Monday, June 02, 2008

Artomatic: Come for the Art, Stay for the Fire-Freaking

I saw a woman set her boob on fire!

And how was your weekend?

Now that I’ve got your attention, Artomatic runs through June 15. It's art, music, film, bars...basically an all-inclusive DC freakshow. Check it out.

I went Saturday evening with Tim and two visiting college buddies (after visiting the Temperance Memorial and the Sonny Bono Park, I'm all about the oddball tours). A few impressions:

1. The Bush administration has been hell on the arts. I saw some seriously bad political paintings, depicting all sorts of Revelations-centric images of Bush and Cheney. Or sometimes Cheney was skipping along a river of blood, or Bush’s head had been superimposed on a missile.

2. And Bush has been particularly bad for music. One of the singers we checked out had rejiggered every Dylan song, ever, to protest the Bush Administration. He even used the Marine's anthem as a protest song at one point. I couldn’t tell if this guy was for real, or if it was some sort of performance art parody. The singer’s long-winded announcement that he opposed the commercialization of music and was therefore not available on iTunes did little to settle the debate.

3. The Peeps dioramas had more artistic merit than about 80% of the artists who were selling their work.

4. I love being carded!

5. The fire dancers were the best part, for the worst reasons. There is something unsettling (but horribly funny) about watching clumsy amateurs frolic with open flames. Aside from the boob fire, we saw one dancer fall on his butt (twice!), two dancers attempt to fire-freak, and one woman trip over her fiery baton. It felt sort of like a middle school dance recital, except that the dancers were all those kids who set bugs on fire with magnifying glasses.

So, uh, Artomatic. Check it out.


Gilahi said...

Yuh, check it out. $4 warm beer and $5 warm wine. Talent is apparently not only optional but something of an impediment. I laughed at the peeps, but the photos of the woman with the third nipple and the accompanying dialog about what a turn-on it was sort of put me off. Too much information, you know?

To be fair, there was some really interesting stuff there, and as one who has been a struggling artist in the past, it's GREAT to have a venue, almost any venue, to show your stuff, especially in a competitive market like DC.

And, again to be fair, it's not juried and admission is free. You get what you pay for, and there are some diamonds among all the rough.

Shannon said...

I didn't even see Third Nipple Lady! I spotted a veritable buttload of naked bondage chicks, though.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun although, I would like to point out, it's the Marines' Hymn not anthem.

You know who...

Shannon said...

What, anon, you expect me to actually KNOW stuff before I mouth off? Right, that'll happen.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to point out there is more than one fire troupe participating at Artomatic. Sorry to hear you weren't impressed by what you saw. Not all fire dancers are on the same level.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I might be the woman who set her boob on fire!

Though I have to admit, if that's the case, you make it sound way more dramatic than the actual event.

And I'd also like to quickly argue your claim about yourself not being "mean." I have not read all your posts (this one was sent to me by a friend), but this one...little bit mean. Not just to my fellow fire performers, either.

And finally, to clear up any misconceptions, I have made $33 to date fire performing, so that actually makes me a professional!


Shannon said...

Anon #1 - I had thought there might be multiple groups, as the dancers I saw last year seemed more professional.

Anon #2/E.L.F - I am really resisting asking how your boob is doing. And I totally respect the $33, that's way more than I've made from this blog.

I really gave a lot of thought about where to go with this post. As with everything I write, I feel like I should have to back up what I say, and you've given me the chance to do just that. So thanks.

I didn't go to Artomatic with the idea that I was going to make fun of everything or not have a good time. I had a great time, it's a cool event and my out-of-town guests really liked it.

The idea of Artomatic is to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks, unfortunately, I felt like I was looking at the same stuff over and over (there were like, FOUR bondage artists). The art sort of reminded me of all those kids from high school who thought they were all "alternative" and counterculture, but all looked exactly alike.

And I recognize and respect the amount of work that went into the dancing, the organizing, the artwork itself. But I think if you're an artist or performer of any kind, you have to open yourself up for criticism. I made a point of not getting personal, and my critique stands.

If this offends you, I'm sorry. Remember it's really hard to put yourself out there for twerps like me to criticize, and for that you and the rest of the Artomatic gang have my respect.