As some of you may already be aware, the galleries and shops in Old City have recently come together to expand the neighborhood’s iconic First Friday festivities to include an entire weekend of art, shopping and dining.
What you probably weren’t aware of is that they have something extra special in store for the May edition of First Friday Weekends.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the patenting of the zipper, this Saturday, 12 of the neighborhood’s best design and fashion destinations are taking part in a free, zipper-centric fashion show dubbed “ZIP 19106.”
Students from Philadelphia University, along with a few local boutique staffers, will be modeling a variety of clothing, objects and accessories—all featuring zippers—during an energetic runway show narrated by Snyderman-Works Galleries Director Frank Hopson and set to the live tunes of DJ Adub.
Afterwards, the models will mingle with the crowd to give you a closer look at their fashions and answer any questions you may have about where you can find them. Chances are you’re going to be particularly intrigued by Kate Cusack’s intricate, sculptural and surprisingly chic zipper jewelry (see right).
Meanwhile, food and drinks will be provided by several local restaurants, including Art in the Age, Cuba Libre, Wedge + Fig and Pinot. As for the boutiques and stores participating in the show—all of which will all remain open during the event, some offering special sales and spirits—that list includes Franklin Square, Smak Parlour, More Than Old, Three Sirens Boutique, The Geisha House, Sugarcube and US* U.S. Boutique.
The Inquirer’s Kevin Riordan spotlighted Philadelphia’s fluorishing local poetry culture via the excellent Apiary Magazine last week. From the piece itself: “Apiary’s first issue appeared in 2010. The magazine is Philly-centric but hardly parochial; 730 men, women, and children from all over the country submitted poetry and short fiction for the forthcoming Apiary 6.” And “Apiary, a print and online literary magazine as energetic and eclectic as the Philly poetry scene it nurtures.”
By the way, an apiary is, by Webster’s definition: “a place where bees are kept; especially a collection of hives or colonies of bees kept for their honey.” Just an FYI.
In a way, poetry’s never really been as sexy as it should be. It’s the art of words, an art form that dwells in ideas and nuance. And an intuitive and sensitive mind, one that cherishes the technicality of expression, doesn’t always lead to a well-attended and buzzworthy event. Poets have often been outsiders, too, writers who’ve known the burden of constant thought interpretation. The poetry reading and writers workshop has always been a haven of judgement-free safety. In the best way possible, the love of letters and expression of free literary thought has been a historic playground for freaks, outcasts, weirdos and philosophers.
With these two big events next week, there’s an opportunity to see just how diverse and lively Philly is as a poetry breeding ground. Apiary’s big on promoting poetry events in Philadelphia, and they’re pushing these two: the Philadelphia Poetry Grand Slam FINALS and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement Grand Slam FINALS. The more-adult Grand Slam Finals are on Friday night, May 3rd, at PhilaMOCA, but it’s still all ages; it’s at 8:30pm, and tickets are $8 in advance (and a little more at the door) and $15 for VIP. The young kids’ll be selling out the Art Museum (the Van Pelt Auditorium) with a quick 5:30pm door and 6pm sharp show time; tickets are $7 for students and the youth and $15 for adults. A special appearance is planned by the Swarthmore College Poetry Team, and last year over 400 people showed up for some slammin’.
Oh, and by the way, Apiary’s been highlighting local writers’ favorite poems all month, so I thought it’d be nice to share one of those here and now. This is Helen W. Mallon’s pick, a writer/writing coach/book reviewer, a(n excerpt from a) poem by Louise Erdrich called “Advice to Myself”:
“Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw out the cracked bowl and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and the the dead
foaming up in grey rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses the toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic–decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks….“
I hope you were already planning to go shopping this weekend. If you weren’t, you may want to reconsider your plans.
