Pano: Surfboards, Organic Art, and Wagner’s Ring All on Tap for Late June
Senses Work Overtime on Charles Donelan’s Arts Newsletter
SENSES WORKING OVERTIME
Welcome to Pano, the Independent‘s new weekly arts and entertainment newsletter. What an auspicious week it has been for the arts! Just eight days in from the statewide reopening order, and already the calendar is filling with opportunities to rediscover the range and intensity of our sensory apparatus. Masks are no longer mandatory for those who have been vaccinated, and public spaces of all kinds are rapidly returning to their former glory.
Selah Dance Collective with State Street Ballet at Center Stage
“The end of the end of the world” reviewed. On Tuesday, June 15, the Selah Dance Collective became the first organization to hold a live performance for a full audience at Center Stage Theater since March of 2020. Augmented by dancers and choreographers from State Street Ballet, Meredith Cabaniss Ventura and her team presented a mixed program that shuffled video selections in among the live performances to great effect. It was thrilling to be back in an audience again, and, after an understandable initial hesitation, I doffed my mask and reveled in the freedom to see and be seen, nose, mouth, and all.
Surf History at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
On Thursday, June 24, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will open Heritage, Craft, and Evolution: Surfboard Design 1885-1959, an ambitious exhibition designed to celebrate coastal California’s cultural touchstone through the history of the innovators who made the modern sport of surfing possible. Both the exhibit and the accompanying catalog are the products of an extraordinary three-way collaboration between legendary surfboard shaper Renny Yater, plein-air painter John Comer, and painter/shaper Kevin Ancell. Full-scale boards representing the materials and shapes at certain specific spots and moments in California surf history will be on display, with each board featuring a vignette painting depicting the location with which it is associated. Look for an essay on the show by the Indy’s own Ethan Stewart coming soon.
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ORGANIC at Sullivan Goss Gallery
Minga Opazo is just one of nearly two dozen artists whose work will appear in ORGANIC, the summer blockbuster exhibition that opens at Sullivan Goss, An American Gallery, on Friday, June 25. Curator Jeremy Tessmer has been working overtime to make this expansive group show of objects crafted out of clay, wood, paper, fiber (textile), and metal into an exercise in promoting paradigm shift. For several decades, materials associated with crafts have been infiltrating the fine-arts world, as often as not in biomorphic forms and irregular textures. Employing objects drawn from the midcentury manifestation of the Arts and Crafts movement for context, ORGANIC bristles with the inventiveness of artists such as Nathan Hayden, Susan McDonnell, Charles Arnoldi, Elisa Ortega Montilla, and Lynda Weinman. See what these contemporary artists have to say through their work about the idea of the “organic,” one of the 21st century’s most protean buzzwords.
THE LONG LISTEN
The common notion that music streaming has reduced the impact of the album and put the single song back in the driver’s seat it occupied when AM Top 40 radio was king is, for me at least, inaccurate. In my experience, what streaming has wrought is the opportunity to explore artists in more depth, and at greater length, than ever before. Prohibitively priced box sets now routinely appear in full on streaming platforms, often without any delay over their physical release. While this may not be great news for artists, who still bemoan the paltry revenue they derive from streaming, it’s great news for those of us interested in immersive musical experiences. In response to this new tendency toward the “long listen,” I’ll be concluding the Pano from time to time with recommendations of new releases that come across at significant scale.
This week, I’m savoring the piano mastery of “Blue” Gene Tyranny, an artist whose presence had a definitive impact on the avant-garde “downtown” music scene of New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. On Degrees of Freedom Found, the anthology of his work that Rough Trade Records released this week, there are six discs worth of his music, ranging all the way from Modernist acoustic piano outings to a portrait of Harvey Milk from 1979 that mixes Tyranny’s playing with Milk’s own voice to dramatic effect. As the artist himself once put it, this is music that was created to “try as much as possible to circumvent Puritanism in the United States and elsewhere.”
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