Philadelphia Holiday Traditions

Christmas Show in Macy’s (Wanamaker’s Grand Court). Click here for the history of this tradition.

Lighting the Menorah on Independence  Mall

Street Decorating in South Philadelphia. Read more about it here.

Kwanzaa Nguzo Saba Candle Lighting Ceremony and Dance

Holiday Train Shows Reading Terminal Market. Find out more here.

and finally, my favorite and the oldest of  all,

The Winter Solstice

Last year:

My Grandmothers’ Christmas Legacy

Art in the Open: Brian Dennis

When my friend Jeri told me that her friend Brian was participating in the second Philadelphia Art in the Open, which  took place  on June 9-12, 2011,  I was itching to go. I had never seen one of his installations “in person” before, but I had seen The Brian Dennis Project – a film documenting  how he designed a wooden installation  that seemed to defy gravity and then built it on a staircase inside the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 2004.   (To see pictures of  the installation, “Leaning Keep,” press here.)

Art in the Open aims to  give a different perspective on the creative process by inviting the public to watch artists working outdoors and, consequently, enabling artists to draw inspiration directly the environment.  In Philadelphia, this is an urban environment.  So it seemed appropriate that Brian had decided to build giant towers under a bridge near the  Waterworks.   

On our drive there, Jeri told me that Brian built the towers from  wooden coffee stirrers.   Talk about the environment having an effect on the creative process!  We wondered how the towers had withstood thunderstorms the night before.  Were they still there?  What would they look like?

We met Brian standing in front of his installation answering people’s questions and talking  about the challenges of building an art installation on a steep, rocky incline under a bridge trestle during a heat wave.  But he wasn’t alone; he  explained good naturedly  how a family of   baby rats, a  garter snake and a  suspicious groundhog watched his every move.  And take it from me, Philadelphia groundhogs are tough!  Brian knew enough not to mess with the groundhog (he was on the groundhog’s turf, after all) and he completed the installation.    To see the installation as it looked when Brian finished it, press here

But then it rained and the installation took on a different form.  Not what Brian had planned.  Even so, his installation  caught the attention of everyone who passed by the next day.

Here are some pictures.  

And a couple who had just gotten married had the courage to climb up under the bridge to have some wedding photographs taken next to Brian’s creation.  I wonder if the rats, snake and groundhog minded?

 To go to Brian’s web site, press here.    To go to his blog, which contains in-depth information about the creation of the installation, press here.

Litter Critters!

The City of Philadelphia invested in some solar powered trash and recycling units a couple of years ago.  But I knew something was up when I was walking on South Street recently and saw they had mysteriously transformed into brightly colored animals.  Litter Critters are a product of  the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s   Big Picture Program in which artists work with kids aged 10 to 14 to give them visual art training and to  promote social responsibility.       I’d say the Litter Critters fills the bill.  Hey, I’d rather feed my trash to a happy critter than a trash unit, even a solar powered one, any day in the week. Wouldn’t you?

Here are some pictures.

For more information on this program, press here and here.

Bob’s Garden, May 2011

Passers By look into the koi pond.

It’s early in the season, but Bob’s garden is already underway.  There are new fish in the koi pond, a big, happy turtle, and lots of new plants.  Barbra chewed off her perch in the tree, so Bob made her a new one.  Enjoy the slide show.

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Earlier Posts on Bob’s Garden

August 16, 2007

June 13, 2008

June 4, 2009

September 3, 2009

 

 

Philadelphia Local Color

Not much  to say this week.  Here are some random colorful pictures from the streets of Philadelphia.


Spring Flowers in Philadelphia

The Plum Blossoms and Cherry Blossoms don’t last too long, but the Hydrangeas and Pansies will bloom all summer.  Here are some pictures from a recent walk around  Philadelphia.

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Jewels from the Sidewalk

I walk to and from work every day and I constantly scan the sidewalk for treasures I can use to make something. Trash day is the best day of the week!!!

Awhile ago, I wrote about making lampworked beads from glass I found on the sidewalk. Now I have added brown beer bottles to my cobalt blue wine and aqua Bombay Gin bottles. And a co worker contributed too! She had a beautiful yellow glass vessel sink in her powder room and when it cracked and she had to have it replaced, she gave me the broken glass.

The pictures below show each kind of glass, plain, fumed and fumed with stringers on top.

Since I don’t know the COE of the glass, I don’t mix the colors. I cut the glass as best I can and hold it in the flame with a long hemostat. It’s loads of fun and you never know what you’re going to get.

Bob’s Urban Garden at the End of Summer.