being a typical teenager and more than a little nervous – I turned the wrong way and sat down in the first empty office I saw.

Decades later,  my most vivid memory of that day in 1971 is of me standing next to my hero while an angry editor dressed us both down,  demanding to know “Who told this kid she could sit in my office?”

I was mortified,  but I also remember being impressed that  “Wow!  Real newspaper editors are just as grouchy as the ones in the movies….!”

17_04_20 3 Cathy Mellina 1971Cathy  (aka Kate)  Mellina,  girl journalist,  at left,  with St. Hubert’s sports editor Janice H.

INTO  THE  FUTURE

Somehow we both survived,  and I got my treasured interview – and I still have family members who talk about the day that  “Catherine”  interviewed Claude Lewis.

When I left for college,  Lewis followed:   Every week,  my mom would include his latest writing in her snail-mail care packages.

But  his influence went way beyond those newspaper clippings:   It was there when I joined the college newspaper and wrote about everything from closeted gay students to women’s liberation.

And it was there 25 years later when I became an Asbury Park, NJ councilwoman and newspaper columnist who wrote about poverty,  crime,  election fraud,  and the good-hearted people who were working to save our sad little town.

17_04_20 4 Claude Lewis National LeaderClaude Lewis in 1982,  shortly after he co-founded The National Leader,  the first national black weekly newspaper.   He later worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer,  wrote biographies,  and produced and/or appeared on a variety of television and radio programs.  (Photo courtesy of the Lewis Family.)

 And his influence was there again last October when we photographed over 300 more Philadelphians holding those same upbeat signs and posted their smiling faces on our blog.

RECONNECTING  IN  2016

That’s why,  when we started our anti-election-angst photo project,  I knew that the central window overlooking East Passyunk’s  “singing fountain”  belonged to him.

17_04_20 5 Claude Lewis - Vote WindowsLewis joined Bobby Rydell  (top left),  Jennifer Childs  (top center)  and two dozen other Philadelphia artists,  writers and performers in our pre-election windows.

It took me almost five weeks to find him.    And,  yes,  I cheerfully annoyed a whole new generation of newspaper editors and writers before Kate Binzen,  daughter of former Inquirer writer Peter Binzen,  reconnected us.

Lewis had just returned home from several weeks in a rehab hospital and he warned me that he could no longer see,  but he invited Dave and me to visit him and his wife Beverly.

BACK  TO  THE  PAST

 And so,  on a sunny summer day,  we drove across the Ben Franklin Bridge,  and I felt  like I was 17 years old again:   There was Claude Lewis,  characteristically gracious and kind,  and just as sharp as ever.

And there was me – totally mortified because we’d forgotten to pack the sign he was supposed to hold.

17_04_20 6 Claude Lewis DC_8000Working with Kate?   It pays to have a sense of humor….

So my second most vivid Claude Lewis memory is of him posing in the hall of his apartment building – holding two AARP newsletters that Dave then had to Photoshop over with a copy of the sign.

That night I went down to my studio and pulled out a manila envelope that I’ve been carrying around for,  well,  46 years now.   And inside was a 1971 copy of the St. Hubert’s High School “Tally-Ho” newspaper with my Claude Lewis interview.

17_04_20 7 Claude Lewis Interview 1971And, yes, I was so nervous about not misquoting him that I included not a single direct quote.

A  LIFE  OF  COURAGE  AND  HEART

At a recent memorial service,  a local television journalist noted that some people get your attention by getting in your face,  but Claude Lewis made points by getting into your heart.

To read more about Lewis’ remarkable,  ground-breaking career – from his early friendship with Langston Hughes,  to being beaten by police at the 1968 Democratic National Convention,  to his co-founding of the National Association of Black Journalists,  see journalist Pete Binzen’s 2016 tribute here and the Inquirer’s 2017 memorial here.

So thank you,  Claude Lewis,  for showing this awkward,  blue-collar,  1960s Philadelphia kid – in fact,  a whole generation of us – that we could be so much more than we knew.

Kate

17_04_20 8 Claude LewisClaude Lewis (1934-2017)

Artist Lou Hirshman – A Philadelphia Original (Part 2)

(Continued from Wednesday,  March 29.   Click here  to read Part 1…)

While Philadelphia artist Lou Hirshman first became known in the 1930s and 1940s for his witty three-dimensional caricatures of public figures,  his subject matter evolved with the decades.

