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.
Whether you’ve got a passion for fashion or just an unhealthy obsession with America’s Next Top Model, this Thursday, Drexel is inviting you and the rest of the general public to a free screening of the new critically acclaimed documentary “Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution,” which explores a moment that forever changed the fashion industry.
More specifically, the film recounts the 1973 fashion face-off between American and French designers at the Versailles Fashion Ball in Paris that skyrocketed American designers to international acclaim and more importantly, marked the first time black models were hired to walk the runway.
Following the screening, the film’s award-winning writer and producer Deborah Riley Draper will be joined by model Pat Cleveland for a Q&A session. Cleveland, who is featured in the film, actually walked the Versailles runway on that historic night in 1973, helping pave the way for the likes of Iman, Tyra and Naomi.
Over the course of her career, she’s modeled for every major designer in the world—Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, etc.—and was a actually in the American fashion icon Halston’s regular troupe of models, nicknamed “the Halstonettes.” While you’re there, be sure to stop into The URBN Annex’s Pearlstein Gallery where a stunning Halston-designed gown will be on display just for the occasion.
Hosted by the Design & Merchandising Program in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the screening starts at 6 p.m. in the URBN Annex Screening Room (34th & Filbert Sts.).
While the majority of the trees and plants around town may still stand depressingly lifeless, our cherry blossoms are officially in full bloom (or at least some).
For those of you who have heard of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, but don’t entirely understand exactly what it entails and why you should care, allow me to break it down. The month-long festival celebrates all things Japanese with a slew citywide events (workshops, performances, screenings, exhibitions, etc.)—DUH—all leading up to the centerpiece event, Sakura Sunday on April 14.
Here are a few of the festivities you can look forward to…
Japanese Culture Week: Now through Thursday, The Shops at Liberty Place are inviting folks of all ages to stop by at lunchtime and discover Japanese culture through and interactive workshop. Today you can make and take an origami folded paper ornament while tomorrow, members of the audience will be selected to experience the intricacies of Kimono dressing. Last but not least, on Thursday, you can learn how to write using Japanese Calligraphy and take home a sample. Daily through Thurs/4, 12-2pm. Free. The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St.
Tamagawa University Taiko Drum and Dance Performance: Tamagawa University, a top-ranking thirty-piece troupe from Japan and the Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance group are joining forces, creating a unique, high-energy performance, equipped with intricate dances, thundering drums and beautiful costumes. Sat/6, 8-10pm $25-$30. The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St.
Madam Saito’s Sushi Making Class: Every sushi lover is dying to learn how to make it themselves and who better to show you than Madame Saito, Philadelphia’s Queen of Sushi. More specifically, she’ll be showing participants how to create rolls that taste as good as they look. So be sure to come hungry and with containers so that you can take home your left-overs. Also, you must call and register in advance. Sun/7 & Wed/10, 6:30pm. $30. The Headhouse, 124 Lombard St. 215.922.2515.
Sakura Sunday: If you’re going to go to any Cherry Blossom event, this should be the one. In addition to Japanese food/product vendors, origami and calligraphy workshops, martial arts demos and drum and dance group performances, there’s the annual Harajuku Fashion Show and Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade. Meanwhile, over at the Horticulture Center’s new Sakura Pavilion you can discover the traditional elements of Sakura Sunday—from the Urasenke tea ceremony and the art of flower arrangement, known as ikebana to the elegant Japanese dance, Ichifujikai. Sun/14, 10:30am-4pm. $0-$5. Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, Montgomery Dr. & Belmont Ave.
Yup, that’s her (drag) name. And until I accidentally tuned into this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which happened to be a roast of Ru, I didn’t know much about these goyles. I knew there was a new season and that the gays were gagging every Monday for a new episode. But for non-viewers, simply the name Alaska Thunderfuck is ear-catching. Then I saw her dish it. She’s got spunk. She’s got edge and she’s sharp as a tack. For Drag Race superfans? This is a pretty cool opportunity and you might as well dish out the $30 for the open-bar meet & greet.
That wild child Tammy Faymous is hosting and trying a new layout for a drag show upstairs at Tabu Sports Bar & Lounge. She’s gonna build a stage – no seats. General admission tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and that includes one drink. She’s trying to fill this place up with advance ticket purchases because it’ll probably sell out. Thunderfuck’s Sharon Needles lover, and not for nothin’, but it’s made her and her performance on this current season just a little extra. But I will say this, watching Alaska was captivating and she is going to be such a sassy little visitor to the ‘hood next week.
DJs Xavier B (Fingerbanger/Stash) and K/ Rex (Factory Girls) will be spinning, and some serious local queens are slated to accompany Tammy on stage: The Goddess Isis, Aeryanah Von Moi, Maddy Milan, Roxxy Glamour and Luna Lavey.
