We’ve hit the tenth “Blueprint” documenting the journey of the Rust Belt Rising Almanac. Below, our founder Nic shares on the old almanac format and how that translates into our almanac today and our Philly release party this Friday. Hear from Nic below and, for more on the research and history behind the almanac, check out editorial director Linda’s last Blueprint.
As you all will read in the Rust Belt Rising Almanac, we had a pretty good time using the old almanac format of “on’s” to break up the stories and sections. There’s “On Reverse Pioneering,” “On the Perils of Manufacturing,” and my personal favorite, “On the Artisan’s Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism” (I will send a free Almanac to the first person who can identify the work referenced in this “on;” send answers to firstname.lastname@example.org).
But if we could go back and add another section, I would certainly want to add “On Creative Grit.” Because as anyone knows who is working in an old Rust Belt city, or any city that is revitalizing its downtowns and communities, creativity and grit are the two ingredients that make this work possible. And as the Rust Belt Rising Almanac hits the streets on June 7th, we’re very happy that the first street that it will hit is Frankford Avenue, where the creative grit has been one of our main sources of inspiration at The Head & The Hand Press.
When thinking about how we wanted to release the Almanac, we knew that we wanted to share the celebration with all of the shop owners up and down Frankford Avenue. So we partnered up with the NKCDC to have this celebration during First Friday on Frankford Avenue. As you stroll the many great shops up and down the avenue, you’ll not only find copies of the almanac in participating shops, but we also hope you will witness the many people and ideas that are pumping blood through this once venerable commercial corridor.
There are the Almanac contributors such as Little Baby’s Ice Cream where co-owner Jeff Ziga will be reading from the Ice Cream Manifesto at 7 PM atop their parklet, or Denic Boyce from Karlie Corporation and his daughter Heather from 20th Century By HKFA whose profiles in the Almanac tell the story of where the neighborhood has come from and where it is going.
Then there’s places like Johnny Brenda’s, the Rocket Cat, and F&N Gallery at Circle of Hope, all places that stuck it out for so long as some of the only destinations in the neighborhood as more and more people began to realize the possibilities. And finally, we have the newer shops such as the Bottle Bar, Pizza Brain, the Soup Kitchen, Catch and Release, Two Percent to Glory, Adorn and the Sculpture Gym that are bringing in new life.
Aside from being good friends of ours, the ideas of these shops and the owners behind those ideas are the exact examples of finding that balance between grit and creativity. Sure, it takes a certain creativity to look at a shell of a building and visualize the potential. But it takes a whole other level of grit to build that idea from the ground up, as was the case with many of these shops.
As you’ll read in the Almanac, this work on Frankford Avenue, and on many different streets throughout the Rust Belt, isn’t always pretty. But damn does it make for some good storytelling. We hope that you can all join us this Friday to hear the stories.
Starting at 9 pm we’ll be hosting a few readings from Almanac contributors at the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym. And then at 10 pm we’ll be turning it over to DJ SnkPak of Bouffant Bangout fame for a good old fashioned dance party. We’ll see you there.
-Nic and The Head & The Hand Press