Short Attention Span Gallery Night showcases craft-kit art

April 1, 2017

By Peggy Platter

In an effort to create a unique gallery night that’s “different than some of the pretentious stuff out there,” and “to celebrate people who sort of like to do art, but not really,” Michael Plume, owner of Michael’s Rejects Studio in the Lincoln Warehouse, has a different idea: a gallery night that will exclusively feature items made from arts and crafts kits.

Plume formed Michael’s Rejects in 2015.

The business name is twofold, combining his first name with what defines his work: art made from kits purchased from chain craft stores like Michael’s. Plume’s studio displays his handiwork made from Bake A Craft Stained Glass kits, string art kits, Shrinky Dinks jewelry, paint-by-numbers paintings, quilling kits, and latch hook rugs.

A large section of Plume’s studio space is filled with unfinished projects, “which also look sorta cool half-finished and are a statement about distractions in our fast-paced society,” he said.

Many of Plume’s arts and crafts kits were bought on impulse, and he sometimes got bored halfway through and set them aside.

He still has a Pottery Craft Wheel and a rock tumbler from his childhood.

“My mom got those at Leewards, Michael’s predecessor. Every now and then, I’ll bust out the pottery wheel — if I can find extra batteries for it — and whip out a vase or something,” Plume said.

Plume also wanted to display some of his better work that of others. He felt there had to be more artists out there who didn’t think it was beneath them to take shortcuts by doing kit projects, where the groundwork was already laid out. He invited others, like himself, who didn’t want to just leave their projects sit in a drawer.

“Some people also make these things as gifts, and the people they give them to just don’t appreciate how much work really goes into a stained glass kit. Those little plastic beads that get melted into the design can go all over the place. If the colors get mixed up, it can take over an hour to finish a project,” Plume said.

Plume did find other people to showcase their work. Lily Tipton, a part-time IT worker who lives on Delaware Avenue, said she does string art when she’s bored and can’t find anything else to do.

Her project, which depicts a tiny anchor, took over a year to complete, but Tipton said she was so pleased with it that she decided to show it at Plume’s gallery night.

Tipton shrugged when asked if she’d do another string art kit or ever consider crafting a string art board from scratch.

Ray Carrington, Plume’s cousin who lives near Humboldt Park, was captivated by the recent adult coloring book craze and will showcase three of his skillfully penciled-in mandala and Zentangle works.

“I got impatient and went outside the lines a few times, but I don’t think anyone will notice,” said Carrington.

Plume gathered nine artists, some that responded to the notice he posted on Facebook, and others he met while shopping for felt Christmas stocking kits at Target on Chase.

“We’ll have a good time,” Plume said. “Guests can enjoy snacks like chips, Chex mix, and Jell-O made in a tri-color mold. For drinks, we’ll serve those pre-mixed cocktails that have a parrot or pirate on the label.”

Shoppers spurned unusual vegetable at South Shore Farmers Market

April 1, 2017

By Peggy Platter

Described as “not really a gourd” but “possibly not really a vegetable, at all,” the item that Laurie Marks of Heirloom Gardens Micro Farm couldn’t sell at the 2016 South Shore Farmers Market still rested in her barn for most of the winter. The greenish-blue vegetal form that mysteriously sprang up in her garden near the gourd patch last year recently developed tiny brown rotting spots — typically found on Hubbard, butternut, acorn, Delicata, and other winter squash past their prime — that led her to believe it is in the gourd family. The “gourd” possesses a morphic base resembling a clump of melted wax that tapers down, approximately four inches, into an hourglass shape. Its surface is smooth.

Marks said some customers asked if it was a sculpture. Some muttered an embarrassed “oh, never mind,” when they noticed the stem at the top.
“A lot of people at the farmers market asked me how to cook it or
what to do with it, but I had no idea,” Marks said, examining the vegetal form for the hundredth time. “It was definitely a conversation piece, but even renowned area chefs who love to experiment with unusual and funky greens and veggies shied away from it.

“I put it out on the same spot on my table with my other produce and hoped to sell it each weekend from August through October, but I packed it up at the end of each market day. In fact, I couldn’t give it away.”

Despite its lack of market appeal, acting on the advice of the UW-Extension horticultural agent, Marks said that three weeks ago, she harvested the seeds. She’s drying them now and will plant the seed this season when the soil warms up.

BV BUD Completes First New Mural

April 1, 2017

Irene Elkhälter

Work represents local artist Jimmy Von Waukesha’s first public art project

Bay View BUD (Beautifully Uplifting District) announced the completion of its premier mural.