By the 1960s,  he was using his found-object constructions to comment on social types ranging from psychiatrists and dictators,  to pot smokers and TV viewers.

17_03_30 1 The Duel_Lou Hirshman_1962Hirshman’s 1962 “The Duel” shows two combatants – deftly outlined in long strands of string – locked in eternal combat by the children’s scissors that bind them.   Their matching physiques and identical button faces hint at a different type of duel – an internal one.

Other images wittily conveyed pure,  light-hearted fun.

17_03_30 2 Animal Circus_Lou Hirshman_1964A smiling dog with a water bottle body,  beaded purse head,  and jaunty belt legs supports a bird with an oyster shell body and bottle cap head in 1964’s  “Animal Circus”.   Two tiny creatures made of pennies,  matches,  a metal heel plate and more join the high-wire act.

ART  REFLECTING  ART

Hirshman also played with major artistic styles,  producing works that riffed on everything from pointillism to cubism to surrealism.

17_03_30 3 Lady With Cat_Lou Hirshman_1976Reading like an early Picasso,  Hirshman’s  “Lady With Cat” (1976)  sports oyster shell hair,  a toy mouse nose,  and an elegant egg necklace.   The legs and tail of her button-nosed cat are fashioned from two springs and a comb.   And,  yes,  the gold-toned electrical plate adds an unexpected,  witty touch.

17_03_30 4 Triumph of Death_Lou Hirshman_1974Clutching a staff made from real bones and a knife,  Hirshman’s Grim Reaper in  “Triumph of Death” (1974)  rules over a stark kingdom collaged with images of the famous and not-so-famous.

PORTRAIT  OF  THE   ARTIST   AT   WORK

“It’s hard to tell which came first sometimes – the objects or the ideas,”  Bill said about his dad.   “He was somewhat of a self-taught philosopher who recorded the meditations of Eastern philosophers in his daily journal,  and his five-mile walks to Fleisher were a time of meditation.”

And while his dad sometimes encountered  “art objects”  like a found hubcap in his travels,  Hirshman’s family came to expect that certain possessions – Betty’s clothespins and hair curlers,  Debbie’s dolls,  Bill’s toys,  or even the children’s scissors found in the “The Duel” – would mysteriously disappear,  only to resurface in his latest creation.

A young Bill even delighted his mom with a song in which his missing sister was found framed and hanging in the Louvre.

17_03_30 5 Betty Hirshman in StudioBetty Hirshman in her husband’s studio shortly after his 1986 death.   And,  yes,  Hirshman built all his own frames.

PRESERVING  A  LEGACY

With the help of his son-in-law,  Bill recently set up a Lou Hirshman website featuring images of almost 100 works.

“I’m his son and I’m biased,”  he admitted,  “but I think he was a genius.   I don’t want to sell his work,  but I want to be the promoter he never had.”

Part of Bill’s mission is to discover the whereabouts of several dozen missing works which either disappeared over the years or were sold through New York’s  Frank J. Miele Gallery  following Hirshman’s 1986 death.

17_03_30 6 Beatles_Lou Hirshman_1964Among the missing:  In 1964,  Hirshman brilliantly portrayed the Fab Four with such simple objects as sneakers,  gloves,  a frying pan,  a fried egg,  and sausages.

And,  yes,  the siblings would love an opportunity to exhibit his work.

CONTACT  THE  HIRSHMAN  FAMILY

Have a story about Lou Hirshman,  or know the location of a missing piece?    Contact Bill and Debbie here.

It’s time to honor another Philadelphia original.

17_03_30 7 Louis Hirshman Circa 1980Louis P. Hirshman,  circa 1980

 

 

Artist Lou Hirshman – A Philadelphia Original (Part 1)

A major perk of writing our  Unexpected Philadelphia  blog and website is the connections we make with intriguing Philadelphians,  past and present.

In October,  2016,  we led you on a photo tour through the art-filled home and garden of Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton and former Inquirer editor Michael Martin Mills.   Among their treasures was this 1963 portrait of then-President John F. Kennedy by the late Philadelphia artist Lou Hirshman….

17_03_29 1 JFK Louis Hirshman CM_4950Artist Lou Hirshman transformed coconut and peanut shells,  matzo,  peas and Chiclets into this witty caricature of JFK.   Note the fish-shaped tie.

