Make it great in ’08
New Year’s Resolutions for Second Saturday
Second Saturday—that monthly communal pub crawl, where instead of pubs it’s art spaces and instead of intoxication it’s aesthetic overstimulation … well, and intoxication—turns 16 this year. They grow up so fast, don’t they? As we all know, adolescence can be a, um, dramatic time. But we’re here to help the hallowed event’s transition into adulthood, with a few constructive suggestions. Resolutions, if you will. Will you?
Spend more quality time with loved ones
Like all synthetic traditions, Second Saturday is supposed to offer something for everyone. Actually, for better and worse, it does. Why don’t people want to believe it? This town is too small to be so stratified. So let us strengthen some relationships. Creative types can be clumsy with their networking skills, so let’s help by finding local artists we like and stalking them. If they have MySpace pages, befriend them there (relax; it still doesn’t count as real friendship), and read their bulletins for ways to support them. Then do it.
Another way to make Second Saturday better is by doing Second-Saturday-like stuff on the first, third and fourth Saturdays. And on non-Saturdays. How does that work? By mitigating the sensory overload of Second Saturday itself, while also making those other days seem less dull. It might also give the big day’s planners some incentive to make their monthly events that much more extra fantabulous. But in the meantime, how will the community know about all these other-day art happenings? Well, in the coming year, perpetually increasing bogged-downedness be damned, SN&R’s arts team will drag asses away from desks and check stuff out and report back on it more often.
While we’re on the subject of moreness, how about not just a second shift but a third and fourth? Of late, many galleries don’t stay open beyond 9 p.m. on Second Saturdays. Generally, it’s because the people who work in them have been on their feet all day preparing hors d’oeuvres and little plastic cups of plonky wine for you. Or because they know you’ve sauced up on plonky wine somewhere else and they can do without you stumbling around among their many precious breakable objects. Solution: regular audience-interactive performance art in which smashing stuff is actually part of the process. Also: more comfy couches.
Quit the bad habits
Yes, luminous painterly views of the Delta at dusk are a dime a dozen. So are willfully unskilled abstractions. So is menacing lowbrow juvenilia. Have something to say, please. If it’s political, good, but make sure it’s in your own true voice. Also, color schemes could use some work. That is, there could be more people who aren’t white on these Second Saturday art walks, feeling less alienated. Snooty people, stop being snooty. Other people, stop projecting your own insecurities by assuming everyone else is snooty. Certain people, wear less perfume and cologne. If you’re reading this thinking it might be you we’re talking about, it is.
Sure, the thing is buffet-style by nature, so you’ll have those people who keep going back after they’re full, just because they can. Try not to aggravate them; they could barf all over you. And try not to be like them. Opt for quality over quantity, clarity over clutter.
Be an appreciator, not a hater
Pot-kettle, we know. It’s tough. Especially here in the dumb-thugs-shouting- hateful-shit-from- pickup-truck-windows capital of the free world. But what if, by the end of this year, we all vow to really show them—by becoming a bunch of serious aesthetes? Or at least people who like to ooh and ahh at hand-made pictures hanging on walls. Meanwhile, let’s help the “We-should-be-more-like-Portland” crowd recognize that the whole Second Saturday concept is said to be borrowed from there (unless it was given to us by extraterrestrials as a test to see if we’d sooner evolve or destroy ourselves), and the real, ongoing challenge is to make it into something other cities want to steal from us. Just remember that the goal is and always was celebration, appreciation.
This goes for self-image, too. All for alliteration though we are, SN&R suggests that “Second Saturday” sounds, well subordinate. Inferior. Not that it’s a contest, but who wants yet another whiff of second-bestness to live down? So, is there a new option? “The Only Saturday That Matters,” sounds badass, but exacerbates that already pernicious misconception: that the city’s artistic offerings dry up on the other three weekends of any given month. “Special Saturday,” meanwhile, well, that just sounds like a euphemism for retarded. Anyway, let’s put our right brains to it.
Get out of debt
No, not you, Warbucks. We mean the local starving artists whose work you never buy. Consider it an investment—if not in some fledgling art star’s latest hot commercial property, then, more generally, in your community’s creative infrastructure. Yes, that’s right: SN&R tells you what to do, how to think and where to spend your money. So, what’s new? Sure, the quality of the art on view will vary dramatically. Well, that’s the beauty of it: so will the price range. We’ve seen, and even snapped up, some weird, local, excellent and affordable art at such mainstays as A Bitchin’ Space, Toyroom, CoolCat and Sol Collective. And don’t forget about the finds to be, um, found, at non-gallery display venues—like our favorite coffee houses: Temple, Old Soul, True Love. Look, between you and us, the artists get testy when they get hungry. Throw them a bone and get them off our backs, wouldya?
Some might say the whole affair has only become more distinguished with age, more attractive, more charming. Others might call it viciously self-obsessed and bloated beyond recognition. So, are we going to allow our Second Saturday to be the Alec Baldwin of cultural activities?
It is natural at this time of year to want to control the pudge. That means, yes, controlling the crowds, and the cars. (Somehow, that in-the-mall-on-Christmas-Eve feeling doesn’t always augur aesthetic enrichment.) Allowing a grandfathered exemption for the one-man band, ever a weekend fixture at 22nd and J streets, we propose an ongoing, expansive no-motor-vehicle zone. Remember last year when they closed off the block in front of Harlow’s, or the one in front of Zócalo? What’s that? You don’t remember, because you were too blitzed at the time? Well, case closed. Yes, and while we’re at it, why not make it an open-container-OK zone, too? Great. Say, a 10-block swath of J Street, with street vendors of food and booze and who knows what else, and Pedicabs or gondolas (or light rail, but hey, we’re trying to be realistic here) whipping people from Midtown to Del Paso and vice versa every 20 minutes? OK, then. It’s decided.
Find something to draw on
Like this. For those of you who still claim that, out of thousands of artworks available, in every medium imaginable, you don’t like any of it, or can’t find one thing that turns you on, or can, maybe, but not enough that it’s worth swallowing your agoraphobia for a couple hours a month, we offer this: In this space, we encourage artists or would-be artists to draw something themselves and send it to us—be it their best cocktail-napkin doodle, weirdest obscene fantasy or most fanatical vision of the impending apocalypse. Please, though, no landscapes. OK, fine, landscapes too. Just give us something worth hanging up in the SN&R lobby during a future Second Saturday reception, and maybe we will.