Spokes-men [with video]

Spokes-men [with video]

After chaining their bicycles to stop signs or simply leaning them against walls just inside the door of the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, a few riders take brown paper sacks of popcorn and iced cans of soda from a small metal washtub as they make their way between rows of folding chairs for the last installment of the Bridge’s Summer Film series, a bike-in movie.

Reel bikers: Cyclists geared up for the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative’s Summer Film Series finale.

Greg Kelly, the space’s ever-stately program director, makes some opening remarks—the fall program will run once per month while film series director James Ford lends a hand to the Virginia Film Festival—then lets John Bylander, a Community Bikes representative and founder of Mildred Pierce cultural magazine, introduce the series of short films, from Portland, Oregon’s "Filmed by Bike" festival.

"These are definitely indie films," says Bylander, as if in warning. "Some are kinda wonky, but they all encourage community transportation."

Following "An Unconventional Critical Mass," a documentary by journalist Sarah Turner about a coordinated bike ride in New York City that ended with more than 250 arrests, Curtain Calls dug his cycle (dubbed "the Rusty Red Baron") from an orderly pile and pedaled out, where he ran into Kelly, who had his eyes trained on the darkening skies, concerned that the group wouldn’t make it to Community Bikes for the second film screening.

"Think it’ll rain?" asks Kelly.

Video from the bike-in movie.

From Scotland, with love

"I hear it’s been a scorcher back there," writes Live Arts director John Gibson (courtesy GMail chat) from Edinburgh, Scotland, which he claims is about 55 degrees ("with a light mist") at the moment.

For the last 10 years, Gibson and an ever-expanding crew of LA members (13 this year) traveled to Scotland to work as venue managers at the American High School Theatre Festival, held at the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest arts fest. The AHSTF (for you anagram lovers, who found the word "Shaft"? Shut yo’ mouth!) draws lads and lassies from far and wide to Edinburgh; this year, the LA crew oversees three theatres, 47 shows and more than 1,200 participants.

Great beer, cool weather and Alan Cumming (above) in The Bacchae: Live Arts’ John Gibson checks in from Edinburgh

While working on a platter of fish, chips and Boddington’s Bitter, Gibson gives a rundown of the typical volunteer’s commitment: "They sign up for a two- or four-week span, spend days prepping and loading in theaters, work a lot of tech rehearsals and performances and, when they get away from their own venues, they cram in 20-40 performances… It’s not unusual to fit in three or four shows in eight hours."

Before signing off ("I think I may just have time for one more Boddington’s"), Gibson details some of his favorite shows, including a new translation of The Bacchae, Euripides’ tragedy about the deification of Dionysus (played by a "wry, pansexual Alan Cumming").

Gibson: "We’re working very hard."

CC: [Loaded pause, delivered with a stoic’s poise and dramatic gusto]

Gibson: "No, really, we are."

CC: [Another riveting loaded pause]

Gibson: "Insert emoticon wink here."

Whose House?

The stars are aligning in mysterious ways for the Live Arts production of the domestically absurd play, The Clean House, one of the first performances of the play outside of the professional theater circuit (it played at New York City’s Lincoln Center Theater until December of 2006; the rights were recently made available for regional productions). In what can only be described as an instance of typecasting gone haywire, the roles of two sisters were filled by two sisters, Cynthia and Susan Burke (the latter appeared in Helen last fall), and the role of a Brazilian housekeeper was filled by Christianne Queiroz (a staff member at the Legal Aid Justice Center and certified Brazilian).

Don’t let the casting fool you; director Amanda McRaven means to sully up this House. McRaven, who has regional directing experience dating back to 1999 and including gigs at Blackfriars Playhouse and Offstage Theatre, worked as assistant director for the LCT’s production.

"When you’re doing theater at Lincoln Center, you can’t break too many boundaries," says McRaven, during a phone call from the New York International Fringe Festival, where she is directing a play by a University of California, Irvine, colleague entitled Woof, Daddy. "When John [Gibson] called me and offered it, it was incredibly tempting."

What to expect? "What I want to do with it is really make it as far from realism as can be," says McRaven. "Boundaries continually get blurred between dreams and reality."

Picture, thousand words, etc.

Curt grabbed a few words about the intersection of art and politics with City Council hopeful Peter Kleeman at the Mudhouse last week. Inspired by PVCC art department chair Beryl Solla‘s mosaic classes, Kleeman pulled together discarded sections of mirror, tile and satellite dish to assemble a snazzy campaign sign that now dangles from his home.

Peter Kleeman lets art imitate life in his quest for a seat on the City Council. Curt’s take? More arts funding, Charlottesville

The following is a list of Curt-proposed campaign slogans to accompany:

"Peter Kleeman: Smart and junk."

"PK: Glassy, Classy."

Art news or amusing (and good-natured) Peter Kleeman campaign slogans to share? E-mail curtain@c-ville.com.

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