Friday, February 22, 2008

The Devil + Daniel Johnston

The documentary came out a couple years ago, and I had the pleasure of seeing it at the Philadelphia Film Festival when it came to town. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It sent me to A.K.A. Music in search of his CD's and even made me contemplate trying to dig out my old Sony Walkman so I could purchase cassette tapes from his previous manager. The high lasted a couple months, and then eventually his albums became standard rotation in my ipod. Then, in January, I saw "Daniel Johnston coming to Philadelphia!" and had to read it twice. Within minutes I had my ticket. And now the day is here.

Now the snow just needs to stop.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pink Pills for Pale People

There was an article in Sunday's Inquirer about an exhibit at Haverford college called "Selling Happiness: Advertising in China during the early 1900's". I was instantly intrigued. I love advertising. I love commercials. My friends tease me because I am every retailer's dream consumer. I appreciate good commercials. I don't usually fast forward through them on something I've recorded. It's amazing that I didn't go into marketing & advertising in college. So, without anyone to drag along with me, I headed out to see the collection of posters saved from the early 20th century that had launched advertising in China. I was not disappointed. The allure of these posters was most certainly the depictions of demure, beautiful women, but it was also sometimes a snapshot from a folkloric tale or popular play at the time. The artwork in the posters was so arresting that the drawings of the product they were selling seemed hilariously out of place. In the one I photographed (and I'm sorry, Haverford, if that was not allowed...I couldn't help it!) entitled Pink Pills for Pale People we see a young child with his older sibling and caretaker playing with pill bottles. The horror! I laughed out loud, which I realized was insensitive of me when I read the description and learned that the "pink pills" of the time were attempting to cure a disease still very much relevant today. People began to collect the posters, which were often handed out for free, to use as art in their homes. Portraits of women that had started out being rather conservative (with only the tip of a bound foot peeking out from beneath full dress) began to evolve into something more provocative. Their expressions began to have more personality, their clothing suddenly developed slits up the side, and v-neck collars.
It was a fun exhibit, especially for someone like myself who enjoys ads in general, and my only complaint would be that I wish there had been more information on each of the posters. Due my lack of knowledge when it comes to the Chinese language, I assume that much of the content was lost on me, as I was not able to read the clever slogan at the top, or realize that they'd included a calendar at the bottom.

It did leave me wanting more, and I'm sure to spend a better part of the evening researching more about it. It whet my appetite.

Friday, February 15, 2008

$4.19 a gallon

Really? I mean, Really?


A friend of mine just sent me this website: Unphotographable

The picture I didn't take was Wednesday morning in North Philly as I drove to the PSPCA. My directions took me down 8th street towards Erie Avenue and on my left I passed a house with a vigil set up on the front steps with pictures and teddy bears and an assortment of real and fabric flowers. It was raining, and sad, and then I looked up and on the opposite corner was a deli-type store with a big stenciled sign advertising a sale on "Gravesite Markers: $3.o0" and in front was a selection of just the type of things set up on the porch of the house I had just passed.

The whole experience saddened me, and I'm not even sure I would have wanted to take the picture...but there it is, burned in my head.