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Harlow’s night club was converged upon Friday night by artists, musicians, designers, community leaders and culture enthusiasts to help support and celebrate the creative hub of Sacramento known as Midtown.
The 2011 Midtown Business Association Annual Gala included exhibits by various local businesses, performances by local musicians and artists, and a lecture by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development and author of, “The Warhol Economy: How Art, Fashion, and Music Drive New York City.”
Image by: David Alvarez
Harlow’s was elegantly decorated with round tables on the dance floor topped with black linen, centerpieces of wine glasses holding peacock feathers and donated goodies including business cards, coupons and wine keys.
The patio outside featured local DJ and media company, Visao Media. Alex Trujillo and Erin Best ran projections and played an eclectic mix of electronic music which complemented the diverse and unique scene that was growing outside.
Exhibits were further back and included an exclusive mix of local shops and businesses in the downtown area. Flowers Couture by Susanne displayed some particularly beautiful and intricate hair accessories including many 1920’s vintage style headbands and clips. Bunker’s Attic featured mostly “vintage re-mastered” jewelry – handmade and unique. Exhibitors also included Time Tested Books, one of Midtown’s independent new, used and rare book stores; Maiya Gallery, currently displaying new works by JG Morales Villanueva, Dwight Head, Clifford Kluge and Mark Harm Niemeyer; Krazy Mary’s Boutique, carrying designs by many local designers as well as name brand and vintage styles and last but most certainly not least, Motives, a fully customizable high end mineral based makeup line.
Image by: David Alvarez “We empower every woman to look and feel beautiful,” explained Rita Lolenko, a Motives representative. “If you want to feel like a star, come get your makeup done by Motives – makeup for the stars.”
(Image by: David Alvarez) The evening continued with a very special and fascinating lecture by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, Assistant Professor at University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development and author of, “The Warhol Economy.” Currid-Halkett spoke eloquently about the art movement, how it is developed, why it happens where it does and what that means for the artists themselves, as well as its effects on the community - socially, culturally and economically.
Currid-Halkett argues that there are three types of “social milieu” that facilitate the cultural economy: Night Life, Industry Events and “in-situ” interactions which are essentially spontaneous interactions that have life changing effects. She cited various regions in New York where areas that were once considered highly undesirable places to live have been transformed over time by a convergence of artists and musicians and are now some of the most exclusive and coveted residential areas in the country. This is an example of how art and music can transform a place, explained Currid Halkett, not just culturally and socially, but economically as well.
(Image by: David Alvarez) Currid-Halkett’s thesis, that place matters, seemed all the more relevant as local Sacramento artists, musicians, and their supporters mingled in the Harlow’s courtyard and enjoyed each other’s performances inside. Huddled around the fire pit were local model Anastasia, subject of a featured painting by Jeff Musser; musician Ashley Maiden of the band Der Spazm, who will be performing Tuesday at the Press Club with French band Human Toys; spoken word artist Jovi Radtke, who will be performing at Chico Pride and Take Back The Night; as well as solo artist and gala performer Reggie Ginn.
(Image by: David Alvarez)
All four women are local artists working in different genres who are, nevertheless, out supporting each other. The Sacramento Midtown art scene is a close knit community who appreciate each other for their similarities and their differences. When asked what makes the Midtown art scene unique, Anastasia said it best.
“It’s very much our own. We are influenced by other places, but we take it and put our own twist on it. Sacramento has ingenuity – we’re just a little different out here.”
The Various performers were perhaps the highlight of the entire event. Performers were grouped together in threes on stage, doing what they love. Jeff Musser, a local painter, worked on his picture of Anastasia, a dark, sexy and feminine piece, while local hair stylist Jessica Harrison of Spanish Fly created a classically beautiful look on stage. The two were accompanied by Jake Desrochers, aka Jake D. of the band Lonely Kings. His passionate songs about life and love inspired and set the tone for the continued performances.
Jessica Harrison was replaced on stage by Amithyst, an artist/hair stylist who constructed an elaborate and gravity defying hair style on stage. The model sat stationary while Amithyst fitted her with a handmade wig and sculpted the rest of her hair into an updo reminiscent of Marie Antoinette. Jeweled and painted, the model posed on stage.
Amithyst, a Sacramento native, has been doing hair in Sacramento for 12 years. She describes the fashion, art and music scene as going “nowhere but up. The influential people here are established and poised to make (this city) grow – it’s open for anyone to dominate.”
(Image by: David Alvarez)
The next musical performer was Reggie Ginn, local singer-songwriter and musician. Reggie took the stage with nothing but her keyboard, confidently serenading the crowd with her haunting, passionate and soulful voice. Her lyrics and voice transport the listener to another consciousness, one that is simultaneously filled with loss and longing, and peace and honesty. Reggie plays all over town; her next show will be at Naked Lounge on H Street. Keep an eye out for her at the Chalk It Up Festival as well. She is currently working on her third album, “Passion in Perspective,” which will be out in a couple months.
Meanwhile, on stage, Amithyst was replaced by local tattoo artist, Britton McFetridge, owner and operator of the Royal Peacock Tattoo Parlor. McFetridge tattooed a loyal and very pain tolerant customer on stage. The work was beautifully elaborate and intricate, a large dragon which took up the man’s entire back. McFetridge calmly began his work, checking in occasionally with his client, who withstood the process with hardly a grimace.
They were serenaded by the soulful sounds of Andrew Harrison, whose blues, soul and Americana sounds brought a nice variety to the performances. Harrison’s authentic sound is influenced by Albert King, Jackie Wilson and probably most influentially, by Elvis Costello.
Last on stage was Alex Dorame of the Sacramento band, Killdevil, who took the stage with his guitar in hand and approached the microphone for a no holds barred performance. His raspy and powerful voice, accompanied by gritty, heartfelt lyrics, can be described as acoustic street punk, which might make it the most street of all. His music sounds like a confession with songs about drinking, lost love and good friends. Dorame dedicated his last song of the night, “Final Call” to Sacramento.
“This song is about good friends and appreciating them.”
His words seemed to sum up the meaning of the night - a coming together of good friends, appreciators of art and most importantly, a desire to make Sacramento great.