FYI on DIYs in PHL: Pterodactyl

Pterodactyl, Philadelphia’s innovative arts space that has featured some seriously entertaining artist receptions and shows will be celebrating its first birthday tonight. And it plans to do so in epic fashion with live performances by Mount Joy, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Oso, Out Like Lambs, and Montagna and the Mouth to Mouth as well as art from the good people at the Big Art Show. We recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Catherine Dentino about Pterodactyl’s origin, the show, and a preview of what’s to come.
The Deli: How did Pterodactyl's origin come about?
Catherine Dentino: Pterodactyl originated through the efforts of its two organizers, Paul and myself. Both of us are artists and have been aspiring for a long time to create spaces where art could happen in a low key and participatory setting. Paul had already been working to provide opportunities for artists to show their work through Big Art Show. I had been working on getting my Masters in Arts and Cultural Management with the intention of starting a nonprofit organization. We had both been thinking about starting an art space and we were presented with the opportunity to do so in early 2009. At that time, we moved our partner company, Fireball Printing, into a new space and were able to acquire a studio with enough room to start Pterodactyl.
TD: How did Big Art Show and Fireball Printing get involved?
CD: Fireball Printing is our partner company, and provides support for Pterodactyl through our ability to share resources, such as space and utilities. As Pterodactyl grows, the two will inevitably become less connected, but because Pterodactyl is still a young organization, Fireball's support gives it stability and basically makes Pterodactyl possible.
As I mentioned before, Big Art Show is an organization that Paul has been running for several years. Big Art Shows are basically one-night art parties that are open to all artists who want to participate. Our vision for Pterodactyl is very much rooted in the concept behind Big Art Show, especially the idea that art is for everyone. While Pterodactyl does take a slightly more curated approach and has ongoing shows in addition to one night art events, we encourage outside voices through art submissions and curatorial proposals, and even through proposals and suggestions for our classes. We also hope to continue hosting Big Art Shows on a regular basis.
TD: How did organizing concerts become a part of your art space?
CD: Music and art have been integrated at Pterodactyl since our first show. In part, it's another throwback to Big Art Show, but that's mostly because it's a combination that works really well. Having live music creates a really laid back, open atmosphere, which helps break down some of the fears that people have about going to look at art. It also creates cross-pollination between the different audiences, who may be coming for one reason but find themselves exposed to other things as well.
TD: What can you tell us about your studio spaces and the art classes that you offer?
CD: The availability of our studio spaces has diminished as we're beginning to outgrow our current space (we currently only have one rentable art studio), but our hope is that in the next couple of years we'll move into a new building with a lot more space for artist studios, as well as other resources to help facilitate art making. 
The art classes take place 2-3 times per year, and they usually occur on a weekly basis and run for 4-8 weeks. The classes offered vary with each session. We typically offer classes covering basic techniques such as silk screening and sewing, along side classes that address more esoteric topics, like Contemporary Conceptions of Bones as Material. Right now, we're scheduling our Fall session, and we plan to add in a few new class topics. The Fall class listings should be up on our site in the next few weeks.
TD: What do artists/musicians/etc. have to do to get involved with any Pterodactyl exhibit?
CD: We have several opportunities posted on our website, including a call for curatorial proposals and a call for art submissions. We also post calls for entry for specific shows, such as the Big Art Show this weekend. Bands that are interested in playing at our space are welcome to email us at
TD: What can you tell us about Saturday's 1st Birthday show?
CD: The Birthday Show marks one year of Pterodactyl's existence, measured by the first art classes we offered, which started in June 2009. It's a nice time to celebrate what we've done over the past year and think about what's next.
TD: Can you give us a preview of any upcoming art exhibits/lectures/film screenings/etc.?
CD: Our next show, “Mystic Monsters”, is a collaboration between Pat Aulisio and Adam Fergurson and includes comics, paintings, collaborations, appropriated advertising, and an in-gallery installation. The show opens on July 17 with a live DJ set. Our September show is called “Boy's Life”, and explores youth and nature through the guise of Boy's Life Magazine.
TD: What’s your favorite thing to get at the deli?
CD: Egg salad sandwich on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato (and a shout out to Misnik's Deli on Belgrade and Allegheny, even though they don't usually have egg salad).
- The Deli Staff