BIRTH  OF  AN  ARTIST – AND  AN  ART  FORM

Which is what led us last week to a fun phone conversation with Hirshman’s son and daughter,  William  (Bill)  Hirshman and Deborah Donnelly.

Louis Hirshman was born in western Russia around 1904 and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1909.   A lifelong Philadelphian,  he left school in the 10th grade and was creating art professionally by 1920.

17_03_29 2 Louis P Hirshman_Circa 1938Louis P. Hirshman,  circa 1938

His early endeavors included oil paintings,   commercial art,  and even avant-garde filmmaking,  but by the mid-1930s he began experimenting with “constructions”,  his witty and often biting,  three-dimensional framed caricatures of notorious public figures like Hitler,  Mussolini and Standard Oil magnate John D. Rockefeller and of more beloved icons like Groucho Marx,  Harpo Marx and Albert Einstein.

17_03_29 3 Groucho Marx_Lou Hirshman_1937Hirshman’s 1937 Groucho caricature uses a wooden box with a sliding lid for his face and shirt, and features spool and button eyes,  glove hair,  a pincushion boutonniere,  a bow tie mustache and a shoehorn nose,  among other readily identifiable objects.

17_03_29 4 Einstein by Lou Hirshman 1940A  (literally)  mop-topped Albert Einstein sports a brush nose and mustache,  an abacus chest,  and a pencil-and-paper collar affirming that 2+2=2+2.   This 1940 work is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A  PRIVATE  PASSION

By 1938,  Hirshman’s three-dimensional caricatures earned him a two-page spread in Look magazine,  and his work appeared in publications like Vanity Fair.

But Hirshman – who joined the art faculty of Philadelphia’s famed Fleisher Art Memorial after a World War II Army stint,  and who served as the faculty director of the evening art school from 1960 to 1977 – was an intensely private man who never felt the desire to sell his artwork at a gallery during his lifetime.

17_03_29 5 Lou Hirshman Self Portrait 1985Hirshman in 1985 with a 1949 self-caricature featuring a pancake face,  lemon slice ears,  and metal nails for hair.   He stands on an artist’s palette with two crossed paintbrushes rising like good-natured devil horns from his head.

Hirshman’s studio lay in a back bedroom of his Regent Square row home in Philadelphia’s University City section,  positioned to catch the northern light.

“Dad’s studio was his sanctuary,  and it was pretty much off-limits,”  recalls son Bill.   “We didn’t go in while he was working.”

17_03_29 6 Lou Hirshman StudioAn undated photo of Lou Hirshman’s studio,  which his son described as “a neatly arranged collage in itself.”

Fourteen years older than his wife Betty,  and considerably older than his two children,  Hirshman rose at 6 a.m. to do yoga and often emerged from his studio only to eat.   Following an early dinner,  he would take a meditative,  five-mile walk to his job at Fleisher,  rarely arriving home before 10 p.m.

“Art was his life,  but he was rarely published and never publicized himself” in later years,  recalls Bill,  who has made it his mission to see that his dad’s work is not forgotten.

17_03_29 6 Louis Hirshman Deborah WilliamLou Hirshman poses with his daughter Debbie in 1948 and his son Bill in 1980.

(Click here to read Part 2….)

Ready for a New Dumpster Diver House Tour? Meet Ellen Sall

A major perk of hosting our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website is that we get to run happily amok – with cameras in hand – through the homes and studios of our fellow Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that merry band of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty,  found-object art together since 1992.

So when “Dumpster Diva” Ellen Sall invited us to photograph her South Jersey home last August,  we had our beach clothes packed before the phone call ended.

17_02_22-1-ellen-sall-dc_6644“You expect us to drive all the way to the Jersey shore?  Can we come today??”

BEADED  BEGINNINGS

Ellen and her mom,  Bernice Rosenfeld,  began making beaded jewelry together in the early 1980s,  under the name “By Bernel”.  By the mid-1990s,  Ellen had struck out on her own,  making Fimo clay earrings and pendants that incorporated objects like beads and her own watercolor drawings.

17_02_22-2-ellen-sall-dc_6564Ellen and husband Robert Sall in the living room of what she calls their “HOE” house – “Heaven on Earth”.

She also manipulated wire to create everything from menorahs to miniature chairs.

BORN   AGAIN   LAMPS

Then,  one day,  she fashioned a larger chair from found objects like pots,  pans,  an electric fan and a light,  and christened it her “Electric Chair”.   A brand new business – Born Again Lamps – was launched.

