There are no new stories. It's a maxim we all accept. And this column is proof. Every week I wax lyrical about a weekend in the blossoming Dallas arts world. Most Friday nights I see a play, most Saturday evenings I visit galleries and then I while away the late night hours at an off-beat concert venue, or late night deejay set. Afterward I login to this blog and scribble down my observations. New artists, new actors, maybe, but the same story: There is good art here and you should go see it.
Last week I interviewed longtime radio host/storyteller/poet Rawlins Gilliland for an upcoming article and we were chatting about the poet's ability to alter their own perspective.
"When I'm at a stoplight, just as an example, even with out realizing it, I'm looking around for the details," he said. "I step outside of an otherwise boring moment and notice something new."
It's all about perspective, isn't it?
This weekend, I snagged a standby ticket to Booth, the premiere of a play by local playwrights Steven Walters and Erik Archilla. It was their take on the story of President Lincoln's assassination through the eyes of John Wilkes Booth. The only caveat was that for the first act I watched it from the sound booth with the stage manager. Often what works about Second Thought Theatre shows is the intimacy the 60-person audience experiences with the actors, but from behind the glass window high above the stage my vantage point was different. Instead of noticing the slight twitch of an eye as they well with tears, I had a bird's eye view of how the way the director used the tiny space to weave scenes together and keep the energy high. See also: Second Thought Theatre takes a Shot at Drama with Premiere of Booth
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When I switched to a second row seat at intermission, it was like watching an entirely different show. During the first act, my brain framed it as a historical drama, my physical distance giving me the ability for textbook analysis of the staging. Up close, the characters were vulnerable lovers, proud soldiers and desperate revolutionaries.
My contextual relationship with art was challenged again at East Dallas Gallery Day. I walked into Barry Whistler Gallery for the exhibition, One Night Stand, featuring the work of Dallas-based artist Nathan Green, alongside Arthur Peña, Sally Glass and Luke Harnden. Previously, I'd seen Green's work both in his workspace at Deadbolt Studios, as well as at Goss-Michael Foundation - all three spaces giving his work fresh perspective. Since my last encounter with Green's work, he earned representation with London's HUS Gallery and this outsider approval offers an entirely new angle.
To talk on this blog or amongst the local community about the upswing of Dallas art can be a positive thing. But sometimes you need the affirmation of someone at a bird's eye view or a new seat at the theater to see the story you're telling week after week is true: There is good art here and you should go see it.
See One Night Stand at Barry Whistler Gallery (2909-B Canton St.) through June 28.