|Milkcrate Cafe in Fishtown.|
One great place to start is a new little coffee shop/record store named Milkcrate Cafe, at the corner of Columbia and Girard. Being a collector of vintage vinyl and a coffee guzzler, the concept alone was enough to peak my interest. But what really impressed me was the cool design feature of having an entire wall of colorful, collectible record covers serve as the main focal point for the cafe's decor. The rest of the interior is fairly minimal and mod, which helps balance the colorful, dazzling mosaic of albums.
Owner Adam Porter hails from a legacy work in multi-media oriented coffee houses such as Chicago's notorious Earwax, as well as notable cafes in down in the bustle New Orleans. He also put in some DJ time at Philadelphia's renowned Five Spot club, which closed due to fire years ago, a legacy woefully remembered by the club crowd.
The records at Milkcrate are all for purchase, including a vast business of online sales of funk, jazz, soul, rock and rarities from their dynamic website. And the coffee is from Philadelphia's great La Colombe coffee - my favorite of the city's gourmet coffee roasters.
Though only at lift-off stage now, plans for the shop include an extensive food menu and expansion of the record store into the downstairs level, as well as turntables spun for entertainment.
From the looks of the record collection I may not be needing to order from Dusty Groove to get my fill of rare soul.
Victor makes some very moderne-looking lamp sculptures utilizing old skateboards. He cuts them apart, sands them down, reassembles, and retrofits, until they become something quite extraordinary - not really looking like skateboards anymore, though one can still sense their original essence. His one-of-a-kind lamps have been the buzz around Fishtown lately, with his work appearing in variety of area shows.
His lamps will be on exhibit this weekend in a show with friends at his studio on 306 East Girard in Fishtown.
A block or so further down is the Fishtown Airways artist collective and market, which proffers a plethora of works from local artists and artisans. Here you can find truly unique art items, crafts, and accessories that definitely wont be on the racks or in bins of mass produced crud at the mall. Fishtown Airways opened up earlier this summer and has generated an offshoot gallery called Piranha Betty's Art Market on 2472 Frankford Avenue.
Wow, this sure sounds like fun, and all with a carbon footprint the size of my little toe. See you there! --D.A. DeMers
|Milkcrate Cafe after dark.|
|The "great wall" of records.|
|Rare Leroy Hutson record from the '70's.|
|Vast record collection, with more downstairs.|