Anyway, here are some of my highlights (including a guest appearance by a legendary smooth operating emcee. And that is your damn hint). Enjoy.
|People, Places & Things||
I swear, the Odunde Festival, which just so happens to be the largest African American festival in the entire country, is like a big ole' family reunion - except you actually like these people.
Anyway, here are some of my highlights (including a guest appearance by a legendary smooth operating emcee. And that is your damn hint). Enjoy.
I think Kevin Hart is hilarious. The thing about his comedy style is that he is not a single joke comedian. If I had to do a fairly poor comparison, it would be Jay-Z to Nas. Neither style is wrong, they're is just different. And whereas Jay-Z's style consist of the rapid fire session of hot and quick one-lines, Nas likes to take you on a journey. I would definitely put Hart in the Nas-category style of comedians.
I think what makes his comedy funny is his ability to tell stories, which take a really long time to get to the point. By the time it gets to the point, you realize that the "hahaha moment" wasn't the punchline; the setup was the actual joke all along. Hart's style of comedy is like watching a scripted play or television series.
Sort of like The Sixth Sense.
Also, Hart is really good at having several jokes - or storylines as I like to call them - running at the same time. Little details and characters, which you took as awkward and inconsequential, turn up in little fragments throughout the set. At the end, all the running jokes collide into one subtle but hilarious ending.
And instantly, I understand the appeal of Tyler Perry more. I'm still not a fan but what I am saying is that I understand.
This is one of my favorite Kevin Hart jokes. On it's own, Hart's joke about his and his Muslim friend Ni'am's misadventures while white water rafting is pretty funny. However, the full context for this story started 20 minutes in the set before they even got on the raft.
I wasn't expecting much from the Marley Africa Road Trip.
I only started watching it because I was up early thanks to the combination of the heat and Mr. Bob Dobalina (my cat), who insist that four hours is all the time I needed to rest. I was hoping for an easy, brainless watch. Several hours later, I was wondering how we could convince the Marley brothers to do another African road trip.
Directed by David Alexanian, whose credits include films such as “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down,” two documentaries about guys on motorcycles traveling across distant (non-Western) lands, this six-part docu-series tells the story of how three sons of the late great legendary Bob Marley (Ziggy, Rohan and the ever-idle Robbie) travel around South Africa on Multistradas in hopes of pulling together local musicians for a free concert in honor of their father. That's what the official synopsis says. The real deal is that this is a series about three Marley brothers (actually two because obviously Robbie, who appeared disinterested and quite bored throughout the program, is just along for the ride - literally), who roll up in Africa with a camera crew, three bikes and a famous last name, expecting to host this larger than life event but in reality, don't know a damn thing about organizing a concert.
Hard to imagine that the off-springs of a man, who pretty much the same thing 43 years ago in Zimbabwe, would have so much trouble putting this concert together. After all, it is for the people. And I don't want to give too much away but basically this great free concert was wrecked from the beginning in part due to bad planning including failing to secure sponsorships or promotions; venue troubles; background band and singers issues; and overall lack of interest from those in the South African governing body, who could have assisted the brothers in making this event possible. Of course most of these hiccups are understandable especially when you consider that the Marley brothers were hoping to host this free concert during a time when the country's attentions, and more importantly resources, were being allocated to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was basically the first time in history the sporting event had been held in an African country. Not very self-aware if you ask me. However The later issues were more complex and that's where the real entertainment happens.
Ziggy is most serious about making this concert thing work. Unlike the rest of his siblings, he can recall the original concert performed by his father and was actually present in the flesh. Several times in the series, Ziggy recalls fondly the trip with his father, which included a game off pick-up futbol right after they arrived in the South African country. This connection for the eldest Marley siblings serves as the basis for why this concert is so important. Clearly this has little to do with Africa or the World Cup but rather reliving a defining moment that he once had with his long-decease father.
