Friday Arts

PREVIEW: March 2015: Éclat Chocolates, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley and Philadelphia Stories




Éclat Chocolates

Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

World renowned Master Chocolatier Christopher Curtin is treating us to an inside scoop of some of his most loved delicacies. His Éclat Chocolate is particularly special because he carefully and creatively makes his chocolates from scratch, literally, by personally traveling to places like Peru to source his cocoa, processes it, and then brings it back to finalize his ingenious chocolate specialties. Not only is he an amazing chocolatier, but he is an extremely creative collaborator. This summer he will be releasing a brand new chocolate product in collaboration with Longwood Gardens made out of herbs and flowers from their very own spaces!


Lil Buck goes to Princeton

Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles

In January Memphis jookin’ dancer Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, and Damian Woetzel, former New York City Ballet dancer and current Artist in Residence at the Aspen Institute Arts Program, came to Princeton University to give a master class and lecture to students. Lil Buck has made Memphis Jookin’, once just a popular street dance among young people, into a cultural treasure.

Woetzel and his wife, Heather Watts, former New York City ballerina, discovered Riley’s talents on a web video and formed a creative partnership that has introduced Jookin’ to audiences around the world. Art of Life takes you into the master class and talks to the two dancers to find out why this creative collaboration of dance styles has been so enormously successful.


Philadelphia Stories

Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly

PHILADELPHIA STORIES is a literary journal that just celebrated its 10 year anniversary. As its name indicates, it has a decidedly Philadelphia-centric mission – to publish and celebrate the authors that call “the city of brotherly love” home. For their 10th anniversary, they have expanded that mission to include visual artists and have curated the literary submissions so that the subjects riff off the visuals. Additionally, the text is designed to sit opposite the art in a book and exhibition celebrating the ground-breaking accomplishments of Philadelphia-area women past and present, called Extraordinary Gifts: Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley. Some of these women—Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Mead, and Marian Anderson among them—are well known. Others, such as Alice Steer Wilson, Dorothy P. Miller, and Helga Testorf, might be less familiar. But none of them allowed the limitations of society’s expectations for their gender to stop them from fulfilling their potential.

While the magazine was started by women it has never been explicitly about women until this book (itself published by PS Books, the publishing arm of the magazine) and exhibition by the same name at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts. We talk to artist Deirdre White, who cut her artistic teeth in Philadelphia and uses Helga Testorf (the “secret” model of Andrew Wyeth’s late career) as her artistic muse. Julie Odell, herself a published author and professor at Community College of Philadelphia, writes about Margaret Mead (born in Philadelphia and raised in Doylestown) in what Odell calls a piece of “flash fiction” – technically defined as a piece of prose of less than 1000 words. The Helga painting and Mead flash fiction are themselves accompanied by a complementary piece of literature or visual art. PHILADELPHIA STORIES was started on a strictly volunteer basis by Christine Weiser and Carla Spataro. Deciding to pursue a life of writing had co-founder Spataro declaring “I’m so much happier now. It changed my life.” Hearing her say that, one can’t help but think that this 10 year anniversary sits on the heads of all of the featured Philadelphia authors and artists, each a jewel in the crown that is PHILADELPHIA STORIES.


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