Alaska Thunderfuck 5000

Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 from the Planet Glamtron

Alaska Thunderfuck, Haus of Ham at Kung Fu Necktie

To say that I’m totally fan-girling over going to see Alaska Friday night is an understatement. I am obsessed. I wrote about her video Your Makeup is Terrible back in 2014 as the #2 video of the year. Since then Brooke Candy has slipped out of view and Alaska rules as DoNArTNeWs #1 favorite video artist with her dance track, ANUS. The trans-rock anthem, with the anarchist title, is so catchy, such an ear-worm, that I find myself singing it out loud walking the dog. “Drop it down low, let me feel it in your…”

The multi-talented artist explained in an interview that the title is a universal metaphor for everybody, everywhere. Alaska Thunderfuck mixes metaphors like a Joan Rivers zombie crossed with a Milton Berle drag wife creating the penultimate crass, beautiful, obnoxious, lovable monstrosity in contemporary pop culture. The entire album has a flow that follows the chakra system from the 7th crown to the root with authentic pop songs that stick in my sacral chakra and makes me want to sing and dance.

The video for ANUS, by director Saša Numićpays homage to Britney, Judy, Gaga with spare, evocative sets and choreography with a futuristic, astral trippy, dystoptian atmosphere mashed with a Yeezy fashion vibe. The message of the song is about having fun even though the odds of getting out alive are slim. We’re all the same, in this alone together. Alaska Thunderfuck has a style and fashion sense that is beyond what the glam rockers of the 70s presented and probably will never be seen on MTV but her influence in social media is important in this age of media transphobia. I’ve been in Philly a long time, I knew Harlow, Regina Renee’, Gratziella Fenimore, Sticky Buns…now we have Martha Graham Cracker, Tasker Morris, Pissi Myles. GOP keep your mitts off our favorite drag queens, Philadelphia has pride. We love our Queens.

KUNG FU NECKTIE 1250 NORTH FRONT STREET PHILADELPHIA PA 19122 FISHTOWN 215.291.491

Friday 5/27/2016 @ 7:30

Alaska Thunderfuck – Anus

Saša Numić – Film Director and Graphic Designer with 12 years of experience in graphic design, video, film and other forms of visual art, both as a part of and a manager of creative teams, with excellent communication skills, motivation to ‘’exploit’’ imagination and readiness to travel and transfer for the purposes of work.

www.needbatt.com

“A bizarre cosmic collision propelled Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 to Earth in March 1966… and on to the fifth season of Logo TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race in January 2013. Still radioactive, no one knows who or what she is yet, but no one cares, as long as she never returns to her native planet. Her age and species remain unknown to the public, but a few of her enemies claim to hold copies of her spawning record and universal passport.” – Alaska

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Written by DoN Brewer. (except where noted)

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Tilda Mann, Cerulean Arts

Tilda Mann, Wave (Paradise Cove), oil on paper mounted on wood, Creating Momentum, Cerulean Arts Gallery Studio

Creating Momentum, Cerulean Arts Gallery Studio

At a recent award ceremony, where I was one of the photographers, I overheard a comment from a voice behind me. The man said to his companion, “I miss those days when Philly had a great art critic, what was his name?” She said, “DoN’s sitting right there.” He said, “Not him. That’s not who I mean.” Ok, I gotta say it tickled me, I used to read the Inquirer art reviews religiously. I loved getting the Sunday paper and reading what the critics had to say about the latest art shows, sometimes flattering and sometimes mean, being the arbiter seemed so important. But, I’m not an art critic, I’m an art blogger.

Tilda Mann invited me to her opening reception at Cerulean Art Gallery – Studio, near the Divine Lorraine Hotel, at 1355 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA. It was a rainy evening but there was plenty of parking, thunder rumbled in the distance, I’m not familiar with the neighborhood and I felt like I was in a David Lynch movie. I worried Katy the Art Dog was huddled under my desk back home. So many questions. Why was there available parking? Where was everybody? The shining streets seemed empty, but there was a bright glow from a shop front and inside I found a gathering of Philadelphia art people.