However soon Ziggy becomes disenchanted when he sees that South Africa is not the place of righteousness and fight it once was – or at least how Ziggy had hoped it would be. This wax nostalgia and romanticism of Africa is not unusual and very common among Diasporan blacks. And in episode four, which is the most powerful episode of the series, you get a glimpse at just how passionate Ziggy is about getting folks to know importance of remembrance of South Africa's apartheid past. Yet he soon learns from candid on the street conversations with mostly young South Africans that times have truly changed. Pan-africanism is not on the radar. Instead, South Africa has an entire generation, who have no direct knowledge of the country's racist past. And for many folks who were born and raised during apartheid, they feel it better to forget. It's like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones had came through town with those mind erasure things and zapped everybody mind clean. And now the racial divide has been replaced by the acquisition of new wealth; luxury vehicles and big houses; high rises and big sport stadium; - all of which have helped to created economic disparities, and a new sort of “apart” of its own. By the end of the episode, we see a disgruntled Ziggy angrily debate those, who tell him that South Africa is best serve by forgiving and moving on. But as Ziggy pointed out, "Who paid" for the crimes committed against the blacks South Africans and who continues to pay now for it's what those crimes have done to society? The short answer is: the blacks. The longer more complicated answer is: the poorer blacks. And Ziggy asserts that until there is adequate reparations than South Africa will never fully be able to move forward.
Despite the heaviness of that particular episode, the rest of the series is pretty light on the social commentary. The other Marley brothers are not as aroused as Ziggy about the concert nor his vision of what Africa is supposed to be. For them, it is clear that is is just a vacation. And in fact the only time we see Rohan perk up (no pun intended) is when he is discussing his coffee bean farm. Whereas Robbie, on the other hand, is serious about his napping. In fact, the guy affectionately called by his siblings as Ninja for his daredevil streak, didn't perform a single bike trick during the entire six episodes...
...Now that I think more on it, we didn't really see much bike riding until episode five. And the bike riding was so non-sequential to the overall themes in the series that honestly, the director could have left that footage on the cutting room floor. So in all honesty, there was really no reason for Robbie to be there. This was the Ziggy show. And I think that at some part of the trip, both of the brothers recognized this truth and decided to lay low.
This is six-part series is not a quick watch; but if you are in for a lazy day around the house, it is certainly is a fun way to pass the time. Outside of the concert, there is some great travel footage from around the country, including some really candid conversations that will have you second guessing everything you have ever thought about Africa. I think for people who have been to Africa before, you realize how little we really know about the continent. And that everything we see, hear and read over here is largely inaccurate. Everything. Therefore, it was cool watching their awakening to the realities of what Africa is and what Africa is not - all except for Robbie, who seriously does not give a fuck. Seriously, I can not emphasize enough how much Robbie looks he just came along to ride bikes and eat free sandwiches.
Oh I forgot to mention that there is some great rehearsal and concert footage in this series. Watching and listening to live renditions of some of the late Marley's classic, you realize just how much Ziggy is like his father. Besides being a splitting image, he sounds like him too. Also there is great scene in the series involving some overzealous Rastafarians hell-bent on smoking weed out in public (which is against the law) that will have you hollering in laughter.
Overall, I would give this series a solid four Mighty, Mighty Dreadlocks. My only real complaint is that I couldn't get enough of the Marley brothers and it's a shame that this six-part series couldn't be turned into a full television show.
The Marley Africa Road Trip series is currently screening on Netflix.
This short film, Warrior Queen, produced by Ekiah Productions, came across my Facebook newsfeed, proving once again that the dying social network still has its uses - for now.
But before you watch it, here is some quick historical background, courtesy of a quick Google search (thankfully that has not outlived its usefulness yet).
Yaa Asantewaa (c. 1840–17 October 1921) (pronounced YAA A-san-TE-WAA) was appointed queen mother of Ejisu of the Ashanti Empire—now part of modern-day Ghana—by her brother Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese, the Ejisuhene "ruler of Ejisu". In 1900 she led the Ashanti rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stoolagainst British colonialism.
From Ghana Web:
Her fight against British colonialists is a story is woven throughout the history of Ghana. A story from Ghana , A History for Primary Schools, E.A. Addy; In the evening the chiefs held a secret meeting at Kumasi. Yaa Asantewaa the Queen Mother of Ejisu, was at the meeting. The chiefs were discussing how they should make war on the white men and force them to bring back the Asantehene. Yaa Asantewaa saw that some of the chiefs were afraid. Some said that there should be no war. They should rather go to beg the Governor to bring back the Asantehene King(Nana) Prempeh.
I don't have much other information about the production behind this short, particularly if they have plans on making it a full-length feature. Based upon what I have seen, thus far, I would be certainly interested in seeing that come to fruition. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Ebony Malaika Collier is a reminder of little you know about the people in your Facebook network.
Well at least some of them. The great majority of the people in my network are actual friends and family - or at least people, who I have corespondent with once in the real world. However Collier belongs to the small majority of folks in my network, who just up and randomly befriended one day. Most of them are cool. We like each others' comments; share links with one another; write great birthday messages on each others' wall; and will offer words of encouragement and even debate. However our relationship is primarily virtual and if we passed each other in the streets, no telling for sure how we would actually relate to each other.
I actually had run-ins with Collier before in the real world: it was a couple of years ago at a party at Elena's Soul Lounge (which burned down last December). She and a group of friends were sitting on my coat, which I had casually (and thoughtlessly) threw on the lounge chair. I indiscriminately excused myself as I got my coat from behind them. I didn't realize it until I got home and saw her name next to a comment she left on one of my post that she and I were, in fact, Facebook friends. Small world and to think I was giving her the stink eye over having her butt all up on my coat.
The second time was at Fluid, another nightclub, which was having Ladies Free before 10 pm., thing. Well, I guess we both decided to take advantage of the deal because there we both were, all extra early to the club, trying to pass the time at the bar. We just happen to be sitting right next to each other. I recognized her from her Facebook page and leaned over and casually said, “Hey Ebony.” In return she gave me a weak smile and an unfamiliar “hey” right back. And then she nonchalantly walked away. I was left, sitting alone - with exception of my friend my Long Island Ice Tea – salty and grumbling to myself, “but you liked my post just a few hours ago and even left a comment...”
The third time I saw Collier was at Let's Love Logan Day, which I had organized for work. She was working the Fleischer Art Memorial art mobile. Again I approached her and said hello and she again, gave me a fake 'I don't know this person'-hello right back. I said, “Hey I'm Charing. Charing Ball.” And then she perked up, “Oh heeeyyyy, yeah I'm sorry I didn't recognize you...” The last time was two weeks ago when I just happened to be Infusions and she was there, hanging up her artwork for an exhibit they were hosting in her honor. As usually, I gave my cheerful “hello” and as usual she gave me a weak smile and the stranger greeting.
Well that was it. I was going to put my foot down. “You are going to stop acting like you don't recognize me as much as we talk via Facebook and shit.”
Wow, that was so fucking awkward and a tad bit crazy. Did I just get this intense over a virtual friendship?
She smiled awkwardly. I don't blame her. “Hey, I am sorry I didn't recognize you. How are you?” I soften a bit, “I'm fine,” and then I changed the subject, So what are you doing on that ladder?” She told me that the coffee shop was exhibiting some of her artwork for the entire month of May. And that right now, she was getting everything set up for the upcoming Art Show. I thought that was pretty cool and promise to check back during the opening reception.
A week later, and as promised, I attended her exhibition's opening reception. “See I remember now,” she said cheerfully as she greeted me and walked me to the seating area, where two other of her friends waited. I did the whole introduction thing to her friends and then we sat around on Infusion's old musty thrift store couches, which white folks like to call “rustic,” smiling awkwardly and forcing our way through small talk. Not that she was a bore or anything. But we just didn't know each other.
Social networking is a wondrous phenomenon. And it truly is a whole other world. A world where people willingly share so much of themselves with strangers and because they share with us, we feel an affinity – even if you never met. Just from her post, I knew she was once a social worker, who quit her job to focus full time on her budding artist career, specifically as a spoken word artist and a painter. I knew that she was in the market for caffeinated water and had a Moses-in-the-Boat houseplant. I also knew that she once had beef with another artist at the Battle of the Canvas one year, for stealing the better light on stage, or something. I remember that because she tagged me in the note, asking me to keep that in mind during the time of public voting.
I sat there with her and her friends a few minutes more awkwardly sipping on my ginger mint ice tea and trying to find more stuff to small talk about. And then I made up an excuse and bounced. As I crossed the street away from the coffee shop, I thought about all her Facebook updates and pictures she shared about her life and the changes she had undergone over the years including the risk she took to live out her dream of becoming an artist. Even though I do not know her like that, I still can honestly say that I am happy for her.
Anyway check out Ebony Maliaka Collier's work below. I found out during our brief conversation that her paintings will be on display (and for sale) at Infusions, which is located at 7133 Germantown Avenue, from now until Thursday, May 29th. Also she has sold two paintings, which is pretty dope.
if you are interested in trying to get to know Collier for yourself, visit her at her site, by clicking here.
Honestly, The Black Guy Who Tips has got to be the funniest podcast I have heard in a while.
This is not a quick listen. However, if you have some time - or need some background chatter while you work at your desk - the hilarious theory about what really transpired during the Mayor Marion Barry sting/arrest makes this really worth a listen.
You can follow the rest of The Black Guy Who Tips by following thelink here
The first episode to this webseries, Entangled With You, which was created by Caryn Hayes, was sent o me via Twitter. Usually I just don't with unsolicited requests to view or review projects - you know, because of integrity (also how do you tell someone, who asked you nicely for a review that watching their poorly drafted series and/or film was about as enticing an idea as brushing my teeth with shit. You can't - or I have yet to find a nice way to do it). However this series has me intrigued. And I definitely want to see more. And now I'm thinking that accepting unsolicited requests for reviews and/or views is not such a bad idea.
Here is the synopsis:
After suffering breakups, a stoic lesbian moves in with a perky straight woman. With nothing in common beyond mutual heartache, the two form an unlikely bond as conflicts with their significant others force them closer.
I can't think of a single situation comedy show, which featured women working through interpersonal relationships in a straight/lesbian binary. That alone makes the series compelling. Also, structurally it's not bad. There are jokes outside of the discussion of their individual sexuality. I'm hesitant in giving a full review yet as there aren't many episodes (episode three should be dropping shortly). I'll probably come back to the series after the first season ends to give you all my full impressions.
In the meantime, check out the first two episodes below and join the Entangled With You Facebook Page so you don't have to rely on me for program listings and schedules.
“So who was that guy that Mike introduced and stood up? I think his name was Michael something - Was he a boxer or something,” asked a short, stocky white guy with a square head and a gray suit.
Is he serious?
“Are you serious,” asked his companion, a taller, slimmer white guy in an equally gray suit. Taller suit man literally took the words out of my thoughts. What kind of blockhead would ask that question? But the bewildered look on his face let us both know that he was genuine. So I bit my tongue.
I wasn't trying to eavesdrop on their conversation; they were walking in the same direction, mere a few feet in front of me. I just couldn't help but overhear them, just like I couldn't help but hear the young couple, sitting next to me in the theater, who asked the same damn thing. In that situation, I wasn't as patient and understanding.
“It's Michael Spinks.”
As in, light-weight and heavy weight champion Michael Spinks? As in 1976 Olympic gold medalist in boxing Spinks? As in the dude that Tyson knocked out in 91-seconds Spinks (I know this because the dude behind me yelled “91 seconds” when Spinks stood up to take his ovation from the crowd)? Seriously people, this is what YouTube is for.
