God is Loving Us Now

Krishna Das offers locals a “chants” encounter with a night of devotional music

KD-Promo46

Song, spirituality, and celebration converge in the concerts of Krishna Das.In the past two decades, Krishna Das has been leading crowds around the world in kirtans, a call-and-response experience that is one part religious revival and one part cosmic sing-along. Accompanied by simple instrumentation, Krishna Das (or as his fans call him, KD) begins a chant and the crowd then responds in kind. While KD is the undeniable flashpoint of his kirtans, the collective joy and energy of the attending audience soon detonates the experience into one of melodic and mystical unity. KD’s repertoire ranges from “Hare Krishna” to “Amazing Grace,” merging the Ganges River with the Mississippi Delta over a drone of harmonium and the echoing chorus of the crowd. Continue reading

A Welcome Intrusion

A pair of SoCal artists invade CoRK with Interlopers

One For Each: “Roughly 16 x25 x4; Acrylic on wood and mixed media; light, velvet, gold leaf, and polymer clay, etc...”

Jennie Cotterill’s One For Each: “Roughly 16 x25 x4; Acrylic on wood and mixed media; light, velvet, gold leaf, and polymer clay, etc…”

 The Artist in Residence program at CoRK Arts District has produced a successful series of exhibits by both established and emerging artists. Previous AIR participants Rachel Rossin, Casey Brown, and the Estlunds (Mark, Shannon, and Phillip) have all used CoRK’s large gallery spaces to great advantage.

Now California-based artists Jennie Cotterill and Aaron Brown are presenting their exhibit Interlopers, a collection of new two-dimensional and three-dimensional multimedia pieces. The pair was invited to CoRK by Crystal Floyd, an impressive multimedia artist in her own right, and well-respected presence on the Northeast Florida arts scene. Continue reading

Pictures of Home

Our Shared Past blends the personal and universal through the prism of family

["It Was Supposed to be Fun." All original images courtesy of Jefree Shalev.]

["It Was Supposed to be Fun." All original images courtesy of Jefree Shalev.]

["A Few Years Later," photograph by Carolyn Brass, 2013.]

["A Few Years Later," photograph by Carolyn Brass, 2013.]

The phenomenon of memories can be as slippery and ephemeral as the combination of passing time and thought that lifts them into our consciousness. Does every memory that we keep carry with it some importance and resonance? Why will one recollection occupy our lives while others are overlooked, dismissed or forgotten altogether? Refined through the spectrum of our feelings and emotions, the past can bring us joy, resentment, and even mislead us completely. When combined with nostalgia, that seemingly-universal longing for what can no longer be experienced, a remembrance can even turn into a kind of memorial. Nostalgia can be likened to a funeral where time is buried, yet we still insist on revisiting the headstone, in some weird hope of deciphering these memorials of our past.

And if there is an even greater collective resemblance of memory, it is that they are generally tied into relationships; reveries which seem tethered to our connections to lovers, enemies, our own place in the greater universe, and invariably family. Continue reading

Pattern Energies

Multimedia artist Nida Bangash is featured at Clay and Canvas Studio’s Open Studio Night

[Installation shot of Nida Bangesh's work at Clay and Canvas Studios.]

[Installation shot of Nida Bangash's work at Clay and Canvas Studio.]

Since December of 2011, artists and educators Lily Kuonen and Tiffany Leach have been presenting their Open Studio Night at their Clay and Canvas Studio located in Riverside. The events are held bi-annually, usually in December and May or November and April, and are a chance for art lovers to visit Kuonen and Leach’s working studio and check out the respective artists’ new work. Yet the pair also uses these events to showcase the work of both emerging and well-known artists. In the past two years, the artists Mark Creegan, Erica Adams, Jessie Gilmartin, and Rachel Evans have all been invited to present original work. While the pieces featured are highly contemporary, these one-night events have been consistently casual and benefit from Leach and Kuonen’s generosity in attempting to bring greater exposure to other artists.

