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Local 'Project Runway' winner Dom Streater shows at New York Fashion Week

Project Runway winner (and Philly resident) Dom Streater exhibited a colorful collection at New York Fashion Week -- her first show since her victory.

The luminous, naturally lit whitewashed studio was precisely scattered with models donning Streater’s blooming bright pieces. It was a particularly cold windy day in the Big Apple, but these garments seemed to be projecting their own sort of sunshine. In the months between earning her fashion fame and displaying her newest collection, 25-year-old Dom has managed to quit her waitressing job at Silk City Diner – that supported her fashion ventures – and settle into a place of her own; a studio apartment on Pine Street in Center City...

The foundation of Streater’s clothing was unapologetically girly. The palette offered shades of red, pink, black and gray that were arranged in custom floral-inspired patterns, both on their own or placed with a solid color. These custom patterns, a skill that crowned her Runway queen, are what made her collection a standout.


Here's a preview of the collection.

Original source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the complete story and check out the pictures here.

Philly designers want to manufacture locally, but challenges abound

The Philadelphia Inquirer dives into familiar territory -- local designers (like Sarah Van Aken) want to manufacture locally, but the roadblocks are manifold.

The city may tout its creative community and the growing retail scene - it even hosts a version of fashion week in September - but retaining that talent is a challenge, now reaching critical mass, when Philadelphia lacks skilled sewers, cutters, and patternmakers. "Everyone knows the quality is just not here," said Karen Randal, director of the office of business attraction and retention in Philadelphia's Commerce Department. "[It's] not what you expect to find at a good retailer."

Olubodun, like many young apparel designers, wants one day to present Philadelphia-made collections during New York Fashion Week, now underway at Lincoln Center through Thursday.

But current conditions - too few workers and manufacturing facilities that accommodate smaller orders - means they're stuck either sewing their own wares or spending money for larger runs they don't need. Either option makes it difficult to fill accounts with larger retailers - the road to brand recognition. Forget about affording a New York runway presentation.


Original source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the complete story here.


New York Times takes note of new Comcast tower

The big Comcast tower news got Philadelphia some national press, including in the New York Times.

The influx of young technology employees to a building designed by a prestigious international architect is likely to encourage boosters of a city that has long harbored an inferiority complex because it lacks either the financial power of New York or the political clout of Washington.

“This new development really speaks to a more favorable outlook for the city,” said [Michael Silverman, managing director in the Philadelphia office of Integra Realty Resources].

The $1.2 billion building will create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, adding $2.75 billion to the local economy, according to Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, who announced the project, along with Comcast officials, on Jan. 15.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Grub Street examines the NYC-to-Philly trend

Why do New York chefs come to Philly? And what makes this town different? Grub Street tackled the issue.

It's easy to think that people who leave New York couldn't hack it in the city's cutthroat restaurant environment. But recently, chefs are relocating just as they're poised to make it big here, opting for the comfort of Philly overpotential celebrity in New York. Peter Serpico left his justly celebrated role within the Momofuku empire to open Serpico on South Street in June. Meanwhile, after two years working at Torrisi Italian Specialties, Eli Kulp was poised to become the executive chef and partner of a little restaurant called Carbone (perhaps you've heard of it?). Instead, Kulp teamed up with Ellen Yin’s sixteen-year-old Philly restaurant, Fork, launched a spinoff called High Street on Market, and, most recently, got named the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Chef of the Year." So, what's the draw?

Original source: Grub Street
Read the entire story here.

Philly chefs share favorite 'under the radar' spots

We Feast asked top local chefs about their favorite places to eat when they're not working -- we agree with quite a few of them. Joe Cicala of Le Virtu repped Los Gallos, a killer Mexican spot in South Philly.

“I do a lot of takeout due to my grueling work schedule, and Los Gallos satisfies my Mexican craving. It’s always good—I like the cemitas poblanos and tacos a la plancha—affordable, and it’s right around the corner.” 

Original source: We Feast
Check out the complete list here.


