Tag Archives: Philadelphia

These pictures would be great if they weren’t so terrible…

Make sure you spare no expense when purchasing otherwise inexpensive yet generally dependable disposable cameras for YOUR informal post-wedding celebratory event.

Otherwise your photos might end up like this*:

ah, yes... it looks like there could be a table there, and wait! some people AT that table, but for the most part... just blackness.

oh, and look... here's a charming shot of the bride and groom about to kiss! oh, wait maybe not. i mainly just see cupcakes.

oh, my. just... *wow*. this is a great one. this photo brings us just *this* much closer to solid proof that (due to unknown causes) a body CAN separate from it head, causing spontaneous floating head-itis**... specifically during informal post-wedding celebratory events.

**spontaneous floating head-itis can also cause momentary facial blurring which can be very useful if you plan on commiting any major crimes and wish to evade security cams or police survelliance.

 

and finally…

the very best and worst? photo of the bunch:
at least it had some color…

*it also helps to have significant sunlight. or some other kind of light. just light. in general.

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Weekend Bee-ject’s #25

All images were captured by the bee between July 11th – 17th with a Digital Harinezumi V.2:

Click here for things including, but not limited to, sink-cat and an infuriatingly bizarre phone conversation.

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Just Kids

Last weekend I got myself a copy of Patti Smith‘s newest book, “Just Kids“. It documents her formative years as an artist and how she met her kindred spirit, Robert Mapplethorpe during a time when she needed a friend the most. The way Patti speaks of Robert makes it hard to discern whether she is speaking of a friend, a lover or a brother and the truth seems to be that he was all that and more. Their intense relationship exceeded that of societal norms and even Robert’s tragic passing at the age of 42.

I’m only a fraction of the way through the book but already I’m having a hard time putting it down. One reason is that Patti Smith is an absolute chanteuse in my mind. Brilliant and beautiful and a fearless renegade. She is at least partly responsible for changing the way art and music is ingested in our culture. The other, bigger reason, is that the love story that unfurls in this book reminds me ever so much of the first, and ultimately chance, meeting I had with my favorite cohort and partner in life.

You might know him as The Bee.

Her book is encapsulated in these words: “It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation”. For (me) and The Bee, it was the summer before 9/11 and in many ways, the last days of an innocence. It was our first taste of real freedom, and our whirlwind love affair with Philadelphia and each other would change me from basically bitter to mostly sweet.

The weekend before my high school graduation I was scheduled to attend a freshman orientation at Temple University. It was a rite of passage for all new matriculates but I couldn’t have been less interested or excited at the prospect of acclimating myself to my new home away from home for the next 4 years or so (because really? it took me closer to 5). The weekend before graduation had always been heralded as Senior Week and because of this god forsaken orientation, I was standing at the edge of a questionable neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia instead of playing beer pong for 48 consecutive hours in a condo in Brigantine with the rest of my compatriots.

Suffice to say, I was pissed.

I quickly found a friend, one of the few high school alums who would be attending Temple along with me (everyone else must have gotten the memo about the senior week/freshman orientation scheduling conflict) and we settled into our familiar time-filling conversations. It was then, standing on the sidewalk outside of my would-be dorm on a warm June day, that I saw a boy that made my heart STRAIGHT-UP skip a beat.

He was alluring in that “I’m not even trying to look this hot” way that had me drawing an immediate comparison to Brandon Boyd (It was 2001 and Incubus was relevant, I swear.) He stood on the steps to the dorm with a girl I assumed was his girlfriend, chatting amongst a group of some other fresh meat. Perhaps the glance we shared was more than fleeting because our next call of duty was to queue up and receive our room assignments for that night and guess who ended up in line behind me?

Our first words exchanged were in the moments after signing the roster where he commented on the spelling of my name. I later found out he was so observant due to the fact that his girlfriend (fyi – not the girl from the steps, bee is just a lady killa) and I shared a name phonetically, if not in print. I thought this was strangely coincidental if only as a means to have something to fall back on in our future conversations. I would soon find out there would be no lapse in things to talk about between us.

Our bond was instantaneous. We walked around together within a small group of other newbies but I honestly can’t remember being all that interested in what anyone else was doing beside the two of us. I was pretty sure he felt the same way but our words wore the veil that masked our intent from our action. We showed each other the scars we had accrued over the span of our short lives, talked about our families and found we had a shared love for American McGee’s Alice and Parliament Lights.

