Diary of a happening

One man’s night of art, poetry, music and dance at the 1078

Tappa Tappa Tappa<br>Ashley Monroe taps out a poem on her little square of plywood.

Tappa Tappa Tappa
Ashley Monroe taps out a poem on her little square of plywood.

Photo By Tom Angel

The opening of the 1078 Gallery’s newest exhibit, 30 Below, was not the typical wine-and-cheese affair with snotty people pointing pinky fingers at each other from behind the stems of glasses. This may come from the gallery’s location being vomiting distance from Riley’s, but these people know how to throw a party.

I have always found it a bit funny that an artist collective runs a warehouse gallery just a few doors down from Chico’s most notorious intersection at Fifth and Ivy, but on the occasions I’ve been there, everything seems to work out well. This night’s gathering was no different.

The art on the walls this time around was a fairly diverse showing featuring local artists with less than 30 years of life under their belts. A piece of note would be an untitled work by Kenneth Swain with a bull as the central element. It conjures up links to stencil art and graffiti in my mind. This theme was shared in other pieces featuring text of puns by someone called “Gusto” that I enjoyed.

The gallery opened up at 6 p.m. and people slowly started trickling in, but the place was pretty much empty for the first 45 minutes of the night, which gave my date and me a commanding view of all the pieces before it got crowded. I could tell that everyone else in the gallery already knew each other and were probably involved with the operation of the gallery or production of art. It seemed as if there was some speculation in their corner as to why a slightly grungy looking punk-rock kid was in there taking notes and helping himself to the refreshments. I hadn’t really thought to dress up for the occasion but everyone else was looking pretty swanky and I was clearly the cretin of the night. Next time I will be armed with a collared shirt and will leave some of the chain jewelry at home because one woman kept looking at me like I was plotting to steal one of the bottles of wine.

When I got back from stepping out to grab some dinner, things were a little more underway. The gallery was packed full of people and as I walked in Ashley Monroe started a tap-dancing/spoken word performance. After her exuberant dancing and passionate poetry, the music portion of the night kicked off.

A quick description of Deerpen, the first band up, would be Radioheadish with goofy facial expressions. I took the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the people in attendance. The rock aspect of the showing brought in a fair number of music fans with cute haircuts and sharp-looking clothes. I also developed an intense crush on a young woman in a turquoise shirt during Deerpen’s final song and have resolved to go to more art shows.

West By Swan and Birds of Fire also played (both local bands were somewhere in the realm of incredible, and if you haven’t seen them yet, you don’t like local music). An interesting result of having bands play in the front of the gallery is that the artsy folks got pushed out toward the loading dock in back while the rocker kids hung out in the actual gallery. The two crowds met in the middle around the food and alcohol tables and it seemed like the evening’s fusion of art and music was well-received.