Sunday, September 23, 2012
Matt Muirhead Art Snagged on Abell
Taking advantage of yet another incredible crisp, sunny, cool September day, another amazing fall day that actually feels like the falls I remember from my youth before September just became a sequel to squelchy August, Everly and I headed out to catch DJ Mills and the band Black Marks at the Abell Ave. festival.
Last Sunday we hit the Polish Festival at Holy Rosary Church on Chester St. in Butcher's Hill and I was almost weeping with rushes of nostalgia. Potato-laden food! Pierogies! Gawumpkis (which they had labeled as Golabki)! Dancers in bright embroidered garb looking truly ecstatic! A motherfucking money wheel!
The money wheel took me back to elementary catholic school. The nuns knew how to get every last penny from your paper thin uniform pants and plaid purses. Money wheels at every gathering, an invented hot pretzel break strategically placed 15 or 20 minutes before lunch break, etc.
The line for food was a huge U-shape, almost to the entrance/exit. But the 40 minute mouth watering wait allowed us to be sucked into the tables selling all things Polska. I searched the crowd of humble potato faces for the faces of my youth, but no Curtis Bay Wondolowski clan members were spotted. The ghost of Uncle Vernon looked down upon us and said "Where's the damn Whiskey Sour Fountain to go with the Money Wheel?
Everly bought a Polish cook book, I bought a pair of handmade socks (that included a third sock) for friends who just adopted a three year old and we bought Christmas ornaments reppiing the country that Alfred Jarry once used as a setting in a play: The action takes place in Poland, which is to say Nowhere.
The pierogies and potato pancakes were well worth the wait. The best potato pancakes I've had since my granny's, but they were slightly too thick to be as insanely savory and possessing of the perfect crisp texture as hers. She also made a perfect cole slaw that keeps me always trying it in restaurants only to be disappointed.
But today, we had only a short drive and our destination was only a few blocks from Normal's, which just today was name checked in the New York Times Sunday travel section. Bring on the groovy New Yorkers with padded wallets hungry for physical culture!!
I hadn't been to the Abell festival for a year or two and it's expanded. Even saw and visited a booth run by Red Prairie Press, a local press which I'd never heard of. Following the scent of grilling meat and the faroff sound of far too smooth jazz (the kind that frightens off the youth and sends them into the leathery arms of Metal), we stumbled upon the art booth of Matt Muirhead. I had meant to catch his show at a gallery in our neighborhood, but had blown it.
Here is an interview with Matt in Baltimore By Hand
Everly and I were both sucked in by the mixed media pieces (acrylic/spray paint?/collage/stencils) that were bright, color saturated and sharp. Everly was immediately drawn to a piece that utilized a diptych image of her Lord and Savior, Elvis (above) while I perused the incredibly cheap $20 bin. As Matt praised the High Zero show he'd caught the previous night as a deeply religious experience and I traded stories about the sets the I caught Friday, Matt explained that the piece I had become transfixed by had the Harundale Cinema featured on it. The Harundale Cinema! The sacred place of my youth where I'd seen The Cross and the Switchblade, Papillon, Swiss Family Robinson, The Jungle Book, 2001 a Space Odyssey, just to name a few.
Hanging cosmically over the cinema is the unblinking eye of Baltmore writer and musician Dina Marie Varsalone of the band The Daily Lion and the zine "Take Me I'm Yours". This piece is going into Normal's, so beware evildoers, the all seeing eye of Dina gazes upon you and you don't want her to tear you a new one! During her tenure at the Charles Village Barnes and Noble upwards of a dozen headless corpses with copies of John Grisham novels half stuffed into their waistbands were found abandoned in the Self Help section.
After getting a kind, gentle deal from Matt on both the Elvis and the Harundale Cinema piece we continued toward the stage and meats and ran into DJ Mills getting the sad news that he had already gone on from 1 to 2 and was done. Sigh. Then I spotted the swollen pill popping beer swilling swamp grifter lady who'd stolen from Normal's after years of selling her boyfriend's books to us. Time for food and better music!!!
It was a bit of a challenge procuring the humble hot dog and hamburger but they were tasty and then Black Marks featuring Sam Wylie and Carol Menetrez of the dear departed Charles Village People took the stage. Two good singers up front, Sam playing well crafted lead guitar and some very tasty keys being played, plus a ubiquitous Pickled Lawncare Guy playing air guitar and making devil horn signs with his fingers while his trousers slowly, inexorably made their way down his buttcrack.