The Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia (ADAGP), established in 1904, is the oldest association of its kind in the nation. Comprised of 190 franchised new car and truck dealers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, the Association leads lobbying efforts, provides education/training seminars and owns and produces the Philadelphia Auto Show — whose history even proceeds its organizers.
“The first show was in 1902,” said Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia. “Our 2012 event is bigger, better and bolder. Our love affair of the vehicle, or mobility, has been around so long the show is really part of the fabric of Philadelphia.”
As one of the nation’s biggest auto shows, the Philadelphia Auto Show has a proven track record of influence on consumers. In 2011, nearly 90 percent of attendees in the market for a new vehicle reported that visiting the Auto Show influenced their next purchasing decision, according to exit surveys. Event guests have the opportunity to view some of the latest exotic models to hit the market, along with some of the classics: Buckingham Concours d’Elegance, Eastern U.S. Concours d’Elegance, LRA Auto Museum, New Hope Auto Show and Simeone Automotive Museum will include a 1913 Mercer 35J Raceabout, 1921 Duesenberg French GP, 1936 Aston Lemans, 1948 Hudson Hornet Convertible, 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, 1968 Plymouth Barracuda BO29, 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 and 1969 Yenko Camaro. The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador and Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster are just a few examples of some of the exotics that will be on display. The expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center resulted in more than 1 million square feet of sellable space in the building, including 528,000 square feet of total contiguous exhibit hall space, which is the area where the indoor Ride and Drive, hosted by Toyota, will take place.
“We traditionally have more than 700 vehicles on display from approximately 40 worldwide manufacturers, therefore we have been ready and awaiting an opportunity like this,” said Mazzucola. “Thanks to the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, we are able to give the people of Philadelphia a one-of-a-kind auto show experience this year. For the first time ever, we will host an indoor Ride and Drive opportunity as well as several other new features. When attendees step onto this year’s display floor, they’ll be in awe of both the beautifully redesigned Pennsylvania Convention Center as well as how we were fortunately able to make use of it.”
In addition, the ADAGP and its Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Philadelphia Auto Show, have made more than $6.4 million in contributions to worthwhile child-related initiatives and organizations over the past 25 years. The ADAGP will continue its charitable giving this year by donating proceeds from its 2012 Black Tie Tailgate to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia via the Foundation. It will also donate $2.00 from every Auto Show ticket sold to the Foundation, which will use the funds to run a number of programs throughout the year including its “Driving Away the Cold” campaign, which provides new winter coats to underprivileged children living in the Greater Philadelphia area.
“If you’ve been to the Philly show, then you haven’t been to this Auto Show,” said Mazzucola. “The way it is configured, most of the whole show is under one, large, expanded area. So consumers will be able to not have to go from different display halls on different levels, and that helps in being able to compare the vehicles."
The 2012 Philadelphia Auto Show rolls into the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center January 28–February 5. Tickets are $12.00 for adults (age 13 and up) and $6 for children (age 7–12). Children aged 6 and under do not require a ticket. Senior citizens (age 62 and over) receive a special admission price of $6 on weekdays only and are not available for purchase online. The 2012 Black Tie Tailgate at the Philadelphia Auto Show is scheduled for Friday, January 27, from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For information, visit www.phillyautoshow.com.
The son of Irish immigrants who grew up along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century, Jack Kelly became a three-time gold medal Olympian, a political maverick and the millionaire father of a princess. Danial J. Boyne’s intriguing biography, “Kelly, A Father, A Son, an American Quest” (Lyons Press, $16.96), follows the native son’s profound success in life and sports. Readers are introduced to members of the Kelly clan, including Jack’s daughter Grace, who becomes globally famous in her own right despite her father’s wishes, and his son, Jack Kelly Jr., upon whose shoulders is laid the greatest challenge of all — to carry on the Kelly tradition of championship rowing.
“The story of Jack Kelly Sr. and his long quest for international recognition in rowing is a colorful legend that has been passed along so many times in the sports world that it has become, like his statue, somewhat larger than life,” notes Boyne. “Yet, among the general public, the name Kelly registers very little, if anything, unless it is made in reference to his famous daughter, the actress Grace Kelly. Most people are unaware of how this Philadelphia patriarch rose from working-class Irish roots to become not only the most famous American oarsman of all time, but also a millionaire businessman whose brick company was one of the largest on the Eastern seaboard. Most are unfamiliar with his noteworthy political career, which paved the way for the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, or with his two brothers, George and Walter, who worked beside him in a local carpet mill as children and became famous as well — one as a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and the other as a popular vaudevillian. Many do not even realize that Kelly Drive, the long road that runs along the west bank of the Schuylkill River, was named after his equally lauded son, Jack Jr., or ‘Kell.’”
