Monday, June 21, 2010

Casper weekend

Was in Casper this weekend and went to a "Lincoln Street BackYard Concert." I missed last summer's, so made a point of getting there this time. Jeff Finlin played last year, and it was so successful that Gary and Sue brought him back this year. Everyone who comes is asked to bring a potluck dish (what a spread!), and a donation. All money received goes to the band. The concerts have now turned into a series!

The neighbors and other friends have come up with a plan to continue the "house concert" concept throughout the summer with an event planned for July, August and September. Terrific idea. The "house" guarantees the performer a certain amount. The take is hoped to cover the cost of the artist, but in case it doesn't, the "house" makes up the difference. Talk about promoting the arts and musicians!

There were approximately 85 people that turned out. The outdoor atmosphere is relaxed and intimate. People know each other. There was a tree climbing dog in the next yard who really wanted to get in on the action, but the owner, who was at the concert, wasn't swayed to bring him over. Pretty soon, all the kids ended up in the yard next door and began climbing the tree themselves. At one point, there were about six kids sitting on the stout branches, the dog somewhere in the middle. The dance floor was the alley.

Jeff and Amy Gieske (on bass and back-up vocals), played until 9 pm. Cory McDaniel, formerly and still of the The Tremors, sat in on a few songs, billed by Jeff as "aka Eric Clapton." Cory put out some great blues riffs. Jeff's songwriting is gorgeous (he had one of his songs, Sugar Blue, chosen for the movie Elizabethtown, but Perfect Mark of Cain astounded). The group sounded really great.

I think this grass roots effort (could it even be thought of as community development?) is to be applauded in these especially troubling economic times, when the arts have taken very troubling financial hits.

Upcoming BackYard Concerts: (they even printed up a small postcard-size schedule)

Host TBA:
July 23-- Liz Barnez and Friends -- soulful, New Orleansy folk rock. Playing with Liz is vocalist/drummer Bryon Holley and keyboardist Eric Moon.

Hosted by Glenda and Dave Pullen:
August 21--Andy Hackbarth--singer/songwriter and classical guitarist who plays pop/folk/flamenco and is co-founder of the Nashville/based non-profit Songs for the Cure.

Hosted by Margaret and Merrit Benson:
September 2--The Fireants--popular Wyoming group who plays Cajun/South American/ Zydeco from Buffalo.

The Corridor

I had not yet been into co-owner Zac Pullen's new gallery, The Corridor, and so went down on Saturday afternoon. Ten artists are represented, who each pay a yearly fee for that service. The gallery space used to be Wiggins Shoe Store and I remember going in there to drop off shoes to be repaired. Now the space looks every bit of metropolitan chic. I ran into Cory Taylor, who is helping out at the gallery, and who'd been living in L.A. for awhile trying to get his screen play noticed. He and my son were pals in high school.

An interesting upcoming event at the gallery will take place on Wednesday, July 9, when the life and work of a Wyoming legend, William Brewer (d. 2006), will be introduced and on display. He was a world rodeo champion, rancher and self-taught artist, and prolific during his lifetime--his children inherited hundreds of paintings. An actor will characterize Brewer from a script that Cory wrote especially for this event. There will also be musical entertainment by the Dang Ol' Boys, food and a cash bar. The performance starts out on the street and then moves inside, where a recreation of Brewer's studio will also be set up. Performance times for the skit will be 6, 7:30 and 9 pm. Tickets are $15 each and available at The Corridor Gallery, Wind City Books, Sonic Rainbow, Lou Tauberts Ranch Wear & Fields Creek 104.