Jefe's House

The Sixth Boro

Eulogy for Radio Shack

by on Aug.12, 2017, under Pophood, The Sixth Boro

trs80-iI confess. I’m one of the five remaining nerds who’ve been keeping Radio Shack hanging on by a rapidly fraying thread these past few years and have been heartbroken watching them pop like bubbles in NYC and Philadelphia. This unique electronics chain brings back childhood memories in Virginia.I first saw and used a computer, the TRS-80, there, and my poor mouth watered. I knew I would never be able to own one.

It has been a mainstay these days for components my young son and I use in our electrical crafting projects.  Sure, you can get that stuff online but it’s so much fun going through all the little drawers  at Radio Shack, browsing for various colored LEDs,  different sized toggle switches and numerous knobs.

The lone holdout in Philly, to my knowledge, was the one at 1616 Chestnut in bustling Center City. Imagine my shock when I finally went there again last week after months of carrying a tattered Post-It shopping list around in my wallet that read “Blick” and “wire” in my nearly illegible lefty scrawl, to find that yet another Radio Shack had met its maker. Blick is Dick Blick art supplies just a few blocks away at 13th and Chestnut. At least I’d be able to stop in there soon and cross that one off my shopping list.

A few days later I had wheels for the day to go fishing in southern Jersey on Long Beach Island about 90 minutes away.  I swung by the sad, abandoned Radio Shack again on my way out of town, hoping maybe there’d be some info in the window along the lines of, Please visit our nearest location at… but the bereaved staff hadn’t even tried. Here’s all I found:

radioshack

That left me with two choices; spend my day, and my car rental, tracking down Radio Shacks, or spend my day fishing.  According the web, the nearest Radio Shack was way off in northeast Philly on Aramingo Avenue. It was listed online as open, but then again so had this one been.

I didn’t bother calling to check but opted for a compromise instead, reaching for my phone. Perfect, there was a Radio Shack listed as open on Route 70 in Marleton, New Jersey, directly en route to LBI.  I kept my eyes peeled as I cruised past and, sadly, it was covered in SPACE AVAILABLE signs from a realty company.  I didn’t even need to slow down. In the end, I came up empty-handed on both the Radio Shacks and the fish, but nonetheless what a lovely summer day to have tried both.

20170813_083458   My son’s latest crafting project:  an electrical birthday card for a friend complete with on-off toggle switch and an LED bindi (or teep as we say in Bengali). Components: two CR2016 button batteries in a holder, a two-position toggle switch, red LED and small gauge single strand wire.

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Bidisha Dasgupta in Philly

by on Mar.03, 2016, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Thrilled that Bidisha Dasgupta will be performing newly choreographed Indian Classical Dance (bharatanatyam) pieces in the Dance Diversity Tour on Saturday, April 16th in Philly. Two shows. Tix are $10 until April 2nd and $15 afterwards. You haven’t bought yours yet?

phillydanceshowcase

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A Hindu-Appalachian Christmas in the City of Brotherly Love

by on Dec.23, 2015, under Pophood, Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro

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A Shaheb’s Guide to India

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How a simple father-son craft project became a global, epic diorama

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Five years ago this month my wife Bidisha and I got married a full Hindu wedding in India. Four years ago our son was born.

This past Thanksgiving while carving the turkey at our Philadelphia home I got to the bone that my granny from rural southwestern Virginia used to save and make into a turkey bone Santa sled decoration at Christmastime every so often. It’s a morbid Appalachian thing, you wouldn’t understand. In a fit of nostalgia I decided I’d give it a whirl and introduce my young son to a part of his cultural history.

To make sure I was really remembering correctly I Googled “turkey bone sled” and one of the first things that came up was someone’s Pinterest page about turkey bone sleds with the header, “My granny made these.” Yep, I was on the right track.

The schematic.

The schematic.