“Kelly” is a classic tale of grit and perseverance, and the clash between Old-World privilege and New World courage played out on so many fronts — including the watery battlefield of rowing, where Kelly first chose to forge his strength of character.
“Rowing was the cornerstone of Kelly’s life and the initial way that he developed the qualities of self-discipline and perseverance that lent him the ability to overcome many formidable obstacles in adulthood,” explained Boyne. “A gifted athlete who could have chosen any number of physical disciplines, Kelly settled on this ancient and odd sport where the athlete cannot see who or what lies ahead, and contact with another is forbidden. Under such restrictions, the oarsman’s focus almost by necessity travels inward, requiring intense concentration and a certain moral resolve. This mental and physical training may have given Kelly the ability to succeed at a high level in various pursuits, although it may have also left him blind, at times, to the impact of his success on those around him. Donning a green hat to proudly signify his Irish lineage, Kelly also chose a color that was appropriate in representing many other aspects of his character: his naivete, in assuming he could tackle any task put before him; his sense of competitive envy toward his rivals; a serenity that came from achieving financial well-being and finally, a sense of renewal in witnessing the success of his four children — particularity his son, Jack Jr. Roughly stated, these four qualities represented the four seasons of Kelly’s life.”
The region’s premier horticultural wonderland, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Chester County, rambles over 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows. During this holiday season, Philadelphia-area travelers will have a more convenient way to explore the majestic Brandywine Valley. Philadelphia Hospitality, Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum have teamed up to offer visitors a relaxing way to explore the countryside via “Beyond Philadelphia” bus tours. Motorcoaches leave Center City and visit both Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum, known for its collection of Wyeth paintings and illustrations. An on-board, expert guide will lead the group through the beautiful Brandywine Valley located about 30 miles west of Philadelphia.
“We want all visitors to Philadelphia to have the opportunity to experience the major attractions located in the Brandywine Valley, and this tour makes it easy and convenient for them to visit some of them,” said Bill Mifflin, executive director of Philadelphia Hospitality. “We are also finding that local residents who don’t have cars or don’t want to drive out there are taking advantage of these tours.”
On land that Quaker settler George Peirce purchased from William Penn, Peirce’s grandsons planted an impressive arboretum. The presence of a sawmill on the property prompted industrialist Pierre Samuel du Pont to buy the land in 1906 to save the trees. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,058 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and 4.5-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts, through programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by leading artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship and cultural and community engagement. Christmas is spectacularly celebrated with carillon concerts, poinsettias and thousands of lights. Outdoors, illuminated fountains dance to holiday music while 500,000 colorful lights create holiday magic. Music also fills the conservatory with special holiday organ concerts and other holiday entertainment.
Passengers will initially have the opportunity to spend time at the Brandywine River Museum’s holiday display, “A Brandywine Christmas,” which includes a 1,220-square-foot model railway; a “step-in” dollhouse, featuring a collection of antique dolls; and a tree full of whimsical critter ornaments made from items found in nature. In addition to the indoor display, a selection of artisans will exhibit and sell their work in the museum courtyard.
Beyond Philadelphia full-day holiday guided tours are on Dec. 3, 10 and 17; depart at noon from 6th and Market streets (outside of the Independence Visitor Center) and returns to Philadelphia at 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $69.95 per person and include a lunch voucher for the Brandywine River Museum Restaurant. For more information, call (800) 537-7676, (215) 965-7676 or visit www.beyondphiladelphia.org. For information about Longwood Gardens, including a calendar of special events, visit www.longwoodgardens.org.
Martin R. Delany (1812–1885) has been called the “Father of Black Nationalism,” but his extraordinary career also encompassed the roles of abolitionist, physician, editor, explorer, politician, army officer, novelist and political theorist.
Despite his enormous influence in the 19th century and his continuing influence on Black nationalist thought in the 20th century, Delany has remained a relatively obscure figure in U.S. culture, generally portrayed as a radical separatist at odds with the more integrationist Frederick Douglass. Moonstone Arts Center Director Larry Robin is leading the local commemoration of Delany’s 200th birthday in May.
