The White Parties / Tilt & Pearl

foto: fox_photography
werd: james niche

Lavishly, loudly, and proudly, Tilt (444 Central Avenue) and Pearl (349 East Avenue) kicked in the front doors of summer's place and screamed "Hello!!"

May 25th
The White Party
Tilt Nightclub & Ultralounge

This past Sunday, Tilt was the place to be to get down and dirty. Celebrating it's annual White Party, a theme party idea which was originally started as a circuit party along the east coast back in the seventies, Club Tilt went all out, all white, and packed itself into positions many haven't seen there ever. It was hot, sweaty, and judging by the reaction of the crowd, they loved every second of it.

I will let the pictures say the rest, but I need to give props to Tilt for pulling off a beautiful and successful party. I know everyone involved worked really hard. The sound system there is sick, only to be rivaled by Pearl's, and DJ Jonathan Herbert played to his crowd like Frankenstein, and that crowd was his monster. Cheers to everyone we met down there and also to those that came up to say hi.

May 25th
The White Party
Pearl Nightclub

After Tilt, I stopped down to the East End to see my peeps @ Pearl because word had it that they too were going to be rockin' the white that evening. That was a lot of fun as well. Pearl has been celebrating the White Party the past couple of years, and has seen the party grow on the East-Al corner.

"It's good too see... I think that people understand what we are doing down here," observed John Slater, proprietor of Pearl.

Richie Salvaggio decided to make it out on a Sunday and keep the beat for the fine people, everything sounded great.

Once again, I will let the pictures do the talking on this one, but I have to give a shout out to bartenders Mike, Giselle, Ryan, and Jenna @ Pearl for always keeping it real and providing such great service. To all of you reading this who attend an event @ Pearl, you make sure you take good care of them when you see them. Werd.

- james niche, act:live

Right now we're listening to:

Queens Of The Stone Age "Go With The Flow" ("Songs For The Deaf", 2002, Interscope)

Velvet Vixens & Release Party @ ONE

foto: fox_photography
werd: james niche

This past Friday, I decided to stop down to the East End and see what was going on @ One (1 Ryan Alley) and Pearl (349 East Avenue).

I have heard about the Velvet Vixens burlesque group and DJ Jonathan Herbert's Release party (Fridays @ One), so I thought I would check it out and get a few words from Angel Carter, the founder of the Velvet Vixens and a well-known Rochester party attendee. Here's what she had to say about herself, the Vixens, and also a review of the evening. Ch-Ch-Ch-Check it...

ACT:LIVE: Hi, Angel (pronounced Ann-gel). Tell the people of Rochester about yourself and what the story is behind the Velvet Vixens.

Angel: I just turned twenty-eight in February, I am a mother of two, I'm a school teacher, and I have always been interested in art and dancing. I have studied dance since I was seven years old.

I wanted to do burlesque because it's fun and appealing. Some people say it's stripping, but it's not. There are no clothes coming off me (laughs). We can tease men with a burlap sack, please.

I want people to feel good when they come, to feel that they can have a good time and not feel alienated or uncomfortable. And if they come see us, they will definitely have a good time. They won't be able to help but have a good time. It's infectious.

I started the Velvet Vixens because I love entertainment. I love women who look classy and beautiful and can come out and tease guys without being naked... leaving something to the imagination.

I have a sword swallower, I fire breathe. We do lots of go-go dancing right now. I have April, who works with me, Ashley, and Danielle. Riley is my sword swallower and she shows up for special events. We want to put on a show that's different than anything else in Rochester. We're all about personality. I want girls that go out and have a good time and talk to people - to be approachable. We want to have fun and have people come back to see us every week on Fridays.

ACT:LIVE: Now, the drag shows and burlesque shows have been kicking around Rochester for quite some time. Muther's made them very popular, but many have said that the shows have been done before and it's gotten old. How do you feel about that, and what is going to re-kindle that flame?

