South Philadelphia

street art adjacent to South Philly Tap Room

Grabbed some grub at our favorite little S. Philly spot just before going in to see Sir Paul McCartney perform an incredible sold out show! We’ve attended many concerts together in the past 3.5 years, from Neil Finn to Dr. John, Jimmy Cliff to Van Morrison, and many more in between. Our first date was a Ray Davies concert! Each show is impressive and special for individual reasons but we don’t think anyone could love and respect his fans more than Macca. He gave 3 solid well-paced hours of music and anecdotes leaving the audience wanting for nothing. It was a brilliant, generous performance mere days after his 73rd birthday! 

Sunday Epeolatry

Yesterday, we tucked ourselves hand-in-hand, book-bossomed, into a warm coffee shoppe with our recent findings from the book trader on 2nd + Market to try to revive a little inner apricity and to kill time before catching a film.

Taking a moment between pages and sips of fresh coffee in my typical state of glowy vorfreude to steal a glance at and a gaze from my mate, I noticed this fun typography:

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Find Alessandra on Instagram @Alessandra_Official | Twitter @novembergrlfoto

Rainy Day Philly

I like to use my non-public Instagram account like it’s a sketchbook for inspiration for the days I dedicate to my drawing table for illustrating (Public Instas: @alessandra_official and @thetreegrows).

I liked a lot of the aerial perspective lines of rainy day Center City that led to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and imagination-inspiring things such as a rooftop tennis court. I also liked catching One Liberty Place peeking out from behind other buildings and in reflections at street level. Anthropomorphizing buildings and playing with the idea of uses for roof tops comes in handy when story boarding book projects and creating new settings.

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The Reflecting Pool

I grabbed tickets for my boyfriend and I to see the Barnes Foundation’s new location in Philadelphia last weekend for the first time. This view greeted us as we rounded the corner to enter the museum.

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© Alessandra Nicole, 2012 | All Rights Reserved

I personally had been putting a visit off because I had seen “The Art of the Steal” (a documentary that follows the struggle for control of Albert Barnes’ 25 billion dollar collection of modern and post-impressionist art) but curiosity and an obsession for seeing masterworks in person won out.

The Barnes collection was truly a feast for the eyes for the likes of me- walls crammed with Cézannes, Monets, Manets, Picassos, more. A beautifully produced and user-friendly free app was available to download from iTunes directly to our iPhones so we were able to embark on individual listening tours. The venue itself is marvelous for the prime piece of real estate the Foundation was able to obtain in Philly; the architecture is sleek, respectful, stylish, yet simple and intimate.

Definitely worth a trip though the consensus on museums is that such art should not be boxed up in a lump in pretty buildings but rather should be in homes and around, accessible, living amongst the people.

If you go: http://www.barnesfoundation.org

A Day in the Life … Running around in Philadelphia

I often freelance in Philadelphia for a friend of mine who is the editor of a popular online food and entertainment website. This is a literal snapshot of a day in the life of a freelance videographer / photographer.

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First we began at 9am with Brad Spence at AMIS (412 South 13th Street – amisphilly.com) and filmed the making of a Turducken.

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Brad carves up the finished version of the two Turduckens that were prepared for the shoot.

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The finished result, Turducken with a Cranberry Mustård

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AMIS’ busy kitchen during the daytime preparing for dinner service.

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Brad and my editor, Adam, chatting about the industry, the big topic yesterday amongst many people involved with food being NYTimes’ Pete Wells’ scathing article about Guy Fieri’s Time Square bomb. (read here)

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the quintessential Center City snap

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Next, we headed to Philly-famous sports outfitter Mitchell & Ness (http://www.mitchellandness.com/) to pick up some threads for our next project.

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My editor was assigned a light editorial piece in anticipation of Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon and our job was to go “carb up” at 5 Philadelphia eateries.

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My editor dressed as a marathon runner and holding an iced latte from Elixr (207 S. Sydenham St. – www.elixrcoffee.com)

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First stop was Pizzeria Stella (2nd & Lombard – http://www.pizzeriastella.net)

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Pizzeria Stella’s Rigatoni Bolognese

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I photographed my editor in a small stunt using pizza boxes outside the restaurant.

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Next we headed to Market Street for my personal favorite Old City restaurant FORK (306 Market St. – http://www.forkrestaurant.com/)

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…and then to South Philly for THE INDUSTRY (1401 East Moyamensing Avenue – http://theindustrybar.com/), lambs neck gravy with grilled baguettes and some pushups.

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over to charming restaurant LE VIRTU (1927 East Passyunk Avenue – http://www.levirtu.com/)

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one of Philadelphia’s infamous urban murals outside of Le Virtu

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Lastly, we photographed these at VERNICK in Rittenhouse Square (2031 Walnut Street –¬†http://www.vernickphilly.com). Pumpkin butter and Squash toast and Pea and Bacon toast (tasted like split pea and ham soup, mmm!)

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My editor reviewed some of the still shots I took throughout the day. We debriefed and then he left to edit the photos and caption them for his deadline. This is the most difficult part for me as a freelancer: walking away from my files and allowing someone else – someone who doesn’t typically – edit them.

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My phenomenally empathetic boyfriend treated me to a bottle of one of my favorites at dinner back at home so that I could wind down from such a hectic and long day of shooting over in Philly.

Yesterday came and went, and this morning my professional work (as opposed to these Instagram snaps) was published for public consumption on the regional and national branches of my editor’s site and my fears were confirmed. Oh well! It was a fun, exhausting day of running around in the cold in a great city and getting to do one of the things I love best.

extra, extra

© Alessandra Nicole 2012, All Rights Reserved

So, this morning I got up at 4am to do something I’ve done periodically since I was studying film and acting in college. I worked as a background actor (as in, “extra”). In my particular friend and colleague circle this is certainly nothing groundbreaking so I’m not posting this blog for them. I’m posting it for those who haven’t ever done anything like this before or who have and still find it as cool and interesting as I do.

This particular work was for the new Harrison Ford / Gary Oldman thriller so far titled Paranoia (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1413495/). It was the first day of shooting and it featured Aussie Liam Hemsworth (Hunger Games), a few supporting cast members, and about 400 of us, both union and non-union. It was the biggest extra day scheduled so they wanted to make great use of us while they had us all there.

After conferring with wardrobe, hair and makeup and hanging out in holding for a few hours, we began filming at 830am and didn’t wrap the day’s shoot until 630pm. It was an outdoor day for the majority of us, thank goodness for mild temperatures and plenty of fluffy white clouds to shield us from long bouts of direct sunlight. We worked hard, had a blast, and made new friends. Here are a few snapshots that I sniped throughout the day.

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getting our hair & makeup done

 

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Comcast Center in Philly turned into a NYC corporate building

 

Crew working on the building’s transformation

 

an intersection in Philadelphia is turned into NYC for the day. This included fake NJ and NY license plates for cars, fake street signs reading “44th St”, NYPD uniforms and cars (see background), trash cans reading “Keep New York City Clean”, fake hot dog carts, newspapers, cabs, and a fake MTA bus stop amongst other things.

 

sweet camera on a dolly and track that I watched production assistants assemble as fast as a pit crew on the auto racing circuit

 

Wilma Garscadden Gahret observes the monitors for the current scene being filmed.

 

Director Robert Luketic watches the feed from the main camera and revealed that he “stole” the idea for the particular establishing shot from David Fincher and his 1997 film “The Game”.


an over-saturated snap I made of the Comcast Center in Philadelphia this afternoon

 

along my drive into Philadelphia at a quarter to 6 this morning