Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby 2013


Kinetic vehicles(sculptures) of all sizes, shapes and adaptations paraded around Kensington and Fishtown once again this year with the mudpit/finishline on East Norris Ave, right in front of the Trenton Ave Arts Festival.  More info here: Kinetic Kensington


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Reading Viaduct Redux

_DSC6989bIt’s been a busy several months over this past winter.  More and more shoots popping up, each requesting some type of dramatic backdrop.  So Lori and I headed out on Saturday to scope out some choice spots, shoot them and then get photos back to models and others to sift out what places worked for who.   Our list included three sites, the Richmond Coal Wharves at Pier 18, the Reading Viaduct and the so called Reading Tunnel.

This was our third time to the Viaduct. Since we were here last the tracks have been removed and the ties are in piles.  Most of the overgrowth has been  cut back and the tree uprooted.   Still this is one of the most dramatic unknown spots in Philadelphia, with fantastic views of Center City and the surrounding urban landscape.  For more info on the Viaduct check out this website.

This site really appealed to us, but the model and choreographer/costume designer chose the Reading Tunnel.  Which worked out just freakin’ fine, so check out our photos from the Reading Tunnel with Courtney Lepresi and Gunner Montana.

Reading Viaduct Gallery:

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Running on alcohol, again.

You’ve all probably have heard of the Running of the Bulls, an annual event in Spain were daring individuals try to stay ahead of stampeding bulls running down narrow streets.  Well here in Philly we try and do it one notch better, have you heard of the Running of the Santas?  No?  Well just in case you missed this gem of a cultural event, below is a gallery.  Every variety of Santas possible runs from Finnegan’s Wake on Sporing Garden to Festival Pier on Delaware ave.

More Info Here: Running of the Santas 2012


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Subways II

Here is our second subway installment, with several more to go.  In this installment we focus in on people and how they carry themselves while having to sit closer than desired with the rest of the humanity.


All Photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Gentile.

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What is there to say about subways?  They’re not clean.  They’re not always safe.  They are a fixture for most of us in urban life.  In Manhattan there is no better way to get across the island in my opinion.  But it’s a tough choice, do I sit in a cab in traffic while the meter keeps adding up and have a few meters of space to myself or do I cram in like sardines for some change and ride the subway?  In Philly it’s a tougher choice, the underground doesn’t reach the whole city, buses and trollies fill the void.  Getting around Philly via cab is a little easier but it seems a little more expensive than NYC.

But none of that is what draws us to subways, it’s the grit, the architecture, the lighting, the vanishing points, it’s a product of the industrial age, and despite all this it’s mostly the people.  People.  Every shape, size and color.  Most normal or at least semi-normal but just enough nuts thrown in to make things interesting.  People and industrial age subterranean transportation, I’ll take it over highways any day.


All photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Gentile.

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Is it just us or are umbrellas and bad weather an intriguing photo subject?   Seemingly a timeless classic image.  Over the years we have gathered a wide range of umbrella shots mostly taken in Manhattan and Philadelphia.






What is it about the umbrella? It’s a simple mechanical device. Is it the way people hold them?  Is the design and pattern?  Or a combination of them all?

From Wikipedia:

An umbrella or parasol (also called a brolly, parapluie, rainshade, sunshade, gamp, bumbershoot, or umbrolly) is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The word parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun; umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain. Often the difference is the material; some parasols are not waterproof. Parasols are often meant to be fixed to one point and often used with patio tables or other outdoor furniture. Umbrellas are almost exclusively hand-held portable devices; however, parasols can also be hand-held. The collapsible (or folding) umbrella originated from China,[2][3] and had sliding levers similar to those in use of today.[4]

The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning shade or shadow (the Latin word, in turn, derives from the Ancient Greekómbros [όμβρος].) Brolly is a slang word for umbrella, used often in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Kenya. Bumbershoot is a fanciful Americanism from the late 19th century.

Some old some new here is a gallery of the timeless umbrella:  All photo by Lori Foxworth and Paul Gentile

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Stayin’ Weird

Since the mid 1980’s the South St area has been slowly trending to corporate retail and food.   Seemingly to edge closer and closer to a suburban mall.  I figured at some point they would put a roof on and then populate with seniors in big white sneakers doing exercise laps.  The days of places like Zipperhead are long gone.    The funk the punk and the art slowly ground down.  Jim’s Steaks and few others have survived and just when you thought all was lost Tattoo Eddies 621’s own Professor Ouch takes it in another direction.   What makes things “cool”?  What makes things “collectible”?  It’s hard to put into words, but Professor Ouch has put together art, toys and many many odd objects into a store called Bizarre Bazaar Odditorium at 720 S 5th St that I would describe as a bunch of pretty cool shit.   Many items brought in on consignment are interesting but the real weird items are from his own collections, conjoined twin baby skeletons, a real mummy and the ever elusive as well as legendary inaccurate beauty of a mermaid.  It’s only about 18 inches long damn damn ugly.   There’s a headless Hummel collection, sideshow canvases, toys from all eras, weird figurines, aliens in jars, all kinds of pig statues, vintage Playboys and Popular Mechanics, circus posters and much much more cool shit.

I’m heading back in a few days to haggle over some vintage sideshow canvases.  Don’t know why I like them so much but I must have one or maybe two.   Is this where it starts?  Anyway the South St area just got several notches more interesting  and it’s going to be a blast to stop in regularly and see what his latest offerings are.

