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|Written by Wayne Current|
|Thursday, 08 October 2009 00:00|
When it comes to cultural events in the nation's capital, Sunday is typically a quiet night. Last Sunday, October 4, however, in a bold and innovative move, Evan Thornton (Wellington Oracle) and Don Monet (Cube Gallery) launched Anxiety -- a cultural salon evening at Cube gallery.
The concept is simple: an eclectic mix of music, theatre, and poetry united by a common theme and presented to an equally eclectic audience. University students, octogenarians, lawyers, artists, and civil servants were all in attendance.
The 18th century version of the salon involved a blending of public and private spheres. The salons were places where social and cultural elites would come to share art, literature, poetry, and exchange ideas. Cube's 21st century version has kept the good stuff (the art), but thankfully done away with the social elitism.
Anxiety was much more about sharing art with the community than creating an elitist group of insiders. In fact, in a move to make the event more accessible, Apartment 613 was invited to podcast and blog about the experience on their Website.
The evening's program was largely original and completely local.
Singer/song writer John Carroll, probably best known for his regular performances at the Chateau Lafayette, kicked off the musical portion of the evening, and I enjoyed his set so much that I even purchased one of his CDs.
Next, theatre troupe Gruppo Rubato presented preview excerpts from Airport Security, an original play written and directed by Patrick Gauthier, currently being workshopped. The audience was treated to strong performances by actors Kris Joseph, Tania Lévy, and Kate Smith. This is a script with a lot of potential, and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece.
It's unfortunate that the development process for new theatrical work is so lengthy. Perhaps, with events like this one at Cube gallery, the process can be accelerated by creating a space in which artists can present works-in-progress and audiences can provide feedback (preferably over a glass of wine or two). After all, a kind of mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship is what salon culture is all about.
While the preview performance was exciting, Anxiety didn't focus solely on new works. Over the course of the evening, actress Kel Parsons skillfully performed anxiety-themed poems culled from throughout the literary cannon. Kel certainly knows her poetry, and her rendition of T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was particularly well done.
For future sessions, it would be wonderful if the art on the wall (or a portion of it) matched the theme of the evening. This really would take Cube's cultural salon to the next level.
My hat goes off to Evan Thornton and Don Monet for producing a wonderful and entertaining event. I hope it is not the last.