October 20, 2010
By Michael Greenle In his novel The Corrections , Jonathan Franzen noted the "industrial decay of Philadelphia, the rotting enchantments of the Workshop of the World, the survival of mega ruins in micro times. " Nine years later, the description remains poignantly accurate, and it likely will be for years to come. We simply have more ruins than resources, and the often enchanting presence of the past gives Philadelphia its authenticity and sense of place. I was reminded of this by the recent news that two of our notable buildings, the Cramp's Shipyard machine shop and the historic Church of the Assumption, were lurching toward demolition.
October 13, 2010 |
It took Roxi Suger less than two minutes to twist, twirl, and tuck 38 inches of bamboo jersey into an alluring dress with a plunging neckline. Then she transformed that same piece of black fabric into a strapless tunic. Next, a kimono shirt. Last, an ankle-length skirt. I was at an eco-friendly New York showroom last month when I saw Suger demonstrate the versatility of her Angelrox getup. A staunch devotee of the wrap dress, I knew I had to have it. Not only did I buy one in heather gray (retail price $149.
July 9, 2010
Over the last few months there has been more and more interest in Philadelphia's festivals. But no matter what's been written, let's not forget their importance to local communities and their economic development potential. Each festival, no matter how small or large, plays an important role in showcasing and celebrating this City of Neighborhoods. If you were at the Wawa Welcome America festival last weekend, you would have seen an amazing mix of locals and visitors from around the world celebrating Independence Day in our back yard.
May 30, 2010 |
In Paula Wilson's exhibition at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, art imitates all-too-familiar life, especially in a frayed-edges, postindustrial city like Philadelphia. My initial response to her hanging multimedia murals of distressed building facades was that while they're pleasingly artful, blocks and blocks of the real thing lie just around the corner, in every direction. Well, perhaps not literally around the corner, but cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago (where Wilson grew up; she now lives in New Mexico)
December 10, 2009 |
With her children grown and gone, but not yet having little ones of their own, Barbara "B.J. " Rieck found herself with no one to make quilts for. "And I certainly wasn't going to stop quilting. Once you get the bug, you can't stop. " So it was lucky for all involved in 2005 when Rieck, 57, stumbled upon the non-profit Quilts for Kids, a Bucks County-based group that creates and delivers lap-size quilts for hospitalized children. Since its birth in 2000, the group has donated tens of thousands of quilts, and spawned 50 satellite chapters in the United States and international chapters in the Caribbean, Canada, and New Zealand, says founder Linda Arye.
November 27, 2009 |
Mary Jane McCarty has seen her designs in print, but never on the big screen. So, when she was tipped off that they might be glimpsed in the recent documentary The September Issue, she had to see for herself. In a scene in Anna Wintour's Long Island home, an array of her vintage-fabric pillows are on the Vogue editor's sofa getting their close-up. Wintour buys McCarty's wares at New York's Treillage for her home and for friends. She refers to McCarty, whom she has never met, as "the pillow lady.
November 20, 2009
The 75-year-old Dad Vail Regatta hasn't always been held in Philadelphia, but since 1953, the Schuylkill has been its home, and that's where it belongs. Unfortunately, next May the Dad Vail crews will be rowing their boats down the Navesink in North Jersey. That's where the tony town of Rumson outbid Philadelphia to host the races. Except the event wasn't actually put up for bids. Rumson instead waved $250,000 under the noses of the Dad Vail's organizers and they grabbed it. Philadelphia officials say they didn't hear about the deal until it was done.
July 24, 2009 |
Sean Gutekunst is rambunctious on the playground, like many 6-year-olds. He enjoys attending band practice with his father, playing piano, and being in the Cub Scouts, but he has an unusual hobby - quilting. Sean learned through his grandmother, Linda Dougherty, an experienced quilter who has made this American tradition a tradition for her family. "I started in the 1970s, there was a resurgence of quilting during the bicentennial," says Dougherty. "Since then, quilting has always been a way of exposing my children and grandchildren to sewing.
June 5, 2009 |
It was a case of despair at first sight. Back in 1968, when Nancy Bergman first saw the house on Locust Street near 22d, she was totally turned off. While Bergman, her husband, and their three children had outgrown their apartment just a stone's throw away, they lived in a light-filled, interesting space. Everything inside the Locust Street house her husband took her to see was painted dark green or carpeted in green. The exterior bricks were painted black. "It was just totally uninviting," recalls Nancy.
September 6, 2008
Stitch. You don't need a huge tent and a zillion-dollar production for a wow! moment. Proof is at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts in Germantown, where two impossibly graceful athletes offer 45 minutes of striking circus work - elaborate dancing in midair, dangerous balancing, unreal body-bending, aerial fabric work, and just about anything on stilts. Laura Stokes is like an otherworldly insect in her ceiling-level contortions with fabric. On the floor, she stands on one foot and rests her chin on the toes of the other.