by Jeriah Hildwine
This past Friday, December the 11th, was a busy one for art openings, and there were plenty of drinks and snacks! Thomas Robertello was our first stop; our friend Adam Ekberg is having
a show of his photographs there. They had Pabst Blue Ribbon, for which
Steph opted, and Jim Beam with soda water and a slice of orange, which
had my vote. It was very nice, and a pleasant change from the usual
offering of beer or wine. Thanks for the drinks, guys! And congrats,
second stop was EbersMoore, formerly EbersB9. The title of the show was Kool Aid Drunk,
by Scott Stulen, which might explain the bowl of red punch behind the desk? I had a
PBR, double fisting it along with the Gingerbread Latte I'd picked up
at Starbucks. I'm a sucker for their holiday pussy drinks, I mean, "scrotum drinks." One of the paintings in the show was of an owl with PBR
ribbons for eyes! Nice! EbersMoore is a great space run by great
people, and like many of Chicago's best apartment galleries, they know
that a bucket of cheap beers is sometimes all you need. Oh, and I
think they had a bowl of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which I
love. Thanks for the beer and candy!
We popped into Anne
Loucks, currently displaying a group show of small works; Steph grabbed the last 311 out of the beer bucket, and I had
red wine. (We forgot our travel glasses in the car!) There were also
chocolates and an assortment of spreadable cheeses, crackers, and jam.
I had brie and jam on a cracker, and it was particularly good. I am a
fan of cheese and fruit together, and of mixing sweet and savory
ingredients generally. Thanks!
Next we walked over to Linda Warren
Gallery for Juan Angel Chavez's show, Dragging the Leash. In front of
the gallery, they had set up several 55-gallon "burn barrels," so we
warmed ourselves by the fire for a few minutes before going inside.
Linda usually puts out a good spread, and this
time appears to have hired a professional caterer. The highlight, for
me, were small pieces of raw ahi tuna on some kind of cracker. A
caterer in a double-breasted white jacket carried around a tray of
these, offering them to visitors. This was excellent! Really good
fish! I didn't get the catering company's name or I'd give them a shout-out here, they were really good. Nice touch, Linda!
The standard refreshment table near
the front door (where it belongs!) was well-stocked as well. I didn't
have a chance at Linda's trademark punch; we were keeping a quick pace
and I was actually still working on my glass of wine from Loucks. I
did however get to try the artichoke dip, and let me say that while
artichoke dip is almost always good, this one was exceptional! Rather
than the usual probabilistic slurry of artichoke particles suspended in
a greasy cheese matrix (which is nevertheless pretty good), the artichoke dip at Linda Warren consisted of
thick, hearty pieces of artichoke in a minimal support. It was
excellent, more flavor and less grease and oil than the norm. The olive tapenade (I think that's what it was) was also
very good. There were two other spreads that I didn't have time to sample because we had to move on. Thanks for the great snacks, Linda!
On the opposite corner from Linda Warren was Black
Market (apparently a roving space, I have no links available, unfortunately) which was a very classy
establishment and a great show of mostly photography and a few
sculptures. Adding to the atmosphere of class was the fact that they
were serving wine in real glassware, not little plastic cups. A risky
move, perhaps, but very classy and much appreciated. Steph and I had
several friends in this show: congrats, guys!
Culture: These guys usually have something interesting going on in the
snack department, and this week was a particularly good one. There
were celery sticks with some kind of dip or spread on them (I think it
was vegetable-flavored cream cheese), but what I really liked were the
bacon-wrapped water chestnuts! All right, guys! I thought these were
really good. There's tons of recipes online if you want to try making
Stephanie thought they tasted fishy, which I think was all in her head
because she was thinking of some bacon-wrapped scallops our friend
Opera Dave in California made for us one time. Those were really
excellent, but probably not suitable for an art opening because you
really want to eat those while they're still warm. Plenty of recipes
available for those, too.
were asking a "suggested donation" of $2 for a Grolsch, which while not
a bad bargain if it were at a bar, runs contrary to my principle that
galleries should get me drunk for free in exchange for my going around
and looking at their shows. Attention, remember, is a commodity. Two
bucks isn't a lot of money, and this time I even had cash. And of
course, I could have just taken a beer, and not "donated." But rather
than buy or beg a beer, I abstained, knowing that there were other
galleries ahead, eager to buy my attention with free booze. Anyway, a suggested
donation situation is better than a cash bar, and the snacks were
free, so all is good. Thank you, Roots and Culture, for the bacon-wrapped water
chestnuts! I really liked them.
Noble and Superior Projects:
Patrick greeted me with an announcement, that he and Erin had had a
cookie bake-off to see who could make the superior cookies! All
right! Now this is just the kind of behavior I like to encourage with
the snack time reports! Patrick made sugar cookies, enhanced with
pecans and vanilla; Erin made classic oatmeal raisin cookies. It was a
super tough call for me. I am a big fan of oatmeal-raisin cookies:
recently, when Steph offered to make me cookies, that's what I asked
for. And Erin's oatmeal raisin cookies were really good. Ultimately,
though, Patrick's pecan-and-vanilla enhancements won the day, at least
to my taste, and I decided that his sugar cookies were my favorite of
the two. (Patrick said to imagine them a little bit softer, which would have been good too, but I liked 'em as they were.) Stephanie, on the other hand, doesn't like nuts, and
preferred Erin's oatmeal raisin cookies. According to Patrick and
Erin, I was the first person to vote for Patrick's sugar cookies. They
were both really good.