My son and I often do multi-stage, multi-day art projects so I told him we were going to embark on this “small” project. I’m thinking the whole thing will be five or six inches long with a couple of ceremonial reindeer pulling it but he insists that it be the full 9 reindeer, and that there be a full moon, and a Pleiades star cluster (the Seven Sisters), Aldebaran (the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and one of the bull’s eyes), a small pine tree like the one we have in a planter outside our house, and our street sign, and snow on the ground, and hovering in the sky above Santa there should be Kartik. Without missing a beat I told him fine but that he’d need to design it on paper first so we’d know exactly what we were making and not leave anything out.

Kartik? That would be the Hindu god Kartik, less famous brother of Ganesh. Kartik is the Pete Best of major goddess Durga’s children. I later learned it’s impossible to find an altar figurine of just Kartik alone, so I convinced him instead to  CONT’D at medium.com>>

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Finding Francis

by on Sep.26, 2015, under Politics, The Sixth Boro

Looking for the Pope in Philadelphia

20150926_100357On this overcast, blustery fall day I made a lone pilgrimage on foot two miles from my South Philly home to Center City for a chance at glimpsing Pope Francis, “the people’s Pope,” in person.  All the way up Broad Street, Army or National Guard soldiers — I’m not sure which — in green fatigues hung out casually in pairs on every other street corner. They’d been there since last night but I’m not sure why as no Papal events are planned this far south and barely a soul was out. The city seems apocalyptically deserted.

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Click to enlarge photos.

Eventually I came to barricades personed by police and military at every intersection to keep out vehicles but as a pedestrian I could pass freely. Finally, just south of City Hall, I reached one of the security entrances to the main event.  The lines were much shorter than I anticipated, and much friendlier.  Soon I was inside the secure zone.

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20150926_101707Although I’m not Catholic and have serious disagreements with the Catholic Church and its checkered history, the Pope is a major historical figure and he’s right here in my town so naturally I wanted to be a part of the event.  Like all these visitors from around the world I was one more gawking pilgrim eager to see “the people’s Pope” in the flesh.

Crossing Love Park I got my first glimpse of one of the Jumbotrons, on which the Pope was just starting (continue reading…)

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Life at South Park Elementary

by on Jul.30, 2015, under Film/TV, The Sixth Boro

mmkayAn actual email from an actual college student, and my actual response…

From: Student

To:  Jeffrey Stanley

Here is my week 5 Homework. Unfortunately my roommate caught some sort of stomach bug at a party over the weekend and I just got it passed to me yesterday, and I was laying on my couch watching South Park and eating soup and forgot about all schoolwork until the episode where the kids write “Scrotty McBooogerballs” came on and I had a personal reflection on things that I had written myself, and remembered that I needed to send you my treatment for my final project as well as my other homework.

From: Jeffrey Stanley

To: Student

Not mmkay.

a) I need a doctor’s excuse

b) there’s no homework attached here

Ironically I was also sitting watching South Park tonight and I enjoyed it up until the part where Kenny got killed, which made me think of your final grade.

Jeff

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Boneyards EVP Session – 6/27/15

by on Jun.29, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

 
Those who live, live off the dead. Likewise death, too, has to live.
The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything —
gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness –
rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind
requires a language to express its manifestations. To break
through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate
the theatre.
- Antonin Artaud

suitcaseThe Saturday 6/27 show concluded with yet another simultaneous Ouija board-EVP session that gave us all plenty to talk about. Audience volunteers JOY and JOE (not the same Joe who sat at the board in the previous show) personed the board while the audience and I gathered round to watch. Joy and Joe contacted someone named V I V (short for Vivian, or perhaps it’s 3 initials) who was 7 8 years old and standing to my R I G H T.  What did she think of the show?  S U B T L E.  (That was a first, and a particularly eloquent response that made me blush underneath my sadhu ocher, ash and dirt).  Did she know anyone in the audience? YES.  J O E.  How did she know Joe?  H O M E. Joe and I didn’t like where this was headed so I quickly changed the subject:  would Viv like to speak with us electrically?  YES.

