Sure, every gallery and museum has little soirees when they introduce artwork to the public, but most of these consist of violin quartets and a bunch of people dressed in black talking about stuff you've never heard of. Lalush's exhibit openings we can understand. A variety of local bands, from the Livid Kittens to Cous Cous, have played at the gallery, and wine and beer are available by donation; that is not, however, an excuse to only drink for free, wise guy. Couple these advantages with the fact that Lalush features cutting-edge artists -- not the palm trees and sea gulls junk that dominates SoFla art -- and you have a great gallery that offers up some pretty wild times to boot.
The West Palm Beach-based Helander remains one of the foremost advocates and practitioners of collage, a mixed-media art form pioneered by Pablo Picasso nearly a century ago. His subtle, complex compositions continue to demonstrate that this widely misunderstood medium is far from exhausting its possibilities. Unlike some of the well-known figures who have dabbled in it and moved on -- including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, and Larry Rivers -- Helander has been tenaciously devoted to collage for decades. And his efforts have paid off. His work has been featured in more than 100 solo and group shows over the past two decades, including two notable retrospectives in Broward County, one at Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art in 1996 and another at the Coral Springs Museum of Art in 2000. Not surprisingly, he has pieces in the collections of such major institutions as the Guggenheim, New York's MoMA and Met, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as in the private collections of other artists such as Rauschenberg, Rivers, James Rosenquist, and Dale Chihuly. He's also in constant demand as a designer of stage sets, murals, and posters, including, most recently, the official poster for the Palm Beach International Film Festival.
The West Palm Beach-based Helander remains one of the foremost advocates and practitioners of collage, a mixed-media art form pioneered by Pablo Picasso nearly a century ago. His subtle, complex compositions continue to demonstrate that this widely misunderstood medium is far from exhausting its possibilities. Unlike some of the well-known figures who have dabbled in it and moved on -- including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, and Larry Rivers -- Helander has been tenaciously devoted to collage for decades. And his efforts have paid off. His work has been featured in more than 100 solo and group shows over the past two decades, including two notable retrospectives in Broward County, one at Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art in 1996 and another at the Coral Springs Museum of Art in 2000. Not surprisingly, he has pieces in the collections of such major institutions as the Guggenheim, New York's MoMA and Met, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as in the private collections of other artists such as Rauschenberg, Rivers, James Rosenquist, and Dale Chihuly. He's also in constant demand as a designer of stage sets, murals, and posters, including, most recently, the official poster for the Palm Beach International Film Festival.
In a town where crossing a busy street is more dangerous than the art scene, the loss of Master Jeffrey Holmes is significant. Last October, when Holmes finally made good on his threats to abandon Fort Lauderdale for New Orleans, the small outcast community he helped unite lost its strongest tether. Holmes's fascination with macabre and eerie images (tombstones, bloody roses, black cats, skeletons) manifested itself in some of the most intriguing and challenging art the town had to offer. His Sailboat Bend apartment/gallery, L'Art Noir, was even patronized by Jimmy Page during his convalescence here. But at least the Master went out with a bang at his going-away bash. Anytime a guy creates a life-size, nude self-portrait, sets it on fire, then skips town for good, we're the poorer for it.
In a town where crossing a busy street is more dangerous than the art scene, the loss of Master Jeffrey Holmes is significant. Last October, when Holmes finally made good on his threats to abandon Fort Lauderdale for New Orleans, the small outcast community he helped unite lost its strongest tether. Holmes's fascination with macabre and eerie images (tombstones, bloody roses, black cats, skeletons) manifested itself in some of the most intriguing and challenging art the town had to offer. His Sailboat Bend apartment/gallery, L'Art Noir, was even patronized by Jimmy Page during his convalescence here. But at least the Master went out with a bang at his going-away bash. Anytime a guy creates a life-size, nude self-portrait, sets it on fire, then skips town for good, we're the poorer for it.
Now in its eighth year, this all-purpose, free-form artists' collective is still a gathering spot for whatever avant-garde there may be in the West Palm Beach area. Housed in three connected, enormous Quonset huts -- big enough to be airplane hangars -- on a dead-end street off the Florida East Coast railroad tracks in newly gentrified Flamingo Park, the UA is an umbrella for a rotating menagerie of fabulous freaks. Sometime residents include working artists, an ongoing stream of theatrical productions, the irregularly scheduled Purple Door nights (a performance evening rooted in the Anglo-American expat/draft evader community of '70s Copenhagen), and whatever off-the-wall anomalies may wander through town (like a young anarchists' convention not long ago). Founding patron Alan Patrusevich holds title to the real estate, but as long as something creative is happening, the beer is cold, and nobody's fighting, one and all are welcome. The evenings of theater are often interrupted by passing freight trains, but that's just part of the charm.
Now in its eighth year, this all-purpose, free-form artists' collective is still a gathering spot for whatever avant-garde there may be in the West Palm Beach area. Housed in three connected, enormous Quonset huts -- big enough to be airplane hangars -- on a dead-end street off the Florida East Coast railroad tracks in newly gentrified Flamingo Park, the UA is an umbrella for a rotating menagerie of fabulous freaks. Sometime residents include working artists, an ongoing stream of theatrical productions, the irregularly scheduled Purple Door nights (a performance evening rooted in the Anglo-American expat/draft evader community of '70s Copenhagen), and whatever off-the-wall anomalies may wander through town (like a young anarchists' convention not long ago). Founding patron Alan Patrusevich holds title to the real estate, but as long as something creative is happening, the beer is cold, and nobody's fighting, one and all are welcome. The evenings of theater are often interrupted by passing freight trains, but that's just part of the charm.
Haig's performance in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation) was little seen but indelible. An insular literature professor imprisoned in war-torn Beirut, chained in place for the entire play, Haig could barely move, not even stand, but still managed to conjure a moving, nuanced portrait of a limited, conflicted man who discovers a well of strength he never knew existed. As a medieval scholar, Haig's character initially seems the frail one, a man living through his ancient texts in an ivory tower into which harsh reality never makes its way. But Haig reveals a man capable of something more and shows us a strength derived from words, not force. Haig has always chosen intelligent roles, so it's worth your while to choose his performances whenever they pop up.
Haig's performance in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation) was little seen but indelible. An insular literature professor imprisoned in war-torn Beirut, chained in place for the entire play, Haig could barely move, not even stand, but still managed to conjure a moving, nuanced portrait of a limited, conflicted man who discovers a well of strength he never knew existed. As a medieval scholar, Haig's character initially seems the frail one, a man living through his ancient texts in an ivory tower into which harsh reality never makes its way. But Haig reveals a man capable of something more and shows us a strength derived from words, not force. Haig has always chosen intelligent roles, so it's worth your while to choose his performances whenever they pop up.
As Max, a spoiled rich kid turned film critic, Tei turned in an over-the-top performance that stole the show, no small feat in a strong cast and strong play. But Tei's done it before, in the fabulous Popcorn last year at GableStage and other productions around town. It was time, however, for Tei to break mold, and this year he did, pushing into new emotional territory in his own Mad Cat Company's dark tale Portrait and as the tortured, sarcastic, vodka-swilling Sergio in New Theatre's Smithereens. Yet Tei's ability to wring humor out of twisted situations is one of his best assets, and as the terminally juvenile Max, he did just that, giving South Florida a genuine treat.

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