Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10 Questions for Chris Roberson [AOTM]

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

What's the last show that you saw?

Robbie Hunsinger’s fantastic performance at Soundcrawl. The highlight, for me, was her 'Duet for Arduino & Soprano Sax,' which involved playing the sax while moving around a motion sensitive device that sat on a snare drum. Her 'Ebeneezer Creek' piece was also haunting.

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Halloween, Nashville Style

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM

We're kind of nerdy over here when it comes to Halloween. This year, bypass the witch and vampire outfits, and spare the only set of white sheets you have, because nobody wants to see a shitty ghost costume.

We challenge you to try a little harder and capitalize upon the incredible local Halloween costume options. You know, the kind that only a real Nashvillian would get. It's SO easy!! A few suggestions:

Something tight and sparkly + major hair extensions + big boobs = Hayden Panetierre's character from Nashville. Juliette Barnes, that is.

  • Image via

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Halloween Horrors: Is The Thing Still Making Appearances?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 7:02 AM

No, no that Thing.
  • No, no that Thing.
A year ago, I wrote a story for the Scene about The Thing, a ... um ... thing that Ben and Sue Allen used to conjure up in their house and then inflict on their friends back in the 1800s. It kind of bummed me out that something could be such a big deal that, for decades, people would fight to be invited to the seances where it was invoked, and then something else catches the public imagination (like the Bell Witch) and now no one remembers there even was a Thing, let alone remembers that it used to be the darling of polite society.

But recently, I read Nashville: Haunted Handbook by Jeff Morris, Donna Marsh and Garett Merk, which is a lovely collection of legends about Middle Tennessee ghosts and I came to the entry about Centennial Park, which reads, in part:

In the section of the park near the funeral home, people have felt something like a cat rubbing against their ankles. When they look down to see what is at their feet, there is nothing there. Sometimes these hapless victims find that their shoes have been untied.

Margaret Lindsley Warden, famed Tennessean writer and somewhat distant cousin of the Allens, describes a seance in which The Thing makes an appearance:

A rush of wind that rustled the ladies’ voluminous petticoats usually announced the arrival of The Thing. Some felt The Thing to be like a large cat, others like an arm without hand or fingers. Besides rubbing legs, unbuttoning high-buttoned shoes, and rattling silver and china, other phenomena were attributed to it. The big table would rise and push people around the room. An occasional putrid odor would necessitate circle breaking and window opening.

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Nash-Up: Remixing Nashville's Arts, Culture and Creative Future Today at The Frist

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:30 AM


Just like the best parties always converge in the kitchen and the best sex is always after a fight, the best conversations are often the byproducts of an event, not its primary purpose. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Metro Arts to conclude this year’s Artober events with a down-to-earth, deeply investigatory panel of exactly what it means to be a creative person in Nashville.

We’ve called it Nash-Up because we’re interested in facilitating discussion across disciplines — the film industry will cross paths with the fashion industry, graphic novelists will speak to performance artists, and poets will join gallery directors in a conversation about what makes them tick. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse set designer, artist, puppeteer and former Nashvillian Wayne White is traveling from L.A. to give a keynote address, and moderators include the Frist curator Mark Scala and nationally recognized poet Stephanie Pruitt.

You guys are coming, right?


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Late Shift: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 3:48 PM

This is an old clip with the old cast, but you get the picture.

So, it's finally come to this.

After nearly 10 blissful months of midnight movies free from the horrible clutches of The Time Warp, cult cinema's most inexplicable annual tradition has once again descended upon Nashville. As expected, hundreds of assholes, sluts and virgins attended sold-out screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show this Halloween weekend at The Belcourt. Also as expected? I still kinda hate The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

That's putting it a bit too strongly. I may not precisely “hate” Rocky Horror but I'd hardly consider myself a member of the cult surrounding it — even if I have seen this thing somewhere around a dozen times, mostly at Belcourt screenings and due to acquiescences to ex-girlfriends. But, while I may not particularly enjoy this Batan Death March of midnight movies, I do find it completely fascinating. Not so much for the movie — which I think we can all agree is total garbage — but because of the intense weirdo nerd cult that has embraced it.

It's about this time where I remind/warn you that I once wrote a sociology paper wherein I postulated about the social hierarchy of midnight movie audiences. So, get ready for more of that.

