Wednesday, June 29, 2011

St Augustine, FL - First Friday Art Walks

AGOSA galleries will be OPEN until at least 9pm for the celebration of the festive and fun July First Friday Artwalk!

Enjoy local art, complimentary refreshments and live music during the festive First Friday Artwalk! Call 904.829.0065 or 904.825.4577 for more information. AGOSA represents the finest St Augustine galleries with 15 member galleries featuring local art, glass, pottery, jewelry and more. This is a FREE event and everyone is welcome!

First Friday AGOSA Artwalk
Friday, July 1st, 2011
5pm to 9pm

John Thompson - Down the Rabbit Hole

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Building the CT Tribe

Radio Stevie, DJ for the Southern Connecticut State University station WSIN, is the founder of Create.Share.Unite, an effort to provide an organized gathering of CT tribers.  The group has recently been welcomed into the fold of one of the most creative spots in the state, The Space in Hamden. 

The Space has been a music mecca, mostly, for local artists.  There is the main performance area, the 'coffee house', that is all-ages.  Here musicians can have their live shows recorded while building their fan bases.  There used to be open mic's every Tuesday.  Those have been moved to the newest member of The Space complex, The Outer Space which has a beer and wine license and caters to the 21+ crowd.  Above The Space are the vintage store and the recording studio.  Over The Outer Space are offices which are being dedicated to art related tenants. 

So the combination of The Space complex and Create.Share.Unite makes perfect sense.  Create.Share.Unite will meet on the last Tuesday of each month.  So tonight's the night for June. 

For more information visit:
The Official Radio Stevie 
Create.Share.Unite on Facebook
The Space

Monday, June 27, 2011

Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade - 7/1-2/2011

Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade
Company Overview
The LOJ Fantasy Masquerade Ball is a weekend of enchantment. Inspiration and fantasy meld under mask and cloak where nobles dance in the Faerie Court and legends take precious breath. Here is where our dreams are born. . .The Labyrinth

The 14th annual LOJ Masquerade Ball will be held on July 1st and 2nd, 2011, and this year, we have a larger realm to explore. The Magnificent Park Plaza, Los Angeles, CA, a fully restored historical venue for two incredible nights of magic and enchantment, welcomes the Masquerade with a bright new grandeur.
The Labyrinth of Jareth is a Masquerade Ball based on Venetian tradition, Fantasy Stories, Celtic faerie and goblin lore, and stories of fantasy and wonder. Lost within the borders of chaos and light, nobles dance among the Fey while goblins wait with hungry eyes in the wings of their court. Some of the most amazing fantasy artists, costumers and special effects crews participate in bringing a diverse host of creatures and mythologies alive each year.
General Information
This Masquerade is one of the few classical events open to ANYONE who has dreamed of a surrealistic fantasy fading into a single night of dance and revelry. Music and visuals heighten your senses as the night shields the Goblin Court and the chambers surrounding it. . . Celebrating our the Labyrinth masquerade and pooling together all that we've learned, the artists of Sypher Studios continue to proudly offer this night to those with the imagination and heart to enjoy it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vans Warped Tour - tribes organic and contrived

The 17th Vans Warped Tours kicks off today in Dallas, TX.  This year's line-up seems to have a more pop flair to it with bands such as 3OH3, Simple Plan, Family Force Five, Gym Class Heroes and Jack's Mannequin.  Paramore will grace the mainstage for four stops.  There are plenty of hardcore, scream-o, ska and great punk bands too.  But the point of including this event on the Art Tribes blog is because with 80 buses, 20+ eighteen-wheelers and all the rag-tag vans and trailers bringing up the rear...THIS is probably the biggest, most complex, well organized gypsy caravan North America sees.

Unlike most tribes, whose members gravitate towards each other based on common interests and goals, Warped Tour has both contrived and organic elements.  Organically, everyone on the tour is there for the music, believes in various social, environmental and medical causes, and likes to travel.  Most are ok with the lack of major creature comforts over periods of days such as showers, laundry facilities and a comfortable bed.  As the gypsy king and queen, Kevin Lyman and his wife set examples by living the same life as everyone else if not moreso.

The organic tinkers, travellers, and minstrals send requests, compete in contests and, sometimes, hunt Kevin down to plead their cases to join his cirque to wander the U.S. and Canada from late June to mid-August each year.  Some musicians have become mainstays, groups such as NOFX/Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Less Than Jake and The Casualities.  There are also the new kids that include bands recently signed to majors that have become really popular with the 12-30 crowd and then there are the unknowns looking for that break who play the "Kevin says" stage for meals and assisting in various ways around the tour.  Most of the non-profits are fairly well established; The Truth campaign, Peta2, Boarding for Breast Cancer, Music Saves Lives, etc. 