After the scheduled events for our first day were over we were left to our own devices, free to seek out entertainment (or trouble) independently and (me) and The Bee stole away together to pour over a list of classes to choose from for the upcoming semester. I had always been bright but since the beginning of Junior High, I was never what one would call a star student. I did my homework infrequently and studied even less (that means never) and I was lucky that I squeaked by in my competitive high school without getting booted. The only area I could always be counted upon to excel was standardized testing (which I attribute as my ONLY savior for college admittance), I just cared very little to actually apply myself.

When it came to choosing courses or a major (what now?) my being clueless would be an understatement. The only class I had really enjoyed during high school was film. And I know, I. KNOW. That’s almost as bad as saying my favorite class was lunch or recess but I really loved movies and what they conveyed, that when The Bee mentioned that he was selecting Film as his main focus of study, I couldn’t have been more on board with that plan.

We spent that evening talking and smoking cigarettes in the courtyard that a few months later we would be able to look down upon from The Bee’s dorm room. Too little time was spent sleeping and the next morning we awoke to find that the first thing on our agenda was to have our ID photos taken. Not having time to put on any make-up or fix my hair, I looked the worse for wear but my new buddy was in good spirits despite having slept on a bench in one of the communal lounges. It turned out that his designated roomie for that evening was *AHEM* engaged with a lady friend and since the beds had been (quite rudely, I might add) pushed together by the love bugs, there was literally no room for sleeping in that scenario.

We waited amongst an OBSCENELY huge group of frosh newbs to get our picture taken that day but I can’t recall being all that perturbed as I had a jovial companion who seemed to enjoy my presence as much as I did his, despite my haggard appearance.

~

Here’s the part where I throw my all-in-one fax/scanner/copier/printer through a window because it conveniently chose to just stop working and now I can’t scan the ID photos taken that day to aptly tie this post into a neat little bow and present the beautiful dichotomy between mine and Patti’s stories. That, and The Bee can’t find his ID. Soooooooo, I guess he’s going through the window instead…

Anyway, I always hated how I looked in my ID photo (picture chubby cheeks and disheveled pixie hair accented with a hot-pink bandana) but the smile on my face is 100% genuine. The Bee had said something to make me crack up. What exactly, I can’t remember, but less than 24 hours after meeting each other, I was beginning to realize that I had finally found the missing piece to my puzzle.

At the end of that day, we parted ways, not to speak again for a few months when we spotted each other online and realized that we had both been assigned to the same floor of the same dorm. It didn’t really occur to me then the potential fated nature of that fact, I just knew I was excited to have such an amazing friend just down the hall.

Our time together at Temple was limited. The Bee left after the first semester and so did the magic that I had begun to associate with my time spent there. Although we were not romantically linked during our time at school, our relationship was often interpreted as such, since we were rarely without the other. My boyfriend at the time regularly voiced his overwhelming distaste for my close friendship with this boy that I obviously thought so highly of and although his jealousies were technically unfounded, I soon realized my emotions were undeniably guilty of a betrayal.

After The Bee left school, I spent more and more time at home versus campus and pretty soon the appeal of dorm life had waned completely. Over the next 4 years we remained good, however distant, friends; the space between us caused by locale and logistical complications. Yet, whenever we saw each other during that time the overwhelming rush of blissful excitement would run through me and we would fall in line again, like we’d never missed a step.

Tomorrow will mark our 5th official anniversary together. In many ways it feels like it’s been ages longer than that and somehow impossible to think that we’ve shared so many years with each other already. I feel really lucky in that way. He’s my partner & my best friend.

Thanks, bee.

Happy Anniversary.

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Hard On for Philly

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phallic, no?

I was going to title this post “Heart On for Philly” as a veiled attempt to cover up my intent and as a blatant steal from the newest Eagles of Death Metal album (because that title rocks my socks) but I went for the more lewd of the two. Well, you’re reading this post aren’t you? So I guess it worked. Now, where was I? Right. I fucking love Philadelphia. You’ll have to excuse my language but I felt the expletive was necessary to properly convey how passionate I really am for my second home. For years I took the city and its accessibility for granted, as it was never more than a 30 minute car ride over the Ben Franklin bridge from my house. That, or during the times I worked in the Olde City section of Philadelphia, a 20 minute ride via NJ PATCO, or the “Speed line” to those in the know. In my late teens it was my plan to run as far away as possible from South Jersey and its western neighbor, toying with the notion of attending college in either New Orleans or San Francisco. Thankfully, for Me AND The Bee, that never panned out as we would have never met on the steps of Temple University’s White Hall our first day of freshman orientation all those years ago, but that’s a whoooooole ‘nother story. A good one too, but let’s save that for another time, shall we?

