Beyond The Words: Robin Hiteshew’s Portraits of Irish Writers

 

It was 1989 and my friend Robin Hiteshew asked if I wanted to attend a poetry reading by Seamus Heaney at Swarthmore College.  I was familiar enough Heaney’s work to jump at the chance.  Later I got to meet him, but was too shy to do anything but mumble and shake his hand.

 

 

Thirty years later, at the opening of his show, “Portraits of Irish Writers” Robin compared  a photo portrait of Heaney he took during that visit to Swarthmore with one he took almost a decade later in Cambridge where Heaney was teaching at Harvard.  In the first photo,  a slightly disheveled Heaney struck a casual pose under a tree on the Swarthmore campus.  In the second picture, Heaney was wearing a tailored jacket  “Look,” said Robin pointing to the first picture, “his trousers are rolled.  That’s before he won the Nobel prize and the game got more serious.”

Robin Hiteshew has been photographing Irish writers (and musicians) for more than forty years and it has been a labor of love.  His portraits are personal and revealing in a way that is truly beyond the words.   And he has a story to go with each one.

Robin’s new show, “Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers” will run until June 26 at the McNichol Gallery which is located in the Thomas A. Bruder, Jr. Life Center at  Neumann University. Admission is free.  For directions, press here.

 

December January in Philadelphia

The Some pictures I took in December and January during Philadelphia walkabouts.

 

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South Broad Street Townhouse
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Philip’s Restaurant, South Broad Street How many funeral lunches have I attended there?
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Near Broad and Ellsworth
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Near Broad and Ellsworth. Was this a club of some kind?
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Cigar factory converted to condos,  12 and Washington Streets
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Apartment House Steps.  Lombard Street
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Someone took a wrong turn here, 8th and Christian Streets
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Roots mural on South Street East of Broad. Hidden behind a chain link fence.  For a better view, press here.
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Avenue of the Arts, Broad ad Washington Streets
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St. Rita’s Church, South Broad Street. The huge structure dwarfs the buildings near it.
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Beautiful South Broad Street Townhouse.
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I took the next 4 pictures in the vestibule of a South Broad Street townhouse. The house has not been altered inside too much except for the obligatory paneled bar in the basement.

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The floor tiles resemble many of those in Philadelphia City Hall which were made at the Moravian Tile Works and date from the 1890’s

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More Townhouses on South Broad Street, very well preserved and the fronts colorfully painted.
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FMC Tower from the South Street Bridge
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The Liberty Bell one frozen night in December
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From the Rube Goldberg exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Philadelphia. Looks like his prediction came true. Down to the cat.
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I waited until the restroom was empty before taking this picture in the Jewish Museum. Why? I hate answering stupid questions.
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Ghost Bike Memorial, 11th and Spruce Streets. Emily Fredricks was killed on her bike when a trash truck crossed the bike lane without looking. I hope there will be less of a need for these memorials in the future.
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Looking North from Clymer Street roof deck.
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Christmas Day view from the South Street Bridge.
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South Philadelphia yarn bomb.
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Violin Maker 17th and Pine Street

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Haunting in South Philly

This week, I started watching the new Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. I read the book when I was barely into my teens  and it made quite an impression on me.  Later on, I saw a film adaptation, The Haunting, which is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen.  Black and white and not a bit of gore or violence in it.  I wasn’t as fond of the remake which seemed  formulaic, and more funny than scary.

South Philadelphia has some haunted history too, although you won’t find a lot of information on tourist sites.  Serial killer H.H. Holmes met his demise at Moyamensing Prison which is now the site of the Acme Market at 10th and Reed Streets.   I don’t know whether he wanders the store after it closes for the night, nor do I want to know.

On the brighter side, South Philadelphians take any occasion as an excuse to decorate their front windows and Halloween is no exception.  From pumpkin painting festivals to pots of chrysanthemums sprouting up in curbside planters, South Philly is ablaze with the colors of  Autumn this time of year- just in time for Halloween.  Here are some pictures.

 

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This Week

A bunch of pictures from this week

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Caught the  Wind Challenge Exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial

Took pictures of the many mushrooms that have popped up in my neighborhood after last week’s rain.

Flowers are beautiful even when they’re dying

Helped kids paint pumpkins at Palumbo Recreation Center

Some Pottery in Progress

Saw some new (to me) Murals

And met some incredible artists and makers at Philadelphia Open Studio Tours at the Bok Building.  This deserves its own post.  Stay tuned,

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Last week, a reader warned about the application of a  toxic herbicide called glyphosate to wheat crops rendering all but organically grown wheat safe to eat.  I decided to read up on glyphosate.  The Food Babe blog  pointed out the dangers posed by this chemical, citing a report by a group called Food Democracy Now.  (Read the report here.) But the Snopes.Com site argues that the report’s information is false.  I am not a chemist and cannot do my own tests.  I will say that the discussion of the scientific methodology used in the report seems vague, (compare the testing done to determine the link between smoking and lung cancer), but I do not know whether this comes from an intent to deceive,  poor writing, or an editorial decision that the reader would not understand a more thorough discussion of the testing procedures used.    I have not come to a conclusion.  I am presenting this information so readers can draw their own conclusions.    

