In my opinion, December is one of the best months for First Friday.
Sure, it’s a bit cold, but that’s what the complimentary booze is for. Plus it’s one of the best ways to jumpstart start your holiday shopping while keeping it local! In addition to some great installations and events including a poetry slam, a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser, and a 35mm screening of 1960s movie trailers (I love you, Secret Cinema), this month a variety of spaces are making it easy to pick up some locally handmade gifts.
While snagging a few free cocktails, of course.
Drink Philly: As you probably know, Drink Philly throws one of the best happy hour/art exhibitions in Philly, and this month is no different. Well, that’s not true—it’s significantly different. For December’s First Friday, Drink Philly is holding a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy victims. The event itself has no cover as usual, but they will be collecting donations at the door for the Red Cross.
Artists on display are Doogie Horner, Lars Leatu, Jon Swartz, David Swartz, with a special gallery from none other than Quirk Books (!). DuClaw will be providing the libations while Bierstube serves up some German-inspired snacks. Remember, Drink Philly’s happy hour goes from 5-9 PM and is only for newsletter subscribers, so if you’re on the list get your head right and sign up here then RSVP on Eventbrite.
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: You can always count on Art in the Age to throw a fabulous event, and frankly their First Friday openings are can’t-miss. This month features an exhibition of prints and other work inspired by the War of 1812 by Post Typography.
AIA actually commissioned the pieces that touch on various bits of americana peppered with sharp wit and symbolism. December 7th is also the kick off for AITA’s holiday sale, so throw back a few SNAP cocktails and get some shopping done while you’re there. More info here.
Clay Studio: The Clay Studio’s annual holiday show and art sale is one of my favorite things about First Friday. Gifted continues this month with an exhibition featuring the beautiful and affordable work of over 100 ceramic artists. The pieces range from abstract jewelry to functional coffee mugs, vases, and sculpture. Browse what’s for sale here.
Space 1026: The annual art auction at Space 1026 isn’t until December 14th, but First Friday launches a week of events leading up to the big day. Stop by the mission space at 1026 Arch St and get a preview of all the items that will be available for auction this year from 7-10 PM. Check out all of the upcoming auction week events here, including the Cruel Summer winter formal, a free screenprinting workshop, Youtube Armageddon 2 and a comedy show based around a Powerpoint presentation.
Vox Populi: The opening at Vox Populi for December is as varied as ever with everything from crochet teddy bears to sculptural video based on classical literature. Geek pick: Caroline Chandler’s unique pieces turn ordinary objects and craft forms into a story about culture and individuality. Polymer casts of Honeycomb and Cheerios and plastic glow-in-the-dark bugs become a celebration of the trite and the desire to feel, tactically and otherwise. Check out all of the featured exhibitions here.
PhilaMOCA: The Philadelphia Poetry Slam and workshop is in it’s second month at its new home in PhilaMOCA, and this month features guest Caroline Rothstein of UPenn’s Excelano Project. At 7:30, The Nest workshop opens to any performers/writers that want to hone their skills in a supportive environment.
Poets wishing to participate should arrive at 8:30 and the slam kicks off at 9. $10 donation get you in for the workshop as well as the slam, participating poets pay half price. More info on the Facebook event.
Philadelphia Sculpture Gym: Coldhearted is back! Last February the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym hosted their first handmade art event with businesses from all over Philadelphia, and their second installment kicks off this Friday. Coldhearted II will be a two day event, from 6-9 PM on Friday and again on Saturday from noon-6 PM.
In addition to the incredible artisans selling their wares, the event will be graced by food vendors, vintage goodies, fabulous clothing and more. It really is the perfect one-stop-shop for keep Christmas shopping. Check out the Facebook event for more info.
North Bowl: After the galleries have closed, mosey on over to North Bowl for a late night (9-11) happy hour, complimentary snacks, and the 4th and final installment of their fall exhibitions. “Goodie Goodie! Gimme, & I’m Gone!” features a greeting card installation all handmade by Philly locals centering around the theme “I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave”.
While you’re there, be sure to vote for your favorite—the highest ranking cards will secure their designers their own spring exhibition. More info on the Facebook event.
Secret Cinema: Not really the gallery type? Head to the International House for a cult film double feature. At 8 PM, Son of Trailer Trash explores the most bizarre and unusual assortment of coming attractions previews from the 60’s and 70’s.
Then at 10 PM watch Chesty Anderson, U.S. Navy, which is described as a “drive-in version of Charlie’s Angels. General admission ($9) covers both films. More information at thesecretcinema.com.