A huge chunk of my family lives in the city, which is both truth and the perfect allusion for how I feel when I finally cross over the Delaware River from NJ to PA. It’s then that I realize I’m coming home, ever comforted by its undeniable familiarity. From the skyline to the cobblestones, the city is full of history, often overshadowed by a bigger and more boastful city in New York. How unfortunate, since so much of our country was founded in the humble structures that make up Philly’s close knit neighborhoods. I’m not aiming to speak ill of NYC, even after last night’s crushing loss to the Yankees in the World Series (we’ll fix that next year). I’m only wanting to boast about the amazing city that Philadelphia is and that so few, living where I currently do, really appreciate.

Since moving from South to Central New Jersey almost 5 years ago, and oh yeah there was that ill-fated move to North Carolina 2 years after that (another story, another time), I frequent the city much less than I used to in my college-aged heyday. When the opportunity arises to see a band play, I always scout out their dates in Philly before New York, because, frankly, I prefer traversing the streets of Philadelphia than the labyrinthine gridlock of NYC any old day. My allegiance is ALWAYS to Philly teams, during good seasons and bad, the only exception being the addition of the Pittsburgh Steelers which I have adopted per request of The Bee because he loves them and I love him. So there. At least they’re from Pennsylvania, right?

[cue crickets]

So, I left behind my beloved city and my South Jersey roots for the love of The Bee. Although I miss my old home always I have no regrets at leaving as I know I would miss The Bee more if we were so far apart. I know, “Awwwwwww”, right? Maybe we are all designed to spread our wings and fly away at some point, trying out new places in the hopes that it will be better and brighter than the dismal existence (we think) we’ve left behind. In my experience, running away for the sake of running away is rarely better or brighter, just different. I’m looking at YOU Greenville, NC.

Anywho, we are finally beginning to recover from our mini-vacation to Philadelphia as a part of my birthday celebration a few weeks back, complete with lengthy walks in the rain and WAY after dark binges at Jim’s (they have the best cheese steaks, don’t let anyone tell you different).

With that, I leave you with some of my favorite shots we took during our most recent stay in the city.

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outside of the coffee shop where "The Waitress" works from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

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interior of Silk City (5th & Spring Garden), decorated for Halloween

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view of a rainy Broad Street from our hotel window

And my personal fave:

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photo by The Bee, of me and the color changing leaves (around 10th & Locust)

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Dear, Dr. Dog. Will You Marry Me (and The Bee)?

I have fallen madly in love. Now, before you start penning an open letter of warning to The Bee telling him what a scandalous harlot I am for my betrayal, let me tell you that he is well aware. As a matter of fact, he’s known from the start and he was there to witness it all, when this past Friday night my small scale crush turned into full-time infatuation with a group of 5 men. And a dog. Maybe I need to explain…

Back in July, we bought two 2-day passes to see Dr. Dog, live in Philly (their home base, and our home away from home), elated because the show would be the weekend following my birthday and what better way to celebrate?! I say this because 1. I am a compulsive show-goer, where some people like to have a nice meal out at a swanky joint, or use outlet shopping as therapy, I buy tickets to shows (making it to most) and 2. because for the better part of this year, Dr. Dog’s album “Fate” has been playing on a constant loop during just about everything we do. Driving to work, AT work, while on vacation, doing the dishes, to drown out the sound of my chattering mind, WHENEVER. “Fate” has become the soundtrack for our lives, we pimp the album to anyone who will give us the time to listen because, well, it’s really REALLY good. It’s not just the album, either, they have 4 other LPs and an EP, all of which have become a part of our daily listening practice. When there is a question about what to put on while driving together or hanging out at home, Dr. Dog on shuffle always works to suit both our fancies. Until this past weekend, I had no idea just how much Dr. Dog I really needed in my life.

