Posts tagged ‘first friday’

Neon Outlook: November’s First Friday and more art beyond

November 4th, 2008
Just one of the haunting works by Justin Crabtree and David Ward at Main Gallery

Just one of the haunting works by Justin Crabtree and David Ward at Main Gallery

Amongst all the Election Day nonsense (oh, and topless shows, dance-punk concerts and Tiki bars), we almost forgot First Friday was coming up this week. I know, I know, “how could we?” Well, it’s not like the future of our country (and the free world?) is hanging in the balance today or anything, right?

With that in mind, assuming the world hasn’t shat itself by then, here’s a look forward to November’s worthy art openings in Las Vegas not only before and during First Friday, but maybe a little after, as well:

First up is the return of Brian and Jennifer Henry’s creation Lola in her newest show, “Lola vs. The Universe,” at Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.). Opening with a preview reception on Thursday, Nov. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m., this new series catches up with the exploits of Lola, an “avid activist,” “steam train conductor” and Presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, at Main Gallery (1009 S. Main St.), Justin Crabtree and David Ward team up for “Method and Theory,” which opens Friday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. This installation juxtaposes the approaches, disciplines and styles of artist Crabtree and biologist Ward. You really need to see it to believe it.

Around the corner at MTZC (on the second floor of Commerce Street Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St.), we bid a sad farewell to the 4-year-old gallery with “20/20 Hindsight,” the final show featuring the art of owner Mark T. Zeilman. Do not miss the opening reception on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. for this closing show.

If you survive all that First Friday noise, then by the next week you’ll be ready for the opening of “Love and Water” by San Francisco-based Alexis Amann at Atomic Todd (1221 Main St.), showing Nov. 14 through Dec. 31. The exhibition, curated by Naomi Arin, features Amann’s acrylic gouache paintings, which explore the dual themes of love and water. The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14.

Other shows to keep on your calendar that we’ll revisit later: Tarissa Tiberti at The Fallout (1551 S. Commerce St.) from Nov. 21 to Jan. 3, 2009, and “Israeli Art NOW,” showing Nov. 26 through Jan. 4, 2009 at Naomi Arin Contemporary (formerly DUST, 900 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Suite 120-B).

At The Fallout, Jeff Gillette gets horrifyingly funny

October 17th, 2008

Jeff Gillette

We know it’s been a few weeks since October’s First Friday, but while there’s still a month left to check it out, we wanted to tell you about an exhibit worth seeing now on display at The Fallout Gallery (1551 S. Commerce St. in the Commerce Street Studios). Available for viewing through Nov. 14, the various works by Jeff Gillette adorning the walls of The Fallout are split between two approaches.

One wall is dedicated to dozens of Gillette’s framed works featuring images from various sources altered to sometimes-perverse ends, pieces that Gillette casts as nearly throwaway items (selling them for $10 per). The other three walls of the gallery, however, feature a series of paintings juxtaposing images of pleasure and excess – notably Las Vegas casinos and Disneyland – with visions of apocalyptic destruction and shantytowns.

Gillette said he uses photos of real slums from his own travels to India or found images on the internet for his paintings. In his eyes, these hastily-assembled shanties, composed of the discarded remains of signs, buildings, vehicles and other found items, could be coming to U.S. shores soon. Why?

“One word,” Gillette said. “Bailout. If it doesn’t work, then we’re screwed.”

If it seems like a bleak perspective, it helps to know a little more about the artist. In his artist statement, Gillette claims that he prefers the overwhelming “filth, degradation and poverty” of India to the “clean, orderly and happy” atmosphere he experienced when he was finally “dragged, kicking and screaming” to Disneyland at 38 years of age. But that disconcerting paradigm is something of which Gillette is fully aware.

“It is absurd. It is irreverent. It is horrifying,” he said of his art. “It is funny.”

Check out an exclusive gallery of photos from the sixth anniversary of First Friday by C. Moon Reed.

Picks for First Friday Las Vegas’ sixth anniversary

September 30th, 2008

Just one of many “Charming Patterns” on display at Trifecta Gallery.

