If you’ve left your house at all the past week or so, chances are, you’ve notice one or more storefronts decked out in all sorts British-inspired décor. Seriously, you can’t walk down a street in this city right now without falling under the stern gaze of at least one cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth.
Needless to say, this is all apart of a promotional campaign and contest, held to fuel hype around the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show while also giving local businesses a chance to really showcase their creativity. Using Britain’s picturesque landscapes, royal icons, traditions and pop culture as inspiration, a total of 71 participating boutiques, restaurants and other establishments around the Philly region have crafted stunning displays inside their windows or lobbies, all of which will remain on display through March 10.
A panel of judges will be selecting winners in various categories including, “Most Creative,” “Best Interpretation” and the ultimate “2013 Grand Champion.” Meanwhile, it’s up to the public to determine this year’s “Crowd Favorite.” All of the winners will be announced this Thursday, so if there’s any businesses that you think did a particularly stellar job, go ahead and “Like” the Facebook contest page, peruse the gallery of contenders and cast your vote. As an incentive, with every vote you place, you’ll be entered to win two tickets to the Flower Show.
With over a hundred votes each, right now the front-runners appear to be Urban Princess (750 S. Fourth St.), Indigo Schuy (8432 Germantown Ave.) and Worn Yesterday (4228 Main St.). If you want to check out a few of these displays on your lunch break or on walk home, there’s an interactive map online that shows where each of the participating businesses are.
In the meantime, here are a few of my own personal faves…
For the past year, the Old City designer co-op has sought to expand and strengthen Philly’s fashion community, offering seven of the city’s most talented designers—Lele Designs, Lobo Mau, Mariel Rojo, Heartless Revival, Aso Damisi, Caterine Sanchez and Secret Bohemia—a shared space to showcase/sell their fashions and conserve resources. While enjoying complimentary drinks and light fare, guests are will have a chance to not only see the new designs in store, but hear straight from the designers themselves the various projects they’ve got in the works. 6:30-9:30pm. Free. US*U.S, 323 Arch St.
If your planning to head to the South Street/Fabric Row area tonight to check out the various Fourth Friday art openings and events, be sure to stop Paradigm Gallery, where a second reception will be held for talented young local artist, Dietrich Meyer’s latest show, a series of paintings based on the ideas of melancholy, duality, and mania. Sure, it might be a little depressing, but there’s will be plenty of other happenings going down in the vicinity that’ll cheer you back up if need be. 6-10pm. Free. Paradigm Gallery + Studio, 803 S. Fourth St.
Break out your most Oscar’s-appropriate attire and join local improv comedy vets Kristen Schier and Mike Marbach as they guide you through an evening of movie-based improv games as well as a few video parodies of last year’s nominated films. Rather than the usual $5 admission, the show will be asking folks to contribute what they can to help keep the weekly show going. Keep in mind that the venue is BYOB, but a limited selection of food and drinks will be up for grabs. Immediately following the jam at 10 p.m, there will be a screening of a surprise film, which got snubbed by the Academy this year and is also apparently one of the “best/worst movies of all time.” 8-10pm. $0-$10. The Arts Parlor, 1170 S. Broad St.
After being postponed due to fruitless winter storm hype, finally local crafters will be uniting at the Amtrak station to sell their handmade wares, whether that includes jewelry, knits, apparel, art prints, sculpture or home décor. Presented by VIX Emporium and the University City District, the daylong event has a slew of awesome merchants lined up. I’m personally feeling impartial to Phea Jean’s quirky line of accessories and handbags, the adorable kitchen accents of Dop Dop Designs, joeyfivecents’ one-of-a-kind, salvaged jewelry and the awesome nostalgic tees from The Captain’s Vintage. 11am-5pm. Free. 30th Street Station, North Waiting Room, 30th & Market Sts.
