If you’ve already cruised by Hampden’s 34th Street and taken your own tacky lights tour all around town, you may think that you’ve seen all the tinsel-and-snowflake wackiness there is to see in Baltimore. Think again.
The American Visionary Art Museum‘s current exhibit includes Palm Springs artist Kenny Irwin Jr.‘s “Have Yourself a Happy Little Robotomas,” which pretty much looks like a Vegas casino crossed with Candyland crossed with a really trippy mall Santa display. In a good way. Irwin describes his robot creations, which are normally displayed in his front yard, as ““instantaneously generated creations that go through my mind. I know exactly what they look like, and I make them.”
While serving jury duty recently, I noticed, in the jury duty waiting room, one of those City Paper “Best of Baltimore” plaques. Jury duty had been named Baltimore’s “Best Free Air Conditioning and a Movie. ” Ha. Looking around, it seemed unlikely that any of my fellow less-than-enthusiastic-potential-jurors had been polled for that vote. And yeah, it’s hot outside. I know. But when the sun goes down and the air cools off a bit, Baltimore’s many outdoor summer movie screenings are (in the opinion of this citizen) some of the best bets for summer entertainment that celebrates the season while not requiring you to melt/burn/coat-your-entire-body-in-500-spf-sunblock. And my favorite of the bunch? AVAM’s Flicks from the Hill.
This week, the Walters Art Museum welcomed its new director, Julia Marciari-Alexander. Marciari-Alexander replaces Gary Vikan, a 27-year veteran of the institution, and joins Doreen Bolger (director of the Baltimore Museum of Art) and Rebecca Hoffberger (director of the American Visionary Art Museum) to make a trifecta of badass women in charge of the city’s largest art institutions.
By now, surely you’ve seen George W. Bush’s strange, bathroom-centric self-portraits that were leaked by The Smoking Gun last week. (This is why we should all fear hackers, never become famous, and never send anything even remotely embarrassing over email.)
Tonight is one of those rare times when I’ll be dealing with a problem I’m actually glad to have. I’m not sure what insanely awesome event to go to – should I watch the opening screening at the Visionary Art Museum’s “Flicks From the Hill,” or go see William Cashion and Bruce Willen at the Metro Gallery?
Flicks From the Hill is this summer movie series pulled together by the good people at the AVAM – starting tonight they’ll have screenings every Thursday through the end of August. The films are projected against the side of the Museum, and anyone who wants to can come, sit on Federal Hill and watch them with a blanket and some Two-Boots Pizza. They’re kicking it off with Spaceballs, and who can miss watching Rick Moranis’ eight-foot head in that 12-foot helmet? Before the screening, there’s a cheap beer and the museum is open for free.
But then there’s the opening of CONSTRUCT, a group exhibition from a number of Baltimore artists going on at the Metro Gallery. Tonight it’s open for free, and BELIEVERS, a new music project from William Cashion of Future Islands and Bruce Willen of Double Dagger, blesses the event with beautiful bass-throbs. Awesome art + awesome music + totally free is a hard equation to pass up.
I’m imagining myself right now as Odysseus facing an inverted Scylla and Charybdis – between rock and an awesome place, so to speak. Ah, decisions.