Thursday, July 25, 2013

Artists wanted to exhibit works in Romare Bearden Park

Hey artists! 

The Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation department is taking applications from artists who wish to exhibit their work at the Romare Bearden Park grand opening.

The park, named for the Charlotte artist, will have its grand opening from Aug 30-Sept. 1 on S. Church St. 

Artists can download applications here.

The Mint Museum Uptown will give tours of its permanent Bearden gallery for free during the park's opening weekend.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jazz at the Bechtler adds shows

The jazz series at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will now present each act twice due to popularity and sold-out shows.

Beginning August 2, each Bechtler jazz event will include two concerts--one at 6 p.m. and one at 8:15 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before the shows begin.

The last show in this series, featuring Maria Howell, sold out several days before the concert. I was going to blog about it, but felt it would be cruel to provide info for a show you couldn't attend.

August 2 will feature the Ziad Jazz Quartet playing Latin jazz. See the rest of the series outlined here.

Tickets are free for museum members, though they should reserve tickets; $12 for non-memebers. You can purchase or reserve tickets here, or call 704-353-9200.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tour de Disappointment

I've been looking forward to 2013 for years. Because two of my favorite things celebrate their centennial this summer-- the Tour de France and Stravinsky's ballet "The Rite of Spring"--I have (moronically) been referring to 2013 as my "year of destiny" for about five years in anticipation. Surely their convergence would mean good things for me.

It's been a great year in many respects, but the actual Tour de France and "The Rite of Spring" have been real let downs. Here's why The Rite was disappointing, but let's focus on the Tour.

This is going to require a little Tour de France 101; if you're a rabid fan like me, you can skip this paragraph. The Tour consists of 21 daily stages in which 9-person teams compete for various wins: stage wins (whoever crosses the finish line first that day); General Classification leader (whoever has the shortest time overall, marked by the yellow jersey); and other titles like "King of the Mountain" (best climber: polka-dotted jersey), best young rider (white jersey, awarded through points system to best under 25), and best sprinter (green jersey, also awarded through points system). The jerseys trade hands throughout the three weeks depending on who leads the competition, and the final winner is named in Paris on the last day.

On Sunday, Chris Froome, who had already been wearing the yellow jersey for about a week, beat everybody up the lunar-looking Mont Ventoux, one of the toughest climbs in Tour history. He easily pulled away from his only contender that day, a 23-year-old Colombian rider (Nairo Quintana) who had an 8-mile climb to school every day as a child.

Scenes like this are why you watch the Tour, this is how sports stars become heroes. Or it was until cycling's elaborate doping scandal mutilated the infinitesimal  amount of support the sport received from Americans (it's not all Lance's fault, but you can blame him for all I care, I never liked the guy). After watching guys shoot away from their rivals on mountain passes as if shot out of a cannon, and then learning they had a positive drug test, it seems remiss not to question poor Froome. He's been more than civil with reporters who repeatedly ask him if he's a doper, but his patience is running thin. Who can blame him? He won the hardest stage of the Tour in its centennial year, and all anybody wants to talk about are the sins of past riders.

His heroism seems even less believable after he won the time trial Wednesday. You mean he's the best climber and the best time trialist in the group?

I don't want to think things like that, but spectators have two choices: they can join the camp of naivete or the camp of cynicism. Both feel awful. I find myself withdrawn and neutral, unable to amp up my usual excitement. For the record, that feels awful, too.

The competition isn't disappointing, but the preservative hesitancy to feel anything for it certainly is. Let's hope time heals the wounds. And that Froome is telling the truth.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A new kind of CSA: Community Supported Art

Charlotte's arts community is taking a page from local farmers.

Like the idea of community-supported agriculture (CSA), where people buy shares of farmers' produce and periodically receive a box of what they harvest, the Arts & Science Council has announced that they'll have community-supported art.

Same model, different yield: replace farmers with artists and produce with artwork.

Here's how it works: the ASC commissioned 9 artists to create 50 pieces of limited edition artwork. The work will be wrapped and distributed to "share holders" at three events in September, October and November.

You could get a variety of things: photographic prints, sculptures, line drawings, tea cups, a painting.

“One of the things that makes a program like this so exciting is the mystery,” said Katherine Mooring, the ASC's vice president of cultural and community investment. “You don’t know what’s going to come in your share until you open it. Not only are you getting unique work from amazing local artists, but it’s a great way to expand your creative palate.”

