Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Philly: The City of Neon

Before any Philly pounce on me for the title of today's post -- don't. This is not an insult. It's an observation. One, which I marveled at. Seriously, all the neon signs I saw were FULLY lit and I was really keeping an eye out for an unlit one. I was completely shocked. It didn't matter what part of the city we were in, I was impressed the signs were fully lit. Does Philly have an edict which states any shop owner wanting a neon sign must keep it in working order?

None of the 1/2 ass neon signs I see around my home for Philly. It brought joy to my heart to see this (and you're probably thinking I need to get a life if this is what I noticed about Philly -- you could be right).

There's more to Philly, but here's where I'm going to make some enemies.... I went to Geno's Steaks for a famous Philly Cheese sub and it fell flat. I LOVE a good Philly Cheese Steak, but the onions weren't sauteed enough and I figure if you're touting yourself as the organism of cheese steak subs, well, you shouldn't. I mean the sub was okay, and I loved that the baguette was fresh, but the partially sauteed onions did me in. If I happen to go back to Philly, I will give Pat's a shot. Maybe they can uphold the title of amazing cheese steak subs.

Enough about the cheese steak and neon signs... I bet you're wondering what brought me to Philly? Okay, maybe you're not. Here's what brought me to Philly....Nothing. Absolutely nothing other than pure curiosity. I've never been and went to visit my sister, YogaGirl, who lives close enough to Philly that you don't have to whine "Are we there yet"? while in the car.

Because we got a late start, and I insisted on getting a famous Philly Cheese Steak sub, our time was limited. No Liberty Bell or Rocky Statue (hell, if I refuse to see any of the movies before I die, I'm certainly not going to head over to his statue), instead, I was very cultured and chose Philly's Art Museum.

I love when European artists don't name their work and others come up with titles for their pieces. You get titles like: Two Dead Birds with One Dog or Riverview or Three Dead Birds with Two Dogs. It's interesting dead birds were such a hot topic to paint way-back-when.

The museum had a substantial number of pieces by Monet and an interesting Modern art wing. Okay, interesting is over selling it. I mean, when does breaking a shovel in half get the right to be placed in a museum with special lighting? However, what I love most about viewing modern art with YogaGirl is how frustrated she gets when she believes she can create the piece herself. She may have a point. I wonder if I should start viewing paint swatches with a different depth and appreciation as it may hang in a gallery one day. However, YogaGirl wasn't as disturbed as much as usual with 'she-can-make-this-so-it's-not-art' pieces on the wall, but was completely disturbed by the whole room devoted to Cy Twombly.

Cy passed away this year, and I know it's wrong to talk ill of the dead, but his stuff, IMHO, was HORRIBLE.

It looked like he smudged the pastels a bit and wrote some words using his toes. As we sat on the bench in the room taking in all the pieces of his exhibit, I overheard people behind me talking about how great this particular piece was. I've never felt so dumb. What was I missing? Why couldn't I see the passion in this piece created by writing some words on canvas using one's toes? Why?

Actually, I felt like this in many of the rooms of the modern art exhibit. In fact, I asked one guard if he got it. He smiled, laughed and said: "Oh yeah, I get it. Especially this piece". It was a piece of plaster navels. Yup. The belly button is now art.

So...next time you're removing clothes lint from your belly button, just remember how your belly button could be in a museum of art.

12 comments:

Brian Miller said...

nice...enjoyed my trips to philly....sorry the cheese steak stunk...we had a pretty good one...sesame street is there too...

DB said...

As I always say - if I can do it, it's not art. Sorry Cy Twombley. Maybe next time we can do some of the historic sights. I still need to get to Reading Terminal Market.

Lora said...

Locals wouldn't be caught dead at Genos! Or Pats. It's a total tourist trap. Also, the guy who owned it until he died recently (of a heart attack) was famous for being a white supremacist. So there's that...

Also, it's about four blocks from my house. I'm so sorry I missed you! I would have taken you to Tony Lukes for a REAL Philly cheesesteak.

And yes. Totally neon everywhere. We are stuck in the 80s about a lot of things.

Maria said...

LMB, art is so subjective isn't it????? As far as Philly cheesesteaks, all overrated. I too went to Philly with Yoga Girl and we went to some place on South Street that a local told us about and I wasn't impressed at all!

Lora said...

Maria, that was Jim's. They are touristy too. I'll say they are the best on South Street but not good as far as cheese steaks go.

The best places are hard to get to unless you know your way around! I swear one day I'm going to write a travel guide so people can eat like locals when they are here.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Art's such a bizarre thing isn't it? Sometimes I see modern stuff that I don't get at all but I can tell there's something there or that it was difficult in some way to make/paint/get certain effect. Some of it I just think is, if I can use a Briticism for a moment, "taking the piss". Seriously. I mean I paint, but I'm not about to stand up with one of my efforts and go "this represents society and the fractured realism of urban culture" and present a couple of random splotches on a neon background. I'm more likely to say, "this is a bunch of colours whipped together, texturized with something and it all looks purty!"

Don't even get me started on people who put a boot on a cow and call it art. EFF YOU PEOPLE. :)

jane said...

i´d have to say that jim´s is the best ;) glad you had fun!

Andrea said...

OMG you're still so funny! I'm back, after quite a hiatus and I re-named and re-located my blog...(I was Erin P and then I started using my real name)....Anyway, I'm just below Philly so I totally agree w/ Lora about the places locals eat. If you like pizza you must try "Slice" and Reading Terminal Market is just great, definitely go there too. BTW come back and re-follow me if you want!

AVY said...

How could it be an insult?

/ Avy
http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com



Little Ms Blogger said...

Brian - I saw the sign for Sesame Street, but my sister wouldn't stop. Big Meanie!

DB - Your birthday is coming up, maybe I'll recreate a piece like his for you :-)

Lora - I didn't think so, but you're right, there is no real local guide. Next time I head down there (which we probably will b/c there is so much to do) I'll contact you - this was so very last minute.

Maria - Art is subjective, Cy's stuff just wrong....\

Veggie Ass - Never mind the cow with the boot (although horrible) how about the red dot on the white canvas? Personally, I love the people that stand there with finger tapping chin as they "interpret" the piece. Who do they think they're fooling?

Jane - Never heard of Jim's.

Andrea - we thought about going to the Reading Terminal (their website has pictures of pie on it and who doesn't love pies) I'll come see the new blog (and yes, I remember who you are).

angelsroy33 said...

I went to Philly forever ago, and loved it! Mind you I'm a 'shopaholic' and South Street was awesome with the little shops, etc. And no offense to anyone, but I'm NOT a Philly cheesesteak kinda girl.(I don't like/eat cheese.)So there's that. I did go see the statue and climbed the steps that was in the 'Rocky' movie tho!!!! Yep-I'm officially a weirdo,-sorry!

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