Thursday, November 29, 2012

Candy Land

Ahhh, Candy Land*.  Have you ever seen, heard, or done something that you knew nothing about going into the experience, and that lack of mental preparation/assumptions/prejudice (as in pre-judging) allowed the event to just wash over you and engage you in an unexpected and satisfying way?  In 2011, Candy Land was one of those things for me.

Back in 2011, I knew my friend Sarah Robb was putting on some kind of event in The Village of East Davenport, but I truly knew nothing more about it.  The sights, sounds, and flavors for the evening were quite a treat and since my reactions were totally elicited without any previous assumptions on my part, I hold those reactions as truer and more authentic.  This is why I don't like to hear reviews about movies before I see them, or read artist statements before seeing their work.  I want my initial reaction to be as genuine as possible.  A year later, my visual memory bank is still churning over things I saw that night.

So to make a long story shorter, Candy Land 2011 was certainly cool enough that I wanted to provide a sneak peek teaser for Candy Land 2012.  IF you want to be totally surprised and experience Candy Land without ANY of my 'Blah blah blah', STOP READING NOW!  I will have wrap-up post on Impromp-Tu-Tu or another blurb about carving posted in the next few days and we can all get together and have good wholesome fun then.

So for those of you who love spoilers or must read the last few pages of a book before diving into the whole thing, this next bit is for you.

Candy Land is going to be in The Village Theater in The Village of East Davenport.  To quote the Candy Land website:  The event promotes a juxtaposition of performance art art including live body art, music, poetry, and hoops with the intention of engaging, enlightening, and entertaining a diverse audience.  It is a two-day variety art event with one night devoted to kids as artists and one night devoted to adults as artists.  The audience will enjoy the artistic expression of Face and Body art, Photography, Performance Art, Fashion and more.  In fact, here is a link! ( )

Right off the bat, one of the coolest things they do is to transform the personality of the space which shapes the entire mood/atmosphere of the event.  When it is done properly it is impressive how much a venue takes on a new persona.  Candy Land does it properly.

Here are a few shots of the venue early in its transformation.  That guy in the red coat may or may not be one of the same people from the Gila Cliff Dwellings (for you repeat readers).

See how much the space changes with just having white walls?

Always a good sign when someone cracks out the spray paint!

The stage

Some bats for the wall

That's right, bats for the wall.....

An exceptionally cool moon provided by Dustin Collison at dciPrint  (  Btw, Dustin has bailed me out on a couple of occasions with quick turnaround times and cost/ass-saving suggestions.

Here comes that transformation part......before.....



........after (not after-after mind you, just 'after').

Now this next image is important because I had to relentlessly nag/hound Sarah to e-mail me images from last years' Candy Land so I could provide an even remotely effective teaser.  For students of body language, if you study the image below closely, you can discern Sarah's feelings about being 'hounded' (by the best, I might add).

Anyway, the transformation of the space is underway.  Sound checks are taking place.  Spot lights are being adjusted.  Body paint is on stand-by.  Walls are being decorated.

The first night (Friday November 30th) is a family-friendly event from 6-9pm.  The hula hoopers from Staci's Happi Hoops will be showing willing and enthusiastic attendees the deadly art of Hula Hooping.  Sarah Robb will be be face painting as well.  Friday focuses on kids as artists.

Here are a few of those 'doggedly-nagged' shots from last year with kids enjoying hula hooping and some face painting.

The second night (Saturday, December 1st) is adult night/ adults as artists (6pm until midnight).  There will be fashion from 7 Tree Designs and Unforgiven Vintage.  Poet/musician/thinker Mona Riteman will be the emcee for the event.  (Hula) Hooping from Staci's Happi Hoops.  Bottoms Up Quad City Burlesque will be Burlesquing (I can't believe spell-check let that one go by unmarked!) and there will be music from Busted Chandeliers.

An example of body art/action canvas from Nicole Cisne Durbin below.

Candy Land is organized by Sarah Robb and Nicole Cisne Durbin with a gaggle of volunteers making everything run smoothly.  Tickets are $22 in advance, $24 at the door.

* Please note that attending Candy Land may put a smile on your face and flood your mind with images.  Fighting with candycane pugil sticks may result excessive mirth.  As always, use caution.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carving Part III

Much to my surprise, and a small level of disbelief,  I have lately been in the mood to apply Dremel Tool to wood and do some carving.  I figured after the sultry carving marathon I underwent in July to complete Merican-Tastic! it would be a while before I buzzed away on a plank of wood.  Don't believe the sultry part? (click on this scientifical corroboration!

Anyway, this piece, which I will for the time being refer to as 'Fusitron' (since I am kicking around a few titles but don't have a clear 'winner' yet) has been leaning in a pile of several unfinished pieces languishing in production purgatory.  Here is an image from earlier in the year as it sat nestled in a 'to do' pile.

The beginnings of Fusitron date back to 2005 with 'pushes' of progress in 2009 and 2011.  2012 might be its lucky year?  Gotta get it done before the Mayans to run out of calendar....

A quick note on carving blades (especially on harder woods).  The teeth on the blades get gummed-up frequently.  You can tell this because the blade/wood starts to smoke a bit while you are carving.  A little of this isn't the end of the world, but you are on the downhill slide with the useful life of your cutting blade.  The black, professionally drawn arrow points to some schmutz caught in the teeth.

