So I almost forgot where I was when Michael Jackson died last year. That is how it starts, and then the memory eventually becomes like a deserted industrial building retaining the ghostly lettering of a business that no longer exists . . . eventually. It will be a long time before the estate of M.J. lets the money making machine of his cult of personality die. As this most recent series of paintings are of Philadelphia buildings I thought I'd delve into Philly's relationship to the King of Pop. In the mid 1970 two albums for Jackson and his brothers were produced under the Philadelphia International Records label. The albums were "The Jacksons" and "Going Places." According to news reports of the time Jackson wanted to start making songs with messages. I was old enough to remember "Thriller" coming out, but unlike my older brother, too young for parachute pants. And oh, was I jealous of all of those zippers and pockets. I mean what frog-string-stick-toy-penny in my pocket-kid wouldn't envy those. Granted the pants were too tight to make the pockets practical, and I already wore a pair of Roo's with the pocket on the side that I would get my milk money stuck in. At least they weren’t penny loafers. But that was in Georgia . . . in the shadow of Stone Mountain. This is about Philly, where everything is annoyingly spelled with a PH instead of an F. So like almost everything else in America's history Philadelphia can lay claim to another first, as the first place after Motown Records the Jacksons decided to record. Of course if you want to scrutinize it that is how most of Philly's phirsts are. They are kind of firsts. What I'm concerned with is more the demise of Philadelphia's landmark history. This painting is of the Edward Corner Marine Warehouse, and it’s deserted and the lettering has become ghostly. I've placed it in the background to further emphasize the fading memory of Philadelphia's maritime history. While M.J. is/was an international phenomena and maritime trading brought the world closer together, the cosmic unifier I started this series out with is more subtle. Its more tactile and is perfect in its American Ingenuity. Curious? All will be revealed next time.
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