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The Gate Reopened

Passing the surreal view under the Ben Franklin Bridge along Delaware Ave,  we sidestepped the Race St Pier and let the blue glow emanating from Pier 9 draw us in.   This is where we found a gritty demonstration of strength, acrobatics and grace meeting a post industrial decay warehouse world with a steel cage as a center stage.   Running deep from within the warehouse, along old tracks ahead of an imaginary locomotive, performers then leaped, crawled and bounced, in and out of the steel cage.   The cage was adorned with external ladders, which performers exploited before bouncing within and sticking to the fencing exterior in turn leaping and changing position via the trampoline floor.   Ladders, scaffolding, fencing, warehouse, industrial decay all work for this performance.

Brian Sander’s Junk is a company of performers who excel not only at dance, but also acrobatics and strength in way not often seen in modern dance.  The choreography, which is at time dizzyingly fast and furious, with strobe lights and heart thumping music, also runs the gamut of movement with bodies able to move gravity defyingly slow.  This is a true ensemble piece, in which all of the performers move seamlessly in a way which strips them of their individuality in a pulsing, throbbing mass of seamless movement.  Mr Sander’s has managed to tell the stories of love, birth, death in a way that will leave your jaw on the floor before your brain can catch up to what your eyes have just witnessed.  The lighting is stunning.  The music is loud.  The dancers are inspiring.  In The Gate Reopened, Brian Sanders has outdone himself and the modern dance community.   A must see this Fringe season!

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Le Grand Continental

From the  2012 Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe website:

Plunge feet first into the most epic contemporary dancing event ever imagined! Sylvain Émard’s Le Grand Continental is a festive—and FREE—30-minute outdoor adventure that has assembled some 200 local dancers of all ages and backgrounds to show off the talent, charisma, and personality of Philadelphians. First created for Montréal’s renowned Festival TransAmériques, the Philadelphia version promises to be one of the largest presentations of its kind in the world. The show transforms the plaza by the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art into a massive playground.

When Sylvain Émard first began these large-scale dance events he had no idea of the enthusiastic audience response he would unleash. Le Grand Continental is an infectious piece that combines exuberant line dancing with the fluidity and expressiveness of contemporary dance. As a child Émard discovered the pure pleasure of movement through line dancing, and with this captivating presentation pays tribute to this popular art form. Volunteer dancers trained throughout the summer and rehearsed like dance professionals to perform this vibrant choreography in sync with 200 other dancers.

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Upon entering the Latvian Society searching for what was billed as “an erotic performance that’s geared to get you hot, sexy and hard”, it’s easy to feel like you may be in the wrong place.  But once you stumble upon the space which Gunnar Montana has painstakingly transformed into a post-apocalyptic world, you may just forget that there is anything or anyone else on the outside.

Choreographed and directed by Jazmin Zieroff and Gunnar Montana, “Rub” is an avant garde sexual romp in a fantasy world inhabited by 4 stunningly beautiful and wonderfully depraved women who remind us not only of the power and beauty of the female body, but how the erotic world may evolve in a world without men.  The universe itself is an artistic wonderland of dirty grunge found from Philly garbage.  Walls are plastered with cigarette boxes, creepy barbies, wheels and textures.  Battered and exposed chandeliers are hung with the shells of decapitated beauty school practice heads.  The floor, which is littered with milk crates and junk, makes you pause to wonder if this is a part of the show, or just random chaos.  Gunnar’s talents as a visual artist is second only to his wit and creativity as a choreographer and director.

And then there are the girls.  Jazmin and Gunnar’s cast of women are nothing short of astonishing.  I’m reticent to refer to “Rub” as burlesque, which conjurers images of cutesy, dolled up pin-up girls prancing about in antiquated corsets.  The Rub girls aren’t afraid to get dirty as they run the gamut of real world fantasies and fetishes.  In the opening scene they climb, dance, spin and flip on scaffolding in work boots and denim cut-offs in what can only be described as erotic gymnastics which climaxes in an acrobatic pole dance by athletic beauty Maureen Lynch on a diagonal pole which lays haphazardly against seemingly precarious scaffolding.

The cast of “Rub” are not your typical hip swaying, gum chewing strippers, although some do perform in local clubs.  These are trained dancers, several of whom met as dance majors at the University of the Arts with backgrounds in ballet and modern dance.  Even in pieces as blatantly hot and sexual as as the doctor/patient lesbian romp in which Maureen  and Courtney Lapresi tumble, roll and spin atop a gurney, their training is evident.  Every hand, every foot, every arch of a back is a study in classical dance, even while wrapped in cellophane with neon painted nipples.

This is not to say that the show is without humor.  In one piece, Ann-Marie Gover dances a love-hate affair with a giant 6 foot penis constructed of what appears to be a kick boxing practice bag.  Ms Gover  is not only a beautiful dancer, her comic timing is flawless, as she seemingly struggles to climb to climb the giant, silver veined cock, only to ride the giant swaying phallic like a bucking bronco, love it, slap it and kick it around a bit.  In a school scene that goes awry, a very naughty teacher played by Fatima Kargbo straddles and climbs atop an unruly class, before eventually being bound and tied up with school chairs.  In the most classic of the strip numbers Courtney Lapresi does an sweet aerial dance in a neon g-string and stripper shoes in a giant heart.

But the final piece is where Gunnar’s visual art and modern dance training collide in an amazing work.  Milk crates transform from dancer’s heads to seats in which a tea party with Jack Daniels gets wet and dirty as the entire casts drenches themselves and each other as they slide and slither on the ground and with each other in a steaming hot sea of oily naked bodies.

As Gunnar’s debut show, “Rub” is a shining achievement in a multi-artistic eroticism.  And as a former dancer, I would personally like to thank him for giving us a combination of beautiful sexy bodies, dirty sexy art, and for understanding the importance of pretty stripper feet as opposed to ugly porn feet.  “Rub” is a must see at this year’s Fringe Festival.

Link to the 2012 Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe

All Photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Gentile at Black White and Raw Photography



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