Saturday, December 4, 2010

"You're Everywhere Good"

Noah sold out, Kate shone in feathers, and album art stole the show.

Danny unloaded, Chris' Saturn Returned and Ashley showed me how to screen print.

It may have been the first really cold First Friday art walk in a while, but what's a little chill on a night where there was so much affordable art (think gifting) to see and I ran into so many people I know?

Besides, I knew better than to wear the Vienna tights, so I'm responsible for going for compliments over warmth.

At 1708 Gallery's "Small Wonder" show, there were scaled-down works by so many familiar names: a lyrical Tom Chenoweth metal sculpture, a Grace Teeples combine, a Chuck Scalin tablet.

I wasn't the least surprised to arrive at three small skull pieces, all marked sold.

Without a moment's hesitation, I knew they must have been Noah Scalin's (and indeed they had been).

Over at ADA Gallery were four large pieces by Chris Mahonski, all suitably priced for the holidays at $1,000-$10,000.

Price tag aside, I was taken by his "Saturn Return," a walnut veneer tower stacked with every National Geographic magazine since January 1970.

I could crouch down and see the 70s magazines, but the 21st-century ones were completely lost to my vertically-challenged self.

While admiring it, a guy walked up behind me and leaned over me to say, "That would be great in your living room."

Since I turned around to see a guy who has never seen my living room, I have to assume he was flirting with me (I'll get this yet).

We began talking about the old-school value of National Geographic teaching kids about naked bodies and sex (you know, your typical conversation with a stranger) and how unfortunate it is that today's kids have to rely on Internet porn rather than glossy photographs of natives for ogling.

Peter Fowler's show "Illuminations" at Ghostprint Gallery was a series of Impressionistic pastels updated by the use of gold and silver-leaf paint.

Several of these had also been sold, too, so obviously it was a good night for an artist to be hanging in RVA.

Over at Metro Space Gallery, Kate Horne's show of animal drawings, paintings and sculptural heads was perfectly punctuated by her large dog napping in the center of the gallery floor.

Kate, ever the showman, was splendid in her native American headdress; as we stood talking, two guys walked in and one saluted her with, '"Great headdress!"

Kate only smiled demurely back.

Talking to Mark, the owner of next door's Metro Sound and Music store, I found out that he's opening a satellite location in Carytown this weekend.

Seems he's been looking for a second location for twenty years and the perfect one just opened up over in our shopping mecca.

It'll be on the same block as Guitar Works, so music lovers will have a destination for all things music now.

Mark carries so many vintage instruments that the shop will appeal to music fans as much as true musicians.

Who wouldn't want to admire 100-year old instruments, some signed by the maker? I'm already planning a field trip.

Gallery 5 was as crowded as I've ever seen it; part of the reason was the DJ collective Cherry Bomb was hosting an exhibit of album cover art.

A host of local talent, both musical and artistic, had been asked to submit a cover for sale to benefit Art 180.

Singer Julie Karr had crocheted hers, photographers PJ Sykes and Melissa Koch naturally submitted photos, and DJ Sara Gossett's was an intricate 60s-looking drawing reminiscent of one of her vintage dresses.

One DJ's submissions was an Elvis Costello cover with every date she's ever played that record notated on the front; it was part album/part journal and I loved the history it revealed.

It was DJ Talia who came over to compliment me on being everywhere, saying she and her beau know they've walked into the right place when they see me (and, believe me, they're far hipper than me).

After a much too long wait in the restroom line, I finally asked the guy in front of me if he'd checked the door to make sure someone was actually in there.

"I don't think that's a bathroom,"he explained.

"Wrong," I informed him. "I've peed in here a hundred times" and waltzed into the bathroom he'd been standing outside of for 15 minutes.

Do I have to teach these kids everything?

Leaving the madness of G5 with a Captain Slappy's bacon-wrapped dog firmly in hand (Chef Charley had three, so I didn't feel too bad), I walked to get my car and head to the other art walk on Main Street. Studio 23 was having a printmaking demonstration in addition to opening a new show by Stuart Dumois.

Although I'm a huge fan of prints, I'd never seen them made and after my recent visit to their mix tape exhibit, Ashley had suggested coming back tonight.

I watched as she screened dozens of holiday cards (you'll know if you get one from me because the Season's Greetings are growing out of the reindeer's antlers) and told me about the recent donations to the collective's impressive array of equipment.

Dumois' art was graphic and bright, whether portraiture or a scene of regurgitation.

My favorite eye-catching piece was the female figure curled up on a blue background, with the words, "Boo hoo hoo" underneath her.

Boo hoo indeed.

And then it was time to move on from visual art to performance art in the form of Crispin Hellion Glover, presented by the James River Film Society.

Waiting in vain for a friend to arrive, I saw a cross section of Richmond arriving: DJs, book sellers, researchers, parade organizers, musicians, wine reps, restaurant people, artists, filmmakers and Glover fanatics.

In other words, lots of people I knew.

With no fanfare, Glover came out and began his narrated slide show, essentially him reading bits of some of the books he's written.

But he is Crispin Glover, so his books are, shall we say, odd.

"Studies in Rat-Catching for the Use of Schools," "Backward Swing: A Lesson to be Learned," and "Round My House" were aided by his dramatic retelling and expressive hand gestures pointing to the pages and illustrations of these books.

After that portion of the show, a member of the audience yelled out, "Hey, can we get rid of those two dudes down in front?" referring to the two idiots who had clapped fanatically at the wrong moments, laughed inappropriately and just generally made a nuisance of themselves throughout the entire first half.

The guys yelled out that they were fans, but their obnoxiousness in trying to put themselves into the center of attention was wearing on much of the audience's nerves.

The two had been just behind me in line waiting to get in and as the line began to move, a nearby couple had said, "Let's sit anywhere but near those two." It was true.

Glover intended to show his second film next but by mistake showed his first, "What Is It?" instead.

Made using actors with Down's Syndrome to portray people who did not have the condition, it was made expressly for the purpose of making the audience uncomfortable.

Glover called it a "reactive piece."

Afterwards, he apologized for showing the wrong film and asked that the trailer for his second movie, "It is Fine. Everything is Fine" be shown, followed by a question and answer period, a misnomer for a protracted discussion with a man who loves words.

To be clear, a question and answer period with Crispin Hellion Glover is a long-term proposition.

He is the kind of actor/filmmaker/mind with volumes to say on almost every subject.

He spent a good amount of time on how his resentment of corporate film making led him to attempt a film that would address cultural taboos and complexities.

He railed about the dumbing down of movies and the reluctance of the Hollywood machine to feed the audiences anything but pablum.

His insistence on not condescending to his audience or dictating their interpretation took up a good part of Glover's time on stage.

Interestingly, he said he takes the most flak about the abuse of snails in the first movie, not for using actors with Down's syndrome or even including a racist KKK song in it.

Of course, audiences for this man's movies are not the typical audience by a long stretch, either.

Glover continued to take questions for hours and the audience slowly began to trickle out although the devoted remained in place, rapt.

I don't want to say it was late when I left, but NYD's dance party was winding down and Secco was dark.

But then again, how often does the Hellion show up in RVA on a Friday night?

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