Under the Radar: Philly Open House, Swans, Zine Fest, Forgotten Philly

OCT. 12-14
FREE – $45

Most of us have walked by many Philadelphia landmarks, namely on Avenue of the Arts, and can recognize some by name. However, there’s probably a smaller amount of individuals who have been inside each of these buildings, even fewer for a full tour. Philadelphia Hospitality, Inc. is hosting several tours of the city’s most historically well-known places. The first tour focuses on the past and present of City Hall. Participants will check out the building’s most essential and grandest rooms, as well as the City Council Chamber and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The next day, tourists can see the Union League at Broad and Sansom streets, one of the nation’s leading private clubs founded in 1862. The tour, led by the director of library and historical collections, will show the building’s expansive Civil War collection of rare books, American paintings, military weapons and other artifacts. On the last day, the series will end at two of the most famous buildings in the city on Broad and Spruce streets. Participants will visit the Academy of Music first, the oldest grand opera house in the country. Afterward, the tour will head to the Kimmel Center, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra and six other performing arts companies. After learning about the building’s interior, the tour will conclude with a visit from a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra and a dancer from the Pennsylvania Ballet, who will discuss what it’s like to perform there. Regardless of how long you’ve called Philadelphia home, these tours and others held by Philadelphia Hospitality, Inc. help educate people about what goes on inside the places that many of us pass each day.

OCT. 13, DOORS AT 8 p.m., SHOW AT 9 p.m.

Swans’ front man Michael Gira said he chose the band’s moniker because that’s what best described the sound the band going for. “Swans are majestic, beautiful looking creatures. With really ugly temperaments,” he stated. The New York-based band was initially active from 1982-97, becoming one of the few bands that began during the New York no-wave scene to continue on into the ‘90s. After 10 albums, the band took a 15-year break. In 2010, Gira brought Swans back to life and it has released two albums since. The band’s newest, “The Seer,” was released on Aug. 28 and was welcomed with nothing less than four stars from some of the most popular music publications such as Allmusic, Pitchfork and Spin. The A.V. Club, who gave the album an “A,” stated, “It’s the most harrowing, exhausting, cathartic, transcendental piece of music Gira has ever put to tape. And that’s from a man whose had many.” Some similar artists are Death in June, Throbbing Gristle and Current 93. Gira has also said, “The Seer” is the ultimate culmination of any music he’s ever made. The opener for Swans’ performance at Union Transfer on Saturday, Oct. 13 will be folk band A Hawk and a Hacksaw, featuring Jeremy Barnes, the former drummer for Neutral Milk Hotel.

THE SOAPBOX, 741 S. 51st ST.
OCT. 14, 5:30 p.m.

As a prelude to the 10th annual Philly Zine Fest on Saturday, Oct. 27, several of the artists and writers contributing to the event will read from their work, new and old, at the Soap Box in West Philly. The Soap Box is an independent publishing center that gives authors or artists the equipment, resources and instructions on binding, printing and other techniques necessary to independently publish their work. While you’re waiting for the readings to begin, the Soap Box also has a library dedicated to the small handmade publications. The works of at least seven zinesters will be highlighted throughout the night, including Sassyfrass Circus, How Not to Flirt, Deafula and Sub Rosa. Whether their zines are focused on satire, politics, feminism, cartoons or random musings, the Philly Zine Fest Zine Reading will showcase a wide variety of local artistry.

through NOV. 9

Art exhibition “Forgotten Philadelphia,” shares stories of “hidden gems” like abandoned historical buildings or parks that many residents aren’t aware of. These stories are told by local artists and writers through poems and short stories that speculate on a specific site’s past. Literary magazine Philadelphia Storiesselected 15 sites proposed by artists near the area, based on the diversity of the site’s location and whether or not it’s in danger of disappearing. Some of the locations that made the cut are the dilapidated Divine Lorraine Hotel on Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue, Girard College, the Tyler School of Art at Elkins Park, Metropolitan Opera House and Laurel Hill Cemetery, one of the few in the country to be designated as a National Historical Landmark. After these sites were chosen, they were assigned to local writers and poets to interpret in any way they chose. A few described their literal reactions to the sites, while others created fictional residents or visitors and wrote of their relationship to the area. The variety of these stories and the artworks that complement them create an unusual exhibit that highlights unique places in the city that are sometimes overlooked.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.