I’ve known Tilda Mann since the early 2000s, we studied drawing and painting together at Fleisher Art Memorial, and I was flattered she invited me to her show. The installation was three art friends who completed studying painting at PAFA together, Ruth Formica, Susan D’Alessio and Tilda Mann, the artwork interspersed throughout the gallery in an informal array mixing the artist’s work together was lovely and colorful. The visual conversation of the painting styles among the friends artwork was compelling and uplifting. The Philly art scene creates friendship fractals that extends throughout the region, artist’s travel far to study at the Academy. Lifetime friendships are made through Philadelphia arts institutions like PAFA, UArts, and Fleisher.

Wave (Paradise Cove) by Tilda Mann is a memory painting of her favorite beach in California, the white wave of titanium washing across the canvas, the craggy shoreline with beach grasses flow with the tide of color. Recently I was asked what made 180 Farben by Gerhard Richter a great painting? First of all, I never said it was great, but my opinion is using color as communication is a powerful tool. Tilda’s painting has a distinct descriptive voice using color, there is a depth of realness, a liveness, to the paint color that expresses a moment in time. Time is the fire in which we burn and I ran out of time before this show ended to gather my thoughts.

I loved the show, the space, the owners, the locale, the history, the dedication to Philadelphia artists and creating art business success of Cerulean Arts Gallery – Studio. Ten years in any small business is an accomplishment, making an art business succeed is phenomenal. My only criticism is the lights are too bright, I have floaters.

Cerulean Arts is a Philadelphia art gallery and studio dedicated to promoting the importance of art within the community. Proprietors Michael Kowbuz and Tina Rocha have brought together their experiences in teaching and practicing art, retail, art history and architecture to create a unique place for people interested in the various aspects of art.” – Cerulean Arts

Cerulean Arts Gallery Studio current exhibit is FROM THE GROUND UP Richard Estell through May 21, 2016. Artist’s Talk, Sunday, May 15, 2pm

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180 Farben (180 Colors), Gerhard Richter

180 Farben (180 Colors), Gerhard RichterPhiladelphia Museum of Art

180 Farben (180 Colors)

While studying at the University of the Arts, one of my writing assignments was to sit and stare at one painting for an hour, take notes and write an essay.180 Farben (180 Colors) is included in the sensational International Pop exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I sat with the painting again for a long while, alone at a press preview. The painting is very large, 6 feet 6 3/4″ × 6 feet 6 3/4″, enamel paint on canvas, there is a bench nearby, and while observing a wave of emotion washed over me. It was like visiting an old friend that was in the middle of telling a story. That writing assignment changed the way I look at art, spending time allows the conversation between the artist and the viewer to gel. Sixty minutes is a long time, there is a lot to be said.

Painting is as much a science as an art, each artist has their own formula, and in this painting I find a story that isn’t about paint chips but science and futurism. Each color swatch is communicating it’s own message trying to connect with a viewers neural pathways using emotion, memory and chemistry to assure connection. Staring into the painting let’s passages into the unconscious open, neurotransmitters squirting out memories like colors from tubes of paint. Looking hard enough at an artwork is a challenge, letting the painting narrate the conversation is like listening to your mom on the phone and trying to put together all the characters being referenced.

180 Farben as a social statement is clear, during a period of mass consumerism, color choice was a new public option. The painting is about desire and emotion, curiosity and aspiration, and the right to choose. When so many options are offered at once an energy is generated, vibrating in the negative space, overlaying complex narratives with a swatch of color is interactive and psychologically energetic. When this painting was created in 1971, there was no 256 RGB color standard, when I made the gif of this image I could see the colors trying to assure their stability in the color hierarchy of the composition. Instead of hexadecimal formulas and mnemonic codes there are pigments and solvents to send messages through a color based language.

“Pop art is neither an American invention nor an import, yet the terms and names were coined in the US, where they were popularised much faster than in Germany. This kind of art has evolved organically and independently over here, yet at the same time it becomes an analogy to American pop art due to certain psychological, cultural and economical preconditions that are the same in Germany as they are in the US. […] For the first time we are showing paintings in Germany that relate to those terms, representing pop art, junk culture, imperial or capitalistic realism, new figuration, naturalism, German pop and other comparable terms.” Letter to the “Neue Deutsche Wochenschau”, 29 April 1963, Gerhard Richter

International Pop at The Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 15th.

