October First Friday Picks

Don’t miss the art party!

By Katherine Rochester
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 5, 2011

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Brief encounter: If you were a teen in the '90s, Jake Dibeler's Girlfriend will strike a semi-tragic chord.

Experimental Massage and Girlfriend at Extra Extra

For those who like their performances emotional, hilarious and riddled with personal histories, look no further than Extra Extra’s two-part showcase of what they’re terming “an evening of cathartic performance.” A new collaboration between New York-based visual artist Heather Bregman and dancer Katie Dean, Experimental Massage is choreographed around a video that dictates the dancers’ responses. Equally attuned to audience reactions of discomfort or embarrassment, Bregman and Dean aim to grope their way through the murk of self-examination toward a symbolic rebirth via movement. Local performance artist Jake Dibeler also makes a public display of affliction with Girlfriend, but uses his unique brand of disarming, semi-tragic humor to sweep us along for the ride. If you grew up as a teenager in the ’90s, then Dibeler’s often X-rated but always playful dramatization of adolescent identity may strike a chord. Like a full-throated rendition of your favorite pop song in a sleezy bar, Dibeler’s performances may have the veneer of naive optimism but they twang with the dissonance of an emotional breakdown.

7pm. Extra Extra, 1524 Frankford Ave. 301.412.7547. eexxttrraa.com

Traumatic Encounter Forever! at Vox Populi

Outfitted with a new space for performance art called “AUX” (a claim to fame in a world where performance artists still struggle to find venues), Vox is well-equipped to become our arbiter of the best in art that gets off the wall. Kikuko Tanaka’s Traumatic Encounter Forever! is part of a series that takes Bambi as its theme and revolves around the literal enactment of psychoanalytic tropes such as castration, the individuation of the subject and the infantile preoccupation with bodily fluids. It’s complex stuff, but Tanaka’s plunge into the abject is always countered with a sense of humor (even if sometimes it’s an inside joke). While her cast of characters sheds little light on the ensuing scenario, it certainly lends itself to wild speculation. The roll-call includes: a Wounded Artist, an Angel, a Tragic Photographer, Creature, a Charitable Rabbit and a Cook. Does the Cook cook the rabbit and if so, does the rabbit remain charitable? Is the artist wounded while trying to rescue the rabbit and the photographer tragic because he fails to capture the commotion on film? Probably not, but if you’d like to see what actually happens, then gird yourself against squeamishness and settle in for the self described “tragicomic epic.”

Opening reception, 6–11pm. Through Oct. 30. Vox Populi Gallery, 319 N. 11th St., Third Floor. voxpopuli.org

USE, PURPOSE at Grizzly Grizzly

For something completely different, venture to Grizzly Grizzly for an elegantly sparse show. In conjunction with DesignPhiladelphia (Oct. 13-23), Brooklyn, N.Y.-based designer Patrick Gavin’s USE, PURPOSE ruminates on the tension between designed spaces and the objects within them. Designed by Gavin and built from anodized aluminum and maple wood, the gallery will host two room dividers, a table and a floor sculpture. Here, industrial production butts heads with the rarified art object, suggesting both confluence of form and friction of utility. Nudged by the title of the show, Gavin asks us to interrogate our use of objects against their intended purpose, which brings up basic questions about the way we live in both urban and domestic spaces. (For further reading on this subject, note the blog, That’s Not a Trash Can! )

Opening reception 6-10pm. Through Oct. 29. Grizzly Grizzly, 319 N. 11th St., Second Floor. grizzlygrizzly.com

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