Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012
One of the incidents which transpired at this time was symptomatic of
Philadelphia’s mixed reaction to the . I asked a U of Penn staff poet to read with us at the Highwire. He demurred, and I shrugged; but Jim O’Rourke revealed that, having discovered the Highwire through us, he’d gone behind our backs and booked a huge academy-affiliated poetry event there. He didn’t ask any of us to read. Now, he wasn’t breaking any laws, but it was a cheap move, and very not Free School . So, employing the privileged position we’d established as Highwire regulars (crucially, Jim O’Rourke didn’t attempt to dissuade us), we decided to put in a unified appearance the night of the reading. It was just as boring, rigid, and Academic as we had expected— the important part for us was that we stole the show. Not only was our antagonist made visibly uncomfortable by our appearance, all the Academicians appeared uncomfortable that we were there. Even just our looks ran rings around them. As I was later to learn, many academicians have beleaguered fantasies of being rock stars themselves, and want to be perceived as celebrities. The Fab Four gave them a pungent dose of the real thing. It was enough to make me think that Jim O’Rourke, who had smoked us all up in the factory room beforehand, had the whole thing planned when he booked the Academy reading. Free School
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
here. Thanks and happy 4th!!!
Saturday, June 16, 2012
The first Philly Free School event was held in July 2004. There were some physical characteristics to the Highwire Gallery space which facilitated the event. The west-facing wall was all windows. The event began in the late afternoon, then into the evening, and we got to watch a spectacular sunset as it happened. We sold Jim's hash brownies for a dollar a piece. This guaranteed that by the end of the night, everyone would be on their backs. As for the acts- Golden Ball played psychedelic space-rock. Many of the Golden Ball guys and the retinue they brought had been my friends in State College. Golden Ball also connected us with London and Syd Barrett. I imported Lucky Dragons from the Lunge event in Northern Liberties; they were pure, laptop driven ambient. The demarcation separating Philly Free School from This Charming Lab happened fast; their were lots of paying customers at the door. Plus, Jim's presence assured that there was lots of free hard liquor floating around. Jim O'Rourke did things right. If we were taking big risks, we also had some protection- the Highwire, not on the Gilbert Building's first floor, could only be accessed by stairs or elevator. D.P. Plunkett bombed; Christopher walked around taking pictures with his digital camera; I was clean-shaven, wearing my Springsteen "Born to Run" concert tee. If the "factory room," unfortunately, remained untouched, the important thing was that when the square locked in, we really did work together, even Ricky. I knew instinctively that nothing like this had ever been done in Center City before.