News & Updates

🤔 “So… What do people do here?” 👋 Meet Pam Selle and find out!

News & Updates

Listen to the 2019 Philadelphia Podcast Festival at Indy Hall

This weekend wrapped up the 7th Annual Philadelphia Podcast Festival, a 7-day celebration of local podcasts happening live in front of living, breathing audiences all over the city. Philly turned into an IRL podcast feed with venues like World Cafe Live, Tattooed Mom, the National Liberty Museum, and Victoria Freehouse hosting live installments of Philly pods all week long. This year, Indy Hall got in on the action.

It only makes sense, right? We had to! We just launched our Podcast Junto Membership this Spring, and more than half-a-dozen podcasts are produced right here in our very coworking space – we’re looking at listening to you, Streets Dept., Hi-Res, Strong Feelings, MISSION Story Slam, Stacking the Bricks, Breaking Mayberry, Comic Book Junto, and Vibes. Even more shows are joining the party every day, with new shows forming and long-running pods hopping into our studio.

We’re like the Voltron of podcasts. Instead of robot lions, every limb is a microphone and a Soundcloud account.

Flashpoint with Cherri Gregg (KYW)


And here we are, dusting ourselves off after 2 full Saturdays of live shows, 15+ hours of recording, and countless new friends. Let’s re-visit our spoils! Listen back to all the shows that recorded here on either Saturday. Discover new, local favorites! Re-visit your favorite moments from the past week+! Get inspired to start your very own show!

Behold, here is the complete and exhaustive list of every dang show hosted here at Indy Hall as part of the 2019 Philadelphia Podcast Festival. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 20th:

  • Strong Feelings Best friends and business partners Katel and Sara let it all out in a weekly show about work, friendship, and feminism. Because life’s too short to bottle things up.

Saturday, July 27th:

  • Flashpoint with Cherri GreggHosted by KYW Newsradio Community Affairs reporter, Cherri Gregg, “Flashpoint” offers context on the week’s headlines with a particular focus on community affairs, political news, civil rights and grassroots issues impacting the Philadelphia area.
  • Film LoopFilm Loop is a movie podcast hosted by GenXer, Victor De Anda and Millennial, Darian Davis. Every episode, each host picks one movie from their past to share with the other, and together they debate and ruminate over their favorite moments as the generations collide!
  • Gone Cold: Philadelphia Unsolved MurdersGone Cold is a true crime podcast about cold cases, from KYW Newsradio. Tom Rickert and Kristen Johanson explore unsolved murder mysteries in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Vibes: Playlist of your LifeWhat’s the playlist of your life sound like? Each episode will feature 3 songs and 3 stories told by one guest comedian. A soundtrack for each story.
  • Stacking the Bricks If you’re tired of all the buzzwords, boosterism, mythologizing, the cult of overwork in the world of startups, it’s easy to feel like the oddball in the room. We’re here to share the real stories of today’s business bootstrappers: the makers who make their money with products and launches instead of client pitches and hourly consulting.
  • Philly Who?The podcast telling the stories of the doers, thinkers, and performers of Philadelphia. The podcast has been highlighted as one of the most popular podcasts in Philadelphia by Billy Penn and has been highlighted by Philly Voice and Philadelphia Magazine.
Damsels with Daggers

Ready to make your own podcast?
Whether you’re looking to take your existing podcast to new heights, bigger audiences and eager sponsors, or you’re tumbling around the idea of starting your first show, you have to check out Indy Hall’s Podcast Junto Membership.

Connect with fellow podcast producers, gain access to equipment that makes your show sound better, learn how to money while growing your audience. See you in the Podcast Junto!

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What we’re going to do about Commerce Street

I get a workout at the gym 4 times a week. Or, well, 3 times a week, if I’m being honest. I change into gym clothes while I’m at Indy Hall, I grab my keys and my headphones, and I exit Colonial Penn through the back patio.

There are more trees back there, fewer cars, so I like using that concourse to cut through the block. I walk up a small set of concrete steps into a shaded parking area caked with mud and litter. It’s the kind of space that encourages (or dares) a person to see how long they can hold their breath while passing through. It smells pretty bad back there, but it’s a quicker walk to SWEAT. And that’s when I hear a sound I hate. 