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'Orange People Are My Balls in Summer' and 10 Other 'Skin Set' Drawings From Pope.L's Lecture at Austin Peay

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM


When William Pope.L was done with a page of his lecture notes at Austin Peay last night, he would throw the sheet of paper in the air and say “done” with gusto, like a high school graduate throwing up his mortarboard. He wore baggy jeans and a Cosby sweater and strung thoughts together with pointed intensity that is hard to reproduce, but was extraordinary to witness. The closest he came to a cohesive narrative was when he scrolled through his series of “Skin Set” drawings, which work like detached haiku about race and the absurdity of labeling people as colors. More photos from his lecture after the jump.

His film Reenactor is on view at 124 Strawberry Alley in Clarksville through Wednesday. The location is open 24 hours a day while the approximately three-hour film plays in a loop, and there’s free coffee and popcorn and about eight comfortable sofas to stretch out on. Look for more on Reenactor in an upcoming blog post.

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Getting Over in Belmont: Pretty Lady and Geometric Psychedelia

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 5:00 AM


Wheatpaste graffiti spotted in the Belmont area over the weekend. Reminiscent of everyone's favorite 1971 Harry Nilsson cartoon The Point, with bonus points for the use of an abandoned building. A few more shots after the jump.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

All the Young Nerds: GMX 4.0 Presents a Peek into the Possible Future of Geekdom

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

The editors approximation of GMX 4.0
  • The editor's approximation of GMX 4.0
The fourth Geek Media Expo — or “GMX,” as it’s better known — that happened this past weekend was billed as “The Next-Generation Multi-Fandom Exposition.” The multi-fandom part is pretty easy to understand. An offshoot of the Nashville-based Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, GMX aspires to be a “super-convention” in the tradition of San Diego’s Comic-Con International or Atlanta’s Dragon*Con that caters to all aspects of geekdom: books, movies, anime, television, gaming, costuming, home-built technology, you name it — as long as there is some connection to science-fiction, fantasy or horror.

But the second part, “Next-Generation,” is a little harder to pinpoint, and it’s something that I have been thinking about for a while. Since geek culture is now mainstream culture, what do the outcasts, misfits and misunderstood obsessive/creative types do? The core of the geek identity has always been being different (for good or ill) from mainstream culture. So when superhero movies are Hollywood's biggest moneymakers, and flesh eating zombies rule TV, what does true geekdom really entail?

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Chromatic vs. Achromatic: Chris Roberson on Color in Art [AOTM]

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM

[Editor's Note: Chris Roberson is our artist of the month for October, and he's agreed to share details from his art-making process with Country Life readers. If you've ever wondered how an artist makes decisions about things like color, Chris is here for you. Read on for his enlightening break-down of art that uses color — or lack of color — to its advantage.]

Last year I saw Richard Serra’s drawing retrospective at the Met. His massive compositions are made by melting what are essentially black crayons into a large clump and applying a thick, solid texture to the surface. Standing in front or between his drawings gave me the concurrent feeling of being pulled and pushed from the image. The weight and gravity that these drawings emit were forces that I had been trying to unearth in my own work, and I returned home with a couple of challenges. How can I make color a more active and fluid part of my process? And also, how can I utilize the strength of black in new ways?

With these prismatic struggles in mind, here are five pieces that I believe use the limitations of black and white to their advantage, and five pieces that I think employ color in equally effective ways:



01. "The United States Government Destroys Art," Richard Serra, (1989, paintstick on two sheets of paper)

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Use Your Illusion: Hard-Rocking Illusionist Sammy Cortino at Hard Rock Cafe

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Many folks thrill to witness a skilled variety artist at work — be that person a plate spinner, torch juggler, ventriloquist, sword swallower or sleight-of-hand magician. But there is something about seeing a mystical performer of large-scale stage illusions that brings out the Copperfield, Houdini, or Siegfried & Roy in all of us. Nashville illusionist Sammy Cortino will surely regale his audience tonight at 9 p.m. at the downtown Hard Rock Cafe as he magically elevates and cuts/restores a lovely assistant.

For the performance, Cortino will be backed by local hard-rock outfit Omega Swan, a pairing that will likely render the festivities all the more exciting (as you'll see in the above clip of his straijacket escape). Though no tigers will be used (thankfully), we’ll be interested to see if Cortino undertakes the nail-biting needle-swallowing and bullet-catching-with-teeth illusions.

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