By now most of us have heard about the Reading Viaduct Project, which seeks to build a neighborhood park along the long forgotten elevated Viaduct in the Callowhill/Chinatown North section of the city. It would be nice if something finally happened, right? To support the project, the urban revitalization group, SURFACE, will be hosting a bash showcasing the fashions of local eco-friendly designers, Melissa D’Agostino and Bela Shehu of NINOBRAND along with the photographs of Julia Blaukopf. Though there will be a fancy schmancy exclusive fashion show at 5 p.m., it’ll be immediately followed by a public reception during which guests will enjoy wine and have an opportunity to chat with artists. On Saturday and Sunday, CITYSPACE will also opening its doors to the public, creating an intimate retail setting where you can meet the designers and shop their goods from 12-5 p.m. Fri/5, 7-9pm. $25-$35. CITYSPACE, 2200 Walnut St.
That’s right, one of Philly’s most beloved boutiques has managed weather the economic storm for eight whole years. And you bet your ass owners Abby and Katie are going to celebrate. Besides offering store-wide discounts on select items all weekend long, the ladies are going to give away free b-day gifts to the first 50 customers and raffle off eight $10 gift certificates throughout the night. Oh, and this wouldn’t be Smak Parlour we’re talking about here if there weren’t pink cupcakes. Fri/5, 5-8pm. Free. Smak Parlour, 219 Market St.
Curated specially by Three Sirens Boutique, the women’s accessories brand Cayetano Legacy Collection will be bringing some of their most popular spring pieces as well as a selection of only-available-here-samples. The collection is marked by colorful statement pieces, most featuring genuine, natural stones like the cuff bracelet and hand embroidered bib style necklace you see above. If you can’t make it out tonight, no worries—the trunk show will be going on through May 11. Fri/5, 5-9pm. Free. Three Sirens Boutique, 134 N. Third St.
Arcadia Boutique is ringing in spring in style by inviting two talented local designers to showcase and sell their wares at their NoLibs shop for First Friday. Nana Pat Project will be bringing their selection of vintage and handmade fashions for the spring (I’m loving their spring scarves made from vintage 80s textiles) while newbie jewelry designer, Tessa Kennedy of New Histories will be bringing along pieces from her collection of elaborate rings, all inspired by the jewelry of yesteryear. Enjoy snacks and spring cocktails while you shop and definitely check out Arcadia’s new spring arrivals while you at it since it’ll all be 15 percent off. Fri/5, 5-9pm. Free. Arcadia Boutique, 819 N. Second St.
Helping to raise money for Career Wardrobe, a local non-profit empowering women in transition with free professional clothing and educational seminars, professional stylists, Jessie Holeva and Tia Gibson are not only going to show you some of the biggest spring trends, but they’re going to offer you tips on how to pull off yourself. Guests will also enjoy light refreshments and receive 25 percent off all new inventory, free gifts and a chance to win a free Wardrobe Boutique shopping spree. Though the $20 dollar ticket is a pretty small charitable donation, right now, PW Style readers can score themselves a ticket for half off by entering the checkout code “FRIEND.” Sun/7, 11am-2pm. $20-$30. The Wardrobe Boutique, 1822 Spring Garden St.
On Monday morning, another big announcement happened with a Michael Nutter photo op: Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe are combining efforts, solidifying a headquarters, expanding their scope, renovating a new space, and as Emily Guendelsberger put it, thankfully, shortening their combined names into FringeArts. This is big news. Not only is the nature of Philly Fringe and Live Arts morphing before our eyes into something bigger and better, they’re carving out a space for themselves across from the beautiful new Race Street Pier underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge. It’s going to be a massive space with multi-functioning spaces and a BAR. Oh, and public restrooms that’ll be open to the public all-year-round.
Take it from the horse’s mouth via their press release:
“Our future home is located across the street from Race Street Pier at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. The 1903 historic former pumping station will be transformed into a year-round center for contemporary performing and visual arts; the 10,000-square-foot building will feature:
+ 240-seat Theater
+ Restaurant and Bar
+ Outdoor Plaza
+ Permanent Festival Hub
Programming under the new FringeArts banner will expand to include not only the annual 16-day Festival but also a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances both local and international; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists.”