Angel: Well, with past shows in Rochester, I feel that all they do is just dance. I felt like I was going to a football game and just watching the cheerleaders. We aren't that simple. Like I said, we have special talents, and with the diversity of the girls and talents, we will definitely capture your attention at our events.

Riley, for example, is one of the only women in the United States who is actually registered to be doing what she is doing with the backing of the Sword Swallowing Association, so that is one thing alone that you won't see just anywhere else, and most importantly, in Rochester.

They will also see the champagne routine with a girl spinning in a six foot glass of champagne. You won't see that anywhere else around here, and the groups before us, they never took it past dancing. It's not a cheerleading routine. It's entertainment.

ACT:LIVE: I get that you ladies want to have fun and put on a show, but by doing this here are you here to promote any particular club or outfit, such as One or Jonathan Herbert? Or is this venue and others simply your platform for bigger things to come?

Angel: We are out here to help promote other venues and other artists, we aren't just out here for the Velvet Vixens. We want Velvet Vixens to be known as a group that will perform at a variety of events like art openings as well as other artistic events including the nightclubs.

We aren't here for just one particular venue or event. We want to work closely with other local artists so we can bring our talent to the party, too. People need to look out for us - summer is here, so we will be out everywhere.

ACT:LIVE: What are some other events you have planned in the near future for the Velvet Vixens?

Angel: Right now we are working with another nightclub to start dancing for them on a night yet to be announced. We are working with another group in Buffalo who has a more extreme burlesque show. They have the champagne routine and fire breathing routine.

I would like people to see that we aren't just a pretty face dancing. We all have individual talents. We even have a girl who can hula hoop with 20 hoops - all with a martini on her head. We are entertainment, not just pretty faces. We're very versatile. If you can imagine a vintage burlesque show, that's what we will be doing.

ACT:LIVE: Any heads-up on the music backing you guys? A DJ or band?

Angel: At One, we are more dance party-oriented with DJ Jonathan Herbert and the house music, but depending on the show and venue, the music can change. We like big, classic songs by groups like Queen, too. There is a variety of music we want to perform with.

ACT:LIVE: What's your next event coming up?

Angel: We are going to be performing for a lingerie fashion show Friday, June 6th here at One for another Release party event. We will be dancing and showing off some naughty fashions so I encourage everyone to stop out, have a good time, and take a peek...

The fashion show that Angel is referring to is another Release party featuring lingerie fashions from Naughty and Nice and music by Jonathan Herbert. This party is scheduled for Friday, June 6th @ One Nightclub & Restaurant in the Ryan Alley, just off of East Avenue, near the corner of Alexander Street.

I had a lot of fun watching these girls, and like Angel said, they do bring personality. They are fun and approachable and definitely provide some nice eye candy for the club. I'm not trying to say they are just pretty faces, but they definitely are pretty.

It was nice to see that One has finally made an advance on utilizing that monster projection system behind the bar. Granted, it's an oversized Windows Media Player music-synched graphic, but it's progress.

The crowd was a good size considering that Club Syxx (now known as The Bar?) had twelve-and-over night right next door, and what's really nice to see is the diversity of the crowd at One. It's a place for people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders to come together and get down to some great music. Cheers to that.

I was far more pleased with Jon's set @ One than the under-promoted and under-hyped show by the famed Pase Rock @ Pearl.

However, Steve Aoki is June 6th over @ Pearl, make sure you stop down there for that show, especially if you want to mosh and bang your head to some club music.

I have to say, I am a fan of Jon Herbert's party-friendly, pop-lockin' house style. It's a sensible mix of the old-school house and new school funk that sticks to your soul on the dance floor. Honey-dipped beats... can I say that?

The latest venture for DJ Jonathan Herbert, on the other hand, was The White Party, an event name dually claimed by Tilt (444 Central Avenue) and Pearl. Expect to see some pictures and a little review of both events this week on RIPROC. Maybe I'll also get Jon to say a few words and let us know how it went.

'Til next time, kiddies. Peace.