Then there is the contrived part of the caravan.  These are mainly musicians who are invited by the production team.  Many are headliners or play the larger secondary stages.  Most are well-known and are the names that will draw the crowd.  Considering how many people there are to feed, vehicles to maintain and all the other expenses that go with this enterage, they need to sell tickets, merch and concessions to fund it.  Some of these groups and solo acts are Warped veterans so they meld in with the troupe with no issues.  Others are artists who came out of left field (myspace, facebook, ilike, etc) got a sweet record deal but have zero street cred.  And then there's even others who have done time on the tour and/or been van bands who forget where they came from once they do become popular and show up with an entitled attitude. 

I hope some day to actually get some real time inside the workings of Warped Tour as I see the potential for some real 'flies in the ointment' or 'oil and water' with the mixing of an organic tribe with a contrived tribe.  If I get press again this year for my stop, I am going to have my eyes open and will have questions for artists, volunteers, and staff about the social condition of the tribe.  I'm also going to be watching for members of other tribes in this area and their interactions.  Having now experienced the cross-overs, suspecting they were there all along, it will be interesting to see the meetings from this perspective.

For more information please visit VANS Warped Tour 2011  If you're as addicted to your Android or iPhone as I am, there are apps that provide dates, line-ups and ticket information.  Please come out and support your local bands playing "Kevin Says" and all the artists and non-profits who give up their summers to bring great music and causes to you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When street games & art collide


Time: June 18, 2011 at 6pm to July 12, 2011 at 7pm
Location: Pandemic Gallery
Street: 37 Broadway
City/Town: Brooklyn NY
Website or Map:
Event Type: art, show
Organized By: Pandemic Gallery

Like the site says 'Probably the greatest game you haven't played yet. Based on the rest of the description this sounds like a fun game and an equally fun exhibit.  So if you're in the Brooklyn vicinity,  stop in and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dialect Gallery at Lightning In A Bottle

Dialect is a beautiful gallery located on 6th St. in Los Angeles.  They made themselves known to me when they tweeted their appreciation of my interview with Hans Haveron.  Hans has shown at Dialect and holds a special spot in their hearts.

Like Haveron, the gallery packed up their wares and headed into the mountains over Memorial Day Weekend to join the tribal gathering known as Lightning In A Bottle.  Now how, you may ask, can an art gallery provide a proper facility for the works and the staff at an outdoor event?  Well, check out this video to learn the answer.

DIALECT from Howard Kan on Vimeo.​​​

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spiderman-Turn Off The Dark...Not Your Mom's musical

Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano in a scene from “SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark” © Jacob Cohl
 So the fact that I found Spiderman-Turn Off The Dark exciting and entertaining makes sense.  Most of the 'critics' who work for big snooty papers like NYT and WSJ say it sucks.  But if you're going to compare it to Streetcar Named Desire or Our Town for play-writing?  Yes, the script is lame...IT'S BASED ON COMIC BOOKS PEOPLE!! If you want to put it in a wrestling match with any other musical's score?  Seriously, for me the only show that ever really had great songs was Chorus Line.  All the old Rogers,Hammerstein, Hart and Gershwin stuff all sounded the same and Andrew Lloyd Webber really had one hit with "Superstar" because EVERYTHING after that is the same score...over (Cats), and over (Whistle Down The Wind) and over (Starlight Express) again.

Lets start with the score.  I was nervous.  U2 has worn on me over the years.  Back in the Joshua Tree days I loved Bono but he's grown into an old, pompous ass.  The Edge however has never lost that distinct 'edginess'.  And it is that signature guitar riffing that barrels through on more than one song in the Spiderman repertoire.  Heck, these Irish rockers were even pretentious enough to include one of U2's biggest hits, "Hello", in this final rework of Broadway's biggest monstrosity to date.  Did I like it? Yes!  Why?  Because it isn't "like every other musical".  The style of the songs don't try to be rock, they just are.  'Superstar; tried too hard to be a "rock opera" unlike "Tommy" (which...I know was a concept recorded album before it was even a movie) which was organically just that.  The Spiderman score sort of fits the designated criteria with the love song, the power ballad, the big dance number, the huge finale's the songs.  Even "Bullying By The Numbers", the cheesy dance scene with all the one is wearing tap shoes or a straw boater nor do you get that feel from the song.  It's definitely "Not Your Mom's Musical". 

