You're So Vain

THU 9/25

Many artists find themselves teetering on the edge of poverty with a long-shot chance of making it. For such artists, starvation is a real possibility. Miami artist Jane "In VAIN" Winkelman knows these odds all too well. But after years of scraping by, she is poised for stardom. Her socially conscious work is featured in "Misfits, Miscreants and Malcontents" at the RaZoo Gallery (3038 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale), opening October 1.

Winkelman describes her seemingly complex work this way: "It's a manifestation of dream images and the exploration of the darker regions within the realm of the mind. The violence, sex, and politics of the streets make up the fabric of my life. They are what I know and what I paint." Winkelman's work appeared in Street Sheet, the San Francisco Homeless Coalition's newspaper, and led to a commission for an Absolut Vodka ad. While some of her full-sized mixed-media paintings have sold for thousands of dollars, this self-taught Miami native has gained recognition in the realm of "outsider" art, an arena whose practitioners have been untouched by art-school prodding.

Her work has been compared to another outsider artist, Purvis Young, since her paintings share as many stories and adventures as the city streets they were inspired by.

The antithesis to premanufactured art-school productions, Winkelman pulls her subjects straight from her world, as ugly and raw as it sometimes might be. Her work is textured and layered, much like the subjects she touches on: from homelessness and sexual exploitation to corporate greed. The imagery evokes a childlike innocence in her use of bold storybook colors and often looks like an urban nursery rhyme gone wrong. The RaZoo Gallery show will be up through the end of October. The show is free and open to the public. Call 954-663-3888. -- Terra Sulivan

FRI 9/25

They write...

... the songs that make Borders patrons sing

People who don't write songs have probably never given much thought to the USA Songwriting Competition. And why would they? But for those who get by (or at least get their kicks) penning tunes, this is the granddaddy of national competitions. In fact, it would be somewhat erroneous to call it a national competition, despite its name. Among the thousands of entries received each year, about a third are from other nations. In last year's competition, five Canadians, among other foreign winners, took home prizes. And you know they did better than Celine Dion -- she's tone-deaf.

This year, the competitors look equally tough. But before winners are announced, you can check out the local heroes in a showcase at Borders (2240 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) on the fourth Friday of every month. This week, Bill Livesay, Barbara Hascakova, Thursday's Child, and Alex Alberti show off their songwriting prowess beginning at 8 p.m. If you happen to be something of a tunesmith yourself, the event also presents a great opportunity to network with like-minded songsters. You might hum a few bars, scribble a little bit, and become famous in the process. Admission is free. Call 954-566-6335. -- Dan Sweeney

SUN 9/28

Ridin' for the Lord

OK, but he's got to ride in the sidecar

The Christian Motorcyclists Association's mission statement: "To inspire our leaders and members to be the most organized, advanced, equipped, financially stable organization, full of integrity in the motorcycling industry and the Kingdom of God." The stereotype of the burly biker kicking ass and taking names has been around forever, but there is a kinder gentler type of motorcycle enthusiast. And all you have to do to join is be born again. Then you can ride off into the sunset with Christ as your passenger. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, the CMA's fourth-annual Motorcycle Memorial Run might be just right for you. Hosted by S & S Cycles, the run starts and ends at 5249 Coconut Creek Pkwy. in Margate. The run is also a mem rial to honor departed biker friends, family, and military personnel. All proceeds go to benefit HospiceCare of Southeast Florida. Admission is $3 for singles and $5 for couples. Sign-in starts at 10 a.m. Call 954-723-0079.

FRI 9/26

Psyches on Canvas

Patricia Whiting's paintings express the subconscious desires that fuel our being every day: the sea, nature, a candy store full of jellybeans. These images all mean something, whether we realize it or whether it's just a product of the artist's imagination. In Whiting's latest exhibit, "Gallery of the Psyche/Eidetic Images," she manages to illustrate simple themes that somehow trigger a response from the viewer. Perhaps a memory of childhood is knocked loose or an event is remembered in vivid detail. Whiting, who was born in the Philippines to expatriate parents, has spent many years studying painting in New Jersey and Florida. She employs a method in her works of "unlearning" all she's been taught, whether it's through radical use of color or unconventional methods of painting. Despite the name of the exhibit, Whiting isn't trying to get all Freudian on her audience, instead recalling what she knows and splashing it on a canvas. The opening reception takes place at 8 p.m. at Fyrplace Gallery (131 N. "M" St., Lake Worth). Call 561-585-2772. -- Audra Schroeder

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