At this point, it doesn't take long before more and more teeth get gummed-up.  The pink arrow points to one of the 'open' cutting notches, the black arrows point to plugged up teeth.  Instead of cutting the wood, the blade is now abrading/burning the wood.  The causes the cutting bit to get hotter and very soon, dull -which only exacerbates the problem.

The solution to the problem is simple.  Shut off the Dremel Tool and take a nail or a pocketknife and clean out the gunk in between the teeth on the blade.  For the more macho readers out there, these tools would be classified as 'toothpicks'.

Then I spray paint the whole piece with a flat black paint, and then I start to 'prime' the surface with a white paint.  I find that I like how these things look as just black and white images, and it usually gives me pause before I start applying any color to the piece.

 Totally covered.

The first coat of color which happens to be a kind of sap green.

People who haven't painted with oil paints before have trouble comprehending how long it can take oil paint to dry.  The sap green I am using is from a 'palette' of paint from 2010.  The blob of paint had hardened (formed a skin about 2mm thick) on the outside, but once I sliced it open with my palette knife, there was still gooey viable paint on the inside.  Here is one of my professional painting palettes below.

Boom!  First color on.....

...and now for a little shot of a earthenware/rusty red.

The next step is to put in a some yellow so the red and the green have a little something else to interact with.

Completion of the yellow coat:

For the life of me, I will never fully understand why it is, that no matter how thoroughly I scan the carving (pre-painted), no matter how diligent I think I am in carving every line I draw, I have yet to carve a piece where I haven't missed at least some portion of a line.  Unreal.

What I do know is that sometimes studio life can be demanding -you know missing cutting an important line and all. I have found the best way to smite these 'demands' is to unleash the fury of a Boozie Burger and fries upon them.  You might be thinking 'Wow?!?! That's one sexy burger...' or, you might be thinking 'Is that a copy of Hitch 22 in the top left corner?!?!?'.  Either way, you'd be correct.

On the outside chance we were keeping score,  Me: 1  You: 0

Until next time, please remember, always try to put the 'Hootie Hootie in the Goobie Goobie'.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Studio Tidbit. Everybody Loves A Parade (Directly Outside Their Studio)

This little diddy could almost be tacked on to an earlier post regarding all of the cool things that happen around my studio (  For several years now, Quad City Arts ( has been putting on Festival of Trees and the whole shebang starts off with the Festival of Trees Parade.

I have heard rumors that the FOT parade actually has more balloons than some of those other big name parades that happen around this time of year.  I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes for a good story and that might be all yer gonna get.

Anyway, the night before the parade, I sneaked down the street to snap a couple of images of some of the balloons as they were being 'staged' on 3rd street.

Fast forward the hands on the clock about 12 hours, look out the front window of my studio, and POW! you have a parade.  Honestly, how many artists do you know that have three different parades that march past their studio windows?  (OK, in all fairness, the St. Patrick's Day Parade may be more of a stagger past my studio windows, but let's not rush to judgement.......).

So for a blog that has featured The Parmageddon sandwich, The Boozie Burger, Giovanni's Creamy Garlic Pizza, and The Ultimate Carnivore Burger*, is it any surprise that there exists a parade that marches large inflatable foodstuffs past my window?  I thought not.

*Please note the lack of Shevek & Company Restaurant when mentioning foods featured on PHITR-R is simply out of respect for the cuisine.  You don't make large inflatable versions of chef Shevek's food, fill it with helium, and then have mere mortals wander around town with it on a leash.  -it's just simply not done that way.

Although these figures below weren't some sort of mega balloon/float sumthin' sumthin', I thought they were cool enough to mention in the blog.  Don't remember if I saw who made 'em, but I wouldn't mind seeing more of them next year.  Keep up the good work you unsung-balloon-person-maker!

For me?  You shouldn't have!  oh, didn't......

Now for the really big people.

By the way, that is a three story building immediately behind the three-story-building tall balloon and those are actual-sized humans pulling the float.  (The traditional use of Oompa-Loompas was outlawed in a recent city council meeting, and the hardworking Oompa-Loompas that were lined-up to work in the parade were, in fact, deported to Loompland and unceremoniously devoured by a ravenous array of Hornsagglers, Whandoodles, Snozzwangers and a rabid Vermicious Knid).

Really, when was the last time people conspired to march a dragon past your place?

Oh wait, more food.  How'd that happen?

When it is time to finish, ya gotta finish big!  (and since Arthur Carlson has pretty much immortalized the Thanksgiving Turkey Give-Away, we'll just focus on Santa Claus instead)

Below you can see Santa in his customized Santa-Mobile.  Rumor has it that the Santa-Mobile is also equipped with smoke screen, oil slicks, behind-the-headlight-mounted rocket launchers, and a key chain that is actually a shark with a LASER.

Above, beyond, and outside of the parade, Santa Claus frequently tools around downtown in front of my studio blaring Christmas music from his radio.  This of course brings up the question of if Santa Claus is naughty, whose list does he get on?

Next time we dive right back into some carving AND in an upcoming post we have a fairly well-known guest come visit the pizza joint directly beneath my studio.