The Blue Raccoon

Friday, September 07, 2007

Cheers! It's First Friday in Richmond, Vee-ay!

Not that it needs syllable of promotion from me, but in the public spirit of the Blue Raccoon, I try to give the billion-eyed audience a glimpse of life here.

I don't know these two women; they were participating in a First Friday probably five years ago, and I've always liked their smiles. This was when the Three Miles Gallery operated where Tarrant's Cafe is now, which was Tarrant's Drugstore for decades before. The clientel included the mayor and various city officials who'd drag chairs out to the sidewalk and engage in the fine Southern art of shooting the breeze. They called themselves, when so assembled, The Gutter Club. Whew. Did you get all that?

How's this for a pairing of Wild Enthusiasm and I've Seen Too Much Art? This again was at
Three Miles Gallery. At any rate, this is all part of Curated Culture's successful endeavor
to fill the streets of downtown Richmond with the catalyst being arts and culture. And it works.

With clear skies and fair weather predicted on this particular Friday, if past history is any guide, some 5,000ish and probably more people will amble and meander along old Broad and its tributary streets where they'll wander in and out of galleries, listen to live music and view other performances -- there's even a cabaret at TheatreIV tonight and the Art Cheerleaders will be out and about, selling baked goods. And this isn't even the official opening of the season; that comes on October 5.

Then, the River City Burners will swishing their censors and torches around, in front of Gallery 5. And there'll at the time accompanying this and assorted activity--again, this is October 5, " the world-class Richmond Symphony Brass Quintet and the grooves of the hottest band in Richmond - the No BS Brass Band!"

The Arts Walk has become so popular that now we have street preachers come to stand on the corners and harangue us for our sinfulness and remind us that red wine and cheese are markers on the stepping stones of eternal damnation. I've seen this guy in action several times, and for the life of me can't figure out if his dynamic vocal gyrations constitute performance art or if he's real. If the latter, it makes no real sense; but we are living on the an outer loop of the Bible Belt, and, well, we all know art-making is subversive and atheistic. Just ask all those Papist Renaissance artists who were named for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If you'd like to watch writer Mark Holmberg mix it up with one of these sidewalk religionists, here it is.

And, oh, by the way. You can also gander at actual art made by actual aritists, and even buy some, and we wish that you would. This image comes from, and that's the 1708 Gallery. This month, Marilee Keys provides Nature a chance to present subtle expression, and demonstrates the best possible use for junkmail. You just need to go.

You may see shifty characters like these two below. That's me, left, and poet/raconteur Kelly Lane, right, one December Friday in 2005 of all years. I think this at Art6. Um, but by the lights, maybe its 1708. This picture was taken by Julia Bethel and was placed on the First Fridays image gallery roster. I don't quite have as big a double chin now.

And just because, this is the general area of the cockpit for First Friday action from an image of some months ago I first ran across on Richmond City Watch. Shame on me that I don't have the date. This is Brook Road, North Adams and Broad streets, on the Jackson Ward (north) side of Broad looking south. Note the stage getting set up at center. The turreted domed structure, 107 W. Broad St., was built at the Masonic Temple in 1888, Jackson Gott, architect. It's now the Renaissance Center, with party and reception venues and apartments and offices -- and a boxing ring in the basement. The big flatiron shaped structure at right is the Emrick Flats, which long ago housed a Chevrolet dealership and is today new residential.

If this looks like the kind of place you'd like to move into; well, you can. On this very night several refurbished buildings are conducting open houses, as is related by the Carver Jackson Ward News blog. These are Emrick Flats, Mother Herbert's Condos and Sanctuary Condos.

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