The progressive Wexner Center for the Arts, located on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, has put together an ambitious performance art exhibit titled The Church of What's Happening Now. The exhibit, which opens on June 8 and runs through August 13, will consist of a reading room of multimedia material (audiotapes, videos, magazines) and will feature live performances by both bands and performance artists, which will be documented and posted on the Wexner website afterward (www.wexarts.org/thefold).
"I think that doing this kind of cross-media activity is very interesting," says Maria Troy, associate curator in the media arts department at the Wexner. "My job here is mostly running the video and post-production area. We offer artist residencies for people to edit their video work, but they aren't just filmmakers. They do performance, gallery installations -- all sorts of things. Performance art is very temporary and fleeting, and doesn't get the same amount of attention as gallery exhibitions."
The acts scheduled to perform include the feminist pop/punk band Le Tigre, which will play at 7 p.m. on June 15 and at 2 p.m. on June 16; video artists Kristen Lucas, Joe McKay, and Sally McKay, who will perform at 7 p.m. on June 29 and at 2 p.m. on July 1; the music and video ensemble Animal Charm, which will play at 7 p.m. on July 6 and at 2 p.m. on July 8; and performance artist Miranda July, who will perform at 7 p.m. on July 20 and at 2 p.m. on July 22.
"The Le Tigre connection was that I've known Sadie Benning for a few years, and her background is in video," Troy explains. "She makes these experimental video tapes, and while she's doing more music now, it's very connected to the work she's done before in terms of mixing and sampling sources from lots of different places. Her music is very much connected with her work before. And Animal Charm plays music, but it's also very much video-based. They distribute the videos they edit through a place called the Video Database in Chicago. They also do performances. There's more people that do this kind of work. I was so bummed out that I missed Negativland when they played [at the Agora] and that they weren't coming to Columbus. I was interested in having them come, but it didn't work out. There's a lot of people making work that crosses these kinds of boundaries and are less concerned with being well-defined and more interested in being inclusive."
All performances are free with admission to the gallery. Troy also says that a number of local bands would be performing after Le Tigre's performance on June 8, but that the acts involved hadn't been confirmed yet. For more information, call 614-292-3535.
NV (1800 Scranton Road, on the West Bank of the Flats), the club formerly known as Aqua, will celebrate its grand opening on June 8 with performances by Los Angeles-based DJ Thomas Michael and Cleveland's Ian Mariano. The venue, which was shut down a few months ago, has been completely remodeled and will be managed by Sue Dunn and Anthony Nicolaidis (of the Agora). The faux Miami Beach decor has been replaced with earth tones and paintings by Ohio City artist Jon Howitt, who provided the interior design for the Humidor and Club 75. The club will also be opening a kitchen in July that will be run by Cleveland chef Scott Wnek. The music schedule will include different themes for different nights: Thursday nights will be called "Sex" and will feature international and national DJs; Fridays will be called "the Social Lounge" and will feature, according to the club, "relaxing down-tempo sounds"; and Saturday will be called "The Living Room" and feature "hip, stylish dance music for the upscale clientele."
"We've just been toning it down," Dunn explains. "The whole back room is now a rusty red, and we got a deep blue carpet, and it looks so much nicer. We're shooting for the older demographic. We will have different sound systems in the dance room and the lounge room, so that you can actually have a conversation there. We took out a lot of the moving lights so you don't get the glare."
Admission to the grand opening show will be $10, but admission will generally be $5.
"Friday and Saturdays will always have a straight-up cover of $5," Dunn says. "It will never be more or less, no matter who the talent is. If you get in the habit of going to a specific club, it's fucked up if you show up one night and it's $20."
Brian Conti, of the local record label/rave promotion company Sphere Productions, will be handling all the talent booking, and DJs slated to appear in the future include Chicago's DJ Rees Urban and Casper (June 15) and Orange County's DJ Jordan (June 22). While the club policy on dress code states that "proper dress is required," Dunn maintains "you just need to look good."
"If you're wearing a $150 pair of Diesel or Todd Oldham jeans, you'll get in," she says. "Jeans and tennis shoes don't have to look disgusting, but if you come wearing acid-washed jeans, you're not going to get in."
If only those snooty West Sixth clubs would take a hint.