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.
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.
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….
This year, we struggled with finding a new topic for our annual holiday window display.
We’d already displayed photos of our South Philadelphia neighbors and of local celebrities from the 1960s….
What was left? South Philadelphia restaurant owners? Current local celebrities? Favorite Philly athletes? (Way too controversial!)
But one topic kept intruding in our heads.
ELECTION STRESS DISORDER
Like many people, we’ve been beaten down by the soul-draining divisiveness in the country this year.
Violence. Name-calling. Corruption. Terrorism. Racial and religious divides. Following the news – particularly the election news – you’d think that the country and the entire human race were sliding down that greased pole to hell.
“Uhm, Dave, do you have the comics?”
And, yes, it even has a name: Election Stress Disorder, and everyone we knew had symptoms.
“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” Colette
After four years of postponing outside repairs on our South Philadelphia home, we finally decided to bite the proverbial paintbrush.
Not because the building desperately needed painting, but because our metal bump-out windows had so many leaks that birds were nesting inside….
“Besides, I am so over this green and tan color scheme….”
SHOW ME THE MONEY
So this summer, we dug into our piggy bank and hired Mexcon, the cheerful, talented, and very popular local cooperative that has helped us with everything from kitchen cabinets to sidewalk repair…
Heaven bless those Mexcon guys, who spent endless days in the 90-degree heat sanding and repairing our vintage bay windows
They’re back! On Sunday, we lit our 27 holiday windows with portraits of the many great neighbors, shop owners, and dogs (lots of dogs…) we’ve met since moving to South Philadelphia in 2012.
So, if you’re dining or playing near the “Singing Fountain” between now and New Year’s Day, we hope you’ll check out our windows at East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.
(Our first holiday window display in December, 2013.)
If the Fringe Festival was an excuse to whip our first-floor studio into shape, then the Passyunk Square Civic Association Home Tour is prodding us to finish all those annoying home projects we’ve postponed for months.
Passyunk Square is among the city’s hottest neighborhoods, and this tour is your opportunity to peek behind some fun front doors in the area bounded by Broad and 6th, Washington and Tasker…
(A corner of our 1950s living & dining room with an oversized Isaiah Zagar mosaic – okay, so we weren’t thinking very clearly – and reupholstered thrift-shop sofas) Continue reading
Thanks to everyone who came out for “Are We There Yet?”, Kate’s mid-century, bad-postcard travel tour, and part of the 2015 Philly Fringe Festival…
(Want to understand the Baby Boom generation and their parents?
Look no further…)
Guests were offered bad ’60s appetizers, like pigs-in-a-blanket and a scary-looking port wine cheese roll with Ritz crackers. And, yes, everything predictably disappeared – except for the healthy vegetable bowl…
(Fellow Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Ann Keech, right, helps unload the goods. See her work at the Fringe Festival “Pope Up” show, weekends through Sept. 26.) Continue reading
Houses built from bottles. Room-sized loaves of bread. A restroom in a redwood tree. Mid-century Americans could see it all – and now you can, too – along with dinosaur parks, wacky food festivals, and museums celebrating everything from atomic bombs to cypress knees…
(Your tax dollars at work at the Fort Hayes Experiment Station in Kansas)
Join me on Tuesday, Sept. 8 (7:30 pm) or Sunday, Sept. 13 (5 pm) for “Are We There Yet? Roadside Delights of the 1950s and 1960s”, a free-wheeling postcard tour of America’s oddest tourist attractions, all part of the 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
It was the first week of June, and I was panicked: I had two weeks to finish our new website and learn how to blog. Dave was preparing for a weeklong business trip, and half our third floor was torn up for renovations.
So naturally I did what I always do when I’m overscheduled and terminally stressed: I started a new project.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK?”
“So, Dave,” I happily called as he dragged his laptop upstairs after work, “I thought I’d sign up for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in September. I already have a funny slide show – the one about wacky tourist destinations from the 1950s and ’60s – so it won’t take any work to schedule some performances, especially if I do them right here in my studio.