Queen Village Art Center has all the bases covered — in colorful marker, paint or blank drawing paper. Even the mirrors, which line the walls of the first floor children’s workshop, are fair game. They’re decorated with the budding creations of young students and, as founder and director Jill Markovitz explains, “We are all about exploring art. If you are constantly focusing on producing the perfect product, you miss the fun in exploring along the way.”
The Art Center, a sister branch of Fairmount Art Center, is in the former home of Philadelphia AIDS Thrift Store. With the help of architect Salerno Ziegler, Markovitz says they “completely gutted the place,” redesigning and remodeling the spot to provide an optimal creative atmosphere. For those who might have visited the previous location, cramped with long, disorganized racks, the renovations are enlightening, literally.
Large glass windows invite natural sunlight to the front studios, large workshops are suitable for adequate table space and spacious hallways of the gallery allow students and visitors to peruse the progress being made each day.
As Markovitz says, “We purposely designed it this way so that students can hear and see all parts of the artistic process.” As their mission supports, the more they see, the more they can explore. “These kids are full of creative ideas, we just try to hone in on what’s developmentally appropriate for the curriculum.”
Check this space all week for our picks of the 2011 Philly-Halloween-event litter.
Nest Philly’s No. 1 rule — parents have a right to have fun with their kids — is the driving force behind their first-ever Halloween Nestival. The event pays tribute to moms, dads and children with not-so-spooky ‘nestivities’ — everything from a Black Cat Treasure Hunt and balloon-making class to Halloween storytelling sessions. In fact, the only screams you'll hear from this soiree will be from scary face painting and a jam session of kid-friendly tunes. But don't worry, parents. If "Monster Mash" medleys aren’t your cup of tea, Chef David Katz of Meme will be there handing out chocolate-coconut macaroon spider treats and other wholesome desserts. That sounds doable, huh? Sun., Sun., Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., $10, Nest Philadelphia, 1301 Locust St., 215-545-6378, nestphilly.com.
Check this space all week for our picks of the Philly-Halloween-event litter.
✚ Soup Nazi Look-Alike Contest by Massimo Pulcini
It’s time for all you Seinfeld addicts to shift into soup mode for this Doc's Gourmet Cafe and Soup Bar-sponsored “Soup Nazi” look-alike contest. If your getup impresses the panel of soon-to-be-announced celebrity judges, then you may be the one who wins the $100 cash prize. If your costume is uninspiring, however, then “you're through, Soup Nazi. Pack it up. No more soup for you. Next!" Fri., Oct. 28, 5 p.m., free, Doc’s Gourmet Cafe and Soup Bar, 169 W. Girard Avenue, 215-423-5350.
✚ Jack the Ripper Conference by Meg Augustin
One of the most infamous cold cases is being reopened. Drexel will be hosting an expert-filled investigation into Jack the Ripper and his famous gruesome murders. The conference will bring together Dr. Jean Hartman, who will talk about serial killing; Dr. Craig Monk, who will speak on “optograms;” and former Philadelphia chief inspector John Maxwell will explore some of Philadelphia’s own serial killers and unsolved mysteries. Fri-Sat, Oct 28-29, $250, Drexel University, Bossone Research Enterprise Center, 3140 Market St., 215-895-2000, drexel.edu.
Check this space all week for our pick of the 2011 Philly-Halloween-event litter.
[ family ]
✚ Woodmere Hay Maze by Cassie Owens
Hoping to place family fun in an art installation, event organizers at Woodmere Art Museum put a call out for designers to send ideas for their second annual hay maze. The museum selected “Owl’s Eye,” a design from local architect Peter Brown that was inspired by sacred ruins throughout time. Next week, the 900-bale hay labyrinth will receive a Halloween makeover, offering special events inside. On Fri., Oct. 28, join in on ghost stories and mask making. On Sun., Oct. 30, bring the kids for early trick-or-treat. Weekends through Oct. 30, $6-$20, Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave., 215-247-0476 woodmereartmuseum.org.
