A Freaky Whimsical Prelude

Granted, being a regular party goer and “making the scene” isn’t normally part of my modus operandi, but I have to say I’m thoroughly glad that I stepped it up a bit out of my comfort zone and attended this year’s Berkshire ShenanigansHalloween party.  Pittsfield’s gem amongst gems of theatres, the historic Colonial Theatre, was the venue for a very freaky, veritable horde of folks of every stripe, and spots for that matter, to gather, cavort, dance, writhe, and contort.

“Freak Show” was a sold out event very early in the week leading up; it kind of had that sense and feel about it, so we were sure to make ticket purchases and commit early in.  So glad we did.  And the ticket angst down the stretch was interesting to watch; definitely upped the ante for the prestige element.

"Freak Show"

Costuming also isn’t a big part of my everyday thinking, and admittedly I didn’t put a great deal of thought or effort into mine, but the vaguely steampunk pirate coat and all artist-black approach got me by well enough.  Tammara, though, went much more full force with sugar skull makeup and a whimsically formal skeleton gown; her hat topped in as a huge hit.

We arrived somewhat fashionably late, and as someone that has been often told he’ll be late for his own funeral, this seemed appropriate, given the October 31st-ness of the situation.  After passing beyond the flaming torches and likewise jugglers on the patio area, we made our way into the lobby to hand off our tickets and have a hand green X-ed; ID’s were de rigueur as well, since it was a 21+ evening.

“Freak Show” centered around a broad-ranging ‘20’s sideshow theme with a definite “Something Wicked This Way Comes” kind of vibe, though you could wear anything you wanted, or in some cases, less was more…  Not long after we arrived and had our first libations in hand, Gypsy Layne sashayed and shimmied through a few brief pulse-quickening numbers to whet and set the tone further along on the performance front.

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

After they finished, we took our way further into the interior depths of the edifice, and gandered eyes, and led feet up, cautioned taped, for good reason, steps, to tread the very same boards that legends performed on, and history was made.  History stepped forward a little further here on this night, vis-a-vis yoga-matic twists, turns, and ample gyrations galore.

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

Stepping back through the lobby (if only it were that simple…), sword-balancing being what it is, and history rewriting itself and all, we kind of sort of followed our bevvies to two great vantage points for the headliners of the evening, Bella’s Bartok.

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

So up until this point, I hadn’t admittedly even taken a sample listen yet to these folks, and that apparently was a big loss on my part, or else I would probably have caught up to them live sooner.  And then have been even more glad for the quicker discovery; the band seriously shifts it to a new zone live.

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

With guitar and accordion perpetrating balance on one side of the stage, a raucous horn section and bass pendulumming the other, kit to the back, and wild-eyed cajolenating through the microphones, all had a thorough romp towards hat-flinging dance…

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

"Freak Show"

There were lots and lots of delicious chunks and morsels of entertainment to follow the B’s B set, but we called it a game after they left the stage…it being only the first year-end holiday, all in all; pacing, pacing.  Looking forward to more great Berkshire Shenanigans events!

"Freak Show"

Ah.  So Halloween passed by and with it, October of course.  Here we are November.  Normally, a lot of grey and wet can be expected, but as of these key taps, the first week looks to carry lots of golden sunshine on its back.  Thank you.  Thank you.

The first week also carries a “First Fridays Artswalk” near the end and this particular one includes the stunning debut solo show of arts indie’s own Tammara Leminen.  Leminen (I go to her surname here for a certain degree of arts parlance, as opposed to using Tammara as above, above being a date and all) will be presenting…sigh…you really should go to the opening…to see…in person…really…“Caravan of Dreams.”

“Caravan of Dreams”

“A Woman of Letters”, multimedia collage.  (c)Tammara Leminen.

Leminen’s Artist Statement:

“Caravan of Dreams”
Multimedia Collage by Tammara Leminen

“After training at the Baseler Kunstgewerbe Schul in the late 1970’s, I spent two decades painting very straightforward, pictorial landscapes and wildlife portraits, and equally detailed, naturalistic illustrations.  In 2008, I earned a certificate in Graphic Design and began to utilize my artistic talents commercially; most of my professional work is magazine layout, poster and brochure design, and producing websites.  However, discovering Photoshop influenced my personal art in a very big way; I began producing a unique brand of surreal computer-generated collages and combined those graphic design elements with paint, canvas and a wide assortment of found objects – this time not for commercial purposes, but as part of my own art.  As my work has progressed, it has become more painterly and more three-dimensional, while continuing to pull heavily from my fondness for Victorian-era illustrations and my fascination with dream-like, symbolic and whimsical imagery.  That journey of artistic discovery is embodied in the show ‘Caravan of Dreams,’ a kind of guided tour through the wandering, hopeful gypsy spirit of my creative quest.  None of the pieces in this show have been on public display before.”

"Caravan of Dreams"

“Man in the Moon”, multimedia collage. (c)Tammara Leminen.

“Caravan of Dreams” is now up on the walls at Unusual Wedding Rings and More, 137 North Street, Pittsfield, MA.  The show will open with a reception with the artist on November 6, 5-8PM during the “First Fridays Artswalk” and be on display for the month of November.

Tammara Leminen

Hope to see you Friday!

Article by Leo Mazzeo.  All photographs and images by Leo Mazzeo except where indicated.