The Philly Loves Bowie Week is an annual volunteer production of a family of fans of the Starman … folks who felt it was important to gather together as a city to celebrate a truly one-of-a-kind performer as we mark both his birth date and the one-year anniversary of his passing.
The core group that has worked to bring this week into fruition are Patti Brett, Greg Shelton, Marla Kanevsky, Mary Dunham-Smith and Robert Drake.
There are countless more that have worked their magic to make this week happen and a heartfelt and gracious thank you to each and every one of them!
We can be heroes, just for one day.
So that’s the who – but what about the ‘why’? Why has a handful of Bowie fans gathered together to organize a week+ long celebration of The Thin White Duke?
Picture it – Philly, early 1970s.
Patti Brett – now owner of Doobies Bar – was one of the young mega-fans that hung outside Sigma Studios while Bowie was inside recording tracks. Bowie’s bond with the “Sigma Kids” helped solidify his love for Philadelphia
As Patti says, “I feel the connection between Bowie and Philly was special because Philly embraced him from the very first tour. In Dec 1972, the initial three shows at the Tower Theater sold out in no time. Two months later, in Feb 1973, he played seven more (instantly) sold out Tower shows. Then again in 1974, there were seven more sold out Tower shows (although the Sat matinee wound up being cancelled-I think that was when the band got pissed about the show being recorded, but they said he had a sore throat).”
“Philly was one of the first places where people ‘camped out’ for tickets to his shows. He recorded three LPs (David Live, Young Americans & Stage) and filmed the Modern Love video here. When he did micro tours, Philly was always included. He did things in Philly that he just didn’t do in other cities (like the WXPN fundraiser/performance session). And while it may not have been as obvious to the general public, his fans definitely knew he favored Philly!”
What prompted Patti to get this ball rolling was the need to honor David’s life in some way. When he left us, everyone kept asking Patti what she was going to do, since doing nothing was NOT an option.
She promised, when the time felt right, she would put together a memorial service, which is when she reached out to everyone to help come up with some ideas to get the public involved. That’s when things took off and Philly Loves Bowie week was born.
Besides a week+ of events and activities designed to celebrate the man and his unique spirit – we wanted to make sure that we could use this week as a portal to raise awareness and funds to help benefit cancer research in David’s memory, and who better to benefit than children … and when it comes to caring for children, there’s no place better than the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
While no one should have to go through cancer, it seems especially cruel when it happens to a child. So, at every event during the Philly Loves Bowie week, we will work to raise both funds and awareness through the magic that is David Bowie.
As the Starman said himself… let all the children boogie!!
This has been a labor of love for those of us involved; lifelong fans who wanted the public to see just how special he was to the world. David Bowie inspired us with his music, art, films and just with who he was as a person. He was so generous to everyone, especially his fans. Interviews with those that worked with him always mention how he let them have input as to how they wanted to interpret his work. No one really ever had a bad thing to say about him. He simply loved people…
Now it’s Philly’s turn to show the love – since it’s obvious that Philadelphia does indeed love David Bowie!
Feel free to add your support in David’s memory: Philly Loves Bowie & CHOP