Tracking Philadelphia’s Trolley Lama: Joel Spivak

Last summer,  Unexpected Philadelphia toured the home and studio of architect,  artist,  author and community activist Joel Spivak and his artist wife Diane Keller.

16_04_11 1 Joel Spivak & Diane Keller DC_4227(Joel and Diane in their art-and-imagination-filled South Philadelphia home.)

Joel,  a co-founder of that merry band of found-object artists known as the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  is also the inspired originator of Philadelphia’s National Hot Dog Month celebration, leading tours to classic hot dog stands and giving away hundreds of hot dogs each July to confused-but-happy pedestrians around the city.


But Joel has another avocation:   Known among the Dumpster Divers as the “Trolley Lama”,  Joel is the co-author of two photo-packed books on Philadelphia trolleys and trains:

16_04_11 2 Joel Spivak Books(“Philadelphia Trolleys” and “Philadelphia Railroads” by Allen Meyers and Joel Spivak for Arcadia Publishing)

  Continue reading

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