Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rehoboth Rocks Local Art Scene

The 73rd Annual Members Fine Art Exhibition in the Corkran and Tubbs Galleries of the Rehoboth Art League is remarkable for two reasons: one, that the Rehoboth Art League could have so many members with so much talent and two that the galleries are in such a beautiful setting.

I biked down Columbia Avenue and enjoyed a leafy canopy and wide shady streets leading to Dodds Lane and the incredible gardens surrounding the League. The Homestead Gallery is smaller, but in a beautiful old house so you feel as if you are in someone’s home that is filled with wonderful pottery and art.

Here I noticed in particular the pale greens of Gail Neiburg’s and Nettie Green’s ceramic plates, the bold acrylic of Tehrir Square by Alan Keffer, the oil of Atlantic City in the Morning by Jarrod Ranney as outstanding. But when I arrived at the Corkran and Tubbs Galleries, the work truly began to overwhelm me.

Ken Kusterer, who moved to Lewes in 2006, has a big city edginess in his portrayal of an endless group of black men in bright orange prison jumpsuits entitled Used to be slavery was oppression enough. He also had a portrait of Benito Juarez with an inscription in the picture. Bill Snow’s oil of a Fall Storm on Federal Street in Milton showed the purply grey sky of a storm, the shine in the street giving off the reflection of the buildings and car whose headlights pierced through the foggy aftermath of the heavy storm.

There are also many small pieces and crafts that are quite tempting, including notecards with Lewes Eateries by Kathy Buschi of Magnolia as well as mirrors and other small items. This exhibit is open until August 26, but it seems the Rehoboth Art League is a powerful force that will be with us for some time to come.


Mosaic String Duo at the South Coastal Library

Both of the musicians are teachers. Douglas Seth founded the Guitar Academy of Southern Delaware after years of teaching in Florida and Chris Braddock has taught for many years at the Music School of Delaware and is currently guitar department head. Their concerts are lessons in stringed instruments: an octave mandolin, an oud (the Middle Eastern ancestor of the lute), a Dobro or resonator guitar, a twelve-string and classical guitar for Braddock and a classical, flamenco and electric guitar for Seth.

The concert consisted of pieces written by Braddock and Seth and they treated the crowd to brief explanations of titles, introductions to the various instruments and spoke of the composing process. Seth’s strong classical style and training (listen to his rendition of the prelude to the Bach Cello suite on his web site) is a great backdrop for Braddock’s more eclectic musical style. Together the two of them are quite creative.

Their tongue-in-cheek musical jibes as in the piece Ottmar Who?, a gentle mockery of Ottmar Lieber’s constant use of flamenco themes, was a lot of fun – with Braddock playing a melody reminiscent of a James Bond walk-on theme and Seth playing a constant flamenco ostinato in accompaniment. Seth’s virtuosic guitar solo for RW’s Backwoods Adventure took him to a very complex picking pattern of a wild country music hoe-down with Braddock accompanying him on the resonator guitar.

It was a fun evening and a delight to see such a large and enthusiastic crowd on a stormy rainy night at Bethany Beach.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Night of Music & Friends for the Arts in Wilmo!

Last night, Wilmington and the Baby Grand on Market Street were buzzing from the energy of a killer concert for two excellent causes. The Joe Trainor Trio (Joe Trainor, vocals/piano/keyboard, Kevin Neimi, bass & Jeff Dement, drums) are fantastic local musicians with huge philanthropic hearts.  They put together a blowout tribute to the music of Billy Joel with a few of their most talented friends, and their performance was a benefit for The Arts Academy at the Grand and City Theater Company (CTC). 

Billed as JT3 & friends present the music of Billy Joel, the evening featured musicians Chuck Kuzminski (lead guitar); Kerry Kristine McElrone (vocals); Jill Knapp (vocals/percussion/saxophone) & Matt Casarino (vocals/guitar/saxophone), who are known as the musical duo Hot Breakfast.  Special guest performers were CTC Artistic Director Michael Gray (vocals), Melissa Joy Hart (vocals), Stephen Manocchio (guitar/harmonica) and Gordon Holmes (vocals).  It was quite a full stage, and this musical gang had the near-capacity crowd hooting, clapping and eventually dancing in the aisles.  It was also clear that the group enjoys performing together: laughing, dancing and mugging to the crowd and each other throughout the sets.

