GhostFood' gives the public the chance to experience what might remain when our current unsustainable food practices are taken to their logical conclusion. 'GhostFood' takes the form of a food truck serving three 'soon-to-be-unavailable' delicacies – cod, peanut butter and chocolate
Tinkertown rabbit hole
Do you know Tinkertown, that one-of-a-kind art installation/museum/carnival of the weird and wonderful located a half-hour east of Albuquerque? Its influence has long spilled beyond its own kitschy, meticulously populated borders – and now, it’s inspiring a new, all-ages theater production from the Cardboard Playhouse Theatre Company.
Casey Mraz, co-writer (with Jason Witter) of “Tinker Town: A Musical Play,” says he imagines the show “as a sort of ‘Night at the Museum’ meets ‘Toy Story’ meets ‘Indian in the Cupboard’ meets a Tim Burton film.” Employing a cast of 27 child and adult actors, it relates the tale of unhappy middle-schooler Gemini, who follows classmate Jacob through a portal that lands them in Tinker Town, a model Western scene built by her father. Naturally, the two must join forces to make their escape; along the way, they meet a diverse range of folk and bring peace to the town.
The show is still in development, so if you attend the 7 p.m. performances on Friday, Aug. 28, or Saturday, Aug. 29, at South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE), you’ll see a staged reading. “The actors will move around on stage, and there will be some costumes, but the actors will be carrying scripts. It’s more of a glorified staged reading. So it’s not just a staged reading, and it’s not really a full production,” explains co-director Doug Montoya (with Kristin Berg). “I almost want to call it Readers Theatre.”
Though not yet a full-fledged production, music and singing will be part of the show. “The music is influenced by Western music (most notably ‘cowboy’ and ‘pioneer’ music, such as country, folk, bluegrass, etc.) mixed with circus music,” says Mraz. “It has elements of vaudeville and the Buffalo Bill-Wild West shows of the late 19th century.”
Whether you’re a theater geek, simply ready for a fun family outing or want to support the ambition and talent of local writers, performers and theater groups, “Tinker Town” promises a giddyup of a good time. Learn more at cardboard-playhouse.org.
Strangeness is afoot for September in the outlandish space of Stranger Factory’s Nob Hill storefront (3411 Central NE) after an expansion earlier this year. Maintaining the gallery’s usual aesthetic of grisly/cute and sinister/twee, artists Craig LaRotonda, Kevin Titzer and Amy Earles offer up a diverse assortment of beguiling works in two and three dimensions in a triad of solo shows.
“A Consortium of Lost Souls” includes LaRotonda’s evocatively layered multimedia canvases depicting altered humans, their flesh often gray and mottled to resemble stone, touched with dramatic light that evokes Renaissance beauty while rippling with dark undercurrents. Distortion, texture and grotesquerie are key features. His more recent work plays with Byzantine flatness and coloration in combination with painted mechanical elements. LaRotonda’s show also incorporates a number of his sculptures, haunting figures that seem salvaged from ancient carnivals of the damned.
The eight original sculptures of Titzer’s “Peccadilloes” evoke body-horror tempered by a sense of humor and toylike whimsy. The humanoid figures populating his body of work tend to be riddled with bees, peppermint candies, protruding branches or other things that simply should not be where they are, but their marvelous details – from the keys of an accordion to the glistening bodies of fish forming a mystic’s beard – arouse a kind of hypnotic fascination. Though Titzer’s sculptures are layered with enough paint and varnish to resemble ceramic or baked clay, they’re actually composed of hand-carved wood.
Earles enters viewers into a mysterious and girlish world in “Through the Eye.” Her show includes paintings in oil or gouache, pencil drawings, articulated paper dolls and archival prints. The apparent simplicity of her work exudes, on closer examination, eerie currents of hidden childhood, masked selves and girls hybridized with plants or animals in gestures toward unexplained discord.
Stranger Factory (circusposterus.com, 508-3049) is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. After the opening reception on Friday, Sept. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., these shows lurk in a deliciously creepy manner until Sept. 27.
Future noms will spook you
Earlier this month (see freeabq.com/?p=3066) I gave you a heads-up about the fascinating range of eco-conscious artworks on display in 516 ARTS’ “HABITAT: Exploring Climate Change Through Art,” running Aug. 29 through Oct. 31. But like one of our planet’s rapidly melting icebergs, far more lurks beneath the surface.
In particular, Saturday, Sept. 12, offers a slew of mind-expanding encounters not to be missed. For the third year running, 516 ARTS and partners close down Central Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets for an epic, arts-based outdoor celebration. The HABITAT: Downtown Block Party is free and, from 4 to 8 p.m., features performances, interactive art explorations, demos and crucial (but palatable) education experiences covering global climate change and its sidekicks: alternative energy, the food economy and water issues.
The 14 posters of the Public Energy Art Kit (P.E.A.K.) fuse compelling design with factual messaging about fracking, energy density, corporate energy hegemony and more to encourage direct and immediate action. Sarita Zaleha’s ongoing “Mourning Global Warming” project asks participants to hand-stitch the names of natural disasters around the world. Sewn into patchwork flags and displayed to bring attention to climate change, the piece creates a conversation in the context of work traditionally associated with women. The Little Sun Pop-Up Shop pools the talents of European artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen to offer LED solar lamps as part of a global, socially conscious business strategy benefiting communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 percent of people lack access to basic electricity.
Perhaps the most compelling artwork belongs to Miram Simun. Pushing interactivity to a new level of haunting, Star-Trekkian post-reality, “GhostFood” gives the public the chance to experience what might remain when our current unsustainable food practices are taken to their logical conclusion. “GhostFood” takes the form of a food truck serving three “soon-to-be-unavailable” delicacies – cod, peanut butter and chocolate. The consumed foods consist of tasteless texture analogues paired with appropriate scents delivered through a specially designed headpiece. The result is surprisingly – even distressingly – realistic. This really could be how your grandkids eat.
Luckily the Downtown Block Party will have plenty of non-synthesized food opportunities, including Robert Hoberg of the Downtown Growers’ Market and Food Karma, Fresco New Mexico, Pop Fizz and the Street Food Institute. See the sights, listen to music from Racine Kreyol, Jade Masque and DJ Gabriel Jaureguiberry, and give some thought to the big questions. For more information, call the gallery at 242-1445 or visit 516arts.org.
Lisa Barrow is a member of the Dirt City writers collective, tweets with exceeding irregularity @OhLisaBarrow and most recently served as arts and lit editor and web editor at the Weekly Alibi.