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We Can Be Heroes

Photographer Roy Berry chronicles the colorful characters of Fan Cons

[Trekkie and Son.]

["Trekkie and Son"]

In 1908, a certain Mr. and Mrs. William Fell of Cincinnati, Ohio arrived at a masquerade ball dressed as (respectively) “Mr. Skygack” and “Miss Dillpickles,” two then-popular comic strip characters. Their motivations remain unknown. And whether or not the Fells wound up in the social register or mental asylum is an equal mystery. But their entrance that evening at a Midwestern skating rink decked out in colorful and otherworldly garb is considered the first documented instance of individuals dressing up as science fiction and comic book-born entities.

Fast forward three decades later to 1939. Pioneering science fiction author, editor, publisher, and visionary polymath Forrest J. Ackerman attended that year’s inaugural World Science Fiction Convention in Manhattan donning a “futuristicostume.” In a memoir piece penned by sci-fi author and fellow attendee Dave Kyle, Ackerman arrived at this ground-breaking event with his shirt imprinted with the superhero-like-symbol “4SJ” (as in Forrest J. Ackermann) while “wearing his eye-catching street costume with green cape and baggy breeches.”

Since his death in 2008 at the age of 92, Ackermann has been credited as being the undeniable spearhead in launching genres such as horror and science fiction from the underground world of pulp magazines into the stratosphere of popular culture. Among his many accomplishments, Ackermann coined the term “sci-fi,” helped propel and push the literary and creative careers of writers including Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, L. Ron Hubbard, as well as über-cult hero Ed Wood, while amassing a personal collection of over 300,000 pieces of memorabilia.

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Closer to the Maddening Crowd (Part Three)

First day clean: September 6, 2007.

First day clean: September 6, 2007.

“More than those who hate you, more than all of your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm. More than your mother, more than your father, more than all your family, a well-disciplined mind does greater good.” – The Buddha, “The Dhammapada,” (3:33-43)

People describe “hitting bottom” in various ways. In my experience, while still using I would think that I had fallen to some plateau of degradation but then just kept digging myself lower and lower. In hindsight, I believe the “bottom” is really just the graveyard. I was lucky enough to somehow hit the brakes before that happened. But I admittedly had some menacing obstacles that encouraged that surrender.

At one point near the end of my using, I had come down with a case of “cotton fever,” a condition resulting from a bacteria-tainted-fragment of the cotton, used to draw up drugs into the syringe, quietly entering my bloodstream. I had heard of this health risk related to ongoing-IV-drug-use but if the threat of AIDS, Hepatitis, and even Myocarditis didn’t scare me away, this possible ailment surely did not. I was incredibly ill within what seemed like minutes of shooting up: fever and chills, body aches, and gasping for air were some of the hilarities I experienced. Over the course of a very long day, these symptoms eventually wore off. But while shaken up by this incident, I barreled forward into the madness.

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Game of Thrones

Artist Lee Walton has got you all in check with his upcoming mass chess challenge

[Screen still from Lee Walton's video "Mato Jelic."]

[Screen still from Lee Walton's video "Mato Jelic."]

While the art world can be competitive, Lee Walton certainly has racked up some impressive stats. Walton attended undergraduate programs in Sonoma State University, Chico State University, and finally San Jose State University; where he received his BFA. In 2000, Walton then garnered an MFA from the California College of Arts. Since then, the now-39-year-old multimedia artist has been featured in 20-plus solo and group exhibits in venues ranging from Manhattan’s legendary White Columns gallery space to the innovative Raygun Project Space located in Toowoomba, Australia. In the past decade, Walton has also been invited to deliver artist talks, participate as a panel member, and facilitate workshops on such highly-contemporary topics as experiential art, social media, public engagement, psychogeography, and game play in venues including Carnegie Mellon University, Parsons School of Design, and MIT. Walton is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Continue reading