The mural project is one of the efforts of the BV BUD Initiative whose goals are to stimulate beauty in public places and spaces in Bay View, with an emphasis on the beautification of commercial buildings.

The first mural was completed in late March. When BV BUD committee members looked for “big canvases” that would serve as mural sites, they were delighted when they discovered the new Restaurant Citadel building on the southwest corner of Becher and Chase on Bay View’s northwest side. The building, which has no windows, will replace the company’s former location, 5250 S. 6th St.  BV BUD deemed the new building “perfect!”

“Big open walls unencumbered by windows and signage. That’s what the Restaurant Citadel building offered — absolute perfection, as far as perfect sites go,” said Wilhelmina Doile, BV BUD’s committee chair. “The owner generously offered us the building’s walls carte blanche. He was delighted in anticipation of the extra attention the new mural will bring to his building.”

“It didn’t cost me a dime,” exclaimed Phil A. Minyawn, Restaurant Citadel’s acquisition and development director. “All they asked of me was a promise not to add windows to the walls that house the mural and to permit touch-ups when the paint begins to fade and peel. Awesome! I mean, totally win/win. BV BUD is phenomenal, a real asset to the Bay View community.”

Restaurant Citadel’s corporate headquarters are located in Atlanta, Ga.

BV BUD members decided to wrap the mural on two faces of the building, on the north and east elevations. A pastoral-themed subject was selected for the Restaurant Citadel mural because the business serves restaurateurs and other food service/hospitality professionals.

Additionally, the bleak industrial site was deemed a perfect choice for the BV BUD’s first mural, whose mission is to beautifully uplift through art.

The artist’s proposal stated the mural subject was an allusion to the forest (as nature’s original garden) and to the cows (who for ages have nourished humans with milk and its byproducts). The food tie-in is what caused committee members to choose local artist Jimmy Von Waukesha’s submission.

“I would like to thank the nice folks at BV BUD for selecting me to make the first BV BUD mural.

“It was gratifying to paint over the most mundane of mundane buildings in Bay View.

“The mural subject I chose was inspired by my summers in Oostburg in my studio by the lake. There, pesky Holsteins always manage to sneak into my yard and eat my grandmother’s heirloom dahlias. Also, I wanted to bring a little bit of the country to beautiful Bay View,” Von Waukesha said.

The new Restaurant Citadel (still under construction at the end of March) drew the attention of BV BUD’s committee members when they were looking for buildings with exterior walls that offered “great canvases” for murals. Additionally, buildings situated on busy thoroughfares were sought. The Restaurant Citadel, located on the sourthwest corner of Becher Street and Chase Avenue, with its vast white windowless walls, was deemed ideal in every way by BV BUD’s committee members. The mural project cost $18,065. PHOTO Irenke Elkhälter

Von Waukesha wrote software that was used to guide robotic drones that deployed high-tech aerosol paint applicators to render the mural.

BV BUD will shortly announce the next five mural sites as well as the artists who were chosen to create them.

District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski was prohibited from participating in the selection of sites, artists, or subjects/proposals for the mural project based on past public art selections for which he was responsible. Bay View is in Zielinski’s district.

The vote to exclude him was 110 percent to zero percent in favor of blocking his membership on the selection committee.


April 1, 2017

By Blackout Johnny Lay

Native Bay View scholar in local Siegfried’s Continental Café disconsolately reacted to news that Satire was likely assassinated by the terrorist group Existential Dread.  PHOTO John Ansel Quincy Adams O’Keeffe

In the largest coordinated panic attack on United States soil since Michael Jordan announced his early retirement to take up a career in baseball, dozens were assassinated yesterday including Satire. Terrorist group Existential Dread has claimed responsibility.

Satire, a beloved and hard-working fixture in the entertainment industry, was known for her biting wit and consistently intellectual approach to comedy.

The assassination occurred yesterday in New York City, where Satire was reportedly in talks with producers to costar in a movie about a reality television personality who was accidentally elected President of the United States.

Satire, after a long lunch, was walking into the office building that houses her talent agent, witnesses said, when a large black van pulled up with at least four men, who opened fire with automatic weapons. Satire was pronounced dead at the scene, as were two of her long-time writing partners, Parody and Irony.

The black van and the gunmen inside are still at large, authorities said during a grim press conference. “At this time, we have no information about the identity or location of the assassins,” a Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman said.

The FBI became involved in the shooting when additional attacks unfolded several hours after the first attack. The spokesman explained, “Once it became clear this was a widespread and deadly panic attack, it fell under the purview of the FBI and our panic task force.”

