everywhere you go, eye candy: more art from first friday.

The Lady Jane

Friendly City Food Co-op

Mint

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

city of light: more art from first friday.

Work by Daniel Suter

on display at The Artful Dodger


happy twentieth birthday, Artful Dodger!

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

treasure hunt in the burg no. 16: first friday.

When I thought of the title for this post, I got all excited about the pirate jokes I could make. But I don’t want my corniness to get on everyone’s nerves, so I’ll just say a few words and then leave it alone: Booty. “Mate.” Poop deck. Ho. Spanker. There–what a relief.

No, this post isn’t about swashbuckling ruffians who pillage innocent communities; it’s about a bounty of people who, through their unique vision, give to our community in beautiful ways.

Brandy and I attended the first First Friday of the season on… well, the first Friday in April. It also happened to be MaCRoCk weekend, so downtown was very much alive and swarmy. Throngy. But in a festive way, not in a Walmart-the-day-before-Thanksgiving way.

First Friday is a free and family-friendly celebration of culture and community hosted by the Arts Council of the Valley. From 5 – 8pm on the first Friday of each month, you can stroll through downtown Harrisonburg and enjoy numerous art exhibits and performances. What results is a treasure hunt of sorts, seeking out the art featured at various locations. What we also discovered, however, is that the artists themselves are local treasures.

Friendly City Food Co-op
Meet Pat Jarrett–a guy who would make any self-respecting pirate quake in his boot. Why? Because he’s the president and founder of the Beard and Mustache Society of the Blue Ridge. (It’s true, people–it’s on Facebook.)

His colorful photos hung throughout the store and included subjects such as Swiss chard, peaches, apples, bread, cows at night, and a guy named Steve wearing plaid flannel and manhandling a carcass of some sort. But my favorite was the photo of the guy holding his rooster, next to a description of the Low and Slow philosophy of meat cooking. I’d say holding your rooster against your body until he’s cooked is plenty slow. Seriously, Pat’s eye for the sumptuous beauty of daily life is what makes him a local treasure.

Ten Thousand Villages
I’ve seen several of April Sedeen‘s paintings before–usually large, striking portraits with bold lines and colors–but I was not expecting to see framed “doodles” (as she calls them) when I entered Ten Thousand Villages. Yet there they were, all lined up in rows and columns along the wall. Who knew this jewel-eyed lass was soooo funny?

So I sat on a giant stack of rugs and laughed my butt off at her doodles. Like the one that’s just a dot, entitled “Modern Art.” Or the one of the king standing next to a toilet–“Royal Flush.” Or this one, where the veggies are eating humans.
I wanted all of them, displayed in my house just as they were that day. If you want daily doodles (and, I mean, who doesn’t??), you can like her Facebook page Doodle Du Jour.

Wonder
The next local treasure we encountered was Sarah Murphy. That woman supports everything in this town. I see her everywhere. For three years, Sarah has organized the Art Auction for Haiti–a sale of local art that benefits St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Gonâve, Haiti. Artists donated their work, others bid on it, and as there were no costs associated with the auction, all proceeds–nearly $1000–went straight to the orphanage. Everyone involved–Sarah, the artists, and the buyers–are treasures.
A side note: The art was displayed in this hallway that runs the length of the store. I never knew that was there! Ya learn somethin’ new… Brandy managed to win Kevin Edwards’ “Turd Piece” (sorry, Kevin, that’s the information I got) AND, Elliott Downs has opened a record shop inside Wonder (post forthcoming!). I saw sooooo many good albums there, including the Molly Hatchet one I had in 5th grade. Why did I like them? Because they look like pirates. Or Vikings. On horses.

The Yellow Button–post forthcoming!
Meet Nicole Martorana, a writer/photographer/videographer who’s dabbled in just about every art-related line of work, including stints at Harrisonburg Tourism, Court Square Theater, the Arts Council of the Valley, and now the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. Still she finds time for her photography, beautifully displayed at the Yellow Button.

