Saturday, July 25, 2009

testube magazine: started 30 years ago

30 years ago this weekend the new-wave fanzine testube put out its first issue. It was heavy into new technologies and art rather than music at first. The first volume of issues were screenprinted 8 1/2 x 11 magazines.
testube came out as a Newsletter on the local and national scene to fill-in between special issues. Each issue had a theme.
Full size tabloids were also released like the last printed issue (above right) that included a proposal to make the Short North into a world's fair of culture in 1984.
testube mutated into an audio cassettezine in its later years up until 1989. Over 70 bands from 7 countires were featured in C-zines A through F. This included "New Ohio" an all-ohio band compilation. After 1985 the printed magazine operation became HIGHstreetART and focused on the art district. Some testube videos have been released since then. The P.O.Box 8421, Short North Station, Columbus, OH 43201 is still active. (maybe not for too much longer).

Sunday, July 05, 2009

July 2009 Gallery Hop: Just Forget It

It wasn't like they weren't trying. The galleries and shops put out the welcome mat for Doo Dah Parade watchers and tried to make an afternoon out of the post-parade period before the Gallery Hop began. Lindsay Gallery had a singer and guitar player going the whole time. Flower Child (above) put out its best parade furniture.
LuLuLemon (above) greated people with a patriotic theme. Even Jeni's Ice Cream couldn't muster its usual " line-out-the-door ". Parade goers were just not into checking out the Short North businesses this year. Maybe they planned to come back but the drizzling rain changed their minds. The Doo Dah, though started as a promotion for the Short North area, seems to be turning into a neighborhood celebration for people already wise to the gallery district.
Waldo's had part of their sign damaged. They weren't open and they weren't showing art, so maybe it is time for a new sign. At least deal with the word "gallery" on the sign.
The Three Dog Night shop had a couple of pooches sharing spaghetti in the window.
Windows are becoming more important. At Callandar Cleaners (above left) an artist is displaying his work and offering a web address for more information. However, is a registration site for many artists. Remembering the artist's name and the web address is a bit much to expect out of the gallery hopper. Jacob Neal is a new hair salon at Russell and High. They had dancers practicing inside during the afternoon and a minimalist, but clean window display. Let's hope they avoid window clutter, but change the curtains once in a while.
Not wishing to deal with the afternoon between the parade and the hop was Sherrie Gallerie which was showing artistic plates and other ceramic design pieces. Usually the Sherrie Gallerie has pretty high value art and wouldn't want parade goers. Yet, table settings seemed more appropriate for the parade crowd.
Maham Gallery was opened with its "Keep Calm" show. Like all the galleries, nobody was checking them out. Art looking was down even for a normal pre-Gallery Hop Saturday.
The Ohio Art League had tornado paintings by Jeff Regensburger. His paintings were small and variations on a theme. The technique was fuzzy and a bit muddy, yet his handout tried to promote the joy of oil painting in an age of digital images. Richness, intensity, density ? Really?
RoyGBiv had two artists that shared a similar love of their pop subculture generation. Left is James Payne who moved his whole living room into the gallery offering books to buy. He displayed posters and flyers for local punk bands that played in various (private) house parties. It takes a real scenester to know any of these bands, many probably only lasted a month or two. Some people will think he fabricated a punk scene, but I was told they are real. On the other hand, Alex Walp (above right) was tottally about making up a subculture. His was the outdoor festivals of the 1980's (?). He had fake newspaper stories about a "Harddyck Festival" of rock music. On the back wall were styrofoam that was made to look like spray painted chunks of the Berlin Wall. Other syrofoam rocks contained graffitti infront of the party tent.
Probably the best show honors goes to Rivet Gallery (above) and the three artists who do disturbing sculptures. Amanda L. Spayd (left) position her wormlike monsters with human teeth in whimsy constructions. Jake Waldron makes very realistic looking heads if anybody's head would be shaped like that. Then J. Shea pulls all types of small objects together with her twisty strings and expressive fabric. Tiny object given to an artist can explode the imagination. And the prices are reasonable.
New to scene is the Jason Antol Studios (above) on Courtland Ave. behind Fifth and High. Jason has put together a state of the art glass and sculpture studio in a renovated industrial building with parking. The front of the building contains The Lewis Kay Gallery, a new glass and sculpture gallery in the Short North containing large pieces by many local glass artists. They were setting up for a show of glass making, even allowing people to make their own work. An hour into the scheduled show, nobody had still shown up. The gallery has been here for months, but seems to be unknown. Definitely a place to check-out in the future becasue it is right behind a new condo and retail building in the north short north.

