A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.

Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, February 22, 2010


It’s a cold Monday afternoon in February and I’m walking through Rittenhouse Square, hopping over piles of snow as I search for 128 South 19th Street. I find it nestled on a second floor walk-up just off of the square (in the space that was previously the upstairs bar at Loie). A small sign on the door reads “The Studio CL”. It is a brand new business concept from hair stylist Artur Kirsh. Kirsh, originally from Russia, moved to the United States in the mid 1990’s and began honing his craft at the age of sixteen. In 1996 he arrived in Philadelphia and began building his reputation amongst local and national celebrities (including Kathy Griffin and Celine Dion).

Kirsh has recently revamped his Studio CL into a new brainchild which he expects to revolutionize the stereotypical hair salon: “The Workshop” at Studio CL.
Boasting custom color techniques (the old Loie bar has been converted into a hair color bar) and a “dry cutting” method, Kirsh is able to stay on the cutting edge of style. He explained to me that “by cutting and styling hair while it is dry, you are able to instantly get a more visual approach”.

Upon entering The Workshop I can instantly tell that this place is unique. The space is very fluid allowing hair stations to be moved around freely. Abstract art covers the walls. A small set of stairs leading to the upper portion of the Studio CL, as well as the hallway at the top, are painted in warm, vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. With a smile Kirsh explains to me that he personally painted it that late one night. He hates the word “salon” and really wants the Studio and Workshop spaces to have a one of a kind feel.

Dressed in a red flannel shirt and a black winter cap, Kirsh introduces me to the staff members working that day. They are a mix of senior stylists and apprentices. The Workshop trains all new stylists in house to assure that they learn color and cutting techniques from industry veterans (such as Kirsh and senior stylist and creative director Alexey Kats).

Normally The Workshop would be filled with clients in the early afternoon but today something special is going on. The Studio space has been transformed into a space for a photo-shoot. Kirsh, Kats, and other Workshop stylists are collaborating with a make-up artist and local models. The models take turns having their hair and make-up styled. Next each will be dressed by stylist Jackie Fantacone (who looks surprisingly like Sarah Jessica Parker) in fashions provided by First Impressions (where she works at 470-472 East Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill PA 19444) and hand made jewelry from local designer Christine Yi (www.facebook.com/cyijewelry).

As I watch Kirsh literally create hair concepts on the spot, he tells me that he really wants his clients to feel special, as if the Studio CL and the treatment they receive there is a secret that only they (and a select other few Philadelphians) know about. His eyes light up as talks about The Workshop and his work as a stylist, calling it “his high”.
“I have two things I love,” he states matter-of-factly, “My son, and what’s around me” (referring to the Studio).

The first model is almost ready to begin and it is becoming clear that this is no ordinary photo-shoot. It is a true collaboration that will benefit everyone involved. The models will get new photos for their portfolios, and the Workshop, photographer, Neiman Marcus, and Christine Yi will all have use of the photos as well. Everyone involved seems very happy with the arrangement and as the staff playfully changes the music from country, to hip-hop, to rock, to Russian house…everyone seems relaxed and excited.

Glancing over at a wall of hair care products, I notice that many of them bear the brand name “Artur” and ask him about it.
“My customers use it at home… so they take a shower and I am always with them,” he jokes.

The hairstyles are like nothing I have ever seen. It is clear that hair can truly be an artistic medium in a way I had never considered before. I am struck with the urge to hop into the chair myself and ask Kirsh to work his magic on my hair but I manage to resist.

The models are filmed one at a time and when they have completed their individual session they return to have their hair, wardrobe, and jewelry changed. Often, between each individual photo, Kirsh or another stylist will step in to fix the slightest imperfection in the model’s hair creation. Being a photographer myself I break out my camera and decide to capture some shots of the day.

The models working that day all really enjoy having the Studio stylists make them over (even though none of the hair styles are permanent). Local model Adrienne Schultz thought the whole experience was great. “It was awesome!” she told me.

As I exit the Studio CL Workshop back onto the snow covered street below I am struck with the feeling that I am now in the know about a Philadelphia gem. I am convinced that any woman leaving this distinctive space will do so feeling better about herself than when she walked in; something I am sure Artur Kirsh would be very proud of.
Oh and by the way guys, they style men’s hair too.

The Studio CL Workshop
128 South 19th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

(all photos used in the above story are copyrighted property of D. Jacob Miller. All rights reserved)

Are you attending the 2010 World Cup? If you’re like me you’d probably like to avoid getting stabbed while rooting for your native country. You’re in luck. Thanks to Protektorvest, you can wear your country’s flag with pride on your new knife-proof vest for only $69.95! When you decide to celebrate your national pride and a disgruntled, angry fan from another country (that just lost to yours or just hates your for your freedom) picks up a knife and tries to plunge it into your chest, he’s going to be in for his second disappointment of the day.

According to a statement on their website (http://www.protektorvest.com/):
“Our approach to bring protective clothing to the masses is unique. By enabling your protective vest to communicate with each other through messages like ‘Free Hugs’ or ‘Olé’ we hope we can bring a new dimension to personal protection clothing. Our vest can be decorated with badges of your choice and we are open to your creativity.”

