....I wondered how getting used to rising at 5 am to go to my physical therapist in West L.A. was going to benefit me down the line...well, it made it easy to get up and catch my 8 a.m. flight out of SF to Philadelphia to spend a few days with my literary pal and good friend, Karl Woelz...brotherly love, baby, he's that!
on the way....cutest flight attendants ever...she was wearing pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he was just wearing that smile and those eyes
Arriving in Philadelphia, I went to find the train into town and it isn't marked too clearly, so I figured I'd ask someone and here's this cute kid in a UC Irvine shirt and I think, OK, a little LA solidarity...as it turns out, someone gave it to him when he visited LA, but he is actually Australian. Riley is traveling around the states interviewing colleges and seeking a basketball scholarship and it sounds like he's had a bunch of offers, so he wants to choose wisely and is going from school to school
The cuteness just wouldn't let up....got to see my niece, Michelle, for dinner. She does recruitment for Catholic University in DC and was in Philadelphia working some schools. We had tapas and sangria and talked about all sorts of stuff, including her fear of a Trump win as she's seeing nothing but Trump signs in Pennsylvania. I felt quite proud of her as she was a high school kid last time I saw her, and now she's a young woman on her game, with her rental car, her hotel, gps, etc. :)
Text me as soon as you get home, girl...she did!
And then, of course, Hello Kitty reared her feline head with the coup de grace of cuteness
Karl, like myself, disdains most of pop culture, but he likes Hello Kitty. I can't get enough of her -- I also like Teletubbies
Somewhere in Argentina.....looking drunk, but truth be told, I was just beside myself with Kitty-ness
Karl, expostulating on the virtues of Hello Kitty and other matters....we had several long 2-3 hour intellectual conversations...I so miss this kind of friendship...seemingly unavailable in LA
His house, which is three stories, but like 3 tiny studio stories - very Philadelphia
one of the nearby 18th c. streets
You can spot the old streets mixed into the modern city
This west coast boy was reveling in the 'oldness' of it all...
Reminding me of the book I didn't bring along, and should have...I'm slowly slogging through it, but chose instead to travel with Angela Carter's and Edmund White's short stories and Michelle Tea's amazing Valencia (I would have had to pay for an extra bag to lug that Spanish tome along, thus the scuttling). I'll read with Michelle Tea, who I first read with at the Paradise Lounge in SF 25 years ago, in LA on Oct. 19th
This apt. building struck me as very Argentine...
Then there's the new city...
I don't like these two gigantor towers architecturally-speaking...but it's weird, they appear like a Catholic Gothic Cathedral from this vantage point, which makes me like them as I'm an aficionado of Catholic culture...one spire is higher, or more complete, than the other, creating an assymetry. I've always been curious about this aspect of several Gothic cathedrals and when I research it, they always say, well the church towers were built at different dates, i.e the cathedral at Chartres. There is also some evidence that the architects wanted to make them assymetrial so as to conform to the natural world's assymetry. As spiritual structures, I've always had a sense they were also an indication of the two different ways of approaching a religious or spiritual system - hard core transcendental or a more moderated, earthier or grounded approach.
Philadelphia's contribution to patriarchal phallic cityhood from Rittenhouse Square
Karl, like me, loves to walk, so we walked all the way over to U of Penn
Love the contrast....
PAFA (Phil Academy of Fine Arts), the oldest museum and art school in the country....
"Cupid" by Abraham Woodside (looks like a Pinot Noir or one of those new hip rosés)
"The Poet's Dream" by Emmanuel Leutz....just in case you are wondering what my natural state is (that's the muse bringing down the harp and there are a couple little fairies right below the harp)
The figurative ship that still hasn't come in...Katherine Bradford "Approaching Ship"
Jacob Lawrence "Dream Series #5: The Library"
Kehinde Wiley "Three Wise Men Greeting Entry Into Lagos"...I really like this guy's stuff: kehinde wiley...and it launched Karl and I into a fruitful discussion. Karl posts black artists' work on his facebook page as a way to "do something" ala Black Lives Matter instead of just talking about it. Allen Page and myself in LA are going to start a discussion group to come up with actions in LA so that it ceases to be JUST discussion, and we want to encourage people to take action in their support of black lives mattering...Wiley picks all his models off the street, as a means of empowering and recognizing real people and dignifying them...his work is like the epitomy of black is beautiful...he's queer too...Fuerza Kehinde!
Take a look, you naysayers who claim the Egyptians aren't Africans...Elihu Vedder, "The Sphinx, Egypt"
Violet Oakley "Maquette for the Madonna of the Crusaders"
Meanwhile, some beautiful white people...
George de Forst Brush "Mother and Child
Robert Henri "Wee Maureen"
Peter Blume, "Flowering Stump"
Then we drifted over to a gay bar called Eye Candy (which incidentally has recently had an issue with discriminating against African-Americans, so I wanted to get a bead on the place)...Not surprisingly, it was the kind of place I would never go to....the tackiness and lack of creativity of gay bars has always baffled me....suffice it to say, I ordered an IPA
Philadelphia has a lot of murals and there are several by a mosaic artist...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah_Zagar
Oh yes, sending you off with some songs again! :) And thank you Karl, for two incredibly lovely and intellectually-satisfying days...off to New York on Megabus for $13 :)