From the star of the Baltimore boylesque scene, Paco Fish to Philly’s own blossoming boylesquer, Mr. Fahrenheit, guests are in for a night of manly mayhem.In fact, host of the evening, Joey Martin of Peek-A-Boo Revue is promising to cover the audience in “hot man sauce.” Though, there are two glamorous gals in the group: local burlesque starlets Miss Rose and Lil’ Steph. Consider arriving early to get some dinner then stay late and party it up with the Bravissimo crew. Saturday, 10pm-1:30am. $10. Wine-O, 447 N. Poplar St.
If you’re not a fancy pants art collector, you probably wouldn’t normally consider attending an art auction. And chances are, you wouldn’t be able to afford a single thing at a normal art auction, anyway.
But InLiquid’s 13th Annual Silent Auction & Benefit isn’t just for fancy pants art collectors.
Going down this Friday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Ice Box Project Space of the Crane Arts Building (1400 N. American St.), the annual reception and fundraiser seeks to offer exposure to the city’s emerging visual artists, connecting them to a diverse new audience—collectors and professionals as well as the general art-appreciating public.
Having received well over 150 submissions from local artisans and galleries this year, the array of artwork up for grabs includes everything from photography and paintings to sculpture and jewelry. And while the bids for most of the featured pieces start at $100, there’s also a decent selection of items well under $100.
Admission to the event is $40 in advance; $50 at the door. If this seems like a lot of money, keep in mind that not only will you be supporting the local art community, but you’re going to be fed a lavish lineup of food and drinks from top local purveyors like Ristorante Panorama, Philadelphia Brewing Co., Rustica and Soy Café. On top of that, all guests will get to go home with a special, limited edition print designed by three artists, chosen by a group of jurors from the Philly art world.
Still, if you’re totally broke, consider stopping by for Crane Arts’ Second Thursday art openings tomorrow night from 6-9 p.m when InLiquid will be simultaneously hosting a Young Professionals Preview Party/Valentine’s Day Mixer. While perusing all the new artwork and attempting to make a love connection, guests will be treated to drinks courtesy of Art in the Age and live entertainment from the RAW Artists and its crew of fashion models.
I’ve been getting a steady stream of emails since the beginning of January about all the different Valentine’s-related happenings going on around town. And while I ignored most, I did hold on to the ones that sounded particularly interesting, quirky or just flat out eccentric.
Here’s the 12 events I was left with…
Bad Cupid: An Anti-Valentine’s Cabaret: For everyone who can’t get down a greeting card isle this time of the year without wanting to puke, Diversion Productions is bringing back their raunchy 2011 hit show with new songs and characters to shit all over the same lame holiday. Rich Lee reprises his role of the jaded, chain-smoking, binge-drinking and porn-loving cherub of love. Wed/13, 8pm. $15. L2, 2201 South St.
Robot-Human Theater: That’s right, this innovative performance by internationally acclaimed playwright and director Oriza Hirata features acting robots. And given that the production’s two-night run is so close to V-Day, the folks behind Live Arts/Fringe festival are offering a special “CupidBot” package, which includes not only two tickets, but gourmet chocolates, a rose and two glasses of champagne. Fri/15, 8pm. $75. Christ Church, 20 N. American St.
Valentine Craft Sunday: If you’re attached, give your Valentine a handmade shout out, on T Mom’s “Wall of Sweethearts.” If you’re single and bitter, partake in a little revenge crafting and showcase your evil ex on their “Wall of Broken Hearts.” Either way, you’ll enjoy half priced drafts from 5-7 p.m and 10-11 p.m. Sun/10, 12pm-2am. Free. Tattooed Mom, 530 South St.
Phreak N Queer Valentine Karaoke Fundrasier: Whether it’s a solo or duet, host Sara Sherr of Sing Your Life Karaoke just wants you to come out and sing and help her raise some cash for the Phreak N Queer Art and Music Festival going down in August. Admission includes a free drink and the following night, Tabu will also be hosting a “Love Hangover” dance party. Thurs/14, 8-10pm. $5. Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, 200 S. 12th St.
