For someone unfamiliar with David Bowie’s illustrious career or the City of Brotherly Love’s enduring connection with the British singer, songwriter, artist, and actor, “Philly Loves Bowie Week” might seem like an anomaly. After all, what could make a city full of people infamous for their love of sports and cheesesteaks fall head-over-heels for a rock star from Brixton, England?
David Bowie had a place in his heart for Philadelphia and Philadelphia has an enduring love for David Bowie. Not only did he perform here many times over the course of his career, but two of his albums from the 1970s are also rooted in Philadelphia. Bowie’s first live album David Live was recorded at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby in July 1974, during his Diamond Dogs tour, and, a month later, he returned to record his Young Americans album at the Sigma Sound Studios at 212 N. 12th St.
Not being from Philadelphia originally, having come here as an outsider only to be immediately incorporated into the life and culture of Philly, it’s meaningful to me both personally and professionally when I stumble across evidence of this city’s capacity to embrace outsiders as their own.
Now in its third year, “Philly Loves Bowie Week” has taken on a life and momentum all its own. In fact, “Philly Loves Bowie Week” 2020 runs from January 3rd through the 12th and will be raising money for pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). For me, the highlight of the Bowie-themed art, culture, fun, and festivities will be the We Can Be Heroes Exhibition at the National Liberty Museum.
The exhibition, featuring a diverse body of works by talented artists who have utilized a variety of mixed-media figurative and abstract techniques, is a testament not only to Bowie but to his importance to the City of Brotherly Love. Some of the highlighted works include He Gave Us His Hands by Emma Baldwin, Electric Blue Tumbleweed by James Akers, Bowie IX by Natalie Hope McDonald, and You’re Face to Face by Meegan Coll, but there are so many other compelling pieces, many of which are available for sale.
The Opening Reception for the We Can Be Heroes Exhibition will be held on Friday, January 3, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The reception includes light refreshments, including Bowie-themed beer provided by Round Guys Brewing Company and whiskey from Powers. Live music will be provided by Patrick Bamburak, Chris Huff, and Bill Kern. There will also be poetry readings by Adam McGovern and other local poets and a “Meet and Greet” with some of the original “Sigma Kids.” Additionally, there will be Bowie-themed merchandise for sale. Purchase tickets here or visit the exhibition any time within the next month. Although “Philly Loves Bowie Week” officially ends on January 12th, 2020, the We Can Be Heroes Exhibition will remain open through Monday, February 3rd.