Midweek News Podcast on Artblog Radio, holiday weekend events, Free Library video games, Blah Blah Gallery moves, Latino Arts and Film Festival and more

This week on the Midweek News Podcast Roberta and Ryan discuss holiday weekend events, Free Library video games, Blah Blah Gallery moves, Latino Arts and Film Festival, signatures and more.

On this lively Artblog Radio podcast, Ryan and Roberta talk about three News items and some excellent art and theater events. Roberta is amazed that the Philadelphia Free Library now offers video game rentals. She talks about the gallery, Blah Blah moving from the hip, multi-gallery enclave at 319 N. 11th St. to 9th and Christian, right next to the Italian Market! Ryan talks about theatre openings and some art events he’s excited for. And the two spend time talking from personal experience about whether 11-year olds can possibly have signatures.

Roberta: Hi, it’s Roberta.

Ryan: And this is Ryan, and this is the Midweek News.


Roberta: On Artblog Radio, Welcome! Ryan, this morning I’m going to tell you three things, and the first is really big news. The Free Library of Philadelphia is now renting out video games. It’s being contextualized as something that is intergenerational, that people of varying generations play video games and they sometimes come together intergenerationally to discuss them.

And also they read about the games. Outside of playing the video games if you want to know more, you’ve got to read about it. So they go and they research and they read, and so it can be educational and about reading in that way. I thought that made a lot of sense. I want to say intergenerationally. I’m going to tell you an anecdote that happened this weekend. My son, Max and his nephew Brayden, 11 years old, bonded over the Nintendo games, the old ones. You know, Mario and Zelda. Max and Brayden were talking excitedly about these games. And the rest of us in the family were just sort of scratching our heads saying, wow, this is amazing. Max turned to us and he said, “Hey, I don’t have anyone else to talk to about these games.” Apparently, no one is playing these games. And Brayden later said to his mom in the car, on the way home, mom, can I get the Zelda game? Tears of the Kingdom. Max says it’s really awesome. Okay, so intergenerational happened in my house on my watch this weekend. I’m here to tell you. So, go Free Library!

The second thing I want to mention is Blah Blah Gallery, which until this weekend, was in the 319 North 11th Street building and is moving to 907 Christian Street. It’s a big move and it’s right there in the Italian markets. So that’s a great spot for an art gallery. I think they’re going to be closed for the rest of the month and reopening sometime in the summer date to be announced So, congratulations and good luck with the move.


Finally, the Philadelphia Latino Arts and Film Festival is opening this weekend, May 26th, and it goes till July 7th. There’s going to be over 140 films plus cultural experiences, Latino, Latinx, cultural experiences all around town. The festival started in 2012, so it’s been around for 12 years now. I guess that makes it, and look for an upcoming interview with Marángeli Mejía-Rabell, who is the festival director. We’re going to interview her. And I would just remind everybody that a few years ago, Morgan and reek and I previewed some of the Phlaff film festival offerings, and that’s on our blog.

And we’ll put a link in the news post, so you can read that if you’d like. Okay. Yeah. I’m turning it over to you now, Ryan.

Ryan: Well, Roberta, do you have a favorite video game that you like to read?


Roberta: No, but I’ll tell you, I really liked that Netflix, I think it was, video series called, The Last of Us. Apparently The Last of Us was a video game that they took and turned into a video series. I thought that was very well done. I don’t want to play the game, but I did like the video series, so there’s that.

Ryan: Fair enough.

Roberta: That’s my only connection to video games, except being an observer and telling kids they’ve had too much time on their video games, they had to turn ’em off.

Ryan: That’s right. Go outside and play kids. Speaking of kids Memorial Day weekend is coming up and the connection to my kids is, that my daughter loves horses and so the Devon Horse show is coming up.

So if you love equestrian, all things equestrian, that might be for you. My son and hats.

Roberta: Hats. You got to wear a hat. Hat,

Ryan: my God. Yes. A Preakness is coming up, right? One of the, the next horse race in Baltimore. I dunno. So get your nice hat out. My son volunteered at the Independent Seaport Museum as one of his he had an apprenticeship there and they’re doing a Philadelphia Cup Regatta on the Delaware that’s coming up.

So that could be a lot of fun if you’re into sailing and ships and sailors and

Roberta: Question? What kind of boats are we going to have or ships? What’s the difference between a boat and a ship? Anyway?

Ryan: I think size, I’m not exactly sure. I’m not a sailor. Yeah, I don’t know. But these are shorter boats like the, they, they go I think as, as big as 20 feet. And then down from there. So small independent vessels, one or two person crew, max. And it looks like a lot of fun if you’re into that. So it’s, yeah, it’s very different than the Schuylkill sort of regattas, dragon boats and the whatnot. A lot of crew teams is not this. This is more sailing. This will all be sailed rather than road sailboats.

Roberta: I’ve seen regattas on lakes and they’re very colorful and cheerful and you know, the group of boats circling around the buoys or whatever the demarcation points are. It’s fun.

Ryan: Yeah, I think it’s cool too. I’ll be curious what that looks like.

