A chunky, undressed Elvis impersonator in a man-bra and lady’s britches. That’s the symbolic soul of a month-long exhibit of “new and used” photographs by Santa Barbara native Matt Straka at Samy’s Camera on Chapala Street ’til October.
Called Notable Rejects-and opening as part of the downtown-wide 1st Thursday art event tonight, September 6-the show title is “not referring to the people” he photographed, assured Straka, but “just a bunch of prints that didn’t make it into other shows.” There is older stuff and a little bit of newer stuff, which makes it, according to Straka, who’s been shooting for 20-plus years and was The Indy’s staff photographer in 2000-2001, “a B-sides show, in a way; a real mixed bag.” A bag, it seems, that stretches from Southwestern desert landscapes to New York City-scapes, featuring plenty of colorful characters in between.
When asked why people should come to his show rather than others, Straka, who runs the film lab at Samy’s, deadpanned, “Because it’s way better. Because I am better than they are. No,” he laughed, “I’m totally serious.” Plus, there will be free wine from Epiphany Cellars, “donut holes on toothpicks for appetizers,” and limited edition T-shirts and buttons on sale.
And after you’ve taken in Straka’s rejects, chomped a hole, and slugged some free vino, make your way around the rest of downtown, where 1st Thursday will be in full swing. Other highlights for September 6’s event include the reopening of Frameworks/Caruso-Woods at 813 Anacapa Street, The Indy’s musical offering of Beleza Pura at Casa de la Guerra, a Sandcastle Festival demo on the corner of Anapamu and State streets, UCSB Arts & Lectures season kickoff at Edward Cella, and the band oso playing at the Contemporary Arts Forum.
Matt Straka’s Notable Rejects will hang at Samy’s Camera (614 Chapala St.) until October 1.