ARToberfest at Speakeasy Lounge

Like the speakeasies of the 1920s, the Speakeasy Lounge is difficult to find if you don't already know where it is. Just trust the voice of your GPS, and that unmarked building on the southwest corner of Federal Highway and Second Avenue North is indeed the Speakeasy Lounge.

Because this venue is typically host to an array of local and out-of-town musicians in its performance area and because there is often an alcoholic thirst that accompanies concerts, a long, narrow bar greets us inside. There's little sign of the ARToberfest so far, but I order a Warsteiner and search for the art half of this fest. Luckily, the bar is just the entryway into the larger lounge area. It's early, and few people are milling around, mostly the artists themselves.

I recognize several of the artists by their art if not their faces.

Almost every artist here tonight is a regular on the local indie craft

circuit. Unlike the big festivals, these more intimate shows

give the

artists a chance to catch up with one another, talk to people.

I stop first to chat with Katie Caparros of SydneyLou Whoo?

dressed properly for the venue in a top that looks like a pink lace bra

and rubber cowboy boots with skulls and roses on them. I recognize her

skeleton cameos right away.

Marisa Cutaia

"My inventory got wiped out at Stitch Rock last week, so it's slim pickings today."

has fliers set out on her table for all the upcoming festivals and

shows, including

the weekly event at Dada, the monthly Downtown Open Markets in Boca and

Boynton, and the upcoming Blair Stitch Project. She keeps looking

beyond my shoulder and waving to people she knows as we chat.

By now, a few dozen people are wandering around. Paul Caprio

has quite the crowd gathered around his table. Most of them are

examining a large drawing that looks like a jumbled brain.

Anthony Cutaia

Coma Girl

(Lisa Parrott) is just starting a large live art piece that's turning

out to be one of her signature wide-eyed girls with a caterpillar

crawling on its shoulder. And in the opposite corner is the raffle table

upon which is one piece from each artist to be raffled off over the

course of the night.

Marisa Cutaia
I've moved over to a table where David Gonzalez, who frankly looks too young to be in here, is spray-painting small canvases.
Anthony Cutaia


friend in the blue shirt asks what paper I'm with. When I tell him, he

looks excited and says, "Oh, are you Tara?" I get this question

sometimes. When I'm forced to tell him I am not Tara Nieuwesteeg, former

Nightwatch columnist, he looks visibly disappointed.

"I used to read New Times

all the time when I took the train," Blue Shirt Guy says, "but now I

drive." Oh well. I ask David Gonzalez for a

business card, and he spray-paints one for me on the spot.

All night, I've been hearing an odd refrain in the background, and now it is directed at me.
"Do you like tarot? I do readings." Maricruz Gonzalez, owner of the Kanzashi & Steampunk Jewelry Garage

(and time traveler extraordinaire, according to her business card), is

wearing a red bowler hat and matching red vest. I smile and ask her

about her art instead. Her steampunk goggles are perched up on the hat,

and she gestures to her jewelry creations while talking to Mister and


"I'm a Batman girl," she says, holding up a purple sparkly

vampire-bat necklace. "I'd love to dress up Bruce Wayne in some

steampunk -- maybe a monocle."

Marisa Cutaia
Now I'm back around the loop to Allison

Kapner's table. I'm eying the many varieties of homemade mango jams

lined up on the table. I could eat a jar of mango jalapeño jam. That's

dinner, right? "There's a reason my fans call themselves jam junkies,"

Allison says.

Marisa Cutaia

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Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane