Dance With Me

I've got a passion for what I'm doing and I feel privileged all the time.  -Nitin Sawhney

I have to admit, I had no idea who Nitin Sawhney was when I found that quote. I often use quotes to get my fingers moving across the keys. I'll have a surge of energy that swells up and makes me need to write. Sometimes I know exactly what I'm going to write when I sit down, and other times I browse through pages of quotes on the internet until I hit that one quote that defines the energy.

I know that I want to write about how amazing it feels to work in the arts field. I want to tell you that every time I see a new artist's work that I like, my pulse quickens. I have to show people the work and want them to feel that same feeling. (This is one of the many reasons I opened TLGUTS.)

I want to tell you that every time I watch a flash mob video on youtube I get choked up. I can't help myself. I think flash mobs are one of the most amazing things that have happened to the arts in recent history. Love or hate Oprah, or the Black Eyed Peas. That's beside the point. When I saw that flash mob dance video, I cried happy tears. I don't care who knows. My kids found it somewhat amusing, and a bit concerning, but there's something about THAT MANY people being creative together, moving their bodies, feeling the same pulse at the same time, that is utterly amazing to me. I am a youtube flash mob addict.

After watching a few of them, I started to become equally interested in the audience members' reactions. Some people keep on with their business, with only a quick dead glance at all the crazy people dancing in public. Most stand around with their camera phones and record the event in some way. Even more importantly, they look around to see how each other react to the whole thing with this gleam in their eyes and a smile on their face. Others, and these are my favorite people, try to get it on it, and they dance even though they don't know the moves.

Arts After Hours isn't a flash mob, but it's a public presentation of the arts that takes the coordination of a number of people feeling the same pulse and passion for the arts. As Corey, Seth and I plan these events, we are very aware that our audience is a critical component to the success of these events, and that in the end, its the experience of the artists and the audience that matters.

The audience is always a critical component to the arts. They keep the fire of the artists stoked. The sharing of music, performance, and visual arts, with an audience is a dance in itself. The artist leads, engaging their audience, hoping they respond, share their pulse, and move with them.

This upcoming Thursday, I want you to come dance with me at the Lynn Museum. I want you to smile. I want your pulse to quicken.

What Time is it Mr. Fox will be performing, as will Brown Chicken Brown Cow.  What Time Is It Mr. Fox will be performing a New England debut of new tunes; we're pretty excited about this and also pretty honored.

Sean Lobdell, Chris Barber, Steve Negron, Peter Pizzi, Alicia Churchill, Jane Coder, Daniel Arcand  and I have all made sculptures out of shoe lasts that are available through silent auction to help support the visual arts component of the AAH programming. Cheryl Pyburn, Karen Johnson, TLGUTS, Brian McDermott, and Subterranean will share their wares, and the Traveling Piano will be in the Museum courtyard for all to sit and become a part of a group arts experience. You know you want to come and play chop sticks...

I have a passion for what I do for artists and the arts, and I feel privileged to be able to do it. All I want to do man, is to get people's hearts dancing... and see the glimmer in the eyes and feel the pulse of those who never stopped.

Arts After Hours, Thursday, October 21, 7pm, Lynn Museum, $5 admission, live music, silent art auction, artist vendors, 50/50 raffle, raffle for Blue Ox and Turbine gift certificates, The Traveling Piano, Food by Fernando's, wine and Beer by Turbine, after party at Turbine. Part of the proceeds go towards The Lynn Museum's Matching Grant.


The Shoe Project

A couple of years ago I walked over to the Lynn Museum's yard sale. I love yard sales but rarely get to go because I work on Saturdays here at the gallery. I was super excited to be able to take a lunch break, walk out of the back of the building, and hit the Museum's yard sale in it's beautiful courtyard. I was more excited when I found a laundry basket full of old shoe molds for not a lot of money. I asked twice if they were sure they wanted to let it go at such a low price.

Being from The LandofNotLynn, I expected that these old shoe forms were as precious to Lynners as say, a piece of old whaling memorabilia would be to a LandOfNotLynner. Turns out, there isn't a lot of public interest in turning Lynn into a save-the-shoes town like LandOfNotLynn. There also aren't a lot of really loud, vocal, motivated parties interested in saving the old ten-footers like there is to save the cobblestone streets or other pieces or periodic charm of LandOfNotLynn.

Lynn, as it seems, has always been fed by industry. For the large part, in my opinion, Lynn's greatest asset (seconded by it's amazing wealth of natural resources) is its wealth of hard working people. Lynn really wasn't built by a certain industry as much as industry was able to be built because of Lynn's people.
And no one industry has influenced Lynn as much as industry itself, when looking at the city's start to now.

The shoe industry, however, was a biggie. And being an artist, is also the most interesting to me. I love looking at the exhibitions at the museum and seeing the old shoe designs, the Lynn Beach Painter's work, all from that period in time when Lynn was a trendsetter in foot fashion. I am a sucker for early American cottage industry type things, and the ten footers and shoe forms are right up my alley.

I thought I would make something of those shoes some day, something new, and then AAH came along. I passed the shoes out to some artists whom I both admire, have worked with in the past, and trust will redfine those forms and show the city that we are still trendsetters here in Lynn.

The hardworking people of Lynn are no longer defined by one industry, or culture of tradesmanship. While many families have been here for generations, there are influxes of new people, as there always have been, and some of us are dedicated to the creative industries. We aren't all farmers like my ancestors were when they landed in Lynn in the 1600's for a brief spell, but we're working the land here, gathering up steam for new cottage industries to take foot in the downtown.

I hear so often, "When I was a kid, it was so nice down there." Well, come back and make it nice again. Shop local, dare to help make your back yard a wholesome, safe, bustling place so your children can grow up and say with pride, "Look what we built," instead of recounting what was destroyed. That's the true Lynn spirit, isn't it?

(Note: The shoe mold sculptural pieces will be available through silent auction at the upcoming Arts After Hours event on October 21st, which will be held at The Lynn Museum. This post will be followed up in a few days with photos and artists'info.)


Belle Absente: weekly writing salons

Corey Corcoran, Allergies
Introducing the first event collaboration between The Little Gallery Under the Stairs and Subterranean: Belle Absente.

On Wednesday evenings we will be hosting miniature writing retreats. In the spirit of Oulipo's laboratory of potential literature and the Romanticist, Surrealist and Tel Quel salons that preceded it, we invite you to vigorous conversation and writing sessions, collaborations and experiments.

Work away on your own project in the company of other writers; critique and workshop sticky situations; play Exquisite Corpse or the degenerative writing/drawing parlor game Eat Poop You Cat; break out of your comfort zone with constraints of Bourbakian set theory compiled by Oulipo; come up with a piece of brilliant new writing for your next open mic performance at the Walnut Street Cafe; or spark a more organic and ongoing collaboration.

We'll provide the coffee, wi-fi, and comfy seating. You bring your choice of writing tools (and bottled inspiration if desired).

While you are here, check out Corey Corcoran's Exhibition, NUMBSKULL, open through the end of October!

Belle Absente begins October 13, 8:00 PM at TLGUTS.
Belle Absente has already begun.