Why didn’t I think of this? Clearly the days of drab stab-proof clothing are gone forever. At long last my love of cheering for my country in a global Futbol competition has teamed up with my desire to avoid getting stabbed in any of my vital organs. If that doesn’t make you want to shout “Ole” …I don’t know what will.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I noticed that Protektorvest will “donate $1 per order to charities fighting against knife crime.” I have a dream that one day, with enough donations, I will be able to wear my Protektorvest simply to let those around me know that I love Sweden, The United States, Free Hugs, or just about anything else, and not because I’m worried that someone might plunge a five inch blade into my kidney. Soccer truly is the beautiful game.

When I was a kid I used to love the show “The Price is Right”. At the end of every show host Bob Barker would sign off the air with his famous plea to “Help control the pet population…have your pet spayed or neutered”.

Pet owners that want to help do their part to prevent over population of dogs, or just want to keep their prize show dog from getting knocked up from that frisky dog next door now have another option.

According to AOL news, a dog breeder from Louisiana has invented a strap-on canine chastity belt.

Dexter Blanch, 51, introduced the Pet Anti Breeding System (PABS, as he calls it) a polypropylene belt with an eight-buckle locking system and a washable mesh pad for female dogs two months ago. The device allows the pooch to do all its natural bodily functions, except one, of course.

The PABS slogan: "When the heat is on, lock it, and stop it."

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m more inclined to believe advertising slogans when they rhyme.

"The dogs can urinate and defecate," Blanch says. "But they can't copulate or impregnate."

That’s better. You have my attention Mr. Blanch, but what’s the catch?

While a female dog is in heat (a period of three weeks for many breeds) a pet owner would be required to rinse out the reusable pad in the mesh area but it appears that Blanch figures that's no different than picking up after your animal companion.

"I love my dogs," Blanch says. "But when they're in heat, you can't keep them inside because it's messy. And you can't keep them outside, because when they get in that way they'll chew through any fence to get out."

That’s true. We all know that when a dog “gets in that way” that there’s no stopping them. If there’s another dog, an owner’s leg, or just about anything else around, it’s most likely getting humped.

I know what you’re thinking… “Can I get one for my cat…or maybe my teenage daughter?”

Presently, the product is only available for dogs, but Blanch says he was contacted by a man in Turkey who wants to know if he can develop a chastity belt for camels.

A camel with no humps seems wrong to me.

Personally I think Blanch should team up with the folks at Protektorvest. Are you really satisfied with simply keeping your pooch virginal? I know I’d feel a lot better if the other dog owners in the neighborhood knew two things about me: I love Brazil, and my cute little female pug is not getting “stabbed”.


My hope is that after reading this edition of “The Spoon” that you will be far less likely to get unfashionably stabbed at a South African sporting event or have your darling little purebred dog boned by a neighbor’s mutt. But what good is keeping your canine pure if the Rapture comes and you’re forced to just leave them behind on earth to face Satan’s wrath?

According to the site http://www.raptureready.com/, and its founder Todd Strandberg, Rapture prophecy posits that Jesus Christ will return to Earth to gather his disciples for eternal life in God's kingdom, while leaving behind those who have not met a standard of piety to face the rule of Satan.

"Pets don't have souls, so they'll remain on Earth. I don't see how they can be taken with you." Strandberg says.

Damn it. Once Jesus comes back to “save” my neighbors, who is going to keep their dog from humping around or taking a crap on my lawn? It seems morally wrong for anyone who believes in the Rapture to own a pet doesn’t it? Not so fast.
According to AOL News, 61-year-old Bart Centre has come up with a plan to look after those domestic animals not scooped up in the heavenly exodus. In July, he started Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, a pet-sitting service to care for those critters. (http://eternal-earthbound-pets.com/)

"Each Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you have received your reward," the company's Web site promises. "Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

The terms behind the pet sitting are pretty simple. For an up-front fee of $110, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, which claims to have animal rescuers in 22 states, guarantees that it will take care of one pet in the event that the Rapture occurs within 10 years of payment. Each additional pet costs $15, and a 25 percent discount is offered when customers sign up again after the first term of coverage expires.

So far, more than 100 people have signed up for the service. Centre says he splits the proceeds evenly among the company's all-atheist employees. "They have to be ready," he told AOL News. "We commit to reaching a person's pet within 18 to 24 hours after the Rapture."

Luckily I don’t need to shell out $110 for this service as (according to Protestants) I’ll be left here on Earth to toil in eternal hell-fire and brimstone instead of rocking out at the pearly gates with JC. But for all of you readers that are heaven bound, I hope this makes it a little easier to know that your soulless pet will be cared for be one of the sinners left behind.

A man has sued the maker of the health drink “Boost Plus,” claiming the vitamin-enriched beverage gave him an erection that would not subside and caused him to be hospitalized.

That’s embarrassing. What can the doctor do for that?
“Take two hours of masturbation and call me in the morning. Oh, and spend 10-15 minutes looking at naked pictures of your own mother. If that doesn’t help, I recommend just cutting the thing off.”

Novartis' Boost Plus Web site describes the drink as "a great tasting, high calorie, nutritionally complete oral supplement for people who require extra energy and protein in a limited volume".

It comes in four varieties: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and boner.

It’s that time again folks. As much as I hate to bid you a fond farewell until next month, I have no choice. I’d like to thank you for taking time to read February’s post and share with you my new photography web-site at http://www.djacobmillerphotography.wordpress.com/
You might also notice the DONATE button located on the left hand side by the archives or at the very bottom of this screen. As I look to expand this site, any amount that you could contribute would help greatly and I will be eternally grateful. Lastly, please share the link to Spoon, Full of Truth with a few people today. We all know that sharing means caring. Until next time Spoonies…