February First Friday: A Night of Audio, Visual, and Lavatory Art
Early last week, Punxsutawney Phil saw six more weeks of winter in our future. We definitely felt the winter winds on February’s First Friday as we traversed the neighborhood in search for aesthetic happenings and warm faces. Here are our highlights from the night:
Bluecadet – 1526 Frankford Ave.
Have you been sick and tired of the nonstop political banter since the presidential election? Well, you aren’t the only one. AIGA’s Philadelphia chapter unveiled their most recent exhibition, Design2Unite, at Bluecadet on February 3rd. AIGA saw this exhibition as an opportunity to bring all communities together, if only for a night, as people, not political parties. The gallery featured numerous works that contained themes of unity. “These signs for the most part are very positive,” Gaby Heit, the Exhibitions Chair for AIGA’s Philadelphia chapter, said. “They’re about unity and love, and that was our message; we need to find a way to unite among our differences and learn how to move on from here.” AIGA’s president Lauren Dougherty said that they have been working with the Bludecadet for some time now and will be unveiling a new exhibition at the beginning of each month. If you were unable to make it to the great opening of the Design2Unite’s exhibition, hop on over to Bluecadet for March’s First Friday to catch the unveiling of their next show that will feature women artists in honor of Women’s History Month.
Franny Lou’s Porch – 2400 Coral St.
Many found comfort, community and creativity in the quaint and cozy environment of Franny Lou’s Porch. Laughter filled the coffee shop and poetry house as stand-up comedians Soumya Dhulekar and Ronald Metellus kicked off the night. Yona Yurwit, who was responsible for curating the evening’s events, with the help of Franny Lou’s owner Blew MaryWillow Kind, embraced her “capital-A Artist” as she displayed her latest series Pictures/Words. “It’s based on this idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, but they aren’t always the right ones,” Yurwit said. Her portraits include a technological element, where you can scan the QR code below each image and hear an interview from the person in the portrait. “I wanted to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the people in my social circles [and] give them a chance to describe themselves in their own words.” People were able to look at and purchase her works before Sarah-Kathryn Bryan and Taylor Davidson wrapped up the evening with their spoken-word poetry. 25 percent of the proceeds made from Yurwit’s art that evening will be donated to Philadelphia’s Coalition for REAL Justice. Want to purchase one of her works for your own art collection? Good news, Franny Lou’s will be displaying and selling Yurwit’s work for the rest of the month.
Pink Slime Gallery – 454 E Girard Ave.
Ever hear of a good bathroom experience? Probably not. On the flip, Chicago-based Drug Factory Press’ Ryan Duggan presented new works entitled “Lavatory Success Story” at Pink Slime Gallery. This story included bowled fruit prints as well as framed whoopee cushions. Alongside the special showcased art, Pink Slime flags, lighters and tees were also available. Attendees purchased Drug Factory Press prints, Pink Slime products, and/or Tecate Mexican beer, the sponsor being served from a large ice-filled bucket in the back. If you missed Duggan’s show, Drug Factory Press work can be purchased online, including the whoopee cushion.
Franklin & Poe – 1817 Frankford Ave.
When we walked into the domestic-made clothing and goods shop Franklin & Poe Friday evening, live jazz introduced itself and entranced us. For $5, guests sipped on a choice of homemade-flavored moonshine poured from mason jars. We tasted the fruit-infused moonshine Permanent Midnight that delivered more berries, less bite to our taste buds. Other flavors included Orange Kitty Surprise. September Corbett, who organized this Jazz Block, sang “House of the Rising Sun.” Sean Markey played guitar, Josh Charles was on drums, and others approached the mic. Jazz lovers listened and spoke around products like jeans and little potted plants sold at F&P. Corbett claims there is a lot of recognition for the visual arts and believes audio and visual arts should both be celebrated. “We can’t let jazz die,” Corbett said. •