“He is just the most amazing character to have been ignored by history,” Robin said. “He is incredibly important because while there were lots of people that were anti-slavery, he’s the first person, I think, who challenges the thinking behind it. He says the thinking is wrong. The whole paradigm of white supremacy, of race, is wrong. What he does, and the reason why he is the ‘Father of Black Nationalism,’ is that he embraces his Blackness.”
Delany was one of the first Black men to found a Black newspaper; be admitted to Harvard Medical School; negotiate a treaty with the Yoruba chiefs so African Americans could emigrate to Africa; write a novel and be an officer in the Union army.
“The arch of the idea of these 20 programs is here is a guy who is neglected by most history books,” Robin said. “But there’s more than that because now with DNA research we know there’s no biological basis of race, so what does that do to those definitions? What does that do to the concept of white supremacy? What does that do to the concept of Black Nationalism — if there is no race? But there is racism, and we still need to confront that.”
Moonstone Arts Center hosts Martin Delany Week which begins May 3. The “150 Years Challenging Racism” program speakers include Molefi Asante, Bill Ayers, Erica Armstrong, Robert Levine, Frank Meeink, Alondra Nelson, Ewuare Osayande, Clarence Page, Sonia Sanchez, Linn Washington and Tim Wise. Details on all this and more about Delany is available at www.moonstoneartscenter.org/martindelany or (215) 735-9600. There is also printed material at the Philadelphia Free Library.
Poet launches ‘Peace is a Haiku’
Philadelphia’s unofficial poet laureate, Sonia Sanchez, will unveil her latest project — “Peace is a Haiku Song” — during this weekend’s First Person Arts Festival to engage the Philadelphia community and beyond in an exploration of the haiku as a vehicle for peace and urban transformation. The project will culminate in a mural this spring inspired by Sanchez’s belief that the haiku form is inherently non-violent in its intent and structure and engenders beauty, serenity, and brief reflection.
“These cities need to be investigating peace from a different level,” said Sanchez. “We need to begin to have that discussion with our children and also with other people thinking about why we should have peace in the haiku form. What I was trying to elaborate on was that the whole idea of the haiku is that it has no greed, there is no attach to it, right, there is no warring with a haiku. It has this amazing ability to help us stay alive and breath. The haiku is very mindful of nature, but it is also mindful of the nature of ourselves, myself, yourself. When you begin to to teach the haiku, you begin to make people mindful about nature, but at the same time, you make them become mindful about the nature of themselves.”
Sanchez has long been regarded as one of the nation’s cultural treasures in her roles as poet, activist and educator. She is the author of 19 books of poetry and prose, as well as two audio recordings. Sanchez has taught as a professor at eight universities and has lectured at over 500 college campuses across the U.S., including Howard University. She advocated the introduction of Black Studies courses in California, and was the first to create and teach a course based on Black Women and literature in the United States. Sanchez was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University where she began working in 1977, and where she held the Laura Carnell chair until her retirement in 1999. Sanchez received a 1993 Pew Fellowship in the Arts and has read her poetry in Africa, the Caribbean, China, Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, Canada and Cuba.
Sanchez is a celebrated practitioner and teacher of the haiku. “It is an interesting form, but it is also interesting that we have become so attuned to being very loud with our poetry, you know, with a sock at the end. It’s kind of like at one point we say things so we can all say ‘Amen’ or ‘A-woman,’” said the poet. “What I’ve been attempting to do with young people is to bring back the beauty of the haiku and the beauty of also at some point being quiet ... listening to the silences ... being able to move amid and among the silences and the quiet. We don’t in any way really practice being quiet. We don’t hear when we're being attacked. We don’t hear when we're being loved, when we need to be hearing. We just, at some point, are just so busy listening to the loudness that the beauty sometimes escapes us.”
In closing, Sanchez shared a haiku: “The spoiling sound of peace/sails on the wind/ is like butterflying.”
The “Peace is a Haiku Song” project will begin at the First Person Arts Festival on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Christ Church, 20 N. American St., when Sanchez will kick off a city-wide collaborative poem made of individual haiku. Audiences can continue to contribute haiku throughout the festival. For more festivial information, visit firstpersonarts.org or call (267) 402-2055. The Mural Arts Program project culminates in summer 2012 with a new mural in Sanchez’s honor. For information, visit http://muralarts.org/peace.
The topic of “passing” has been a controversial one within the African-American community for generations. “Passing” is usually understood as an abbreviation for “racial passing” and describes the fact of being accepted, or representing oneself successfully as a member of a different group. In today’s multicultural and multifaceted world one would think that passing would not be a present day issue or discussion, yet racial identity is as much a part of the national dialogue as it has ever been.
