Upper Room Art Gallery Elevates Life's Discards on Las Olas

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Don Parchment

The Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk isn't exactly known as a mecca for high art. "It just goes to this weird lowest common denominator," says artist Robin Merrill. "Really beautiful, intrinsically valuable work has never had a great history on Las Olas."

But with the Upper Room Art Gallery & Mission Gifts Fair Trade Store, Merrill is hoping to change that. The space, tucked into the riverfront near Art Bar, is adding bona fide culture to the tourist-heavy strip, with pieces of work from halfway around the world that sell for $1,000 and more.

But the Upper Room, Merrill says, isn't about making money. "[The artists] are all represented by existing galleries. But commercial galleries weren't really allowing us to speak spiritually."

See also: How Flagler Village Became Fort Lauderdale's Cultural Core


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Planet of the Drums' "Compelling Story" to Be Documented by Local Filmmakers

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Photo courtesy of Kevin Kocak
Planet of the Drums documentary creators Ronaldo Bahamon, Kevin Kocak, and Steven Brevig.

A team of South Florida filmmakers are gearing up to shoot an independent documentary on Planet of the Drums, the longest running electronic dance tour headed up by four DJs who, at the millennium, were intent on bringing drum 'n' bass out of the underground into the world.

The four-person film crew will be on-site at Will Call in downtown Miami getting footage this weekend that will be used in the feature-length documentary geared at profiling said DJs: AK1200 (Orlando's Dave Minner), DJ Dara (Darragh Guilfoyle), Dieselboy (Damian Higgins), and MC Messinian (James Fiorella).

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Evil Dead: The Musical Adds Raunch, Gore, and Humorous Tunes to a Classic

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Vampires are passé these days; it's zombies that are all the rage. With the popularity of AMC's Walking Dead series, the prevalence of city-sanctioned zombie walks in every major town across the country, and the recent 2013 remake of the cult classic Evil Dead, the wobbling undead are experiencing a resurgence in pop culture like never before.

And what could signify that these once-living hobblers are at the zenith of their popularity more than the fact that people are flocking to see them sing, dance, and run bloody amok in a musical theatrical production?

Yes, it's true, highly improbable though it may seem: Sam Raimi's cult classic Evil Dead franchise has been reinterpreted for the stage as Evil Dead: The Musical. Turns out, this ghoulish theatrical creation is quite the hit.


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Dave Muller Melds Music and Art for a Rockin' Exhibition

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By Ciara LaVelle

Some artists stage stuffy openings for their exhibitions, events where black-clad art experts somberly wander a gallery nodding and squinting silently at the walls.

Dave Muller is not one of those artists. He's here to rock 'n' roll. "Music is my world, in one way or another," the L.A.-based artist says. "I tend to think of music as the lens through which I see things."

That makes "Rock 'n' Old," Muller's music-heavy art exhibition opening at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood this Saturday, a peek inside the mind of the artist, DJ, and record collector. Through a series of works, including listening stations and a flow-chart mural that traces the rise of rock 'n' roll, "Rock 'n' Old" explores the influence of music -- both in the larger realm of popular culture as well as in the lives of individuals. Muller's unconventional portraits, paintings of album spines, aligned as if sitting on a shelf, are based on the top music picks of the portrait's subject.

"We were able to get Iggy Pop to give us his top-ten list of albums," says Jane Hart, curator. "Without giving it away, some of his choices were very unexpected."


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New Times Seeks Arts Writer(s)

Categories: Arts & Culture

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Do you recognize who made these leggings? You could be our next arts writer.
New Times is seeking a freelance arts writer to contribute a weekly column about the arts scene in Broward County and to write for special issues like our annual Arts & Eats guide and Best Of Broward-Palm Beach edition.

Ideally, applicants will be familiar with the county's longtime arts institutions (Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the Improv) as well as up-and-coming or off-the-beaten-path venues (FAT Village, Makers Square, etc.). Candidates should be able to turn out fun and engaging stories, have some knowledge of significant local artists, and be able to put art-world developments into context.

