A Christmas Tree Story

Growing up in a spiritually non-denominational house, we celebrated a wide variety of holidays, including Christmas, in our own way. We had all kinds of decorated coniferous tree experiences, including the Christmas palm tree, Christmas trees in pots that were transplanted outside in the spring, and more than one Christmas bonsai. As an adult, most city apartments won’t let you have a live tree so I got a little table top variety with white lights and a faux root ball, somewhat of a throwback to the winter holidays of my childhood and which I lovingly referred to as my ChrismaHannuKwanzica Bush.

This year I moved into my first row home in Philadelphia, and with it came the chance to have a real tree in almost 6 years. Of course I waited until the last minute, venturing out one cold and blustery night 2 days before Christmas. Racing against the clock, I picked through the not-so-evergreen charlie brown rejects, hoping to rescue one from certain landfill death. I ended up with a rotund prospect that rained needles all over my house, creating a bit of a bald spot in the back (and a huge mess on my living room floor).

My first-ever real-live tree is simply decorated with a strand of colored lights and paper flowers I made from recycled tissue paper. I love it; if it were up to me it would stay up for months, but wanting to do the responsible thing, I started to investigate my environmentally conscious options. Christmas trees are an incredible natural resource; full of nutrients, they can be used for composting and mulch, stop embankment erosion or even placed in water habitats to provide protection for creatures of the not-so-deep.

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Barcamp Philly 2

BarCamp Philly to be held November 14 at the University of the Arts

2008’s inaugural Barcamp Philly was a huge success, seeding several other similarly styled events throughout the region including HealthCamp, HigherEdCamp, and Barcamp News Innovation – a partnership between traditional and new media outlets. Not surprisingly, planning for a second, more broadly open Barcamp began this summer with Roz Duffy and JP Toto returning to head another highly successful event, with the addition of the ever energetic Kelani Edmondson to the organizing team. Here’s the Rundown for 2009’s 2nd Annual BarCampPhilly:

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Ignite Philly 4

Ignite Philly 4 will be held on Tuesday October 13th at Johnny Brenda’s. Doors open at 7pm, speakers begin at 8pm

Ignite Philly is part of a worldwide network that entertains and educates people in short 5 minute bursts. Ignite Philly is the local group, and is our way to highlight great ideas coming to life here in Philadelphia.

News Flash:
Ignite organizers are offering 150 Advance Tickets are available for a $5 donation to the Food Trust. If you’ve ever been to Ignite (or heard stories of the epic-ness of this event) you know how quickly space can run out. This way the money goes to a good cause, and your spot is guaranteed:  Advance Tickets are available through the Ignite Philly website. In the spirit of this event being free & open to the public, the remaining 150 spots will be available at the door on a first come, first serve basis (but I would plan on getting there early if that’s your plan).

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POST @ Indy Hall

During the weekend of October 3-4, Independents Hall, a coworking space & community, will be participating in Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, a grassroots, citywide event geared toward opening the creative spaces and studios through out Philadelphia to the general public.

POST (as it is also known) is an excellent opportunity for Indy Hall members & supporters to get involved in the local art scene, as well as to showcase our skills, talents, & interests to our already vibrantly active community. Indy Hall members will be sharing just about anything and everything for the weekend of POST, including projects and presentations, a musical component, & an impromptu gallery of art & portfolio sharing space; think of it as a weekend long Show & Tell from 12-6 this Saturday & Sunday.

Independent’s Hall 20 North 3rd St, Unit 201, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours allows visitors to “Follow Art to the Source” by organizing & promoting artists (and now Indies) to open their spaces, to show and sell their work in a unique setting – their own. POST, now celebrating it’s 10th year as the largest annual tour of artist studios in Philadelphia features hundreds of artists during the first two weekends in October: East of Broad October 3-4 & West of Broad October 10-11.


POST Blowout Birthday Party 9/25 @ the ICA

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is celebrating it’s 10th year tonight, Friday September 25, at the ICA in University City. Guaranteed to be a good time you won’t want to miss!

Philadelphia Park(ing) Day 9/18/09

Park(ing) Day was originally envisioned by Rebar in San Francisco in 2005 to address the issue of how space is utilized by urban areas. Focused on Parking Spots all over the city, this event celebrates parks and pedestrian friendly city planning, while also serving to question how limited space can be utilized for everyone’s benefit (including commuters & car owners). On Friday, September 18th Philly will be re-envisioned by over 30 official spaces all over the city, putting the Grass back into Grassroots. And those are just the official spots, be on the lookout for impromptu parks all over Philly (cause DIY is just how we roll here). Check out the snazzy interactive map to help navigate to spots near and far & Park your butt in a Park(ing) spot. Enjoy the space in a different way than you might have imagined.

This Weekend: Help Keep the WTR Barn Doors Open.

If you know me at all, or have followed my ongoing project Work To Ride (a work in progress), you know that this is something that I am extremely passionate about. I’ve been volunteering with Work To Ride for going on 3 years now; 2 years ago, I even quit my job (and fancy Rittenhouse office) for the opportunity to run their summer camp (a uniquely challenging and ultimately vastly rewarding experience). I often jokingly refer to the WTR crew as my kids, and I couldn’t imagine my world without them.

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Work To Ride Polo in the Park Fundraiser.

Work To Ride 2007 Fundraiser

Polo in the Park & Horsemanship Skill Display Saturday August 22nd, 2009 @ 1pm
(Rain date August 23)

Work To Ride is a program for at risk and urban youth in Philadelphia. In in exchange for barn chores the kids are offered the opportunity to work with horses and pursue equestrian sports  while also undergoing tutoring to maintain their grades. In 1999, they had the first African American Polo Team in America’s history. WTR is a wonderful program that impacts countless people each year. Come find out more about this unique resource in the heart of Fairmount Park and find out how you can get involved!

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Starting Somewhere (or why I <3 Dailymile)

After being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I recently decided I was going to make more of an effort to get in shape. Truth of the matter is, it’s not so much that I’m lazy, its just that, when presented with the option to do something or work out, I will, as a general rule, choose something, anything, over physical exertion. So I decided to do a few things based on my personality that would make me more inclined to reach this goal.

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Art For The Cash Poor

So Lately I’ve been talking a lot about Art, especially how to make it a part of your life (going so far as to call Philly the Filene’s Basement of Art). This weekend’s Art for the Cash Poor June 13th & 14th is an excellent example of all of those direct to the source opportunities that are so abundantly available in the city of Philadelphia. AFTCP, now in it’s 10th year, is run by InLiquid, a non profit which serves as a resource center while nurturing the creative community through events and exhibitions.

As a bit of an art groupie I never miss the chance to squeal omg it’s so-and-so artist!!! because I <3 art, and artists usually appreciate being treated like rock stars. Featuring some of the area’s most talented artists and a price cap of $199, (insider tip: most things are under $100) going to AFTCP is practically like stealing the stuff. Even better than getting a good deal, you’ll be supporting the artistic community directly while engaging first hand with individual artists, learning how something was made and why. Feel free to bring the kids – between demonstrations, live music and great food stalls – there is plenty for everyone to see and enjoy!

When: Saturday, June 13th from 1-6pm & Sunday, June 14th from 1-6pm
Where: The Crane Arts Building 1400 N. American Street, Philadelphia PA MAP