The whole show was awesome (several folks commented to me afterward that they were "totally blown away"), but the highlights for me were, in no particular order:
  • Matt Casarino's "Billy the Kid" performance
  • The group performance of "Only the Good Die Young"
  • Gordon Holmes' kickass cover of "Pressure" (photo at right)
  • The rousing closing performance of "Piano Man"
Trainor is tremendously talented in so many respects.  He's fun to watch, his voice moves you, and he has an incredible knack for aligning musicians to produce a knockout musical punch.  (I sat next to his former music teacher during the show, and she was just beaming.)  JT3 and this collection of musicians are local gems that I think everyone should celebrate---for their talent but also their willingness to share it for the greater good of the Arts in Wilmington!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pick of the August Art Loop

Two DE Arts Info bloggers, Margaret Darby and Holly Quinn, hit the Loop this month:

Holly says: If you follow local music in Delaware (or if you follow this blog regularly), no doubt you've seen David Norbut's work. This month, Poppcock Tattoo at 115 W 8th Street in Wilmington hosts a selection of his photography, with a focus on his Western series of landscapes, nature and portraiture -- with a couple of his stunning live band photos in the mix, as well as a video incorporating a larger selection of photos. Norbut has a great eye in any location, not least of all the sweeping, sometimes weathered beauty of the American West, leaving me wanting more.

While Poppycock was hopping, people wall-to-wall, The Chris White Gallery at Shipley Lofts was considerably more quiet. The work in Anti-Subliminal, a group show featuring multimedia work by artists including Jesse Jynch, John Durandetta, Herman V. Brandt, Bresnow, and Brandon Cash, brought together illustration, photoshop and graffiti art, with an installation piece by 3EYES highlighting the show. 

Yakime Brown
Margaret Says: Holly’s venture into Poppycock Tattoo to see David Norbut’s photography and wanting more made me conscious of Michelle’s admonition that we should find some new venues….which I tried to do.  I started on Lower Market to see what the LOMA Coffee House was doing – a few works by Catherine Mulrooney were all I could see from the street and earsplitting music coming out of an electric guitar and enhanced by the guitarist’s plananx of bass pedals.  Didn’t dare enter as I didn’t have my earplugs on me, but it was obviously happening.  Went to Dimensions and Co. by Ace to see a few Underground Comixxx by Jabar Brown, who was by himself eating pizza out of a box and chatting on his cell phone….Venture Creative Marketing Group was firmly closed – unlike the framer next door who tried to call to find out if Venture was going to open later.  But it was all happening at 919 Market, so it was worth hiking up the hill – hearing more earsplitting music from the Queen (holding my ears even a full block away where we encountered a hip guy asking us where the music was coming from)….and walking into 919 to find a great party going on!  A big cake, lots of snacks and lively art by Yakime Brown – a friendly guy in a porkpie hat who strode right up to say hello.  It was fun telling him which pieces I liked best and hearing how he felt about those same pieces.  His textures are shiny, acrylic paint for the most part – either done in an explosive circle, seemingly shot from a cannon or made into flowerlike petals with his palette knife.  Yakime Brown also has a considerable variety – with some pieces of staid stripes in a flat mode.  Originally from Brooklyn, Brown has been living in Bear for the past few years and has quite a following.  AND it seems that the new curator of 919 is ready for things to hop.

And, there was new life in the DCCA with the completion of the Movable Feast project by interns  Jung-A Woo and Hoyun Sun.  When I arrived, teenagers from the Latin American Community Center and their teachers were buzzing around outdoor tables cooking on hotplates to show what they had learned about food and culture .  Woo and Sun had a film loop explaining the project and the kids photographs and art were displayed in the DCCA lobby.  But the real fun was watching the poise and pride of the kids as they prepared and served foods they had learned about during the six-week project. 

My conclusion is that you can always find new surprises in the Art Loop.  Can’t wait for the next one because, like Holly, it left me wanting more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wilmington Children's Chorus Goes Abroad!

The "Singing Ambassadors of Wilmington" have gone international, embarking on a 10-day musical and cultural tour of Europe!  Twenty-eight members of the 100+ ensemble will travel to Wilmington's Sister Cities of Fulda, Germany and Nemours, France for a performance, partnership and education-filled journey.  Click on the link in the headline above for a diary and photos from their trip, courtesy of the choristers themselves!

Delaware Arts Info wishes them all a wonderfully musical time abroad!  ENJOY!!!