Saturday, May 2, 2009

Belly Dancers and a Cherry 57 Nash

Last night spouse and I went to the "First Friday Art Walk" in downtown Binghamton. This is an event that takes place the first Friday of every month where various art galleries and other venues open at night for viewing. Several places that normally charge admission are free. It started out with stores on a particular street and has now spread, including venues outside of downtown. Here's the website: http://www.gorgeouswashington.com/firstfridaysmore.htm.

It's a neat event for a small city. We aren't trained "art observers" we just know what we like and don't like. It's a good way to sample various types of art all in one evening. Two local museums also open free that evening. There is a free shuttle trolley. Although the event officially runs from 6-9 pm, the party really doesn't get started until later-although we aren't there by then.

Three things of note:

First, we saw a belly dancing performance out on one of the sidewalks. I have an in law who is a belly dancer and I wonder what her take on it would have been. It was a lot of fun to watch but I don't know if I would have been brave enough to walked barefoot on that sidewalk.

The second was an exhibition of art work by the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. That's where the "Cherry 57 Nash" comes in. If Jerry Garcia hadn't become a famous musician, who knows? His art, to be honest, is not my cup of tea except for, amazingly, some art that he worked on soon after coming out a diabetic coma. He worked on his art as therapy because he had lost a lot of his motor skills. He created visions of what he had seen coming out of his coma. They were absolutely otherworldly. Really made you think.

The third was a coffee shop that featured a young man who was billed as a "culinary artist". He created some very unusual dishes, all of which incorporated coffee. There was a raw shaved asparagus which looked like spinach fettuccine - dressed in oil. It was wonderful. There was shrimp with a coffee based dip. I don't eat shrimp but spouse dug right in. Lastly he had a steamed asparagus spear dish with a coffee dip, again very imaginative. That is exactly what our city needs. The gentleman had been a chef in some big city restaurants, he explained, but his wife was a native of Binghamton and so...here he was. I wish him well.

Finally, a number of galleries were donating contributions that normally went to pay for refreshments to victims of the American Civic Association shooting. Some were also donating a percentage of their sales last night. Very sobering to remember that the last First Friday was the night of the shooting. How quickly time passes. So much has happened here in the last month as our community begins to heal.

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