Crunch.

Like I stepped on a tube of glass. Because I did. Beneath the sole of my shoe, a shattered hypodermic needle. Sometimes I don’t hear them beneath my shoe, sometimes I see them: the orange cap like a Tide pen dotted through the wet leaves and foliage around the short walls of what maybe used to be a garden.

That’s why we hosted a safety training session

On Friday, May 24th, we held a needle safety training session at Indy Hall. It was a first for us, and apparently it was a first for Keith Freeman, Director of Safety Operations for Philadelphia Parks & Recreations. Before he started his presentation, he mentioned that this was one of the few times he would teach this material to people who actually wanted to hear it. He went on to add that he thinks this was the first time he’d been invited to teach the material to a group that isn’t involved with Philly gov. Kinda exciting to hear something like that, it affirms something that I know about our community. We don’t want to sit on the sidelines. We want to do what we can to make our city better.


So what even is a needle training? A safety needle training is a (pretty brief) lesson in safely picking up and disposing of needles and “sharps” that could be found in places where they shouldn’t be, where they could harm someone. In this case and in most cases, we’re talking about hypodermic needles used for shooting heroin. 
Keith Freeman uses a slide deck to teach proper safety considerations and precautions for picking up and storing dangerous items that probably contain infectious material. The needle is dangerous, the drug in the needle is dangerous, the blood on the needle is dangerous. It goes on. Keith Freeman’s slides mostly revolve around these bullets:

  • take your time picking this stuff up
  • what to wear (gloves, long sleeves, long pants)
  • how and where to store needles (biohazard container or milk carton with biohazard sticker on it)
  • common mistakes and how to avoid them (seriously, take your damn time)

Our work begins on Commerce Street

I think it’s a common misconception that people suffering from addiction and homelessness aren’t in certain parts of the city, as if addiction is only constrained to a certain class of person. These aren’t struggles found only in “poor” neighborhoods, these are struggles that affect the entire city, no matter the neighborhood. We face these issues in Old City, it’s just easy to look past that. Truly, it’s easy to ignore because it’s virtually hidden from the sight of most folks. Commerce Street, for all intents and purposes, is hidden from the rest of our neighborhood, and teaching each other how to safely dispose of needles in our backyard is a pretty solid way to draw attention to the physical spaces that are easy to ignore. It’s a great way to gather our community and focus on Commerce Street. 


The public space behind Indy Hall is called Commerce Street. It used to be a walking space for folks back in the day, a very modest thoroughfare between a couple small buildings. Development over the years sort of folded it into animosity. It basically doesn’t exist to anyone but smokers from Colonial Penn, elderly tenants making their way into and out of the Old City Presbyterian apartment complex. And it’s covered in needles. 


Commerce Street has basically been forgotten by time, so much so that the Philly government forgot it was their property. You know a space has to be pretty skipped over if the local government doesn’t even remember they own it. 


It’s sat behind 399 Market Street for years. Years and years. And now, it’s a shady haven for people who don’t have a better place to go. People who need help, a warm meal, a better place to sleep, support and comfort that a musty old walkway can’t provide. The people who hang out and sleep on Commerce Street have blended right in with the concourse itself, hidden to the world a block away.


Intrepid journalist and fellow Indy Haller Joel Wolfram wrote an excellent piece about the beginning of our volunteer effort. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go take a look. It’s an excellent snapshot of the history of the space, the problems we face, and the potential of Commerce Street as a public park. 

Help us clean up Commerce Street on Friday, June 14

So consider our attention shifted. Joel has written about it, dozens of Old City residents and business leaders have gather around a redesign for Commerce Street, Keith Freeman has given us the tools to safely tend to the space, and about dozen Indy Hall members are ready to get to work. 

First, we gather our gloves and tongs and start taking the needles and the trash out of Commerce Street.

Join us on Friday, June 14th from 12pm to 2pm as we gear up and clean up Commerce Street, together. Bring a pair of gloves, long sleeve shirt, long pants, and boots.

Second, if you want to help the homeless folks who need comfort and protection, check out Project HOME: https://projecthome.org/
And if you’d like to help us and simply learn more, stay in-touch. Follow the Indy Hall blog, come visit Indy Hall any day Monday through Friday, and reach out to me: adam@indyhall.org 


We use this motto at Indy Hall, it’s a list of promises we make to ourselves and each other:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Take care of each other.
  • Take care of this place.