But it has dawned on me that there are really people out here in this vast world, who know Tyson more for his life outside of the ring than his actual career. And these people don't all live in the Himalayan mountains. Well, that just plain sucks because the Tyson era was arguably one of the greatest era of boxing ever. I'm talking: Marvelous Marvin Hagler; Tommy Hearns; Roberto Duran; Julio Cesar Chavez; Larry Holmes...Tyson and yes Spinks too.
I guess that's who the Undisputed Truth is appealing to; those who are more entertained by Tyson the controversial ear biter, face-tattooing, womanizing rapist-funny guy, most known for parodying himself in a remake of Bobby Brown's Every Little Step I Take and in the film, The Hangover. The show definitely had plenty of theatrics, mainly Tyson running back and forth on the stage, being silly and animated. However, this was not totally free-range Tyson. This was a man, for whom you could tell was given a script and was told to practice until he had every line memorized (that person could have been Spike Lee, who served as director or Kiki Tyson, the former heavyweight champion's current wife, who wrote the one-man show for Tyson). However there just isn't enough Rosetta Stone-prepping, which could help him during the times when he flubbed a line – and then clumsily doubled back to repeat it again. Nor could it help resolve his speech impediment, which at times made it hard to understand everything he was saying. And all that prepping certainly didn't help him when a couple of over-zealous audience members, decided to profess their love for him during the show - like this one dude, who tried to "lovely" reassure a tongue-twisted Tyson , with that condescending/ fake concern thing that people do. Basically, Tyson had flubbed a line again and this anonymous dude screamed at Tyson, “take your time Mike.” To which Tyson replied, “Shut the Fuck Up.” Salty. Of course, this had me - as well as many others - cackling like a hens.
The light-heartened of the show certainly had it's appeal. I've seen Tyson in interviews, most recently this interview with Huffington Post Live. He is dark and usually depressing. And this show could have easily gone in that direction. After all, we are just talking about Tyson alone on a stage with a stool and a collection of pictures of his glorious, and not so glorious past, rolling up the wall behind him. That kind of scenario could get pretty gloomy quick. But Tyson made it clear that he did not want this show to be depressing, like the James Toback documentary. Instead he wanted to tell stories; funny ones. Crazy ones. Great ones.
Like the story about being an keeper of pigeons and how he beat somebody's ass over killing one of his beloved birds. And the story about how he met Muhammad Ali at Spofford Juvenile Detention Center (aka The Bridge) and wanting to desperately be in his boxing program; he told the story about meeting Cus D'Amato and him telling him not to be one of those kinds, “who is scared to hit white people”; He talked about fighting (and winning) in smoker clubs at the tender age of 14 years old; and balancing between the hood and the suburbs, all of which made for hilariously tells. One such story revolved around his ex-wife Robin Givens, for whom he obviously doesn't think very highly of. In fact, the mention of her name brought about Tyson dancing to the the chorus of Kanye West nefarious hit, Golddigger. But the jokes weren't all on Givens, or even on her mother Ruth (or as Tyson referred to her as Ruthless). Some of them were on Brad Pitt.
Yeah, that guy. Tyson said that the two first met each other at Givens home. Despite being divorce from Givens at the time, Tyson said that they were both still intimate. Unbeknownst to him, she had also taken up with the a young Pitt too. According to Tyson, upon seeing the heavyweight champion of the world, the soon to be star of..well, a bunch of shit, started cowering behind Givens and blubbery to Tyson, "everything's cool, man." But despite how anger and hurt he was to see his ex-wife with another man, Tyson said he resisted the urge to beat the crap out of him -mainly because, “I didn't know whether to fuck him or fight him,” he said.
But it wasn't all jokes though. At one part of the show Tyson declared infatuatedly that he did not rape Desiree Washington, which drew a large applause from the audience. Tyson didn't go into much detail about the incident, only to point out that Washington allegedly had made similar allegations of sexual assault against another man prior to the Tyson incident. And he spoke about how depressing it is that he has to register as a sex offender, just about everywhere he goes. At this point, you kind of realize that even talking about that incident made him very uncomfortable. And I know for some, who believe that he is guilty of the crime he was convicted of, he deserves to feel uncomfortable. But regardless of how we feel about the facts of the case and his conviction, Tyson is convinced of his innocence and wants to convince us of that too. And that's when the whole show concept begins to make sense.