Her exhibit included pieces from an ongoing project called Show Your Face. During each exhibit, she takes polaroids of people who’ve come to see it, asks them to write short descriptions of themselves, frames the snapshots, and adds them to the collection for future display. If you’d like to see or participate in the exhibit, you can find Nicole at the RubyRed Shoe Boutique on Friday, May 4.
The Lady Jane
And there was Sara Christensen, the lovely, knowledgeable proprietor of The Lady Jane, who could tame an entire fleet of scallywags with one batch of brownies and sew a Jolly Roger better than any wench in town. Her exhibit was unlike the others in that it was not only aesthetically pleasing but also instructional. It reflected what she does for a living every day. She called the exhibit a “Mood Board,” and it was a collection of design elements (fabrics, colors, pictures of furniture, etc.) that revolved around a certain theme or style (in this case it was Rustic Vintage meets English Cottage). It’s a simple way to teach design to customers, and she even provided handouts containing advice and other resources.

Mint
Alas, our treasure hunt is nearly complete. But Harrisonburg would not be the treasure trove it is without Denise Kanter-Allen. You know how when you’ve been indoors in the air conditioning for several hours on a warm day, and you’re starting to get a little chilly, how good it feels to get in your warm car? That’s how it feels to be around Denise. Warm. Welcoming. Relaxed. She’s always open to collaborating with others and supporting other artists–she’s done joint art shows with Brandy, Elliott Downs, and Lynda Bostrom, to name a few. And she and Brandy are responsible for Harrisonburg’s first Art Lotto.

Her gorgeous collection of paintings called Leap is still on display at Mint, through the end of the month. All of the paintings feature people jumping for some reason… Brandy’s daughter Ella jumping on the trampoline, Denise herself jumping into the Aegean Sea (no doubt to welcome the pirates ashore), among others, all of which convey beautiful grace and movement.


And that concluded our search for hidden treasure; the next First Friday is Friday, May 4. We came home with a chest full of precious memories, lasting impressions, and meaningful encounters… all given freely by our priceless Harrisonburg.

Harrisonb-ARGH. Ha.

Sorry.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

family gathering: kopecky family band.

kopecky family band at clementine, harrisonburg.

gabe's signature squinty face.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

family album: kopecky family band.

kopecky family band at clementine, harrisonburg.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

 

family portaits: kopecky family band.

markus.

gabe.

steven.

corey.

kelsey.

david.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

family outing no. 15: kopecky family band.

Remember years ago before Clementine existed (wait–there was life before Clementine??), when it was Main Street Bar and Grill? I saw Dokken there. Yes–Dokken. And Don Dokken wore a white feather boa and it was AWESOME. It was a comeback tour, and there were only two original band members, but man, it took me back. I bet you didn’t peg me for a metal fan, huh?

Well, this might blow your mind, but I think I liked Kopecky Family Band‘s performance at Clementine last month ever better. I’d seen them a few other times–twice at Clementine (yep)–the first time I was actually there to see Dear Wolfgang perform because a friend of mine was in that band; KFB took the stage after them. I loved it. Brandy was with me the next time–one winter night more than a year ago. Just before this most recent show, I’d seen them at a bar called PJ Kelly’s. Since that first show, they’ve played larger and larger venues, including Bonnaroo, the Dave Matthews Caravan, SXSW, and the CMJ Music Marathon, and they’ve even toured with bands like Givers and Gomez. And this year? LOLLAPALOOZA! What?! So it’s super-nice of them to visit little ol’ Harrisonburg. I think they like us.

The group is made of six self-proclaimed choir- and band-geeks: Kelsey, Gabe, Markus, Corey, Steven, and David. On this night, Brandy and I scored a prime photo location at the bar and ordered a Paulaner and a Ranger IPA. The band opened with a song from their soon-to-be-released fourth album (eeeeeeeek!!), then followed with a few familiar ones. There are a couple main reasons we love this band so much. One, they are all uber-talented. I think they’re better live than recorded because a track on a CD just can’t contain the sound and the energy they produce on stage. They each play like a zillion instruments. Well, I counted fourteen instruments, to be exact. Six people ÷ fourteen instruments = ridiculous skill. For example, Gabe sings, plays guitar, and plays trombone AT THE SAME TIME. Corey, too. At one point I think Kelsey was singing and playing the keyboards (or maybe the accordion), a tambourine, and a drum SIMULTANEOUSLY. And they pick ’em up and set ’em down like it’s nothing. Markus will be one moment sitting there regally playing his cello, then suddenly throw the bow down, jump up on a chair, and start beating the mess out of a tambourine.

 A tambourine has never looked so manly. Must be the tattoo.