Is it First Friday already? Well, it will be in two days. And furthermore, it’s October, which means it’s anniversary month for the monthly art walk and street fair — yes, it has been six years since Cindy Funkhouser and Julie Brewer (rest her soul) first brewed up Las Vegas’ longest-running cultural event. So get downtown on Friday and enjoy the nearly-cool autumn evening with a few thousand of your closest friends. Here’s our picks for must-dos the next few days:

Over at Trifecta Gallery, owner Marty Walsh unleashes her own visual works upon the walls of her Arts Factory space with the opening of “Charming Patterns” on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Fallout Gallery also hosts a pre-First Friday opening on Oct. 2 with a reception for Jeff Gillette, whose new works grace the Commerce Street Studios mainstay this month.

Upstairs from the Fallout, MTZC proudly presents “To Hell With You and All Your Friends,” featuring the work of Cleveland, Ohio-based artist Derek Hess. The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. — yes, on First Friday.

And over at Henri & Odette, gallerist Jennifer Harrington offers up the sounds of acoustic guitarist Rustyn Vaughn Lee from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday, which will surely be welcoming background music for enjoying the art of Amy Guidry.

Don’t forget, as well — the sixth annual First Friday Fundraiser is coming up Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. This year, it’s being held atop Newport Lofts downtown on the Skydeck. Enjoy cocktails, food, entertainment, schmoozing and a silent auction to benefit Whirlygig, Inc. — the non-profit arts organization behind First Friday. Tickets are only $60 in advance (or $75 at the door) — and the view of the city alone is worth the price, we think. See you downtown.

Step away from the BBQ and into the Arts District on Independence Day

July 2nd, 2008

John Fanok art
Art by John Fanok from his new show, “It’s All Going Down,” running this month at Trifecta Gallery.

I just paid my rent, so that must mean it’s almost First Friday again. Let’s take a look at some exhibits, parties and events related to July’s art festival held on July 4 from roughly 6 to 10 p.m. And remember, kids – access to Casino Center Boulevard requires a $2 admission fee. Not an optional donation. But a cover charge. OK, with that in mind, let’s roll on …

At the Fallout (Commerce Street Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St.), Joe DeCamillis features new works inspired by the structure, style and mechanics of poetry. The art will show at the Fallout through Aug. 15, and the gallery will hold an opening reception on Thursday, July 3 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.) will hold a preview reception this Thursday as well, from 5 to 8 p.m., for John Fanok’s “manifesto of new paintings,” “It’s All Going Down,” an exploration of the current polarized political atmosphere. (more…)

June’s First Friday is all about exposing body parts

June 5th, 2008

Guess what we cropped out of this picture?

Oh, man, is it TDBFF (the day before First Friday) already??! Sweet baby Jesus, where has the month gone? We have to warn you, there are so many awesome art and music happenings tied into the June edition of everyone’s favorite monthly arts festival / emo kid gathering / heavy boozing shindig that we aren’t even sure if you can handle this much awesomeness. So be sure to check with a medical professional before reading any further.

First up, tonight, June 5, we have the official opening reception for “Breast Defense: Glamour Girls for Early Detection” at The Fallout (at the Commerce Street Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St.). It’s a collaboration between the gallery, the Burlesque Hall of Fame and the Keep A Breast Foundation to build awareness of and eliminate breast cancer. We went by the soft opening of the exhibit a few weeks ago, and it’s pretty cool – dozens of molds cast from the busts of numerous burlesque performers, painted by artists such as Amy Sol, Casey Weldon and Tim Biskup, as well as some musical boob-lovers: Kim Gordon, Iggy Pop and Mark Mothersbaugh. The reception, from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight, features live performances from some of the busts behind those casts, so stop by if you, too, love boobs. I mean, who doesn’t?

Also opening tonight is “What Is It?,” a new show by Southern California illustrator Thomas Lee Bakofsky, at Marty Walsh’s Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd. #108). It’s from 5 to 8 p.m., and as always, Tinoco’s Bistro will be providing the refreshments. (more…)

What’s another month without First Friday in Las Vegas?

May 1st, 2008

First Friday vegas art

It’s a month not worth living, that’s what. So you’d better hope your little $2 contribution at the Casino Center gate keeps this thing alive. I say, screw that, slip those volunteers a 10-spot and ixnay the extra Guinness at the Griffin later that night.

So what’s on tap for First Friday in May? How about checking out what the students, teachers and alums of the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts are turning out these days, art-wise? You can do just that at MTZC (1551 S. Commerce St.) as the renegade contemporary arts gallery presents “Generation Gap,” showing throughout the month of May but debuting during First Friday, of course.

