Monday, November 12, 2012

Article About Our Show at Iron Door Saloon on November 3, 2012

Rogue Art Research & Writing Journal
November 5, 2012
View Article

Ceci N'est Pas L'Art
By Michelle Lepori

n. pl. a-nom-a-lies
1. Deviation or departure from the normal or common order, form, or rule.
2. One that is peculiar, irregular, abnormal, or difficult to classify: "Both men are anomalies: they have... likable personalities but each has made his reputation as a heavy" (David Pauly).
3. Astronomy The angular deviation, as observed from the sun, of a planet from its perihelion.

With the alien eyed deer of Jennybird Alcantara's, Strange Fruit, fresh in mind I drove 20 mph on a two lane half mooned country highway alone. Winding up a cliff to Groveland, California, the signs warned of deer crossings and every once in awhile a monstrous lake would emerge out of the darkness to distract from the road with glimmering waves. The wide spaced eyes of lake folk and their mutant fish tongue after me. I drive with imagery of artist Scott G. Brooks forcing me to stay alert and push on. The merger of reality and fantasy had begun with a Bergamot Station visit to Copro Gallery for the Anomalies show. It was one long journey from LA to Sacramento and then back south to Yosemite.

Nothing like exhaustion and creative saturation to create perfect anomalies. I arrive at the state's oldest bar and rumored once brothel, Iron Door Saloon. It is Friday night and I am here to catch The Paul Chesne Band aka PCB. Stephen Tegel is on bass with his animal, deep from Satan's seed, psychic crow style. Denny Weston Jr. of the Kooks, sits in on drums wearing the mythological Bill Graham’s old party hat. John Niemann plays keys on a stacked Nord Electro 2 with a Korg VK7. From the shadows of stage, hipster Link Wray cowboy, Josh Norton, melanges his Fender Stratocaster with the group. The radio is playing KC and the Sunshine Band, "My Boogie Shoes." They riff off that old disco jam into a musical blend that makes as much sense as a paraplegic boy fishing with a pole for an arm. But it works and it works beautifully. Chesne stares out with the same intensity and face of artist Beau White's, The Angler. "How to Get to Sesame Street" melts into Tears for Fears, "Everybody wants to Rule the World", to a PCB original, "Off Shore Bank Accounts". Their set ranges from “I got Five on it” to "Dream a Little Dream". I heard The Pointer Sisters, Eminem, Adele, The Ghost Busters theme song and a most fitting rendition of "SAIL" by AwolNation. There is no apology.

"Maybe I should cry for help, maybe I should kill myself (myself). Blame it on my A.D.D. baby". Perhaps, but it is the tension of chaotic difference and exaltation that is creating such moving artworks in both gallery and stage performance. Paul Chesne is a hyper intelligent ass clown in a safety orange space suit, who jumps on the bar top with his battered guitar in hand. After several rowdy songs you might think this guy's a menace. But he always seems in control and perfectly observant of the mayhem he seeks to create. I feel I am in on a very good secret. The improvisational and elaborate sound creates an expansion of energy rocketing into outer space with commander and crew. Rap and folk rock classics are interspersed with original works, not only ignoring genre but avoiding the very idea of musical distinction. It is artistic mastery that allows experimentation found at Copro Gallery and PCB to be absorbed and congratulated. These artists are weird, but they are so good. Their uniquity and confidence lends encouragement, I too can pursue my art with reckless abandon. Wherever it leads me. This is why I drove an extra 200 miles in the dark. To lose judgement and watch layers of strange identity be formed with artistic bravado. To watch and emulate that strength of self.

I come home, this time in the daylight. I can see now, though the roads are still windy and misleading. Between the odd paintings and sculptures at Copro Gallery in Bergamot and LA based Paul Chesne band playing Groveland, I am a cultural tumbleweed. I was wowed by the precision and dedication to nose hairs in life sized Beavis and Butthead statues. I danced with a few-toothed young cowboy to Eminem played by a spaceman. As a naturally self conscious person, these artistic experiences taught a compassion for individuality that allowed me joy as I drove alone on unknown roads.

Anomalies at Copro Gallery
Bergamot Station T5
2525 Michigan Ave
Santa Monica, CA
310- 829-2156

The Paul Chesne Band

Iron Door Saloon

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