ArtBeat: Heavy @ St. Joseph’s Church, 7/23-25/10


Heavy @ St. Joseph's Church, Albany

Heavy, indeed.

And delightfully diverse. And swimmingly surreal.

Heavy – the multimedia art fest organized by Samson Contompasis of the Marketplace Gallery for the benefit of the restoration of St. Joseph’s Church by the Historic Albany Foundation – looked to be a rousing success on Friday night, the first day of the three-day extravaganza.

People were there. The media was there. Artists and art lovers were there. And Contompasis was there, strolling through the festivities with a big grin on his face, looking like a proud papa.

And the art was there, too. All kinds of art, from Sarah Haze’s inviting illuminated sculptures to Scott Ackerman’s wiggy, head-shaped store.

Chris Harvey’s day-glo skull ‘n’ flowers installations – four of ’em – were a big hit, and so was Peter Leue’s “Musical Chairs,” a unique kind of pump organ played by sitting your ass down on one of the stools, each tuned to a different musical note. (Sadly, most folks were simply pressing the seats down with their hands.)

And speaking of music, the Disposable Rocket Band rocked the house in the most dada-esque way possible on Friday night. While DRB is usually a one-man, electro-rockin’ endeavor concocted and performed by mad scientist-electric mandolinist Mat Kane, the “band” was expanded into something of a quartet for Heavy.

Space dancer Rachelle Smith-Stallman was dynamic and dramatic, shimmying and shaking in some sort of belly dancer-meets-Power Ranger outfit both on the stage and dancing through the audience. VJ Vodstrup provided a surplus of image overload as a constantly shifting backdrop. And drummer/stage designer Chris Harvey (again) spent most of his time on stage holding a rifle and standing at the ready – while dressed in a gorilla costume and white jumpsuit like a Nairobi Trio-meets-Planet of the Apes stormtrooper.

Got all that?

Photographs by Sebastien B, and you can see more of his Heavy photos here.


Heavy @ St. Joseph's Church, Albany

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