Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fresh Thymes Joins the Loop

Fresh Thymes Art Show Program
Fresh Thymes on Lovering Avenue in Wilmington shared some of their creative eats at the Bite of the Fringe in September -- now they've jumped into the Arts scene full-on, as they hosted their very first Art Loop show on October 1st. Featured was the painter/printmaker Nicole Kristiana FitzGibbon, who showcased her series of fantastical creature prints. Some of the wildly-patterned animals come from fantasy, others are fantastical versions of real animals, from cats and rabbits to an anthropomorphic frog to gryphons and dragons.

The prints are made using a modern printmaking style, a combination of hand painting the outlines and colorful patterns separately, then combining them using a computer. Each detail is a small part of a larger intricate pattern, in a collage of brushstrokes.

In addition to the prints on the wall, all of the pieces can also be printed on a microfiber handbag, and samples of the custom-made bags were also on display. The bags, as well as a large selection of prints, are available in FitzGibbon's Etsy shop.

As for the space, Fresh Thymes is a charming little cafe with bright walls and great fresh food -- no doubt, the free hors d'oeuvres were part of the attraction.

First Friday at Fresh Thymes is a hit -- according to the artist's blog, the show at has been extended through November 30. And if you're disappointed about missing the opening, she'll be back for an encore First Friday at Fresh Thymes on November 5th.

Fresh Thymes Cafe
Lincoln & Lovering

Fringe Wilmington: Fantastic Fun!

Tongue & Groove and First State Ballet Theatre Photos: Joe del Tufo

Fringe Wilmington 2010 went off with a bang at preview night. Performers gave the audience short snippets of their shows, and I was able to figure out quickly which were the shows not to miss.

Also opening that night was the Visual Fringe, in the Shipley Lofts. Much of this work begged for interaction, with “in-your-face” tactile qualities. Melinda Steffy’s wonderfully textured contributions added warmth and depth to the installation. Brookes Britcher is as fascinating as his work, “Life on Paper is a Series of Decisive Moments”. The artist, who began as a photographer, explained to me how this work had developed from a large framed family photograph he had found discarded on the street. Britcher feels photography, as an art from, is still stuck in its “representational” phase. This sculpture, created from an empty postcard display stand, luminescent tape, duct tape, confetti, colored silly-string, a light, extension cord, along with the framed photograph, is an exploration of the abstraction of photography. The faces in the photograph are shadowy, barely visible behind the tape, and the postcard stand is empty, serving as architecture and perhaps stability in Britcher’s whimsical, powerful piece.

See http://brookesbritcher.wordpress.com/.

Friday and Saturday, I squeezed in as many events as I could. I managed to catch the 48-hour film competition screenings, the 21st Century Ballet, improvs by Tongue and Groove, adult plays by Shel Silverstein, Mosaic’s Slave Narratives, the Sharp Dance Company’s exciting Addictive Fragility, and the hilarious film, 200 Characters or Less.

The First State Ballet Theatre was in top form with the luscious Nonsense in the Sense of Innocence choreographed and scored by Viktor Plotnikov. Music of Vivaldi, Beethoven and others was altered, and electronic blips, creating a foreboding theme, were wound into the familiar tunes. A long, flexible knit “dream” cap on the dancer’s head, connecting her to the ceiling, wound a beautiful, stretchy blue/green thread. The images created by this ever-changing line were endless and dramatic. The image of the cap constantly reminded us the dances embracing her and unfolding on stage before her were products of her dream life.

See http://www.firststateballet.com/.

The Philadelphia based Improv troupe Tongue & Groove was wonderfully fast-paced and entertaining. They used material solicited from the audience: “What is something you wanted to tell someone, but never did? Write down an unusual email or text saved on your phone.” With our answers, the troupe created overlapping scenes and dialogue. I was thrilled when an actor created an entire rant out of my submission, “You need to whiten your teeth.” (Yes, I find myself zoning out, looking at people’s teeth sometimes. Sue me.) Skilled ensemble actors, they did not shy away from the serious or macabre.

See http://www.tongue-groove.com/.

Riveting was Mosaic’s Slave Narratives. Created by Ed Shockley, a Philadelphia writer/actor, the show consists of vignettes of narratives and letters-from Mordechai Vanunu, Galileo, the American slave trade-to the Montgomery Bus boycott. Though the work was a window into individuals and their experiences with slavery, there was a unifying theme-a message about slavery and how it traps and hurts not only those enslaved, but the entire community. lary moten was touching and funny in his various roles. moten brought the audience into the show, clapping and chanting, “I cannot be denied” in Shockley’s tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

See http://www.mosaictheatreproductions.com/.

SCO Productions entertained us with some wildly funny short plays by Shel Silverstein. Ever the linguist, Silverstein develops scenes around rhymes and puns. Dana Michael is hilarious and bawdy in Buy One, Get One Free, a naughty tale in which everything must end in the sound “eeee”. In Smile Jim Burns, Kevin Regan and Gordon Holmes play a bunch of dumb hit-men, who terrorize Gibby (Matt Casarino) for his creation of a “have a nice day” and other insipid expressions. Silverstein is at his absurdist best in No Skronking: an unsuspecting diner (Jason Fawcett) prods his server Bertha (Kerry Kristine McElrone) to explain what “skronking” is, since it’s forbidden.

See http://fringewilmingtonde.org/.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spooktacular Rocks

The Art Loop came smack in the middle of the Fringe Wilmington festivities on Friday, making it almost more art and weirdness than we could handle -- as if! We took a detour from the downtown activities to check out the Talleyville Frame Shoppe & Gallery's "Spooktacular!" Halloween Art Show featuring spooky art and live music. It was well worth it -- this show wound up being one of the highlights of the weekend.

Coffin Fly at Talleyville Frame Shoppe & Gallery. Photo: Holly Quinn
The mood was relaxed, the art intense, including Newark-based artist and children's book author Kristen Margiotta's distinctive paintings of big-eyed characters and horror icons such as the Mad Hatter and, my favorite -- Vincent Price holding his own head on a platter;  Ric Frane's paintings of horror movie monsters paired with pinups, including the devilish "Self Portrait with Mate;" and Pinup model and glitter artist Asia "The Glitteress" DeVinyl's tryptich of glittery, glamorous and creepy pieces; Wendy Mitchell's wicked mixed-media art; Stephen Blickenstaff's colorful, comic-style paintings; and Kevin Herdeman's mixed-media monster art that not only puts the frame into consideration, it completely incorporates it.

In addition to the art on the walls (plus all the other cool art, cards and jewelry the shop carries regularly) the opening featured Coffin Fly, a trashabilly trio out of the University of Delaware. After a minor delay, they kicked into their set, and I'm sure glad I caught it! Ghoulish lyrics and rockabilly beats complete with stand-up bass and washboard. For those who follow Delaware's underground music scene, this band is one to watch.

"Spooktacular" runs through October 28. The show is brought to you by the minds behind this year's multi-artist Zombie A Go-Go Rock 'N Roll Art Show -- we hear that another ZAGG is planned for late winter/early spring '11, so keep an eye out.

Talleyville Frame Shoppe & Gallery
3625 Silverside Rd.
Talleyville Center