[ theater ]
✚ A Reading of Stoker’s Dracula by Brian Wilensky
The vampire community has had tons of film, TV and literature adaptations of their beloved count. But how many times has Bram Stoker’s Dracula been portrayed as a one-man show? Philly actor Josh Hitchens will take on 14 different characters as he acts out Stoker’s classic in this 75-minute reading — all while sticking as much to the original text as he can. Thu., Oct. 27, 6 p.m., $10, Rosenbach Museum and Library, 2008 Delancey Place, 215-732-1600, rosenbach.org.
Despite a packed house at the Center for Architecture, last week’s panel presentation “Gray Area: Provocations on the Future of Preservation” did little to provoke engaged discussions or form strong opinions. Instead, the panelists — Tod Williams, treehugger.com’s Lloyd Alter, Greenworks founding director Mark Alan Hughes and Metropolis magazine editor in chief Susan Szenasy — remained muddled in the titular gray area.
Does and should historic preservation affect our actions in the present? Is it more important to move forward with sustainable, flexible building projects or keep relics from the past? Are they mutually exclusive? What principles should help us decide what is kept and what is demolished or left to ruin? Who should be doing the work to save these spaces, and how? All of these questions presented by the moderator are vital to the topic of preservation. Sadly, few got answers.
One presenter did provide his own principles for preservation determination: It should be a lovable area/building, usable and sustainable, flexible to modern living and frugal in upkeep and running. This is a solid set of rules with lots of possibilities for real-world application. The last part, frugality, tends to lend itself to older buildings — they were sometimes built better than modern buildings, often made to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thus limiting costs — which can sustain themselves, creating the ultimate in green living by reusing what’s already there.
Check this space all week for our picks of the Philly Halloween event litter.
Varga Bar is seeking to flip the misconception that pumpkin carving is for kids with their adult-only jack-o-lantern-carving extravaganza. Expert carver Eric Wagner (want proof?) will be there to show off his etching skills but that shouldn’t deter you from debuting your own creative prowess. All participating carvers will receive a $10 gift certificate and the winner will win dinner for two at Varga. Of course, pumpkin beers will be plentiful, including Dogfish Head Pumpkin and Southern Tier Pumpking. And if this little shindig doesn't satisfy your Varga-hosted Halloween urgings, head back on Oct. 28 and 29 for an '80s movie costume party and a men-and-women-in-uniform costume ball, respectively.
Mon, Oct 24, 8 p.m., free, Varga Bar, 941 Spruce St., 215-627-5200, vargabar.com.
Health-care and pharmaceutical marketing agency Digitas Health opened its doors last night for an idea-sharing session as part of DesignPhiladelphia. Noting Philly’s long history with innovation and creation — holler, Ben Franklin! — Digitas Health went with a rapid-fire technique, attempting to plug 100 ideas in 100 minutes. OK, so it ended up being more like five solid ideas in 90 minutes, with one important question in mind: What can we do better through design?
The majority of speakers came from Digitas Health’s own employee lineup, noting the problem-solving nature of their positions as advertisers. The first speaker noted how good design through presentation and the correct use of technology (no reading off your PowerPoint slides for two hours!) can transform outreach and communication. The second speaker, Brendan Gallagher, spoke about four things in Philly that could be solved through good design. First was SEPTA. Archaic in design and technology, this whole system could use a redo. Second was the solar-powered trash compactors you see throughout the city. A great idea, but often hard to use. Next, he noted how much Occupy Philly could use good design. (It’s ridiculously hard to navigate through that mass of tents!). Finally, Gallagher presented a solution to the U.S.'s obesity epidemic. Gallagher suggested using technology to help, noting a new iPhone app, Zombie Run, that layers gaming on top of your run schedule. It’s a fantastic idea, but often the people with the highest incidents of obesity are at the lowest income levels and thus gaming and iPhones seem a little far-fetched. Here’s to hoping, though.
