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Your weekend arts forecast: Nanami, Kubo and Artimus

Bill DeYoung



"Nanami," by Japanese artist Sayaka Kajita Ganz. Photo provided by the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

Just days after the discovery of “extreme” concentrations of microplastics in the North Atlantic, the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art is hosting a traveling exhibition that includes a 16-foot blue whale made of cast-off garbage retrieved from the ocean.

The shell for Nanami, by Japanese artist Sayaka Kajita Ganz, was created from aluminum armature, wire and cable ties. “Nanami is made with reclaimed plastic objects, but designed so that the materials do not stand out until viewers get close enough to see it in detail,” reads the artist’s statement on the piece. “I hope that the use of discarded plastics will help raise awareness about pollution. If we value our resources, we will waste less.”

The James exhibition, Environmental Impact II, examines some of the ways 20-some artists have engaged with issues of our ravaged environment. Opening Saturday, it includes works by Robert Bateman, Guy Harvey, Kent Ullberg, Karen Hackenberg and others. The creations address global warming, the Gulf oil spill, unabated logging and mining, loss of bee populations et cetera. The usual horrors.

“At a time when environmental changes and challenges are becoming increasingly visible in our daily lives,” curator Emily Knapes said, “the artists draw attention to these issues, responding in creative and thought-provoking ways.”

Details here.

The MFA this weekend

Saturday (Aug. 24) at 11 a.m., the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg will screen Kubo and the Two Strings, a stop-motion animated fantasy film from 2016. Featuring the voices of Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rooney Mara and Matthew McConaughey, among others, Kubo is the tale of a 12-year-old boy who can manipulate origami by making music on his shamisen (a traditional Japanese musical instrument). Then all sorts of fantastical things happen.

It won the BAFTA Award (the British Oscar) for Best Animated Film, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects, the first animated film to earn a nomination in the latter category since The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993.

Its appearance at the MFA, of course, has everything to do with the ongoing origami exhibition, Above the Fold, on view through Sept. 22. The Kubo screening will be preceded by the debut of Cranes, a short film by St. Pete teen Alex Archipov, who’ll chat with the audience afterwards. The film follows a young boy dealing with grief who finds hope through folding origami paper cranes.

Tickets and details here.

Meanwhile the museum’s summer concert series, in the Marly Auditorium, concludes with Sunday afternoon’s performance (at 2 p.m.) from the acclaimed Tesla Quartet. The group (Ross Snyder, violin), Michelle Lie, violin, Edwin Kaplan, viola and Serafim Smigelskiy, cello — have planned a program including Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and others.

Shazam! It’s Pyle

There are only two people who can claim to be living members of the classic lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Jacksonville band we all know and love from the ’70s. One of them, guitarist Gary Rossington, stayed the course as “Skynyrd” lost one founding member after another, until he was still tearing through “Free Bird” with musicians who had no business using the band name (which is now, supposedly, officially retired). The other is drummer Artimus Pyle, who didn’t sing, or write any hit tunes. But Pyle was there, he was one of the guys who walked away from the plane crash in 1977, and after all these years only he and Rossington are still with us. And from all accounts, they don’t like each other much.

Be that as it may, Pyle’s got the pedigree, and he’s on the road with, well, the Artimus Pyle Band. They’re playing the classics at the Central Park Performing Arts venue in Largo Friday. Details here.

And now, this

Shameless plug time: I’ll be at thestudio@620 tonight (Thursday, Aug. 22) to launch my book I Need to Know: The Lost Music Interviews, published by St. Petersburg Press. There’ll be an interview segment with me as me and Paul Wilborn as Dick Cavett, and musical interludes from pianist extraordinaire Jeremy Douglass, he of the Florida Bjorkestra. It starts at 7, admission is free, and if you don’t have anything else to do, why, we’d all love to see you there. Read more about the book here.

Friday’s concert at the Palladium features the groovy tribute band Peace of Woodstock. Read the Catalyst feature here.

D-Gallerie has moved to the Sundial –  153 2nd Ave N. – and will celebrate with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, with wine, refreshments and a drawing for an original art piece. D-Gallerie features the works of 40 contemporary painters, sculptors and mixed media artists.

Matthew “St. Pete’s Favorite Clown in a Gown” McGee continues to be the busiest performer in the city. Pippin at freeFall just wrapped, he’s singing with the Florida Bjorkestra Sept. 6 at the Palladium, and his dance card for fall includes his first appearance in an opera – Madama Butterfly, with St. Petersburg Opera Company, also at the Palladium. Mighty Matt’s at the Metro Community Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, providing dishy commentary over a screening of the 1995 camp “classic” Showgirls. Dressing in appropriately trashy style is encouraged. Details here.

  • Are you a performing arts space, large, small or in-between, an art gallery, a bookshop or any place where public cultural events take place? Please put us on your email list – we can’t publicize you if we don’t know what (or who) you are! The address is Thanks.



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    Elaine Grace

    August 23, 2019at1:51 pm

    Bill I do hope you will be appearing again to promote your book. I had planned to attend but mistakenly noted the wrong time. Thanks for all you do to promote the arts!

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