January 09, 2006

Moving Beds

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but after the month of illness that was December I decided to set an arbitrary rule: no live music on school nights. But then elephone, Love Is Chemicals, and We Are Invisible were playing at Mezzanine Wednesday night. So it wasn't a resolution but I broke it anyway. It was so worth it. elephone is one of the best bands the local music scene has to offer right now, with their slickster goth grunge. Indie rockers Love Is Chemicals are another of my favorites, and We Are Invisible got the show started with some righteously heavy rock. The last time I'd been to Mezzanine was for a party years ago during my brief stint in SFMOMA's Contemporary Extension, and not much has changed. Except this time I wasn't wearing my tuxedo pants.

The following evening I walked up to 49 Geary after work for the clutch of gallery openings the building hosts the first Thursday of each month. I was there to see two shows in particular, the first being Tami Demaree's wonderfully exuberant A Searing Lesson Every Girl Should Know at Steven Wolf. Demaree had completely packed the room with paintings, sculpture, and neon, much of it reminiscent of the art on the Trapper Keepers I had in grade school. To me Demaree's rainbows and clever phrases are transmitting messages to a younger version of herself, a trail of breadcrumbs left backwards through time to show the damage love can do to a girl's heart.

My other destination for the evening was Fraenkel Gallery, to see Katy Grannan's unconventional photographic portraits. Her subjects are posed in intentionally bucolic settings, and they are gorgeous because they are unflinchingly real and unidealized. Grannan's work has been compared to that of Diane Arbus, but I was reminded of Manet instead. Each of Grannan's nudes packs the visual punch of Olympia or Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe.

You don't even need to leave the comfort of your cozy home to check out Glitch Browser, a new piece of Web art developed by Dimitre Lima, Tony Scott and Iman Moradi for New Langton Arts. Fire it up and watch it elegantly warp your Flickr pics. I guarantee hours of cheap entertainment.

The SFPL Main Branch screened the Chuck Workman documentary about the Beats The Source over lunch on Thursday to coincide with their exhibition of Kerouac's On the Road manuscript. I was unable to sneak out of work to see the film, so I checked a DVD copy out from the Berkeley library and watched it at home later. I'd seen it at the Castro back in 1999 when it was first released, and once again I had to sniffle at the scenes near the end when Allen Ginsberg is walking through Times Square taking pictures of the marquee poetry. The film assumes the viewer has some basic knowledge about the Beats and serves more as a montage of impressions than a strict chronicle of events. It nevertheless renewed my appreciation for the writers of the era, and I count myself very lucky to have had the chance to hear Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder read in local bookstores over the past few years. And each glimpse of City Lights reminded me of why I live here.

My other DVD for the week was Fellini's Roma, a raucous tribute to the Italian capital. Leave it to Fellini to mix together childhood memories, whorehouses both highbrow and low, spectacular scenery, vaudeville, air raid sirens, bickering Roman families, and cameos by Gore Vidal and Anna Magnani into a dizzying and evocative blend. I also had to laugh at his version of a Catholic fashion show, featuring papal costume worthy of the Electrical Light Parade. I've never been to Rome, but every time I see a Fellini film I want to go right away.


Love Is Chemicals
We Are Invisible
Steven Wolf Fine Arts
Tami Demaree
Fraenkel Gallery
Glitch Browser
New Langton Arts
SFPL Main Branch
Fellini's Roma

Posted by nightfall at January 9, 2006 09:09 PM