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Smelling Wyck's potent heritage roses

Potent Heritage Roses

A mother and daughter, Bea Weidner and Emily Linso (not shown in this photo) took time to smell the roses in the bright and fragrant heritage rose garden at  Wyck. A national landmark, Wyck, is the ancestral estate of the Wistar-Haines family located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Development Director Kristin Hagar (above at table) welcomed people to a "Celebration of the Roses" open house and explained that heritage roses are generally brighter and have a more potent fragrance than modern roses, but last a shorter time. She welcomes the public to nominate locations where a Wyck heritage rose might be planted for the public to enjoy. Video here.


Expectant parents take a "Waltz in the Woods"

The day before Easter Sunday, Nick Hasselback and his wife, Jenna, who was due to deliver their first child four days later, marveled at Patrick Dougherty's new stick sculpture installation at the Morris Arboretum. "A Waltz in the Woods" is  a handful of closely circled tall and leaning towers consisting of   willow branches and saplings woven together. And then left for nature to take its course as with Dougherty's previous work at the Morris. Nick and Jenna describe themselves as woodsy people and are hatching similar, likely more modest, ideas of their own. Watch video here


Punjabi, Gugurati girls dance in high energy duet

Karen Kaur (left) of Punjabi heritage and Zeel Patel of Gujurati , danced an exuberant duet, “PunjGu” at the 4th Annual “Taal Se Taal” Indo-Pak cultural show on March 28, 2015 in Northeast Philadelphia. Part of their soundtrack to their dance routine was "Bhoom Trivedi/Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Ram Chahe Leela" (copyright administered by Merlin/Eros Music.) The hours long show and competition featured singers and dancers from Northeast High, Girls High, Central and from Penn State and raised money for charity.

Kaur and Patel think that their respective Punjabi Bhangra and Gujurati Garba dance styles are similarly filled with love and joy and typified by jumping! Some of Kaur’s high energy, she laughed, came courtesy of Red Bull.

Watch dancing and interview video here


Orphan Train - Objects, Memories, Improv

Langston Darby held an icepack to his jaw before his program on “Found Objects: Unleash the Voice of the Everyday through Performance“ at the Chestnut Hill Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. But the icepack was to ease the pain of an earlier dentist appointment and not part of his program, one of many events in the Library’s One Book One -Philadelphia celebration. This year’s selection, The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline is about the relationship of an older woman, Vivian and a young woman, Molly. Molly is a Penobscot Indian who has lived in various foster homes and gotten into trouble. Molly is assigned community service to help Vivian sort through the many keepsakes Vivian has stored in her attic. These objects evoke memories of the older woman’s own traumatic childhood experiences after she was sent on an “orphan train” from New York City to the Midwest during the Great Depression subsequent to the death of her Irish immigrant parents and siblings in a tenement fire.

 

Darby led our small assemblage through improvisation centering on objects- like a certain knife from our own memories and then had us feel for and pick the thing out of a “magic bag”, instructing us to let the object choose us. A sparkly dark orange artificial pumpkin chose one of us, a large black plastic knight/horse from a chess set, another. A small book chose your correspondent. Recommended reading: The Orphan Train.

Watch video here.


Drexel Dragons basketball breathe fire

Drexel homecoming king celebrates

Drexel University Homecoming King Richard Felix and his frat brothers cheered on the Drexel men’s basketball team to victory against the College of Charleston Cougars this past Saturday. And the Drexel Dance and Sprit teams helped the Dragons breathe fire in the come from behind win. Drexel trailed from 6 to 8 points for almost the entire game but clawed their way to a 53 to 51 win in the final minutes of the homecoming game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in West Philadelphia. Watch video here.


Lisa' Army- Pumpkin Race to help cancer patients

According to her Dad, Bill, when Lisa Loonstyn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 20, she accelerated the process of having a baby in expectation that she would need to have her ovaries removed. No one expected that the cancer, detected at stage one, would kill her at age 24. Her baby, now five, participated in the first “Lisa’s Army” 5K pumpkin race on Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon Creek on Saturday. Loonstyn said his daughter was always helping others who were going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  In her honor and memory, the friends and family who loved her continue this mission. Lisa loved pumpkins and Halloween was her favorite holiday. Watch video here.


Started Free Dominion Party, seeking seat on Philly Council

Michael Galganski is the founder of the Free Dominion Political Party.  At the  Philadelphia  12th  Democratic Party Ward meeting on October 2, 2014, he announced he is running for the Philadelphia 8th district  city council seat in 2015. Galganski describes his party’s philosophy as “dignitarian” and his platform calls for abolishing taxes and returning the economy to a gold standard.  About other members of the party, he says there is a woman he met online from Strawberry Mansion who is now the party’s secretary and a likely candidate for office herself. Galganski’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Galganski/595972723749410

Watch video interview here

 


Young photography profs open their studio

Sarah Kaufman, Vita Litvak and June Yong Lee are photographers who teach at area colleges and share a spacious, well-lit third floor studio space at Kendrick Mill in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. They opened up their studio to the public for the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours on October 11th and 12th.  Your correspondent visited.(See photos of other studios here and here)

 Kaufman is interested in the human body and its relation with the spaces it occupies; her series of teenagers diving off rocks at Devil’s Pool in the Wissahickon Creek are inspired by Thomas Eakins’ photographic studies of his students swimming. Lee also studies the human body, and skin; 40 subjects have sat for his unflinching Torso series. Litvak romanticizes her childhood through atmospheric, documentary photographs of Tirasopol, Transnistria, the former Soviet autonomous region where she grew up.

Video interview with Litvak

Video interview with Kaufman

Video interviw with Lee

Video interview with Kaufman, Litvak and Lee


Al-Bustan showcases Arab art and music at Morris Arboretum

From the Al-Bustan website "We are thrilled to return to Morris Arboretum where Al-Bustan Camp started back in July 2002. In fact, it was Morris Arboretum’s beautiful gardens that inspired the name Al-Bustan (Arabic for “the garden”). Join us as we literally return to our roots in celebration of Arab heritage.

Guests will enjoy music and hands-on activities in traditional Arabic art:  geometric pattern-making with Al-Bustan Teaching Artist Tremain Smith and Arabic calligraphy. Tours highlighting trees in the Arboretum’s collection that originate from Arab countries will be offered throughout the day." Saturday September 20, 2014

Watch video collage of day's events here.

Watch musical performance and interview with musician here.

Watch video interview with Arabic calligrapher here.


Posing for their photos in the Poseybooth

Old fashioned photo boothAt the popular and busy outdoor Clover Market in Chestnut Hill Sunday, a photographer with “Poseybooth” took photos of anyone willing to pose and of at least one unwilling dog. Poseybooth is a modern version of the ubiquitous instant photo booths of yore. But instead of a getting a wet print, those posing received their photos in digital format via text or email. The freebie souvenir appeared to make many people very happy. Watch video here.