Opera Philadelphia commissions work based on saxophonist Charlie Parker

Opera Philadelphia has commissioned Daniel Schnyder to create a chamber opera about the jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.

The opera, “Charlie Parker’s Yardbird,” is set on the day Parker died — March 12, 1955 — but takes place in his imagination as he is dying. The tenor Lawrence Brownlee will play Parker; Angela Brown, the soprano, will portray his mother, Addie, and Will Liverman, the baritone, will play Dizzy Gillespie, a frequent collaborator. Casting has not been announced for the other roles, which will include Parker’s patron, Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. Corrado Rovaris, the company’s music director, who suggested Mr. Schnyder for the commission, is scheduled to conduct the premiere.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Innovative Philadelphia clinic offers healthcare to undocumented immigrants

Puentes de Salud, a Penn-funded clinic, provides health care to those outside the system, including undocumented immigrants.

Puentes de Salud, which in English means “bridges of health,” was founded to provide low-cost but quality health care and social services to the growing Latino population in South Philadelphia and began treating patients in 2006. A co-founder, Dr. Steve Larson, said the organization distinguished itself from other community-health groups by addressing the underlying causes of illness, like poor nutrition, illiteracy or urban violence.

"It’s not about me writing prescriptions," said Dr. Larson, 53, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who said he began to develop his approach to community medicine while working in rural Nicaragua in the early 1990s. "This is an underground health system."


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Keeping a brewery small can reap dividends

Small-production breweries can create demand for their products -- it might be a good lesson for future craft brewers.

Hill Farmstead, in the hamlet of Greensboro, produces just 60,000 gallons of beer annually. The beer is available for purchase only at the brewery and in roughly 20 Vermont bars. In addition, Mr. Hill sends 12 kegs to distributors in New York City and Philadelphia a few times a year...

From the start, his philosophy has been to make the best beer possible without pursuing what he calls “infinite, boundless growth.” He operates under the belief that beer is a perishable item, “just like lettuce or broccoli,” he says, and should be consumed locally, not shipped long distances.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.
 
 

Announcement of new Comcast tower has city abuzz

A new skyscraper will rise above Philadelphia thanks to Comcast. The city was abuzz with chatter about the new addition, including Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron.

Until now, America's most glamorous tech companies have largely been housed in suburban oases, velvet prisons that offer employees endless supplies of vitamin water and protein bars, but require lengthy commutes in company caravans from San Francisco to the cluttered highway strips of Silicon Valley. There's plenty of interaction inside the bubble, but hardly any with the wider world.

With its new 1,121-foot-tall loft building, designed by Britain's Norman Foster, Comcast fashions a rebuttal to all that. Think of the towering waterfall of glass that was unveiled Wednesday as a skyscraper version of the great, light-filled factory lofts of the early 20th century, but wedged into the unpredictable heart of Center City atop the region's densest transit hub. In the six years since Comcast embedded itself in one of the city's more straight-laced corporate towers, it has done a complete 180: Its second high-rise should be a glorious vertical atelier where employees can make a mess while they invent and build stuff.


Original source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the complete story here.

Do animals have a sweet tooth? Monell scientists are on the case

How do animals experience sweetness? And what does that tell us about how sugar effects the brain? These are just a few of the questions being examined at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

Some mammals have lost the capacity for sensing either sweet or savory: In 2012, a team led by Peihua Jiang of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found this to be the case among marine mammals like Asian otters, bottlenose dolphins and sea lions — species that tend not to chew their food. “It kind of makes sense,” says Paul Breslin, another taste physiologist based at Monell and Rutgers University. “If it looks like a fish and swims like a fish, and it’s hard to catch, they’ll swallow it whole. So they don’t need to taste.”

But what about substances that mimic sugar, like the noncaloric sweeteners many of us depend on? The human flytrap clamps down on sugar, but it also grabs Sweet’N Low and Splenda and lots of other chemicals — both artificial and natural — that approximate the flavor. Do other animals have the same response? If a dog likes the taste of Coca-Cola, will it show the same response to Diet Coke?


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Philly photographer paints portrait of Rust Belt town in 'Homesteading'

Noted local photographer Zoe Strauss -- of "Under I-95" fame -- has a new project, 'Homesteading,' that examines life in a post-steel mill town.

“Homesteading” combines landscapes, street photography and formal studio portraits to explore over generations the history of those who built Andrew Carnegie’s wealth, the ways their fates were intertwined and the current lives of Homestead’s residents. After a year of research, she found it daunting to blend themes of globalization, a mythic past and the trauma of that past in a mundane 21st-century community. She actually felt she had reached the limits of what she could do with photography. So, she did what she always does when overwhelmed: Let strangers show her the way...

Ms. Strauss is not your typical Magnum photographer — she describes herself as a lesbian anarchist from Philadelphia and is unfailingly humble. She is interested as much by theory as by photographic practice, and she loves and is influenced by science fiction, art theory and epic poetry.


Original source: New York Times' Lens blog
Read the complete story here.

Philadelphia Museum of Art receives major gift of contemporary works

Keith L. Sachs, the former chief executive of Saxco International, and his wife, Katherine are giving a major gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from their contemporary collection.

The couple are also major buyers of contemporary art, working closely with museum curators to amass a top-flight collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures from the 1950s to the present. This week, the museum announced that it had been promised a lion’s share of the Sachs holdings. Included in the gift are 97 works by contemporary masters like Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden and Gerhard Richter, worth nearly $70 million, according to auction house experts asked for their assessment. Timothy Rub, the museum’s director, said it was one of the most important gifts of contemporary art in the institution’s 138-year history.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the compelete story here.

Recently digitized historic maps depict much smaller Philadelphia

The University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab has digitized and made available online the entire Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. By viewing the maps on top of contemporary images, you get a unique picture of progress. Check out Philadelphia.

The old paper maps have been geo-rectified so that they can be viewed atop digital maps. The atlas contains several series of maps across the years, which have now been animated. In one, you can watch the center of the U.S. population migrate from 1790 to 1930 (in the 1920s, the center of America's urban population was located in western Ohio).

As you might imagine, the newly accessible collection is full of arcane trivia about American exports in the 1790s, but also a wealth of knowledge about the early growth of U.S. cities, and what their first planners had in mind for them. One particularly delightful chapter is devoted to the "plans of cities" – all of them, of necessity, from the East Coast – dating back to as early as 1775
.

Original source: The Atlantic Cities
Read the complete story here.

The New York Times shines a bright light on Philly's new land bank

Philadelphia's recently passed land bank legislation got some big-time press in a New York Times feature.

The new city ordinance aims to consolidate ownership of the properties under the roof of the Land Bank. And to encourage developers to buy through one-stop shopping, the city ordinance also gives the Land Bank power to acquire title to privately owned vacant properties if they are delinquent in taxes. Officials said about three-quarters of Philadelphia’s vacant properties were privately owned and many were behind on taxes. That has deterred prospective buyers who have trouble tracking down owners of long-abandoned properties or dealing with liens on the buildings.

Once the Land Bank is operational later this year, developers will be in a better position to take control of whole blocks that currently show a “gap-tooth” patchwork of public and private buildings and land, proponents say.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Hope for redevelopment at the SS United States?

People are working hard to save the SS United States; the behemoth has been docked in South Philly since the mid-'90s.

Donors from around the world contributed at least $205,000, and another $116,000 was raised by scrapping obsolete pieces of the ship that would have had to be cleared eventually by a developer, said Susan Gibbs, the conservancy's executive director.

The influx of cash should cover the ship's upkeep bills for the next six months or so. By that time, Gibbs said, there's hope that a redevelopment deal will finally be close at hand.

"We aren't yet able to make an announcement about a final deal, but we're very hopeful 2014 is going to be the year for the SS United States," she said.

Unfortunately, that future might happen outside of Philadelphia -- perhaps in New York. Time will tell.

Original Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Read the complete story here.
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