Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dirty Linen Night

Saturday evening was the annual Dirty Linen Night, the French Quarter's version of a follow up festival to White Linen Night. I've been informed that the name of the festival comes from the idea that one could wear the same soiled white outfit from the previous weekend and fit in just fine with the crowd on Royal Street.

I must say, I really liked Dirty Linen much better in terms of vibe and art. White Linen Night was interesting to attend but it was crowded, and the art was mundane and housed in very generic white-walled spaces. The whole event just screamed hoity-toity--people were there to be seen, not necessarily to see any art.

Dirty Linen Night was a whole different kind of event from the get-go. We tried to get there a little bit earlier so we could see as many galleries as possible but we still didn't make it into every one. I was really blown away by the sheer number of galleries along that strip of Royal St. Each space was completely unique; many of them were converted houses with narrow rooms painted brightly and dangerously crowded with artwork. Each gallery had its own drinks and finger food--all free to browsers in keeping with the spirit of the event. Many of the artist were directly on hand at the galleries, which I felt really kept the focus where it belonged.

There were many great places that we visited that night but the ones that stuck out the most to me were Amzie Adams' Gallery and Craig Tracy's Bodypainting Gallery. Amzie Adams has bit of a campaign for mayor going on but I can't tell if the whole thing is a joke or not. I actually support several of his platform points, namely that city-wide recycling would become mandatory (a pipe-dream right now) and that Chris Rose (my favourite columnist with the Times-Picayune) would be named Chief of Staff. Adams is one of those artists who's paintings really feel like New Orleans, in a way that is hard to put a finger on. Plus he's quite a character. (If you check out the picture of the paint-covered woman in the street above, Amzie is the man in the felt hat directly to the right of the artist.)

Craig Tracy is another well known artist in the city. He uses the human body as a canvas but also take photographs of the body art in ways that sort of manipulate the eye. He has a great website so click the link above to see what I mean. I've seen some of his painted people at a few city festival (hard not to notice the otherwise naked person if you're standing right next to them) and his work is so detailed. When we visited the gallery he was painting a woman in black and white stripes to the delight of an avid audience--his studio was one of the busiest we encountered on Saturday.

The whole thing was a lot of fun and I noticed a lot of "sold" signs on artwork so I can only hope that it was a fruitful night for the businesses along Royal. I couldn't take any photos in the galleries themselves so I tried to take some street shots that would do the festival justice.

This will be my last post before leaving for Canada on Thursday. I'm hoping to maybe write something during the next two weeks but my schedule is already looking crazy. Come September I shall be officially unemployed so I will have nothing but time to blog!

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