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Having never seen Dr. Dog before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, just that I had heard they have an amazing live show. It’s kind of shameful, as a girl who has spent a good deal of time in the city of Philadelphia, from living there, attending school and working in the city, I had never seen this local band perform before. I had heard of the band, but had obviously never been so inclined to go the extra mile and put image to sound. I have conceded to kicking myself for such foolish ways.

Upon entering the TLA, I was immediately taken with the stage. It was unbelievably vibrant, the backdrop was a multi-colored basket weave of ribbons criss-crossed over their signature “3 dots” logo.  Three giant chinese lanterns (in “3 dots” formation, yet again) hovered over a stage literally covered with flowers, wrapped around mic stands, pouring onto the stage and interspersed with large carnival sized white lion heads. The sets theme provided a fresh and joyous vibe that spread from band to audience within moments of their arrival on stage. From the opening of the first song, the crowd was completely engaged, bopping and rocking about ferociously, an almost mirror image of the physicality expressed by the band onstage. In an age where most concert-goers seem too hip or jaded to do much moving about, this crowd had obviously never read the memo. It was wickedly refreshing to see a group of people so genuinely happy to see these amazing artists in peak form. And were they ever. Oh yeah, and co-lead man Scott McMicken even brought his dog out onstage during the set. Gotta love a group who loves their dog.

As if Friday night wasn’t enough of a treat, we returned again on Saturday, this time amongst our friends and a complete and total downpour of rain to see if history could repeat itself. The set list from the first night had been so perfect, that both Me and The Bee agreed if they played it exactly the same from start to finish we wouldn’t be disappointed. They had played a great mix of songs from most of their albums, focusing most heavily on their newest release “Fate” and Saturday night played out much the same, save for a few swapped songs and a change of order. The band returned to the stage in their uniforms from the night before, white suits adorned with a multi-colored mesh to match the backdrop perfectly. These guys worked their theme to the max and it really payed off. In my eye, they have solidified their place as potential successors to a Sgt. Pepper styled band without being labeled as solely derivative.

As the set wrapped up, Scott borrowed the cell phone of a crowd member, ordering a pizza “better make that an extra-large” because there are a lot of hungry people here. Moments later, as the band continued to play, assistants bearing pizza boxes stepped out from behind the stage, presenting the treats to the audience. Cries of “PIIIIIIIIIIIIZZA?!” could be heard throughout the venue. Pizza boxes began to infiltrate the crowd all the while, the band played on as more and more boxes emerged from behind the scenes. Sitting in the bar, we figured we would be overlooked but no sooner than we called defeat, a piping hot slice was being thrust toward me and don’t you know it, I look in all directions, and EVERYONE has a slice! Dr. Dog bought their entire audience pizza. PI-ZZA!!! I wasn’t even hungry, but lord knows I ate that slice with relish. Best pizza EVER.

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classy lady

This brings me back to the title of this post. As I said earlier, the album “Fate” has been one that Me and The Bee have found such a profound love for that we decided the song “Army of Ancients” would be our wedding song. Wedding talk has been on the forefront for almost a year now, though we are no closer to deciding what we’re actually going to do about it other than picking a date and sticking to it (just a little over a year now!) but strangely (or not so, depending how you look at it) Dr. Dog has always been a predetermined part of the function. I figured when the time came, I would DJ the event myself, or at the very least, prepare a mix of our favorite songs to play on the dance floor, with “Army of Ancients” as ours to share.

Now, I have a very vivid imagination and no sooner had our Dr. Dog weekend commenced than I had visions of the band playing our wedding. Yeah, and who do I think I am exactly? Still, a girl can dream and I told The Bee that my conviction was so strong that I was willing to forgo typical wedding fare, such as a dress and flowers (not really saying much since I’ve been pushing for a shotgun wedding from day one) to fund a Dr. Dog wedding extravaganza.  A friend suggested that we simply get married AT a Dr. Dog show, an idea which caused my ears to prick up as well. So, call me crazy, I really must be, but we LOVE this band. They put on the best live show I have ever SEEN 2 nights in a row and damn, I’ve seen a lot of shows, but what they did on that stage was truly magical, making a rainy weekend in the city one of the best of my life. Isn’t that what everyone wants for their wedding day?

Check out this footage from Friday night (10.23) of the Dog performing one of my favorites, The Ark.

You can view the rest of the set that we captured here.

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