Toy Soldiers Come In Peace at JB’s June 26

Toy Soldiers are coming back into town to rock Johnny Brenda’s. Every time I write about these guys something new has happened to give me more appreciation for the ramshackle folk-rock music these committed musicians bring to the table. Toy Soldiers may have begun as a joke, but they are the ones who will be laughing all the way to the bank when they start getting the big bucks to get wasted and play nostalgic and raucous music to the masses. No, they are not stadium status like U2, but if they are not certified XPN sweethearts yet, they will be soon, and unlike much of XPN’s repertoire, this band may actually live up to the hype. They are riding high on the recent release of their debut LP Whisper Down The Lane on Mad Dragon Records and are working on what sounds like an ambitious 2 EP release some time in the near future. Make sure to get out to their hometown shows before they hit the road for a summer trek. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Adam G.



Sweatheart and Sgt. Sass Get Naughty for MEN at KFN June 26

When Kung Fu Necktie rounds up a show that features the newest project from Le Tigre members JD Samson and Johanna Fateman, it winds up needing some bands that know how to keep the crowd hot and dirty. And fortunately it might have just put together a lineup that borders on scandalous! Whether they’re cooking up chickens with potato implants and carrot areolas for music videos or partying alongside debauched diva and friend Amanda Blank, Sweatheart manage to deliver some fingerbangin’ tunes with a twisted sense of humor. They revealed a new version of the band with the release of Tell Your Sister. And ever since coming onto the scene, Sgt. Sass have shaken the very foundation of the queer underground hip hop scene. They keep on getting more impressive with each and every show. So when these three bands come together things are sure to heat up! Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 7:30pm, $12, 21+ - Bill McThrill



Weekend Warrior, June 25 - 27

Buried Beds are back with their sophomore album Tremble the Sails. We’ve been having flashbacks lately to a time when you couldn’t pickup the weeklies without seeing something about Buried Beds, Espers, The A-Sides and The Capitol Years. Well, we don’t think you’ll find the word “Appalachian” to describe their latest four year endeavor that was mixed by The Spinto Band’s Nick Krill. Instead, you will discover that they’ve created pop songs with taut, almost bouncy energy. The arrangements are crisp and calculated, but still achingly beautiful when appropriate. However, they do promise to up the ante even more by "summoning the chaos and energy of Rock and Roll". If you take a trip to the Tremble the Sails release party tonight, you'll also be treated to piano pop god BC Camplight and Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken! We think that there will be good vibes all around. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave, 9pm, $10, 21+
For all the city dwellers who hate the feel of sand between their toes…
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) SAT Toy Soldiers
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Robotique w/King Britt, SAT Sweatheart and Sargent Sass, SUN McRad
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Infinien and The Fractals, SAT Kuf Knotz, Fat Daddy Has Been, Swift Technique
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI (Early) Da Comrade!, (Late) Agent Moosehead SAT Restorations, SUN Kite Party
M Room (12 W. Girard Ave.) SAT The Synth Sircus, SUN The Wallace Brothers
The Khyber (56 S. 2nd St.) FRI Body Hammer, SUN Losing Gravity
Tritone (1508 South St.) FRI Post Post and Filmstar
Millcreek Tavern (4200 Chester Ave.) FRI Backwoods Payback
Mar Bar (200 S. 40th St.) SAT Masculine Feminine
Pterodactyl (3237 Amber St.) SAT One Year Anniversary Party w/Mount Joy, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Oso and more
Highwire Gallery (2040 Frankford Ave.) SUN Extreme Fishkin



Robotiques with King Britt at KFN June 25

Congratulations! It’s Friday. You survived another week. Dance it up and keep it classy with Robotique. Dusting off singles and disco faves, DJs Billy Werner and Ryan Todd continue their weekly tradition of heating things up on the dancefloor. Disproving the stigma of disco while reviving its funk, Werner and Todd are pure dynamite. Since ‘07 Robotique’s finesse continues to please crowds, easily resulting from the sick beats they spin. Paying tribute to The Loft, these Friday night residents are set to team up with local native DJ/producer King Britt. Aside from his fame in the ‘90s, Britt’s discography showcases over a decade of decadent backbeats meshed with clipped cyclical sounds. Layered with minimal vocals, like Santogold’s “Anne”, King Britt is practically regal when it comes to DJ cred. Add in the prospect of cheap vodka drinks plus $2 beers and you’ve got a night totally worth the hangover. Kung Fu Necktie. 1250 Front St., 10pm, $3, 21+ (Photo by Jason V.) - Dianca Potts