Philly Contact Collective

6. Rachel

Posted in Uncategorized by phillycontactcollective on October 8, 2009

Front Porch Culture

By: Rachel Zimring Feldman

In West Philadelphia, the front porch is the space where lines between private and public life are blurred. Front porches become the portal into our neighbor’s lives and the place that we choose to display elements of our private life to the outside world. From enchanting urban gardens, potluck dinners, flea markets, and gossiping neighbors, West Philadelphia porches are always ebbing and flowing with activity. In the past few months since I moved here, porch culture has been educating me about the diverse community I live in. In turn, my own porch is providing the vantage point from which to appreciate the complexities and often unexpected interactions in daily urban life.

It is this same element of the “unexpected in ordinary spaces” that I was inspired by when viewing Jenny’s project. By placing “joyful affirmations” under car windshields, Jenny’s art will surprise and infiltrate the private world of the morning commuter before they head off to work in their car. The joyful affirmations will make the car owner feel in awe of the city, which is teeming with spontaneity. I hope to inspire the same emotions in passersby that view the improvisation taking place on my front porch tonight. Working in collaboration with my neighbors, we will activate our front porch as a performance space.



4 Responses

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  1. milkshake said, on February 10, 2010 at 8:06 am

    hey rachel. i enjoyed meeting you and lee monday night at philly onstage, and seeing at least the ass end of your performance. are you two responsible for many of the showgoers that night? srsly, i’ve never ever ever performed for so many unfamiliars in my life. every show i’ve ever done, at least a third of the audience had previously improvised with me in some capacity. thanks for bringing such a great audience to our first show together.

    so rumor has it that pcc is into clown. that’s pretty interesting, cuz our own kristen is working on a few clown exercises to run at incubator. hmm isn’t that pretty intriguing? and incubator… meets in wessphilly…. wow! so much piquant curiosity in such an engaging fascination, punctuated by a gobsmack of entreating delight.

    • phillycontactcollective said, on February 17, 2010 at 1:58 am

      Hi Milkshake! It was fun meeting you too! You should come to Feet Active at Studio 34 this Friday. We will be leading a workshop/demo, and then there will be a dance party!


  2. milkshake said, on February 18, 2010 at 7:16 am

    lee, i love workshops! and you’re right, my feet should get active. and you would know since you saw me “dancing” during the l&g show. but i’ll be miles away that night, improvising. booooo.

    kristen ran us thru a small handful of clown exercises. we had to rush a bit, since our group was so big, and she wanted everyone to do a certain solo exercise involving “neutral” behavior. as a dancer, you must know already that “neutral behavior” is necessarily impossible.

    interestingly, some of our players were just turned inside out by this simple act of coming in thru the door, closing it behind them, walking to the center of the room & making a moment of eye-contact with each person as we sat watching and studying them, and then quietly exiting, without them expressing obvious fear and anxiety – some of them. they just couldn’t remain calm and “neutral” – they got giddy, or their face would tense up, or their shoulders, or they’d rush thru the eye-contact part… all kinds of nervous behavior, even fumbling with the door!

    okay, is there a way to stay updated with philly contact collective? of course there must be, contact is practically your middle name. but it is not obvious on this page. maybe you’re friendly with mr radford from rep radio? if only there were some more efficient way to stay in touch… some kind of a “book”, with “faces” or something.

  3. Lee said, on February 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Hey milkshake,

    You can stay in touch with us by emailing and joining our mailing list. That would be awesome! Then when we set up a facebook page we can let you know ;).

    Your story about neutral behavior is so interesting to me. I am studying somatics right now (learning about the body from an internal awareness perspective, and throught movement), and doing a creative research project about the the responses I have to simply being witnessed. So interesting what movement responses get triggered from within!

    Anyhow, drop us an email!

    Enjoy your improvising tonight 🙂

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