Friday, January 22, 2010

The Adam Wallacavage Interview

 I decided to interview my buddy Adam Wallacavage because he is one of the most interesting and inoventive people in this city in my opinion. His house is phenomenal and you are missing out if you've never been inside. He's always doing something random and cool, and always seems to be in a different country but then suddenly I'll see him out and about that very same night. How mysterious. Adam also just started his blog back up to rival this blog. And I do believe he has an art show coming up in the near future in Philly at Kung Fu Necktie, so I would recommend checking that one out as well. Here's a q&a between Adam and I with some photos to go along....

Me: Where do you come from?
AW: Castle Dracula on the Wildwood boardwalk but I believe I was conceived in the Wacky Shack on Hunt's pier

Me: Why Philly?
AW: Castle Dracula burned down and Wildwood is boring in the Winter. Actually I'm from just out side the city in Springfield Delaware county. I started coming to Philly when I was a little kid on the trolley and subway to skateboard in the 80's. The City was really sketchy then but for some reason it was ok for 12 year olds to do things like that. Nowadays, you need to wear helmets and seat belts and ipods.

Me: How long have you been living at your house?
AW: 9 years now.

Me: You pretty much designed and constructed the whole interior of your house yourself right? How the f did you do that?
AW: I just wanted a really opulent interior and the house I bought, a Victorian Brownstone, was modernized in the 1940's and the 1st floor was turned into a doctor's office. I ripped all that apart and rebuilt the place into the original layout and learned how to do ornamental plasterwork and fixed it up all fancy like. It became quite the hobby and I just kept going with it to the point where I started making wacky cast plaster chandeliers.

(Adam's house was featured on The Selby, one of my most favorite sites. He is the only person from Philadelphia on here. Here are some pics.)


Oh here's me with a raven? Raven Stallone.

Me: We all know that chandeliers are the shit, but what made you decide to start making them?
AW: I wanted something very specific for my dining room. I wanted 5 chandeliers, 4 small matching ones surrounding one big one. I had no money and plaster is cheap and so is making your own stuff.

Me: How in the hell do you make a chandelier?!?
AW: Wire, light bulbs. I just went for it without really thinking about it. I sculpted the parts in clay, made molds and cast plaster arms around stuff.


Me: How does it feel to be the shit?

AW: It stinks.

Me: You're deep in the whole skateboard scene. When did that start? Who were your favorite skateboarders growing up? And now?
AW: I started during the big fad in the 1970's. My brothers and sisters had skateboards and I started when I was about 6 years old. I loved it. I loved going down big hills. I got really into it when I was 11 and started befriending other skaters in Wildwood where I spent the Summers. It just took my life over and has always been a big part of my life. I kinda stink now because I'm too afraid of breaking bones but I love shooting photos at FDR skatepark still. My favorite skaters are my friends, Dan Tag, George Draguns, Bud Baum, Andrew Clark, Steve Faas, pretty much everyone at FDR. Growing up it was Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi.

Me: Skateboarding doesn't seem to be thriving in this city as much as it used to. What happened? Who is keeping it alive?
AW: It's at FDR. Snail Trail Mondays. It's a great mess down there.

Me: You're pretty famous. Have any funny famous people stories about other famous people?

AW: Andrew Jeffrey Wright doesn't even drink dark sodas. Dennis McHugh named his son after Keith Richards. My friend's sister was friends with the sister of the dude from that band, Cinderella and she was over the night the dude put Compound W (wart remover) in his ear cause he thought it was ear ache medication.

Me: Please describe how fun Wednesday nights at the Khyber were a few years ago.
AW: Andrew Jeffrey Wright did a DJ night there and I was going through a break up and it felt safe for me to be around kids 20 years younger than I cause Andrew was there. So, I started hanging with a crowd who I could have fathered. It was weird but it was dark in there so no one really noticed. Yikes, that makes me sound really creepy, but Roy the Mistake Maker was always there and that was the best! I started shooting lots of funny photos and it all made me about 20 years more imature. Ok but really, I've always hung around people much older than me as well as much younger. It's the best way to gain inspiration. I spend most of my time gaining inspiration. I love that word, "inspiration" it can justify pretty much anything no matter how stupid it really is. What I do with it and how that transfers into ornamental plasterwork and chandeliers, I have no idea, but it's working.

(A khyber night to remember...but I think that bottom picture is from SAL'S! HAHA. Circa 2006.)

Me: I don't know if a lot of people realize that you've had a large part in decorating/designing a bunch of stores/bars around town. Which ones?
AW: I did the original Hot Topic store in the Gallery Mall before it was Hop Topic. It was called "Warm Issues" back then. I decorated to look like a KRASS brother's store but it didn't go over very well and closed right away. I also designed the light up steak sandwich sign at GENO's but we had limited budget and I only had enough for half a sandwich. Umm, oh, Maggie's Puff N' Stuff I designed to look like an ironic crappy little smoke store. Oh, and the Sailor Jerry store.

(Sailor Jerry store, Philadelphia)

  Me: What is the story behind the black bamboo in your yard?
AW: I was collecting different types of bamboo for my backyard. I got that from my friend in Baltimore but it never grew.

Me: Describe the best punk show you ever saw.
AW: I'd have to say, every Cramps show I was ever fortunate to see but really, one of the craziest shows ever was when Andrew W K played at a GYRO party at some place on Locust street. It was insane. I don't even know what was going on but I shot a bunch of photos and they still bewilder me. Basically a huge chandelier got smashed to the ground and they entire place was hammered. hammered, haha!

Me: What's your secret?

AW: Sauce!

Now, some Philly favorites:

Bands: Tough Shits, Asteroid #, Love City
Hangouts: Passyunk Triangle, FDR skatepark, Ray's Happy Birthday, Union League
Skate spots: FDR and the Tool Box
Parties: FDR, Tough Shits after parties are the all time best. Fluids night club.
Stores (to shop at): Anastasia Antiques, Antique Lighting Emporium. Burberrys.
Stores (visually): Amberella, Very Bad Horse, Delicious, Forman Mills,
Best dressed: Psydde Delicious, Jacci Stallone
Places to eat: Beau Monde, Gus' Meatball sandwiches at 5th and South. La Beck Fin.

One time Adam tattoed "Jacky Ha ha" on his forearm.

Check out more awesome photos, here.