iOS app Android app

Joan K. Smith
Joan K. Smith is a cultural critic, editor, artist, and marketing consultant with a special focus on digital media. She currently serves as Project Director for the mobile apps “ici,"Camtango," and "Agilezoom." Smith has been an active organizer in the Philadelphia cultural scene for over 25 years, particularly as a proponent of interactive visual art in non-traditional venues; her current focus is the intersection of social media, technology, and the arts. For ten years she was Associate Director and Managing Editor of the web-based arts organization , and more recently served as Director of Marketing and Associate Publisher for She has also been an art critic for The New Art Examiner and Eye magazine; contributing writer on arts and culture for the Philadelphia City Paper; guest essayist for The Photo Review; animation art correspondent for InToon Magazine; and an editorial / marketing communications consultant for both nonprofit and private sector clients.

Entries by Joan K. Smith

From Killer Looks to No-Kill to Nabbing a Kitten Killer: The Barbi Twins Connect the Dots to Save Animals

(2) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 6:07 PM

What do stray cats and the ocean have to do with each other?

Quite a bit in the current work of Shane and Sia Barbi, better known as the Barbi Twins. The blockbuster Playboy cover models and vegan...

Read Post

Actor Ken Wahl's Second Calling: Animals for Disabled Vets

(3) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 12:15 PM

The Golden Globe-winning actor Ken Wahl -- perhaps best known for his starring role in the Wiseguy series, which still has a strong cult following, and was recently named by Esquire as one of the top 10 cop dramas of all time -- has played plenty...

Read Post

Artist Mark Barone's Portrait Project: 5,500 Shelter Dogs Who Are Gone, But Will Never Be Forgotten

(10) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 10:30 AM

Artist Mark Barone wants you to see 5,500 faces that you will never forget.

That number, 5,500, represents the average number of dogs killed in this country's animal "shelters" in a single day (the number of cats killed is nearly double, about 11,000), and when Barone and his partner,...

Read Post

As the 'Mood Swings' Tour Opens, a Conversation With Steely Dan's Donald Fagen

(20) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 5:13 PM


Steely Dan's 2013 tour, fabulously titled "Mood Swings: 8 Miles to Pancake Day" (really!), opens this weekend. Coming on the heels of Donald Fagen's latest solo album, Sunken Condos, and only two years after their last tour, Steely Dan...

Read Post

Catherine Russell: The One Singer You Need to Hear Now

(14) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 5:26 PM

If you don't know of singer Catherine Russell yet, you are missing out on a legend hiding in plain sight. With an astonishingly rich, multi-faceted voice that can swing, lilt, belt, and sweetly croon with equal ease, this gifted vocalist has long been a presence on major concert stages and...

Read Post

Golden Globes, Playboy Centerfolds, and Murder: 'Wiseguy' Ken Wahl's Life Reads Like a Hollywood Script

(14) Comments | Posted March 11, 2013 | 5:07 PM

In 1990, actor Ken Wahl seemed to have it all: A starring role on a critically acclaimed TV show; Emmy nominations; a Golden Globe best actor award; magazine covers, including a "Sexiest Man on TV" citation from US Magazine (a title that he still reacts to with a cringe); movie...

Read Post

Move Over, Romney and Obama: The Barbi Twins' 'Green Tea Diploradical Party' Speaks for the Real 99 Percent

(4) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 9:17 PM

Americans have been inundated with references to percentages in this election season: 1 percent, 99 percent, 47 percent... But these numbers have one thing in common: They refer only to humans. Shane and Sia Barbi, the animal activists, legendary Playboy celebrities, and vegan authors known as the Barbi Twins, would...

Read Post

Once Again, Donald Fagen Delivers

(20) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 7:12 PM

Donald Fagen -- as a solo artist -- is back as of October 16, and this time we only had to wait six years.

2012-10-16-sunkencondosweb.jpgAlthough he's been a steady presence on the concert stage with Steely Dan and the...

Read Post

Famous for Something, Indeed: The Barbi Twins Take Tangible Action for Animal Rights

(14) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 5:27 PM

Fame is a powerful commodity, yet how many celebrities parlay this fame into something that will make a real difference in the world? And beyond that, how many actually go beyond writing a check or lending their endorsement to actually turning their commitment into full-time work?

