Art happens

The Santa glowed like a star-we followed it down the Ninth St. corridor to the yard humming in the night: The Avant-Garden, a one-night, "purposefully 'underground'" happening meant to bolster the creative collective in the Lawrence vis-art scene. Sculptor Camille Banchand pulled Jäger draws straight from the bottle, her elbow pinning a washboard to her side. Blushing plushy seamstress Taylor Triano stood nearby, opining her recent move to KCMO. There's a clown revolution, they joked. Indeed, there were clowns about; even our low-key host Whit Bones of the Fresh Produce Art Collective was in ominous clown drag. They echoed the clowning Triano and Banchand did earlier this summer at KT Walsh's Art Mayhem. Inside the back shed was a television showing of "Clusterf*ck." Footage of broken Rudolph the Reindeer toy audio loops, old-school video game action, that sort of thing. The requisite close-up of a mouth I can forgive this one last time with hope and thankfulness in my heart that, 25 years later, we're still crushing on Ann Hamilton in these parts. The most enjoyable, and poignant, was the footage following a cut-out paper man floating down rapidly moving gutter water. I could have watched it all night. Outside, the sound of an alto sax lumbered against drumbeats; eventually an electric bass snuggled into the noise. A guy walked around with polyester stuffing in his nostrils. In the center of the yard, a semi-circle of people sat intensely focused on a precarious tower of whitewashed coffee canisters. A man behind the containers was reaching around, drawing this and that, with a black marker. Every so often, the semi-circle would laugh. They were all in on it. Somewhere, at some point, this idea was established, and they found their way, together, to this patch of grass, in this breeze. To hell with chiggers. "This is cool, this is cool," assessed printmaker Brian Stuparyk as we looked over the crowd. Fresh from Detroit, in his four days in Lawrence he'd already set up house, attended the Alec Joler opening, and pressed buttons at Blue Collar Press. He starts his printmaking residency at the Lawrence Arts Center Monday. I asked if he ever saw Aretha Franklin walk her dog at Cranbrook. He hadn't. (Damn.) Next to a vintage typewriter begging for new ribbon and renegade words, muralist Dave Loewenstein reported that Harveyville, Kansas, is small-so small that the old ladies at the grocery store write down unknown license plates, just to keep things in check. They'll be busy bitties soon, scribbling about all the freaky types sure to converge on the Harveyville Project, a new "creative residence" that's gathering traction. Lawrence poet Chantel C. Guidry is currently finishing up her residency there amid the scenic barns and ponds and such. The Avant-Garden brought memories of the one time I was a bridesmaid. Polished, manicured, my hair shellacked, I smiled and preened only to immediately catch my heel in my hem and rip the shit out of my skirt. My buddy Kurt, posing as my date, helped me patch it up with duct tape he had stashed in his Monte Carlo. I could have cried black streams of mascara down my face and hid in the bathroom. But we were underage kids living in the hope that the hotel bartender would be too disaffected to card us. It's a cumbersome metaphor to say that sure, we don't have a slick art scene here, but art is resilient. Here's to Whit et al. of the Fresh Produce collective sharing their duct tape so we can keep this party going.


Dominic_Sova 12 years, 10 months ago

this realy was a phenomenal event. I personally felt like I was in Zurich circa 1916. Anyone interested in finding out when these events are going to happen should join, where local artists meet online to post artwork, write blogs, and inform each other of community events. THANKS!

katethegreat 12 years, 10 months ago

What about the amazing DJ's that kept the party going till 2am, huh?

leslie 12 years, 10 months ago

The DJ was mentioned in an earlier version of this story, which was cut out by my editor. That said, what about the amazing DJs, kate? You could say more.

And Dominic--where on redballooning was the avant garden listed? What happened to the events calendar?

Dominic_Sova 12 years, 10 months ago

The Avante Garden poster (which was on the top of the site) was taken down after the event ended. The events calendar is maintained by staff, but any member (free signup) can post a "blog" which appears on the main page. This is the best way to find out what the locals are up to on the site, including Adam Tompkins, Aaron Stork, and yourself! (thanks for keeping us up to date on the 4-1-1 space). works best when everyone contributes.

Leslie, we didn't see you there that night, were you in costume as well???????????????

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