Thursday, October 18, 2007

High Art to Low Trash -- A Slippery, Albeit Fun, Slope

Halloween is upon us, which spurs both highbrow art and trashy kitsch, and I'll run that gauntlet over the next few days. Tomorrow -- Friday -- is the quarterly Gallery Night, and you can check the Journal-Sentinel for picks -- Mary Louise Schumacher's picks usually don't disappoint. So rather than parrot her, I'm going to plug some of the unofficial offerings going on tomorrow night.

  • We begin with Shameless Self Promotion. My photo collective, the Cream City Photogs, are proud to be a part of Fear 4, the annual Halloween Show at the Art Bar, 722 E Burleigh Street. It opens Friday and goes through November 8. If you're familiar with the Art Bar, then you know there's a huge metal/magnetic panel across the lower west wall that's used for a number of purposes. Our group has filled that wall with our take on the theme of Fear. Yes, there are cemetries and ghastly looking ghouls, but we also dug in deep for some of those emotional fears we have, some of which can be crippling. If I do say so myself, I think we put together a show varied in subject matter, technique, and feeling and covered the topic broadly. Since this is the magnetic wall, none of the work is matted or framed --- just stuck up there with magnets -- so it's good ol' affordable (but still fine) art. I'll be there on Friday night for the opening, from around 6 ish to 9 ish, and some of my colleagues will be there, so if you want to "meet the artists," this is your chance. Plus, this is sort of a warm-up for us: in February we'll be showing (matted, framed) work through the entire Art Bar on a variety of subjects and topics.

    The rest of the Art Bar will continue on the theme, and I'm embarassed to say I don't know how. But I do know this: I've never been bored or disappointed in any of the work that Art Bar proprietor Don Krause gets in there, so I'm here to tell you it's still worth a stop to see how local emerging artists communicate their fear.


  • The River Rat Gallery (which can be anywhere) has put together a show with the theme of the Old West/Cowboys and Indians at, well, where else than the Palimino, a place where you can get down home cooking and never leave hungry, even if you're a vegetarian. DJ Lemonie Fresh will have paintings on display, and the Boulevard Ensemble's Chris Ward will have a interesting quilt. Ward's work has always been a wonderful combination of genuine handiwork (be it cake decorating, quiltmaking or pillow embroidery) sprinkled with a healthy dose of cynicism -- something she was doing well before it became hip (almost commonplace) to do so. She fits in nicely with curator Jimmy Von Milwaukee's annual Christmas Craft shows (where I saw --and to this day regret not buying-- ornaments that featured roaches) with her work, so I'm looking forward to see what she puts forth here. Other notable contributor: photographer John Shimon, and well, I could go on, but why waste bandwidth when there's Judith Ann Moriarty to tell you about it in this week's online Vital Source?


  • After the visual art, it's time for words and chords at Vnuk's. Words provided by a gaggle of horror writers ready to sign their latest books for you, including Chief bassist Dave Benton plugging his appearance in an anthology of erotic horror. Then he'll have to shake out the cramps from signing so many books, because then he has to strap on the 4(5) strings and rock out at Chief's official CD release. Also on stage Friday night will be Beatallica, a band I've been meaning to see for awhile. They're another in a series of bands that decided, "Hey, you know something? These Lennon-McCartney compositions are so good they can stand up to any treatment you throw at them." And this treatment is obviously the metal one.


  • There's plenty going on Saturday night, but I don't care because I'm going to Trash Fest! Have I lost count, or is this really the twenty-fifth Trash Fest? Whatever it is, it is a celebration of the complete opposite of all that was good and holy about Friday night. Expect to see the floor covered literally with trash at Points East. Prepare to see some of the trashiest bands you ever encountered -- from usual suspects like The Electric Assholes and the Nervous Virgins to newcomers Pillowfight, to a handful of parody bands that will cross the line of taste, or your money back. (Or not. "I'm sorry, but this band was of too high quality. I want my money back." Yeah right.). Among those parody bands is a group including my DH that will musically tell you, "Well and Good, Beatallica. But we were into Devo and Death Metal. So there." Anyway, some of us Prom Queens will be there to emcee this whole thing as well, so I guess this is a touch of more shameless self promotion. And for me to be involved of this at all begs the question, "Have you no shame?" No. Not really.

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