There was something very insecure about the show. The constant ribbing on himself; the awkward confessions; the mere fact that much of the show's themes centered on his very public controversies; It's like Tyson is trying to get people to like him - or at the least to not view him as the monster he has been portrayed as in the press. And you can't blame Tyson and the team behind the show for that. For one, the idea alone of a one-man Broadway show staring Mike Tyson sounds like something so surreal and laughable - if not just an all around bad idea. Like, we knows if he is going to do or say something crazy, which is probably the appeal for many in attendance anyway. They came to see a train wreck; an emotionally-unstable black man with too much testosterone, self-destruct live on stage. Instead what they got was a lively yet not-as-threatening Tyson. A Tyson we can all feel comfortable around - again.
Overall not a bad show but truthfully, it was not the greatest one neither. I feel like I really didn't learn much new about Tyson and, no shade but I actually prefer the documentary. Also on a few occasions I got lost in parts of his storytelling, mainly because he would go off on tangents, which didn't really lead anywhere and had some very rough transitions between stories. Also some of the stories, while engaging, ran kind of long after a while, which made them flat. One such example of that is the Charlie Murphy-esque retelling of how Tyson got into a street brawl with boxer Mitch Green. I was laughing for the first five minutes and then, after the tenth minute, I started updating my Facebook status. If not for the picture of a bruised-face Green, I probably would have forgotten that story all together.
If I had to give it a rating, I would give it three stars-facial tattoos.
On Friday, I went to check out the Art Encology exhibition at Vivant Art Collection, which kicked off during the Philadelphia First Friday Art Gallery Crawl.
I actually forgot that the crawl was going on until I arrive above ground from the subway and saw a bunch of people crowded onto 2nd Street in Old City. Over 40 galleries and countless more street artists participated in the crawl. And I have to say that it wasn't all junk – and I mean that sincerely. Like sometimes you go to these arts and/or craft fairs and there is nothing but a bunch of grimy hipsters hawking hand-braided, friendship bracelets while playing Call Me Maybe on the didgeridoo. Oh don't get it twisted, there was some of that poser bullshit afoot. But also, some really thoughtful pieces as well - now that I think more about it, I wouldn't mind seeing someone attempt Call Me Maybe on the didgeridoo. At least for the lolz...
I also overhead that Old City will be hosting a similar event – not just every first Friday of the month but the entire first weekend. So if you missed you still have time this weekend to check out all the wonderful, surreal, abstract and is-that-even-art-art on display in downtown Philadelphia.
Anyway, the Art Encology exhibition was pretty cool. I actually met one of the artist; her name is Celestine Wilson Hughes and her medium is stained glass & metal. Her contribution to the exhibition was called Spiritual Harmony and, she says, in celebration of black womanhood. Using stained glass, metal, plastic beads and copper, Celestine soldered together what she felt represented the best of black women including nature, heritage and queendom. You can check out Celestine and her piece below, in addition to other highlights from the Art Encology exhibition at Vivant Art Collection.
Outside of the Philly area or don't think you will be able to make it out this weekend?
Don't fret; I remembered to pack my camera. Check out some of other highlights from the art crawl, right after the jump (Sorry, no hand braided friendship bracelets):
We all like to drink wine - some of you fancy pants out there actually drink it from the bottle (as oppose as the box). However have you looked at a finished wine bottle and thought: Hmm, that might make a great political statement about over-consumerism, social inequality and the environment?
No? Well, I bet you are thinking about it now. And this weekend, the public will get their final opportunity (in the Philly area at least) to see the Art Enology exhibition, which is presented by Vivant Art Collection and Souleo Enterprises, LLC, which has managed to turn regular old wine bottles into unique and important pieces of fine art, as told through the vision of celebrated local and national artists.
