July First Friday Picks

Clay, SALT and erotic pics. Won't want to miss this!

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Butch Cordora shaves (totally straight) Gervase Peterson's head in this Tony Ward photo in "Straight & Butch."

Straight & Butch

Butch Cordora’s dream was to make a glossy fantasy photo calendar and a movie portraying a gay man (himself) with selected straight men. The straights are nude in the pictures and ... OK, Butch’s dream is a very special niche dream, but it’s one that he’s turned into a reality. Cordora, the voluble host of local gay TV talk show “In Bed with Butch,” is a Warholian creative entrepreneur with a line of products and a radio show. Now he’s unveiling a gallery exhibition at Ven and Vaida and, roll the drums, the July 14 world premiere at Philly’s QFest of Straight & Butch, a documentary on the making of the 2009 calendar. Cordora’s not a trained artist, so he hired professional photographers and filmmakers for this project including renowned erotic photographer Tony Ward. If you’re not in the niche market for the photos, check out the documentary—it’s great! Paced like a Bravo TV reality show, Butch cavorts like a flirty and beguiling sprite and the straight men pledge their friendship and straightness, with an occasional girlfriend or wife in the background. (Roberta Fallon)

Fri., July 2, 6pm. Through Aug. 1. Ven and Vaida, 18 S. Third St. 215.592.4099. venandvaida.com

Clay Studio

Warm in their halos of responsible life decisions, graduate students are darlings of the art world. Reappropriating the organic meta-narrative of nuance, or disfiguring the détournement of quotidian grace, or whatever it is that they’re exploring, they offer curators academic freshness. Really, really self-critical freshness. The Clay Studio exhibits the best work of grad-student artists from schools across the country this month in the Seventh annual Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition. The show is not only an opportunity for artists to broaden their audience, but also to sell their work to the public. The show features 28 young artists from 17 various ceramics programs, from Columbus, Ohio, to Baton Rouge, La., all of whom push the boundaries of clay as a medium, questioning both form and function. There are 42 total works in the show, all of which were selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants as representing the next generation of ceramic artists. The winners of the cash prizes for best in show will be announced at the opening reception. I think that means a blue ribbon for best gestalt. (Manya Scheps)

Fri., July 2, 5pm. Through Aug. 1. Clay Studio, 139 N. Second St. 215.925.3453. theclaystudio.org

Wired & Hazy

While summer is still new and we haven’t yet remembered that Philadelphia gets pretty damn stinky when the temperature rises to about 90 degrees, embrace the season with SALT Art Gallery’s “Summer Show.” Owner and curator Mike Veneziale conceived the show as an opportunity to have artists use varying media to capture the essence of the summer heat. “I gave them this concept of giving their work a hazy, strung-out, dream-like motif,” says Veneziale. “I suggested the artists to work in an extremely hot (temperature wise) environment and encouraged the use of speed pills, coconut rum and suntan lotion on a daily basis.” Featuring five artists, including local sculptor Jill Allen, “Wired & Hazy” goes up this Friday. It’s worth checking out, particularly for Brooklyn illustrator Thomas Pitilli’s gorgeous black and white drawings. You might recall Pitilli’s recent work on the cover of City Paper’s agriculture issue. We won’t hold it against him. (Erica Palan)

Fri., July 2, 6pm. Through Aug. 21. SALT Art Gallery, 212 Race St. 215.939.7426. saltartgallery.com

Jolie Laide Opening

After 12 years of creating custom spaces for homes, restaurants and retail with their Surface & Architecture Workshop, Scott Stewart and Young Yoon have dropped anchor in their new gallery space, Jolie Laide (a Franco-play on “Pretty Ugly”). This Friday, director Travis Heck, a Penn MFA grad previously employed by Stewart and Yoon as a craftsman and tapped to curate their gallery, pulls up the curtain on a trio of artists who will fill the (of course) beautifully appointed space: Kevin Baker, Tom Costa and Austin Eddy will have their work presented in 1,000 square feet of converted raw space. Baker’s childhood in Kentucky has shaped his fascination with flowers, kitsch, color and materials. In the way that his mother painted floral wallpaper, Baker embellishes oilcloth in different ways: grotesquely, ornately or elegantly. Costa paints architectural landscapes that are surreal and morbid. His focus on the decrepit and decaying translates beautifully in accordance to his expert attention to light. Eddy’s a Chicago-trained artist who loves portraiture and interiors, here playing with dimension, perspective and color to create abstracted furniture, textiles and domestic spaces. Keep an eye on this new space. (Bill Chenevert)

Fri., July 2, 6pm. Through July 31. Jolie Laide, 224 N. Juniper St. 267.241.1936. jolielaide.com

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1. Christine said... on Jul 1, 2010 at 11:26AM

“Read the Thom Nickels (author of SPORE) ICON piece on STRAIGHT and BUTCH.”

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