Or maybe your style is more robots and rocket pods? If so, check out Sam Davis’ latest work in “For the Love of Pod,” showing at Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.). His work is about the void between here and there, back and forth strangeness. He makes us believe in the make-believe keeping us playfully aware. But more importantly, his robots are really cool. Robots, people, art featuring robots! You can never go wrong. (more…)

First Friday picks for April 2008: Art, dancing and drinking

March 25th, 2008

Chris Waters; Brent Becker
Left: Photography by Chris Waters. Right: Painting by Brent Becker.

We already know all the cool kids will be in downtown Las Vegas for the monthly First Friday proceedings on April 4. Though many of you like to skip the arts festival and go straight to the after-parties (you know who you are), you might want to try balancing those Jager shots with some culture.

VEGASinsight recommends checking out “Waiting,” the solo show of photographer Chris Waters’ work at Jennifer Marie Gallery (Arts Factory, 101 E. Charleston Blvd., #205). If photography’s not your thing, but slappin’ paint on canvas is, head over to MTZC (Commerce Street Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St.) for the first solo show by Brent Becker, “(CON)temporary (DIS)connect.” There is an opening reception for Waters’ show on Thursday, April 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. if you want to get a sneak peak before fighting your way through a thicket of eyeliner-drenched emo kids on First Friday.

Speaking of kids, the hipsters of The In Crowd and are providing an all-ages outlet for booty-shaking inside the Attic (1018 S. Main St.) at 9 p.m. with Infamous: The Masquerade. This dance party features DJs Bul!m!atron, Teen Wolf, Autobahn, ABOM, Va Jay Jay, and Geno spinning dirty eelctro, nu-rave and bangers. Cover is only $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after. (more…)

First Friday gets shot in the arm from Hizzoner

March 21st, 2008

Tattoos n Trash
Mayor Goodman — making Las Vegas safe for lowbrow art yet again! 

Remember that news about First Friday losing half its annual funding from the City of Las Vegas and the subsequent donation stands now set up at the entrance to the street festival? Well, apparently Mayor Oscar Goodman — who hasn’t been up to much lately, near as we can tell — has ponied up $10,000 for Whirlygig, Inc., the non-profit that runs the annual art walk. It came from his own political action committee, as reported in today’s Las Vegas Sun.

Though it won’t make up for the $80,000 or so the organization lost annually, it will do more than the returns on the optional $2 donation requested each month by First Friday visitors.

“While it’s helpful, it certainly is not enough to support the event at this time,” Cindy Funkhouser, founder of First Friday, told the Sun of the trickling-in walk-up donations.

First Friday Las Vegas faces new funding challenge in 2008

January 8th, 2008

capital h
(capital h gallery, First Friday, October 2006)

What started as hushed rumors last month has developed into full-blown — and painful — truth: the City of Las Vegas has cut its funding for the monthly First Friday arts festival in downtown Las Vegas, forcing Whirlygig, Inc. — the nonprofit that runs the event — to turn to its patrons for support.

“We believe the thousands of people who participate in First Friday want to see it continue, and will willingly make this small gesture of support,” said Whirlygig executive director Nancy Higgins in a press release. “We also thank the City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs for all they have done over the past five years and for what they will continue to do for this popular community event in the future.”

Just what the city will continue to do is act as host sponsor for only six events during the year, reportedly in the milder months, to better capitalize on opportunities for increased participation in the festival. Outside of that $80,000 annual sponsorship, Whirlygig is left to its own devices to support the festival’s hard costs — security, stages, power, toilets, lighting, etc. — and that means (you all saw this coming, right?) asking all First Friday attendees for a $2 donation. Remember those fences that went up around the heart of the festival on Casino Center Boulevard starting last year? Those gates will now become donation-making access points.

Now, $2 a month per person is not a lot to ask. And certain sponsors are offering incentives, such as drink discounts at the Downtown Cocktail Room and Big Island Smoothies, with the sticker each paid admission receives. But here’s the question: How does this help the art scene grow? The answer is: Even though it obviously won’t, maybe it shouldn’t.