The exhibition kicks-off this Friday during Philadelphia's First Friday Art Gallery Crawl Reception (Friday, May 3rd, 5pm- 10pm) in Old City and includes the work of 21 visual artists including Suzi Nash, noted LGBTQA activist and Joshua DeMonte, who is one of Smithsonian American Art Museum’s 40 under 40. In addition to the exhibition, both Souleo and the Vivant Art Collection are sponsoring a couple of wine-related events this weekend including Look Like a Collector, Drink Like a Connoisseur (Saturday, May 4th, 2pm - 5pm) panel discussion featuring real-life wine experts and From Picasso to Pablo Neruda: Wine, Art & Poetry (Sunday, May 5th, 2pm - 5pm), which features wine experts, visual artists and poets sipping wine and getting crazy analytically (about wine) on an open-mic.
Oh and did I mention that there will be wine (sponsored by the Mouton Noir Wines)?
In anticipation of opening night, I caught up with New York City-based curator Souleo, (by way of Florcy Morisset, owner of the Vivant Art Collection), to discuss the exhibition as well as get to the root of his fascination with wine bottles:
C.B: People do lots of things with wine bottles but turning them into standing pieces of art is not necessarily one of them. Tell me, what inspired an exhibit around wine bottles?
Souleo: This exhibition was inspired by numerous visits to galleries and noticing that wine is always part of the ambiance but never the artistic focal point. I then began to research the topic of wine in art and learned that Picasso did pieces inspired by wine seen here and that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has displayed ancient wine vessels from China seen here. Therefore I felt that it was time to tap into this history and bring it forth with a contemporary artistic edge.
C.B. What are some of the various themes folks can expect to see and how, as curator, did you choose the artists and themes to include in this exhibition?
Souleo: The artists in this exhibition have truly tapped into their imagination and are utilizing wine bottles and actual wine in ways, which I never conceived of when I first presented them with this idea. We have Beau McCall celebrating wine as a social lubricant and how we use it to mark special occasions. Jeremiah Drake has a profound message in a bottle to a child that he found in the trash in the 1980s in Los Angeles. So Jeremiah is using wine as a libation. Kulture Krochet used the wine bottle to pay homage to Sara Baartman a.k.a. "The Hottentot Venus", an African woman, who was exploited in Europe in the 19th Century for her physical assets. Jeffrey Allen Price was partially inspired by Hurricane Sandy which led him to smash several wine bottles into the shape of Manhattan. This can be read as a statement on environmental concerns and how we are "smashed" by the forces of nature. So the themes range from the fun and celebratory to reflections on political and social issues.
I selected the artists from a pool that I previously worked with during my exhibition eMerge: Danny Simmons & Artists on the Cusp and through visiting galleries and researching artists online. We also had a Philadelphia open call. Since these works are new commissions and the first time that many of these artists are using wine bottles I had to truly trust each artist to understand the concept and fully embrace it. So I reviewed their previous works, we had a conversation and from there I trusted their vision. So as a curator it was a scary process since I wasn't sure what I'd get but each and every single artist has exceeded my expectations.
C.B. What kind of conversations/thoughts are you expecting to come after someone has viewed this exhibit?
I am expecting people to be intoxicated by the sheer creative energy on display. These are works that explore the imagination in ways that are universally engaging. I expect people to reflect on how much they enjoy wine, remember their hangovers, learn some history about wine and explore relevant social issues. And if the works on display don't intoxicate you then our servings of Mouton Noir Wines will.
I heard that!
Art Enology will run from Wednesday April 26th through Monday, May 6th, at the Vivant Art Collection gallery, which is located at 60 N. Second Street in Olde City, Philadelphia. For more information about Art Enology or other events at the gallery, you can visit the website here. For more information about Souleo Enterprises, you may visit the website here.
Also, to get a better visual of what you might expect, check out this video of past Art Enology exhibitions below: