Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our Favorite Things in Retrospect

Neon Park & Chick Strand
Tonight, as part of our Closing Night Memorial for the Chick Strand and Neon Park Retrospective exhibitions, we are running a program of Chick's experimental films projected in 16mm from the original film elements, making this very special indeed.

Filmmaker Chick Strand was one of the founders of the San Francisco Cinematheque and of Canyon Cinema, one of the principal distributors of avant garde films in North America. As if that weren't enough, she also created the film program at Occidental College where she taught for 25 years. Chick passed away in 2009, but her astonishing, sexy, exhilaratingly beautiful films remain and so do her paintings.

Her husband, painter Neon Park (aka Marty Muller) is best known for his powerful record album covers, most famously Frank Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh, and many LPs by Little Feat. Marty succumbed to ALS in 1993, but his impact on the music industry's art direction can still be seen today, and his multi-image, painted technique still inspires wonder in the generations of post-Photoshop designers who have inherited his legacy along with a much more versatile set of tools.

The atmosphere of delight, dread, silliness, and ecstasy that Chick and Neon generated not only lingers–it thrives. Since the show opened earlier this month, some of their seminal works have been acquired by private collectors making this the last likely opportunity to view them all in one place. Friends and students of this California power couple will reminisce over refreshments from 7-9PM and the show will come to an end tomorrow.

NEGATIVLAND had a blast putting together Our Favorite Things, and their live performance is yet another legendary addition the the storied La Luz de Jesus musical legacy that includes The Dwarves' explosive (literally!) gig in the backlot that has since become the stuff of punk rock folklore. The picture at right documents fans of the original culture jammers packing the gallery in record numbers for the opening of their first ever Los Angeles retrospective earlier this month.

Check out this great interview with NEGATIVLAND at Cartwheel.

Billy's Thursday Night Fish Fry
This great marriage of music and multi-media art has helped to shed light on our other monthly musical revue, Billy's Thursday Night Fish Fry & Community Social, hailed by the L.A. Weekly as "One of the Ten Best Night Clubs for People Who Don't Like Night Clubs." Held (mostly) on the last Thursday of each month, lucky patrons have been treated to free shows from Grant Lee Phillips, Gitane Demone of Christian Death, Debora Iyall of Romeo Void, Thelonious Monster, Joe Wood of T.S.O.L., and a series of rock star jams with Johnny Indovina (of Human Drama) and friends. These aren't just rock shows, either. The Fish Fry is a showcase for comedians and novelty acts and often includes live painting, avant garde theater and much more. Just getting the chance to see Billy Shire rock the harmonica is worth the price of admission, which is free, but you know what I mean. On October 25th we'll be welcoming Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano and Greg Behrendt among others. 

Right now, you can preview October's MACABRE SHOW, featuring eight incredible artists (including several museum veterans) with diverse methods for creating darkness that is as illuminating as it is mysterious. Pre-sales are happening and Jasmine Worth only has two pieces unsold, so click over and contact the gallery director ASAP!

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