The Philadelphia of the 1970s and '80s was the sort of advertising boom town so rich with creative vision that its easy to envision Don Draper, using a family picnic as the backdrop for a Tastykake campaign that touches upon tradition, ritual, and the redemptive nature of the Tandy Take. The ad industry was nothing new to the City of Brotherly Love, of course; in fact, Philadelphian Volney Palmer is credited as being the creator of the first offical ad agency, opening in 1841. But it was during a more recent period in Philly history, when the logos being created for all manner of products were so strong that they continue to have an impact on our day-to-day lives. We've spent most of today searching our memories for recall of what homegrown logos have stuck with us the most, and the results are an overwhelming tribute to the work done by anonymous men and women who once lived and created among us, never getting due credit for the brilliant graphics they have birthed. To those individuals we thank you: This slideshow is dedicated to your tireless efforts towards making Philly commerce into something truly artistic.
“This is a real old building, made out of wood. The only thing I’m really worried about is, ya know when everybody lights matches at the end of the show? Well, this could all come down. Let’s yell our heads off and have a great time, but… cool it on the fire?”
Ah yes, that would be the Philly Civic Center this young gentleman is speaking of in the above Grateful Dead bootleg, dating back to August of 1974. Built in the early ‘30s, it was already a mess in the ‘70s, and would be demo’d in the ‘90s. But what a run it had: The Beatles! The Stones! LBJ! Megadeth!
In any case, the Civic is about to get a nice little momentum in the form of Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol. 31, a 4-CD set compiling three shows: 8/4 and /5, Philadelphia Civic Center and 8/6/74, Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ. According to Real Gone Music, who’s releasing the set:
"This Dick’s Picks volume captures the Dead right in the thick of the legendary 1974 Wall of Sound tour and only two months away from leaving the road for a year-and-a-half hiatus. The Wall of Sound was, of course, the massive sound system designed by Owsley “Bear” Stanley that was so meticulously constructed that, for example, each string of Phil Lesh’s bass had its own speaker (and was so daunting to transport and assemble that it was dismantled after the tour).”
We don’t know about all that, but it sure is good to hear that ol’ Philly wood.
BY ANDREW CHALFEN
Me: Hello?Read More
Voice: A tax on juice drinks and soda would squeeze hard-working families struggling to pay their bills and keep their health courage.
Me: Well, the money would go to low-income schools.
Voice: [flustered] This message is paid for by the Beverage Industry of...
Me: I'm sure it is. But the-
In the beginning, there were five: Rittenhouse, Washington, Franklin, Logan and Centre. These were the five public squares of Philadelphia as planned by William Penn, in his legendary vision for the “green country towne” that you and I (mostly) enjoy today. For Penn, these areas were intrinsic to a notion about city living and its attendant need to, every once in a while, sit in patch of green and imagine you’re somewhere else.Read More
On May 18th and 19th, Atlas Obscura and the Obscura Society Philly will host two lectures that speak concisely of their shared mission to turn a spotlight n compelling topics that dance on the fringes of society. The first of these will be "Don't Fear the Reaper," a rumination on mortality from Dr. Paul Koudounaris that will utilize cultural anthropology to present examples of why death isn't exactly the big bad we make it out to be -- so apologies to fans of Depeche Mode's "Fly on the Windscreen." Conversely, Dr. Koudounaris' speech "Nautical Cats. Adventure, Courage, and Betrayal!" has the potential to become a sentient Decemberists song by presenting"stories of wily sea cats who traveled the world, fought in battles, won medals, and gained honor, all on the high seas." The through line here remains, as always, that the world is a much more fascinating place than it seems -- you've just got to know where to look. In this case, Fishtown, as both of these talks will go down at the Convent, which seems suitable obscure enough in itself.
"Don't Fear The Reaper" will be held on Wednesday, May 18th at 7pm. "Nautical Cats. Adventure, Courage, and Betrayal!" will be held on Thursday, May 19th at 7pm. Lectures are $12 each. The Convent, 1648 East Berks Street.
Curated so well
Like a cool Faberge egg
Everything is good.
Rescued from the doom
It’s historic and alive
Mad bargains in here
Mighty mighty stacks
A sweet refuge from
Penn undergrad twats
Moby Dick of books!
Ancient treasure of lost words
Please don’t ever change
Clean and bright and new
Staffed by MFA students
As we noted last week, April 30th is Independent Bookstore Day. And while official participation in Philadelphia proper is, to put it charitably, low, we still wish support our local indie bookstores. For they are our lifeblood, our inspiration zones, our constant friends. As you move about the town tomorrow, do drop by one of the above (click on their names for more info) and treat yourself to something good and rich and true: A new (or new to you) book!
To you, clerk, literary man, sedentary person, man of fortune, idler, the same advice. Up! The world (perhaps you now look upon it with pallid and disgusted eyes) is full of zest and beauty for you, if you approach it in the right spirit! Out in the morning! If in the city, even there you will find ample sources of amusement and interest in its myriad varieties of character and occupation—in the scenes of its awakening and adjusting itself to its daily labors—in the crowds around its ferries, and all through its main thoroughfares, and at its great depots and markets. Do not be discouraged soon. Give our advice a thorough trial—not for a few days or weeks, but for months. Early rising, early to bed, exercise, plain food, thorough and persever- ing continuance in gently-commenced training, the cultivation with resolute will of a cheerful temper, the society of friends and a certain number of hours spent every day in regular employment— these, we say, simple as they are, are enough to revolutionize life, and change it from a scene of gloom, feebleness, and irresolution, into life indeed, as becomes such a universe as this, full of all the essential means of happiness, full of well-intentioned and affectionate men and women, with the beneficent processes of nature always at work, the sun shining, the flowers blooming, the crops growing, the waters running, with all else that is wanted, only that man should be rightly toned to partake of the universal strength and joy. This he must do through reason, knowledge and exercise—in short, through training; for that is the sum of all.
— excerpted from the recently discovered NewYork Atlas, Sept. 12, 1858: MANLY HEALTH AND TRAINING, WITH OFF-HAND HINTS TOWARD THEIR CONDITIONS BY MOSE VELSOR (Née Walt Whitman).
If you are unfamiliar with the Bryn Mawr-born-and-raised director Alex Ross Perry, don’t be too, too hard on yourself. Prior to now, he was best known for the mumblecore black comedy The Color Wheel, and Listen Up, Philip, a literary comedy starring Jason Schwartzman. But that’s set to change: Ross Perry’s film fest favorite Queen of Earth, a dark suspense number with Elizabeth Moss (who also co-starred in Listen Up, Philip) and Katherine Waterston (from Inherent Vice), has just been uploaded to Netflix. (You read that right: A movie that you may want to see has been uploaded to Netflix!) Meanwhile, Perry has (oddly) been brought on to pen a screenplay for Disney’s upcoming live-action Winnie The Pooh project, and Perry has also optioned the rights for Don DeLillo’s The Names. If all of this shakes out like it probably will, Perry could make more, better movies in 24 months than fellow Main Liner M. Night Shyamalan has made in 24 years. Awkward.