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The Rabbit, DoN Brewer at The Plastic Club

The Rabbit: Myths, Legends and Fairies at The Plastic Club

I have a song ear-worming in my head, The Twinkle Song by Miley Cyrus. The annual costume party held at The Plastic Club has afforded me the opportunities to overcome stage fright in the past through public speaking, reading poetry and acting in skits. As a Beat Poet I read Lawrence Ferlinghetti aloud, and I had a role as the God of War in last season’s play by Tracey Landsmann – with costume changes. For the revival of The Rabbit a few years ago, after a 50 year hiatus, I dressed as Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland, the theme of the costume party revival. Transforming into Bill I was a lounge lizard crashing the party, the Mad Hatter’s were pissed that I won first place, a treasured copy of the classic book as the award. I love wearing makeup, being unrecognizable feels powerful. Watching drag queen make-up tutorials on YouTube gave guidance with step by step lessons on using cosmetics to create a character.

Tracey wanted me to be in her play this year, Don’t Patronize the Ferryman but I knew I wanted to challenge myself to overcome another performing fear, singing. As a kid I was in a choir, I was into musicals but whenever I sing in public, like at church, I can’t find my singing voice. Performance is about practice and I have been singing the same song in the shower since Miley released it on-line to Sound Cloud for free last September. The Twinkle Song starts out, “I had a dream David Bowie taught us how to skateboard but he was shaped like Gumby…”, the day Bowie died I sang this song so hard, while sobbing on the shower floor, grief encompassing me as I mourned along with the rest of the world and I understood what it meant to sing with passion. ‘I had a dream…’

For research I Googled the term ‘gay icon faerie’, and Saint Sebastian was at the top of the search. The tortured character performing a Miley song as the original gay icon felt like just the right amount of sacrilege and sarcasm. Saint Sebastian was a beautiful man, so handsome and masculine that images of him pierced with arrows became known as one of the first homoerotic art icons. As a member of the Philadelphia Radical Faeries, I have experienced live performances by The Weird Beard Review at L’Etage, my friend, artist and performer, Tasker Morris does as a wonderful gender-fuck burlesque act that usually ends with him nearly naked on stage. I was invited to a big Philly Faerie party last Fall, they said there would be men, beer and music: a piano, violins, woodwinds, and a chorus of singers performed medieval motets. The Faeries are real, magic happens.

I knew that I knew the words to the song but could I sing them live? Setting a beat with GarageBand Loops was really fun, I practiced the song in different formats from rock to hip hop but the ‘chill’ loops have a good mix of beats and instruments, using the preset sounds I created my own back up track. I practiced so much I scared the dog, she had no idea why I was talking and singing at the top of my voice. ‘I had a dream…’ over and over with a small boom box. I practiced and practiced until I could sing the whole song without messing up. The night of the performance Cynthia, dressed as a Rabbit, asked if I wanted to run my music through the sound system instead of the boom box?!? I panicked somewhat, but when I hooked up the phone to the stereo system the sound was big and loud. Suddenly the performance meant I had to really sing out, I had planned to be close to the audience with the boom box on a stool, now I was tethered to the sound system making music. I sang, ‘I had a dream…’ The look on the audience’s faces was something I’ll never forget, pure astonishment. You had to be there.

Thank you to The Plastic Club for providing a safe haven for artist’s like me, you put the TQ in LGBTQ.

Written by DoN Brewer.

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Drew Leshko, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Drew LeshkoENROUTE, 16″ x 20 1/2″

Home is Where You Park It, Works by Drew Leshko at Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Paradigm Gallery + Studio, 746 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147, “Home Is Where You Park It” works by Drew Leshko through April 16, 2016. Closing Reception Friday, March 25th • 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Exhibition Hours
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays • 12:00pm – 6:00pm
And 7 days a week by appointment: info@paradigm-gallery.com / (267)266-0073

All Winter long I have wished for Summer to hurry up and arrive so I could take Katy the Art Dog camping. I have all my gear still piled up in the living room from last Summer but my dream is to one day have a trailer hitched to a pick-up truck and travel across country. Nothing tastes as good as camp coffee and hot dogs made by a fire. Walking the dog through the woods is sublime as we discover rabbits, newts, flowers, mushrooms and noisy birds. When the stars fill the night sky and satellites float overhead the feeling of freedom is pure bliss. Katy is an old dog and can no longer climb the stairs to sleep with me at home but when we’re camping we get to share the air mattress, her snores and doggie dreams of chasing rabbits are a delight.