According to award-winning author and Brown University Visiting Scholar Marcia Dawkins, everybody passes, not just racial minorities. In “Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity” (Baylor University, $29.99), Dawkins explains, passing has been occurring for millennia, since intercultural and interracial contact began.
And with this profound new study, she explores its old limits and new possibilities: from women passing as men and able-bodied persons passing as disabled to Black classics professors passing as Jewish and white supremacists passing as white.
“Clearly Invisible” journeys to sometimes uncomfortable but unfailingly enlightening places as Dawkins retells the contemporary expressions and historical experiences of individuals called passers. Along the way these passers become people — people whose stories sound familiar but take subtle turns to reveal racial and other tensions lurking beneath the surface, people who ultimately expose as much about our culture and society as they conceal about themselves.
Both an updated take on the history of passing and a practical account of passing’s effects on the rhetoric of multiracial identities, “Clearly Invisible” traces passing’s legal, political and literary manifestations, questioning whether passing can be a form of empowerment (even while implying secrecy) and suggesting that passing could be one of the first expressions of multiracial identity in the U.S. as it seeks its own social standing. “Passing forces us to think and rethink what exactly makes a person Black, white or ‘other,’ and why we care,” notes Dawkins.
Certain to be hailed as a pioneering work in the study of race and culture, “Clearly Invisible” offers powerful testimony to the fact that individual identities are never fully self-determined — and that race is far more a matter of sociology than of biology.
It is estimated that there are approximately 1.1 million persons living with HIV in the United States — over 19,000 people living within Philadelphia. In 15 years, the rate of infection has not decreased. According to the AIDS/HIV education group BABASHI, the HIV rate in Philadelphia is five times the national average — the highest north of Washington, D.C., — with an average of 1,200 new infections annually. Currently, one out of every 50 African Americans in Philadelphia is HIV positive.
For 25 years, the Annual AIDS Walk Philly has raised funds and awareness. This will also be a time to reflect over the past 25 years of the fundraising event as well as 30 years that the epidemic has existed. Robb Reichard, executive director of the AIDS Fund, explains that part of the mission of the Walk is to give Philadelphians a better understanding of current HIV/AIDS facts.
“As a nation, and as a city, these are statistics that we should find alarming,” said Reichard. “We want to educate the entire community about the epidemic and its current state, as well as offer perspective of how the disease has changed over the past 30 years.”
In 1987, volunteers from Philadelphia’s lesbian and gay community center decided to organize a walkathon to support area AIDS agencies and raise public awareness about the disease. The Delaware Valley’s first AIDS Walk had about 300 participants and raised $33,000. Since then, thousands of walkers have gathered each year to participate in the region’s largest annual HIV/AIDS public awareness and fundraising event. More than $15 million has been raised for HIV/AIDS public awareness, prevention and care services for people living with HIV disease. The money raised at AIDS Walk Philly goes toward HIV prevention education, public awareness and HIV care services right here in the greater Philadelphia region to 30 partner organizations.
The upcoming AIDS Walk Philly will be co-hosted by “Project Runway” Season 8 runner up, Mondo Guerra, who is best remembered for speaking so openly and honestly about his own HIV-positive status. Along with AIDS Walk 2011 sponsor, Merck, Mondo is a partner in the AIDS education campaign, “Living Positive by Design,” through which he continues to speak at events sharing his story of life with HIV. To also help commemorate these significant milestones, the AIDS Fund has developed a multimedia display of pictures, newspaper clippings, personal stories, videos and memorabilia titled “1981–Until It’s Over …” The scope of the project goes beyond the AIDS Fund’s history to encompass the history of HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia and the United States.
AIDS Walk Philly will again have 25 panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display. A powerful tool for raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, the Quilt is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. Each of the more than 44,000 colorful panels that make up the Quilt memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS. Free, rapid HIV tests will be provided on-site at AIDS Walk Philly.
A four-video series, “AIDS In Philly,” has also been created to commemorate the anniversaries. The original videos highlight the growth and development of local organizations, the work of community members and the current state of HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia. Topics are testing, care services, prevention and AIDS Fund. The videos can be viewed at the AIDS Fund’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/AIDSFundPhilly.
The 25th Annual AIDS Walk Philly takes place on Sunday, Oct. 16, with the walk and run beginning at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 8 a.m. Register online and get additional information at aidswalkphilly.org or call (215) 731-WALK.
