Feb 28, 2012

Jawbreaker as Art — just don't lick it.

When you hear the word jawbreaker, what's the first thing that pops into your mind? If it's Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper, you're not alone. However, if you've see the latest exhibit at the FAC, your thoughts probably jump to Terry Maker and the beautifully colorful art she's created in Reckoning. Using resin, Maker incorporated jawbreakers into many pieces that would fit seamlessly in Wonka's factory.

Resin is liquid plastic that is mixed and casted to harden and make a permanent shape. In her work, Maker places jawbreakers and other common items into the mix. Once the mixture has hardened, Maker uses a saw to slices the piece, exposing layers that create interested patterns and display a variety of colors.

Jawbreakers are made using a hot pan process. This process puts single grains of sugars into a revolving pan that adds color, flavor, and other candy ingredients. This is done over and over again until the desired size is created.

Depending on the size of the jawbreaker it can take an estimated 14 to 19 days to completely eat. With one slice from Maker, a layer can show all the layers of sugar to the center of the jawbreaker and save you a trip to the dentist.

Feb 24, 2012

...In the Community: Plains Indians at I.D.E.A. Space

Images courtesy of I.D.E.A Space.

Itching to see some Native American art and can't wait for the FAC's April show "Honoring A Legacy: Selections From The Taylor Museum Collection Of Native American Works"? Our April show will display key Plains Indians objects from Taylor Museum's Permanent Collection, but for a different perspective, you can hop on over to "Indian Corner", the new exhibit at at I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College.

"Indian Corner" is held with guest curator Wendy Red Star to compare authentic Native American objects that remain within the tribe, versus commercially-produced kitsch objects destined for tourist trade. Kitsch objects include drums, axes, Kachina dolls, among many others. I.D.E.A. is displaying over 40 objects from the FAC's Permanent Collection -- giving you an chance to view objects that aren't currently on display at the Museum.

Wendy Red Star is the niece of acclaimed American/Crow Artist, Kevin Red Star. Kevin Red Star's painting "Tranquility" is on display as part of the 75th Anniversary exhibit on the first-floor FAC galleries.

I.D.E.A. Space is open Tues-Sat 12:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Feb 22, 2012

Artist Spotlight: James Braly

James Braly is the star of  Life in a Marital Institution, but not because he's the only actor onstage in this production, but because he can sardonically retell the ups and downs of a dysfunctional marriage with unmatched charisma and precision. He is the perfect actor—a great storyteller.

In an interview with Kathleen Soladiti, Life in a Marital Institution producer Meredith Vieira explains how, “James [is] so magical” in that he is a talented storyteller, which in Vieira’s opinion is rare to find these days. Neil Genzlinger from the New York Times agrees that, “he has a fine sense of how to make his points without ever explicitly stating them.

Braly gained experience during his open-mic years where he developed relationship material, allowing him to touch on all parts of marriage in his monologue. No stranger to dark comedy, he's also written The Monthly Nut and Asylum. Both monlogues with serious issues like drugs and bankruptcy.

Performing Life in a Marital Instiution at the FAC this weekend, Braly believes American society might expect such a monologue to come from a woman's perspective, but Braly steps up to present his experience as a man living in the modern age. In his interview with Brian Leher, Braly reveals how this show focuses on “how wide a gap you [are] willing to bridge to have a home.”

Braly’s genuineness shines through in his performance because much of this monologue is his life story. From arguments about babies to who deserves to be the happiest, all topics in his monologue are personal; they come from his own experiences and complicated relationship with his wife.

Braly hopes that his monologue will bring you “back to asking questions of your own life and of the people in it.”

Life in a Marital Institution
Saturday, Feb. 25 | 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26 | 2 p.m.
Buy Tickets

Yesterday's BIG installation

Chris Weed's "Portal" includes three large blue chairs and giant door, all made of steel.

Wondering about that big crane out front of the FAC yesterday? We're installing a new work on loan which may look familiar to some of you. This large-scale outdoor sculpture used to stand outside of the Pikes Peak Center, but now will be temporarily installed in the FAC sculpture garden. It is "Portal" by Chris Weed, a local artist who happens to live just a couple blocks away from the FAC.

Weed also sculpted the big spiky "spores" out front (which are also visible from the sidewalk if you walk by his house). He is represented by three galleries across three states -- California, Colorado and New Mexico -- and has exhibited internationally. You can see more of Weed's work around Colorado Springs at the Plaza of the Rockies and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Visit our Facebook photo album for more images! ColoradoSprings.com also has a photo gallery of the installation.

Feb 21, 2012

Public FREE day ALL DAY!

