Walk on By

This past Wednesday morning, September 5th, 2012, I pulled into the back parking lot of The Peacock Room. It was around 5AM. There were five people waiting for me. Mendi Cowles the art director for The Peacock texted saying she was on her way over, and that Phil Longo is inside sleeping on one of the couches. I knocked a few times. Nobody answered. Mendi pulled up a few minutes later let everyone in, and started brewing coffee for everyone. I walked into the other room. Phil was crashed out on the couch. When he came to, he said, “I had to sleep here or I would have never made it.”

He was scheduled to perform in what turned out to be a crowd pleasing temporary remedy to road rage with Steve Head, Gerald Perez and Arkie Calkins at 830AM. Steve and Gerald orchestrated three cars with CD players playing different parts of Isaac Hayes version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s (RIP) 1963 song Walk on By. Steve Head said that, “tracks were divided and pitched for each car.”

It had been over a year since I first got people together for a meeting to discuss my idea for a site-specific contemporary art museum, that would consist mostly of temporary installations, performances that would take place at pop-up locations, public spaces or wherever seemed right for the situation and the art. For the past few months with a lot of help from several others we were ready to go.

Stephanie Darden, Ashley Heafy of FDG-Creatives had made a website for me, that is partially a customized Google map. Carissa Rodriguez D’Amelio an artist in the show made a spread sheet with locations and artists. Kim Britt, James Petrine, Ryan Rivas and I worked on the site before the sun came up.

The Peacock Room was headquarters from 5AM until 7AM. It’s a central location. Artists gradually came by to pick up nameplates and letters that okayed them putting work in front of businesses. Many put their work in public spaces. Joanne Grant the director for the Mills-50 Main Street neighborhood was very helpful in getting businesses on board. She gave me a letter for the artists to hold onto in the sanctioned spots, in case someone asked questions. I told all the artists to text me with a photo of their work intact after they install it. By 7AM everyone had texted me. No problems.

In the meantime, people were coming into The Peacock or texting us, saying you need to check out this piece or that piece. Peter Martinez and Terry Olson were out taking pictures and passing out name tags.

I wandered out with Peter and James. Within a block we saw Crummy Gummy’s hopscotch installation across the street in front of the Attila’s the Turkish Restaurant.

Crummy Gummy’s Hopscotch installation

Then we spotted Brendan O’Connor’s campy billboard on the corner of Mills and Virginia.

Brendan O’Connor’s Walk on By billboard

Behind Brendan’s billboard was a brilliant installation by Natalie Ayala Mike Linger. Natalie told me they were going to do a guerrilla gardening installation. The two took it further creating an urban scene that fooled many drivers including me. To hoodied human looking figures looked to be installing the planters that Natalie and Mike made out recycled materials. It turned out the figures were sculptures made of packing tape covered in clothing.

Natalie Ayala Mike Linger -guerrilla gardening scene

Mike later took some great photos of Nathan Selikoff’s, Stickmen Sculptures, across the field from Carissa’s installation. Carissa presented her installation as a comfort zone.

Nathan Selikoff’s Stickmen
Carissa Rodriguez D’Amelio- Don’t Walk On By, Come & Stay Awhile- installation

Going back down Virginia, I saw Lure Design’s giant screenshot done by Jeff Matz and Sarah Blacksher. They had sent me a photo a few days earlier, but up close it was so much better. It was taller than I am. I’m about six feet two.

Lure Screenshot installation

Next door, the band North Via was performing in front of Tinmen Productions.

North Via

The sun was coming up, and we had already seen a great show. I could see two flags flying high in the background, on top of the large mounds of dirt. The mounds were tall (maybe twenty five feet high) enough to be hills in these parts, but they were man-made. That’s not unusual in these parts. One flag had a plus sign. One had a minus sign. I was told it was done by an anonymous artist.

Flags flying high over Mills and Virginia

We headed back to The Peacock. It was just past seven in the morning, and I have just touched on what we saw that day. There was plenty more to see. It was going to be a good day.

One thought on “Walk on By

  1. I enjoyed the photo’s and narrative. I felt I was out walking within the community and seeing the action. Nice job and keep it up.

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