I took a few steps away and fired up my trusty P-SB7 “spirit box” and connected it to a loudspeaker as usual.  Somewhere between the hiss of the spirit box and my ad libbed one-liners Viv’s seemingly jovial mood changed and she suddenly got annoyed with us.  When I asked if she could say my name, a voice (continue reading…)

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Boneyards EVP Session – 6/19/15

by on Jun.23, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

jeff boneyards

“American sadhu.”

We had an enthusiastic crowd Friday night for my first show and first concluding seance at the Art Church of West Philadelphia. The Ouija board was personed by audience volunteers JOE and JOHN and the planchette was zooming about urgently. We spoke to a M A N who was 5 0 and A R M E N I A N who told us he did not speak or write English well.  His name was L A M E K (Lamech? A Hebrew surname; were we talking to an Armenian Jew?).

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This photo of a gangplank leading down to the Armenian Ghat is a key part of the show.

Kolkata’s Armenian Ghat, a former loading dock along the banks of the Hooghly built long ago by Armenian merchants, is mentioned in the show, and after the Ouija board spelled the word Armenian an audience member, someone who was not touching the board, spoke up and self-identified as Armenian).

I asked Mr. Lamek if he knew anyone in the audience and he spelled J O E. When asked if he had a message for Joe it spelled out L A L A L A L A over and over. This oblique response has happened to me twice before (in 2011 during my previous show Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead and in 2012 during a midnight seance on the stage of  Philadelphia’s historic Plays & Players Theatre) and my belief is that it means the spirit doesn’t want to answer the question, or (continue reading…)

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FINAL BONEYARDS THIS WEEKEND!

by on Jun.14, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Cara Blouin and the Art Church of West Philadelphia

present
The Body Horror Mini-Fest

as part of the

2015 Philadelphia SoLow Performance Art FestivalAs long as you’re coming to see Jeffrey Stanley’s BONEYARDS (6/27, 6/28) why not make a night of it and also check out the rest of the exciting triple bill featuring work by Philadelphia performance artists Joseph Ahmed and Joy Cutler?

at
The Art Church of West Philadelphia
5219 Webster Street (MAP)
Philadelphia, PA

All shows are pay-what-you-can but individual reservations are required for each show, as follows: (continue reading…)

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Voices From the Art Church

by on Jun.06, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

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The Art Church of West Philadelphia. 5219 Webster Street.

As is always the case for me with a new Boneyards venue, I’ve done a little pre-show ghost reconnaissance. Amazing otherworldly video and transcript below. They’re there and they’re waiting for us.

“Hi folks, Jeff Stanley here … 3 shows coming up on the 19th, 27th and 28th of June.  5219 Webster Street in Philadelphia.

And of course one thing I need to do is see if there’s anyone here with us. And you know what I’m talking about. I have here as usual a P-SB7 Investigational TransCommunication Research Device for listening in on voices of the dead.

I understand this place was built in 1925 and was originally a private residence. It has now been made into a performance space.

250 milliseconds, I’m doing FM, scanning reverse …

Is there anyone out there who’d like to talk to us today?

You might want to go on foot.  (I’m taking this as a hostile spirit telling me to get the hell out but as usual there are multiple competing voices vying to be heard.)

If there’s anyone here who would like to audition and be in the show with me …

No clue.  (presumably no clue what the I’m talking about regarding a show, auditions, and this weird device in my hand).

…you gotta really belt it out.

Not me. (a shy one but three hams are coming up) (continue reading…)

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Murders. Suicides. Embalmings. Divorces. Hauntings. Hilarity ensues.

by on Jun.02, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Don’t miss my autobiographical stand-up tragedy Jeffrey Stanley’s BONEYARDS while it’s at the Art Church of West Philadelphia as part of the 2015 SoLow Fest.

Friday 6/19 @9pm
Saturday 6/27 @9pm
Sunday 6/28 @7pm

Book now.

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