Public Free Day — Tues, Feb. 21
10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Admission: FREE!

 Hope you all had a relaxing President's Day long weekend! Today (and every third Tuesday of the month) the FAC offers a Public Free day where general admission is waived. We'll be open until 8 p.m., which means an extra three hours for you to explore a variety of fun stuff. Guided tours with FAC docents will run throughout the day, starting at: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Also, demos by Bemis School instructors from will happen from 4-7 p.m. in the Glass Corridor. See creative forces in action when it comes to polymer claypainting with oil and using the Japanese technique of sumi-e.

In addition, sign up tomorrow for a Family Membership and they will be discounted -- FAC membership includes free museum admission, discounts to the theatre, Bemis School of Art, special events and more.
On display in the galleries will be:

We welcome groups, but for 10 or more, we would still appreciate advance notice of your visit! Please call ahead: 719.475.2444. Every eight students high school and under must be accompanied by one adult chaperone.

Feb 17, 2012

Terry Maker Members Preview TONIGHT

Close-up: Süss, 2011. Resin, jaw breaker candy, 30 x 19.5 x 8.5 inches.
Hey all! The Members Preview of Reckoning is tonight at 5 p.m. featuring a presentation with the artist herself. We'll be live tweeting Terry Maker's presentation if you can't make it tonight. Use hashtag #RECKONING to join the conversation!

Various memberships are available with special rates available for family, teachers, military and more! Membership includes exclusive previews of new museum exhibitions, discounts at LUMA, the theatre and everything FAC.

Feb 15, 2012

LAST CHANCE for "In the Next Room" — backstage tour too!

STILL haven't caught the FAC's showing of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)? This week will be your LAST CHANCE to catch the Colorado premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Pulitzer Prize nominee that addresses women's "hysteria" during the Victorian era. This play's themes still speak deeply to a modern audience as this play is one of the most produced shows in the country this year. The Denver Post recently called the FAC's production the "Title of the Season."

Because it's the last week of the show, there will be a BACKSTAGE TOUR with our award-winning scenic and lighting designers Christopher Sheley and Holly Rawls after the performance on Thurs, Feb. 16. In the Next Room will be showing through the weekend, closing on Sun, Feb. 19. Hope you can make it to this electrifying comedy!

Don't forget about the closing of Barbara Sparks' amazing photography exhibition, "Coalescence"which features stunning black-and-white photographs from around the world. "Coalescence" will close the same day as In the Next Room, on Sun, Feb. 19.

Feb 14, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Terry Maker

Tery Maker, Ozymandian Tree–A Silent Film,  plaster and 16mm film, 2011. 8 panels, each 90 ½ x 23 ½ x 2 ½ inches.

Here are some fun facts about Colorado-artist, Terry Maker to get you excited about the upcoming FAC exhibition opening this week!
  • Has exhibited in Hiroshima, Japan at the International Fine Arts Center
  • Only recently began working with resin, now characteristic of her bigger pieces
  • Graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from CU Boulder in ‘83
  • Exhibiting for the past 25 years
  • Heavily influenced by classics in English literature, such as William Golding (Lord of the Flies), T.S. Eliot (Wasteland), John Milton (Paradise Lost) and John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
  • Presented solo exhibition only three years after graduating at Gallery 234 (University of Wyoming, Laramie)
  • FAC exhibit will feature Maker’s 100-foot snake made of shredded money, named Reptilius Consumerus Devourus (these bills were acquired by the artist herself, from the Federal Reserve)
  • “Reckoning” serves as a recent retrospective, featuring 50 of Maker’s works
See Westword, a Denver entertainment weekly, for more fun information about Terry Maker, including her 2008 exhibition at MCA Denver. The artist’s web site too has photos of both her finished art and her unique artistic process.

Terry Maker: Recokoning will be on display from Feb. 18 through June 3 in our signature El Pomar Gallery on the second floor.

       Terry Maker, Jaw Breaker Series, 1, 2 and 4, resin and jawbreaker candy on panel, 2008-2009. 40 x 40 x 2 inches.

Feb 13, 2012

Sarah Ruhl - by the numbers

12 total works of drama
1 adaption from Chekov's "Anna on the Neck"
2 finalist rounds for Pulitzer Prize for Drama, "Clean House" (2005) and "In the Next Room" (2010)
20 age at publication of first book, a collection of poems entitled, "Death in Another Country"
23 age at production of first full-length play, "Passion Play"
500,000 dollars of grant money from her MacArthur Fellowship (aka Genius Grant) of 2006
3 Tony Award nominations for Best Play, Best Featured Actress and Best Costume for "In the Next Room"

This is the last week to see Sarah Ruhl's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominee In the Next Room at the FAC. Only five performances left!

