The other Second Saturday

Just a heartbeat away from the Midtown throng

The real or other Second Saturday? (Dress by Miosa Couture, taken at Visual Impact Design.)

The real or other Second Saturday? (Dress by Miosa Couture, taken at Visual Impact Design.)

Photo By Jaleen Francois

Most people start and end their Second Saturday experience in the heart of Midtown. Forget that: I want to get as far away from the crowd and scene as possible. There’s art out there—or so I’ve heard.

My evening begins around 6 p.m. at Gallery 14 (3960 60th Street) in Tahoe Park’s Tallac Village, which is kind of like Midtown’s MARRS complex, but without a champagne lounge and a horrible post-alt Dave Matthews band jamming. The gallery’s Dia de los Muertos show is decidedly hasty, though the quaint gallery space has potential, and a painting by its owner, Walter Rhoads, stands out.

Next, over at BrickHouse Gallery (2837 36th Street) in Oak Park, artist Liv Moe’s show, Giggles, is an enjoyable collection of digital photographs and mixed-media sculpture, including “Spring Air,” a straight-outta-my-back-alley mattress dressed with plastic grapes and lengthy fake hair. Someone makes a joke about DNA. Be sure not to trip over the giant penis made out of cartoon-character bedsheets on the way out (I almost did).

Confess your sins around the corner at 40 Acres Art Gallery (3428 Third Avenue), which is showing Jason Miccolo Johnson’s photographs of church services from across the country. His best shots are of “Proclamation,” including a black-and-white shot of a Philadelphia pastor wearing a beige four-button suit and headset, and another pastor with buck teeth and a bad case of the bald-head sweats.

Verge Gallery is the holy grail of new local art galleries: a 3,000-square-foot warehouse on 19th and V streets. Artist Ómar Thór Arason’s at the entrance, passing out guides to the 130-plus pieces of art at this month’s Circus Show, which features the work of Gale Hart, Skinner, Ianna Frisby, Ed Mulligan, Joseph Daniel Fiedler and artists from all over the globe. This is a gallery to be excited about.

The crowd and the scene. But where’s the art?

Photo By Jaleen Francois

Vox Gallery (19th and X streets), on the other hand, is a cool space with hit-and-miss art. I’m not one to bag on kids, but this month there’s only one memorable piece—“The End” by 8-year-old Jimmy Benesh, a simple, naive comment on social collapse. Or just him showboating his spelling acumen, right?

Speaking of meltdown, Asylum Gallery’s (1719 25th Street) Emerging Artists show barely one-ups the kiddies. I dig Matthew Pappas’ ink-on-paper doodles, though, which are reminiscent of a daydreamer’s “work” during junior-high math class.

But at Beatnik Studios (2421A 17th Street) it gets worse. The gallery is a great, but the photographs inside—yachts, country clubs, Yosemite (could be a wild triptych)—are amateur. The complimentary sushi looks fresh, however.

More enjoyable but puzzling in its own right is the current installation at Block (1020 10th Street), a downtown gallery near the soon-to-be-opened Citizen Hotel. Three video projectors create a living-room environment, with live spoken-word audio of dream narratives playing. I’d call it Poltergeist on acid, but that’d be too generous. Maybe just Poltergeist on whip-its.

At Phantom Galleries (1625 Del Paso Boulevard), tucked away just off the main drag in Del Paso Heights, there are some cool altares, including “My Best Friends Have Always Been Furry,” a sad remembrance of someone’s dogs. Other altares have clever details, like one with a bag of Mac’s Red Hot Chicharrones, or pork skins. Mmm.

But after a few hours away from the scene, however, the Midtown throng beckons. I cut back to the crowd and illegally park in a valet zone, then jaywalk (to the displeasure of some cops) over to Viewpoint Photographic Art Center (2015 J Street, Suite 101). It’s so busy—9 p.m. on Second Saturday, duh—that you can’t pause to look at art without some guy threatening to spill red wine on you. The chatter is level orange and the zinfandel breath is level red. Gotta bolt.

Viewpoint’s a great space, but give me the other Second Saturday any day: like Tangent Gallery (2900 Franklin Boulevard, which I forgot to visit) or the many exhibits in Davis. There’s art out there, indeed. Just leave your expectations at home.