The Circus Arrives in Philly: Phil Kramer Hosts a Spectacle on Quarry Street
By Evan Kramer, Studio Manager
Phil Kramer’s Great American Circus transformed Quarry Street into a block party on cobblestones. On May 4th, First Friday goers experienced a fashion shoot that was fifteen years in the making and was photographed on the hottest day of August 2015—reminiscent of the weather during the Grand Opening show.
Step Right Up!
The event began at five o’clock in the afternoon, and served beef hot dogs, Philly pretzels, and freshly popped popcorn in front of the gallery. As the first hour progressed, the crowd flocked to the corner of Quarry and 3rd Street to grab a small bite to eat, chat with friends around the outdoor high tables, and meet Django the Monkey.
Monkey-ing Around Before the Show
Dressed appropriately for the weather, Django the Monkey climbed along arms, crouched on shoulders, and searched everyone’s hair for any unwanted bugs before they entered the art show. Django swiped dollar bill donations from little kids as she chowed down on hot dog buns and sipped bottled spring water. She was bouncing up-and-down about joining Phil Kramer’s circus!
The man accompanying Django wore a top hat and a crimson-red vest as he played his concertina to lure bystanders down Quarry Street and introduce them to his monkey friend. Standing in front of the new studio, Django made everyone’s day by snapping pictures with them while hanging on their shoulders. Django was photogenic in front of the camera and motivated everyone to travel beyond the iron gate and through the brick corridor of the photography show.
Drinks, Photography, and Spot Lights
Portraits hung on the brick walls in the courtyard to give visitors a quick teaser of the circus ahead. The man in the ticket booth was properly placed to the left as soon as the guest entered, which made it feel like it a real ticket booth. On the brick, The Firebreather added flare to the courtyard conversations as The Ringmaster coordinated the talent before his audience entered the performance. The grand opening’s portrait positioning successfully dropped enough hints to lead its guests through the entire show.
The wine list consisted of La Fiera Pinot Grigio and Michael David Winery’s Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon, and as for beer, the bar was dishing out cold cups of Delirium Tremens.
The crowd cooled off under the courtyard’s chandeliers, track lighting and overhead lightbulbs that illuminated the outside portraits. As the night set in, the courtyard shined brighter. Guests conversed as music from Cirque du Soleil played throughout the gallery, absorbing them into festival.
The Main Act
Inside the gallery, circus music boomed overhead while the photoshoot’s behind-the-scenes footage looped on the television. Under the television, guests fingered through issues of Philadelphia Style Magazine that featured Phil’s work, and grabbed in-house booklets that guided them through the photography show. Spectators viewed The Ringmaster and his bride-to-be on either side of the courtyard window, while on the opposite wall, The Seersucker Clown presented his potential lover with a rose as he bent to one knee.
The crowd surrounded the front door to watch rabbi Richard Simon of Temple Har Zion bless the business of Phil Kramer Photographers Inc., with Jewish prayer and a mezuzah hanging. This five-minute assembly mentioned the positive intentions that this business means to bring to the community and prayed for great longevity.
Congas, Cajóns, and Late-Night Bass
As the crowd dispersed for the evening, musicians and friends of Phil Kramer tuned their guitars and unzipped their drum bags. Josh Broker strummed his acoustic guitar and sang with Stu from Shanghai, Gaeton Goffredo broke out the twelve string, Carmen Tomasetti played the keyboard, Ben Yoblick slapped the bass, while Phil’s congas filled the background noise with a deep rumble.
The music attracted a few bystanders into studio before a cover of Symphony for the Devil by The Rolling Stones finalized Phil Kramer’s Great American Circus.
The circus fashion shoot is open for the entire month of May, so stop by between business hours for a chance to see the show in all its glory. On June 1st, Phil Kramer’s Great American Circus will remain on the walls for another First Friday and hang for the remainder of the month.