Performance Dates
Thu, 2/16, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 2/17, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 2/18, 2:30 p.m. ; 7:30 p.m.
Sun, 2/19, 2:30 p.m.
Buy Tickets

Feb 9, 2012

Valentine's Day plans: Denver Jazz at the FAC

Nelson playing in trenton. Mi. at Jazz on the river.

Still no plans for Valentine's Day? Don't let that bog you down, the FAC has a special treat! You usually don't hear too much about music performances here at the FAC — unless its musical theatre — but on Tues., Feb. 14 we'll be presenting a jazz performance by the Wayne Wilkinson Group, featuring Nelson Rangell at the SaGaJi Theatre! Come early, and enjoy a cocktail in the Deco Lounge where the Colorado Springs Conservatory musicians will be playing from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Nelson Rangell has been considered one of the finest contemporary Jazz saxophonists since he first burst on the scene in 1989. Backing Rangell will be Colorado’s finest jazz musicians led by Colorado Springs’ own Wayne Wilkinson on guitar. Band members include (all from Denver) Dave Hanson (piano), Mike Marlier (drums) and Kirwan Brown (bass).

Performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb 14. Tickets are available online or at the box office for $25.

...Or already have other evening plans? You could check out the last day of Strange Beauty: Baroque Sensibilities in Contemporary Art, the current exhibition at I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College.

Feb 8, 2012

Free Family Adventure Day: Celebrating Carnival!

Learn about carnival and create your own colorful mask!

Carnival Spirit Around the World
Sat., Feb. 11, 2012 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 
Free admission Bemis School of Art
Invite friends on Facebook

Treasure a day with your family, enjoying artist demonstrations and hands-on art projects led by Bemis School of Art instructors that include hand-building with clay, mask collages, and painting. Create your own works of art during this day of discovery that has a thematic focus on the festive "Carnivale" traditions.

Carnival is known all around the world, but there is more to the elaborate masks, costumes, and floats than meets the eye.

Catholic followers in Italy originally started Carnival as Carnevale, a Latin word meaning, “to put away the meat.” This extravagant tradition takes place right before Lent when Catholics aren’t suppose to eat meat.

As Carnival became famous in Italy, European settlers took the tradition with them as they set up colonies in the Americas. Slaves were also brought to the colonies at this time,  adding African influences to the tradition.

Today, Brazil is famous for Carnival. Elaborate masks and costumes are mainly made out of feathers but, beads, fabric, and even bones are used. Headpieces symbolized the ability to overcome an illness, pain, or heartbreak. Masks allow people to hide their identity and be someone else.

Samba, a popular dance style with African roots, is popular at Carnival in Brazil. During ancient times, Africans would dance around in circles in the parade through villages in masks and costumes because it would bring good fortune or help fix their problems.

Explore more of the festive side of Carnival at Family Adventure Day! Plus, don't miss the free, docent-led tour of the FAC galleries at 12:30 p.m— including one of your last chances to see Coalescence at the FAC, a exhibition of Barbara Sparks' breathtaking landscape photography.

Hope to see you at Bemis School of Art this Saturday, Feb. 11!

Feb 6, 2012

February Workshops at Bemis

Although the Winter/Spring session for Bemis School of Art has already begun, there are still lots of one-day workshops available for adults. All the one-day classes in February are on the weekends, and what better way than to spend a chilly winter afternoon than inside learning a new art technique or improving an old skill! The classes below still have space available—register soon before they fill up!

Learn to Solder - Sat 2/11 Soldering is the technique used to join metals, allowing you to create pieces out of a variety of precious metals like copper brass and silver.

Pastels Textures and Techniques - Sat 2/18 Discover the different aesthetic effects you can achieve to your pastel works through widening the scope of materials, papers and boards.

All classes have their own enrollment fee that you can check either in the online catalog or PDF version. Become a member of the FAC and enjoy numerous benefits, including discounted enrollment for Bemis classes.

Feb 3, 2012


The first of FIVE special events for the FAC Theatre's production of "In the Next Room" is the film screening of "PASSION AND POWER: The Technology of Orgasm" happening this Sat, Feb 4 at 5 p.m. Despite being set in the 19th century, the play's themes still resonate with contemporary issues such as those regarding the relationship between humanity and technology.

This 74-minute documentary's sole focus is the unique relationship between vibrators and their female users. The evolution of the vibrator's role in day-to-day life has progressed from a treatment for hysteria, into obscurity then then back into mainstream culture thru feminist movements, is critiqued — especially in light of an existing double-standard between the achievement of orgasm between males and females. "PASSION AND POWER" was ranked among the best documentaries of 2009 by the Video Librarians, an online video review magazine.

