Monday, June 11, 2012

Marco Badot: Getting in touch with his inner monkey

It's important not to overthink "The Geshe Gorilla Drawings," the new and, sadly, short exhibit by Marco Badot, because you lose the whimsy, the playfulness, the nostalgia of the work, which looks and feels like comic book art, and, perhaps, could, or should, be. It's also important not to take the artist  at his word when he's explaining the genesis of the series, suggesting, essentially, the work is little more than monkeyshines, fleeting, inconsequential, that it's just what comes out these days  and, instead of relegating it to some dark corner somewhere and being somewhat embarrassed by it, he simply decided to embrace his inner monkey and show the work. While there may be some truth in that self-observation — the Belgian-born Badot trained at Ecole nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre, one of Belgium’s leading art schools, after all — there’s nothing revolutional or earth-shattering going on in the exhibit, just a gorilla trying to get by in a complicated inner and outer world, this is more than just empty calories. It's playful, it's fun, it’s nostalgic, recalling youth and comic books, but, at the same time deals with the big three: sex, death and what the artist  calls “our apeness,” our basic animal nature, which we all like to believe we have transcended, but, as we are reminded every day, have not and cannot. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The funny thing about signal2noise?

Doug Blair and John Anthony hope to bump up
the signal2noise profile ... well, maybe after Blair
gets back from the 30th anniversary W.A.S.P. tour.
Funny thing about this band? There’s lots, actually. Like the name, signal2noise, with its stubborn insistence on the lower case. Or, more significantly, how frontman Doug Blair who, since 2006, has been playing that mad, custom-made guitar with the buzzsaw blade and lasers that track his fretwork with W.A.S.P. — that in-your-face metal band with a perfect PMRC pedigree, a band that has been scaring the dickens out of American mommies and daddies for three decades — ever ended up leading an essentially progressive classic rock act, heavy but “Beatles-ish underneath,” in the first place. Or how s2n (hmmm, the name even looks funny when it’s abbreviated) started out as an ambitious, if ultimately, neglected side project of not one, but two bigger acts, shunted aside before getting out of the musical gate. Which, and this is kind of funny, may have been a good thing, the delays giving the band a chance “to develop, to percolate,” says Blair. Or, how it started out as a power trio, facing all the problems associated with that form, like trying to fill the space after the guitarist takes off to solo, but fixes the “problem” by morphing into a power duo. Or how s2n has put out one album, “Fight Mental Illness,” and has done most of the grunt work for a follow-up, but has no firm plans about what to do with the final product when it’s done: Maybe doing it the old-fashioned way, maybe linking directly to metal news websites, getting the music directly to the fans.