I know that we can expand our idea of “each other” and “this place” beyond the walls of our coworking space, and give a little love to the community we belong to.

Let’s start on Commerce Street.

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Indy Hall’s 10+3 Birthday Party is Friday Sept 27

Earlier this month, Indy Hall turned 13 years old. Wow.

For many years, we would celebrate our anniversary (and other major milestones) with a big bash of some kind. A night of celebrating with friends and community long into the night.

Disappointingly, we missed celebrating our 10 year in 2016 because we had just moved and were busy getting settled into our new space.

But I want to get back to traditions like this one.

So we went to our old friends at National Mechanics and asked for their help putting together a special night. There will be food, drinks, live music, old and new friends, and plenty of surprises.

Think of this night as a mix of an anniversary party, a family reunion (without the terrible parts), and a celebration of our collective accomplishments.

We want to bring together as many Indy Hall members and alums as possible for a night of celebration, so if you haven’t already RSVPd, you can do that here: https://indyhall.org/party.

Whether you just joined in the last month or two, or you’ve been a part of the Indy Hall community for years, I hope you’ll join us!

An All Local Live Music Lineup

One of the fun surprises I’ve been working on for this party is including some live local musicians, including a few from our own community. We’ve planned the night around brief sets with big breaks in between, so there’s still plenty of time to hang out and talk between acts!

During the first part of the night, our conversations will be soundtracked by the gentle background music of Kyle Sparkman.

Later (after 9pm), we have a four-act lineup including Indy Hall members Donnie Felton and Dain Saint, followed by performances by new friends Sister Moon Eyes and Zeek Burse.

I’m super proud to be showcasing local talent throughout the night – it’s gonna get funky and weird and I am SO SO SO excited.

It’s free to attend, but if you haven’t RSVPd yet, please do it now! https://indyhall.org/party/

Even if you only come for part of the night, it’d mean a lot to me to see you to there!

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Career Confusion to Career Confidence

Many of us know how confusing finding a career path can be; whether in memory, or because right this second we’re feeling lost. 

At Indy Hall, we meet so many people who are feeling stuck in their field and looking for a way out.

Often times they are:

  • Recent grads who are feeling dubious about jobs in their field of study
  • New parents who need to restructure the way they make a living to accommodate the needs of their family 
  • Hopeful industry switchers who are looking for a big change, (like me!)
  • Aspiring entrepreneurs who don’t know how to get their business off the ground 
  • And folks who are somewhere in between or a combination of the above

Getting off the treadmill of traditional careers can seem impossible, scary, and wrong. We’re all so entrenched with the common expectations of what a career even is: a narrow, linear, upward path in a single field. 

But we, the community of people carving out their own career, are proof that expectation isn’t for everyone. 

In my conversation with Taylor Hopper, I wanted to understand her challenges as a recent grad and discover how we at Indy Hall could help her carve her own path.


Stuck in the School Whirlwind

“In high school, I was super intrigued by human behavior, and I chose my majors (psychology and criminal justice) at Michigan University based on that. I got caught up in the whirlwind of what school was and everything that came with it, I never had a break.”

“I took a gap year, intending on going to grad school to pursue psychology, and I finally sat still for a while and really thought about it. I came to the realization that there’s so much more out there that interests me, and the more I explored that the less I was interested in pursuing psychology.” 

Taylor still had some interest in psychology, but those feelings were muddled by having no expectation of what a career in psychology would be like. “I wanted to explore careers in psychology more before committing to grad school, but you have to be in grad school before you can get clinical experience. Well, what if you’re in Grad school and then you realize you don’t want to do it?”

Now that’s she post-grad and post-gap-year, Taylor has some ideas of what she would have done differently. “I would’ve waited to go to college for sure. – You’re still such a child when you graduate from high school, you’re still like growing and developing all throughout your college years. So your interests will most likely shift.”

The Indy Hall Connection

Taylor was stuck, but not helpless. In true JFDI spirit, she spent months cold calling and emailing dozens of companies and businesses. Her ask? “Let me learn from what you do.” 

