The Blue Raccoon

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Weekend Enjoying My Love for Richmond
And my annoyance with Firefox or Blogspot or my Mac, I can't figure out which

Image by Cameron Lewis via Marionette Myspace site.

This weekend, batching it while Amie was down at the Basel Artpalooza in Miami, was marked by great pedestrian pleasures, cultural feasting, frustration with my computer, and attempts to ready the decks to plow into research and writing mode for the next book -- and sleeplessness. I'll deal with these in vague order.

The High Art Hike

Image via Main Art Supply.

I started off from home after a dinner of soup and the last cold beer in the fridge, on foot, for the Main Street galleries. I was early in getting onto the sidewalks by 7:21 but had to make time in order to cover the territory.

Stopped into the Artemis Gallery and was attended by bevy of beauties who administrated the wine and sandwich dispersal. Then, without even knowing what I was to see, I clambered up the spiral stair to Main Art's exhibit rooms -- where I was caught on tape (see below, via Main Art's site) speaking with writer and poet Michelle Seurat. The show is of photographs from the collection of long-time Richmonder George Cruger.

The eclectic assortment of known and unknown photographers spanning centuries and nationalities was quite surprising and quite worth spending time with.

Among the notable images were women workers in an airplane factory somewhere in the United States during World War I -- the earlier generation of Rosie the Riveter; Harold L. Harvey's erotic portrait of a woman smoking -- dislike the habit but there is a powerful psycho-sexual tug when seeing a pretty woman releasing a ribbon of smoke; Nickolas Murray's portrait of writer Willa Cather; an unknown who capured pro-Juarez clergyman kneeling in prayer just before his execution in 1927; a stunning color image of Jackson Ward/Richmonder Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson in mid-step during his role in the Hot Mikado; the film-still like Sailor and a Girl at Sammy's Bar in New York by Lisette Model; a uniformed teenaged girl pumping Esso gas in 1941, Service With A Smile; a dramatic view by Joe Clark of a 1948 Baptism; the Edward Hopper-esque Third Avenue El with Gum Machines of 1951 by Esther Bubley.

A special hometown fave was that of artist Myron Helfgott posing in 1981 with his high school basketball team "then and now" using the old photograph and below it a "new" one with his frends at the time arranged in the same positions and Myron standing in the coach's place. He sold post cards of the image and a clerk, ringing up a sale, remarked to Myron, "You're the only one who hasn't changed."

From there I ambled down Main to Broad Street--cutting through Monroe Park and recalling how not long ago this is something one didn't attempt after dark. The night was pleasant, somewhat misty, but for the first week of December, alright for art walking.

I partook of hot cider on the sidewalk by 1708 and Quirk, talking with various folks about history and the book. I purchased this from the lovely (and with child) Kristin Hott who was there for her Not With These Hands non-violence organization. 1708's small works show was quite crowded; not prime for viewing the work displayed -- and one bathroom was working at the time.

I went over to Transmission to see Amanda Marie paintings. These resemble, on the surface, those quirky print wallpapers for children's rooms from the 1940s into the 1960s, or line drawing illustrations from young adults books of that period, like The Happy Hollisters. But Amanda Marie carries these off with, to be expected, a hip ironic twist. The image below is from denversyntax.

Transmission, located in an old storefront just off Broad on Brook Road, is a small exhibition space, the kind where in such a crowded situation, I never quite know what to do with my hands. This anxiety is heightened by how every pocket in my leather Tiergarten flea market-bought leather jacket is ripped, except for the top right breast, just the right size for cell phone totage. In the new year, I'm getting my pockets sewn.

Anyway, I don't know if Ms. Marie was present on the scene and I was too self-conscious about myself--feeling like the lumbering big-shoed clown--to ask. I scurried out and headed for the Bonsai at Gallery5.

The 400-year-old version wasn't there because when they were delivered to the space it was snowing. And, I learned, they were only display for three days due to their delicate natures. Still, at least one was 95 years old, a few in their 60s, and the immense responsibility of tending to these amazing plants--how this act could form a portion of a ritualized life--is easy to see. And you'd have to will them to somebody who'd know how to take care of it, elsewise you'd not be assured of its continued existence, past yours.

I marveled at a miniature grove of willow leaf ficus, 35-years-old, and one young woman remarked to her companion, "I want to go frolic in it." You half-expected to see little people giggling and playing in their tiny forest.

At Ghostprint I was gladdened to see works of figuration and narrative by artists like Thomas van Auken. This is his portrait of Sarah Ochs, of 2001, from his website.

Saturday was a wonderful day of pedestrian pleasure. I pottered about the house until time for me hie out of for my Book People signing, left at 2 p.m. and got there at 2:58. I love the simplicity of just locking my door and walking out, no fuss, no muss, though I did get nervous as time was rolling on and called the store when I was at Bunting Avenue for fear I'd be late. The Patterson-Three Chopt bus blew past me, as my back was turned, and that annoyed me, too.

Still, the brisk journey did we well and I felt quite fine passing the mixture of older houses, circa World War II infill and admiring decorations and architecture on my way.

My good Richmond friend and Mutation veteran Isaac Regelson came by and we chatted for a while.

I left the store at 5 p.m. and was back in Carytown by 6:10, and concluded I didn't want to take the time to return home because I wanted to see XF's Disconnect dance program. Former Firehouse staffer Jessica Fulbright was in this show, as was Melanie, with whom I had the great pleasure of dancing with at Opus event a few weeks ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed the antic, satiric, athletic interpretations with assays of disco, modern and eclectic styles. It was more of a theatrical piece than just dance and the audience was part of the show, really. Wonderful.

Then I was going home and passed by The Camel when I saw the line up of the evening's bands and Marionette was supposed to play at 8 p.m. But it was already 8:30 and peering through the window I could see mike stands and instruments, but no band. I actually got to Allen and Broad and peered into the lit windows of the 900 square feet condos selling there for $130,000 and though, hey, if I was 22 again, I'd buy one...when I my head nudged me to get back to the Camel.

Glad I did. None of the bands had started playing, I got a triple set of Tunnels and Bridges, Langley Hollins and my favorite, the post-punk, folk, creative collaborative of Marionette, complete with their video back drops. I'd love to get them to do something for the next book. And red-headed Heather, her mistral voice, and tambourine.

I returned home, quite satiated by my days experiences, and foot sore, but in the best way.

Oh, Richmond, I do love you.

[I will continue my entry, provided I can get onto something other than Firefox or Safari which are crashing on my home machine.]

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home