Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reversible Eyes

Unlike over a blank canvas, I can’t wash oil paint and turpentine over an empty blog to make the whiteness less intimidating. Bear with the semi-bareness for now. In the meantime, you can:

Check out some of the articles I’ve written for Sixty Inches From Center, an arts archive that documents Chicago’s peripheral art scene, by either clicking on my author link or my tag. My latest piece, an interview with the Puterbaugh Sisters and review of their Art It Out show at Humboldt Park’s Reversible Eye Gallery, may look long, but I swear it’s a quick read and half of it’s comprised of [laughter] brackets. An excerpt of the review:

In anticipation of their Art It Out show, I sat down and chatted with Danielle and Tiffany Puterbaugh, sisters whose brand of comedy is “experimental ridiculousness.” Before I hit “record,” we talked about how someone broke into their Humboldt Park apartment and stole their 11-year-old computer and their weed; how I heard about El Circo Cheapo Cabaret, where I first saw the duo perform as pill-popping ‘50s housewives locked in a nuclear bunker; our mutual friends, who are all, as Danielle put it, radical females in the Chicago comedy scene; the Exquisite Corpse show I’m curating; drunken/stoned exquisite corpse rounds; and gummy worms combined with society. We also talked about art.
The show—a combination of art, comedy, and performance, with the requisite dance party thrown in—descended upon the world last Thursday night at Reversible Eye Gallery, an interdisciplinary arts space committed to experimental art and performance, outsider art, art from the surrounding Humboldt Park community, and folk art from around the world.
The Puterbaugh Sisters hosted and, in their opening, remarked of the painted-on-jeans- and questionable-facial-hair-sporting masses congregating in the ethnic neighborhood, “This is the part where the Puerto Ricans meet the hipsters. The ripsters.” They continued to rip on the audience through a song with On the Road mentions and lyrics that included “I just cut my bangs in my bathroom” and “My dad’s paying off my college debt.” They were equally self-deprecating: “Artists do art. Performance artists do… whatever they want. And comedians are broken and sad.”
First up were Chris Condren, who played/”played” the keyboard and did stand-up, and Think Tank, who relayed fashion parables and commandments as the Fashion Police. Aptly voted Chicago’s Best Stand-up Comic of 2010 by the Chicago ReaderBeth Stelling followed with impressions that included “the longest drink order ever by a drunk girl.” She and the sisters then launched into The Go Gals, a routine that can be seen at their weekly Entertaining Julia show.

Headlining was DAAN, whom Tiffany insisted I would love, an assumption probably based on my Aladdin Sane necklace and the fact that I’m perpetually cloaked in sequins and glitter (the latter may or may not true). Judging a book by its cover has never been so accurate. The group’s official bio reads, “Imagine a world where Focus on the Family, Westboro Baptist Church, and Fox News were correct in their accusations of an epic homosexual agenda hell-bent on world domination.” That is a world I want to live in. Rapping over abrasive electro beats, crawling around on the floor, and shoving bananas down their throats, the boys got the guests dancing—or, at least, off-rhythmically bopping along to 80s synths.
The night concluded with Danielle as the Industry, who interrupted DAAN in an attempt to compromise their art, and Tiffany as Katy Perry, who somehow managed to avoid setting alight her hair as “Firework” blared in the background. “That was the most amazingly gay thing I’ve ever seen,” said Caitlin Bergh, who has an unwavering affinity for spandex and frequents Berlin so often she’s memorized the playlist and can tell you what song/video comes after Cazwell’s “Ice Cream Truck.”

Read the rest, including the interview itself, here.

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