Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rockin' out with Locos por Juana at the Orton Park Festival Friday night

Rockin' Out with Locos por Juana at the Orton Park Festival
We went to see the Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater at the Orton Park Festival and got there near the end of the Locos por Juana set Friday night. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and ignoring the raindrops that were starting to fall and the lightning that flashed with ever more brilliant intensity and frequency.

The Storm Moved in Just as the Locos por Juana Set Was EndingThey hadn't quite finished when the heavens opened up -- vibrant flashes of light sliced the night sky, rain began to pelt down and the wind became a tempest. The band started to pack up, someone announced from the stage that people should take shelter. A major storm was approaching. The park emptied as people fled -- some taking refuge in the gazebo, while others headed for their cars or homes in the neighborhood.

The Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater's Friday Performance Was CanceledThe Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater performance we had come to see was canceled because a) Theirs is not an underwater art form (yet); b) Hanging from an oak tree is not a good place to be during an electrical storm; c) Standing in an oak grove is not a great place for an audience to be during an electrical storm.

That Storm That Closed the Orton Park Festival Friday NightThe storm that shut down the festival with its sudden sturm und drang had been building all evening, as a front moved in from the northwest. I took this picture of the gathering clouds from across the lake a couple hours earlier, during our bike ride to Olin Park. So beautiful. So wet and wild.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Madison artist Angela Richardson's The Face of a Place -- an art project that talks to the neighbors

The Face of a Place by Night
Madison has had mixed results at best with the big, expensive, permanent public art projects the city has commissioned. And the city hasn't always had the money to maintain them either. We've had a lot more luck with the very modestly funded, playful, temporary art projects by local artists that the Madison Arts Commission's BLINK program supports. It's given us, among other things, penguins and big sea monsters on Lake Monona in the winter.

Now it's given us photographs of the people of the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood in a project called The Face of a Place by Madison artist Angela Richardson who also goes by name of Olive Talique on Flickr. These photos were printed on vinyl, turning the faces of the community into a translucent display that glows at night on Atwood Avenue. It's in the windows of the Martin Glass workshops. T noticed the stained glass effect as we drove by the other night and we went back to shoot it last night.

The Face of a Place by DayNothing wrong with galleries, but I love the idea of art that gets out and mingles in the hood and talks to the neighbors. This is another part of Richardson's installation, situated in the garden along the Capital City Bike Trail behind Cafe Zoma and Absolutely Art. (You need to be careful in appreciating the art, since the bike path is a busy east side commuter route. As I stood there the other day admiring the pictures and trying to frame my photo, a streamlined lycra-clad figure just missed me and whooshed by on a serious and very fast bike, muttering to himself about "people who don't look where they're going." I wanted to shout after him to slow down and enjoy the art, but he was already gone.) But the photos are worth the hassle -- and they put a whole new spin on the term "garden art."