Dare I say it? As I took a stroll to the Crosby Mart next door - unofficial provider of the energy drinks and pizza that fuel OBSERVER staff - it felt like spring. Granted, by this I mean the thermometer was hovering somewhere over the 32-degree mark, it was not snowing and the sun was still up after 5 p.m., and this essentially indicates that it is practically summer. Dunkirk Dave was totally right. He may, in fact, be qualified to become a meteorologist based on his remarkably accurate observation that spring was just around the corner. Can you tell, readers, that I am overtired? Let's just get this column started.
THE PLACE TO BE THIS WEEKEND
Adams Art Gallery's new exhibit "Rearranging Womanhouse" opens Saturday, with a reception to be held from 7 to 9 p.m.
The artists behind Adams Art Gallery's new exhibit Rearranging Womanhouse pose in front of the recently-renovated gallery in Dunkirk.
What the heck is "Rearranging Womanhouse," you might ask? It's not easy to understand completely without actually seeing it with your own eyes. SUNY Fredonia students are putting their own spin on a theme that originated with Judy Chicago and students from the California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Program in 1972. The group restored an abandoned Hollywood mansion, using it as a three-dimensional canvas for a feminist art display - the first of its kind.
"Each artist had a room or a space to call her own," Curator Kaitlin Frisicaro, a SUNY Fredonia senior and visual arts major, explained to me in an e-mail. "These rooms used household items that represented the domestication of women, linen closets, lipstick, pillows, etc."
Times have certainly changed since 1972; the SUNY Fredonia students wanted to modernize Womanhouse while paying tribute to the exhibit's creators, or as Frisicaro put it, "tipping our hats (to them) while looking to the future." The new exhibit expands on the ideas in the first Womanhouse, with videos and paintings in addition to the installations.
"Feminism in the 1970s, or 'second-wave feminism,' was in reaction to a much different world than the one we live today," she said. "With this exhibit we are trying to reclaim feminism as it relates to our global situation today. Feminists are often perceived as 'man haters' or 'bra burners' and we hope to wipe that stereotype. ... Today's post-structuralist feminism celebrates diversity, minorities, not just women!"
SUNY Fredonia senior Jenny Jade Albert, one of the artists and all-around awesome gal, broke it down for me: "It's not just about women, it's about everyone. That's the big difference between this and the original Womanhouse."
Albert described the new Womanhouse as a place where art and activism meet, an exhibition heavy on theory, that might be more accurately called "deconstructing" Womanhouse.
While this column is going to press on Wednesday night, the students are working through the night at the recently-renovated Adams Art Gallery to get everything set up for the show. The gallery has completed the refinishing of their hardwood floors just in time for the new exhibit to open. Frisicaro can't wait for the public to see the fruits of their labor. She said the exhibit represents a sort of rebirth for the gallery, which she hopes will "bring new life into the space."
Admission to the gallery, located at 600 Central Ave. in Dunkirk, is free. The exhibit will be open through April 2, with two workshops associated with Womanhouse to be held March 13, including one on customizing dollhouse wallpaper and the other called "Opening the Anxiety Closet." For more information, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.adamsart.org. Learn more about the original Womanhouse at womanhouse.refugia.net.
MOVIE REVIEW: "Shutter Island"
Martin Scorcese's new psychological thriller "Shutter Island" may appear to be a horror movie but it really startles more than it scares. While it's well-acted and well-crafted, to be sure - Scorcese and Co. are no amateurs - it's not a perfect movie.
At its onset, as U.S. Federal Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) approach Shutter Island by boat, we're made aware that this film is supposed to be creepy by way of extremely overpowering ominous music. It was so deafening and exaggerated, and goes on for so long, that it actually becomes comical. I don't think that's what the filmmakers were going for. The setup is unnerving enough as is - a mental hospital for the criminally insane, completely isolated on an island off the coast of Boston, on a dark and stormy night with a dangerous patient on the loose - so the "Jaws"-like music wasn't necessary. There were also a few too many dreamlike sequences and heavy-handed special effects that took away more from the film than they added.
The performances are the strong point in "Shutter Island." DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley and Ruffalo - who I hadn't found to be particularly impressive until now - were all spectacular, and the supporting cast did a bang-up job as well.
The movie is worth seeing, perhaps even twice in order to completely work out the complicated plot. If you enjoy "The Twilight Zone" and anything by Alfred Hitchcock, I recommend it. If you have an aversion to gore and Boston accents, it might be best to steer clear of "Shutter Island."
- The 82nd annual Academy Awards are on Sunday, March 7. Who will win? What will they wear? Will it be as overlong and mundane as usual? Your guess is as good as mine.
- Robert Redford never looked as good as he did in "All the President's Men" (1976), on Turner Classic Movies tonight at 11 p.m. Redford's thick, lustrous hair and overall hotness aside, it's a spectacular movie about the Washington Post journalists who broke the Watergate scandal wide open. You may watch it and wonder, is working at a newspaper really that exciting and glamorous? The answer: a resounding "you betcha!"
- There will be live music all weekend at 41 West, with Last Call on Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight and Fallen Union on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. On Sunday, a benefit for Charles "Chuck" Utegg will be held from 1 to 7 p.m., with a Chinese auction and a raffle for a flat-screen TV.
- Rock Out For Cancer, to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, will be held tonight starting at 9:30 p.m. at The Hairy Lemon (above Muldoon's) in downtown Fredonia. The sweet a cappella sounds of Much More Chill will be featured, among others. Admission is $4 pre-sale and $5 at the door. A raffle with some very sweet prizes will be held.
- Who will be the opening act at this year's Fred Fest? You can help decide! Tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Williams Center, a battle of the bands will be held, with Paul's Grandfather, Billy Mays War Machine and Murphys Men competing to open for Brand New. Both the campus and the community are welcome to vote.
- Dance the night away to some excellent underground music spun by DJS Jonny Cobra, Bone and Baxterious at Intensify! Premium Dance Party, held Friday at Mojo's in Jamestown, getting started at around 10 p.m.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org.