those janky jawns

These guys watch me from the neighbor’s roof when I’m working on the computer here in Philly.

An overgrown, yet charming, trailer in Olde Kensington, Philadelphia.

Natalie, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

If you’ve never been to Cincinnati, you might be missing the city’s official food: Skyline Chili. Note the ratio of unmelted cheddar cheese to chili (plus the buried onions and spaghetti). You won’t win any health awards eating Skyline, but it still somehow feels worth it.

Tumbleweave in Philly.

A few weeks back Brooks decided to leave town (Brooklyn), heading back home to San Francisco.  Naturally it made sense for the Philly folk and Brooklyn folk to meet in the middle: Dirty Jerz, where Jim and Hans hosted a party. We set fire to a large, not-safe-for-work effigy of Brooks to send him off properly. In the photo you can see that some of the private parts have ignited.

Ghent, Belgium, August 2011.

keeping out the riffraff

Tread lightly and carry a big stick.

Rich (left), Robin (not pictured), and I checked out an abandoned wood furniture factory on the edge of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia.

Princess Trees had started to colonize the space a few years back. While they’ve their leaves over winter, they’re far from dead. Here they’ve taken up residence in a “fixer-upper” automobile.

A sleeping mummy in the Louvre in Paris, October 2011.

a sanctuary for illegal dumping

If it weren’t for the newish Gatorade logo, I wonder if this could pass for 35 years ago?

•Also: do a Google search for “illegal dumping,” and check out the locale of the first three results. Illadelph representing.

Last summer, for Hans’ (center) birthday, DLISH (left), made light pink t-shirts for everyone with Hans’ likeness on them, and we ambushed him on the High Line in Manhattan. Even some bystanders joined in, donning the shirts. Needless to say, he was speechless.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel is one of the most recognizable and high-profile abandoned buildings in Philadelphia. There was a small fire on the roof the other night that brought the authorities out, but it was quickly extinguished.

• Thanks to Terry & Molly for hosting a great, weekend-long party in South Philly (the annual event is colloquially known as “Thrilladelphia”). It brought a bunch of folks in from NYC (including Kyle and Lisa that crashed with Jenn and I), as well as gathering up the usual North & South Philly undesirables. Good times. I will say, it’s dangerous (cholesterol-wise) to spend that much time about two blocks away from Pat’s & Gino’s with drinks in hand at all times.

Eastern State Penitentiary had been decaying for decades in the middle of Philadelphia, and someone brilliantly decided to reopen it to the public, but in a state of perpetual, controlled decay. Unfortunately this meant the removal of most of the plant matter, but still a decent place to wander through.

Frankford Ave near Girard, where Northern Liberties meets Fishtown.

the forgotten viaduct

I may have mentioned it before, but Philadelphia has an abandoned, elevated train line very close to downtown, similar to the High Line in Manhattan before it became a park. I finally got an opportunity to check it out a few days ago when Hans and Des were in town briefly from Brooklyn.

Looking south. Something gives off that vibe of being a place that could provide some refuge during something like a citywide zombie apocalypse, being that you’re a few stories up, and there’s enough collected dirt and plant matter to start a farm.

Despite running on about an hour of sleep the previous night, Des seems cheerful as ever.

I heard that some of the brush had been cleared — but there were still some leafless, deciduous Paulonias (princess trees) claiming their ground. If you’re familiar with them, they have massive leaves, and are quick-growing. This space must be even more magical in the late growing season (mid-late August).

I really cannot wait to see the area in about five months.

A stretched Hummer on Broad street. That’s the old Enquirer brick smokestack on the left.

• I had a great visit up in NYC part of last week for an intensive 2-day course, plus got in some time with my brother, his fiancee, and a couple friends. I managed to not take a single shot while I was up that way, a first.

Another Philly stealthy camper, beside about 3,000 plastic bottles and a traffic cone.

Cincinnati, Ohio, this past December.

winter rooftops

Facing south toward Center City, about twelve floors up, on the top of an abandoned warehouse just north of Girard in Olde Kensington, Philadelphia.

The top of an elevator shaft.

Rich had the idea to check the spot out — and the views were stunning.

Luckily Rich brought a light — the ground floor and basement levels were pretty dark.

Jenn and I checked out the Hobo Film Festival at Space 1026 in Chinatown a few nights ago. It was a great selection of documentary shorts from over the past few decades showing the lives of the people who hop rides on freight trains.

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.”
– Mohammed

• A week and a half ago, I had the opportunity to see Mayor Nutter speak to a gathering of design professionals at the WHY-Y space (one of Philly’s PBS stations). He gave an introduction to a night of round-table discussions on the current state (and future) of creative vitality in Philadelphia. The man is a great speaker – he had the room laughing, I’m a fan.

The Starlight Ballroom Dance Club is near Spring Garden.

fleeting permanence

The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention is going on this weekend. It brings together quite an interesting crowd while providing a great opportunity for some portraits.

Megan Massacre (right) from the TV show NY Ink was in attendance, as well as her co-star Chris Torres (not pictured).

Tron, of Thicker Than Water. I was surprised that some Brooklyn folks made it down for the weekend, great to run into her. Her site. (Previously on TCIM here).

“Good Life.”

• Unrelated to tattoos, you may have noticed that I take shots of urban weeds from time to time. Per conversation with friends last weekend, I decided to start a small side project: Urban Flora. It is still in its early stages, but will contain some of my original plant photos as well as appropriated images & content from elsewhere.

Amber (on the left).

In 2012 it is never too early to consider facial tattoos.


The Italian Market, South 9th Street in Philadelphia. Luckily it’s been a warm winter so far.

There’s a fantastic Zoe Strauss photography exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art currently. Jenn and I had a chance to check it out when Alison came into town the other weekend. In addition to the large prints on display at the museum, many of her shots have been installed throughout the city as billboards, without labels or additional information. Her work is definitely worth checking out, it’s certainly in the spirit of Nan Goldin.

Either an ancient puritan totem, homeless Jenga, or something far more sinister in an empty lot near the abandoned Reading Viaduct.

Alison, in town from Brooklyn, in the Magic Gardens on South Street.

A gallery opening on Frankford Ave in Fishtown, at February’s First Friday, two days ago. Jenn and I happend to run into Adam there.

• I recently found out that my friend Shanthony has been keeping very busy by not only moving forward as an art director, but has been rapping under the name Miss Eaves (a nod to a typeface we used to use a lot back in school). Check her out here. She’s also been sharpening her skills through creating weekly songs on crowd-sourced topics (like Bacon). She’s performed in a few venues so far in North Carolina, though I haven’t had a chance to see her perform yet in person. If you’re in NC, look her up.

Free rent in South Philly.

Speaking of South Philly, Pat’s, down on Passyunk Ave, is not to be missed when friends are in town.