The first time I heard of Paris, I didn’t know much about it except for the fact that it held “twelve little girls in two straight lines.” For me, Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline acted not as the introduction to a magical city, but as a traumatizing doorway into the world of hypochondria. (“You mean, my appendix can explode?!”) Parents unknowingly bestowed me that Christmas with a Madeline doll – complete with surgical scars on her stomach. Quite a few years (and somewhat less traumatizing Disney movies) later, Paris at last worked its way into my heart, its place as center of ... More » »
There’s nothing like ducking out of a stormy evening straight into a former mansion – known to most city dwellers as the Philadelphia Art Alliance. On the evening of March 10, the black of an overcast sky merged into the quiet gray of a brick façade, the sleek wetness of concrete pavements became the brilliant glimmer of dark wood floors and the steady fall of raindrops transformed into bright, crystalline chandeliers cascading from the ceiling. Judith Schaechter, a local artist was giving a lecture that evening. Schaechter works with stained glass and teaches as an adjunct professor in the Crafts ... More » »
“Library” is one of those rare words that held different connotations for me as I made the mystical transition from childhood into maturity. As a child, the small branch of the public library just a few blocks away from my home offered the promise of Reading Rainbow-style journeys into other worlds, bright picture books splattered with enough colors to rival the appeal of a candy store window, and the chance to make friends in any of a number of after-school programs. Once I entered high school, however, “library” quickly became associated with term papers, the echoing halls of silence and ... More » »
Philadelphia is a city of smells – some pleasant, others a lot less so. There’s Olde City, cloaked in an aroma redolent of history – graveyard grass and ghosts and used books. South Street, with its savory scent of cheese steaks stretching across the storefronts like the lure of a cartoon finger pointing the way to indulgence. University City, stuffed with so many coffee shops you can practically taste the caffeine in the air. Now, however, the city is pervaded with the one overpowering smell of snow – paving the streets with ever-changing footprints, swapping parking spots for igloos, and ... More » »
The weather on Thursday evening, November 4, could have set the stage for the opening segment of a mystery movie. Instead, the chilly air and endless stream of rain provided a conspiratorial accompaniment to the appropriately titled Wind Challenge Exhibitions at Fleisher Art Memorial, on view through November 20. Although the title was grounded in a far more practical origin than the elements – the surname of its principal funders, Dina and Jerry Wind – it added a touch of irony to the bedraggled guests that trickled in for the gallery talk at Fleisher that night.
I still remember being introduced to Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a child. For a long while after my first viewing of the film, the five variable notes and flashing colors of the climactic mother ship scene stuck with me. They evoked a magic redolent of youthful innocence, which later television would dissipate through endless reruns on AMC. Eventually, even Richard Dreyfuss’s eternally boyish charm could no longer salvage an image made stale with repetition. Last Friday, October 15, thanks to the Light Drift display on the banks of the Schuylkill River, I was transported momentarily back to ... More » »
The popular image of a writer has evolved over the years to include a range of stereotyped behaviors. There’s the laptop-wielding columnist who spends hours at a time at her local coffee shop, while she sips enough caffeine to keep an army of infantrymen fueled for a week. Or the brooding Ernest Hemingway-type, whose spark of creative energy flows from a never-ending supply of alcohol. There’s even the jet-setting collector of tales, who always returns home to share his experiences with a crew of eager listeners. At the September 26 launch party for Philadelphia’s new all-ages literary magazine, Apiary, writers ... More » »