Blow Me A Kiss!: Sure to leave lovers feeling a little raunchy, Philly’s premiere neo-burlesque troupe, Peek-A-Boo Revue twirls their tassels with some of their tried and true crowd pleasers as well as a few brand new treats. Fri/8, 8pm. $20. The Troc, 1003 Arch St.
Cupid’s Undie Run 2013: A bunch of people strip down to their skivvies and take roughly a mile-long jog around the Art Museum for a good cause: The Children’s Tumor Foundation. Afterwards, everyone puts their clothes back on and seeks shelter inside one of the many fine watering-holes along Fairmount Avenue. Sat/9, 2pm. $30. Urban Saloon, 2120 Fairmount Ave.
Til Death Do Us Part: The Love Stories of Laurel Hill: During this hour-long walking tour, you’ll hear tales of undying romances as well as sorted stories of betrayal. When all is said and done, you and your mate can cozy up fireside and enjoy wine, hot chocolate and d’oeuvres. Sat/9, 1pm. $18-$20. Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave.
A Valentine’s Day MixMassacre: Perfect for punk-rocking pairs of all ages, this deafening music showcase has five underground bands on the bill including, Man World Order, The Final Statement, Of Dukes & Capulets, Here & Gone and Seany Hags & Spark Up Music. Thurs/14, 7pm. $8-$10. The Troc, 1003 Arch St.
Second Stories Presents: Love is a Battlefield: Really, you can’t ask for a more romantic setting than the intimate, smoky second floor bar at The Dive. And just incase the various doodles of male and female genitalia covering the walls don’t get ya in the mood, several funny locals are going to tell you true stories of great romantic victory and defeat. Tues/12, 7pm. Free. The Dive, 947 E. Passyunk Ave.
pOrnithnology: The Birds and the Bees and the Bees: Have you ever wondered what bird foreplay is like? Well, George Armistead from the American Birding Association is going to tell you. In fact, you’ll learn all sorts of interesting things about the unusual mating rituals of various bird species. Should you and your own mate be looking to spice things in the bedroom, perhaps you’ll learn a few new tricks. Wed/13, 5:30-7pm. Free. The Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 W. Montgomery Ave.
Valen-Zine Reading: Should you be seeking a more creative V-Day outing, four talented local zinesters will be discussing the things, people and places that they love the most. The featured zines include “Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric” by Sarah Rose and “Beer Jawn” by Bibliophile which traces his experience learning about different beers as an atypical Philly beer drinker. Thurs/14, 6pm. Free. Wooden Shoe Books, 624 South St.
Moonshine & Valentine’s: Recreating the sultry vibe of a 1920s speakeasy, the center will be serving up whisky cocktails, beer and a decant dinner menu followed by equally decadent desserts like red velvet cupcakes and chocolate-covered strawberries. As for the evening’s entertainment, besides gaining access to the center’s current Prohibition exhibit, guests will be treated to live jazz music and special cabaret performances featuring hits from Broadway’s Chicago. Come dressed for the occasion as you and your mate will also have a chance to strike a pose in front of a 20s-era backdrop. Thurs/14, 5:30-8:30pm. $30-$35. Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.
I got a rare opportunity today. Disclaimer: my friend, Jestis Deuerlein, is going to be a major player in this exciting cultural movement coming to Northern Liberties. She’s going to be helming some event planning and has a ton of infectious enthusiasm about the space, what’s going to go down there and how so many Philadelphians are going to reap the boundless potential of this incredibly multi-functioning space. Before I get down to the virtual tour, feel free to do a little reading up on exactly what 3rd Ward is. Here’s the two-second version of what they do from the horse’s mouth:
“3rd Ward is a multi-disciplinary workspace and education center. Here, you can take advantage of our Wood Shop, Metal Shop, Photo Studios, Jewelry Studios and Coworking Space, as well as learn new skills in one of our many classes. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a creative outlet, or a seasoned professional in search of a full-time workspace solution, 3rd Ward can help.”
