Saturday, June 16, 2012

from "A Poet in Center City": "#26"

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.