Monthly Archives: December 2009

The end of a great year and the last weekend of shows for Twilight

Welp, now that I have your attention for all of the wrong reasons, thank you for tuning in yet again to my artistic ramblings. In this Examiner’s edition, I’d like to focus on a Twilight that I truly think deserves your attention. No, I’m not talking about the book and movie that has captured the attention span of millions of our ADHD youth; I’m talking about the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris that closes this Sunday, January 3rd.

Twilight Visions has been around at the Frist Center since the beginning of September this past year, but you need to walk on down after the New Year ball drops to take one last glance of over 120 photographs by such artists as Man Ray, Hans Bellmer Brassai, Eugene Atget and Andre Kertesz celebrating Paris as foundation of Surrealism. Twilight Visions is not just a bunch of pictures of one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, it is an in-depth examination of the revolutionary social, aesthetic and political activities of the Surrealism movement between the world wars. Organized by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, Ph.D., this exhibition will take you through the labyrinthine city streets of Paris as if you were there in person. In my opinion, this is not a bad way to start your year off by visiting Paris without paying the full price to get there.

In case you needed another reason to go to the Frist Center this week, they are opening their doors at 4:30 pm this Saturday, January 2nd for a FREE Architecture Tour in the Grand Lobby. To think that you can get this amazing tour for FREE is almost unthinkable! I’m not a salaried spokesperson for any art gallery in Nashville nor do I get paid enough to keep my home’s lights on to promote the arts, but this tour is something special to see, hear and learn about. It not only contains such interesting tidbits of knowledge as when the Frist Center was built, the history about the floors in the galleries and walls within the Grand Lobby, but you inevitably walk away at the end of the engaging tour with a more complete sense of the necessary relationship between the Frist Center’s landmark building and the city of Nashville, TN and how they need each other.

Since I forgot to give y’all a Christmas present because I’m still looking for mine, I hope that this little treat will suffice for smiles all around. A little birdie told me that if you are a fan of the best man of steel on the silver screen, then you will not be disappointed if you drop by the Frist Center’s Auditorium next Friday, January 8th, at 7pm. You will be able to walk in for FREE (that word never gets old) to sit and enjoy Frist Center’s first Films at the Frist of 2010 showing the always classic Superman: The Movie.

There you have it. Happy New Year! May your 2010 bring you loads of happiness, insight, personal growth, and more creativity than 2009 could ever dream up.  See you again next year!

Chuck Beard

Image: Eugène Atget. Rue du Figuier, 1924. Albumen print, 9 in. x 7 in. Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. by Exchange, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA.


These holidays are whatever you make of them…..

I often hear both sides of the tale. Some people believe that this part of the year is the best because of the quality time they get to spend with their friends and family all the while others seem to inevitably sink themselves into a self-imposed diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, finally my Psychology degree is put to good use). I’m here to tell you; like many wise people have told me about every second that you live, regardless of whether it is the holiday season or not, time is always whatever you make of it.

Specifically relating the quote above to what you can do this week to make it more memorable for yourself and for the people you are giving gifts is not a tough task. You don’t necessarily have to live in or around Green Hills to get your hands on a priceless gift for the ones you love. In face, you might even find yourself making the best gifts that your imagination can think up.

For the people with initiative and inspiration, I cannot say it enough that you need to get on over to Art & Invention Gallery in order to make those ideas into reality. I can tell you here over and over how much fun you are sure to have whenever you step inside the workshop/gallery doors with warm welcomes and thoughtful smiles from Bret and Meg, but you truly don’t know what I am writing about unless you experience it for yourself. Having been open everyday since Dec. 6th, they plan to keep the doors open every day this week until Christmas Eve night. Besides a variety of surprise crafts and being able to create your own Christmas craft ideas with the supplies on hand, you can stop by anytime between 10am-6pm this week to make your own toys ($18), picture frames ($7), stockings ($8), ornament ($8) and cards ($4).

On a side note, if you’re looking for innovative gifts on the last minute that nobody else will have this season due to each one being one of a kind, I have two suggestions that will benefit your creative causes. First, take literally a few seconds to click on the word hatching and check out just what a little bird told me on my own windowsill. You, like I was and continue to be on a daily basis, will simply be amazed by the wide variety of economical jewelry fit for a queen, flowers that never die but haven’t ever looked as good and other whimsical gifts food for any time the entire year ‘round. Second, take another few seconds to revisit or introduce yourself with the art of the Twisted Sisters. With more eclectic jewelry, metal lighting pieces and dreamlike sculptures than Santa could shake a sleigh at, don’t let another minute go by without knowing about the Twisted Sisters, Linda Hobby and Debbie Graham.

