Ann Arbor’s Art Scene Has a Pulse
“Great house! Thanks house!”
A crowd burgeoning on 150 people marches through the streets of Kerry Town. They are being led from the first house in what will turn into a 3-house art celebration. At the helm of the crowd stands Leg Champii, (Isaac Levine) he squeezes sultry notes out of an accordion while directing a rag tag marching band known as the Special Knees. This is Ann Arbor’s new Art Scene…
Known as the “TENET Collective,” the group is a tight knit community of visual artists, musicians, weirdo’s, and performers who are hell bent on creating vibrant and energetic events to create the art scene they want to see in Ann Arbor.
Last night on September 6th, TENET threw a sprawling art progressive that began at the “IT House” on Lawrence. Swaying to a dirty Talking Heads record, a mass of individuals swirled through the house admiring paintings and drawings by Hillary Butterworth, Katie Parks, and Will Bedell. Dylan Greene offered up handmade zines and performed bits and pieces of original spoken performances. By 10:55pm the hordes were organized and a march proceeded down Lawrence to State Street.
The massive crowd made its way to Ann Street to what is known as “The Fuck Boys Lair,” my small basement apartment. The basement filled up, becoming hot and humid and “BUT IS IT ART” a skate video allegedly filmed inside one self explanatory institution was premiered. On the walls hung a cluster of paintings by me, a triptych of tattoo inspired illustrations by Riley Hanson, and a series of narrative based art by Eli Stevick. After the video the crowd began chanting “Fire Hazard” and exited, passing performances by Rob Luzyinski and Stevick if they went out the back door.
Leg Champii and the Special Knees then led the crowd to a parking garage to enjoy some industrial acoustics before leading the group to the final destination on Catherine. Matt Rosner invited everyone to bring his or her own lamps, and the house was surrounded in luminance ranging from IKEA to the handmade. At this point nearly 200 people danced, smoked, drank, and chatted on mattresses, cars, and various stoops. There was a palatable creative energy, which is often rare Ann Arbor, multiple people were heard saying “it felt like the start of something.”
By 1:00am two Ann Arbor Policemen showed up after more than a hand full of calls and noise complaints.
They were civil, yet asked that we quiet down, stop the music, and disperse our mob of lamp makers, artists, and musicians, into the night. We were agreeable…for a moment. The TUSKS Band, known best as TUSKS, had been set up since the early evening and were hungry to make sound. The cops had left saying that if they were to return, the house would face an immediate and minimum fine of 500 dollars, “…come back in 20 or 30 minutes - we’re gonna play…” They began around 1:55, improvising as quietly and as intimately as possible - performing for an audience of 8. One would think that as the audience slowly grew in number, as it did by trios and quartets, that the band, complete with a full PA, would grow in volume - but they restrained. Instead, TUSKS delivered one their most intriguingly musical and dynamic performances yet. They played for a room of 40 dedicated individuals who did not return to drink, or drug, or mack, but to sit on the ground, to keep quiet, to open their ears and their minds, and to listen.
TUSKS played 5 of their originals that they plan to release later this year.
And thoughe creative energy dispersed into the night, we will now all wait and see if this really was a sort of “start.”
ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN: There will be many more of these events!
-NIKI WILLIAMS and DYLAN GREENE