Sunday, January 07, 2007

Erie Museum Review, Gypsy Dave, and more

School is ramping up again which means fewer updates and, if you've sent me an email in the past five days, I swear to God, I'll answer them by tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven't linked to the Erie Times News for close to 6 months. I decided to stop because the site was just so bad - awkward to use with an intrusive registration system. Now (perhaps prodded by the fact that erieblogs gets more visitors than the Erie Times News) they've redesigned the site and will go live on Monday. Let's wait and see, shall we...

Speaking of Erie, Rocket 101 is doing one of them there Battle of the Bands things. If you can still take the concept seriously after School of Rock, sign up and God Bless.

Gypsy Dave will be playing tomorrow night at Seneca's Brother Bean Coffeehouse at 7 pm - no cover.

My book, Jack Kerouac: A Biography is now available in (a much cheaper) digital form.

Peter Greene has redesigned Venangoland.

This weekend is the first annual Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards. The event will take place Sunday at the Pittsburgh Hilton and will be hosted by hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Mele Mel.

Speaking of songs of violence, sex and death, the 10th annual bluegrass January Ice Jam is this weekend at the Days Inn, Route 8, in Butler.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted to benefit the Bluegrass Relief Fund and WYEP radio in support of bluegrass.

The East Bay Express profiles Girl Talk's upcomng appearance there:

Pittsburgh producer Girl Talk hopes he can play for longer than ten minutes this week in San Francisco. The last Bay Area party he hosted at the Be the RIOTTT! culture expo got so wild, its organizers freaked out when he started a real ruckus.

Pittsburgh's Cinemark Theaters is one of the markets being served by the Metropolitan Opera's high-definition broadcasts. NPR covered the story here

Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has promised to publish a book by a first-time author who wins a contest on The contest, called First Chapters, will be officially announced today.

Unpublished writers can enter free by submitting a manuscript for a full-length work of fiction. Each entry’s first chapter will be posted on and voted on by members of the site. In the next round, the second chapters of the top 20 manuscripts will be posted, followed by a vote; a subsequent round will post the third chapters of the top 10, followed by a vote. In the fourth and final round, the entire manuscripts of five finalists will go before a “Grand Prize Judging Panel,” to include Carolyn K. Reidy, the president of the adult publishing group at Simon & Schuster, and George Jones, the chief executive of Borders. The winner will receive a book contract from Touchstone and $5,000 from

Pithole: The Vanished City, written by William C. Darrah in 1972, has been re-issued by the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism. No, you can't buy it on amazon or bn. Sigh.

The Meadville Council on the Arts is presenting the exhibit "Richard 'JD' Hopkins Presents" at its Heeschen Gallery on the second floor of the Market House in downtown Meadville. The Guys Mills artist is also a musician (he fronts J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm) and author (his 1994 novel of prison life, Queens of Iron was based on the six years he spent in prison).

Erie native and Arthur creator Mark Brown is auctioning off his collection of Americana at Sotheby's next week.

The Trumbell Art Gallery in Warren, Ohio is featuring Howard L. Worner's Paintings of Steel Mills Around the World from January 7 - 27, 2007.

The Erie Art Museum’s 1st floor gallery show, "Artists Of The Commonwealth: Realism And Its Response In Pennsylvania Painting, 1900 – 1950", tracks the development of Pennsylvanian artist through the first half of the 20th century. It’s actually the second in a series of exhibitions highlighting significant Pennsylvania painters, organized by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in collaboration with the Erie Art Museum and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, and supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Picture Pennsylvania program. It’s not a must see for most us, although if you’re already in town, you should stop by (especially on Wednesday’s when admission is free), but if you’re an art nerd (like me) or have youngsters you want to ease into the art experience, you shouldn’t miss this show.

The exhibition includes the work of 38 artists, native to and/or painting in Pennsylvania during the first half of the 20th century.

Clarence Carter (1904-2000)

Study for the Barnesville Post Office Mural, 1935

There are a lot of well known artists here – while the names are ones the casual museum goer may recognize the art is not the usual choices from their oeuvre. There’s N.C. Wyeth’s illustration for the cover of Jules Verne's "The Mysterious Island". Pittsburgh artist George Ericson, using the pseudonym Eugene Iverd, who gained fame as an illustrator for such publications as the Saturday Evening Post is represented by "Young Scientist": And, the whole reason we went, my wife’s favorite artist Pittsburgh native Mary Cassatt and her family portrait "Mother and Two Children".

The Cassatt painting is clearly the highlight of the show (and at least at the Erie show is highlighted by its arrangement so that it's first seen from through the gallery entryway). The painting shows the touches that make it a classic example of her work, the deeply incised lines as well as the general tapering off of detail until the bottom of the painting as well as the hands and feet of he subject look almost incomplete.

What’s great about the show though isn’t the Cassatt (or the Parrish, or the Wyeth) none of the pieces are really that emblematic or even standout representations of their artists- rather it’s the fact that it’s the perfect show for families. Its scope is small enough and simple enough for families with younger children to begin to be introduced to museums (I’m speaking here, I should make clear, of the work in the main gallery. The auxiliary galleries held the show’s landscapes, which, frankly, didn’t hold a lot of interest for me. And the less said about the glass show in the basement galleries which resemble the finished basements in which I practiced my smooth moves on young ladies 15 years ago, the better.)

There is one final complaint though. When I went to the gift shop the door was half shut and the lights turned off although it was clearly supposed to be open. When I finally went into the closet sized room, it was slim pickings—no postcards or t-shirts from the current show -- only the relatively expensive catalog. In the age of small print runs and cafepress and during a time when The Erie Art Museum is looking for dining, would it be so difficult to offer up a few tchotchkes for rubes like me to buy?

1 comment:

Peter A. Greene said...

The first novel contest is an interesting concept. Wonder how many Star Trek fanfics they'll get. And I do wish I had time to make the trip up to Erie for the museum show--we'll see.

If you have a chance to plug the Barrow production of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" I'd be beholden. I love this show-- it's kind of a musical for people who don't ordinarily like musicals, with lots of observational humor-- everybody can recognize someone in the show. It's one of the pieces of theater work that I'm most proud of, and I'm glad that we've been given the opportunity to re-do it at the theater.

Cast members are Suzi Ditzenberger, Steve Teig, Steve Luxbacher, and Jodi Hoover, accompanied by Kristen Criado and Jill Mattson.

It will be one night only-- Saturday, January 20 at 8:00.

And finally--why is it that so many of these small publishing projects skip the isbn number and fail to market themselves properly on line, and how do can we educate these folks? I would really like to see a day when a search on amazon brings up dozens (well, dozen, anyway) of books-- just one more way to slowly build more consciousness of the region and its culture and history.