Crazy Summer Days in the Big City
A few cool days in Santa Fe, and we’re all talking Autumn! But we’re not done with Summer yet – and we all know that Fall doesn’t come until Old Man Gloom lights up the sky.
I was in Chicago last week to curate the art at the Fest for Beatles Fans, celebrating this year 40 Fab years in the Windy City. Many fans from the first Fest, held at the Palmer House (1977), came to dance and sing with the newbies. I arrived early to help with the setup of the show. My special job is to create the Art Room, which houses the art contest for fan artists - professional, amateur and kids. These artistic contributions delight the fans who vote on the pieces they like best.
This year, being the 50th anniversary of the release of the Revolver album, we created a giant-sized “Revolver” collage. Fans needed no prompting – they cut and pasted scraps and developed, bit by bit, something entirely new.
One of our artists who submits wildly creative projects every year, brought in something special. Nicole Nigh took 8 months to limn a 48” x 48” reproduction of the album cover in pen and ink, but she made each penstroke a letter, which formed the lyrics of the album. I have included close-ups of the detail. Klaus Voorman, a friend of the Beatles during their Hamburg period, and the creator of the original Revolver art, was at the Fest to promote his book (stunning, by the way… I want one). I was not going to let this opportunity pass by and invited him into the Art Room to see Nicole’s work. He was amazed. He got misty when I pointed out his signature, refashioned with lyric letters. Truly an impressive effort.
And of course, On Sunday of the Fest when the art contest winners are brought to the stage, the Revolver cover was front and center. Bravo to all the participating Beatles artists!
The Poetry Jam was held on Saturday night, and in addition to the readings of original Beatles themed poems, we were treated to a spirited recreation of the 1966 Chicago Beatles Press Conference. This was the occasion when John Lennon was expected to apologize for words taken out of context. My cohorts Walter J. L. Podrazik and Victoria Pichla Luz were key players in this event.
We are looking forward to the next Fest – next year marks the anniversary of the Summer of Love.
Chicago means many things: pizza, for sure, and I got my fair share. I got to Wrigley Field twice (for Cubs wins natch), and a river cruise to taken in the architectural beauties of my old home town, and a bike ride all around the greenly graceful Morton Arboretum. I enjoyed the generosity and hospitality of family and friends, and I wish I had more time to see everyone. Next time!
But I had to return to Santa Fe and continue on with more art projects. The whimsical portrait “Mr. Googly Eyes” is nearly complete, and I started a new landscape, inspired by the view out of the shuttle window on the ride from ABQ to Santa Fe. The monsoons have brought green to life to the desert – so much so, I had to use a machete to get to my door.
I am preparing more projects to work on at the Market. This Sunday, I will be working on autumnal pieces. See you there.
Love and Peace.
Fab 4 August
August brings a Fab turn of events to my world. The Fest for Beatles Fans comes to Chicago (www.thefest.com) August 12-14, 2016. I have been attending since its start in 1977. I now run the Art Contest and set up the Art Room twice a year, in the New York and Chicago locations. The contest is open to kids and amateurs and professional artists, in almost all media, featuring Beatles-themed art. The fans attending the Fest vote for the artwork they like best. One of my favorite jobs is presenting the awards to the winning contestants.
This year I will be conducting two collage workshops featuring a giant-size collage inspired by the album cover of Revolver, which marks its 50th year. I’ll demonstrate my technique and invite participants to cut and paste and add to the collage. I’ll post pictures of the completed Revolver collage in a couple of weeks!
I look forward to the Beatles Poetry Jam, which I host in the Fest Ashram. This is a spoken-word and performance art event where fans read their original poetry, recite Beatles lyrics and initiate conceptual art. We have enacted pieces as written in Ono’s “Grapefruit” as well as original performance pieces. One year we performed the Beatles making a hash of Midsummer’s Night Dream. We always end the session with a group participatory piece.
I go to Chicago a little early to help with set up and stay a little late to play with friends and family in my old hometown. This year I will get at least one Cubs game in and might get to the Art Institute as well. I will get my fill of Chicago style: pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef.
But until I board the Sandia Shuttle to the airport in ABQ, I will be busy working here in Santa Fe. (Eight days a week!)
Bloom has joined the website!
Fresh from the photographer, the portrait of Leopold Bloom is now available for sale as a full-size giclee print. This is the collage that was displayed at the Santa Fe Bloomsday event in June 2016.
The show at Ohori’s continues: My show “Across the Universe” will be on display for three months. This show features my collage depictions of planets and galaxies Enjoy a good cup of joe (I have been enjoying the Organic Ethiopian at home every morning this week) Visit during regular shop hours – they are open every day.
And I will be at the Santa Fe Railyard Artisans Market, this Sunday August 7, from 10 am to 4 pm, with prints and posters and cards as well as one framed original. The Poster of the Santa Fe tree “Loosen My Soul” has been selling quickly. I will be working on my new piece to demonstrate my technique. We enjoy live music and coffee and ice cream are available. I’d love to see you there!
I hope you are enjoying the surprises summer brings.
Love and Peace,
D E C O
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