As far as the technical aspects of this show?  They go from 21st century technology to 1950's electro-mechanics.  The set piece graphics borrow the angled perspective that is part of traditional comic book art.  Lots of black, gray and white with RED and YELLOW and BLUE being punched at you to make you gasp.  Truly a "wow factor".
A scene from “SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark”
© Jacob Cohl

Many have written about the craziness of the rigging for all the 'flying' called for in this show.  Even to watch it up close with the eye of an engineer, this shit is unreal.  What the 'flight crew' achieves with harnesses, cables, weights and other weird mechanical devices, has them swooping within a few feet of the tops of the heads of sections of the orchestra to soaring to landing pads on the edge of the upper balcony.  At one point I, literally, had the Green Goblin in my face (8th row center). 

Then there are the subtle nuances of the electric "El" train that travels on its little track above the stage.  I will say one thing that could be worked on is the fire escape element for "If The World Ends".  I'm a purist so if you're sitting on a fire escape that is lag-bolted to a brick shouldn't swing when Reeve or Jennifer move.  They need to maybe drop a couple of weighted cables to the floor of the stage to keep the rig still.  But other than that?  Lightweight fabric backlit with red and orange with a fan under it to cause the flames of a burning building? Awesome.  Using hydraulics to angle the center of the stage to provide perspective (big effect introduced by Cats in the 80's). Perfection.  But then to take those mechanics and hydraulics to the next level raising and lowering backdrop pieces along with creating the huge Chrysler building set for the final fight between Spidey and the Goblin...totally badass.  Add a lighting design that is beyond words and sound that belongs in an arena pop or rock show, visually and sonically your senses will be on overload (note to parents, please provide ear plugs or other sound attenuation for children under 12. It gets very loud in some parts and the explosions are really loud).

Costuming goes from simple to downright nuts.  Carnage comes the closest to his comic book version after the web thrower himself.  The Green Goblin will scare the shit out of you while Electro and his handheld pyro-technics is 'shocking'.  Aunt May and Uncle Ben are still the 1960's versions of Stan Lee's creations while chorus members span era's from the 50's to the 21st century.  Bad guys and victims are clad in three-dimensional versions of old-school comic book pen and ink drawings while Peter Sports a two-town denim jacket that mirrors the "Spidey suit".

Patrick Page in a scene from
“SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark”
© Jacob Cohl

As for the acting?  It's over-the-top in some parts, not emoted enough in others but at the end of the day...IT'S SPIDERMAN!!  It's a comic book brought to the stage.  Reeve Carney's rock chops are a necessity so the fact that he had to learn how to act and dance too?  He did a damned decent job.  Can he improve?  Yes.  He and Damiano need to work on making the love scenes a little more believable.  On the flipside, Isabel Keating, Patrick Page and Michael Mulheren kill it.  Keating plays three roles-Aunt May, the teacher and a Bugle reporter.  She is reserved and mushy as May, sassy as the teacher and snarky as the reporter.  Page is superb as both Norman Osborn and The Green Goblin.  Flamboyant, fierce and downright frightening with a biting wit that has all the adults laughing (yeah,  I'll venture even the tightasses from the Times).  That Patrick can face-act through the mask and all that makeup is really his crowning achievement in this show and if it doesn't get him a Tony nod, I'll be shocked.  As for Mulheren?  He IS J.J. Jameson, brimming over with bombastic energy teetering on the edge of a major coronary any second.  He too is the source of a lot of the show's comedy.

I guess, without really knowing the subjectivity of rating stars for live theater, I'd give it three.  It needs work.  Parts need to be polished up like being able to see an exiting flyer still when the next one enters.  Mary Jane needs a shot of caffeine directly to a vein and the chorus should spending more time with the dance captain and a case of Red Bull.  I think those things will work themselves out as the show continues.  I'd like to give a special shout out to Chris Tierney for not only returning to the show but continuing to fly his little heart out.  He also is impressive as Grim (Kraven) Hunter even though that part doesn't involve a lot.

The show is definitely worth the ticket prices.  Between still paying for some unbelievable set pieces, like the "Goblin globe", the power bill to run this thing, technicians and their maintenance of everything along with the poor souls who have to clean up all the paper "webs" at the end of every performance...this show costs an assload of money to keep running.  But it is worth every cent if you are into superheroes, comic books, blockbuster spectacles and decent rock music.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Buildings as art - Architectural Legacies

Core77 - "That's gonna leave a mark..."

