Every time I drive into this city at night, my silly little heart sings. The colored lights bounce off the tall buildings of the cityscape, and this yellow-filled moon night was no different. Saturday, June 10th saw Azula, my noble steel steed, and I cruising into the city for a weekend of dancing. arriving at the dance studio, I was greeted by a wave of humid air. This was followed closely by joyful greeting exchanges with my people. A night of blissful, wonderful music and dances then followed!
A friend was lovely enough to offer up a place to stay that was close to the venue, so I crashed hard into bed that morning around 5am. The next morning, my friend and I met up with another friend to grab brunch. We set off through the jungle, in the words of Axl Rose. It was boiling outside that Sunday. BOILING, I TELL YOU. It felt like walking through a concrete desert. We trecked through this arduous terrain till we reached the oasis of our brunch restaurant.
Amari’s was awesome! They had a live band playing Jazz, friendly waitresses, and a relaxing atmosphere. The brunch food was pretty good too. Since the three of us were dancers, we ended up dancing and partner switching while we waited for food. 🙂 Just before we left the waitresses and the band thanked us for dancing. One of the waitresses joked that they should have tipped us for being the entertainment. Needless to say, when we left, everyone inside and outside of the place was happier.
Following, we took our time wandering around, ending up in Malcolm X Park. As far as cities go, I can’t say I’m impressed by the amount of trash to be found in some parts of Philly. There was a lot of trash in the park, blowing around, not in a trash can. There were plenty of trash cans, mind you, the trash just wasn’t in them. Nonetheless we cat napped on some benches in the park, basking in the shade. Eventually we made our way back out, but as we were turning the corner I noticed a large, gorgeous, fluffy dog.
Of course following good etiquette, I asked the lounging owner if I could pet his dog. Receiving an affirmative answer, I began to pet this wonderful dog and quite the conversation began! The man began to get up… and up… and up! He was quite tall and his face, no his whole body, was covered in tattoos! He had quite the beard going and what looked to be quite the comfortable kilt on. Here’s a shot of the two of us together, after the subsequent group chat:
His name was Shane Oddfellow. Mr. Oddfellow is a Strongman, and yes that’s one word. His performer name is Titano Oddfellow. Boy, is he one cool, quirky individual! We spoke a lot of life values. Mr. Oddfellow explained that he grew up in a town where people believed in trying new things, and if you don’t like them once you try them, then you try something new. He said that belief was a large basis for moving forward in life and trying a lot of different things. He shared some of the different things he’s done through the years, carpentry, leather-work, acting, being a part of different acts, and Strongman work. He told me once he decided to break a world record not because he felt he had something to prove, but just to show naysayers that it could be done. In one audition, he picked a man up with a few props and only his teeth (check out the NYT link for pictures and a more full story).
Mr. Oddfellow has done a lot of traveling in his life and based on his conversation, really lives his life to the fullest! It was an absolute pleasure to talk to him, and if you’re interested in learning more about this courageous individual who marches to the beat of his own drums, check out his website or the article that the New York Times wrote and published on him!
His website: http://titanostrongman.com/
The day was followed by another night of music and dancing. That night was the night for Spruce Harbor Park! The place is gorgeous, as always. If you don’t already know about this hidden gem, check out more about it in my previous post, Philly’s Quirky Love, Part 1!
(All of the information and pictures about and with Shane Oddfellow were posted with his permission.)