- james niche, act:live

Right now we're listening to:

DJ Z-Trip "Doin' It Like This" (featuring Clutch) ("All-Pro Soundtrack", 2007, Decon)

E. Moore & Azariah @ Dub Land Undergound

foto: antonio aresco, rit, xi mag
werd: james niche

I took a few minutes before E. Moore and Azariah's show this past Wednesday at Dub Land Underground (315 Alexander Street) to sit down with E. Moore, and this is what he had to say about hip-hop in Rochester, what he's up to lately, and what's going on with him in the future.

ACT:LIVE: What are you listening to right now?

E. Moore: The new Azariah joint, "Subject To Change: The Symphony".

ACT:LIVE: How old are you?

E. Moore: Twenty-one.

ACT:LIVE: Where are you from?

E. Moore: The soul of the universe.

ACT:LIVE: What got you started in the hip-hop game? What was a defining moment that told you that you needed to be heard or that you had something to say?

E. Moore: It was a gradual process... goes back to the days of listening to Kris Kross and writing raps with my sister at the crib. Hearing DJ Premier and guys like Mos Def - the cuts, the beats.

ACT:LIVE: Who are some influences on a national level?

E. Moore: Masta Ace. RZA. Nas.

ACT:LIVE: If you have a motto or general message you like to send through your music and vision, what would that be?

E. Moore: Remain in the moment. Be part of something bigger. You and I, we're all one. That's the main thing I keep coming back to. I say that in a lot of my songs, that's what makes sense to me.

ACT:LIVE: I've heard you are known first and foremost for beat writing. Are you writing your own beats? Is there anyone else with their hands in that jar?

E. Moore: First and foremost I’m an artist. Yeah, I make beats, I sample, I play the keyboards... I might get on some other people's beats like Optix. The beats are what got it moving in the first place with the "Keep it Movin'" project with Azariah. It sort of went from there are far as recognition. The first MPC I ever had, I couldn’t save anything on it. Everything was on the fly. I might leave the machine on for three days just so I could hear the beats again.

ACT:LIVE: Who are some of your local favorites - some artists you'd like to hear more of?

E. Moore: My man Magz The Superproducer, my man Bobby Fischer, (and) Abraham. I got love for everyone, man, you know what I’m sayin'? Everybody's out there doing their thing and I hear everything. Anybody that's trying to do something and create... I prefer the guys that have some sense of roots and god. First and foremost, I listen.

ACTLIVE: Where do you think Rochester is at right now in the hip-hop world, in your eyes, especially on a unity level?

E. Moore: Rochester, to me, is having a renaissance right now. There's a lot of underground shit coming up. I see it in everything. It's an overall feel. I see new things happening everyday. I drive around, I see license plates from all over. I see Jersey plates, Hawaii plates, I see out-of-state plates on the regular. I just be paying attention. Shit is bubbling around here right now. Dudes can still find low rent places - it's an artistic environment. So, I think everything in the music and art world is having a good effect on each other.

Like here, even - Dub Land Underground. It's not the biggest thing, it's not star-studded, but it's a stage and dudes get a chance to perform. Just like going back to jazz. That's how it all went down. It was creative and small, but it had its circuit.

ACT:LIVE: What was the last hip-hop show you attended, in or out of town?

E. Moore: Last night at the Dub Land Underground. Tuesday Night Open Jam. Me and the band consisting of me, Magz, and Young Bol - we came out just to get our roots out. You know, I be going to shows, but as far as the last memorable show I went to it was The Roots in Central Park. I'll be checking them out when they come through.

ACT:LIVE: When is the album "The Symphony" expected out? Who's putting it out?

E. Moore: Soon, man. We just gotta' get some things in order. We're (making) final cuts, making sure everything is sounding right. My man, Young Bol - he helped me with the art, so we got some posters poppin' and some fliers to promote. I'm doing everything real grassroots. The CD could come out looking something like this (picks up a demo of a random artist, plain white writable CD with the artist's name scribbled on it). It could be stencils and shit, maybe some spray paint. We're working with what we got. I really like the project, though, man. It's an eleven track album and I also put the beats on there, so it's almost like a double album on one disc.