That’s is how she met Amanda Thomas, an Indy Hall member since 2013 and co-owner/publisher at Lanternfish Press. Amanda knows that Indy Hall is a great place to find inspiration and support before setting off on a nontraditional path, as Amanda found her own non-traditional path by starting a publishing company with a fellow member after they met during one of our Show & Tell events.

So, Amanda referred Taylor to us, suggesting that Taylor could find support and inspiration for herself. “When I came here I was really, really lost. I didn’t know what to do.”

At the first meeting with Taylor, it was clear that we could help each other out. “I describe Indy Hall as a place where people come to sculpt their most ideal career. You provided me with a beam of light, a direction. I was like, ‘Thank god for the helping hand.’”

Moving Forward with New Confidence 

Anyone who’s been lost in a sea of possibilities can tell you, eliminating options is a relief.  

After sitting down with Amanda, Taylor did just that. 

One of the things she had been considering was going to grad school but quickly realized that path wasn’t going to satisfy deeper ambition. “I can help one person and like slap the bandaid on, but at the end of the day the problems are systematic.” This clarity helped her choose to forgo graduate school. “I’m more interested in fixing the system, and I realized I don’t need to get a graduate degree for that.”

But when one door closes, a whole Monster’s Inc. conveyor belt of doors open. “[Amanda] helped me realize I don’t have to be constrained in a box. Just because I went to school for [psychology] and because I’m interested in [psychology], it doesn’t have to stop me from doing something completely different in five years and loving it. She told me to be curious, to keep learning and keep doing, to keep following what I want to be doing. It was inspiring and enlightening. The conversation really took a weight off.”

Taylor hasn’t got everything is figured out yet. She does have new confidence in her choice to take the long, weird, winding road towards making a career that fits her over finding a career to fit into. 

“Deciding that I didn’t want to continue my education in my major was such a scary thing. It makes you feel so alone, it makes it feel like you feel like you’re doing something wrong. But, coming here to Indy Hall, I realize it can be right.”


Taylor’s journey is super familiar. 

Taylor trusted her gut which led her to seek out other options, that lay beyond the path of least resistance. 

It’s a journey many of us at Indy Hall have already taken, and if not we are somewhere in the middle of it right at this moment. 

As Taylor said, it can feel extremely lonely to set out on your own, do things differently, and reject the traditional career path. But you don’t have to figure it all out alone. 

We’ve been working on formalizing a way to help career switchers and students who are lost in the sauce, so Taylor’s hopes to find some clarity in the experiences of our members presented us with an opportunity that we’d been waiting for: figuring out how to best help folks in transition. 

We learned a lot from working with her, and we’re excited to do it again. 

So I have to ask… 

What path are you stuck in right now? Where would you go if you weren’t? 

Fill out our little quiz below so we can figure out the best way to help you carve your perfect path. 

Let’s see where we can go together. 

Do you have thoughts to share in response to this post? Let me know at Anaia@indyhall.org!

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Who is Coworking in Philadelphia? Meet Pam Selle

As someone who regularly gives tours here at Indy Hall, folks ask me almost daily “So… What do people do here?” Usually, I feel they’re trying to ask “What’s the majority profession represented here?” I hate this question. 

Let me expand a little. 

Indy Hall is not a community of people who all create, desire, or do the same thing. Our connection to each other isn’t driven by strictly defined goals, professional or otherwise. That has to be a consequence of the incredible variety of projects that each of us has their hands in, at any given time.

The Venn diagram of “What do people do at Indy Hall” would be practically illegible for all the infinitely tiny overlapping circles. You’d be hard-pressed to find a member of Indy Hall who can be reduced to their profession. (That’s true everywhere but it’s apparent here to a unique magnitude.)

In my chat with Pam Selle, I wanted to find out more about her circles and how they interact with Indy Hall as a whole. 


Proving herself that we all have a lot going on, she shares my view that our diverse community of interests is one of the reasons to come here. 

“I tell people all the time ‘I don’t care what you’re into, just show up and start telling people what you’re into and you see what happens.’ Because Indy Hall is kind of this hub of independent collaborations. It’s not like my friends’ clubhouse where we all have one common interest that draws us together, rather, there is a common interest, but it’s an interest in independent thought and collaboration.”

