Friday Arts August 2017: Philly Style Bagels, Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Growing Together

Philly Style Bagels
Producer: Michael O’Reilly

Philly Style Bagels started with two friends, Collin Shapiro and Jonathon Zilberas, making beer, curing meats and baking bagels as a hobby. The bagels were good – really good. Once they realized they were onto something in the bagel department, they quickly progressed to a “pop-up” to dispense their breads. The pair had planned to host weekly “pop-ups” at different already-established locations throughout the city. They started with Pizzeria Beddia, using the morning hours where the pizzeria would have been closed anyway. They quickly realized that the pizza oven itself was one of the things that made their bagels even better (one other thing was just that that they were fresh). And they also realized that Fishtown was a receptive place for their brand of bread.

Fast forward a couple of years and the duo have opened a shop in Fishtown. Joe Beddia, fresh off his Bon Appetit declared “Best Pizza in America” triumph, introduces BA staff writer Andrew Knowlton to Philly Style Bagels. In a span of a few months, the fledgling PSB not only gets voted “Best Bagel in Philadelphia” by Philadelphia Magazine, but Bon Appetit declares their Classic Lox Sandwich to be the “Best Sandwich in America”. From the BA review:

“The truth is, any combination of ingredients you put between these crazily flavorful bagels—be it hummus, tuna, or bacon-lettuce-and-tomato—will be life-changing. At the risk of starting an inter-city rivalry with New York, we think Collin Shapiro and Jonathon Zilber are making some of the best bagels in the country. What makes them that great? They’re fermented in small batches, hand-rolled, boiled in local Yards beer (that’s what makes them Philly-style), and baked on wood planks. The result is a smallish, pleasantly dense, and chewy bagel with a superb crust that has just the right amount of crispness. They say a sandwich is only as good as the bread you use. We couldn’t agree more.”

As a former brewer, Joe Beddia understood the fermentation process necessary for the perfect pizza dough. Collin and Jonathon understand that process as well, and as this producer gathered from interviewing the masterminds behind these Fishtown Bests, that is the crucial thing that separates the bread in these bagels and dough in the pizza from the ordinary – they are making them in small batches and there is a great amount of time and effort put into letting the dough develop in a way that only someone familiar with fermentation would understand. They may only do this because it makes a better product, but they happen to move a lot of that product and make many people happy (themselves included) along the way.

Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool
Producer: Karen Smyles

Barkley L. Hendricks was born and raised in North Philadelphia and went on to become a world-renown artist. He was best known for his sometimes provocative and confrontational portraits of ordinary people in the African American communty. April 18, 2017, Hendricks passed away at the age of 72, but his powerful work continues to influence a new generation of artists, and to engage audiences from every background.

Hendricks attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is considered to be one of their most distinguished alumni and an important voice in the history of American figurative art. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The National Portrait Gallery, Washington; The National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Tate Modern, London; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; and the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, N.C.; among many others.

Friday Arts sat down with David R. Brigham, PAFA President and CEO, to learn more about Hendricks, one of PAFA’s most esteemed alumni. Brigham notes how the artist remained true to his artistic vision and how that impacted his success in the art world. We also talk with Hendrick’s PAFA classmate and friend, Richard Watson, and other PAFA alumni who discuss how the artist’s work impacted them.

Growing Together
Producer: Monica Rogozinski

At 2500 Reed Street, in South Philadelphia a 7.000 square feet community garden emerges among the predominantly gray buildings around it, bringing its users – refugees from more than 20 different countries- a connection to their roots.

Since 2011, NSC (National Service Center) manages two community gardens in the area: Growing Home focuses on producing crops that the refugees were used to consume in their country of origin, and Growing Together promotes integration between the newcomers and the original community members.

The gardens host together around 200 plots, each producing about $600 worth of vegetables per year, they also provide ground for a beginner farmers training program that helps NSC’s clients to learn about farming and business development. The ultimate objective is to create revenue streams for refugees experienced in farming and urban agriculture.

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