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Wagner says see Art Poems, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

By Staff | Mar 27, 2009

It seems hard to believe that the concept of Art Poems – which began merely three years ago in 2006 with five poets and five artists – has blossomed into 13 poets and an equal number of artists. Not only that, the 2009 presentation will go on tour to play again on April 3rd at the Alliance of the Arts in Fort Myers. The artworks alone will be on view at The Tower Gallery and, later in April, at the Library in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Poet/Presenter/Originator of Art Poems Lorraine Vail opened the proceedings by giving a mission statement which announced “artwork that inspired poems and poems that inspired artwork” was what this wonderful collaboration was all about. What a rich collaboration it turned out to be.

The magic number for last Saturday afternoon’s presentation was 13: 13 poets joined artistic forces with 13 artists, then showed a 13-minute video the Naples’ skyangel Productions featuring how the choices came about

At the 13th hour of 1 p.m.

Poet Jim Brock opened the first half of Art Poems by reciting his poem about how familiar animal spirits are sent to guide a winsome black teenaged girl from the dark days of racial bias into the brighter days of the here and now. This poem was inspired by a fine portrait of a black girl with haunting eyes by artist Carole Nastars, “Praise for the Day Ahead.”

In the art-inspired-by-a-poem portion, Pam Brodersen was moved to paint “El Juego Two Tangos.” The painter worked with local dancer Alice Bouchette as her model to render a passionate tango dance duet in an oil painting inspired by the equally sensuous tango song lyric poetry by Jim Brock.

Next came poet Mary La Velle writing a poem titled “Hold On,” based on a painting of the same name by Ellie Gause. The subject matter for both centered on life in retrospective and gratitude for all things given to us and held dear in this life. LaVelle’s poem, “Hickory,” reflecting on how life imitates the four seasons, inspired painter Dennis Joyce’s dreamy night scene with its promise of awakening dawn skies.

Don Brown’s poetry perfectly melded with artist Sheila Hoen’s “Passage Through Mangroves,” a magical and mysterious, moonlit night, in a mangrove setting, in Florida. Four lines of poetry by Brown fired up artist Rod Busch to create another Florida night scene that promised a lush awakening dawn.

“Hidden Acre,” a barn painting by Charles Lister, had poet Bill Highsmith remember a boyish scuffle that ended unhappily in this barn, where animals comforted the wounded young lad. The poem “Layout” by Highsmith about building a boat inspired Art Book artist Martha Graham to create a telescope book to look through, and its linear concept drew the viewer in deeper and deeper. (This Art Book idea needs to be seen and experienced there just isn’t any adequate way to describe it.)

Ray Buck was fired up by Katie Gardenia’s mermaid collage, “Window Closes,” to write a love poem about a watery romance. Artist Carol Rosenberg created a “Lady Bug” painting told from the perspective of the lady bug, reprising Buck’s poem of the same name about what happened when tone of these tiny insects didn’t respond to “.Lady bug, lady bug fly away home” but flew into a real home and took up residence in a window drape.

Martha Graham’s beautiful Art Book made up of all sorts of butterflies and fairy folk, motivated poet Rachel Peacock to see how wants could be demons keeping dreams at bay. Peacock’s political take in “The Games People Play” took a look at the future viewed from the past and stimulated Katie Gardenia to create an upright, fiber collage – a puzzle on life and its confusion. This humorous endeavor used many different objects, including a jig saw puzzle, plastic eyeballs, and origami birds created from mortgage loan papers that never came through.

Vince Faraone wrote “Catch of the Day,” a wonderfully touching poem about a teenaged Haitian fishmonger and her dreams of a better life being the girl she was meant to be, living the life she was meant to live.

“Summer Reverie,” a simmering, shimmering beach painting by artist M.R. Roberts gave Faraone the right words to inspire a memory of connecting to another person by enjoying a warm, languid stroll on a beach.

Tanya Hochschild told a gritty yet gay flashback poem, about the glory days of Hollywood and its stars, motivated by artist Peter Zell’s painting of downtown L.A. titled “A Road Show in Tinseltown.” Hochschild’s ode to India capturing the sights sounds and smells of Delhi in the poem “In the Streets of Old Delhi” enthused painter Carole Nastars to capture the essence of India in a colorful canvas.

It was the nose on Pinocchio and the long nose on a lion’s head sculpture by artist Dennis Joyce that got Bob Maxeiner to pen a witty poem titled “Gepetto’s Compulsion.” Maxeiner’s “Renascene” was the inspiration for artist Carole Nastars beautiful rendering of a painting of clouds and balloons as the poet writes about how looking at clouds can trigger memories of dreams and relationships that come from those musings.

Poet Katie Pankow used a quote “the heart is a repository for memory and unrealized dreams” which triggered artist J R Roberts to paint what appeared to be a Pandora’s Box titled “Unconscious Myth.” “Nights in Giverny” by Pankow stirred painter Sheila Hoen to create an unearthly garden of delights with wondrous trees on a moonlit night in Normandy.

Rod Busch’s joyfully classic portrait of a young girl and her dog connected to poet Sid Simon, stimulating his imagination and creating a happy back-story about the painter and his daughter in a sensitive verse titled “Deco.” Simon’s “One Last Dance of Gratitude” centered on remembrances of a recently passed friend who had taught and then danced with Sid at his first dance. Artist JoAnne Bedient created the plus-perfect pair of 1940s, open-toed ceramic shoes, just right for a young woman’s initial step into the dance and dating world.

Carol Rosenberg’s painting motivated Joe Pacheco to pen “Denial,” a love story, short but sweet, because this pair of lover’s never, ever meet

Pacheco’s “Through a Prism Darkly” inspired artist Ellie Gause to create a black and white painting capturing the words of the poem about the essence of time and place how the muse of creation changes just as time does when time moves on.

Lorraine Vail was the final poet in this amazing collaboration of poets and artists. In her four-line renga poetry format, she succinctly summed up a red ceramic shoe by artist JoAnne Bedient – red shoes blossom, they are devil dancers with a toe-tapping soul, a drop-dead red drama, worn by a red hot mama. I can’t possibly sum up Vail’s wonderful “Red Shoe Renga” in a few meaningful lines artfully strung together. Charles Lister created an Island painting of what one sees pedaling down our bike path – “Summer Translation” – to evoke Vail’s poem about our magical Sanibel and the creatures seen and unseen that share our Island paradise.

Indeed Sanibel is a very special place and we have an amazing group of artists who reside here and are inspired to share their special creative take that fires all of us lucky enough to share this part of the world. Thank you poets, thank you artists, and thank you BIG Arts for making art a part of our Island’s lifestyle .

Theater Alert!!! Now Hear This !!!

“Little Shop of Horrors,” playing at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater till April 4th is a not-to-be-missed, rock-your-socks-off musical.

The show is sensational from start to finish, with a rousing musical score by Alan Menken & Howard Ashman. Victor Legarreta’s direction is first- rate bringing forth manic energy and perfect comic timing from the entire cast.

The cast is a fireball of energy with all the vocal stops pulled out, especially the trio of female singers Amanda Lawson (Crystal), Samantha Rotella (Ronnette), Tammy Truitt (Chiffon).

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a kooky, irresistibly feel-good sort of musical; you can’t fail to have a good time seeing, this merry madcap musical. Best thing seen so far this season at the Schoolhouse.

Hurry up and call the box office at 472-6862 before it closes April 4th an when you cal remind ’em Marsha sent you.