Over the past 20 years, there have been part of more than a dozen long-term (and many still on-going) collaborative projects with grassroots community groups, reinvesting in community infrastructure and making local folk artists more visible and viable in the very communities in which artists live and work. Overall, since 1987, the Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) has served as an independent public folk life agency, that documents, supports and presents Philadelphia-area folk arts and culture.
It was the 100th anniversary of the American Folklore Society, a national organization of scholars and practitioners that spurred the start of PFP. In January 1987, a handful of folklorists met at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial. These researchers were already doing fieldwork throughout the Delaware Valley region. They were listening to what was important to people, paying attention to who cared about local culture (and why), talking to folk artists, and getting to know people and groups who are working to keep culture alive and vital in the neighborhoods.
In PFP’s 24 year history, it has been recognized with several awards, produced over 200 community projects, developed documentary resources on local folk arts and offered services including advocacy, free technical assistance, consultation and other programs for folk artists and grassroots cultural organizations.
PFP is just part of a bigger set of histories of the city’s diverse and remarkable folk and traditional arts: cultural heritage and community legacies sustained by thousands of individuals, city-wide and beyond. Currently, the African Diaspora folk arts of four Philly artists of the African Cultural Art Forum (ACAF) is being featured. Rashie Abdul Samad, Sharif Abdur-Rahim, Frito Bastien and Isaac Maefield have been around the region for decades making a real impact on the local communities through arts, awareness of identity and encouraging economic self-sustainability in the community — all totally political, with the empowerment of the next generation in mind. The African Cultural Art Forum, which Rashie Abdul Samad and his brother Sharif Abdul-Samad founded, have pioneered culturally-minded trade since 1969. Their goal is to foster community self-sustainability and cultural awareness. The depth of their enterprise is visible in their sculpture collection, incense line and beauty products. ACAF has been traveling back and forth to Haiti for the last four decades, buying and trading art to bring back to their West Philly community along the 52nd Street shopping corridor.
“They were among the first to educate people about what was happening throughout the African Diaspora, in terms of literature, hair culture, beauty and more,” explained Maefield “We didn’t know about shea butter until the vendors brought it. This is part of the undervalued material culture of America. Through their energy, many were educated and exposed to African arts.”
The Philadelphia Folklore Project is located at 735 S. 50th Street. For more information, call (215)726-1106 or visit folkloreproject.org.
French-born Frédéric Yonnet, best known for his on-stage collaborations with music icons Stevie Wonder and Prince, has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as Prince’s “killer harmonica player.” Yonnet’s musical skills and stage presence crush every preconceived notion you’ve ever had about the harmonica. For decades, it has primarily served as the instrument of choice for street musicians and loners who express themselves through country or blues. However, in Yonnet’s hands, those stereotypical walls come tumbling down with each note he plays. He presents the harmonica in a refreshing and modern context — as a lead instrument in a supremely tight 8-piece band throwing down urban jazz, funk and R&B. Yonnet, who is featured on the title tracks of Philly-based Kindred The Family Soul’s current top-charting release, “Love Has No Recession,” has also performed with Erykah Badu, John Legend and India.Arie.
In 1998, while performing at the Cannes Film Festival, Yonnet met several Americans who encouraged him to showcase his talent in the United States. In 2001, Yonnet moved to Washington, D.C. where he performed in area festivals and clubs, quickly developing a reputation as a “genre-bending” harmonica player. After hearing Yonnet’s music, comedian Dave Chappelle invited him to make guest appearances during Chappelle’s 10-city Block Party Concert tour in 2006. Later that year, Yonnet, along with Erykah Badu and Goapele, were invited to Ohio to perform at the AACW Blues Festival hosted by Chappelle.
During Chappelle’s introduction of Yonnet at Bluesfest, he tells the story of how he introduced Yonnet to Stevie Wonder when they were backstage at the 2006 Grammy Awards. “[Fred] pulled his harmonica out of his pocket in front of Stevie Wonder and I said ‘Damn,’ and he started playing that harmonica — I was scared for him… and Stevie started doing like this, [swaying back and forth] — now they hang out every Tuesday and Thursday.”
While the pair may not be hanging out twice a week, Yonnet and Wonder have performed together numerous times, always teasing the crowd with a competitive rendition of Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman.” “Every time (Wonder) comes to town, or if we are in the same city, we try to connect as much as possible,” said Yonnet. “When we do get together, the harmonica is definitely a language that we have in common.”
