A survey of First Friday happenings

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by Eric Ginsburg

By now chances are you know the drill. At least, we’re hoping you do. There’s always a lot happening on First Friday, particularly when the sun’s warmth and light linger, and this week’s parade of events promises to be no different. There’s a buffet of options in both cities, and while it might be possible to sample some of everything, here’s a slice of the spread.

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Elsewhere Artist Collaborative

Winston-Salem

Patrick Harris, a steady figure in Winston-Salem’s art scene, is moving away, but before he departs Harris is unveiling a farewell show at Delurk Gallery.

“My dad passed on New Years Eve 2012,” Harris said in a Facebook message. “He did number puzzles all the time and he did one last one in the hospital but was losing motor control so it was half clear and half scribbled. It was both beautiful and haunting to me. All of the paintings are details of that puzzle.”

The artwork, about trying to find order in that tragedy and chaos, culminated in Puzzled, which opens at 7 p.m.

Harris isn’t set on where he’s going — he’d like to undertake some new challenges and adventures, he said — but Delurk will continue in his absence. Zac Trainor, who also painted one of Triad City Beat’s distribution boxes, has a solo show opening at Delurk the same night.

A piece by Tony Fonda
A piece by Tony Fonda

One of the most intriguing things this Friday is happening on the literal fringe of events: an art show beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Reanimator featuring Tony Fonda. A relatively recent transplant to Winston-Salem, Fonda is, in my opinion, a skilled painter and craftsman. He does some impressive professional upholstery work too, including re-covering bike seats. For this opening, Fonda is working with paint and found materials.

Get a load of this: The show is called Primitive Heap, and employs themes of “total annihilation, reptilian sensuality and noxious unions.” Go ahead and read that last sentence again.

Plus, Fonda’s opening is happening at Reanimator, which I’d argue is easily one of the coolest places around. Since opening it has transformed into much more than a record shop around the corner from Krankies — it’s a bona fide show space for visual and musical art, and now they’re slinging beer.

At the other end of the spectrum, SECCA invites you to its Silhouette Gala, complete with shadow dancers and “delicate lanterns” that play with light and shadow. Attendees, who need to drop $250 to make it through the door, are encouraged to accent their black-and-white cocktail attire with salmon, ochre (that’s a color?) or hot-pink accessories. They promise it will be unforgettable — I sure hope so, for that much scratch.

Also outside of downtown but accessible on a much tighter budget is the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra’s one-night final concert of the year. Featuring Tchaikovsky and Bacchanale, the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center.

Mona Wu
Mona Wu

The core of activity will occur, unsurprisingly, in the Downtown Arts District, including a meet-the-artist session with woodcutter Mona Wu at Artworks Gallery on Trade Street from 7-10 p.m. Andrew Fansler’s art show, “As Above, So Below,” kicks off at Ember Gallery at 6 p.m., and attendees will be entered to win a new turntable.

Greensboro

I’m going to show a little favoritism here as a Guilford College grad (call it a perk of the job), but this isn’t undue attention. The annual senior thesis art exhibit at my alma mater is always an incredibly interesting and diverse display, with graduating students pulling off impressive feats in a swath of mediums. Altered will feature nine student artists utilizing everything from printmaking to pottery and installation, many of them from North Carolina including Hannah Reed of Winston-Salem. It opens Friday from 7-9 p.m. in Founders Hall.

Anyone who knows anything about Greensboro’s art scene is familiar with Elsewhere on South Elm Street — if you aren’t, just nod your head and pretend, scoot down there and act like a regular. This Friday, Elsewhere is screening a preview of its TV miniseries “CITY,” hosting an artist talk and three musical acts starting at 6 p.m.

Harvey Robinson, a venerated elder statesman of film in Greensboro and one of Triad City Beat’s favorite people, will give an artist talk after the event. This guy has a drone for shooting film, has made some bang-up music videos and is probably one of the most interesting people around to spend an hour with.

Little known fact: It was actually our own Brian Clarey who encouraged Robinson to throw his name in for an artist residency at this kooky museum and artist space.

The event, ending at 10 p.m., also includes performances by the Difficulties, There is No Creature and Quilla.

Here’s another reason to cross the tracks: King Phill and X the Artist are unveiling a collaborative project called The EP: Soundtrack to Creativity that encompasses an array of mediums at clothing boutique Civic Threads. Think music, film, photography and an “organized chaos, mixed-media approach to fine art.” Beginning at 6 p.m., entrants who bring canned food, clothing or toiletries (benefitting Greensboro Urban Ministry) will be entered into a raffle to win a piece by X the Artist.

There’s plenty else happening, too, including the Jan Van Dyke Dance Group performing at Greenhill in Greensboro and Stuart Little at the Winston-Salem Arts Council Theatre. Providing an exhaustive listing would almost be a disservice; part of the idea with First Friday is to circulate downtown, slipping from one opening to another, see and be seen, and accidentally discover greatness. Have a good night, and good luck!