Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Nude Tuesday!" Sex talk. Classical music.


Since it is “Nude Tuesday!”  this seems the appropriate time to recap the “What’s Love” event that took place Saturday night. It's an event mostly aimed at being a fun, but with all the talk that goes on around it and the large number of people who attend, it's hard to understand why it can't be good and fun.

I’ve found past “What’s Loves” rather tame and not very good. This year’s (held at 701 Whaley  which is not the 701 Center for Contemporary Art) sounded as if it might push things a bit in terms of erotic content and quality.

No such luck.

Most art in the show was not particularly well executed or erotic. Nudes do not make for an erotic art show. The performances I saw (I missed some) were vaguely funny and again not what one would call edgy. As the night worn on a band played, but why the band didn’t play songs with strong love and lust themes just the vagueness of this entire undertaking.

This year the organizers brought in quite a few people selling things – mostly jewelry and various gewgaws few of which had anything to do with the theme.

Among the artworks that stood out was Billy Guess’ installation of doors which offered a little peek show through the keyholes. Leslie Pierce once again came up with a truly weird and wacky installation based on some sweet images from magazines of fey naked young men. Michael Kwejewski showed prints where the printing plate was a vagina. (top) Not terribly interesting to look at, but give him points for audacity.

The most erotic thing about the show was the people there. I speak mostly of the women who attended wearing, or barely wearing, some really wonderful, revealing outfits.

In many ways “What’s Love” is just a new wrapping on an old and unattractive part of the art world: social or “society” event masquerading as an art event. In the old days, the ladies showed off their ball gowns and furs – now it's butts and boobs. I’d rather see the latter two, but my desires don’t change the equation.

The event was to end at midnight, but everything kind of started petering out an hour before. “They should have to throw people out at 2 a.m.,” I shouted at a dancing friend over the din of the band.

“They got all charged up and are at home shagging,” she shouted back.

Good point. I was at home in bed by 1. Alone. Brushing my teeth  I noticed I had a lot of lipstick on my face.  


A stellar concert from the Philharmonic

Before heading to “What’s Love” I was listening to the S.C. Philharmonic. As orchestra concerts go this one in advance sounded pretty tame. It would start with the familiar and often overexposed “Romeo and Juliet” Overture by Tchaikovsky, move on to the Piano Concerto in D Major for the Left Hand by Maurice Ravel and wind up with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3.

I’m a big fan of contemporary music and while the Ravel and Rachmaninoff are both from the 1930s they still fit into what most people would consider more traditional classical music. Because it didn’t cater to my particular tastes, that made it all the more wonderful that this was one of the best S.C. Philharmonic concerts I’ve ever heard.

Most people know the “Romeo and Juliet” overture even if they don’t “know” it because the music has been used so often in so many ways. The orchestra breathed new life into it and made it sound fresh.

The Ravel was played by Sean Yeh, the 17-year-old winner of last year’s Southeastern Piano Festival competition here. The composer wrote the piece for Paul Wittgenstein, an Austrian who lost his right arm in World War I.  (He was brother of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.) If Yeh plays this well with one hand – well who knows where he’ll go using both.

The Rachmaninoff got a rotten reception when it was premiered in 1936 – just too many unexpected twists and turns for the traditional twits of the time. That of course is what makes it a memorable work and especially when it is played as well as it was Saturday night – and this after a rehearsal cut short because of the white stuff.

The Philharmonic concert was titled “From Russia With Love” didn’t strike me as all that romantic, but then again I didn’t have a date.

Old music with old art

Sunday morning I watched the snow melt while listening to pop music -  something I don’t do that often. There was the romantic side of socialist Billy Bragg singing “She’s Got a New Spell” and “Sexuality” (“I’ve had relations, with women of many nations/I’ve made passes, at women of all classes”); the original version of “Tainted Love” by Gloria Jones; “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House (“Now I'm walking again to the beat of a drum/And I'm counting the steps to the door of your heart.”); and Leo Kottke: “I said that I’d come back to stay, she laughed at what I said.”

The afternoon held a concert of 17th and 18th century music played on lute and violin d’amore (of love or of the Moors depending on who you believe) at the Columbia Museum of Art.

The violin d’amore looks a viola you might have picked up in the big and tall section of the music store, but the first thing you notice is that it has 14 turning pegs instead of the four you’d find on a violin or viola. Seven strings are bowed and the other seven vibrate.  Joining those bowing strings was a lute player and it was all taking place in a gallery full of art from the time the music was created and the viola d’amore was a popular instrument.

A well-attended and lovely concert. But no lipstick.

3 comments:

  1. hilarious!...(the lipstick comments)

    ReplyDelete
  2. hilarious!...(the lipstick comments)

    ReplyDelete
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