It’s no surprise – I love drag. And Isis Brooks D’Shey (The Goddess Isis) runs a tight ship upstairs at Tabu on Sunday nights. She typically gets things cookin’ around 11pm and things start getting real around midnight. She peppers in performances of her own between introducing and interviewing up-and-coming Philly queens. Last night she praised Lisa Lisa and Sandy Beach as perhaps the only queens who’ve been doing Philly drag as long as she has. There was a definite Christmas theme running through last night’s performances but the really mind-effing performance was turned in by a young, brand new queen named Ann Artist. She competed in a Voyeur-based serial drag competition called Drag Wars (not wholly unlike RuPaul’s Drag Race) and finished in the Top Three. Last night I saw why.
In her tribute to the second amendment, she made a dress out of an American flag (he’s studying fashion design now; following his bliss) and held a plastic gun, a semi-automatic machine gun, that he’d found at Walmart. As she lay on the ground, all 6+ feet of her, a clip of an ABC newscast describing Adam Lanza preceded actual music. She touched herself and fondled her machine gun suggestively. She finally got to her feet and performed Regina Spektor’s “Uhmerica,” a gun-focused song that doesn’t seek to romanticize America’s love of guns. It was going there – Ann is strongly against the second amendment. The Spektor song turned into tUnE-yArDs’ “Gangsta.” The connection was made clear afterwards when I cornered her in the alley to ask her what was going on in her head to make this performance come to light: “Gangsta” is a song that puts fronting young fans of violence in their face, calling them a pussy for talking game but really being weak and scared. Adam Lanza is a pussy – he decided to take his own life after taking over 25 lives because he didn’t know how to handle himself (or something like that).
At a couple points during the performance, Ann fellated her Walmart gun and subsequently destroyed it, slamming the gun into the back wall facing 12th Street. What would’ve been even greater was that her children’s toy gun purchase even came with bullets. She forgot them at home, but she wanted to be able to shoot them into her mouth and spit them out. And really, when you think about it, isn’t it sick and twisted that that’s the kind of purchasable toy, a toy that many young boys (and girls, I’m sure) desperately want for Christmas. Our news media slathers itself in the details and creepy facts of a massacre shooter and turns him into a posthumous celebrity for a few weeks. Out in the cold at 2am, she criticized the second amendment as bullshit and outdated. Hadn’t really thought of it that way, Ann.
And on that note, it doesn’t go without saying that her performance was captivating. She ripped her blond wig off halfway through her patriotic moment and mean-mugged, scowled and pretty much frightened everyone with her dramatic long-limbed gestured freakout to Merrill Garbus’ treatise on faux-gangsterism. It’s not that it’s rare to be shocked, pleasantly surprised and intellectually challenged by a queer, let alone a queer in gender-bending drag; it’s that she’s 21, brand new to drag, whipped up this sequence of audio and a dress in a matter of days, and pulled of topical, political and inspiring activist drag. So Merry Fucking Christmas, readers. Try to refrain from gunplay this holiday season and in 2013, maybe we can all do something that’ll make meaningful gun control change happen in Pennsylvania and America.
Josh Shonewolf is a goof-ball. He admits it. It’s a character trait that makes his blog, Josh Can’t Cook, so successful. As he puts it, he’s the Susan Lucci of the Philadelphia blog world – he’s been nominated 8 times but never won. Philadelphia Gay News recently did a nice, big fat Q&A with the philanthropic local. Earlier this year he threw a “dinner party” and pulled as many punches as he could to line up tons of entertainment. And it all benefitted New York’s Ali Forney Center, an excellent resource for LGBT youth. It was a ticketed event and every cent went to the Center. And next month he’ll be doing it again with a star-studded night of drag, but this time the proceeds stay local. With a $25 ticket, The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia’s essential haven for LGBT youth. (Here’s the Facebook invitation.)
On Sunday, December 9th, he’s corralled 15 queens onto one bill. Hosted by Satine Harlow and featuring an exciting visit from Milan of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, the night’ll feature performances from the likes of Porcelain, The Goddess Isis, Misty Maven, Lisa Lisa and a new and super-fun queen named Maddie Milan. One thing this night won’t be is monotonous – so many queens in so short of time is going to make that stage a non-stop variety show. See you there!
Yesterday evening, at 5:30 p.m. on the dot, folks cutting through Rittenhouse Square on their way home were treated to a fashion spectacle unlike any they’ve probably ever seen.
Hosted as part of DesignPhiladelphia, the outdoor runway show was conceived by Candy Depew of CandyCoated in parnership the Philadelphia Art Alliance and innovative local designer, Lobo Mau. And just as the event description promised, the models strolled down the catwalk donning furball-esque quaffs and feline-inspired face paint. Going one step further, they even meowed, hissed and clawed.
While certainly a little bizarre, the theatrical presentation actually seemed befitting given the featured collection of one-of-a-kind, over-the-top fashions—a creative collaboration between Depew and Mau who share both an eye and appreciation for unique screen-printed textiles.
My favorite look was definitely the pink circle skirt with the black diamond decals, which was paired with a printed jacket covered in rosebuds and little gold diamonds.
The only thing that would have made the show better: the models getting on all fours and rubbing up on the ankles of passerbys.