Friday, April 29, 2011

We Burn II: Art Gallery Closing

Trifecta, Part II

We stood on the streets admiring the cold and windy, but beautiful, city while trying to flag down a taxi. I had thought it would be easier, but it took almost fifteen minutes to finally get into a cab and get to where we were going. Young Kubrick and I were happy to get out of the cold wind and in the back of the cab.

I called Krueger (who was waiting for us at the Burn Gallery) and told him we were on the way, giving a rough deadline of about fifteen minutes for us to arrive.

As we had time, Kubrick and I went through our swag bags.

We had:

Original Mad Magazine comics, his from 1967, mine from 1962.

An invitation to a cinema festival in July.

A notepad. The notepads had been recovered from the trash of some large convention event and were being recycled as part of the swag bags.

A package of Cheers cards with envelopes.

Lush beauty products. I ended up with a bar of soap, bath jelly, and lemon cuticle cream.

A pair of funny glasses, mine a Groucho Marx nose.

In all, we felt it was a rather worthwhile score. The Mad Magazines alone made it special. Kubrick had been a collector when he was younger, and I admit to having a great deal of fondness for Mad in my own youth. We were rather pleased with our swag score, and were able to get everything bundled into bags for our arrival at the Gallery.

The streets were floating colors when we walked across and into the next gallery. I donated the maximum amounts for both of us and we went upstairs looking for Krueger.

The Gallery was overwhelming.

Everywhere we looked there was so much beauty on the walls. A kaleidoscope of colors and sounds and feelings assaulted us as we moved up the stairs and closer to Kubrick. Some pottery was on the first floor, while the second was filled with the artist I came to like the most in the shortest amount of time. His work was composed of faces, features and colors. In particular, his purple series of trees moved me to near tears. It is so rare to see an artist work in purples, and truly more artists should have purple periods.

Purple is an underrated color. It is the color of sunrises on light spring mornings, and sunsets on violent summer evenings. It is the color of the hair of the goth girl you had a crush on in high school. It is the color of all things grape and sweet and saccharine. It is the color of erotic prose. The color of blooming gardens, royalty, voluptuous extravagance, dark wine stains, and blood running under the skin. It is a wonderful color to explore in depth.

Purple was the color of his trees.

On the second floor we found that there was to be more wine or beer, and since we had started with wine we stayed there. I went through to explore all the art by Kenneth Giddons (?) purple and otherwise, and to listen for a moment to the DJ spinning wildly funky beats as people mingled through near the closing.

I stumbled upon an anachronistic woman in the corner and commented on her dress, and she explained she would be performing a burlesque show in just a minute.

I was very hopeful to see her show; however, I also needed to find Krueger, who was still waiting for us the next floor up. Kubrick and I descended to the third floor to find Krueger. Before he were to get that far, we instead found the colorful photo work of a backlight artist on the wall. His work was all UV backlight with lasers and some body painting. The work reminded me a bit of the extraordinary work of one BodyMagick, without being quite as dynamic. I mentioned BodyMagick to them, as an artist who did UV body painting, which was at first accepted, but then rejected when they heard he was living in Germany. Their loss.

We finally turned the right corner and found Krueger deeply immersed in his own work, and he showed us around to some different pieces. There was the stage coach shopping cart from the Chiditarod, pottery, and other various works of art on the third floor. I was most impressed with Krueger’s pottery pieces. He had a few pieces that were slabbed and then glazed in a proper wood-burning kiln. They had desert colors in them, and reminded me of Krueger and his desire for fire and the desert sunshine. It was probably not intentional that the work spoke of fire, but certainly prefect that it did.

Once meeting up with Krueger I explained the burlesque that was going to happen downstairs, but sadly our quick decent was of no avail as the show was already over. However, she promised she’d be performing again soon, so we would just have to hope to catch her at some point in the future. The hour was fast approaching for the closing of the gallery, and Krueger worked to move us downstairs as things closed up. It was at this point that I ran in for a last fill of wine and was able to meet the artist who had composed the majestic purple trees, as well as the beautiful stacked sculptural pieces of oddly shaped faces. I told him I felt his work more than just saw it and he insisted on giving me a hug, which I could only accept.

From there we were working toward the stairs when Krueger said “There is going to be a silk show.”


“There.” He pointed to a girl preparing her silks at the end of the stairs for a demonstration of how the body can be manipulated on pieces of cloth that hang from the ceiling. She was rigged up the silks at the bottom of the stairs so she could do her areal display. We took up places to watch her. I pulled out my phone.

Kubrick asked “Does that do video?”


So I took some video as she moved.

She lifted herself straight up onto the silks, wrapping them around her arms and balancing her weight deftly as she did so. Her feet were in the air overhead, on the strength of her arm, a move that is both graceful and an prefect demonstration of the human body’s ability to be trained to feats that appear magical. She swung in the air, head over toes. She swung back feet pointed down lifted off the ground. She flipped back over and her hair dangled as her legs balanced over her head. Over and over again she twisted and turned with flawless ease. I loved her physicality, her fearlessness, and her form. The music wrapped her up as she dangled herself from the flowing curtains of silk, creating a seat, a womb, a ladder, making a place entirely her own inside the colored cloth.

Soon after the show finished, we exited back into the chilly Chicago night. A troupe of three now, full of music, and art, movies, food, and booze, and off toward the final destination of the evening: the Firewater Lounge.

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