Their sound is rich and crisp, and layered and loud… some songs, like “Embraces” and “Disaster” (by the way, I swear I hear a little early Radiohead influence in there) start slowly and build to an emotional, perfectly layered and harmonious, yet raw, finale. Others, like “Little Baby Sister” are just sweet the whole way through.

If you’d like to see/hear a little snippet, here are a couple links to some new songs, “Angry Eyes” and “My Way.”

It’s crowded on the stage with all those people and equipment. There were a few close calls with Markus’ tambourine and Kelsey’s head. But, and this is reason number 2, they’re so fun to watch. All that instrument switching calls for a lot of movement on stage–crawling, crouching, kneeling, wedging, sneaking, scooting… it’s really a sight to see if you ever get the chance. While we’re at it, why not check out their tour dates, right here?

One last note, in addition to designing the album artwork and posters for the band, Kelsey’s also involved in another project called Feather and Belle, in which she collaborates with her friend Laura on their debut album, Pockets Run Deep. They played at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. This got us to thinking, and Brandy suggested having a “all-girls band” night featuring as many female bands as possible. Wouldn’t that be fun?? Give us your feedback and let’s get that ball rollin’!

Thanks to Clementine and Kopecky Family Band for another fun evening. Can’t wait to see you all again!

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

 

all together now: kopecky family band preview.

kopecky family band at clementine, harrisonburg. 

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

that’s why it’s called ROCKtown: MaCRoCk 2012.

When I handed Brandy the press pass, she actually squealed. And the night only got better from there. Well, except that she kept flashing that thing like she was the fire marshall or something. As if people don’t already get out of her way when they see her coming with that monstrous camera.

It’s been at least ten years since I’ve attended MACRoCk, definitely before my kids were born, and it’s even awesome-er now than back when I didn’t tire out so quickly. Brandy and I went on the first night (Friday, April 6) because it was also First Friday downtown (post forthcoming!) and there were so many cool things to do. How do two girls on one night cover an event that spans thirty-one hours and showcases more than eighty bands? We really can’t. Child protective services would be at my door (JUST KIDDING.), Brandy’s camera would explode, and my notebook just isn’t that big. Sorry. But we can do the best we can and have fun. With so so many bands participating and no clones of ourselves, we had to be focused and disciplined. We wanted to see a couple of local bands, for sure, so we let that goal carve a path for us that evening.

First up, Elephant Child at Downtown 34. This local three-piece suit features John Hostetter (guitar and vocals), Aaron Propst (bass), and Scott Whitten (drums). The crowd grew as the performance continued, and soon the place was full of fans all nodding their heads to the music. Which of course is a sign of approval, but it might also have been involuntary because those three guys were so chest-thumping loud, the whole place was vibrating.

Sidebar: I love music, I love live music, and I love loud music, but I’ve noticed that spectators do strange things at shows. Like clapping. From a very young age we are taught to bang our hands together. Why do we clap? When and where did this start? I mean, who was the very first clapper, and how did clapping evolve into the custom it is today? Don’t get me wrong… I clap, too. Enthusiastically. But I find it strange. And sometimes I watch myself clapping and think, “How odd of me to do this.”

Okay. “Beehive” was a great number… “We drove out to the canyon and we lost our minds…” Heads nodding, hands clapping… we wish we’d gotten more than forty minutes of them.

It was dinner time, so we grabbed some food. It didn’t take as long as we thought, so we had time to meander from the path and go to Court Square Theater for a couple of shows. Once there, Brandy’s press pass suddenly acquired magical powers, because I looked up and she was just gone. I think she teleported in there or something. Anyway, the band that was playing–The La De Les, from Ohio–had already started, and I entered the theater just as they finished a number. Now, I embarrassed Brandy when I said loudly, “BRANDY SOMERS,” but I was not going to scan all those hundreds of people, looking for the back of her head. And where was she? Front row. Yep–press pass. Once I was finally settled in, we really liked the performance. Again it was just three people–Jocelyn, Aaron, and Cody–and they sort of all played everything.

Jocelyn sang and played keyboards; Aaron played a bass, a drum, and his Mac, all in bare feet… he even recorded a drum track as he played; and Cody sang and played guitar. Their sound was like, according to the MaCRoCk program, “golden beams of light shining through huge white fluffy clouds.” I’d say that sounds about right. I love all the technology they used and how they played with sound. Lots of layering of sounds that distilled into this ethereal, melodic effect.