It was during a Stevie Wonder concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden when Prince first saw Yonnet perform. Several months later, Yonnet was invited to record and ultimately tour with Prince. “Dave Chappelle actually brought us to Prince’s house that night, and Prince recognized me after a couple of plays,” recalled Yonnet. ”He then started calling me to work with him.”
Yonnet’s star-crossed path began with his birth in Normandy, France. His paternal grandfather, Jacques Yonnet, was the noted French artist, writer and author of "Paris Noir” — a memoir that explores the dark heart of the “City of Lights.” As a child, Yonnet and his father performed as a comedy duo in small theaters across France. By the age of 14, he started playing drums and after demonstrating considerable promise as a drummer, he was selected to perform at the Marciac Jazz Festival. However, throughout his childhood, Yonnet suffered with asthma. By 19, he decided to revisit an instrument he had as a child, the harmonica. After dedicating time to mastering the instrument, he noticed a significant decrease in his asthma attacks. Today, he carries a harmonica instead of an inhaler and his past experiences as a drummer influences his rhythmic and percussive style of harmonica playing.
“My attraction to the instrument comes from so many different perspectives,” explains Yonnet. “First, I do have asthma. I realized later on, after practicing the harmonica for a little while, that it helps me in managing my respiratory deficiencies. Also, I have a love of music. I wanted to be a drummer, but as I was playing the drums I realized I could not really take the lead, and I was limited in certain ways harmonically. So I go from playing the drums, to something that fits in your pocket. And that’s the other side of the harmonica that really, really made me fall in love with it. It is very friendly, it fits in your pocket, it’s inexpensive, it’s you lose one it’s easy to get it replaced. All your creativity can really go into something that is almost like a toy. But the real lesson I got from it is that it is limited in a way that forces you to extend your perspective to the instrument, and bring things to the instrument that is in your own mind.”
Frédéric Yonnet will open the 42nd season at the Painted Bride Art Center with two shows on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and feature works from his new project “Reed My Lips: The Rough Cut.” Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 day of show. Patrons with proper ID are welcome to BYOB for this special event. For concert-goers and nightlife seekers alike, a pre-concert reception takes place at 6 p.m., before the 7 p.m. show; an after-party, sponsored by GPTMC’s Philly 360, will take place immediately following the 9 p.m. show. Patrons will enjoy cabaret-style seating and free range over the Bride’s café and spacious bi-level gallery while DJ Joey Blanco of Soul Travelin’ fame provides an eclectic mix of classic soul, jazz, funk and hip-hop. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (215) 925.9914, or visit paintedbride.org. The Bride is located at 230 Vine Street on the northern edge of Old City.
Nelson George is one of the first writers to document hip-hop culture and is the author of several award-winning books on the subject, including “Hip Hop America” and “The Death of Rhythm & Blues.” He also coauthored (with Simmons) Russell Simmons’ autobiography, “Life and Def.” He directed Queen Latifah in the HBO film, “Life Support,” and is an executive producer of VH1’s long-running Hip Hop Honors broadcast. His latest book, “The Plot Against Hip Hop” (Akashic Books; $15.95), is a noir novel set in the world of hip-hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard/security expert D Hunter, suspects there’s much more to his death. An old cassette tape, the theft of a manuscript Robinson was working on, and some veiled threats suggest there are larger forces at work.
Lead character D Hunter is a tough, black-clad product of crime-ridden Brownsville, Brooklyn. He is a man whose family has been devastated by violence and who has dedicated himself to protecting people in an age of insecurity. Hunter has his own secrets, his own vulnerabilities, which he fights to overcome as he becomes a reluctant private eye. Hunter’s investigation into his mentor’s murder leads into a parallel history of hip-hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hard core fans suspect. This rewrite of hip-hop history mixes real-life figures including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Russell Simmons with characters pulled from the culture’s hidden world, as the Illuminati, FBI agents and West Coast gangstas roam the hard streets D Hunter walks down.
“There are few people who can put the past seventy years of urban reality into the perspective of the most recent hip minute like Nelson George,” noted Chuck D of Public Enemy. “‘The Plot Against Hip Hop’ is no exception. Nelson George braids actual facts and fictional characters flawlessly into a time-tunneled walk along various developments in this now-megabusiness called hip-hop. For those that say they love hip-hop as well as the total legacy it evolved from, it bodes well for them to keep this very close to their head, heart and attention.”