This is a FREE event, and tickets will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets can be reserved by visiting the FAC box office or calling 719.634.5583.

Watch a short clip from the film below:

Upcoming In the Next Room, or the vibrator play special events:

Sun, Feb. 5 | Post-performance TalkBackjoin producing Artistic Director, Scott RC Levy, in a conversation with the director and cast members

Thur, Feb. 9 | Ladies Night — every regularly-priced performance ticket comes with a complimentary drink ticket for you to try our play-inspired drink, the Hysterical Paroxysm (lemoncello, vodka, campari, and orange juice).

Sat, Feb. 11 | Free Saturday Salon — 6 p.m., pre-performance panel discussion on contemporary application of period themes of the play

Thur, Feb. 16 | Post-performance Backstage tour — during the last week of the play's run, come behind the curtain with cast members to learn about what goes on backstage

Feb 2, 2012

A True Hysterical Myth

LEFT TO RIGHT: Vibrator ad from 1913. Vibrator ads fro the Sears cataloge, 1915.

   Vibrators weren’t originally used for sex—physicians used them to treat hysteria during the Victorian Era. Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, defined hysteria as suffocation or madness of the womb.

George Beard, a physician, created a 75-page catalog of symptoms that could cause hysteria and the list was incomplete. It’s no wonder a quarter of women during this era were diagnosed with hysteria. Some symptoms included faintness, insomnia, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, and irritability. Women being sexually dissatisfied didn’t cross their minds as a cause of hysteria.
Hysteria generally affected those considered most civilized: white upper and middle class women. The upper class had higher education and lived luxuriously, which increased irritability in their nervous system and their chances of being diagnosed with hysteria. Working class women didn’t have luxuries; they had to work to survive.

Close up of Sears cataloge ad, 1915.
Death wasn’t a result of hysteria, but women needed to receive constant treatment to subdue the symptoms. Doctors would give women a pelvis massage until she had a paroxysm, also known as an orgasm. This treatment method took time to reach a paroxysm, so Joseph Mortimer Granville created a device using electricity to conduct an alternate form of the treatment: the first vibrator. At first, vibrators were only available to doctors, but as home electricity became more popular, the vibrator became available to consumers.

This part of the Victorian Era has been making a buzz around the world. Sarah Ruhl’s play “In the Next Room, or the vibrator play” and director Tanya Wexler’s film “Hysteria” give their own spin on hysteria and examine the circumstances surrounding the invention of the vibrator. “Hysteria” comes out this May in the United States starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, and Jonathan Pryce, and In the Next Room makes its Colorado premiere at the FAC Feb. 2-19.

Today, hysteria is no longer considered a confliction, but rather a myth. It was officially removed from the American Psychiatric Association in 1952.

Feb 1, 2012

Playwright Spotlight: Sarah Ruhl

Playwright Sarah Ruhl (image source: TimeOut New York)
The premiere of In The Next Room, or the vibrator play is but a day away here at the FAC, and as we eagerly await it's Colorado debut, you may be curious what Sarah Ruhl, the playwright, had in mind when she set out to write a play about orgasms and vibrators.

According to NPR, Ruhl draws most of her inspiration from a variety books ranging from Goodnight Moon to Adrienne Kennedy’s works such as Funnyhouse of a Negro. The fact that her inspiration comes from such an array of canons explains the surreal nature of her work.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone, one of Ruhl’s most acclaimed works, exemplifies her unusual, dreamlike writing style. The main character, Mary-Louise Parker, answers a man’s cell phone (who happens to be dead) and embarks on a journey where she develops a relationship with this static figure.

In The Next Room, or the vibrator play appears to be more naturalistic than Ruhl’s other plays, but she reasons in her interview with Raven Snook that even though the play doesn’t go into, “the afterlife or some strange metaphysical place…The subject matter is so challenging—you know, orgasms, vibrators—that [she] wanted the form to be stable.”

In another interview with Brendan Lemon of The Financial Times, she explains that she “didn’t want the play to be too knowing” since present-day medicine views orgasms and hysteria through less innocent and more biological lens than 19th century medicine.

Even though the play is set in the 19th century, Ruhl explains that it is still a commentary about present day sexuality. She explains how it is, “impossible to write about the past and not write about the present, because [she is] in the present, so [she is] always commenting from a distance.”
So obviously this play is about much more than vibrators. It is a social commentary on women’s sexuality woven into a lesson on 19th century medicine.

To read the two interviews in their entirety, visit: Raven Snook interview; Brendan Lemon interview