We stayed put for the next band–Timbre out of Nashville. As soon as I saw the harp, I knew two things: I’d love this band, and I’d cry at some point. Timbre, the female harpist, wore a gown and a long braid and reminded me vocally of Leslie Feist plus Joni Mitchell (my all-time fave, by the way). Her frighteningly massive range revealed a pure and unfaltering voice. There was also a cellist and a percussionist, and I was absolutely glued to their performance.

There was no head-nodding, no clapping… not a sound anywhere but on stage. I think we all stopped breathing. They closed with a gauzy, goose-bump inducing cover of Radiohead’s “Like Spinning Plates.” After their set, Brandy and I sat there stunned, then looked at each other and said, “Damn. That was good.”

It was time to head to Clementine to catch Invisible Hand from Charlottesville. The place was PACKED and just kept getting packed-er.

It was 10pm. We’d started our adventure at 6:30, and the evening itself was shaped like a piece of music–an energetic, yet low-key beginning, followed by an emotional bridge, and now crescendoing into a beautiful crowd of happy people all smushed together to see this four-piece blow the roof off.

Brandy flashed the pass and wiggled her way to the front. And anywhere else she wanted, for that matter. They had two drummers–one standing and one seated–two guitars, and a bass. Loud and fun and quirky and dedicated, they were very much loved by the crowd.

At this point, I must admit, I was TIRED. Happy, but tired. And though I wanted to see Valkyrie at the Nile, I didn’t. Brandy, however, was NOT out of energy,  and she went. Infused with the power of the mighty press pass, she found the endurance needed to see MaCRoCk Night 1 through to the end. She said Valkyrie was awesome, so awesome that “everyone went crazy and I feared for the safety of… my camera.” No worries–she got some shots of them and got out with no scratches or cracks.

I was unable to go again on Saturday, but Brandy did–and you can see photos of The Cinnamon Band, Bison, Bib-bi, The Turlocks, Psychic Teens, and The Beets at her photography page here. Wowee–that woman is busy!!

MaCRoCk staff and participants, thank you for a crazy night of talent. Ya blew our minds.

friendly city fashion no. 13: mint.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since Mint opened. I remember it like one remembers every single word of a really terrible song. No, that’s not right. I remember it like I remember the time in third grade that I threw up four times in the school cafeteria but got to stay home the rest of the week.

Hm. That’s not the image I’m going for, either.

Let’s just say that I remember it with mixed emotions. So, so proud of and happy for Anna after working really hard to open that store, yet so, so FREAKING OUT that I was losing my hair dresser. Bittersweet… but mostly sweet. Yes… maybe that’s what I should have said in the first place.

Can we just start this post over?

I’m happy for Anna and my hair misses her.

Her store, Mint, is just awesome and quintessentially her. Brandy and I went there recently to browse. I had my kids with me, but that’s okay because Anna’s equipped: she’s got Legos. That bought us a good twenty minutes to drool over the new arrivals for spring. The variety in the store is fantastic. Not only does she have an array of dresses, skirts, and tops (sizes, styles, colors, and “levels of fanciness”)–which I appreciate because I am so weirdly shaped–but she also sells jewelry, handbags, shoes, and a random collection of bizarre oddities.

Like coin banks that say “Saving for Therapy.” And the always-classic Vinnie’s Tampon Case. Greeting cards. Wine bottle stoppers. And sticky notes that say “Just wanted you to know: something smells/this sucks/check your teeth/you rock.”

At this point those twenty minutes expired and Cal threw an Angry Bird across the store (“but he wanted to fly, Mom!”) and hit the earring display. Ohnoyoudidnot! And I had to put him in time out, which bought us another five minutes.

         During this time, the three of us had an attack of girliness and I was coerced–no, FORCED, to try on some items. So I hunched over in the dressing room, and squeezed and tugged and even laughed out loud… although I really do like that feather dress. (Anna later told me I chose the “short person” dressing room. It was sort of like being in Alice in Wonderland, you know, where she grows really big and gets her head stuck in the ceiling thing.) I tried on these:

On our way out, we saw half-price winter hats! I ended up buying mine…

… and later I doubled back and got the other one for Brandy, along with a pack of “something smells” sticky notes. Just so she knows. And since then, we went back to Mint to see Denise Kanter Allen’s art on First Friday (post forthcoming!) and I picked up that feather dress.

Visit Anna at Mint on West Market Street in the Union Station building. She’s open Monday – Saturday, 11 til 6.