Last Call: Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Gallery Night: Epilogue

I’m not saying that I count down the months, weeks, days, and seconds until Fall Gallery Night every year, though if I told you I didn’t begin marking days off the calendar, oh, around mid-July, I’d be lying. My birthday (*cough* May 27 *cough*) is probably the only other day of the year that gets me about as excited. Probably because I’ve never met a freebie that I didn’t love or want sell on eBay. And if Gallery Nights – Fall and Spring – and birthdays are about anything, it’s freebies, specifically, free hooch!
But there’s more to Gallery Night than that. Seriously. I’ve long thrilled at the sight of my fellow Fort Worthians and their friends spending the night out together, rallying around great art at the local museums, non-traditional spaces, and galleries, and pausing occasionally to join me by the beer tubs, where I do most if not all of my thrilling.
The 31st iteration of Fall Gallery Night took place last Saturday and started out innocently enough for me, at 7th Haven, where little did I know my night would end on a crowded, loud, sweaty, non-arty-farty note.
First stop: Artspace 111, a perennial Gallery Night fave where this year mixed-media artist Ed Blackburn was showing new work alongside mostly existing handiwork by 111 regulars John Hartley, Nancy Lamb, and the Blagg brothers – Daniel and Dennis – and others. Not long ago, 111 was primarily a studio that just happened to have enough wall space to hang art on and enough room to host Gallery Night events that felt comfortingly like kick-ass house parties. Now that it’s been turned into place fancy enough to host a wedding reception, the crowds are no less lively just more spread out, which is good for looking at art but which makes for a sort of officious atmosphere. Never mind the sweet, dear, lovely barely-able-to-walk senior citizens who seemed to throw themselves at my feet every time I made a run for the bar. The midlifers banging out Stones covers on the back patio were talented, sure, but about as far away as edgy as you could get, a stark contrast to Blackburn’s largely discomfiting and progressive paintings and pieces of narrative text.
Next: Fort Worth Community Arts Center, where about 900 different artists – I’m not kidding – were showing work. The highlight was supposed to be local artist Ron Tomlinson’s exhibit in celebration of his receiving the FWCAC’s Exhibition Advisory Panel’s 2008 Distinguished Texas Artist award, a prize established five years ago “to honor a living artist who has achieved distinction in their art and with their service to the community.” “Supposed to be” because Tomlinson and his normally rowdy crew were nowhere to be found.
Finally: Studio 5, an off-the-beaten-path studio/gallery by Texas Christian University for new, adventurous work by Greg Bahr, Christopher Blay, Jill Foley, Pussyhouse Propaganda, and Jesse Sierra Hernandez – and a seemingly bottomless keg. At the time, most of the four dozen art galleries that were part of “official” Gallery Night had closed up shop. Never matter. Hipsters flowed in and out of the spacious converted storefront and got rowdy all over, talking politics, movies, and shit, and they probably kept going until long after I left, around 10-ish, to repair to what I imagined was going to be a quiet 7th Haven. No dice. The last time I had to wait longer than 30 seconds for a beer was when I was 24. No offense to the busy staff at the Haven, but unless Fridays and Saturdays magically turn into weekly birthdays in my honor, I’ll keep my visits there restricted to school nights only. – Anthony Mariani
Beer Goggle
Before every Gallery Night is Arts Goggle, a block party on the South Side, where I happened to find myself driving through last Friday when I spied dozens of people spilling out of the Art Station, a nonprofit organization that offers art therapy in a converted house on Park Place. I dropped in, and the people there were so damn generous and jovial, I wondered why I’d never “arts goggled” before. (What in the hell’s a “goggle,” anyway?) Kudos to the Art Station and also to the brand new Market 1612 on the same street, a complex that houses several small businesses, including a bistro, a designer cake studio, a catering company, and photography studio. All of the food was gone by the time I got there, which kind of sucked because the models there were making me hungry, but the vibe was magnifico. And “goggle” or not, getting to listen to Sheran Goodspeed Keyton, a Jubilee Theatre company member who was crooning outside the Market, was worth any senseless term you can sucker me into defining by my presence alone. – Eric Griffey

Ron Jeremy in the F-Dub
Legendary pornstar and reality-TV celeb Ron Jeremy will be in Fort Worth on Friday, hosting the X-Rated Pajama Party at Aqua Lounge (515 Houston St.). Cover is $10 before 11 p.m. Happy hour features X-Rated Fusion Liqueur. Call 972-762-AQUA.

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