Noble and Superior once again had Frugal
Joe's Ordinary Beer and Simpler Times, I opted for a Frugal Joe's.
Plus there were assorted cheeses and crackers (I had a good bit of
Pepper Jack on Triscuits), carrot sticks, peanuts, and possibly
M&Ms or something along those lines. Thanks for the beer, the
snacks, and especially for baking cookies! Readers, pay attention
here: when you hear Noble and Superior Projects is having an opening,
make it a point to drop by. There's always something interesting going
on there in terms of the art (in this case, a group show called Multiplecities, and video work by Josh Weissbach and Ben Balcom) plus, what other gallery in town will
actually bake you cookies?
Rooms Productions: I can't mention Rooms without mentioning how much I love them. Two people who really believe in what they're doing, rent an apartment in an arts neighborhood, revamp their living room as an exhibition space, and use their day jobs to fund their presentation of their work. It can't be easy, but they do it, to share their art with us. Their performances function in the void between performance art and theater: distinctly theatrical in presentation, but typically non-narrative, durational, and often interactive. This time it's Meddle & Cue, which I will describe by serving you a heaping plate of copy pasta:
A woman sits, quietly knitting in her chair. The only thing that can
disturb her, is you - the audience. ROOMS productions invites you to
manipulate performance by pressing buttons that provide motivation,
subtext, and circumstance. Watch the actress respond to the stimulus of
each button, or explore how different combinations of buttons provide
new interpretations of action and dialogue. Don't miss this unique and
innovative performance installation.
It was pretty sweet; you got to push buttons and make Marrakesh do stuff. It was really interesting watching her take on the challenge of channeling five or six actions and emotions at the same time, as viewer-participants pressed several buttons in rapid succession. It was impressive.
Anyway, I'm sure readers who have been following the Snack Report have been awaiting, with bated breath, the resolution to the "grapes issue." There were, in fact, no grapes
at all this time; Todd actually mentioned this to me as I came in. Maybe it's a bit much to expect delicious little grapes in Chicago in December! Anyhow, the grapes were not in the least bit missed, because there were...blueberries! Blueberries are one of my childhood comfort
foods, probably to a large extent because of Blueberries for Sal.
I remember picking blueberries on a farm in Pennsylvania while visiting my extended family as a kid, I remember filling every cell of my school lunch tray with canned blueberries in elementary school, getting a Blueberry Short Stack at Vera's cafe in San Diego...Blueberries are a great substitute for grapes anytime, especially
because I like to pretend that I'm a bear while I eat them. Thanks for the blueberries, Rooms, good call!
also strawberries, pineapple, and almonds with sesame seeds on them.
Classy! I was a big fan. There were also some chocolate
thingies that I described as "chocolate covered boogers," they had some
sort of Gummi Bear type sticky stuff inside, like those weird fruits in fruitcake. I was not a fan at all (I
had to eat two just to be sure), but Stephanie really liked 'em. She doesn't like nuts, so I got sesame seed covered almonds, she got chocolate covered boogers, and everybody was happy! Thanks for all the great
snacks, Rooms Productions, and congrats on another great show!
and I almost forgot, one last stroke of genius on the part of Rooms:
Coffee! They had a coffeepot going, one of those big industrial jobs
you see at conferences. It was just the thing for a cold night, and
kept us warm on the drive to our next destination.
The last stop
on our trip was Swimming Pool, which had the classic galvanized tub o'
Grolsch on the back porch, kept cool by Mother Nature's refrigerator. The work on display were creepy-ass figure and portrait paintings. The most show-stealing were the larger ones painted on faux fur, which were really gross, but my favorites were the quiet little ones in the hallway: technically sound, apparently alla prima portraits, about 2" square. I liked them. Thanks for the beers, guys!
What a great night for snacks! We
had to do a lot of traveling, but fortunately Steph volunteered to be
our designated driver so she kept sober while I got to indulge
festively. Every space had good stuff going on, both in terms of art and in terms of snacks. It was a busy night, and quite worth it!
As of this writing, I'm on my third Seagram's and Sprite, waiting for Steph to make her awesome pork chops and pickled apples, and eagerly looking forward to my trip to Budapest. I leave tomorrow afternoon! If I don't end up being kidnapped by a sport-murder ring and butchered by a wealthy executive, I'll try and post something from Buda, or Pest, or both. I hear there's a good show of Rennaisance Italian art at the Museum of Fine Arts. I'm also hoping to see some awesome bows, although I doubt I'll be able to afford to bring one back. There might even be snacks.
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Tags: Adam Ekberg, Anne Loucks, Ben Balcom, Black Market, Blueberries for Sal, ebersb9, EbersMoore, Jeriah Hildwine, Jim Beam, Josh Weissback, Juan Angel Chavez, Kool Aid Drunk, Lauren Gregory, Linda Warren Gallery, Marrakesh Frugia, Meddle & Cue, Noble and Superior Projects, Pabst Blue Ribbon, painting, photographs, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Rooms Productions, Roots and Culture, Scott Stulen, Snack Report, Swimming Pool, Thomas Robertello, Todd Frugia