"Comme on voit sur la branche au moi de Mai la rose" - Ronsard
Wow I love that quote, and as it is a rather beautiful homage to the month of May, I felt it was all too appropriate to inscribe onto this screen thus.
I am very pleased to officially announce our extraordinary five-event series The Saturdays of May with Matt Curreri, where we will feature explosions of art, music, poetry and much more all for you, all for free, all at The Andrews Gallery.
[Was that too rhythmic?]
The calendar this year has graced us with not four but five Saturdays in May, giving us not four but five golden opportunities to experience different combinations of visual art, music, poetry and more all in a Bacchic celebration and promotion of the Arts in our lives and in our communities. These events, like all of the events held at The Andrews Gallery, are for the express purpose of providing a venue for anyone and everyone to come participate and enjoy themselves in an environment of creativity and imagination. Accordingly, all events are free, all ages, and open to the public.
This series in particular is geared towards highlighting the tremendous talent that exists right here at home in San Diego County, and in particular the young and emerging. While The Andrews Gallery represents and works with artists from various locations throughout the world, all the participants in this series are current residents of San Diego and are working in one way or another to have San Diego live up to its potential as a thriving community for the arts.
So following is the official schedule and below that will be profiles of the various participants for you to browse and investigate further.
The sounds of Matt Curreri along with…
5/2 (SERIES OPENER) – Steel drum virtuoso Keli Ross-Ma’u and local music group The Perry Edwards. On display in the Studio Room: San Diego emerging visual artist Andre Couturier and his new series of prints entitled Guys and Dolls.
5/9 – The Exfriends and the prodigious abstractions of San Diego painter Floyd Elmore. Elmore’s new show Obstacle Illusion is a May Gallery Room feature.
5/16 – The Exfriends and the formidable John Meeks
5/23 – The Exfriends and the debut of the 6x6 Poetry Series, where a diverse selection of 12 talented San Diego County poets will each read for 6 minutes. Special musical guest: Joanie Mendenhal.
5/30 (SERIES CLOSER) – Orange Electric. On Display and being demonstrated: Ukes Etc, the artistic handcrafted string instruments of San Diego native Owen Burke.
Each event will begin at 7:00PM at The Andrews Gallery. While we do not specify an end time, all live music will end by 10:30PM at the latest.
First and foremost, there is Mr. Matt Curreri himself, along with his band The Exfriends. I haven't ever met anyone who has heard Matt's records without loving them, and subsequently the mastermind behind them. I don't know, you just sort of fall in love with the guy (see: his keys player). Musically, its the kind of thing where you can just leave the album in the car CD player for four months without even realize that four months has gone by since you changed music. I did so with his 2003 acclaimed album How to Play the Songs of Matt Curreri, which was recorded in some Chinatown basement where Matt lived in Manhattan (ironically, the place burned down a few weeks ago - end of an era, amen). Metronomes were banished for that album, and I say all the better. One way or the other, with this album unambiguously vindicates his title as "Sweet Mathew" (track 2). He the moved to San Diego where he formed The Exfriends with some local geniuses who polished themselves up a bit and released two more albums, Excersize Music for the Lonely (2006) and the more recent Joy of Life (2008), both to critical acclaim. These albums, all released on Brooklyn-based City Salvage Records, and the amazing live presence that went along with them, earned them high kudos from the San Diego Union Tribune, who dubbed them "one of San Diego's best indie bands" in 2008. One great thing about this series, is that Matt (along with all other participants) will not only be playing, but also hanging out and enjoying the other performances. I strongly encourage everyone to chat Matt up, he is so articulate and always willing to hold a conversation, no matter how petty the topic. The Andrews Gallery is very proud to be hosting Matt as the centerpiece of this new mixed-media artistic series extravaganza that promises to be no small revolution. Do your ears a service and check out Matt Currier and the Exfriends here.
Keli Ross-Ma’u is currently one of the premiere Steel Drum musicians in Southern California. He has been playing music professionally since he was eleven years old, beginning in his father’s band Semisi and FulaBula. While equally accomplished on the keyboard and bass guitar, Keli honed his abilities as a composer, band leader, and mentor of music at Trinity College, Connecticut, and through his extensive international travel. After receiving his BA with honors in Music in 2005, he began a lecture series on the Steel Pan at high schools and educational committees in Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand, University of the South Pacific in Fiji, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and Münster, Germany. Keli’s style is eclectic, featuring strong backgrounds in funk, jazz, classical, Latin, and the unique Pacific island groove from his father’s Tongan heritage. He introduced the steel sound of the Caribbean into FulaBula when he was sixteen, but found the opportunity in 2004 to immerse himself in the culture and people of Trinidad and Tobago where the Steel Pan originated. Keli studied and practiced with a Steel Pan Orchestra called Pamberi in San Juan, Trinidad, and participated in the Panorama competitions during the season of Carnival. Pamberi later that year was the gracious voice for an eight-minute memorial piece composed and conducted by Keli called Dancing Ashes. Check out his website here.