As noted in Emily’s post, there might be a teeny, tiny problem – train and car traffic and the resulting noise. She said that even with a mic, when a NJ Transit train passed by, it’s all you could hear. But that’s outside. Even though an outdoor performance space sounds cool, you’ve gotta be crafty about what you do and when you do it. The theater sounds totally rad, though. We won’t say no to these kinds of things filling up our city.
With Morgan’s Pier, that damned beautiful Pier and Sugar House and all that, it looks like the city’s actually trying really hard to make that waterfront a thing. And while there’s plenty of room for improvement, they’re getting there. Like, can we do something with that monstrous Dave and Busters? Can we connect Old City more seamlessly with these new waterfront attractions? We gotta try.
With Third Ward and the looming reno and reuse of The Dolphin, it really feels like this city’s on the cusp of an explosion of art. With Union Transfer, we’re becoming a city with a world-class diversity of spaces. It’s happening, you guys!
There’s one other thing. Does Philly have enough actual art and artists to keep these enterprises humming? Maybe all this means that talent, voices, thoughts and art’ll be looking at our city with a keener eye; Philly has the resources and the spaces to facilitate every kind of show that can be dreamed up.
After getting excited about this duo from New York last week, we checked in to make sure they were as badass as we’d thought they’d be. Turns out yes – and it was sold out.
1. Man, it was cold. Friday night was so chilly and windy that riding a bike from Graduate Hospital to Frankford and Girard took dedication. The ride back down to South Philly was even more brutal. But we made it right on time for their 11:15p set.
2. Not much for stage banter are these two. Did you know that their names are Arone Dyer (female lead vocalist) and Aron Sanchez? Arone and Aron. In a band together. Sanchez didn’t say much at all but Dyer can wail. It wasn’t until about six songs in that she even said anything to the crowd other than a lyric.
3. She also had a badass percussive element strapped to her foot or shoe. Seemed like a tambourine or at least something brassy and tambourine-like. With her footwork and his beating on a kickbass drum, it really added to their sound. Wouldn’t have been so awesome without those two important ingredients.
4. A few related-in-sound bands came to mind. For instance, her voice was powerful and loud and had qualities that called Tegan and Sara to mind but mixed with the Dirty Projector’s Dave Longstreth’s outrageous control. But overall, they sounded a lot like Battles. The tinny, high-pitched guitar and prog funkiness kept me looking for a crazy-high hi-hat.
5. After “Outt!,” which includes the awesome scream “Everybody here is out to get you,” Dyer delievered some chit-chat. She said it felt good to be back at JB’s and that she was happy to see that the balcony was still there. The house was full – up and downstairs.
6. I asked a couple how they’d gotten here or why they made it to the show. She pointed at her manfriend and he said he’d been listening for about a year and a half after hearing them on All Songs Considered. NPR DOES enjoy this band. He also said that approximateily 16 to 17 people in this room were here on his heavy recommendation. He was also a source that confirmed my suspicion: a lot of the songlist was from the previous LP, Riposte, as opposed to their badass newest, General Dome.
7. The internally lit bass drum was perhaps the only piece of set decoration on stage. No projections, no lights, no color at all; they were in all black. It actually kind of made taking pictures extremely difficult but it had a cool effect, lightly bathing the handsome Sanchez in benevolent white.
8. There’s always one. There was a girl in wild, curly long hair and a vivid red top who was dancing her ass off. She was right in front of the stage and carved out a nice little radius in which she could jump and spin and contort to her heart’s content. Not a bad thing. This music could, indeed, be the kind of music that you flail and gyrate to, especially when it gets groovy. There’s an in-your-face rockness element to their sound which channels a little punk energy and spikes it with funk. But of course, most people just bobbed their heads and tapped their toes with arms crossed.
9. They just kept going. Songs just kept coming out of them at a quick clip. There was very little pausing between songs and their energy was high. And with 27 tracks from two records and some cuts being quite short, it did kind of have that punk show feeling.
10. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for making the Punxsutawney Phil say spring is on its way. Just thank you.
Foxygen, to be real, popped up on my radar this week when they received the coronation of Pitchfork’s Best New Music honor with an 8.4 review of their new one, the long-titled We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. Hoo, it’s a mouthful! But it’s also pretty awesome. You’ll find it in the paper this week in our On The Record column, and then this lil’ gem of a studio session showed up on the NPR website today, recorded right here in our fair city.
Sam France and Jonathan Rado grew up in California. They started jamming and listening to classic rock as teens, even making records as early as 16. They loved stuff like The Doors, Neil Young, and The Beatles but also The Clash and Bob Dylan. Funny how the old becomes new again with each generation, isn’t it? And even how the music you get into as a teenager dictates the kind of musician you become. That is to say, this new record, their second, isn’t a ‘If You’re Going To California’ moment, but you can hear the Zep and the Stones serving as a bedrock for their shoegazey and slightly psychedelic lo-fi fuzz rock. Word is that they found Dig!, the great rock doc feautring The Dandy Warhols and, more importantly, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and took Anton Newcombe’s insane-but-talented multi-instrumental approach to record-making to heart. They started playing as many instruments as they could. S’good place to start. If you haven’t seen Dig! you really should get your hands on it.
They’re in good company on their tour and on their label – signed to Jagjaguwar (Remember when Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago was fresh and B.I. wasn’t a ubiquitious sensitive white man presence in indie rock? He got signed to Jagjaguwar to release that one) and touring with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. And speaking of NPR, they’re featuring UMO’s great new record, II, on their First Listen feature right now. UMO’s an American and New Zealand creation who are unveiling THEIR sophomore on February 5 via JagJag, too. They also specialize in vaguely stonerific garage rock, so these two bands are clearly meant for each other. By the by, Foxygen’s new one is available on Spotify right now and it’s definitely worth your time.
So these two together should make for a great lineup of a show that’s only five-ish weeks away. And you know what? It’s not at Union Transfer! It’s at the Church. I don’t know about you, but, I could go for a solid Church night sometime soon. S’been a while. It’s on Friday, March 1st and it’s a $12-$13 ticket.
Sure 2011 may now official be behind us, but there’s still plenty of “end of the year” sales going on. So if you’ve got some Christmas cash leftover, here are some local shops you may want to consider blowing it at this weekend.
Three Potato Four: If you’re on the market for a unique salvaged vintage item for your home, now’s the time to check out Three Potato Four awesome collection of treasures. Spend over $100 and you’ll receive 35 percent off your entire order with the promo code NEWYEAR35. The sale ends at midnight on Sunday. (376 Shurs Ln., Building A)
Knit Wit/Plage Tahiti: Select items throughout the store are now be half-off. (1729 Chestnut St./128 S. 17th St.)
Arcadia Boutique: Looking for a little retail therapy to cure your holiday hangover? Take 25 percent off all clothing, shoes and sale items either in stores or online with the promo code: LEFTOVERS. If that’s not enough of an incentive, shoppers will automatically be entered to win a $100 gift certificate when they make a purchase anytime now-Sunday. (No Libs: 819 N. Second St. Rittenhouse: 265 S. 20th St.)
Nicole Miller: You have just a few more hours to take advantage of Nicole Miller’s semi-annual sale and take an additional 15 percent off all sale items using the promo code EXTRA15. By the way, this includes an ample selection of designer dresses. (200 S. Broad St.)
Three Sirens Boutique: As part of the Old City’s First Friday festivities, the boutique is offering 30-50 percent off clothing as well as 20 percent off accessories. Even better: they’re extending the sale through the weekend. (134 N. Third St.)
BUS STOP: Save anywhere from 30-40 percent on the Fabric Row boutique’s selection of winter shoes for ladies and blokes including, winter styles from such hot international designers as Irregular Choice, Nicole and Antelope. Their “RED HOT Winter SALE” ends on Jan. 13. (727 S. Fourth St.)