The task force, known as the Joint Serious-Work and Intense-Focus Team, or JSWIFT, coordinates law-enforcement efforts of more than a dozen agencies. The investigation is likely to be lengthy and already involves investigations on both coasts and in the Midwest.

In a devastating dirty-bomb attack in Chicago, offices of the popular publication The Onion were completely destroyed and most of its staff killed.

Chicago-based National Public Radio program Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me was also hit in the blast, leaving host Peter Sagal in a stupor.

Radiation from the Chicago dirty bomb spread far enough to permanently incapacitate popular online personalities, including John Fugelsang and @pourmecoffee.

Word from New York is Lorne Michaels is considering putting Saturday Night Live on hiatus, and that he has already sent Alec Baldwin into hiding in ‘Canada.’

Assassins’ bullets also killed popular late night talk-show hosts Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, and John Oliver. All began their careers on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. They were very closely tied to Satire and her enduring popularity.

It has been reported that Bee and her staff fought and killed several of the attackers — they are just that badass ­— but even so, they were unable to withstand the onslaught of the anti-Satire forces.

John Oliver fans have been leaving plaid shirts in his memory outside of the HBO studio where he was murdered.

Bill Maher, also of HBO, has reported no attempts on his life. “I’ve been standing here in the middle of Sunset Boulevard all day,” he said, “and everyone is just swerving around me. Teslas, Priuses, Jags, all of them. It’s like they don’t even see me.”

In the same vein, Andy Borowitz told The New Yorker he was able to stay safe in that magazine’s offices because anti-Satire forces had likely never heard of him. “Do you know who reads The New Yorker?” he asked. “Do you know who shares my writing on Facebook?”

“No, seriously,” Borowitz continued. “It’s only like 16 people and I would like to meet them.”

Mad Magazine issued a statement indicating the publication expected to be attacked 13 months from now.

Within an hour of the brutal killing, Existential Dread released a video on its YouTube channel claiming credit.

“Satire no longer has a role to play in this country’s dialogue,” the statement said. “Her real-life death today makes manifest what we have all known for some time — Satire wasn’t funny anymore.”

Jon Stewart, generally regarded as the impetus for Satire’s revival in 2003, is reportedly making preparations to deliver numerous eulogies over the coming weeks.

He has been criticized for retiring from The Daily Show in 2015 at a crucial moment in American history. Some have said his inability to take action at the time by leveling his caustic wit at Existential Dread led to yesterday’s carnage.

Satire will be remembered not only for her recent work with Stewart, Oliver, and others, but for a long career dating back to ancient Egypt and perhaps to earlier times. Anthropologists have suggested that a European cave painting from about 40,000 years ago showing a rudimentary stick figure crawling to shore on a small desert island with a lone palm tree may be the first known instance of Satire’s work.

Satire’s later successful work includes collaborations with such luminaries as Voltaire, Thomas Nast, H. L. Mencken, and Mike Judge, whose film Idiocracy was the rumored inspiration for a new project Satire was working on.

Anyone who has any information on Existential Dread that could lead to arrests in these attacks should immediately contact authorities at 800-FBI-INFO (800-324-4636).

Shorewood leaders make bid to annex Bay View

April 1, 2017

and Other Headlines You Missed

Microbrewery opens in Walker’s Point pothole

Crime reporter’s notebook and pen stolen in Bay View

POTUS hires Compass to generate local alternative facts

New game “Gunshots or Fireworks” gaining in popularity

2017 Humboldt Park Goosefest canceled due to dearth of geese

Sushi restaurant opens inside of sushi restaurant

District 14 alderman proposes wall from  Lake Michigan to Oklahoma Avenue to Delaware Avenue to Rhode Island Avenue

Organic, fair-trade, artisanal coffee mugged

Come on, people, time to take down your “Bernie 2016” yard signs

Skinny jeans apparently still a thing

Alderman’s shoes stolen; Zielinski left on blocks in front of neighbor’s house

Gloves worn by some at so-called “Mittenfest” 

Organizers explain “Bay View Bash” is festival name, not instructions for how to comment online

Art Stop critics undistracted by nearby flashing lights

Prius Lady’s curly-wig disguise fools no one

Bay View closes borders to refugees and émigrés from East Side, Third Ward, Riverwest

Saggin’ declared passé

“Enough Hipsters, Already!” is rallying cry of Bay View border closure advocates

Residents vote to limit Frolics meetings to one per annum

City’s community gardens seek bids for electrified cyclone fencing and frightening, life-like robotic dogs to deter flagrant vegetable vandals

New Restaurant Depot building design pays homage to 1950s post-nuclear holocaust survival pods