The last thing I expected to see when I pulled up to the Soapbox zine library in West Philly was a flayed deer carcass, strung up in a garage, in the midst of being “dressed”.  Or undressed, as the case may be.  But such was the scene.  It was a weird situation – the Soapbox is run by Charlene and Mary, one of whom is a vegetarian and was a little uncomfortable.  But it was cool.  They’re all neighbors, and one of the neighbors happens to be a hunter.  The deer disemboweling wrapped up by 6 or so, and then there was 99% less blood in the vicinity.  I really didn’t mind the deer situation.  It made for an interesting introduction to the neighborhood.  And I definitely find it fascinating and admirable to see someone who really knows how to hunt and prepare an animal for eating.

Soapbox drying line
Soapbox drying line

The Soapbox is a lovely zine library and independent publishing center.  In their words:   The Soapbox seeks to empower individuals and non-profit community organizations to disseminate information and creative voices. The Soapbox values art-making, word-smithing, and skillsharing towards a vision of social justice wherein all people have access to the means of production, and learn to produce materials that are accessible to the many rather than the few. There’s a sunny reading room and, of course, a cat.  We ate stew and drank a little wine and printed some posters advertising their open hours.

type masquerade
type masquerade

We actually got to Philly the day before, on Halloween.  With the freak snowstorm on the 29th, I had to reschedule my event with Second State Press, a newish community print shop in the Crane Arts Building.  It’s a cool studio, with etching, lithography, screen printing, and letterpress facilities.  The Halloween event was a quieter crowd than what we might have had the previous Saturday, but it was still a really fun night.  We printed dorky typographical masks, and I caught up with some old friends.  Philadelphia is a neat city, and has a rich printing history, what with that Franklin guy hanging around back in the day.  I was hoping to have a day or two in town to explore a bit more, but alas – it snowed instead.

3 Responses to Philadelphia

  1. Robert Chapman says:

    I keep saying the same thing again and again… but it’s true… what an exciting adventure!! always something new around every corner. wonderful!!

  2. ashley b says:

    yay for old friends. yay for philly! It was so lovely to see you two. keep in touch and safe travels. xo, A

  3. Love your blog, Kyle…getting a deer helps.
    Last november when i arrived back in Montana, i was getting gas and saw an unfamiliar unskinned form in the back of a pickup in the lane next to me with a dog sitting proudly atop. It was elk season…they skin and disembowel the elk in the forest to lower the temperature and leave what they won’t eat for the animals to feed on. To get an elk feeds alot of people all winter in a tough economy. fun to be with you…susan