This article was published on 6/17/2011 as a commentary on legendary buildings in conjunction with IBM's centennial anniversary.  Many artists create through structural sketching and/or blueprint drawing.  Engineers spending their regular work hours in SolidWorks are as much fine artists as the girl doing sidewalk pen and ink portraits.  And those who do not create this art sometimes put it at the top of the list of works of art they love to experience, both interiors and exteriors. 

Credit: Core77
So even the "shirt and tie" crowd are members of the tribe.  Share some of your favorite structural art. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hans Haveron - moving toward the light

Mural done for Lightning In A Paint Can

I recently had the chance to sit down with Hans Haveron, fine artist from West Hollywood.  Haveron is another one of the post-modern gypsies who now reside in Southern California.  He had just returned from "Lightning In A Bottle", the annual gathering of the tribes that takes place in Silverado, CA.

Hans was still very excited about his time at Oak Canyon Ranch.  At the event he created a five-foot "live mural"...a piece that is part performance, part painting for the "Lightning In A Paint Can" fundraiser for The DoArt Foundation.  I asked what surface he used for this work.  He said that he usually packs some large canvases and a staple gun.  The fabric can be stretched between trees, mounted to a wood frame or a convenient wall.  He went on to say that he has traveled to other countries and just picked up trash found lying around and painted on it.

Just before "Lightning In A Bottle", Hans had been commissioned to paint a tour bus for Felix Lighting.  The project was completed in one day along with Sean Griffin using "cans and caps", graffiti art.  I asked if there was anything he hasn't painted on, knowing he has covered slices of trees, factory windows and the bus.  Haveron responded that he's sure there are things he hasn't painted yet but he has worked on a fair variety of things including "planes, trains, and automobiles...and boats."
Tour bus for Felix Lighting - collaboration with Sean Griffin
 Where did all of this gorgeous art start?  Haveron ran away from his home in Texas at the age of fifteen.  On the road he picked up a spray can and did a lot of graffiti art.  Eventually he added bristle and airbrushes to his arsenal.

After landing in West Hollywood, Hans did many things to keep life and limb together.  Some commercial art, modeling and make-up.  As he integrated himself into the WeHo Tribe, he connected with groups such as Lucent Dossier, the burlesque cirque troupe.  He designed the airbrush, fantasy style make-up that they continue to use today, after Hans stopped working with them.  "Imitation is a sincere form of flattery" is how Hans prefers to look at it rather than being angry over being ripped-off. 

Cassidy Haley with body art
by Hans Haveron

Haveron worked for eight years as a model.  This put him together with a group of clothing designers that  would become Skingraft Designs.  Here he added people like Cassidy Haley and Johnny Cota to his circle.  He recently worked with Skingraft on the Britney Spears video. 

Another clothing designer he connected with was Roxy Contin.  Roxy is currently Haveron's business partner and room-mate along with being an very successful designer in her own right.  Hans has recently collaborated with her on some design projects. 

Getting down to the really nitty-gritty of Hans' art, he gave a beautiful analogy of how he approaches the creative process.  He said "It's like making a Mother's Day card.  There is nothing in your heart but excitement and love.  You just want to make something amazing for love.  All my art is done out of love and gratitude for being here.  It's like a Universe Day card, thanking it for all the good things.  It's a gift.  An offering."

What drew me to Hans' art was all the symbolism I perceived as I went through the catalogs he has on-line.  Fish, butterflies, moths, these things seemed to speak to me and were the driving force to try to book this interview.  It turns out these symbols were not just my perception but very intentional.   The first thing he explained was my error in identifying certain fish as koi.  They are telescope goldfish, which are bred and raised by the Buddhist monks of Tibet.  Many of the female figures denote the Goddess and the prominent moth is always moving toward the light.

Haveron likes symbolism because he feels it creates doorways for your mind.  Certain objects and creatures cause you to think.  They are also represent spiritual ideals.  Hans considers himself very spiritual, a result of coming through a rough early life and emerging on the other side intact physical, emotionally and psychologically. 

The most profound story he shared with me in regards to symbolism was the explanation of his painting "Sepia's Secret".  Recently pop-rocker Adam Lambert chose an element from the painting as inspiration for his latest tattoo.  The painting had existed for a while and Lambert has now purchased it.  In "Sepia's Secret"  there is the female "goddess", her cloak outstretched to protect two children, symbols of innocence and counterpoint to the ego.  They hold a large key.  Above the goddess is the all-seeing eye of the universe, with its keyhole shaped pupil.

