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Fringe 2014: The Conversation Continues

Performances based on, drawing on, inspired or provoked by, or simply invoking Greek and Roman stories, plays, myths, or iconography have been a part of Philadelphia’s cultural life since before the American Revolution.  Here are a few from the 2014 Philly Fringe Festival; quotations come from the festival’s program.  See also fringearts.com.  The Fringe is a good thing in September–go and see.

Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church
“Antigone with all male performers–except it’s the here and now and there is the runway and there is the pop culture and designer names and voguing and there is sexuality and strutting and grief and dance history and deep bass.”

Living in Exile: a retelling of the Iliad
“A single act of compassion . . . inside this odyssey of blistering hearts living in exile.  They are not cast in stone.”

Oedipus The Musical
“When a herpes plague spreads through the city, King Oedipus is forced to discover the incestuous roots of his dysfunctional family tree . . . songs like ‘YOLO Apollo’, ‘Hashtag Plague’ and ‘Ballad of a Cougar’.”

The Rape of Lucrece
“. . . one-man interpretation of Shakespeare’s epic poem . . .”

They Call Me Arethusa
“Arethusa guides you spoken-word-style through the stories of her Greek mythological sisters and the true testimonials of modern women.”

AESOP
“. . . an imaginative an immersive adaptation of the famed fables by Aesop.”

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2014-2015: Welcomes and farewells

Classicizing Philadelphia welcomes Megan Dickman as Research Assistant for the 2014-2015 academic year.  Megan is a graduate student in the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr with interests in space and boundaries, especially in the exile poems of Ovid.  She will be helping to develop content for a prototype mobile tour of sites in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood.

Sara Sieteski, Project Associate for Design and Implementation during 2013-2014, has chosen to step down from Classicizing Philadelphia to devote more time to her study of sites on Hadrian’s Wall and other projects.  Sara’s contributions moved the project forward, and I am grateful to her for her help.

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Classicizing Philadelphia on the ARTstor blog

ARTstor’s blog for May 27, 2014 features the Classicizing Philadelphia project.  Click here for the ARTstor blog entry.

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What kind of project will this be?

A recent conversation with Jeff Cohen helped me understand what kind of project Classicizing Philadelphia will become.  Jeff teaches in Bryn Mawr’s Growth and Structure of Cities program, and he knows as much as anyone about the architectural history of Philadelphia.  We talked about image quality, rights and permissions, and the Classicizing Philadelphia mobile app now under development.  Jeff, as I remember, was the first to use the term “public history.” It’s a good one.  Classicizing Philadelphia has three announced goals:

  • To be a focal point for research on classical receptions in Philadelphia
  • To be a gateway to documents of classical reception in Philadelphia collections
  • To inform the citizens of Philadelphia about and engage them in our city’s long conversation with Greece and Rome

Of these goals, the second and third are emerging as the most important.  Classicizing Philadelphia is not evolving into an archive or a research collection; the project doesn’t have the resources in time or money, and there are many fine digital archives for research into the cultural history of Philadelphia (several of these are on the “Resources” page of the Classicizing Philadelphia web site).  Instead, Classicizing Philadelphia will be a place to look if you recognize “Patriae Pater” as Latin and wonder what it’s doing in Rembrandt Peale’s “porthole” portrait of Washington at PAFA, or if you’re curious about the columned tombs in Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Classicizing Philadelphia’s primary audience will not be scholars in universities.  This project is for Philadelphia’s citizens, and for anyone who wants to join the long conversation.  It will be digital public history.  Thanks, Jeff.

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Web site is up!

March 27, 2014

A preliminary version of the Classicizing Philadelphia web site (https://classicizingphiladelphia.omeka.net/) is now up and running, with a small set of data focused on architecture and city planning.  This marks an important step forward for Classicizing Philadelphia.  None of this progress could have happened without the support of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, and especially of its president and officers, or without the help and good will of the librarians and other staff of Bryn Mawr College, including especially Camilla Mackay, Head of Carpenter Library and Visual Resources; Nancy Halli, Image Cataloger, Carpenter Visual Resources; and Oliva Cardona, Program Assistant for the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies.  I am grateful to them, and also to Jen Rajchel and the TriCo Digital Humanities team and to Bryn Mawr’s Chief Information Officer, Gina Siesing, for their support and encouragement of Classicizing Philadelphia.

Lee Pearcy

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