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Carrie: The Musical: Scares Are Few and Far Between, but the Message Resonates

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In 1974, decades before bullying became a national cause du jour, Stephen King created the issue's avenging spokesperson: Carrie, the sheltered, ungainly high schooler who begins menstruation at the wrong place and wrong time, is tormented by her classmates, learns how to move things with her mind, and, when humiliated at her prom, leaves her school's gymnasium ablaze.

You know the story, but you may not recall that horror literature's most enduring telekinetic arsonist also inspired one of Broadway's most notorious disasters. Carrie: The Musical, an idea that seems as unlikely now as it did in its 1988 unveiling, ran for just 16 previews and five critically roasted performances.

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Girls' Club's Art Fallout: A Trip Through Lauderdale's Arts Scene

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Photo by Christina Mendenhall
It's that time of year again, when a romp through Fort Lauderdale's contemporary arts scene explodes for a one-night affair on Saturday. Art Fallout, the 954's largest art walk, features pop-up art shows in and around downtown's environs -- FAT Village, Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts, Third Avenue, and the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Attendees can hop on a free trolley to get around and take it all in. Or better yet, ride a bike for a true adventure.

This artsy shindig, started in 2010, was founded by the contemporary arts and alternative space Girls' Club Collection as a means to provide the area with a taste of culture, a bite-sized explosion somewhat like an acid trip that lasts for four hours. The event occurs from 5 to 9 p.m., so just be sure not to go too far down that rabbit hole!

In its first year, roughly 200 attendees came out, and by the following year, attendance had nearly doubled. As the draw increases, so do the participants. To fill us in on what's in store, Girls' Club gallery director Sarah Michelle Rupert gives us the skinny on what's new this year and how the concept came about.

See also: Photos from 2013 Art Fallout in Fort Lauderdale

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Artist Kelcie McQuaid Has a "Desire to Build a Better Scene in Fort Lauderdale"

Categories: Arts & Culture

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Scott Munsey
Kelcie McQuaid

Kelcie McQuaid's excitement about her third solo show in her first year as a full-time painter was apparent even over the phone.

"I have been an artist for many years, showing and selling work for about five now," the 25-year-old says. "However, this is my first year taking it on as a full-time occupation. My work is art. It's my bread and butter. It is my passion."

Her work reveals a desire to express herself and connect with humanity, combining abstraction and portraiture. "Everyone has problems, but I express them through my art, and it helps a lot," she says with a laugh. "I tend to be a very emotional person. Even speaking to you now, I've already choked up twice thinking about the things that I'm reflecting on and the problems I have in my life. I deal with them in paint." She pauses to let out another laugh before continuing: "It allows me to look into myself and find the solutions that I need to get through."


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Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale's Café Dolly Exhibition Shows Works by Picabia, Schnabel, and Willumsen

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In the fall of 2013, when former MOCA North Miami curator Bonnie Clearwater, now of the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, saw the "Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen" exhibition in Denmark, she knew she had to bring it to Florida. The show features paintings by three major art players: the late Francis Picabia and Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, and the still-living edgy filmmaker and internationally acclaimed artist Julian Schnabel.

The elegant and well-heeled Clearwater was no stranger to Schnabel's work. The New York native, raised in Texas, is known for adhering broken plates onto canvases, creating evocative, textured paintings. His film credits include Academy Award-nominated The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls, and Basquiat.

"I've worked with Julian Schnabel for many years on various projects, including a major exhibition in the 1980s and a folklore exhibition in Germany about his work," Clearwater recounts.

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Arts Garage Launches Women's Theater Project

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Lauren Gunderson

Since the beginning of live theater, women have gotten a raw deal. For an embarrassingly long time, from the ancient Greek to the English Renaissance period, women couldn't even take the stage to play women. Cross-dressing men took those roles -- a tradition that continues today in Japanese Kabuki theater.

Recent studies have suggested that despite its myriad punctures, a theatrical glass ceiling remains intact. A study in U.K.'s The Guardian that exhaustively surveyed the 2012-13 English theater season found a persistent two-to-one male-to-female ratio, from the actors onstage to the playwrights commissioned to the executives in charge. Narrowing its focus strictly to playwriting, the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative found in a 2011 study that just one in five plays produced on Los Angeles-area stages was written by a woman. Similar numbers appeared two years earlier in a town hall discussion at the playwriting hub New Dramatists in New York.

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