Performing and visual artist Karla Milugo from Brooklyn and beyond is taking an artist hiatus in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. In the month she is planning to spend here, Milugo is doing art and exploring the Philly environs. Your interviewer encountered her wearing a large, crafted camera apparatus at the Germantown Kitchen Garden urban farm oasis where a potluck picnic and concert was taking place. The camera is also a balloon pumping station and Milugo entertains kids by blowing up balloons and drawing their likeness on them. Milugo also spoke of her Preacher Faith Faucet person and her book divination projects and she indulged your interviewer by demonstrating her whistling prowess and singer creds. As the sun was setting the lively salsa band Combo Melaza rocked the crowd including Milugo who videoed while she salsa-ed.
Kalam Shaheen a new United States Postal Service mail carrier hasn't yet received an official uniform allowance so when a guy came around the Post Office [in the hot weather] offering workers tank tops emblazoned with the Postal Service logo, she bought one out of pocket. Now she believes she is starting a style trend among "the girls." Your correspondent recalled seeing her making deliveries Sunday, the day before. Shaheen says that substitutes are required to work Sundays, delivering Amazon packages. She knows she has a lot of hard work ahead of her the next couple years but as someone who hasn't attended college. she is hoping to turn this job into a career as it offers benefits and a pension. Watch video here.
The Lego Company has been fantastically successful. In each of the last 5 years sales have risen 24% and profits, 40%. But it was not always so. For most of its 80-year existence, its reach did not extend so far beyond Billun, Denmark, where Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter unable to secure enough wood to build furniture during the 1930s depression, began experimenting building wooden toys.
The company under Christiansen’s progeny soared in the last couple decades but tie-in products to the Star Wars and Harry Potter movies nearly doomed the company in 2003; sales of those products crashed when the movie franchises hadn’t yet come out with new films.
This, according to Wharton Professor Dave Robertson and former LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Switzerland's Institute for Management. Robertson, a Chestnut Hill resident, discussed his new book, “Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry” at the William Jeannes Library in Lafayette Hill this past Thursday evening.
He began his slide talk by distributing baggies, each packed with the identical same six logo pieces, and instructed the audience to “Build a duck” and gave us only a minute or two. Participants then brought their “ducks” up to the front table. At the end of the talk, Robertson pointed to the wide variation of these Lego “ducks” as evidence that incredible creativity is possible even when severe constraints are imposed, a major thesis of his book.
He credits Lego Company’s resurgence to its imposition of key constraints: drastically reducing the number of parts (about 14000 different ones at peak) that had made the manufacturing process unwieldy, getting back to products that are more “Lego-y” and subjecting product proposals to the approval a committee of 3 seasoned Lego designers. And, ultimately, insisting that projected profitability be a constant constraint.
What Lego pioneered was not just a toy, Robertson maintains, but a system of play. And that system “is about the brick.”
Greg Roussos is a new barber doing old style barbering at the Wissahickon Barber Shop in Roxborough. Old style is spending more time with the customer, doing scissor over combing and straight razor shaving, he says. Roussos feels that guys these days are often forced to go to “girlie” shops and that they really prefer the old time experience where they can hang out, get a cut, talk sports. But he does women’s hair too. The friend who was helping Roussos put flyers on car windshields on Northwestern Avenue near the horse stables says Roussos always does her hair. “He’s the best.” Watch video interview here.
Milica's cousin Alex posing with a hat
[Guests mingling and trying on Milica’s hats]
>>Milica Schiavio: My hats are very nature inspired. I love being outdoors so I try to use a lot of organic elements. I definitely went through a fruit phase. I used plastic apples, plastic pears. This one right here for example, is mounted on a suede headband and it’s packing material, egg cartons and all sorts of green elements.
[Guests trying on hats]
>>CLOSEUP: And where would someone wear a hat like this?
>>Milica: They would wear them to the Radnor Hunt races, the Devon Horse show, different horse shows. I won first place at Radnor Hunt two years ago, second place last year. We’ll see what happens this year.
>>CLOSEUP: So the horses compete and the hats compete too?
>>Milica: Yeah, they do in the chapeau contest. It’s fun. I love to make people smile. I think women have a really good time when they wear my hats. People approach them, talk to them…. That’s a fascinator. So it’s Styrofoam in the middle with paper and just acorns and green moss.
[Trying on hats, posing for camera]
>>Milica: The name of my website is Milica in the Hat Millinery dot com and it’s milicainthehat.com. You can also go to my Facebook page where there’s a lot more photos.
Milica's neice looks at one of Milica's fascinators
At the Japan Society Sakura Sunday Cherry Blossom Festival, Japanese fashion took center stage. Tamagawa Taiko dancers and drummers performed wearing traditional Japanese dress, followed by models wearing fashions inspired by Tokyo's Harajuku District, designed by students of the Art Institute. Meanwhile Frilladelfia girls pirouetted about in their frilly Lolita outfits imported from contemporary Japan and harking back to the dress of Victorian England.
“Students from the Art Institute designed outfits for this show. It’s a Harajuku style so we have the more fun, colorful and bright style. Then we go into formal wear which is what I’m wearing. Then it’ll go into a more gothic [unintelligible]” (Pointing), “Hers is a much more of a fun style… hers is a really bright Harajuku, and a fun – really.” Heather Chow “It was made from a Kimono that I ripped apart and turned into a skirt and a top. So kind of re-inventing itself into a young Japanese look for now… This is one of my friend’s designs. Her name is Latoya. She turned this kimono into a wrap dress." Monica Monique, shown above.
WHAT’S JAPANESEY ABOUT YOUR OUTFIT? It’s from Japan. It’s a fashion style called Lolita. L-O-L-I-T-A. AND WHAT’S IT CHARACTERIZED BY? It’s pretty much female modesty. Typically you’re going to see poofy skirts, dresses and over-the-knee socks. Stuff like that. This is Japanese fashion style. We’re a Japanese fashion group. DO YOU STUDY FASHION? I don’t but several girls do. I just like it. AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR OUTFIT? DID SOMEONE MAKE IT FOR YOU OR DID YOU DESIGN IT? Oh no. Except for two of the girls, we all purchased our outfit from Japan. Or from China. There’s some Chinese companies getting into it now.[talking about her soft pretzel] It’s good. AND IS THAT A JAPANESE TRADITION TOO? No it is not. It’s a Philly tradition. Except I don’t have cheese or mustard. YOU’RE MIXING YOUR TRADITIONS HERE. I am. It’s a yummy tradition.
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, Horticultural Center, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA
Suzanne Poncen talks about how she met Dan Jessen, not pictured, on Match.com at a party in Germantown. Watch video here
Julia Staico of Chestnut Hill, a stylist at the Hair Cuttery in Flourtown, is in love. Watch video here.