9/11: Pro Wrestling Photos at Brandt Gallery

Scene’s Anastasia Pantsios was photographing rock concerts when she discovered the equally theatrical world of professional wrestling in the mid ’80s. “At the time, rock musicians were putting increasing onerous, creativity-stifling restrictions on photographers, and the more easygoing world of professional wrestling offered a break from that,” she says. So from 1985 to 1989, she traveled around the country shooting grappling events like Starrcade in Atlanta, the Great American Bash in Charlotte and the Crockett Cup in New Orleans and Baltimore. “The images, like those of a theater or opera production, froze moments in which stylized gestures provided a conduit for emotions that became real in the process of being acted out,” says Pantsios. “Most fans pretty much knew it was fake, but the best wrestlers made you say to yourself, ‘I know it’s all staged, but boy, that looked real.” Pantsios will show off her wrestling photos as part of this month’s Tremont Art Walk. Her show, On the Mat, opens with a reception from 6-10 p.m. at Brandt Gallery (1028 Kenilworth Ave., 216.621.1610). It continues through the end of the month. Admission is free. — Michael Gill