"That was the weirdest movie," is a phrase that likely gets tossed around whenever a film ends strangely, abruptly, or unpredictably, but that distinction undoubtedly belongs to David Lynch's Eraserhead. The 1977 film will get a rare Atlanta screening at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema next week. Although the film is available on Criterion Blu-Ray and DVD, the opportunity to see the film as it was meant to be seen — projected onto the big screen in a darkened movie theater — is not to be missed.
Lynch's first feature film, Eraserhead tells the story of Henry Spencer (played by actor Jack Nance, who went on to perform in many of Lynch's later films), who lives in a bleak post-industrial landscape and is left to care for the nightmarishly malformed baby he's recently fathered. Simply describing the strange plot or saying the film is "dreamlike" or "surreal" never quite captures the experience of watching it. The brain's ability to process projected film is closely, even literally, connected to the brain's capacity to dream and have nightmares, and it's in this strange realm where Lynch sought to plant his freak flag. Eraserhead makes the director's later work like "Twin Peaks" and Mulholland Drive seem positively tame in comparison. One searches for the right words: a reviewer for the Village Voice once wrote that Eraserhead is "an intergalactic seashell cocked to the ears of an acid-tripping gargantua." Well, yes. That's it. Precisely.
David Lynch's Eraserhead screens at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on Tues., March 3, at 7 p.m.
In October of 2013, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund confidentially invited six arts organizations to submit ideas for how they would use a major capitalization grant. After extensive training and consultation, three of those organizations augmented their original concepts into specific, donor-ready capitalization proposals. On May 1, 2014, the plans were presented to the Arts Fund Advisory Committee: the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center was to be the single, happy recipient of a $200,000 grant to sustain a strong, long-term financial foundation and strategic plan.
Until three days ago, this was the only known recipient.
On Feb. 23, however, the Arts Fund announced that the remaining two finalists, Atlanta Celebrates Photography and the Horizon Theatre Company, would also receive capitalization grants of $160,000 and $180,000, respectively. The idea behind the Arts Capitalization program is to encourage the long term financial stability of arts organizations — not just keep them above water.
“Historically, many small-to-midsize arts groups have thin financial resources and little if any cushion,” Arts Fund director Lisa Cremin said in a statement. “The Foundation’s capitalization initiative advances a healthier, more sustainable business model, not only for individual organizations, but for the region’s small and midsize arts organizations overall. Being ‘well capitalized’ means that an arts organization has the resources to meet its artistic mission; build reserves for stable operations; has access to cash for artistic programs in their strategic plan; pays staff leaders fair salaries; and is able to take care of facilities and fixed assets.”
By providing these monetized resources, the pilot program facilitates stable operations: fair salaries, well maintained facilities, and the cash necessary to meet artistic missions. In other words, if something unexpected were to happen, these organizations would have the liquidity required to recover.
The program is the result of years of research and education, during which the Arts Fund worked with the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), based in New York. A leader on nonprofit financing, NFF has provided educational programs on capitalization to regional Atlanta art groups and donors — in addition to training nonprofit consultants in developing capitalization plans. Funding for the capitalization program came from the Zeist Foundation, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation. Other supporters include the Coca-Cola Company and PNC Bank.
“Our intent all along has been to create a groundswell rather than just make a single grant,” Cremin said. “All of this won’t happen overnight. There is tremendous work to be done. But everything about the pilot encourages us to push ahead.”
And these are just the ones reading at the release event.
Free and open to the public, the Loose Change 5.1 Issue Release Party will be held tonight, Fri., Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Highland Inn Ballroom. There will be a bar! It will be a blast!
If you are interested in contributing to the Loose Change 5.2, submissions will be accepted here until March 1.
The Goat Farm Arts Center and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences have joined forces to create FIELD EXPERIMENT, a public action initiative aimed to help realize the project of an individual or collaborative creative talent. The program, which seeks interactive, cross-disciplinary, and community driven ideas that would be accessible to the public, hopes to remove limitations for both artists and the public alike. The final winner of the initiative will be given not only a $20,000 commission, but also a two week residency at the Hambidge Center. This is on top of administrative, production, and technical support given to facilitate the actualization of the project.
By not only eliminating the winner’s financial obstacles, but also by pushing viewers outside of a traditional space, like a gallery, the initiative plans on breaking barriers in expression and perception.
“Art in customary exhibition space is detached from routine life where we go to be with others that have similar expectations,” Goat Farm Co-Founder Anthony Harper said in a statement. “Art in space where routine life does take place gets stumbled on with others that have no expectations at all.”
To be clear, the project needs to be imaginative and original, but not necessarily artistic in a traditional sense. The Hambidge Center and the Goat Farm are looking for all types of talents, which include visual artists, yes, but also architects, scientists, and other members of the creative gray area. If you find yourself in one of those categories, you should hurry and get your ideas on paper — proposals are due on Tues., Feb. 24. From there a group of panelists, including Teresa Bramlette Reeves, Ben Golman, Jamie Badoud, Anthony Harper, and Mark DiNatale, will select five finalists. The five contenders will receive $2,000 and the opportunity to showcase their projects at The Goat Farm in late spring. The final winner will be announced on Friday, June 5, only to begin work for the presentation of their work Fall of 2015.
