Famous for 15 minutes
Self-proclaimed experts share Heti's 'Trampoline Hall'
Author of oddball short stories and purveyor of odder-still performances, Canadian Sheila Heti is taking her brand of inventive whimsy on the road.
The 25-year-old will caravan with a troupe of fellow wits, including master of ceremonies Misha Glouberman, aka "man in the wrinkled suit," to Atlanta's own Eyedrum (www.eyedrum.org). On Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. Heti will sign and read from her collection of sublimely terse and enigmatic yarns The Middle Stories, recently released by Dave Eggers' McSweeney's publishing house. She'll also treat Atlanta audiences to a unique performance event she calls "Trampoline Hall."
For Trampoline Hall, Heti has asked locals on every city stop (including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago) to speak authoritatively about subjects they know little or nothing about. A touring forum for eccentric free-form inventiveness, Trampoline Hall is just one of Heti's many inspired projects which have included a mixed-gender "What is Beauty" pageant and plans for an online lending library.
Like the retro-esque McSweeney's crowd or fellow Canadian Guy Maddin, who makes deliriously personal films inspired by the creakiest silent cinema, there is something charmingly antiquated and fussy about the author/performer from Toronto. Heti's prose is slightly not of this time, and her Trampoline Hall performances are in the tradition of dime museum raconteurs and pseudoscientific humbugs in which "experts" speak authoritatively about highly esoteric matters. Past Trampoline Halls have featured Heti's father describing his liver transplant and another evening devoted to guys speaking about utopia while their mothers sit with them on stage.
At her Eyedrum stop, Heti has invited three Atlanta eager beavers — J.S. Van Buskirk, Lisa Fischmann and Kevin Hoth — to wax speculative on topics of personal interest. Hoth will deliver an informative, illustrated lecture, possibly with PowerPoint, he says, on the subject "My Acne." Hoth has already established his wag-cred by posing as an M.I.T. expert who recently regaled an Art Spot audience with an authoritative lecture titled "How to Talk to Small Children."
The genesis of the first Trampoline Hall, which has already played to standing-room-only crowds in Toronto, was "feeling that restlessness and dissatisfaction that makes you want to change your city in some indelible way," says Heti.
Heti and crew have never been to Atlanta, but the author says she imagines the city as "bulbous, futuristic-looking buildings, spread slightly apart, but not colorful and somewhat crumbling."
Inaugurating what independent curator Joey Orr hopes will be a yearly showcase for three emerging artists,TriplePoint at Art Spot (www.tubeartspot.com) through Dec. 6 features painters Travis T. Pack, Grady Haugerud and Ashley Benton. Orr, who has also curated the Shed Space series and the Saltworks Gallery Project Room, says TriplePoint is purposefully ambiguous. "I don't want to force a theme because they're nothing alike," he notes, although all three artists do mix-and-match art history with a wily abandon.
Typifying a certain local fascination with the collision of folk and graffiti culture, Pack's rag doll goblins mixed with conspiratorially folksy musings on diverse dangers like "Nicotine" and "Germs" are descendants of Jean-Michel Basquait and R.A. Miller. Pack's work shares a writing-on-the-wall spirit to the frenzied art also seen in Benton's sketches of clashing aesthetic references of Degas-meets-Picasso ballerinas and bulls. But TriplePoint's standout is self-taught Haugerud, whose ameboid abstractions on wood are the perfect channeling of Picasso cubism, the mid-century modern design craze and just a hint of anime.
br>?Eclipse of a superstar
Famous for being famous, Edie Sedgwick ushered in the celebrity-dominated glamourzon age of the art world that begat Julian Schnabel, Cecily Brown, Damien Hirst, etc. Sedgwick was one of Andy Warhol's most famous Pop creations, a superstar whose anorexic figure and little-girl-lost doe-eyes presided over Warhol's personal dream Factory. Filmmakers John Palmer and David Weisman captured her mystique in the cult film/narrative train wreck Ciao! Manhattan. Ciao! was recently released for the first time on DVD by the New York production company/studio Plexifilm (www.plexifilm.com) that also brought us Jem Cohen and Pete Sillen's documentary on Atlanta's own Benjamin Smoke.
Ciao! is a pastiche of Factory-era '60s black-and-white verite and disastrously incoherent '70s color footage of a zoned-out Sedgwick captured just weeks before she O.D.'d at 28. The film is a more depressingly scared-straight anti-drug parable than even "The Osbournes." Glassy-eyed and barely coherent, Sedgwick slogs thick-tongued through non-sequitur encounters with a hippie Texan (Wesley Hayes) who drives her to electroshock appointments in a film that manages to out-weird even Paul Morrissey's outre Warholian cinema.
For Arts Sake is a biweekly column covering the local arts scene.??