Our sister blog, G Philly, has presented lots of coverage on OutBeat, the nation’s first ever LGBTQ jazz festival, that’s playing right here in Philly this upcoming week. However, this event isn’t just for those who fall in the LGBTQ spectrum: it’s a major musical fest for jazz lovers that is bringing some of the best musicians in the genre to our city. Read more »
Greg Heller, author of Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics and the Building of Modern Philadelphia, knows something about the planning and evolution of Philadelphia’s Parkway. Aside from Inga Saffron, there are few people I can think of more qualified to offer an opinion on Frank Gehry’s plans for the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), now on view there in “Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”
While other critics have basically said, “Thank god Gehry’s plans for the museum don’t seem very Gehry-ish” — in other words, he’s kept himself in check in our rather conservative, Quaker city — Heller finds himself disappointed by the absence of Gehry’s flamboyance:
The exhibit showcases the results of a design process that has been going on since 2006—seriously, that’s eight years of planning by one of the top architects of our time, famous for massive, ambitious, bizarrely shaped, twisted sculptures of metal that (like them or not) become a permanent and recognizable fixture in their cities’ urban landscapes. Even if I didn’t like the proposed renovation design, I figured at least it would be ambitious and interesting. It was neither.
Heller knew it wasn’t going to be Bilbao — after all, the design is primarily underground, as he notes — but he thought we might get something “iconic and visionary—perhaps our own version of I.M. Pei’s pyramid at the Louvre, but Gehryesque.” Instead, he says, Gehry has offered a pallid plan for an “amazingly boring” museum expansion.
Among them is a major retrospective of prolific American photographer/filmmaker Paul Strand. Two-hundred-fifty of Strand’s best prints will be pulled from the Museum’s archives, including his famous works Blind Woman, and Young Boy. If abstract work is more your speed, “Full Circle: Works on Paper by Richard Pousette-Dart” kicks off on September 13th with an array of colorful works by the celebrated draftsman. More information from PMA below:
In a City Lab piece titled “Philly: Let’s Talk About Frank Gehry,” Kriston Capps writes that Gehry “might be Apollo Creed-level bad for Philadelphia.” Them’s fighting words. Literally.
Capps’ commentary coincides with today’s opening of Gehry’s exhibit at the Art Museum that shows the architect’s plans for his expansion (renderings below), which includes a reworking of the famous “Rocky” steps. So far, the reaction to the expansion has been muted; if anything, it seems to be a relief that we won’t be getting some kind of crazy glass octagonal, pyramidal, Pythagorean, cut-glass, sharp-edged bean pod. Gehry’s interior changes sound — from Inga Saffron’s review of the plans — like they’ll make navigation of the museum and access to the artwork better.
In fact, Capps agrees that even Gehry haters “may find plenty to admire in his plans for the Art Museum. Frankly, it’s not very Gehry.”
So it’s not the architecture per se that engenders this comparison to Apollo Creed. It’s the role Gehry has been chosen to play within what Capps sees as a problematic context. He writes: “Cultural expansions aren’t necessarily a great investment for a city in 2014, and this one almost certainly isn’t.”
Tonight at Granite Hill in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chef Gerald Drummond is preparing a soft shell crab fest as part of restaurant’s monthly dinner series.
The opening course will feature classic low country specialties followed by a the diner’s choice of soft shell crab preparations. The Soft Shell Crab Fest is $49 per person and reservations can be made by calling 215-684-7990. Seatings are betweeen 5:30pm and 7:30pm and are a great way to end a Friday night at the Art Museum.
Five Things To Do In Philly This Weekend
The work of a true fashion legend will be debuting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love is a fashion exhibit with a slew of inspirations and influences. The late Patrick Kelly, who died of AIDS in January 1990, is an unforgettable African-American designer that challenged the norm and brought new, edgy flair to the fashion world.
His goal was simple: he once said, “I want my clothes to make you smile.” His early work gained the attention of French Elle which featured him in February 1985. He pulled inspiration from his African American and Southern roots, his knowledge of fashion and art history, and the club and gay scenes of New York and Paris.
This is world class art, and definitely the kind of see-and-be-seen event to close off the month. Speaking of world class, one of Philly’s fiercest queens, Brittany Lynn, will be on the red carpet, so try not to show up looking busted. If you want a sneak peek, check out the preview of the exhibit. Click here to get your (free) ticket. Friday, May 30, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Free, Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Catch Altar Boyz before they sashay away.
- Ritu Comes Home tells the story of an affluent gay couple and the third-world child they supported who grows up and shows up at their doorstep.
- 90’s Parties are always in (especially with DJ Deejay).
- The Calamari Sisters’ Big Fat Italian Wedding brings music and comedy to Penn’s Landing.
- The Ritz at the Bourse will be screening Straight & Butch, a tale of models and lots and lots of nakedness.
- The Weird Beard Revue keeps things furry at L’etage.
- Rock the Boat for some fantastic causes – the boat party includes live entertainment, dancing, drink specials, and a raffle
- It’s the prom you’ve always dreamed of: A Very Tabu Prom will be a night to remember. A portion of the proceeds will go to The Attic Youth Center.
- Drag Queens aren’t the only sickening ones in Philly. Don’t miss the 19th Annual Mr. Philly Drag King Competition.
- The latest Qventure will take participants vertical – rock climbing to be specific.
We recommend checking out these events going on around Philly this week:
We’ve been hearing whispers of specifics for a long time — since 2006, actually, when Frank Gehry was chosen for the job — but last week, the Philadelphia Museum of Art finally announced the exhibit “Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art” would open in July. Until then, the Inquirer’s Inga Saffron has a preview in her Changing Skyline column this week, the result of a conversation with Timothy Rub, the museum’s director, who’s been very tight-lipped about the project.
Here’s what we know, thanks to Saffron: