IceBox Book II Launch Party

The Philly Icebox Book Launch Party January 12, 2013

I parked my car in a small dirt lot across the street from the old, brick warehouse. A woman exits a car next to mine. The car has Maryland plates. I ask her, are you going to the launch party? Yes, she says. I’m beckstei, I say.  Between squeals of laughter and hugs she says, I’m Rose_Peacock, otherwise known as Jenn.

And that was just the first hug of the evening.

beckstei and Rose_Peacock by Lee (leesure) Shelly

A single door, dimly lit by an overhead light was the only entrance into the brick building across the street. Our destination was Lee Shelly and Craig Collier’s Photo Loft one floor up.

Edson_Matthews by Lee (leesure) Shelly

As Rose_Peacock and I  approached the door a man seemingly from another time sporting a barbershop quartet mustache with a bunnet pulled low on his brow was walking down the dim, scrabbly sidewalk. He seemed familiar. “Edson, is that you”? In a split second his expression changed from suspicion to recognition. “Beckstei!”  I’m engulfed in my second hug within five minutes, and I still haven’t arrived at the book launch party. Says A Life of Cyn, “One half of my brain thinks it’s weird to hug people I’ve never met before. But the other half sees that I did, and that it felt right. Is it because we are passionate about photography? Or is it because we’ve gotten to know each other in the threads? You really don’t know until you attend one of these things how important the face-to-face meetings are to the whole experience of The Icebox.”

The Icebox Book II Philly Launch Party – a reunion of old friends whom you’ve never met.

Cubes from around the world came together in person and via a webcast to celebrate the launch of the The IceBox Book II.  Proceeds from the book go to benefit the Alzheimer Association. The book is dedicated to friends and families who are affected by dementia disorders.

JordyR by Lee (leesure) Shelly

A Life of Cyn, Rose_Peacock, JordyR, Edson_Matthews, Lee Shelly, OhDiggity, Still The Oldie, Sparkleplenty, BabyRuth, Jake Rome, Ott, Lady Margaret, and late in the evening the elusive and somewhat mythical eyebex were in attendance. I’m not sure why eyebex has been mythologized, but he is somehow the broker of what is both basic and elusive about the Icebox. The myth of eyebex could rest on his effervescent personality and pithy commentary, or his legendary cuteness.

The Photo Loft Icebox Book II Launch Party (photo by Lee (leesure) Shelly)

Lee (leesure) Shelly and Craig (ohdiggity) Collier had their 12′ clyclorama set up for play and it was used heavily with people switching easily between photographer and model.  A slideshow of images from the book played on a huge screen and the food and drink was philly centric (yes, cheese steak) and delicious.

The IceBox Book Buffet courtesy of Mrs. Leesure. Photo by Lee (leesure) Shelly

Book signings went on all night and were a great way to break the ice, meet and make new friends and contribute to Alzheimer’s research by buying a copy of the book.

As Edson said, “I think it’s a curious feature of the internet—combined with our human penchant for self-focus—that we can come to see the lives of others online as only consisting of the moments we spend with their words in some digital forum. Shakespeare wasn’t speaking of internet life, but it is nevertheless fitting when he said of people as players on a stage, “They have their exits and their entrances.” When you meet someone from your internet life for the first time and you actually see them, you are reminded by what you should have known all along; that they are whole people—souls. Then something new and real and wonderful happens in the present: They become a permanent member of your cast of players. They are now too whole and too real to be merely entering and exiting as you turn your computer on and off. I just love that the staging area in my theater has grown since that Saturday in Philly. I’ve added to it colorful and talented people whom I have rather anonymously and impersonally liked for years.

Eyebex with an adroit compactness pretty much summed up the evening for all us. Lee’s kid was hilarious. Edson’s mustache was an entity. Jordy said he loved me but it should not be held against him it is extremely hard not to love me. Also, he seemed drunk.

The IceBox Book Launch Party was a surreal joy to attend. Like meeting your sister for the first time.

Next: West coast launch partiesbuy the book.