beauty in the ephemeral: The Sculptures of Constance McBride

By David P. Kozinski

Working primarily in clay, many of Constance McBride’s sculptures reflect her interest in the issues of aging and mortality – subjects that have forever fascinated human beings, but especially artists and philosophers. She has recently created somewhat contorted forms rather than representational perfection, using dry surface treatments and her sculpting method. Sculptures such as “Whisperers” and “Strata Vita” are created with paperclay and graphite, the former being a mixture of clay, paper pulp and water. McBride notes, “Working with it is like working with any other clay body except that it is easily repairable at nearly every stage in the forming process.” She points out that works made with paperclay are of lighter weight than those done in conventional clay, which makes the medium ideal for wall installations and delicate forms. It also allows her to work on multiple pieces at a time because they remain malleable longer.

For the last few years she has worked on two series. After her mother received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, McBride began the Lonely Girls” series in 2011.




By Courtney Sunday

“What did you do today?” he asked.

She paused to think of a story much better than the truth. Much better than doing dishes and changing diapers and calling her mother. Something passionate and thrilling that would make the twinkle in his eye appear. She was too tired for creativity.

“Nothing much,” she admitted, sighing without meaning to.

The Graduate


Flash nonfiction

By Jim Breslin

My son wants to drop out of college. He intends to work, save money and travel the globe. He is 19.

I can only sigh. My lips inform him to stay, stick it out, be conventional. Study in the library, get the degree, network, develop connections that will lead to a glass enclosed corporate high-rise with fluorescent lights, modular cubicles, recycled air, and potted ficus thirsting for water... 

photographing the workshop of the world

By David Livewell

Neighborhoods are unique in this city, and memories about neighborhoods are unique to each resident.  Residents shaped the streets of Kensington, and the streets shaped the residents.  Of course the place was an easy target in the 1970s and 1980s.  Outsiders could concentrate on the obvious negatives—crime, unemployment, racism, poverty, and graffiti.  But how can outsiders know the surprising strength and humor of those who lived there?  How can outsiders know the strange and unique beauty of vacant buildings and empty lots and the history they contained?  

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, located in South Kensington, has launched a year-long collaboration that provides a photographic narrative of South Kensington, my old neighborhood.  I was privileged to participate in this project, offering a few hundred family photos and photos I took in the neighborhood as a teenager.


Reading (And re-reading) Cioran: Preternatural slacker

By Daniel Lawless

A sentence I read somewhere whose paraprosdokian charm is undeniable: Beckett broke off his friendship with Cioran because he found him “too pessimistic.”

At first glance, a pronouncement one takes to be a matter of degree: X has advanced beyond acceptable measures along an identified spectrum: Abramovic or, say, “The Aristocrats” – apotheosis of the dirty joke. A taking-too-far, in other words. But I don’t think that’s what Beckett meant, what caused the breakup, if only apocryphally. No, I think that can be put down to duration – Cioran was too often pessimistic.

my permanent vacation out in the world


Creative non-fiction

By R.O. Scott

I did it again this morning. Standing in the bathroom of the house I grew up in, I looked quietly in the mirror, straightened my posture, and repeated to myself, “I am a full time worker” for like two minutes. The idea is too fresh, too foreign, to avoid saying it out loud. When I do this sort of thing, it feels like a mantra, but it actually reminds me more of Jake LaMotta from Raging Bull, at the end of the movie, before he goes out to do his stand up routine. True, I get paid better than most stand up comedians, but I can’t say the work I’m doing is as thrilling. My coworkers range from around my age to over thirty years older than me, doing very similar jobs that I do, and being paid a salary like my own. I am sure we all enjoy seeing the biweekly deposit that makes a smooth, unceremonious landing into our bank accounts. No one pays me to make jokes at my job though.

It’d be nice if they did.