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Four nights of artsy delights

Concerts, art galleries at Phoenix Café support Arts Council, May 27-30

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 16, 2011

 This piece, by artist Brian Lewandowski depicting Spider-Man, consists of meticulously arranged glass and mirror fragments.

This piece, by artist Brian Lewandowski depicting Spider-Man, consists of meticulously arranged glass and mirror fragments.

Photo provided by Steven Gamburd

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HAZEL PARK — Before they can start initiatives like turning vacant buildings into art studios, empty lots into sculpture gardens and bare walls into murals, Hazel Park’s ambitious Arts Council needs to raise enough funds to secure 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, the key to securing grants and other connections crucial to its success.

Enter the latest fundraiser for the cause: The Phoenix Four-Night Concert Series and Art Opening, set to take place at the Phoenix Café, 24918 John R in Hazel Park, May 27-30. The artist reception is 6-8 p.m. each night; the concerts begin at 8 p.m.

Door admission costs either $10 for a wristband that’s good for the entire weekend or $5 per night. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are available for a $1 donation. Patrons can also bring their own beverages.

A caffeinated drink may be advisable, as there will be more than 20 bands and solo performers across the four-night concert series.

“I am super-excited about the lineup of acts for this fundraiser,” said Steven Gamburd, event coordinator and Arts Council member. “There are so many new faces and new bands that either I haven’t seen before or locals have yet to witness.”

Gamburd said Friday’s lineup will swim from classic rock covers to multi-instrumental funk and on to funk and blues rock with horns, keys and big sound, concluding with comedy.

Saturday night will kick off with folk rock and pop, and continue with jam rock, electronica and indie pop for the soul.

Sunday night is all about variety, with smatterings of pop, folk, blues, rock, avant-garde rock, experimental rock and punk.

The series wraps Monday night with classic rock, folk tunes, tight funk, glam rock and indie pop that Gamburd said is reminiscent of the Beatles’ “White Album.”

Local poet Catlistening will present several of his introspective works of poetry throughout the weekend, and Hans Barbe, owner-operator of the Phoenix Café, will open various acts with classical piano pieces by Bach and Chopin.

“We tried to get a diverse array of artists and musicians,” Barbe said. “I know the music is pretty eclectic, very across the board. And we want it to be that way, to have a lot of open space for everyone and whatever people want to do, rather than limiting to one style or another.”

Accompanying the music are galleries full of one-of-a-kind art.

Hazel Park resident Julie Fournier will be exhibiting her oil and acrylic works depicting life scenes, including urban and rural structures, as well as animals or models.

Brian Lewandowski will bring his mosaics, paintings and mixed media art, including pieces of assembled glass and mirror fragments, to create such pop imagery as Spider-Man.

Madeleine Doucet will be displaying an assortment of paintings with self-contained storylines and content, with decorative frames and mixed-media flourishes.

And Gamburd himself will exhibit some of his most recent work, including “weird-world” surreal watercolor illustrations and abstractions on Yupo synthetic watercolor paper. Each artist will bring around a dozen pieces, he said.

“Here is your modern-day beatnik, hippie, activist, musician, artist, humanitarian utopia,” Gamburd said of the event and venue. “You can go to the liquor store and pick up your drinks for the night. Walk into the back (entrance) of the Phoenix and say hello, make friends, or just plop yourself down on a couch and watch performances. If you are to look around, you’ll see art on the walls from local painters and steam-punk artists.

“There are a variety of age groups around on any given night,” he added. “There is never that feeling of being too old or too young.”

All of the participating artists are on board with the goal to make the Arts Council take flight, Gamburd said, and for good reason.

“People need to believe. They need to dream. They need to follow through. Why? Because the arts in this city are like a fresh piece of clay, ready to be molded, without any political agenda in the way,” Gamburd said. “I will see to it that these words hold true, and that we are here to support the artists.”

The Phoenix Four-Night Concert Series and Art Opening is set for the Phoenix Café, 24918 John R in Hazel Park, May 27-30. The artist reception is 6-8 p.m. each night; the concerts begin at 8 p.m.

Door admission cost either $10 for a wristband that’s good for the entire weekend or $5 per night. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are available for a $1 donation. Patrons can also bring their own beverages. For more information, call the Phoenix Café at (248) 667-8817.
 

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