ACT:LIVE: So, you're releasing it yourself?

E. Moore: (laughs) I'm not saying I'm not open to anything else, but right now it seems like the right thing to do. I'm not trying to get caught up. I'm not trying to get caught up in the "unit" side of things. I don't care if it's just on a local level as long as motherfuckers are hearing it. It doesn't matter. I enjoy it and the people around me enjoy it. I might make a little something off it, but that's not the motive.

ACT:LIVE: I checked out your MySpace page and liked the track "Better Days" - beat and all. You make a mention of coming back from somewhere. Where did you go?

E. Moore: I was out in Hollywood trying to go get it. Trying to push my act around. I worked at Universal Music just getting my grind on in the studio. Let me give a shout out to Pam and Dez. For what it's worth, they showed me a lot of shit.

All the glam and glitz was out there readily available, but I felt someone's pulling me back here to do something. That song, for the record, when I made it, I did pretty much everything in that studio. Bobby Fischer was right there in the studio. I wrote the verse to it, Bobby came in and freestyled to it, and there it is. And I'm glad you were listening to it because this gets overlooked a lot with the MySpace shit. There's so many people doing it, it gets lost.

E. Moore "Better Days"
click to download

ACT:LIVE: Who put this show together?

E. Moore: This show? I guess God... Dub Land Underground. Provide gave us the time and space. He gave us a slot at this showcase. There's a lot of cats waiting to get in and we waited our turn. Me and my man Azariah got a little back and forth planned with some new tracks.

ACT:LIVE: Any gigs in the near future? In or out of town?

E. Moore: You know, anything is possible, man. I could be in India in a couple of months. You never know how things could shape. But I'm good to travel. I love traveling and I'm just letting it happen.

ACT:LIVE: You want to give a shout out to anyone?

E. Moore: Yeah, R.I.P. Tone, shouts to my man James for giving a fuck, and to everyone out there - peace.

ACT:LIVE: One last question... Digital or analog?

E. Moore: Both.

As for the show, the evening was hosted by Rochester local Black Sinatra - most likely subbing in for Wednesday night regular and close friend of Sinatra's, Nikal Fieldz, who is currently in China promoting his newest effort, "Lost in New York".

The show started a bit later than expected, but when E. Moore and Azariah hit the stage, the crowd that was there made some positive noise for them. Azariah started the set with his single and E. Moore followed up with "Better Days", sans Bobby Fischer.

They both worked really well off of each other, but Azariah stole the set. I was impressed with Azariah's stage presence and attention to the people. E. Moore, a bit of a softer-spoken performer, kept the set going and delivered.

Dub Land Underground is doing this city a great service by allowing these young artists to have a platform to do their thing. I have to give ups to Provide, the man handling these nights and giving these guys the spots.

Real people keeping it real and lifting the underground up. Peace to all that helped out.

- james niche, act:live

Right now we're listening to:

Nas "Represent" ("Illmatic", 1994, Columbia)

Filthy Funk: The Interview and Review

foto: antonio aresco, rit, xi mag
werd: james niche

Filthy Funk "Adversity"
click to download

Once again, it's time for the sit-down. I recently spent some time with Rochester's triple threat jazz, funk, and hip-hop group, Filthy Funk. The group has been working incredibly hard for the past ten years or so - here and outside of Rochester, not only as an ever-morphing group of musicians who have, through their passion and drive, broken musical barriers on the stage, but who have also taken their craft and talent to the studio.

In comes Filthy Funk Records, the music marketing and production group created by John Viviani (guitar) and Nick Murray (keys). Filthy Funk Records is now becoming a place for talented, hardworking musicians to call home. We talked about a couple of their artists and also about things to come. Check it.