For years now, what started as a relatively small gathering of a few hundred people in 2002 has slowly turned into a bloated street party that lost its connection to the original purpose, which we think had something to do with connecting artists and art-lovers. The festival likely reached critical mass long before its fifth anniversary last October, and with the development of the Fremont East Entertainment District, “First Friday” now has two meanings: The art festival, in which both artists and patrons have lost interest; and the pub crawl, which has increased in popularity to the point that for many people, “First Friday” starts at 10 p.m. inside the Beauty Bar.

Whirlygig has taken certain measures to try and revive the festival, especially the increasingly sparse offerings on Casino Center. Brian and Jennifer Henry, who ran capital h gallery inside the Arts Factory for a number of years (and who currently produce the First Friday Newsletter), have been tapped to curate the tents along Casino Center. However, especially starting with the coldest months of the year, the resourceful couple has an uphill battle ahead.

Some voices in the scene have anonymously noted this signals not only the death of First Friday, but also the Vegas art scene in general. Others speculate — as we do — that this could be just the thing needed to cut the fat from the bloated event and return it to a beacon for the art scene, not the beached whale it seems to have become.

If you throw a fund-raiser for First Friday, will they come?

October 25th, 2007

Tonight is the fifth anniversary fund-raiser for Whirlygig, Inc., otherwise known as the non-profit organization that runs First Friday, everyone’s favorite monthly arts festival (sorry, Henderson). It’s being held at the rooftop penthouse atop SoHo Lofts (900 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) from 7 – 11 p.m.

I guess I’m writing about this now because I received ANOTHER reminder e-mail this morning from Amy Schmidt of VURB magazine. The e-mail noted that tickets at the door tonight would be only $50. Originally, advance tickets were $50, jumping to $75 at the door.

Were I given to speculation–oh, who are we kidding, I always speculate–I might venture a guess that ticket sales for the event were sluggish, so the First Friday folk dropped the door price in a last-ditch attempt to raise some more funds and get a few more people through the door. Kind of like when the House of Blues offers its tickets “2-for-1” on Tuesdays in a thinly-veiled effort to pump up poorly-selling concerts.

I am going to the fund-raiser, of course. I paid $50 for my ticket. And I guess we’ll see tonight how many other people did as well (not counting, I’m sure, the number of folks who are intimately involved with the production of the event, which is probably half of the arts-supporting community who would have been primary ticket buyers in the first place). But here’s the worry: This is Las Vegas. The large numbers of people who appear in the Arts District once a month for First Friday do so because it’s free. And many of them are kids who couldn’t attend the fund-raiser even if they wanted to. So when you remove the moochers and the emo kids, you’re left with the core people who always support the arts scene–people like me, the Vurb crew, gallery owners, artists and a small base of patrons.

In New York or maybe L.A., finding people willing to spend $50 or $75 to support an organization such as Whirlygig would probably be easy as pie. But here in Vegas, everyone else is spending their cash on Halloween parties, Vegoose, probably anything but a fund-raiser, even one as swanky as the First Friday shindig.

My hope: That I’m wrong, and that the turnout is wonderful, and that a bunch of money is raised to help keep FF going and make it a dozen times better. I watched two years ago as people bid ridiculous amounts of money on bachelorettes at another fund-raiser for FF, and event with a $25 cover–and Whirlygig raised $25,000 that night (on paper … not sure how much they actually recovered from those drunken sods bidding on Mehrey Ellis). So hope exists. I guess we’ll find out in about 9 hours.

Oh, and in case anyone needs more incentive than just being a good-hearted patron of the arts to attend, here are a few of the features of tonight’s event, courtesy of Vurb’s e-mail blasts:

Free Booze (beer from Dino’s, wine from Bomas, specialty cocktails from Downtown Cocktail Room)

Great Entertainment (live music, live painting, live theatre)

Amazing raffle prizes (gift certificates to Epic Shoos, LV Paper Doll, The Funk House;

tickets to Le Reve, Spamalot, Blue Man; bar tabs at Beauty Bar, The Griffin and Downtown Cocktail Room; and the GRAND PRIZE, a two-night stay at the MONTAGE RESORT in LAGUNA BEACH and many more)

Silent Art Auction (works by Michael Wardle, Jerry Misko, Curtis Fairman, Steven Spann, Leslie Rowland, Caesar Garcia, Brian and Jennifer Henry, Marty Walsh, Casey Weldon and many more)