Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pittsburgh Art Events: 8/15-16/08.

Argh... summer is almost over (for me) and it will be time to get my ass back to work. This is a truly upsetting annual condition for which I somehow have difficulty eliciting sympathy. Nonetheless things have entered high gear as I try to make the most out of my last few days of unfettered free time. When I take stock of what I achieved during the last couple months, I only give myself a partially satisfactory grade. I've participated in some group shows (keep an eye out for information regarding an exhibition of bowling pins at Arsenal Lanes next Friday) and kept up this blog. I've also gotten a jump on restocking my catalog of show-worthy photos. But I'm way behind of where I wanted to be in my creation of drawings for my solo at Zombo in December.

Enough about me, right? What is there to do this weekend? Well, while we're on the subject of Zombo Gallery (4900 Hatfield Street in Lawrenceville), you absolutely must stop by there tomorrow night. From 6PM until around 11PM, Lucky Swartz ("The Painproof Man") will be presenting Dr. Josef Furdek's Cabinet of Curiosities. If Mikey D. is to be trusted, this guy is absolutely obsessed with the now defunct world of the carnival sideshow. Obviously that's something that gets my attention, as I share his interests. Curating Carnivalesque at the Digging Pitt a couple of summers ago was a personal highlight. I even got my buddies Phat Mandee and Andrew the Impaled to perform.

But it looks like Lucky has a full bill of fun planned. He's advertising a purported Chupacabra, conjoined fetuses, Bigfoot's toe (which is especially timely, don't you think?), crystal skulls, shrunken heads, and even "the mummy of a demon boy". If he even delivers on half of this, it will be a crazy success. Plus there will be live performances and carnival games. Apparently Lucky laments the great old show days. In his own words:

"There was something magical about the American Sideshow, something that made the people want to spend a dime for the chance to see something out of the ordinary, when a dime was worth something. This work is pure Fluxist. It lies not within the physical manifestation of the sideshow itself, but rather the experience that the viewer takes away with them, and the story they tell others of what they've seen. Professor Josef's Cabinet of Curiosities is a chance for people to experience something that will soon disappear from existence."

Well said. Ladies and gentlemen, don't act like a pack of rubes. Get out your piggy bank, extract a shiny dime, and come see the wonders. This is indeed a vanished art.

Once you've gotten an eyeful over on Hatfield, you can take a ride up to The Wizard of Oddities at 4314 Butler Street. Lauren Toohey is offering a candlelight reception featuring her paintings. If you haven't visited this gallery yet, I recommend you check it out. It's one of the "swinging-est" venues in town. The neon naked lady in the front window ain't no sham. The proprietors are truly committed to bringing you a unique take on the art world. Meanwhile Toohey is a young up-and-comer who's been working overtime to get some exposure for her work. Make sure to give her a bit of reinforcement for all her efforts.

Saturday brings us the "Grand Opening" (from 6:30-10PM) of the Park Place Arts Center at 207 Franklin Avenue in Wilkinsburg. This is not to be confused with the same spot's "Inaugural Opening" that happened earlier this month. At this event, installation art by East Ridge Arts Revival members Engines, Truce Canyon, Darrell Kinsel, Snake Money and John White will be featured. There are also some bands, and the admission fee is a mere $5. It's always exciting to see the efforts of arts organizations assisting in the revitalization of 'neighborhoods-in-transition'. If you make an effort now you can catch the vibe before the yuppies follow.

And if you haven't gotten your fill of urban redevelopment, you could also take a short ride over to Braddock for Unsmoke Systems "The Still Image/Moving Pictures Festival". These guys have paired up artists working in both video and static arts, and the results will be revealed between 7 and 10PM. More information can be found HERE.

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