Andre Couturier Maitret is a San Diego native of many hats, exploring the areas of fine art, design, illustration, and digital media. Nouveau Pop, Andre's latest series, is a digital illustration print series of his collection showing the force of love, through warm toned compositions and contrasting illustrations achieved through a finesse of technology and creativity. 2008 exhibits displaying Andre's recent achievements and work include: "North Park Festival of the Arts", winner "Best Print/Drawing" and "Most Popular Vote" 2008; "Ray at Night" North Park; "More Super Sundays" Hillcrest; "Colosseum Fine Arts Gallery" and "Kettner Nights" Little Italy; "Airport Lounge" Little Italy; "Gelato Vero" Mission Hills; and currently "Saks 5th Ave" Fashion Valley.
Hailing from the beaches of North County San Diego, The Perry Edwards are the band to watch in 2009. Hints of psychedelic, blues, and modern indie rock can all be found in the sound that is so unique to this 4 person band. Besides an all star line up featuring talent like Will Mahlan, Tommy Graf, and the brother's Sean and Justin Sanders, The Perry Edwards also boast high energy shows and brilliant songwriting, and with a name like that, they must go good.Check out their music here.
I am very excited about our May Gallery Room featured Floyd Elmore and his exhibition of brand new works entitled Obstacle Illusion. Elmore, originally from upstate New York, is a current resident of San Diego with work in private collections all over the world. His abstractions are as powerful as his personality. I'll let his bio speak for itself (its a good read).
John Meeks is someone who I am particularly pleased is participating. I first had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Meeks perform at a series of shows put on by Sezio (who are awesome) at the Luce Loft. He endeared himself to my heart with his sort of contemporary twists on a Hank Williams Sr kind of sound. And it just so happens that his band is incredible, equipped with honeyed bends on the lead guitar, a bass n' drums dynamic that is solid as a rock, and a fiddle as the cherry on top. I can't wait to see what the art looks like as the back drop to these sounds. Check John's music out here.
Ok on May 23rd we are premiering a brand new poetry series at The Andrews Gallery. This series is modeled after a series which I frequented often that was put on by a wonderful poet in New York named Jeffrey McDaniel on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College. The series is called 6x6 and will feature twelve poets reading for six minutes each. The master list of poets is still being formulated, but I assure you it promises to be a diverse crowd, people of all ages and styles. Won't want to miss this one.
What to say about the beautiful Joanie Mendenhall? Her performances are sobering. Hearing her euphonious voice only instills the desire to hear it again. She'll destroy you with her wit and then promptly melt you with her smile. Am I being too poetic? Hardly. After years of lending her skills as sidewoman and collaborator to acclaimed southern California indie acts such as The Exfriends, Correatown Joanie Mendenhall went back to her roots with the release of her solo album ON A STRING, Joanie’s most ambitious work to date. The San Diego Union Tribune has lauded praises on Joanie and her new project, asserting that ON A STRING “combines pop smarts with a keen melodic sense and an inviting old-school sensibility that favors patience and quality over slick formulas and audio artifice”. Whoever wrote that knows what they are talking about. The thing about Joanie is that she is a trained classical pianist who can light up the likes of Schubert or Bach. This bedrock foundation provided the grounds for a pop album that is far more dynamic than most. Co-producer and engineer Ben Moore (Switchfoot, Anoushka Shankar, Rob Crow of Pinback) brought impeccable production standards to the project, while multi-instrumentalists Ray Suen (The Killers, Louis XIV) and the gifted Tyler Ward helped Joanie flesh out the arrangements and create the lush and unpredictable sound of ON A STRING. Like on her 2004 debut album, Joanie again moonlights on several different instruments (piano, guitar, bass, and vibraphone), while Suen and Ward shine on drums, upright bass, violin, and guitar. ON A STRING earned Joanie her fifth consecutive San Diego Music Awards nomination, as a 2008 “Best Pop Album” finalist. Last but not least, the cover art is perfectly apt for the album (I love it when things come full circle). Check her out here.
Local music act Orange Electric are a rowdy bunch of emerging artists and musicians who have no small dose of talent and, at least for the drummer, good looks. Come check out their chops on closing night.
Owen Burke moved to San Diego in the fabled summer of 69 and, after fleeing war torn Detroit, found himself in a garden paradise free to pursue the arts. As a painter, musician, sculptor, mixed-media artist and sometime self described "ditch digger", he paved the path for his current practice of hand crafting a series of aesthetically striking and sonorous stringed instruments. He has steered his focus primarily towards the Ukulele, saying plainly of the four stringed instrument: "I just love the ukulele, I think everyone should play one, because everyone probably could". The accesibility of the Ukulele peaked his interest, and the rest is history. He has been on the forefront of crafting the hybrid Banjuke, which (I can personally attest) is perhaps one of the most addicting instruments you will ever lay your hands on, whether you are a musician or not. Check Owen's work out here.
AND WITH THAT, all I have to say is, do not miss these events. Come enjoy the parties, the free drinks, the amazing artists, and, of course, the powerful art. The Andrews Gallery is deeply grateful to all those who chose to support it and the arts in general. It doesn't work without you. I'll keep updating these profiles (especially the poets) as we near the date. See you then.
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