17_02_22-3-ellen-sall-studio-cm_9015Ellen at the entrance of her  Born Again Lamps  studio in Philadelphia.  That’s her “Tea for 2…6, 8, 10” lamp  (complete with a hat-box shade)  at left, and “Espresso Yourself” at right.

Soon she was exhibiting at the Philadelphia Furniture Show and at the Art Rider holiday craft show at New York’s Park Avenue Armory.

17_02_22-4-ellen-sall-lampsLamps just wanna’ have fun:   At left is a piece from Ellen’s “Phoney” series,  shown above a lampshade crafted of jewelry,  trinkets and stitches on wire screen.  At right is “I Can’t Make Up My Mind”,  with her lighted,  color-changing hat.

Before long,  an Ellen lamp appeared in Elle Decor,  Delta Sky magazine did a feature on her,  and people like Sally Jessy Raphael,  Reem Acra and Christopher Lowell bought her work.

KEEPING  US  IN  STITCHES

For beach days when her studio power tools are not handy,  Ellen works with bead collage,  embroidery  and gel pens on photographs, found objects and old linens – a process she likens to creating stream-of-consciousness graffiti.

17_02_22-5-ellen-sall-artAt left is an embroidery in progress.  And,  yes,  the beaded rat trap at right is actually worked on a real Victor rat trap.

THE  TOUR  STARTS  HERE

So,  click here to join our Unexpected Philadelphia photo tour of  Ellen’s art-filled home and studio.

As always,  when you arrive at our website,  you can click on any thumbnail photo to page through larger versions of all the photos.    You’ll also see a scrollable caption under each photo if you’re on a non-mobile device like a PC or laptop.

17_02_22-6-ellen-sall-studio-dc_2098Ellen in her light- and fun-filled space at the Mill Studios,  in Philadelphia’s Manayunk section.

Enjoy!

Kate & Dave

 

 

Ready to Reboot Your Creative Life? Check out ACN!

When we moved to South Philly in 2011,  we were lucky to stumble across two groups that provided us with both art inspiration and a wonderful circle of friends.

The first,  as you’ve probably guessed,  was the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that inspired group of found-object artists whose homes and studios we profile on our Unexpected Philadelphia website.   (And,  yes,  there are more Diver home tours coming,  including — when we finally get around to it — our own.)

17_02_15-1-tracy-takes-another-chance“Tracy Takes Another Chance on Love” –  Kate’s found-object commentary on the pre-Dave dating scene.  Hmm — Should I take the “not quite divorced” guy for 50 points,  my cousin’s ex-fiance for a family-wrecking 30 points,  or “Mr. 93%-Right” for 100 points?

Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar introduced us to the free-spirited Dumpster Divers,  but his sister — dancer and choreographer Sheila Zagar — introduced Kate to its complementary and indispensable opposite:  the Artist Conference Network.

17_02_15-1b-kate-mellina-maryellen-plansKate’s “Maryellen Plans Her Day” because sometimes you just need to shake things up a little…

ARTIST  CONFERENCE  WHAT??

Founded in California in 1983 by painter and art professor  Beverly Cassell,  the Artist Conference Network (ACN) is the somewhat unpoetic name for a nationwide coalition of artists,  performers and writers who meet in local groups to set personal creative goals and encourage each other in their work.

17_02_15-2-lynn-denton-schell-st-cosmosPhiladelphia filmmaker,  painter,  mosaic artist,  sculptor and writer Lynn Denton with her “Schell Street Cosmos” mosaic.   Lynn founded Philly’s ACN chapter in 1994.

17_02_15-3b-lynn-dentonTwo more examples of Lynn’s prolific output:  “Throne Rug Study”,  a 2016 canvas,  and a still from “Clair-Obscur: A Film Performance” at the 2000 Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema.

DEFINING  YOUR  DREAMS

ACN members set annual and quarterly creative goals,  and coach with a fellow member by phone each week to review progress,  identify obstacles and breakthroughs,  and set goals for the coming week.

We also hold meetings every other Thursday in members’ homes to share work in a non-competitive,  non-judgmental atmosphere that recognizes each member as the sole authority on their creative journey.