Doo Dah Parade & Gallery Hop the same day

For the third time in history the Doo Dah Parade fell on Gallery Hop Saturday in July. Next year the Gallery Hop will land before the downtown fireworks on the 3rd while the Doo Dah will be the next day on Sunday. Judging from this year, next year's schedule should do more for the galleries. There was much hope in the air this year that people would start with the parade at 1:00 pm and hang out until Gallery Hop gets going at 7:00 pm. Think again.
The parade was very short this year, something predictable when promotion for the parade asked for people to be in the parade. Just show up! No registration. The crowd just seemed stunned that from beginning to the end over a parade route that takes an hour the Doo Dah wrapped up by 2:30. If you were on Niel Avenue at the beginning of the parade, you were heading home by 1:30.
First, you have to understand that the Doo Dah was the first regular event to promote the Short North (Near North) predating the gallery hop. The Fourth of July was chosen eventhough many businesses don't open on a holiday. Little did they know that first Saturdays would become the driving force in the Short North and both events would line up every eleven years. But the Short North changes so fast between these occasional match-ups that nobody can understand how to play it. The last match-up was in 1998 before the upscale restaurant scene, or the arches, or a hundred other improvements. 1998 was just the start of big money pouring into the business district. Earlier in 1987 when the two events coincided, the Gallery Hop was a minor event.
Anyways, the time between events seemed to be the unique feature this year. What craziness would happen? Could we keep the people here or at least could we have an afternoon gallery hop after the parade? Well, now we know: expect nothing at all to happen. Of course, it didn't help that a steady drizzle set in by 5:00 and lasted all evening. Besides the loud drinking crowd at some of the pubs, people were burned-out on the Short North after the Doo Dah and the 3 day long Comfest the weekend before. It got really deserted before the Gallery Hop was to begin.
Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson were features of this parade. Look for pictures on Flickr or videos on You Tube if you want to see the actual parade. Here we're concentrating on the after party (?).
The Doo Dah is a time to dress a bit wild. To see and be seen.

But in an attempt to weld the Doo dah with the Gallery Hop a block of Buttles Ave. was blocked off to sell drinks. But please don't take your beverages onto High Street! If you saved your Comfest mug you could get a discount.
The mini-street festival (above) was powered by solar energy as well as the wackiness of the Parade. Yet, it just seemed that they were asking for too much to get people to spend the time they did at Comfest last weekend. It was four and one half hours until the Hop begins. Maybe the Parade should last longer (hint, hint).
Still the Parade people felt like hanging out to provide color to the neighborhood.
The financial scandals (above left) provided another major theme to the Parade.
Somebody had a 50th birthday or anniversary along the parade route. Hopefully they will see a 51st, but the party seemed to vanish pretty quick (not unlike everybody else during this afternoon).
Art Cars were another feature of the Parade and that included new ones not seen at Comfest like the Tiki mobile above. It brings new meaning to a "woody" vehicle. There's a Tiki statue on the roof.
The art car toys were a bit much for the kids, but maybe they are getting some ideas.
Seeing the art cars parked along restored Victorian homes made for a nice picture.
And there were some traditional antique cars that looked wild enough without much decoration.

The Parade is a big time for people to look in their closets for wild masks and head gear.
On the other hand, the Doo Dah has been known to sweep a few patients into the mix. Or let's just say they need to check the locks at certain institutions on the Fourth of July more closely.
The bicycle rickshaws were doing much business around the Parade shuttling people between their cars and the event. That was a good thing as many probably spent more time finding a parking spot and walking to the event than the parade even lasted. If you were lucky you might even get a real race horse jockey to speed you on your way.
All in All, we'll just sit here and wait for next year's Parade on the Sunday after the Gallery Hop in 2010 and see if the Doo Dah Unorganizing Committee lives up to its name again.