And they’re bringing this spirit of creativity and community to Philadelphia in a matter of months. We won’t try to name a date at this time but you can bet you’ll be kept abreast of the space’s grand opening (almost definitely with a big, fat party).
For one, as a music journalist, I’m pumped about this as a space for dance parties, music events, performances and art parties. There will basically be two performance/event spaces; one on the first and one on the second floor which extends out onto an open-air roof-top deck. The third floor is a sickeningly sprawling and beautiful co-work space, but more on that later.
This is a pretty odd neighborhood, let’s be real. I used to live over here. Just a few blocks north of Girard and west of Front isn’t what you’d call a vibrant or distinct neighborhood. Sure, there’s a bunch of great things in this odd mix of Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington and North Philly: the robust strip of 2nd Street between Girard and Spring Garden, the newly-bustling Super Fresh, and stuff like Johnny Brenda’s, Kung Fu Necktie, El Bar and Fishtown Tavern. This is all to say ‘This space is going to do good by lots of people, including the neighborhood.’
So let’s start at the ground floor. The two main entrances will open up to a big combo restuarant/cafe/performance/art show space (above, left) and to a reception-y welcome center. Curious about the restaurant space? Check out Stone Park Cafe in Brooklyn – they’ll be related. In the back is a massive metal and wood shop. The cafe space will also feature loads of outdoor seating, perfect for its slated summer opening. The second floor is a home for a handful of classroomy spaces including what will be a huge work kitchen, and, perhaps the crown jewel of this whole endeavor, a lovely small/mid-sized outdoor patio (above, right) with room for a projection wall, maybe a small bar, a DJ booth and around 100 people. I can already see the artsy folk in their shorts and sun dresses mingling under the stars.
Upstairs, on the top and third floor, is one of the biggest and most beautiful co-op/co-work spaces I’ve ever seen. This puts the Flavorpill office in SoHo where I interned five years ago to shame. Beautifully restored finishes and wood floors, endless snaking cubicles and phone call booths will make this one whacky-ass floor full of people looking for a home base for their young company or their freelancing needs. As our economy still figures out what’s going on and young folks are smacked in the face with the reality that freelancing is the future, not staff jobs, it’s possible this space will be a bustling and thriving epicenter of Philadelphia’s already-strong-but-still-blossoming intellectual and literary culture. Not to mention all the artists/crafters/designers/printers/tech nerds that’ll benefit from work spaces and opportunites to get their work seen (and bought).
The space is freakin’ 27,000 square feet. PW will definitely be keeping an eye on the opening, the class and events lineup and welcome newly-hired members of a powerful 3rd Ward team.
If you read PW’s art column this week and thought, ‘Wow, this show sounds really cool,’ then you might be interested to know that Permanent Wave Philly will actually be hosting a slew of cool events in conjunction with Create Chaos! at Eris Temple Arts in West Philly (602 S. 52nd St.) through the end of March.
Unfortunately, that paragraph got cut from the article, so allow me to address a few of those now.
The most imaginative event the local feminist art/activist network has in store will actually be going down tomorrow night from 6-8pm, titled “Cocktails, Schmocktails: A Feminist Re-Appropriation of the Bar Menu.” After taking a deeper look at the various sexist norms of our bar culture, guests will flip those norms the finger, mixing up their own drinks with a feminist twist.
If you’re busy tomorrow, I’d highly recommend checking out the show on March 2 at 7 p.m. when Permanent Wave will also be hosting a screening of “Wonder Women!: The Untold Story of American Superheroines.” The documentary examines the fascinating legacy of Wonder Woman as an ever-evolving symbol of society’s anxieties about women’s lib. I had a chance to see this during the Philly Comic Con and I give it two thumbs up.
Seemingly just as fascinating is the film they’ll be screening next Saturday (Feb. 2, 7pm), “The Purity Myth: The Virginity Movement’s War,” an adaptation of feminist blogger, Jessica Valenti’s book which offers a timely critique of America’s obsession with virginity and how it affects women’s rights.