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Boris does not care about any of this apparently, 

Has Spring Finally Sprung?

It certainly looked like it in my neighborhood.  I took these pictures today on the walk home from the pottery studio.

 

And here’s one of the cacti from Bob’s garden.    I know it looks like a bunch of deflated balloons now, but its cactus pads will be stiff as soldiers come summer.

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I have been busy making mugs and  I’ll post a few pictures in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, here are some of my favorite pieces from the Fleisher Student Show.

Summer Walks, Summer Flowers

  One of the things I love most about Philadelphia is the unexpected little streets and alley ways that stretch from Queen Village to Point Breeze and all the neighborhoods in between.   Here are some flower pictures I took on some walks around the city.1.SummerFlars0728_1417522.SummerFlars0728_1418043.SummerFlars0728_1418204.SummerFlars0728_1418235.SummerFlars4526.SummerFlars5077.SummerFlars5368.SummerFlars556

Dubliners for a Few Days

Here are some of the sights we took in on our wanderings around Dublin recently.

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The Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square near the Dublin Writers Museum

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O’Connell Monument

2.GPODublinGeneral Post Office known as the headquarters for the Easter uprising in 1916

5.InsideRestoredGPODublinThe Interior of the GPO as it appears today.  It was virtually destroyed during the Easter uprising and restored in the 1920s.  The GPO now houses the GPO Witness History Museum, a chronicle of the 1916 uprising.   You should not visit Dublin without seeing this remarkable exhibit.

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Christ Church Cathedral

6.Leprechaun MuseumSignDublinLooks like the Leprechauns have gone and started their own museum.   (We skipped this one.)

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The Old Library at Trinity College

Another View of Edinburgh

This has been a good week for spinning my wheels, losing things and taking forever to get things done.  I will not bore you with the sordid details.

I had the good fortune to visit Edinburgh, Scotland recently and took hundreds and hundreds of pictures.  I decided to skip the scenic travel pictures and share the more unconventional ones  ones with you.

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My husband, apparently encountering a clown on his way to  a circus dress rehearsal.

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It’s no stranger than an English sign in China, but the juxtaposition of “Tartan Weaving Mill”  caught my eye.

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What us this world welcoming us into?

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A new world disorder?

 

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We can meet at the pub at The World’s End

 

7.Zombiewalk

And if the Zombies find us.

 

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We can escape to Edinburgh Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Visit to the Masonic Temple

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I’ve wanted to tour the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia for quite some time.  Even though there have been Masons in my and my husband’s family and  I used to work in City Hall which is right across the street, I never made the trip.

Then I joined the Cityscape Tours Philadelphia Meetup group that Steve Rosenbach organized a year ago.  When an email popped up in my account announcing an “Almost Free” tour of the Temple I signed up and I’m glad I did.

I arrived at the Temple a few minutes early and Steve was there with a list of names and a hearty welcome.  He was very well organized.  As more people arrived, it became evident that some had attended prior tours Steve had organized and that others were newbies like me.  But everyone was very friendly and the fact that we all had cameras seemed to unite us somehow.  I always feel self conscious when I take pictures in public (you’d never know this I suppose because I take pictures constantly wherever I go if it is legal and does not violate privacy,  propriety or rules of etiquette.)

By way of background, the Masonic Temple was constructed between 1868 and 1873 in the Romanesque style of architecture developed by the Normans in the Middle Ages. The interior took another 15 years to complete and included  It is on the list of National Landmarks.

There are seven lodge halls in the Temple and our group got to see four of them: Ionic Hall, Norman Hall, Egyptian Hall and Gothic Hall.  We also saw the Grand Staircase,  some fascinating artifacts in the attached museum, and some very old portraits of prominent Masons including George Washington. I took a lot of pictures but most of them did not turn out so well.  No matter; it was a fun and interesting time and good company.  To learn more about Freemasonry, press here.

Here are some pictures

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Grand Staircase

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Entrance leading to Grand Staircase
 

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Outside Entrance
 

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Ionic Hall
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Ionic Hall
 

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Gothic Hall
 

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Dedication Cornerstone
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Grand Staircase

I just found this interesting image cica 1840 of the site where the Masonic Temple now stands. Part of the Arch Street Church, which was later enlarged and is still standing, is visible.

 

 

 

Where I Work

I am getting ready to retire. Yes, retire from what I call my 38 year detour. (Includes professional school) I don’t regret the time I’ve spent because I made changes long ago that enabled me to take care of myself and make a living and I was fortunate to have wonderful co-workers who were sane for the most part and who cut me slack when I was not. For the past few years, one of the perks of my job has been working in one of the most interesting buildings in the United States. I never tire of walking its halls and taking pictures. Here are some of them

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