The Bridge is lit, so now you should see it from the other side, especially if you haven't ventured recently across the Trinity into rapidly-cultrifying West Dallas. Boasting one of the best vantage points to appreciate the skyline, period, the Belmont invites you tonight to an opening reception for an Ro2 gallery show, featuring Cabe Booth, as part of the boutique hotel's "Art With a View" series.
Martini in hand, the city before you, Bar Belmont is the spot to get-tipsy-and-feel-artsy on an otherwise quotidian Wednesday night. Booth is a master of portraiture (among other things) with an innate sense of "the cool" whose work has featured mugs of the baddest of all eclectic badasses from LeoTolstoy to Jon Stewart, Christopher Walken to Noam Chomsky. Beginning in 1998, Booth created band portraits for Deep Ellum's Curtain Club, and he has since worked for the Nokia Theater where, "more than 500 commissioned portraits of the venue's entertainers are on display." Most recently, his likeness of Bill Murray went for a cool $1,200 at Art Con 7, and last year he sold a Dennis Hopper piece for $1,400.
Fourteen. Hundred. Dollars. We'd take 10 of his paintings -- can we get a Bertrand Russell up in here? -- but we get the feeling Booth doesn't take Monopoly money.
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Often, though not always, presented on a gritty, ragged plyboard base, Booth's oil paintings make huge statements by drawing on the ineffable emotional movement in a split-second recognition of a viewer's favorite cultural icons. Not only is a "picture worth a thousand words," but Booth's portraits are the visual sanctuary of every deeply hidden emotional response a viewer has harbored since first devouring Maya Angelou's syncopated rhythms or reeling at the electrifying squeal of a Hendrix riff.
So, if you were looking for a reason to party in Oak Cliff -- and who isn't? -- this is an ideal opportunity to toss back a "Whiskey River" (a Smoke original cocktail) while checking out Booth's Willie Nelson series.
Don't forget tonight's Art With a View opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bar Belmont, and find out more about Booth's equally dynamic non-portraiture work here.