Shares can be purchased beginning at 10 a.m. on July 30 through for $400. Only 50 shares will be available, and each shareholder will get a box of artwork at each of the three pick-up events.

The nine commissioned artists are: Elisa Berry Fonseca, wire sculpture; Caroline Brown, mixed media painting; Sharon Dowell, mixed media painting; Rose Hawley, fused glass; Rebecca Haworth, mixed media painting; Tomoo Kitamura, ceramics; Alex McKenzie, conceptual drawings; Jeff Murphy, digital art, photography; and Verna Witt, ceramics.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Aggregation Transformation: an installation

Beginning on July 12, UNC Charlotte will display a collaborative installation called "Aggregation Transformation" created by four faculty members at the College of Arts + Architecture: Ryan Buyssens, Kelly Carlson-Reddig, Heather Freeman and Eric Waterkotte. The installation will be displayed in the college's Projective Eye Gallery.

There will be an opening reception at 6 p.m. on Friday. The installation will remain up through Sept. 13.

The 20-foot work will include steel wire, bands, all covered with a mesh "skin" of sorts, creating a "vertical terrain." The installation also incorporates projections, animations, sculpture, robotics and print.

Eric Waterkotte and Kelly Carlson-Reddig create "Aggregation Transformation," on view at UNC Charlotte's Projective Eye Gallery, July 12-Sept. 13.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Music for a rainy day...or days

If you're like me, you're getting tired of the seemingly unending rain. Do we live in Seattle or Charlotte?

I started digging around for some rain-related music, and there's a song for every raindrop Charlotte has seen in the last month. Here's a jumping off point for a larger playlist, or the "Best Of: 1970s Edition:"

"Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" by Bill Withers

"Buckets of Rain" by Bob Dylan

"Riders on the Storm" by The Doors

"Who'll Stop the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book by Gastonian wins national prize

Gastonia artist Lore Spivey won first place at the Focus on Book Arts conference in Forest Grove, Ore. with her book, "13." 
"13" looks at the year 2013 (The Year of the Snake) and the spectrum of cultural beliefs and superstitions that surround the sometimes  lucky, sometimes unlucky number. 

Spivey won this award at the June 25-30 conference. To see photos of the interior and other books she has created, visit her website.
Spivey teaches theater at Forestview High School.
“I am very pleased and gratified to be chosen by the Focus On Book Arts Conference for this honor," she said. "It is nice to be recognized outside my local area."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A dissonant and wonky "America"

No doubt this Fourth of July will bring "America," or "My Country Tis of Thee," as it's more commonly called, to your ears. You may not get a chance to hear what I consider its greatest rendering, though, unless you plan to spend some time in the presence of a pipe organ, which, admittedly, isn't the setting most of us imagine for our country's birthday.

American composer Charles Ives' work "Variations on America" presents the patriotic tune in a range of ways, some playful, some jubilant, some sarcastic, some dismal. As a person who experiences a wide spectrum of feelings and thoughts about my country, I find this version of patriotic music much more accommodating--it's less dependent on my good opinion and pride; it allows me to acknowledge the positives without feeling fake for ignoring the negatives.

You've got to listen. I know the video is nine minutes long, but start it and listen while you ice your American flag cake.

"Variations on America" by Charles Ives (1874-1954)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Pops in the park this week

Any symphony's Fourth of July concert is always a crowd pleaser. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's 2013 offering includes all the favorites as well as some appropriate pieces that won't necessarily be heard around the country this week. Here's the line up:

SMITH/Ochoa "Star-Spangled Banner"
BAGLEY "National Emblem March"
TRADITIONAL "Armed Forces March"
COPLAND "Lincoln Portrait"
HANDY/Wendel "St. Louis Blues"
ELLINGTON/Hermann "Duke Ellington Fantasy"
VARIOUS/Wendel "Back to the Fifties"
SOUSA "Liberty Bell March"
D'ANGELO "America the Beautiful"
TCHAIKOVSKY "1812 Overture"
BERLIN/Ades "God Bless America" 

This concert will be heard at 8:15 p.m. at Village Park (8th St. Greenway) in Kannapolis on Tuesday for free; and again at the same time Wednesday at Symphony Park (4400 Sharon Rd., behind SouthPark Mall) in Charlotte. Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children under 18 for the Symphony Park concert.