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Moving To Philadelphia

Musical performance artist Cynthia Hopkins is moving to Philadelphia, accompanied by her husband and her three cats. This is the story of their journey.
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Moving To Philadelphia
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Now displaying: May, 2016
May 31, 2016

A link to this week's pictures.

This week (erroneously introduced as week #15) is an insomnia-driven missive from the wee hours of a rainy night, inspired by a show attended at PhilaMOCA called The Birth of Silent Radio, an offering from filmmaker and songwriter Cory McAbee aka Billy Nayer Show aka Small Star Corporation Radio aka Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club. Cynthia forgets to mention that one of the inspiring moments of the show was called “Wandering Window” in which Cory played recordings of soundscapes heard through windows sent in to him by folks from all around the world, and in that spirit this week’s entire podcast is recorded in a window on a rainy night, so there’s a lot of background weather sounds. The song of the week is a reverent cover of a song from the show, that makes heavy use of the phrase “super duper.” Reverence is also duly paid to several inspiring figures from Cynthia’s childhood, of whom she is reminded by the show, including radio personalities Dr. Demento and Jean Sheperd, and also the band Negativeland and the TV program Monty Python’s Flying Circus (Cynthia forgets to mention The Prisoner.) The film Rocky is referenced for the first time, in relation to another outing of the week, to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where multiple dimensions of delights are encountered including hands-on print-making demonstrations, a Japanese tea ceremony room, a collection of snuff bottles, lots of armor and daggers, and almost enough rugs to satisfy a rug fetish.

May 24, 2016

A link to the photos for the week!

Cynthia’s plans for the week are derailed by not one but two acute sinus infections, diagnosed by medical professionals as “acute maxillary sinusitis, unspecified” and “acute frontal sinusitis, unspecified” which justifies her complaints of discomfort leading up to the diagnosis and also presents her with an antidote in the form of an antibiotic plus netti pot treatments. Nevertheless she manages to perform at the Pig Iron gala which turns out not to be a gala at all but a slightly awkward event, featuring an especially awkward social interaction that brings up uncomfortable memories of an awkward experience Cynthia had some years ago, taking over for a much larger and more buxom and much more adept at burlesque performer in a “naked ladies” play without words. Reminiscing about the naked ladies experience while suffering sinusitis reminds Cynthia of playing Salome on the roof of a Manhattan YWCA in October (because it required her to dance naked in freezing temperatures while barely able to breathe on account of bronchitis) years ago, a production also starring New York theater legends John Collins (as John the Baptist) and Scott Sheperd (as Herod.) In spite of acute sinusitis, Cynthia manages to make it all the way to Ashland, Oregon to visit husband Jeff, who is there designing video for The Wiz. Having recently shaved her head for no apparent reason, Cynthia purchases a cap and cowl-neck top for head protection, a combo that when worn together in an ensemble makes her resemble a cross between the eunuch from Game of Thrones and a boy starring in the musical “Newsies!” The song of the week is inspired by Game of Thrones, the Swedish acapella group that also performed at the Pig Iron benefit, and the choral music Cynthia has composed over the years for melodramatic productions such as Salome (not the YWCA production) and a number of Greek tragedies. The language of the song is a kind of warped version of English intended to sound like an invented language, in a kind of lazy homage to playwright Sibyl Kempson, for whom Cynthia will be composing some music this summer...

May 17, 2016

a link to the photos for the week.

This week Cynthia practices a bunch of “self care” (something she has learned to do in sobriety, to counteract her alcoholic tendency to completely self-destruct) and comes down with a cold during the process... though probably the cold is caused not by self care practices but instead by cardio class number two (“ripped abs”) which pushes her outside her comfort zone and beyond her limits. Self care practices include a visit to the doctor, prompting a reenactment of a Saturday Night Live skit originally performed by Gilda Radner and Jane Curtin, on the subject of menstruation and its attendant horrors. The potentially magical benefits of IUDs are discovered and discussed. An “Ayurveda and the Art of Self Care” workshop reminds Cynthia of a particularly funny story from the funny story collection The Peterkin Papers, a children’s book she recalls from childhood in which the voice of wisdom always came from - Cynthia is almost completely certain - “the lady from Philadelphia”!?! With all the self care going on, why isn’t this podcast titled Self Care? Because Cynthia also visits a dress rehearsal of a performance by the Pennsylvania Ballet, where she marvels at super-human performances of choreography by Balanchine and Matthew Neenan. The virtues of dress rehearsals over actual performances are recognized, and in that spirit a rehearsal take of a duet with Dito Van Reigersberg is the song of the week, a Prince cover being practiced for a Pig Iron gala coming up that will hopefully go very differently from the last gala performance Cynthia gave… to be continued…

May 10, 2016

a link to this week's photos!

 

The subtitle of this week is no more poetry, because No More Poetry is the title of the Song of the Week, inspired by and borrowing from a live concert at the Boot & Saddle by Jherek Bischoff and Mirah. Other incidents reported upon include a petting zoo at a May Fair and a taco-eating contest at a totally different though similarly outdoor May Fair (therefore a secondary subtitle is May Fair.) Cynthia learns the painful way (during a crosswalk “incident” that gives this week’s podcast episode its actual primary super title) that traffic customs in Philadelphia are pretty much the opposite of traffic customs in New York City, and the resulting altercation with a total stranger leads to a crying jag. A more physical kind of Culture Shock is experienced when Cynthia attends a “cardio core barre” class using the app Class Pass: it is a rude awakening to the reality that she is definitely NOT qualified to attempt the Tough Mudder obstacle course coming up in Pennsylvania later this month. Also, a play about the pioneering homosexual psychiatrist Dr. John Fryer, whose brave speech at an American Psychiatric Association in 1972 helped end the Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental illness, is attended at The Painted Bride.

May 3, 2016

first, a link to this week's photos.

This week several challenging, uncomfortable experiences are reviewed and salvaged for comedic potential plus any other use they might serve such as giving solace to those who’ve experienced similar discomforts, the primary one being STAGE FRIGHT experienced in a major league fashion by Cynthia at a “gala” performance. The spectrum of error is examined and a “clam” is differentiated from a “flub” (Cynthia and Jeff disagree on whether Cynthia’s error at the gala qualifies as a “clam” or a “flub”) The other uncomfortable experiences under discussion are working the polls on election day and the interesting though frustrating cast of misfit characters encountered there (from one, Cynthia learns about a potential backup career as a “medical actor” and from another, she learns that children in Philadelphia don’t actually have to go to school but can instead be “un-schooled”); and attending Science Failures night at a historic building converted into a sports bar (where Cynthia learned how the color mauve was discovered accidentally during a search for a cure for malaria.) In a way the theme of the week could be “the uses of failure” or “mistakes as material” or “how to survive experiences that go horribly awry and turn them into assets moving forward”… For example, the song of the week is a direct result of Cynthia’s dismal experience at the gala, invoking a term chanted during Passover ceremonies that means “that would have been enough” as in “if the only thing I got out of that gala experience was listening to David Byrne perform an incredibly inspiring song and dance number, that would have been enough."   

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