Thursday, August 25, 2011

Art Review: OurTube 4 / Courtbelle Considers Larryville's Obsession with Quantrill / Baron Wolman at Lawrence Arts Center

Wonder Fair's summer series at the Spencer came to a bittersweet end last night at the Spencer, and it was easily the shortest installment and arguably the smartest and most cynical. OurTube 4 did not open, as the previous pieces, with a contemporary curated video but rather with a famous re-creation: Thomas Edison's 18 second film of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. This led us into Wonder Fair's re-creation of a re-creation (Richard: "Have the Wonder Fair boys been reading Baudrillard's thoughts on 'simulacra' lately?"). This installment's critique (from BARRR) focused on both our never-ending obsession with violence ("Raise your hand if you've watched someone die on the internet!") and the economic motivation that lies behind even the greatest art: OurTube 4 ended with the gang re-promoting all the previous merchandise associated with their summer series.

So, are we left to bemoan the notion that so much art is basically recycled and created with money in mind OR to celebrate the fact that great art can grow even out of these circumstances?

Chip: "I liked the part where BARRR was dressed sort of like a teletubby and saying some crazy shit."

Thanks, Wonder Fair, for a summer of thought-provoking videos and a dangerous amount of free Mexican cokes!


We're convinced that "hiring" our new woman-in-the-field Courtneybelle is one of the smartest things we've done lately, as she covers events that are often off the hipster-radar. While most of you scenesters were marinating yourselves in the smell of vomit on the Replay patio these past few weeks, Courtbelle was taking in Larryville's new slate of Civil War and Quantrill exhibits on an odyssey that led her from the North Lawrence Visitor's Center to the recently re-opened Carnegie Building to a historical re-enactment at the Watkins Museum on Mass. Street (a chorus of local scenesters: "There's a museum on Mass. Street?"). Along the way she finds time to call Langston Hughes a "poncy" poet and take some sweet potshots at Missouri. Enjoy her column and we hope she returns again soon!

Lawrence History in August

By Courtneybelle

Inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Civil war, Lawrence has rolled out some great exhibits. Mostly centered around Quantrill’s Raid, these exhibits are FREE and at the very least will benefit you in a local pub quiz.

The visitor’s center is playing, upon request, the most gloriously campy and locally made video about Lawrence history. Truly a must see, if only to prove that you even know where the visitor’s center is, you lazy brutes. Then check out the newly remodeled Carnegie Building (formerly the arts center) for a brief but expensive looking exhibit. There the collaborative and politically correct people at Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area have attempted to create exhibits that don’t remind one of how much we collectively disdain Missouri and everything it stands for. Also, look for a really great story about Langston Hughes that makes him seem more like a badass and less like the poncy, self involved poet hero we all love. Watkins museum has had several great history speakers this month. But if, like Chip, you just can’t deal with reenactors who pause too long between sentences for dramatic effect, just check out their second floor display about Lawrence challenging authority in the 60’s or the third floor exhibit “It Happened On Mass Street”.
Since Quantrill’s Raid is the single event most responsible for turning Lawrence into the swamp of hippie idealism that it is, it is incumbent upon you to know something about it. Also, If you have blind geographical hatred for Missouri, it comforts one to know there is a sturdy foundation for it.


Readers, Final Friday is here, and this month's centerpiece (as we noted yesterday) is certainly the Baron Wolman/Rolling Stone photography exhibit at the Lawrence Arts Center. Look for us staring into the eyes of this photo of the Man in Black and trying to soak up a bit of his wisdom.

And then we'll head off to the Replay and watch the KC Bear Fighters shout crazy things while flailing about with a ukulele. We like this old description of their sound from our friend Richard Gintowt:

"Penning tunes about cybermen and apocalyptic repopulation, the group’s sense of humor is bellied by a Depression-era sound rooted in early jazz, hokum, ragtime and Hawaiian music."

Hokum is so hip right now!

See you there.

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