Other presenters spoke about green design, artist innovation, the old/new architecture of Philadelphia and saving places like the Divine Lorraine. While all of the talks were interesting, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the space’s interior, designed by award-winning architects KlingStubbins — a perfect spot for creative thinking.
Cassie Owens covers Mural Arts Month in this space every Monday in October. Here are a few things you can delve into this week.
Common Threads Mural Re-dedication ➤ For the Mural Arts Program (MAP), Common Threads (pictured) was groundbreaking. Executive Director Jane Golden describes it as “moment of epiphany” in which people began to see murals in different light. Its size, style and drama inspired many viewers recognize that murals could be “museum quality.” After undergoing a scientific, three-month restoration process this year, the mural is ready to be rededicated. Muralist Meg Saligman will be present to celebrate the new look. Wed., Oct. 19, 3-4 p.m., free, Broad and Spring Garden streets.
Reading the Flow and chainlinkGREEN Dedications ➤ MAP's Restored Spaces Initiative brings muralists, architects, sculptors and more together to renovate civic spaces in environmentally conscious ways. This meeting of the minds resulted in the renovation of Bodine High School, which now features student-crafted murals, mosaics and gardens around its entire exterior. The plans don’t end there: Bodine’s new backyard will play host to an amphitheater, combining all of the elements to form an interactive classroom. School will be out, so the student artists will be in on the fun. Come see their new place. Thu., Oct. 20, 3-5 p.m., free, Bodine High School for International Affairs, 1101 N. Fourth St.
Broke-Ass Stuart Schuffman has rethought the concent of a book signing. To showcase his new work, Young, Broke & Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply, the author and TV star is bringing his Broke-As-Hell Book Tour to Philly for a reading and Q&A session followed by an after party featuring DJ Handsome Sam.
We were able to catch up with him for a chat about everything from how to be frugal on a date and what he means by “broke-itude” to whether we can expect a Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in Philadelphia.
City Paper: So you’ve had a slew of successful books and your own TV show on IFC. Do you feel any different knowing that you’re not only on TV but have an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to you?
Broke-Ass Stuart: You know what’s funny? I’m still doing the same shit as ever. I mean, I’m doing this book tour and I’m totally funding it myself, which means I don’t have any money. Which is fine, because I’m doing it for a bigger reason. It’s also just fun.
CP: Would there be a difference between “Broke-Ass Stuart” and “Rich-Ass Stuart”? What would some differences be?
BAS: Not much would be different; I’d still be going to the same shitty bars with the same shitty people. I’m a guy that thinks with his gut, so maybe I might have some nicer meals sometimes, but really it’s just the way I look at the world. I don’t need “things” to be happy.
CP: Where does your phrase “you are young, broke and beautiful” originate?
Check this space all week for reviews and coverage of the 2011 FirstGlance Film Festival.
Already winning awards right and left, Michelle Steffes' The Interview is a testament to the “dark comedy” genre. Only 12 minutes long, the short packs in well-scripted comedy, incredible effects, amazing attention to detail and a poignant socio-political taunt. Set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, the last man alive seeks a job from the second-to-last man, a radio host. Traveling past realistic burning cities and empty streets, young Sam Cohen (played by Abington, Pa's Adam Shapiro) comes to sit in front of Howard for a job position as the executive of the radio station — a job recently vacated by a bird-flu victim. Noting his strengths (a great immune system and stellar social skills), Sam should be a shoe-in for the only corporate position left in the world. But then again, all of his references are dead. Perfectly scripted dark humor ensues, touching on the soreness and almost-preposterous scenarios and situations in the current job market — one that doesn’t look too dissimilar to an end-of-times interview.
CITY PAPER GRADE: A
Thu., Oct. 13, 8 p.m., $12, screens with Bad Days, Chord, Calendar Girl, Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., 215-448-1200, firstglancefilms.com.
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