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.)
“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.
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.
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.
No 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….
On the march: Part of the Philly crowd preparing to head from Logan Square to Eakins Oval.
Karen Benson has always been attracted to photography – and to the unusual.
(Karen photographed “Head Case” at the Chelsea Antiques Garage in New York City. And, yes, there’s a lot going on in that box…)
It’s not often that an artist and a composer meet at a Bar Mitzvah, and the result is a song destined to greet thousands of cathedral visitors during a papal visit.
But when artist Meg Saligman described her vision for a collaborative art installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Betsy Alexander could almost hear the musical accompaniment playing in her head.
The result was “Help Us Mary”, her hauntingly beautiful complement to Saligman’s Knotted Grotto.
We first introduced you to Betsy Alexander this summer, when we toured the fabulous home she shares with her artist husband Burnell Yow! and a phalanx of cats, including internationally celebrated Nora the Piano Cat.
(Betsy at the keyboard with Nora, left, and Max) Continue reading
With our cars safely parked and no festival tickets in hand, we had no intention of joining the teeming mob around Pope Francis this weekend. But, hey: After staring out at the half-empty South Philly streets on Saturday (“Just look at those empty parking spots!”), we couldn’t sit home any longer.
IS ANYONE OUT THERE?
So at 4 pm, we headed up eerily traffic-free Broad Street, past the National Guardsmen, souvenir hawkers, concrete barriers, and (even more) blocks of port-a-potties, until we reached the Jumbotrons heralding the Pope’s visit to Independence Hall…
(A crowd gathers at Broad and Lombard Streets with City Hall in the background
to watch the Pope arrive at Independence Hall.) Continue reading
Like most South Philadelphians who didn’t get Festival tickets or flee to the shore, we’ll be home clutching our parking spots this weekend.
But before our Broad Street Subway entrance closes — and the security checkpoints click in around the “Secure Event Perimeter” (aka the “Pope Francis Festival Grounds”) — we headed to the Parkway on Wednesday evening to check out the preparations…
I THOUGHT THERE’D BE CHEESESTEAKS….
(One of the hundreds of banners lining the route from city hall to the art museum. And, yes, these World Meeting of Families visitors were noshing on Subway sandwiches by the fountain.)