Art related. Our friends at Common Wheel Teamwork show is happening. Look for a review coming forthcoming on art blog. And they’re doing another talk coming up on the 25th at noon, and they’ll be talking to a new set of teams of artists this week. So take a look at that. Our friend Blaze has a show. Binary Codes is coming out. The gallery of the study hotel, our friends at Graves Lane has two openings it’s Mass Migrations and Mythos. Both are opening this weekend. That’s up in Chestnut Hill. Worth taking a look at. For those colored Girl Museums has an event that’s worth a look. Sit a spell, take a look at that. That’s Colored Girls Museum up in Germantown. And PAFA has “Artists As Cultivators”. That show is opening that looks also really interesting. Take a look at that and that’ll, that one’s running through the PFA show is running through July 7th, and I think those are my big ticket items for Memorial Day. There are a lot of fun things. I think Spruce Street is open and the hammocks are up. Hopefully the weather is nice and you can all get outside and enjoy that.

Roberta: I want to say Ryan. Artists as cultivators. I hope it’s not literal. I don’t want to see a lot of farming images and you know, soil in the…

Ryan: You don’t think it’s going to be a gardening, no gardening show.

Roberta: I don’t think it’s going to be a gardening show.  I’m hoping it’s metaphorically cultivating.

Ryan: I forgot to mention one show I did see last weekend was the African American Museum of Philadelphia put on the Dox Thrash, has an ongoing show of Dox Thrash. Dox Thrash is still surprisingly under-known. The work is excellent. The showing is interesting. I, me personally, I would love to, I would love to see a process. Someone who lived in Philadelphia and died in Philadelphia. I would love to see some of their tool-making since they were not just a printmaker, but they created. A new process. I would love to see more of that in that show. But AAMP is great. Go see that. Kai Davis was there. She’s phenomenal. She’s the poet laureate of Philadelphia where she performs. It’s just fantastic.

Roberta: Did she perform?

Ryan: She did. Yeah. It’s, I mean, it’s so good. It’s so good. We’re, we’re spoiled to have her as our poet laureate. And if you haven’t heard Kai Davis, Philadelphia Pigeons. Take, take a look at that.

I’ll put a link in there as well. What is that?

Roberta: A website?

Ryan: It’s events that they do and she’s part of that. So if you don’t go to see poetry, and I know you all do it’s, it’s a lot of fun and it’s worth seeing. It’s funny to think like a hundred years ago, Robert Frost was the most read person English speaking language.

Roberta: Wow. No kidding.

Ryan: So yeah. So poets bring them back. Love it.

Roberta: Well, Walt Whitman, I think a lot of people read him back in his day. I. And still read him today,

Ryan: and he lived just across the bridge. He may be worked for the Independent Seaport Museum as well.

Roberta: Well, Ryan, yeah. Can I just take us out with a question?

Ryan: Yeah, go for it.

Roberta: Okay. Does an 11-year-old have a signature, a cursive signature? I had an experience. I’m going to not let you answer for a minute here. So while I talk away on my anecdote, my 11-year-old grandson, Braden, was visiting this weekend, and I don’t know how it came up, but we were talking about cursive and, you know, writing, and I said, do you have a signature? Do you have, have you ever had to sign anything? He said, he looked at me like I was kind of an asking a question as if he was an alien. No, he didn’t have a signature, and could he sign something? And he said, I don’t think so. And so I tore out a little piece of paper from a notebook and I wrote my signature on it and I gave him the paper.

I said, can you write your signature here? What would it be? And he struggled. He said, I hate cursive. And he very slowly, each character came out for his first name and then he was at a standstill because the last name has about eight characters and lots of Cs and Hs in it. And so I said, just put an S, put a cursive S. Your first name and your last name.

It got me thinking about signatures, and this is a child who learned supposedly cursive in public school in whatever grade that was. Maybe fourth grade, maybe third grade. I don’t know when it happens, but you know. Do you have any experience with 11 year olds having a signature? Ryan, you’ve got some kids.

Tell me a story.

Ryan: So my oldest developed his own signature, I guess pre-cursive, and it was more of a Chinese character block design of sorts. So his name is Jack and so he did a capital J and building on top of the the J, he put ACK clever, and it’s clever, it’s stylistic and artistic and it’s its own personal stamp on his own identity.


Roberta: it is, it’s

Ryan: basically been true about in’s entire life, so.

Roberta: that’s great. It’s a stamp. I love that.

Ryan: So it’s not quite a signature, but you’re not going to mistake it for anyone else. So it’s a unique identifier for sure.

Roberta: Yes, yes it is. So anyway, just something people for you to think about. Signatures, has yours changed through life?

Mine is pretty much the same as far as I can see, tell, but some people’s signatures change. It becomes more sort of a. Diagonal line and then a line under it, and that’s that. And they let it go. Yeah. And maybe digital signatures are blocking people from having good signatures anymore. I don’t know.

Good bad. They’re, I shouldn’t pass judgment. They’re just signatures.

Ryan: Yeah. And I can’t, I can’t sign my name very well on those electronic pads. It’s, it’s really like fat and clumsy and it’s all over the place. I have to clear it like three, four times to get it even close to Right. Right. Yes. It’s

Roberta: a, it’s a fluky interface.

Definitely. They don’t

Ryan: care.

Roberta: No, they don’t. Nobody cares.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roberta: Well, that’s about it for me.

Ryan: Yeah, I’m excited. I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy it. Take some time off. Hopefully the weather is nice and you’re able to get out there and enjoy the weather.

Roberta: Indeed. I echo that. Okay.

Signing off. It’s Roberta.

Ryan: Yeah. Thanks for listening and this is Ryan and this is the Midweek News. Bye. Thanks

Roberta: Bye-Bye.