The point of the story is that the child holds the key to unlock the wisdom of the universe.  Therefore all of us but especially artists of all types must always make sure the child is present.  The most difficult part of being an artist is the battle against the ego to let the child prevail so the art can be made.  The child is the creator.  If the ego gets too big, the child dies and so will your art.  It was after Adam learned this story that he chose the key for his growing collection of body art. His previous tattoos, the eye of Horus and the infinity symbol also have very specific meanings to the musician.

Hans says Adam's choice makes complete sense as he does an amazing job of keeping his ego in check and calling on his child to create.  He is a pure spirit who loves helping his friends.  As for Lambert's art, despite his success he still doesn't settle for less than his best. 

Lambert shared the tattoo via Twitter and included a mention of Hans' inspiration.  Word traveled fast and Haveron found himself talking to the head of ICM, an agency that represents actors such as Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, who congratulated him for having his art being chosen.  This is the first time, that he is aware of, that someone has had any of his work inked on themselves.

Moving on to other works, Hans has done more than one large mural with other artists.  I asked if he prefers collaborative works or creating solo.  He continued on the theme of the ego vs the child by saying that collaborations pull from a different side.  They challenge him to subdue that ego that wants to show-off and take charge of the project so that the child can just let go.  When working alone these two sides also fight for dominance but it's all internal.  He likes both opportunities because of these differences. 

A question I have been asking every artist I talk to is, "What other 'art languages' do you speak?"  I have learned that most creative people, once they tap into that first talent, challenge themselves to find other medium they can recreate emotions in that will connect with observers allowing them to become participants.  Haveron is a classically trained musician who plays guitar, bass and flute.  He is a welder, woodworker and performance artist.   

The last question I got in before we had to wrap due to a photoshoot at his studio was based on listening to the tracks Hans has on his playlist on his Myspace.  There is a lot of "free composition" electronica.  I wanted to know if this is the type of music he listens to when he is working.  He said for the most part, yes.  He likes it to be "other worldly".  He favors pieces with electronically created noises.  He tries to imagine what might make that noise or what the world would look like where the sound came from. 

As we parted we agreed this wouldn't be the last time we talked.  I've already started a new list of questions in the days that followed this conversation.  We both look forward to doing it again.

Haveron Studios
Hans Haveron on Myspace
Haveron Studios on Facebook

Hans and I would like to extend a very special thank you to Adam for giving permission to publish the tattoo/painting story.  There were no Adam questions in my prepared list as I wanted this interview to be about Hans.  The story was part of his spontaneous response to the question about symbolism.  We agreed that I would not include it though unless Adam was ok with it as he has not spoken about it to the press previously.  I'd also like to give a huge thank you to Hans for giving me the photo of he and Adam.  I ask all readers to direct others to come here to view it, rather than copying and pasting it all over the internet. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Inside or out, is the tribe “safe”

Yes, a tribe can be a sanctuary. But it is in no way “safe”, neither within nor without.

Within the community artists are “safe” to congregate with little concern for those who disapprove of them damaging or polluting their muses. However, once the group begins either individual or collaborative works, the safety net is removed, the bulletproof vests come off and the security guards run for cover. A real work of art requires souls to be laid bare and hearts exposed. Emotions are fair game and are depicted in voice, paint, clay, and words. Others will add critique, edits and embellishments. Some may fight back defending the work in its original form. It is a free-for-all where art is birthed, cultivated, fertilized and grown in to bigger, better, more exciting, more daring.

To create requires risk and courage. It is leaps of faith where, most times, the jumper is allowed to fall, if for no other reason than to see how the impact will affect the final product.
Some creation are the result of fire, water, and wind in their most destructive forms. Other artists must be mindful of torches, filled wine glasses or large fans.

The tribe will support and defend itself and its members when it goes out into the more unsafe space outside the community. It is in the “real” world of cowards art is anything but “safe”. It is radical. It is revolutionary. It adds color to their gray spaces. It makes them hum along. It makes their feet move in other ways rather than one foot in front of the other…over and over and over again.

Art makes them question their faith. Art makes them feel something…anything. Art dares them to to be different. Artisans are not safe people.

So if you want safe? Join the flock that follows itself blindly into the corner of the pen in a rain storm only to suffocate each other. Walk in lockstep, questioning nothing. Live in a place of constant fear.
Or be brave. Thumb your nose at safety. Come into the tribe and live fearlessly.