When Robert Perry opened Tattooed Mom on South Street 18 years ago, he saw potential in the space that went beyond just serving the usual food and drink.
“I think the inspiration for it was … to provide a space that was different and inviting, to provide a place for people who were a little different to come and feel comfortable in,” Perry said. “Out of that grew this core identity about providing this space for the creative community to grow, to come together.”
True to its creative identity, Tattooed Mom hosted “TV Rots Your Brains,” a free pop-culture themed pop-up shop, Oct. 11. Curated by LGBTQ clothing company Rainbow Alternative, the event featured works from nine Philadelphia art collectives like The Patchriarchy, which showcased some of Temple alumna Katy Hanson’s pieces.
Nicole Krecicki founded Rainbow Alternative in 2008 after noticing a lack of variety in LGBTQ-pride wear. An avid lover of pop culture, Krecicki named the event after a quote from her favorite film, “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” a 1991 comedy flick starring Christina Applegate and David Duchovny.
After Perry approached Krecicki with an offer to curate the shop, she decided to use the event as an opportunity to connect with people through nostalgia.
“When people come to events that we’re at and they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I totally forgot about that movie. I love that movie,’ it kind of connects people and brings a common ground on things that they might not have thought about for a long time,” Krecicki said.
Having hosted several similar events since the venue’s founding, Perry feels Tattooed Mom is an important avenue for the city’s creative expression.
“I think the thing that really sets us apart is that we are a place for all kinds of communities in Philadelphia—especially creative communities—to gather and to have events,” Perry said.
“TV Rots Your Brains” was part of the sixth annual Philadelphia Collection, a weeklong series of local, independent fashion events. Participating vendors sold crafts ranging from spray painted records to video game-themed painted pottery. A free arts and crafts table at the front of the bar offered patrons a chance to color, create bead art and paint miniature skulls made of sugar.
The environment was complimented by the bar’s usual alternative décor; guests were greeted at the entrance by a detached bumper car donated by the space’s previous owner. A massive model airplane hung above the various clocks—ranging in shape everywhere from an apple to a teapot—that lined the walls above the venue’s tables.
Some visitors were pleasantly surprised by the event, not anticipating a taste of Philly art with their meals.
“I wasn’t expecting anything when we came in, we were just coming for a drink, so it’s cool to see local artists and their work,” said patron Liv Frederiksen, who visited the bar on a whim during a day trip to Philadelphia. “The fact that they have arts and crafts makes you feel like a kid again.”
Hanson, a 2013 social work alumna who creates counter-culture buttons and patches with fellow artist Rachel Bruno as a member of The Patchriarcy, sold birthday banners adorned with pop culture references at the event.
“I think the more people see local, handmade goods, the more likely they are to start buying local, handmade goods, and I think that’s always a good thing,” Hanson said.
“I think it’s also kind of a cool way to get in touch with a different kind of culture, something that’s going on in your city that you can be proud of,” Bruno added.
Eamon Dreisbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.