The goal is of course to reward a deserving creative mind, but as Harper points out, the project is also there to provide “something vigorously kick ass for Atlanta.” As far as what that "something" is, only time — and competition — will tell. For more information on how and where to submit your proposal, visit the FIELD EXPERIMENT website.
A monthly listing of critic Andrew Alexander’s picks for the top five arts events in Atlanta:
5. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Feb. 5-7, Emory’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.
But Churchill was a painter. He called it a "hobby" and a "distraction," though he obviously approached the pastime with seriousness, concentration, and dedication across many years. Churchill first turned to painting in 1915 after resigning in shame as first lord of the Admiralty after a disastrous military operation during World War I. Over his career, he befriended many of the great English artists of the day, and he wrote a book about painting in 1921. Most tellingly, he stuck with the hobby during very dark political times — his own, his country's, and Europe's — creating about 500 paintings in his lifetime.
The small exhbition of about 30 works is especially fascinating for the way it traces the links between Churchill’s political life and his hobby. Many of the paintings look like the work of a stressed out politician using painting as a way to cope (read: not so hot) but several are truly accomplished and lovely, and all are worth seeing for the way they give insight into the inner life of a celebrated historical figure. Several artifacts and a video help connect Churchill to Georgia, where he and Franklin D. Roosevelt visited and viewed American soldiers from Fort Benning during World War II.
Winston Churchill's paintings are being exhibited in Atlanta at the bottom of the Millennium Gate in Atlantic Station. The exhibition The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Art of Painting runs through Feb. 1.
The Hudgens Center for the Arts has announced the four finalists for the $50,000 Hudgens Prize. After carefully going through the submissions of Georgia artists, the 2015 jury panel selected Atlanta's Bethany Collins, and Scott Ingram, along with Rylan Steele and Orion Wertz out of Columbus. The finalists will be part of an exhibition at the Duluth gallery from April 7 to June 27.
Here's some quick biographical info on the four artists, with their accompanying statements:
“I am interested in the unnerving possibility of multiple meanings, dual perceptions, and limitlessness in the seemingly binary. Drawing repeatedly allows me to fully understand objects in space, while defining and redefining my own racial landscape.
For me, racial identity has neither been instantly formed nor conjured in isolation. Rather, identity entangles memory: actual and revisited, cultural and historical, individual and collective. Through the dissolution of dichotomies and exploration of language, this work recalls moments in the formation of my racial identity as Black and Biracial. And each re-worked mark is yet another attempt to navigate the binary paradigm of race in the American South by grasping invisible limitations and grounding myself within the collective African American visual narrative.”
“My work sits in a space between documentation, conceptualism, and Abstract Representation. It most often makes commentary on our built environment as expressed through art, architecture, and design.
I like to think about my work in terms of a conversation of curiosities and observations, not a message of intent. I liken it to two old men sitting on a porch telling the same stories for so long they’ve forgotten the truth. It just becomes who they are.”
“[I have] an ongoing interest in how community is defined in contemporary society. I grew up in Florida and I am fascinated by the landscape, not living there has made it possible for me to photograph it. I find it curious that someone would build a community [Ave Maria- a catholic inspired community in south Florida] that is philosophically and geographically isolated from most of the population.”
“Why do we enjoy imagining the end of the world? How do we read trash? How do we project ourselves into the worlds we fantasize about? These are some of the questions that fascinate me, and which have driven my explorations in painting and drawing.
I am developing a mythology suitable to a consumerist era. With this recent body of work, I have pursued this goal by borrowing visual idioms from early renaissance panel painting and combining them with idioms common in video game renderings of figures and landscapes. Themes of desire and apathy compete with each other as I attempt to define something sublime.”
The fifth annual 24-Hour Opera Project gives caffeinated contestants just one 24-hour period in which to compose, stage and rehearse an entire short opera. Creative Loafing arts writer Kate Douds has the full story in this week's Loaf about how the composers, librettists, stage directors, singers, and accompanists will be divided into randomly selected teams this Friday night to create new works that will be performed just one day later. The final competition is free and takes place at Theatrical Outfit in downtown Atlanta on Sat., Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.
I'll be one of the judges at the event on Saturday evening (while contestants are toiling away on Friday night, I plan to rest up in preparation for judgment). The contest awards a prize for both a judges' favorite and an audience favorite, so you can join me in making a final decision at the free event on Saturday night.
A widely-noted, somewhat ironic outcome of the challenges that many orchestras across the nation have been facing seemed to hold true for the ASO, as well: strangely enough, the problems may serve to make potential audiences more aware and supportive of their orchestras, something that I would say was visible in both the number of attendees at the nearly sold-out performance and in the general enthusiasm and rapt attention of the crowd.
And what a thing to pay renewed attention to! The ASO performed a fantastic show with young Russian pianist and rising star Daniil Trifonov as soloist. It was especially fascinating to watch the physical transformation of Trifonov, who walked on stage — young, slim, and handsome with the stylish, cool, and somewhat diffident air of a 1960s chess champion — and who played hunched over the piano at an impossibly gnarled, unglamorously contorted angle, his face nearly touching the keys during intense passages, as he gave an incredible performance of Rachmaninoff’s "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini." It was a brilliant show from Trifonov and from the ASO, which also performed works by Liszt and Strauss under the baton of guest conductor Asher Fisch on the same program. It was an evening that promised great things — and a smoother year — ahead. Bravo, ASO. More, please.
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