Also scheduled are two open mics/jam sessions (Feb. 23 & March 23, 7pm), a skill share and craft session (March 24, 2pm) and a feminist photo shoot/live sketch (March 9, 12pm/5pm). Last but not least, for the closing reception of Create Chaos!, Permanent Wave Philly will be throwing a two-day festival from March 30-31, featuring a slew of performances from indie local musicians as well as the show’s featured artists. Hopefully that includes heavenly singer-songwriter, Liz Ciavolino, who freakin’ rocked the harp at the opening reception.
Though all of these events are free and open to anyone with an open mind, be sure to bring some cash for their donations jar so that this awesome community of talented females can continue spreading their messages of equality and empowerment.
If you’re interested in getting involved with Permanent Wave Philly or would like to stay abreast (get it?) of their upcoming events, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to their listserv. Even easier, go ahead and “Like” them on Facebook.
Taking into account the possibility that our time here on Earth might be limited, the indie weekly comedy event otherwise known as The Sideshow is going to entertain audiences with a variety of performances and as quickly as they possibly can. All of the evening’s acts will get no more than 15 minutes to showcase their talents, most having to do their thang in just roughly 5-8 minutes. This includes, Martha Cooney (storytelling), Alison Zeideman (standup), The Kevin McDonald Experience (sketch) and local improv vet Mike Marbach’s reimagined rendition of “The Night Before Christmas.” I don’t know about you, but if shit does indeed happen to hit the fan at some point tonight, I’d like to go out with a smile on my face. Friday, 8-10pm. The Arts Parlor, 1170 S. Broad St.
This will be the last craft event happening around these here parts before Christmas, so if you’ve yet to purchase any handcrafted, local gifts, now is the time. Over 45 handmade and vintage vendors will be in attendance selling everything across the craft spectrum—from ceramics and letterpress items to knitted accessories and silk-screened apparel. There will also be plenty of refreshments courtesy of PBR and performances from four Philly musical acts: The Swinging Foxes, Hezekiah Jones, The Spinning Leaves and Jason Ferraro of the Homophones. Saturday, 12-7pm. $0-$2. 2424 Studios, E. York St.
Once home to the cast of MTV’s Real World, all this weekend TRUST will be transformed into Old City’s North Pole, hosting a slew of family-friendly activities each day. While checking out a colorful new exhibit inside the venue, guests can sample seasonal food and drinks, decorate ornaments and enjoy live music. For the kiddies, The Arden Theater will be offering free princess makeovers in addition to hosting several special performances of Cinderella. Also worth noting: gift wrapping and valet parking will be available, both helping to benefit PAWS, Philly’s largest no-kill animal shelter. Fri., 5-10pm. Sat. & Sun., 12-5pm. Free. TRUST, 249 Arch St.
Tomorrow, several members of the always awesome and off-beat local artist collective will be essentially clearing house, slashing prices on a slew of their original artworks, both old and new. From t-shirts and screenprints to records and zines, there’s really no telling what sort of cool shit you’ll find. Participating artists include Max Seckel, Emilia Brintnall, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Will Laren and many, many more. So come, pick up a few one-of-a-kind creations, and help these talented emerging local artists make room in their studios for whatever masterpieces they might have in store for the coming year. Saturday, 12-5pm. Free. Space 1026, 1026 Arch St.
Marking his official return to the local quizzo scene, Philly’s own entertainment maverick, James Bradford is putting a fun new spin on the traditional quizzo format with a night of thematic trivia that includes various special rounds and one final “impossible question.” The theme for the debut night is eras. That’s right, each round will be assigned a different decade (80s-today) with the featured questions covering TV, movies, music, sports and history/current events. Several local retailers will be offering up prizes including Philly Aids Thrift and Passional Boutique. Sunday, 7-11pm. Free. The HeadHouse, 122 Lombard St.