Pam has been an Indy Hall member since 2012. In her time here she’s worked different jobs and taken on different projects, many of which she’s found ways to involve Indy Hall’s larger community. A few common threads appeared as we spoke, themes of communication, empowerment, learning, and evolution.

Movement as Language

Pam has been really inspired by movement arts lately.  She’s been studying and practicing 5-7 days a week. It’s more than just good exercise that keeps her going back. “I find it really interesting about how people approach movement and this whole lineage of dance and movement arts that people are drawing from.”

There are so many varieties in dance styles, and each one is taught differently, giving Pam lots of room to explore. “The other day someone referred to the dance style we were practicing as speaking a language. By learning dance or movement style that you were learning to speak a language so that we could talk to each other”

Creating Opportunities for Learning

A few months back Pam brought an Algorave to Indy Hall, as a collaboration with her friend Sarah Groff Henneigh-Palermo, a digital artist in New York City. “I have a really good friend who is a digital artist and visual-ist in LiveCode.NYC, the collective that played here. It was there first time taking the show on the road which was great practice for [her band Codie], as they [were] about to start a European tour.”

Attendees got hands-on experience the next day, with instruction from the performers at the workshop. The Algorave performance and livecoding workshop were also Philadelphia’s first ever livecoding events, and thanks to Pam we all made history together. 

But what is Livecoding anyway? “Livecode is a form of live composition, so you’re composing music live and making visuals. The raves are events centered on experimental music, an experimental art form where it’s programming, but humans are integral to the program.”

In addition to bringing experimental music education to Indy Hall, Pam had a hand in a completely different kind of education: teaching folks how to present at tech conferences. She helped organize the local Global Diversity CFP (Call For Proposals) Day in 2018, and others carried on the tradition in 2019. (Including fellow Haller, Karin Wolok)

“The goal for Global Diversity CFP day is to help first-time speakers from underrepresented backgrounds in tech write their first proposal to speak at a conference. It’s a worldwide event that takes place across the world on the same day once a year.” Pam knows from experience what a great opportunity speaking at conferences is.

“I started speaking at tech conferences in 2012 and it has been one of the most powerful things to move my career forward in technology.” It’s that experience that has informed her passion for making those opportunities more accessible through Global Diversity CFP Day

The Evolution of Indy Hall (and What Pam Had to Do with It) 

Having been an Indy Hall member for quite some time, Pam has seen a lot of changes here. Some of which she’s had a hand in. “I like that it’s always evolving. Especially being a full-time member, it felt really neat to feel involved in shaping space with other people. When this current space had the opportunity to expand into another part of the floor, I and a few other members talked about making it a quiet zone. It was a small coalition of dedicated people. We planned together and made it happen. It was an exciting experiment.”

Pam also contributed to creating the Code of Conduct, a project led by previous team-member Sam Abrams. It was a lot of work to create it, but creation is only half the battle with such an important document. “The Code of Conduct needs to exist to serve the community. Now that we have it, I hope that we keep revisiting it. The Code of Conduct should be a living document, especially for somewhere that evolves as rapidly as Indy Hall does.”

Evolution is an important part of what keeps Pam an active member at Indy Hall. 

“The fact that Indy Hall continues to exist, even though changing locations, is because Indy Hall is more than just the building. I think of Indy Hall as an anchor: it provides a level of constancy. Indy Hall is outside home or work life, and even when these intersect it remains independent of that. I think is one of the reasons why I found it very valuable.”


Overall tech-witch, movement-speaking, and constant contributor to Indy Hall’s evolution, Pam’s whole shebang a sterling example of how spread out our interests are as members. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about Pam’s projects, check out her blog

There’s always room for more incredible, varied, interesting project makers at Indy Hall.

In Pam’s own words: “If you tell anyone at Indy Hall ‘I want to do a thing’ the generalized reaction is not just ‘that’s awesome’, but it’s also ‘that’s awesome, how do I support you?'” 

So I have to ask… 

What’s the thing you want to do? How can our community support you? 

Let us know, or schedule a tour so we can chat in person.

Let’s see what we can do together. 


photo cred Stanley Zheng

Catch up with Pam on twitter and slack (@pamasaur), or on her website.

photo cred Stanley Zheng

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