Tumblr of the Moment: Emily Simpson’s #worklife aka StagePatchLady

Helping Django Django set up at the stage Union Transfer | Photo by Emily Simpson |

For concertgoers and music fans the world around, backstage has a total allure. Whether you’re giddily imagining hedonistic David Lee Roth style parties in the green room, or just an audio nerdio who relishes the tech perspective of live productions, there’s a sense of innate curiosity associated with just about everything that happens in the wings and beyond them.

For Philly’s Emily Simpson, backstage is her job; she’s a stage manager and patch tech at Union Transfer. This means she leads the bands on and offstage, works with artists and front-of-house engineers to set up their gear in the most efficient way, makes sure microphones and cables are plugged in properly and don’t clutter the performance area, cleans up spilled beer during the show, et cetera. “I’m kind of a jack of all trades,” she laughs. And her phone is always at her side, meaning she gets to shoot pictures from an angle that the general public doesn’t usually get to see.

Simpson recently collected these photos into a new Tumblr called #worklife – named for the hashtag she uses to organize the photos on her Instagram account – and it’s a lively behind-the-scenes view of one of the busiest mid-size venues in the region. She writes that the site “is designed as a way for me to curate those pictures as well as the memories attached to them.” For each photo she posts, she shares thoughts on what it depicts – whether its a short and general memory of the concert or a indepth and specific description of what we’re seeing. “I never really realized just how many stories I had associated with each show until I did this,” Simpson tells us.

As she writes on its about page, the blog is essentially “part self-serving reflection, part archiving exercise, all a little bit ridiculous.” Take a look at some of Simpson’s photos below, and follow the entire collection at Continue reading →


This is what the Philly punk scene looked like in the 1980s

Photo by Pier Nicola D’Amico |

Yesterday afternoon, a random tweet from King Britt led me to a stunning online gallery of work by Philadelphia-based photographer Pier Nicola D’Amico. “Check some of the Philly punk scene with homie @pndamico,” King wrote, followed by a link to the new collection Between Glam Rock and New Wave: The Lost Archive. How am I going to say no to something like that, right?

The work that I saw upon clicking through was even better than I anticipated. D’Amico’s collection showcased faces and friends. Personalities, not celebrities, the community that you discover when you dig a little bit deeper than the music at its surface. In fact, of the 32 images in the collection, only one explicitly depicts music – a great shot of an old school DJ rig at a loft party. Folks are wearing berets, the wheels of steel are the fliptop models that look like they were borrowed from somebody’s living room, the DJ seems pensive as he scans the room for a read on the crowd.

Music plays a background role in other images – speakers on the shelves of a silhouetted young woman’s apartment, magazine cutouts of pop stars taped to the wall of another friend’s bedroom wall, a vintage WKDU magnet on the fridge of a denim-vested, bleach-haired lad in a kitchen. In the rest, it’s more implicit. You know these people listen to music, and you know that music is probably a major force that draws them together in friendships. But you also get to see what their lives are like beyond it. Continue reading →