January 2015: Arctic Records, Drexel Culinary Arts and Science & Martha and the Lost

Drexel Culinary Arts and Science

Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

For the students in the culinary program at Drexel University, it is not just about learning how to recreate a recipe, but it’s about looking at the technical, structural, and scientific ways to cook food. This is one of many ways Drexel University stands out from other culinary schools across the nation. The Center for Hospitality and Sports Management emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning in a real educational setting. Through the program’s coursework and Drexel’s co-op/employment program, students not only learn how to apply fundamental cooking techniques in a professional workplace, but they also perform restaurant management, develop recipes as well as design the layouts of kitchens. In the Food Lab, students focus on food product development and they’ll develop recipes for food companies such as Cook for Your Life. At Restaurant Lab, Friday Arts followed a group of students working in collaboration with celebrity chef Carla Hall on the recipes for her soon to open restaurant in New York City “Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen”. Not only are the students getting valuable insight and critique from industry professionals, but they also get to work and contribute to real companies and restaurants well before they graduate.

Arctic Records

Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles

Founded by WDAS program director/deejay Jimmy Bishop in conjunction with Jamie/Guyden Records in 1964, Arctic Records was one of Philadelphia’s most important early soul labels, greatly influencing the subsequent rise of Philly soul.

Barbara Mason’s classic “Yes, I’m Ready” was the label’s biggest seller in 1965; she quickly became Arctic’s flagship artist, making a slew of splendid follow-ups as well. Kenny Gamble gained invaluable experience at Arctic, not just as a songwriter and producer but as a smooth-voiced singer. Arctic hosted the Volcanos and the Ambassadors, two of the City of Brotherly Love’s finest male vocal groups, and the sexy, sultry Honey & the Bees. Daryl Hall got his start at Arctic as lead tenor with blue-eyed soulsters the Temptones; Della Humphrey’s debut Arctic single hit when she was barely in her teens. Add vocalists Kenny Hamber, Winfield Parker, and Herb Johnson; inspired one-offs by Cindy Gibson, Dee Dee Barnes, and Billy Floyd, and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in their pre-Teddy days, and what you end up with is an incredibly consistent Philly soul label, from its inaugural girl group issue by the Tiffanys to the stirring Royal Five 45 that closed out Arctic’s release schedule.

Recently, all of this great music was put out in a boxed set containing both sides of every Arctic single, including many that haven’t seen the light of day since their original issue nearly 50 years ago. The collection “Cooler Than Ice” contains 6 CD’s, 6 collectible 45s and a 48-page booklet with the history of Arctic Records.

Friday Arts sits down with Frank Lipsius, President of Jamie Record Company, and son of Arctic founder, for the story behind it all. We also meet and hear the smooth sounds of a few original Arctic recording artists as they come together in the studio to work on “Soul Singer”, new songs produced by legendary record producer, Tom Moulton. And last but not least, Philadelphia’s own rock & soul music historian, Jerry Blavat takes us back in time and ties it all together.

Martha and the Lost

Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly

The figure singing and moving slowly among the tombstones is dressed entirely in full mourning regalia from the 1800’s; a black dress complete with hoop skirt and veil. She looks out of place or lost, somehow. This is the artist Martha McDonald, and through her performance here, she is mourning the history of the Woodlands, and all the living things that have been lost with the garden. McDonald has been performing and making objects and costumes for years, but it is only relatively recently that she has been combining all of this. She is making installations and doing performances within the space and with the objects (she calls this “activating” the space and objects). One of her most successful “activations” was THE WEEPING DRESS. While in Australia, she spent scores of hours fashioning a replica of a 19th century mourning dress entirely from black crepe paper. She stood under elaborate plumbing designed to mimic the volume of tears shed by the grief stricken, and performed while black dye pooled under her petticoats. The dress, now almost light blue after losing most of its color, sits in a corner of her studio in Philadelphia. After that productive time spent abroad, FRIDAY ARTS visits Martha while she fashions THE LOST GARDEN – “a site-specific installation and performance at The Woodlands exploring impermanence and the fragile nature of memory.” Drawing on the language of Victorian handcrafts like jewelry made from human hair and wax flowers under domes, we see how Martha brings it all together, gathering performance, installation, history and handcrafts into her latest work, worthy of its own glass dome to keep and contain these disparate elements together.

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