Arts Previews: Bella’s Bartok, COLOR! at Gallery A3, Shredder in space

  • Left, close up of Shredder Artwork attached to Braskem Recycler on the international space station. Right, Kevin Eastman with Ninja Turtles artwork. Courtesy photo

  • Swift River Reflection, photograph, Larry Rankin will be among the works displayed at Gallery A3 Courtesy photo

  • Bella’s Bartok Mariah Giles photo

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Bella’s Bartok headlines Strange Ones Ball

The new decade is upon us. And if this year is any indication, we are in for even stranger times. So why fight it? Get weird at “The Strange Ones Ball: DREAMLAND,” a two-night, sonic parade of exuberant performers headlined by local darlings Bella’s Bartok. Born out of Vaudevillian nostalgia, honed by years of street performance and assembled into a brass-filled, accordion-based steam engine of danceable tunes, Bella’s Bartok encourages the surreal. They perform back-to-back dates at Gateway City Arts to bid farewell to the 2010s in an exuberant fashion. Live shows are theatrical. Frontman Asher Putnam puts it best: “a mix of The Night Before Christmas and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

On December 30, Bella’s Bartok is joined by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Lorenz, who performs under the moniker The Suitcase Junket. You should be familiar with him. He’s traveled the globe with his suitcase (his bass drum), a box of silverware for additional percussion he plays with his foot, a gas can (snare drum) struck by a baby shoe, a cooking pan (another drum) and a guitar he pulled out of a dumpster at his alma mater, Hampshire College. It’s an act you need to see to believe. He’s a one-man musical wrecking ball making a big sound out of ordinary, everyday items. It’s fuzzed-out blues accompanied by driving percussion courtesy of his own two feet. His latest album, “Mean Dog, Trampoline,” is a more refined venture while staying true to his do-it-yourself approach.

The following night, New Year’s Eve, prog-rockers Consider The Source get the night rolling with what might best be described as improvisational, psychedelic, math jazz. The rhythm section of this trio lays down a solid beat for guitarist Gabriel Martin to experiment with heavy riffs and solos set to overdrive. Then, as the dance floor gets used to John Ferrara’s bassline and drummer Jeff Mann’s drive, the carpet gets pulled out from underneath and the band takes off into new directions into even more experimental musical territory. Praised for their progressive rock and jazz blend with influences from Indian and Middle Eastern styles, the instrumental band has brought together jam-band hippies and headbangers in rejoicing.

Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 at the door or $40 for both nights. Show time: Doors at 7 p.m. and music at 9 p.m. Tickets on sale at www.signaturesoundspresents.com or call (413) 341-3317.

—Luis Fieldman

COLOR! at Gallery A3

Starting on Jan. 2, Amherst’s Gallery A3 will display a group show of gallery members titled “COLOR!” which will be opening during Amherst Arts Night Plus with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibit breaks the trend of gray winter with a burst of color with the group show, which showcases work with “saturated primary colors, concentrating on red, yellow and blue,” while others feature “a palette of subtle muted earth tones,” according to a press release from the gallery.

The exhibit includes paintings, prints, photographs, ceramic pieces, collages and assemblage work with “eye-popping interplay of complementary colors” while others use color strategically in the midst of black and white imagery.

There will also be an “Artists in Community Forum” on Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in which gallery members will discuss how they engage with color in their own work and will also include comments and questions from audience members. The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 1 at Gallery A3, 28 Amity St., Amherst.

— Chris Goudreau

Shredder in Space

On Nov. 2, a piece of original artwork illustrated by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles illustrator and co-creator Kevin Eastman was launched into space. The artwork, which features the Ninja Turtles’ main antagonist Shredder, now resides on the International Space Station.

The launch was made possible by California-based aerospace company Made In Space, according to a press release. The International Space Station features “The Braskem Recycler,” which is designed to turn plastic waste into 3D printed objects. That recycler has been used to create the Made In Space Additive Manufacturing Facility, which includes a shredder. Now the Eastman sharpie-on-metal illustration of the Ninja Turtles antagonist will be attached to the structure. Two illustrations will remain on the space station, one of which will be returned to Eastman next year.

Made In Space Chief Engineer Michael Snyder approached Eastman in early 2018 as a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, according to the press release. Synder stated that the equipment subsystem was nicknamed “Oroku Saki,” better known as Shredder.

“First and foremost, I could not be prouder of the Made in Space Team, their creativity and ingenuity are truly inspiring to us all,” Eastman said. “To have one of my co-creations a small part of this project is an honor that leaves me humbled in every way.”

— Chris Goudreau