A festive air at the Germantown photo-walk slideshow gathering

The Germantown Artists’ Roundtable’s first-ever slideshow party didn’t really get moving until a few hitches were addressed.

Organizer Susan Mangan relied on the ingenuity of several attendees to solve the problem of a drooping power cord that proved irresistible to the ecstatic packs of children.

Also, the final location of the screen on which photos would be shown was a matter of some debate.

Despite those hassles, the celebration dedicated to a public viewing of the images from the Roundtable’s June 30 and Sept. 8 “Germantown Photo Walk” events drew a respectable crowd of artists and families to the parking lot of the old Germantown Settlement Charter School.

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The scene

Along with three food trucks and several musicians, two slideshow-viewing locations were set up; one saw images projected onto a large inflatable screen, the other sent images captured throughout the neighborhood directly onto a rugged stone wall.

Drummers Karen Smith, Lenny Belasco and Adil Vezirov set the mood, quickly attracting a crowd of kids who were allowed to pound, plink and rattle along on several small percussion instruments.

“It’s a very unused part of Germantown,” said attendee Jim Harris, a local musician and writer, of the event’s location.

Harris’s young soon took a particular interest in Mystique the magician, who left the elementary-school contingent positively agog with a disappearing dove, a book whose pages transformed with the tap of a wand and a regenerating stack of $100 bills.

“Nobody behind me!” Mystique cried to the herd of children unable to contain their excitement. Afterwards, he patiently showed some extra coin tricks to an aspiring magician, although he refused to reveal his methods.

“Don’t show anything to anyone until you’ve got it down perfectly,” was his only advice.

“They’re a little wild,” Mystique conceded of the Germantown youngsters after he finished the show, the dove having gone back to wherever magicians’ doves go.

Organizers happy

Photo Walk organizer Gary Reed was pleased with the event and the clear, crisp weather.

“Turnout is great; I’m impressed,” he said.

The parking lot’s two projectors were showing what he called “the director’s cut” of the photos from the summer’s two walks, the first focusing on Germantown Avenue and Maplewood Mall, and the second taking in Lower Germantown.

Saturday’s attendees noshed on cupcakes, empanadas and West African Jollof rice while they settled in to enjoy the live music and the slideshow.

Photographers were anxious to see all of their submitted photos included, but Reed cautioned that “if we had them all, we’d be here til midnight.”

He estimated that he spent 20 hours editing down the field of photos, choosing the best ones that lent themselves to a good visual progression, and that were a true characterization of Germantown.

“I wanted it to be as dynamic and inclusive as possible,” he said.

A major theme of the gathered photos was the political climate; Reed was overwhelmed by the number of images capturing messages about Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law.

Future events planned

Because of the success of this summer’s events, Reed is hoping to hold four Germantown photo walks next year, with more opportunities to share the juried images publicly.

In the meantime, those who haven’t finished documenting Germantown in 2012 are invited to sign up for the Worldwide Photo Walk in October, which is coming to the neighborhood for the first time.

Though this walk is spearheaded by Reed, it’s not affiliated with the Artists’ Roundtable. Participants will meet on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 a.m. at the Wired Beans Café in Chelten Plaza (301 W. Chelten Ave.), and will walk until 3 p.m.

Space is limited to 50 photographers, who should sign up in advance on the Worldwide Photo Walk website.

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