ACT:LIVE: For those out there not really familiar with Filthy Funk, what have you been up to these days?

John: Lately, we've been playing a lot of gigs. We're playing at the Rochester International Jazz Fest coming up, (and) we also played at the Lilac Festival yesterday. We released my album "Tasty Licks" (2007, Filthy Funk) about seven months ago which we just sold out of. It was the first real release on Filthy Funk Records. We followed that with another CD that was more beat-oriented, "Beats Of Fury" (2007, Filthy Funk), and that's because, really, we have two different musical performances we do.

We have John Viviani and Filthy Funk, which is just sort of instrumental and you'll see a little bit of that tonight. It's a little more of free jazz sounding. Then, we also have the Filthy Funk shows, The Funky Soul Breakdown, which (adds) MCs and soul singers. RICRUDE makes it out a lot, Hassan (Mackey) makes it down sometimes. Danielle Ponder will be down as well.

Nick: We're also doing a lot of recording. Not just of ourselves, but of local and regional artists. Lonnie Smith was down - an old jazz organ player. He used to play with Benson. He came down and did some crazy stuff. He'll be down here for Jazz Fest, for sure. We still play around with making beats, and we're not doing a lot with that right now, but we want to continue to do that. We want to do everything that we can get our hands on.

Filthy Funk "Hamburger Pimp"
click to download

Filthy Funk has had many in it's wings over the years, but began as John Viviani (guitar) and Nick Murray (keys). They have worked with different drummers over the years and Devon Tramell has served as the latest and greatest. He joined the band last year and has a strong hip-hop, jazz, and gospel influence from listening - and the dude can jam. Enter Devon Tramell.

ACT:LIVE: Tell us where you came from, what brought you here, and what involvement you have had in the productions aside from drumming with Filthy Funk.

Devon: Well, before I joined the band I was sticking around Rochester with salsa bands, top 40 bands... bands like that. I've been working as a side man for what has to be the past ten years... maybe a little bit longer than that. I was always looking for a solid band to play with and came upon these guys and it's been great. I've been playing a strong part in booking. We all do our own booking, but together, we have been booking a lot of festivals this summer.

ACT:LIVE: What festivals will Filthy Funk be performing at this summer?

Nick: (laughs) Well, we said we had a lot in the works. But we are playing the Canandaigua Fest and the Village Gate Square (274-302 North Goodman Street). Village Gate is doing a weekly festival during the summer and we'll be playing the end of June. We got some fun stuff going on.

John: We're also going to be back at the Bug Jar (219 Monroe Avenue) in June.

Filthy Funk "Keep Talkin'"
click to download

ACT:LIVE: You mentioned that you are working with RICRUDE, a well-known and respected MC here in Rochester. That makes a hip-hop fan like myself smile. Where else in the hip-hop community have you given the Midas touch?

John: That goes back to the studio side of things for us. RICRUDE has had an album waiting to go for a long time now and we have been working on the mixing at the moment. He's also doing some work with producers John Woodring and HUSKY. RIC has been making the tracks and we have been mixing for the final cut. That's about half done at the moment.

In the past we have done work with local MCs, some who are still rapping and some who aren't. We worked with Emilio Rojas in the past, but he's in New York now, so we don't get to see him too much. We provided on a few tracks on his "For Good" album.

We're not doing the beat thing so much, just because of so much of the live recording and bands we're working with, but our next project will definitely have some more of that flavor to it. What you're gonna' hear tonight with RICRUDE - we want to start recording that kind of thing with the band. That will probably be a Filthy Funk release in the future... something with Danielle and RIC involved.

ACT:LIVE: With all the genres you cross, I can see you all must have a variety of musical influences. Who inspires you to do what you do?

John: For me, a lot of the great jazz guitarists. People like Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. Then there's modern day producers like J-Dilla & Pete Rock. I'm really kind of into the beat tip. I come back to DJ Premier, Shadow, and Pete Rock. Hip-hop and jazz.