Shane and Sia...

Read Post

Embroidery, Tech, and Hurricanes: Artist Shelley Spector and Philadelphia's NextFab Studio (PHOTOS)

(3) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 3:25 PM

Cataclysmic forces of nature, man-made disasters, unpredictable episodes of mass destruction: One might expect art inspired by these events to be of a grand and dramatic scale, brimming with emotive energy.

And what about art created using the latest technology and industrial tools? Super slick and hard edged, maybe...

Read Post

Lennoxgate? Outcry for Investigation of Belfast After Lennox's Death

(109) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 1:46 PM

The story of Lennox the dog (background story here) took a final, tragic turn on July 11 when Belfast City Council announced he had been killed, after a desperate legal fight by the family and in spite of a worldwide "Save Lennox" movement. In keeping with the less-than-stellar...

Read Post

One Last Plea to the City of Belfast: Save Lennox and Save Face

(117) Comments | Posted July 8, 2012 | 3:15 PM

The saga of Lennox, the non-aggressive Belfast family pet sentenced to death under the U.K.'s "Dangerous Dogs Act" based not on any misdeed but simply on his appearance as a "Pit Bull Type," has riveted the world, generating over 174,000 signatures on the "Save Lennox" petition, over 20,000...

Read Post

No Justice, No Mercy for Lennox the Dog in Belfast

(120) Comments | Posted June 13, 2012 | 9:36 AM

Last month I wrote about Lennox, the well-behaved Belfast family pet sentenced to death under the U.K.'s breed specific legislation (BSL) because of his resemblance to what is known as a "Pit Bull Type." Supporters have been holding their breath since May 24, when the court declared it...

Read Post

An Outrage in Belfast: The Sad Case of Lennox, the Dog

(67) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 7:50 PM

Those of us living in what we consider free societies often feel secure that if we comply by laws, pay our taxes, and maintain other civic duties we should not live in fear of government officials entering our homes and disrupting our families.

Read Post

Catnip for Steely Dan Fans -- Ten Days at NYC's Beacon

(6) Comments | Posted November 10, 2011 | 11:03 AM

How far would you travel for a concert? How about across the country? Or across the world? It was still September when a gaggle of particularly obsessive music fans descended on New York City from near and far for a singular purpose: The ten-day run of seven Steely Dan concerts...

Read Post

Steely Dan: The Quintessential Studio Act Becomes a Well-Honed Touring Machine

(43) Comments | Posted July 5, 2011 | 1:12 PM

This weekend, Steely Dan, that indefinable and technically sophisticated bundle of rock, jazz, and whatever else strikes the fancy of principals Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, kicked off the "Shuffle Diplomacy" tour, their seventh U.S. tour since 2000, with a group of band veterans who are as well...

Read Post

What Would Joyce Do? Ulysses Revisited -- In Comic Form

(1) Comments | Posted June 15, 2011 | 4:22 PM

Here's the thing about great ideas: sometimes the most brilliant ones are those that seem, in proposal form, to be the most ludicrous, counterintuitive, and totally harebrained.

Take one of the world's greatest works of literature, James Joyce's Ulysses, a weighty work of intricate depth that displays language at...

Read Post

Simon Faithfull's Limbo: Mobile App as Anti-Heroic Art

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2011 | 5:34 PM

In art and myth, the journey is usually a heroic quest, dripping with metaphor. But what if a journey involves, instead of a highly-sought destination and revelation, simply bouncing between ports in the most banal way possible, like on the cross-channel ferry between Dover and Calais?

Read Post

The Artistic Rebuttal Project: Making the Case for Art, One Non-Believer at a Time

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 4:52 PM

Anger can be a powerful motivator.

In artist Amy Scheidegger's case, it was a group of obnoxious undergrads on the subway in West Philadelphia who spurred her to action. They were discussing college majors, and one made the highly educated observation "Art is, like, the most...

Read Post

Jon Herington's New Frontier: Renowned Steely Dan Guitarist Discusses His Musical Journey

(6) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 11:53 AM

The reality of being an artist, with few exceptions, involves having a day job, something that pays the rent and, most importantly, buys the stuff -- paint, guitar strings, reeds, canvas, whatever -- that makes the self-expression you live for possible. For too many, the day job is a generally...

Read Post