17_02_15-4-chris-sheerinTwo recent works by ACN member Chris Sheerin,  a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

ABOUT  OUR  MEMBERS

Our Philadelphia group annually accepts between 12 and 15 members,  who commit themselves for a year each March.   Recent members have included painters,  photographers,   writers,  bloggers,  poets,  a singer and song-writer,  a dancer,  a filmmaker and sculptor,  a fiber and indigo dye artist,  a collage artist,  and a found-object and bead jewelry artist.

Some,  like Lynn Denton and Chris Sheerin above,  have formal art training.   Others,  like Kate,  are self-taught or hone their skills through workshops.

All of us are committed to helping ourselves — and our fellow members — expand our creative potential.

17_02_15 5 Rebekah Higgins.jpg“DNA” (graphite on paper) and “Portals” (oil on canvas) by mixed-media visionary artist,  art and design professor,  and ACN member Rebekah Higgins.

I  WILL  SURVIVE  THRIVE

Members are encouraged to set measurable goals that will really stretch them,  but have no fear:  The group will applaud your efforts whether you reach your goals or not — or whether you decide to pursue a completely different and better dream mid-year.

Kate’s ACN goals have motivated her (and Dave, her non-ACN co-conspirator) to establish our Unexpected Philadelphia website,  design a Fringe Festival performance,  create our holiday window and “flip the script” voting projects,  update the outside of our house with quotes and painted blocks,  and even lose 10 pounds.  (And,  yes,  that last goal was definitely Kate’s — our guy Dave barely casts a shadow.)

17_02_15-6-blaine-bonhamA photographer,  travel blogger,  and former executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society,  Blaine Bonham captures the essence of people,  urban and natural landscapes —  and his own back yard.

WANT TO LEARN  MORE?

Interested in exploring whether ACN can help you kick-start your creative goals?

Call Blaine Bonham at 215-280-4651.  Blaine can also tell you about our Thursday,  March 2 meeting,  where you can join us as we share work and celebrate the completion of our winter goals.

Hope to see you there!

Kate

 

 

The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 13): Who Are We?

If you’ve followed the story on our blog,  you know that a friend gave us a fabulous housewarming gift:  a 12-pound photo album from the 1960s,  packed with images from nightspots in and around South Philadelphia.

You also know that we’ve been on a grand hunt to identify the hundreds of entertainers,  sports figures,  business people,  politicians and  “just plain folks” cavorting on its pages, with the goal of donating them to Temple University’s Urban Archives for safe-keeping.

WHO  ARE  THEY?

The photos were collected by South Philadelphia newspaper columnist Arthur Tavani, and many are already on our website,  along with whatever identifications we have.  

In September,  2015,  we added our  first section of “Who Are We?” photos,  asking for help in identifying the many unknown women in them.   Today,  we published 27 new photos on our website,  all showing at least one person we can’t identify.

Some photos include famous Philadelphians….

17_02_02-1-197-waw2-al-martinoYes,  that’s South Philadelphia singer Al Martino second from right,  with columnist Art Tavani (far left) and Philadelphia council president Paul D’Ortona (far right).   But who’s the man with the flower in his lapel?

 Some just look famous….

17_02_02-2-055-waw2In our wild imaginations,  they’re a singer (left) and comedian (right),  but we honestly can’t identify either of the men surrounding Art Tavani.

Some were probably hoping to become famous….

17_02_02-3-022-waw2The suits and hair scream John,  Paul,  George & Ringo in 1964.   Who are they?

 Others are associated with local law enforcement and the church…

17_02_02-4-047-waw2That’s Art Tavani at the far right,  and the flyer unhelpfully says, “Hand in hand,  you and the law!”,  but that’s all we know.

 …or with business and government…

17_02_02-5-075-waw2Columbus Day,  circa 1966 at Palumbo’s in South Philly.   We spotted Art Tavani  (back left)  and Dr. Antonio Carloni,  Italy’s Consul General  (third from left in front),  but who are the other local trophy holders?

 CAN  YOU  HELP?

So check out the mystery people in our new website section,  and ask your friends and family to take a look.

Once there,  you can click on any thumbnail photo to scroll through much larger versions of all the photos.   You will also see a caption under each photo if you are on a non-mobile device like a laptop or PC.

17_02_02-6-multi-waw2

SEND  US  AN  EMAIL

Find someone you know,  or recognize a venue we haven’t identified?    Send us an email!   We’d love to hear your story.

Enjoy!

Kate & Dave