Nick: I always have a list of people that never gets said when I say this, but Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder. They are a couple of the top. Organ players like Jimmy Smith, McGriff... Anita O'Day, a jazz vocalist who got started back in the forties... She just died last year, I think, and she has been a huge influence. Someone who influences me is somebody new to me, somebody I haven't heard and has got something going on. Someone who makes me say, "Wow, I can't believe I haven't heard this person before." That's the most inspiring thing to me.

Devon: Well, for me, I'd have to say James Brown, Quincy Jones, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets... That's the kind of stuff I grew up on, so that all comes together for me.

ACT:LIVE: Where are things going from here in Rochester, with you as well as other musicians?

John: I think the community has a lot of great artists, it's just a matter of getting everyone involved. I think we're doing that with this event with RIC and Danielle. Rochester can be niche-like and we're just trying to plant a seed.

Nick: Rochester has always been a huge music community and it has so much potential, all we can do is continue to keep doing what we do, keep playing, and do what we can to support local artists. We also have to support ourselves. It's a cool little city and I think too many people are missing out. I think more people should get to the downtown area. (laughs) Hopefully, things won't get all "Fast-Ferry" on us.

Devon: I see Rochester going in an eclectic direction. Musicians from different genres of music are actually starting to come together. Jazz, hip-hop, rock - whatever. Like when people started coming to the jazz fest, it was just for swing. Now they're coming for funk, R&B, hip-hop - everything. People used to just go to the bar and spend their money, but now people are starting to get the picture and realize there are good shows to go to. There are good bands to go see. We're trying to bring that back.

John: People should get out and get away from their TVs. In my opinion, sometimes you want to go out to the bar and just chill, but I'd rather go hear some live music. I think society is becoming more insular. They need to engage the art...

Filthy Funk "Majik"
click to download

Filthy Funk is John Viviani (guitars), Nick Murray (keys), and Devon Tramell (skins). Filthy Funk hosts The Funky Soul Breakdown every third Friday at Dubland Underground (315 Alexander Street).

I stayed for the evening, tied on a nice buzz, and was taken back by the performance of RICRUDE right off the bat. Fresh Fingaz was doing a great job warming the crowd as they piled in, but RIC carried enough heat on his own. RICRUDE is one of the most talented MCs from the area, in my opinion. Any MC can stand in front of a turntable and recite, but RICRUDE delivers with confidence, intelligence, and something to say. There's nothing more proper than a jazz band to back you as an MC, so with my pinky finger out, cheers to that.

The rest of the evening was equally as live. Danielle played the crowd with her vocal hypnosis and brought us back to where the soul is. Filthy Funk, well, they blew off like a car bomb on "Eddie Fisher" and lit the evening up. That was music in motion.

I want to give props to Miguel Urbina for keeping the sound tight and the Filthy Funk for sitting down with me and spreading some knowledge. Cheers.

- james niche, act:live

Right now we're listening to:

Nujabes "Battlecry" (featuring Shing02) ("Samurai Champloo - Music Record Katana", 2005, Geneon)

Contemporary Art & Galvin/Davis Studio

fotos: antonio aresco, rit, xi mag
werds: james niche

First Friday: May 2nd
Alison Saar: Sculpture & Works On Paper
May 2nd - June 1st, Rochester Contemporary Art Center

Art is alive and well in Rochester this spring and summer, and in even more venues than before. The Rochester Contemporary Art Center (137 East Avenue) was host this past Friday the 2nd to the Alison Saar exhibit "Sculpture And Works On Paper", with the help of curator Deborah Ronnen and the center's director, Bleu Cease. Bleu, by the way, is a hell of a name and I am extremely jealous.

Alison is a California native and child of well-known African-American artist Betye Saar, and art conservationist Richard Saar. The exhibit features twenty-two pieces of sculpture and monotype work done with bronze, wood, ink, nails, and other various objects placed onto select paintings.

