Punk flea market rocks

PHOTOS: DYLAN SEGELBAUM / DAILY NEWS STAFF Axel Bond, 9, peddles his figurines.
PHOTOS: DYLAN SEGELBAUM / DAILY NEWS STAFF Axel Bond, 9, peddles his figurines.
Posted: June 19, 2014

AT THE PUNK Rock Flea Market in North Philadelphia, you'll find everything from vendors hawking pornographic plates, used Polaroid cameras and wooden roses to two friends promising to deliver a "frank assessment" of your looks for $1.

"I think it's cool," said Kevin Donley, 26, of Fairmount.

"It's a lot of unique vendors," he said of the two-day flea market, which draws 3,000 people a day. "You'll never find this stuff walking around in any store."

Since its inception in 2001, the "alternative" flea market has grown from a one-day event with fewer than 20 tables to a biannual, two-day event held in a 36,000-square-foot warehouse at 9th and Spring Garden streets - advertised mostly through word-of-mouth.

Sean Agnew, who organizes the flea market and runs the local concert promotion agency R5 Productions, said he started the event as a way to pay maintenance costs associated with holding shows at the First Unitarian Church in Center City.

Nowadays, after covering R5's insurance policy, the excess money from the $3 entry fee goes to charity. He said this year, $10,000 will be donated to Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin's foundation, which is working to fix up a park in Point Breeze.

"This was never started like, 'Yeah, we're going to run this crazy flea market,' " said Agnew, 36, of Center City. "I never in a million years it would turn out to be something this big."

Like in years past, sellers at the flea market on June 7 and 8 hawked everything from punk and metal records to animal pelts.

"I love the ethic of this whole place, man," said Josh Balick, 24, of Wilmington, Del., who was selling posters and T-shirts parodying the cartoon "King of the Hill" and the band Black Flag. "The fact that there's all these people here trying to start their own thing - you've got to start somewhere."

Vendor Katie Ames was selling plates and bowls inscribed with pornographic drawings. It's an idea Ames said she started while at Temple University's Tyler School of Art, where she's an administrative assistant.

The dishes are supposed to be humorous, intended to shock people as they're eating, said Ames, 25, of Fishtown.

Axel Bond, 9, of Hatfield, peddled movie-character figures he made out of Legos, clay and acrylic paint - something he started doing when he was 5.

Bond said he's always had an interest in horror movies such as "Friday the 13th," and mentioned a time when he was playing with a monster truck and ended up getting stitches.

"He got interested in blood. That's what we think," said his mother, Kimberly Bond, 41.

To customers such as Liz Braunschek, 20, of Abington, the flea market has become a place to pick up shirts, jewelry and records. She ended up buying a vinyl copy of the album "Zoo" from the band Ceremony.

"It's a really good scene out here, and it's a great place," said Braunschek, who was wearing a shirt from the Philly punk band the Dead Milkmen."I really dig it."


On Twitter: @dylan_segelbaum

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