luxury sweets: 3rd annual chocolate walk.

Copyright © 2012 – 2013 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers.This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

in recent exposure: lurid pictures.

People usually think of filmmaking as glamorous business. As a director or producer, you’re surrounded by famous actors who hang on your every word, you get to show up when you want and leave the dirty work to the rest of the crew, and there’s enough food provided by craft services to feed a school-full of ravenous teenagers. But when you and your friend alone are the writers, directors, producers, costumers, sound engineers, editors, and everything else, glamor quickly unravels into endless sweaty hours of toil and sporadic meals of semi-gelatinous Ramen noodles, brightened by spurts of creative energy. Still, when the film is finished, it’s soooo worth it.

This is the reality (okay, well, maybe slightly embellished) for Alex Kent and Wade Vanover, founders of Lurid Pictures. To back up a bit, Brandy and I first hatched this blog post at the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival back in April, because she wanted to use Lurid Pictures to create a promotional video for her upcoming Art Lotto project. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the beer festival, I didn’t remember the conversation with Alex and Wade… at that particular moment, I was busy squishing mud between my toes. At any rate, here it is a couple months later, the promo video is completed and it all worked out. :) She is perfectly pleased with the final cut and YOU get to see it here today!! ….keep reading, keeeeep reading…..

Alex and Wade first worked together on a short film for one of Alex’s classes–it’s called Mechanics, and, told by a character named “Isaac” after Isaac Newton, it’s an endearing film about life lessons against the backdrop of Newton’s laws of mechanics. From then Alex and Wade continued to collaborate here and there, both with the hopes of one day making full-length feature films (Wade’s even written a full-length screenplay). For now they are getting their feet wet with a diverse medley of shorter projects. For example, they’ve made a music video for the song “Wonder” by Eternal Summers (watch for a new music video for the song “You Kill,” coming soon!); last fall, they created this intermission film for the SuperGr8 Film Festival; they’ve dabbled in wedding videography. They produced this really cool commercial for Harrisonburg’s Wonder Records, and they’ve done a few promotional videos, too, like this one for Larkin Arts, a community art store, studio, exhibition space, and school.

~ an image from Lurid’s Wonder Records video

~ an image from “Drunko Nart”

~ Eternal Summers music video

More recently, and the reason we met with Wade and Alex Tuesday night at the Blue Nile, they completed this two-minute promotional video for Harrisonburg’s first ever Art Lotto–a portrait show of artists by artists, conceived by Brandy Somers and Denise Allen. 

~ pictures of the filming of the Art Lotto promo, taken by Brandy…
… and here we are watching the finished film!
and HERE IT IS! Everyone, stop right now and watch it. I’ll wait. In fact, I need another beer anyway. Come to think of it, if you wanna give me a longer break, go ahead and check out all the links so far, plus Lurid’s Vimeo page here.

 

Art Lotto 2012 from Lurid Pictures on Vimeo.

If you’re wondering about that music, it’s by Andrew Barnes, whom you might also know from Gifts from Enola and Equestrians. The Blue NIle graciously loaned their basement to Lurid for about three hours to shoot the Art Lotto film.

Which brings me to something Alex and Wade mentioned to us: the willingness of people in the Burg to help out with projects, to lend whatever talents, resources, space, time to contribute to something important to someone else. There’s a sense of community here that might be absent in larger cities. We all want art to succeed, and we do what’s necessary to make that happen. Another reason I, and Brandy, and Alex and Wade, love our Burg. Along those lines, what Alex and Wade produce, using the priceless help of others, serves to promote not just themselves as filmmakers, but the valuable endeavors of other Harrisonburg-ians, like Larkin Arts, and Art Lotto, and the SuperGr8 Film Festival, and Wonder Records. There’s this recursive effect.. where one person’s project promotes another and another in such a way that the effect on the community is much greater than the scope of the original project. Does that make sense? It’s late and I’m soooo rambling… Let me simplify: here, it’s not “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” It’s “I’ll scratch your back for nothing, and voila! it’s repaid ten-fold.” And that’s how it should be.

In their day jobs, Alex and Wade actually produce videos for Health Bites, a health-related website from the Virginia Department of Health, funded by a grant through JMU. Unfortunately, the grant runs out in November, so they’re working hard to grow Lurid Pictures between now and then. These other projects I’ve mentioned are in addition to their full-time jobs at JMU. They’re clearly passionate about their art, and we talked a bit about that Tuesday night at the Nile. We talked about how selling one’s art is like jumping off a ledge. Alex and Wade love their craft, and they get deeply involved in every project, wanting to provide the best possible product, not just for the satisfaction of their clients, but for themselves, too, as artists. They have learned to navigate the middle ground between meeting the clients’ wishes and honoring their own artistic vision… applying their unique stamp while bringing to life the client’s idea. And so when they present the finished product to the client, they bare a bit of soul. So far, no client has been dissatisfied. And I think it’s because Alex and Wade care so much about their craft.

Please consider Lurid Pictures for your next video project. Their work is gorgeous and they understand how important their clients’ needs are. And, they love their Burg, just like the rest of us.

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.