As we walked into the newly-renovated gallery space, I was taken in heart to Spring and Broadway, NYC. That was the feel. The walls and space in this gallery are a welcome medium for any long-time or up-and-coming artists. Bleu Cease has done an incredible job - not only on redesigning this space, but also putting this gallery on the map in Rochester and all of New York. The front desk and logo were just recently done at the gallery and looked great. The general feel is like the studio says: contemporary. It’s modern, it’s alive, and it’s waiting for hungry young artists.

As I walked, I spoke with guests attending from Buffalo, Syracuse, Toronto, and New York. This was a warming and pleasant surprise for a Rochester native and fan wanting to see our independent artists and businesses draw more from outside Rochester.

The work of Alison Saar has been said to explore issues surrounding identity, fertility, and aging. I see a focus on cultural identity and female empowerment, as well. On the floor of the exhibit are several bronze and wooden sculptures of women in seemingly distressed positions. On the walls are a great number of works; all displays of women memorialized, women identifying themselves, and women discovered. Some could say it's an emotional movement of empowerment, traversity, struggle, and power of women past and present.

My favorite piece was a small-scale sculpture of Harriet Tubman. Having many ties to Rochester via the Underground Railroad, Tubman is an extremely important figure in the lives of not only women, but also African-Americans.

The large version of the sculpture is a permanent fixture at the corner of 126th and Harriet Tubman Way in Harlem, New York. The mammoth sculpture at the intersection of those streets is a tribute to the cultural icon, the Underground Railroad, and to the great people of Harlem. It represents serenity in New York City - a world landmark in an urban center. The statue is surrounded by a garden containing trees indigenous to New York City, as well as trees and plant life indigenous to the south. Etched along the base of the statue is a refrain from Harriet Tubman’s favorite song, “Let My People Go” (lyrics).

The sculpture of Harriet is designed similarly to a train, with a cattle catcher at the base symbolizing the power she had to push through any obstacle in her way. The body of the piece is embedded with faces, shackles, and chains - all representing the struggles and people she has brought with her on her way to freedom and a new life for her people. It’s emotionally stirring and an important piece for African-Americans, in general.

I encourage all to stop down and spend some time at the gallery for this exhibit, especially women and African-Americans, and make sure you say hi to Bleu. He’s got a killer studio working and a killer name to match. Look for much more to come this summer from Rochester Contemporary Art Center as part of Rochester's First Fridays art endeavor.

First Friday: May 2nd
Galvin Davis Studio

It’s color, it’s urban, it’s just my style. The Galvin/Davis Studio, for those of you not familiar, is operated by Chas Davis and Tom Galvin in the old Cadillac Building at Anson Place off of East Avenue downtown, a few yards down from the corner of Alexander Street.

This was my first time in this space and also my first time meeting Chas and it was a pleasure. The atmosphere is eclectic, urban, and a colorful free-for-all of art exploration and consumption. A delicious pu-pu platter.

Chas, a native of Indiana, has been painting and teaching around the country and the world for the past twenty years, with twelve of those being in Rochester, and for the last six years Chas and Tom have occupied the space in the Cadillac building; the old mechanic’s repair shop, to be exact. Chas was formerly on Cascade Street at the ATDE Studio (Art That Doesn’t Exist).

Chas’ work is a blast of abstract colors, colorful scenes, and prints. Tom Galvin’s work is a bouquet of colors, floral patterns and designs. Color, color, color is all I can say and I love it.

When I walked in, I was welcomed with a smile by Chas and felt like I should have got down with a brush, myself. This felt like the people’s studio... like it’s not just Galvin's and Davis’, but as if it belongs to the community.

Chas has been traveling all over the country over the years. Hitchhiking, painting faces at carnivals, and gracing our railroad industry with the touch of his brush. This is the artist's artist in Rochester: laid back; he just wants to take you for a visual ride.

The First Fridays have been going on since February at Galvin/Davis and attendance has been good. Better weather is coming for the summer, and I hope that will bring out even more that attend.

- james niche, act:live