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Fountain Poetry
July 4, 2000

Call time: 4 p.m.
Location: Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Today our goal is to shoot the fireworks above the Art Museum. The best view (from the Embassy Suites hotel) has been reserved months ago by Channel 6, the station broadcasting the fireworks and fourth of July festivities.

We've secured a great location atop the Wyndham Hotel. We arrive in the early evening to make sure the location will work for camera and sound. When we get up top the view is stunning - it's actually a better view than I could have hoped for. We can see all of the office towers decked out in red white and blue lights, there is a view as far west as the eye can see. As I peek down I see the fountain at Logan Circle is filled with people. Many, many people are in the park, splashing in the fountain, gathering for the upcoming parade.

After we scout the best camera angle and location for sound we head on down to Logan Circle and film the most wonderful scenes of people enjoying this hot, hot day. People from all over the city are in the fountain. Some are dressed, some are undressed, some came prepared in bathing suits. It's now about 6 p.m., the late afternoon sun is creating beautiful silhouetted figures. There is a drummer and a flutist jamming over in one part of the park. Despite the incredible heat, everyone seems happy to be there, together at that moment. The rush of the fountain, the squeals of laughter from all over the sunlight reflected off of the wet skin of the bathers, the people climbing on top of those beautiful sculpted figures . . . it's all colliding to create the most beautiful thing I think I've ever seen in Philadelphia. (One of the questions I asked the original fifty interviewees for the TRUTH ABOUT PHILADELPHIA radio series was "What is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in Philadelphia?") Whatever it takes, I'll make this footage work in the film.

I'm reminded of poet Major Jackson's comparison of Cezanne's Bathers (in the paintings that hang in the Philadelphia Museum of Art) with those bathing in the fountains outside the museum from the WORDS IN PLACE poetry series. One of the first parts of The Philadelphia Project.

The fireworks that night are beautiful, but pale in comparison to the energy and excitement I sensed this afternoon at the fountains at Logan Circle.

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