Drew Leshko, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Drew LeshkoNut Hut, 16″ x 30 1/2″

At the opening reception of Drew Leshko‘s exhibit of paper sculptures atParadigm Gallery + Studio I asked the artist where he got the inspiration to create the imaginary yet realistic trailers. He told me his Granddad had an old camper and spent many childhood Summers hanging out in the retro mobile home. The extraordinary detail of the trailers is transcendent, bringing the world of life on the road into works of art that are quintessential Americana.

“My recent experiences leave me wondering if there is the same amount of interest in this lifestyle anymore. I began to think about the RV’s that are literally rotting in lots all over our cities and countryside… the ones, sitting — rusting beyond repair at a construction site, a storage yard, or a backyard of a rural landscape — unused in a state of disrepair. These vehicles, wasting away, made me reflect on fading memories of my childhood spent camping in motorhomes and camper trailers, paired with recent trips revisiting some of these older and decaying campgrounds. I’m hoping that this series brings back memories to viewers who have had similar experiences with outdoor exploration and adventures while also creating an archive of these older body-style vehicles.” –Drew Leshko

Drew Leshko, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Drew LeshkoHid Away, 16″ x 23″

Drew Leshko‘s use of materials is masterful. Mostly made of paper, the windows have real lace curtains, balsa wood for the hitches, delicate jewelry chains mock realistic tow chains and clever license plates are designed in Photoshop. The detail is amazing with rust stains and mud on the tires, fake quilted metal panels and sporty paint jobs. The presentation is exquisite, each piece preserved in shadow boxes to last a lifetime. I don’t know if I’ll ever sell my run-down old row house and hit the road in an RV but if home is where you park it then there’s no place like home.

Drew Leshko is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based artist. Working from observation and photographs, the artist painstakingly recreates everything from building facades to campers at a 1:12 scale. The scale is familiar for some viewers as standard dollhouse spec; the treatment to Leshko’s work is widely different. The minute detail of his work includes city detritus such as dumpsters and pallets, which are commentary of the ideas of what is worth preserving. Accumulations of typically overlooked details and minutiae like acid rain deposits and rust become beautiful adornments.

Leshko’s work has been exhibited in galleries, and museums both nationally and internationally. His work is included in permanent collections including the Dean Collection (NYC), the Hosner Collection (LA), West Collection (Philadelphia), Iron State Development’s corporate collection (Hoboken), Urban Nation Museum (Berlin), and many private collections throughout the world.” –Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Thank you to Paradigm Gallery + Studio for permission to use their photographs.

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Mannequin

February 16, 2016

  Mannequin: A Group Photography Exhibition, Laura Storck, Curator It all began as a fake Facebook challenge last Summer. Laura Storck posts a lot of photographs of mannequins on social media with the hashtag #philly_mannequins. Other photographers in Laura’s sphere of influence started posting their own Philly Mannequin pictures online. Then the bogus photo challenge […]

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Sunil Gupta

December 29, 2015
Picture This: Contemporary Photography and India, Sunil Gupta

Untitled, 20062011 (negative); 2015 (print). Sunil Gupta, Canadian (born India), active London and Delhi, born 1953. Inkjet print, Image: 17 7/8 × 22 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Picture This: Contemporary Photography and India Picture This: Contemporary Photography and India, Sunil Gupta “Sunil Gupta is an artist-activist. Since the 1970s, he has explored the politics and experience […]

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Dogs

December 17, 2015
PETS, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank's

PETS, Joellen Smith, A Yam and His Dog, drawing with digital media, Off the Wall Gallery PETS, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank’s “My submission is an abstract take on a very commonplace sight. Half for the love of those wonderful sightings, where owner and dog look alike, and half for the love of puns. […]

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Twenty

December 8, 2015
20th Annual Art Ability Exhibition & Sale, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

Ginger Gehres, Early Warning, scratch board and colored inks, 20th Annual Art Ability Exhibition & Sale, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital 20th Annual Art Ability Exhibition & Sale, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital “Visit, view and purchase artwork from the 20th Annual Art Ability Exhibition and Sale beginning the first Sunday in November. To inquire about purchasing artwork outside of […]

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Frank

December 3, 2015

Frank, Alyse C. Bernstein, PETS, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank’s “This lithograph was printed from marble, which is not a typical stone for printing lithographs (limestone is more popular). The print is of my now seven-year-old basset hound, Frank.” – Alyse C. Bernstein “Marble Stone Lithography – In 2001, I met Per Anderson, the founder […]

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