The Dumpster Divers Are Coming!

Over the past two years,  we’ve introduced you to the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that big-hearted coalition of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty, found-object art together since 1992.

17_08_21 1 Philadelphia Dumpster Divers IGBWho are these people,  and do they always dress like that?   Well,   actually,  some of them do….  (Photo by I. George Bilyk)

We’ve also led you on photo tours of 15 striking Diver homes and studios…

17_08_21 2 Dumpster Diver Homes CM_DCClick here to visit the secret lairs of artists like (clockwise from top left)  Alden Cole,  Isaiah Zagar,  Susan Moloney,  and Betsy Alexander & Burnell Yow!

YOU  ARE  INVITED….

This April Fool’s Day marked the Divers’ 25th anniversary and,  to celebrate,  we’re hosting “DUMPSTER DIVERSions”,  an exhibit of the Divers’ found-object art assemblages,  collages,  paintings,  photography and more in our South Philadelphia studio.

17_08_21 3 Dumpster Diver Art 3Definitely the Divers:  Work by Bruce Gast,  Randall Cleaver and Leslie Stuart Matthews.  (Photos courtesy of the artists.)

Opening night is Friday,  October 6 from 6-9 pm,  and our doors will open every Friday and Saturday in October from 6-9 pm at the corner of E. Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.

We’ll also open 1-5 pm on Saturday,  October 28,  during the annual Passyunk Avenue fall fest,  so be sure to include us in your Halloween plans.

AND,  YES – THERE  WILL  BE  WINDOW  PHOTOS

As you may know,  we love marking everything from holidays to elections by placing over-sized portraits of neighbors and friends in our lighted windows.

17_08_21 4 Vote Windows DC_8280A raft of Philadelphia artists,  writers and performers urged you to vote in October,  2016.

So,  starting in late September and running through October,  we’ll light up South Philadelphia’s singing fountain corner with portraits of over two dozen Dumpster Divers,  including this engaging trio of Diver “founding fathers”…

17_08_21 5 Benson Spivak Davidson DCStill crazy after all these years:  Neil Benson,  Joel Spivak and Len Davidson

AND,  YES,  THERE’S  MORE….

Can’t visit in person?  Never fear:  In late September,  our “Unexpected Philadelphia” website will feature photos of over 40 current and former Dumpster Divers,  along with images of their fun and inspiring art…

17_08_21 6 Richards Benowitz PrestonComing up on our website:  the ultimate Diver directory, including work by (clockwise from top left) Susan Richards,  Sara Benowitz and Eva Preston.  (Photos courtesy of the artists)

Want to receive automatic updates of our blog posts?   Simply enter your email address and hit the black “Follow” button at right,  near the top of this post.   (And,  no,  we never send or accept advertising or share your email address.  We hate spam,  too.)

SEE  YOU  IN  SEPTEMBER  (&  OCTOBER!)

This May,  we took an unannounced (even to us) blog break to deal with family responsibilities,  but we’re still here behind the scenes — happily working on our blow-out 25th anniversary celebration.

So please spread the word about our upcoming “DUMPSTER DIVERSions” exhibit,  window display and online art directory,  and we’ll see you then!

17_08_21 7 Mellina & Benson DC_2993Uh,  Dave,  why does this guy keep photobombing me?

Happy rest of summer —

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.

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The Women’s March on Philadelphia…and the World

2016 was definitely not our favorite year.

We cleaned out and sold Kate’s parents’ home.   We learned more than we ever cared to about hospitals,  insurance,  Medicaid applications and nursing homes.

AND  THEN  THERE  WAS….

….that endless election campaign.   Not even the fun of our non-partisan “Flip the Script” photo project could wipe out the divisiveness of a candidate who relentlessly belittled women,  minorities,  the disabled,  the armed forces,  immigrants,  prisoners of war,  our allies,  the press – seemingly basic human kindness itself.

16_10_02-2-kate-newspapers-dc_8245

Dave, are you SURE we don’t have another comics section…..?

And by the time it all ended – amid reams of vicious fake news and a winner who lost by almost 3 million votes – we needed an extra-long holiday break.

BACK TO THE 1960s

So when we heard about the January 21 Women’s March on Washington – which rapidly morphed into almost 700 sister marches across all 50 states and every continent on earth – we quickly decided we were in – even if Kate  (perhaps fortunately)  had never learned to knit.

17_01_23-10-womens-march-dc_6845No badly knitted-by-her pink hat,  but Kate tries on a sign.

MARCHING  IN  THE  STREETS

So here’s our look at Saturday’s march on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway:   The sky was foggy,  but the vibe  (and,  happily,  the temperature)  was warm and upbeat,  and just what the doctor ordered….

17_01_23-20-womens-march-dc_6876On the march:  Part of the Philly crowd preparing to head from Logan Square to Eakins Oval.

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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 almost three 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.

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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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