So despite what Reading Rainbow might suggest, take my word for it and get while the getting is good. Remember this holiday season and for many days to follow that every second, every moment, is a gift in itself. Don’t let yourself get SAD, go out there and make the most of the time that you have while alive. Don’t just buy a present; make life your present and live in it so others will be inspired to do the same.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Chuck Beard

a little bird told me…

magpie etc., a gallery of sorts, once found on 10th Avenue South in Nashville and created by designer Rhiannon Guillet and artist Emily Harper (now, Beard) as a warm and welcoming gallery space for fellow artists, designers, and musicians to share their talents, has closed their doors on the little pink building.  HAVE NO FEAR…you may now shop some of Nashville’s finest artists at their online etsy shop:

Chuck Beard

The gifts that keep on giving

Do any of you out there have parents and/or grandparents that also spent countless hours searching and waiting in line for any signs of the last available Teddy Ruxpin for sale on Christmas Eve (pre-internet and iPhone mind you)? Or maybe you were possibly one of ‘those people’ that set up tents outside the local Best Buy a few days earlier than the release date, sending texts messages to the rest of us for extra clothes or pizza, in order to make sure that you were one of the lucky few to take a first glance at the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, or even the original Atari game set? Either way you look at it, some people get caught up in the discount craze and LOVE to shop all the while others wish that Black Fridays never existed; I’m currently one of the latter as time has changed my focus from excitement for the gifts to the appreciation for the giving (don’t throw up yet … stick with me here………..).

I know some of you guys and gals are just as surprised as I am sitting here with you right now that Christmas Day is already NEXT WEEK! Don’t flip out or anything; I have a few gift ideas for you that won’t force you to lose any sleep over money or time spent trying to add the cheer in your holidays fast approaching. Not only will you avoid the mall traffic, with my options you can avoid the mall altogether! I know, I know … it sounds too good to be true, eh?

If your Christmas tree is up and you are lacking ornaments to fill in the bare spots or need just one or two more to really set it off, please look no further than the 2009 ornaments made by The Lost Boys of Sudan. Now an annual tradition, this year’s ornaments are unique cow ornaments painted white with a cold collar attaching a small bell. Also included in these $10 rarities is a red ribbon loop that has a brief story and artist name attached relating the peace and joy that they once had from making similar childhood cows with mud in their native lands. In a time where we all can relate with trying to find peace and joy in any fashion we possibly can, these ornaments that give back proceeds to The Lost Boys Foundation of Nashville hold a beautiful story of survival and hope that could possibly completely fill up your half empty cups of cheer this time of year.

If you already have presents for your kids that you found and/or made at Art & Invention Gallery (you need to find and/or make those gifts soon if you still haven’t yet), you might be similar to me in that you need to find some gifts worthy of giving your dogs. Since I have both a cat and a dog in my house, I know that I can always take care of my gifts at the one stop dog shop of See Spot Eat: A Doggie Bakery. Owned and operated by the bestest dog lover in the tri-county area (if not farther), Kat Martin blends her priceless humor with that of your dog’s health. With gifts such as Sweet Pawtato/Flax Macaroons, PB&C (Peanut Butter and Carob) cookies, Jimmy Chews (shaped like high-heeled shoes), liver brownies, birthday cakes, pupcakes, pupsicles, Treatza and Cheezy Gar-lick pizzas, holistic dog foods, interactive dog toys and other pup necessities that will make even the saddest dog wag its tail at hyper-speed, Kat makes my life as a pet parent fun and easy. As for my cat, she’s totally content with chasing a string with a bell on the end of it and me staying out of her way.

If it’s family Christmas cards that you seek to send to all of your friends and family on the last minute notice and don’t have time to stroll down to the Super Wal-Mart with matching sweaters in tow for a quick family photo op, don’t you fret. My good friend and local sculptor extraordinaire, Rosemary Swain has relayed the message to a few of us that we can give and receive this tradition to those we care about by supporting a good cause at the same time. Cards That Give is an organization that makes charity greeting cards for all ages and sizes. Most, if not all, of the money made from the sales of the cards you buy from them in turn help raise much needed funds for groups such as ASPCA, World Wildlife Fund, American Cancer Society and many others of your choice. And speaking of charities, don’t forget that you can also give to Cancer research by purchasing my first book, Adventures Inside A Bright-Eyed Sky (all of the proceeds go towards Cancer research) on our organization’s website.

If you have had the hardest of years that you can remember, maybe even lost your job, and are struggling for funds to keep the lights and the heat on, I have just the gift for you. If you are anything like brother and always find that even before any sight of snow or sounds of sleigh bells ringing in the sky that the holidays truly begin when he hears those old familiar, traditional Christmas songs beginning to play on the radio, in the stores and every stereo, then I have a delightful treat for you. You may find that the best way to keep your spirits high and holiday as festive as ever before (all within your budget of no price to pay at all) that you can download the wonderful sounds of the music group Venus Hum for absolutely FREE! No, this is not a gimmick; nor do I receive anything from any of these suggestions you have read above. That being written, you don’t have to be the Ghost of Christmas Future to foresee that your Christmas music collection will forever be lacking if you don’t immediately add and include these fresh Venus Hum tunes within their recently recorded Switched on Christmas (special edition) into your holiday repertoire.

Chuck Beard

between the moon and NYC

If you find yourself in New York City and looking for a show worth seeing on Broadway (amongst so many)…might I suggest:

Chuck Beard

Something different for a cold hump day perhaps?

Okay, now that I have your attention and the cold November-ish rain doesn’t seem to be going anywhere by Thursday, I figure why not share with you something that you may find interesting to see tomorrow night besides new episodes of either ABC’s Modern Family (which is belly-laugh hilarious) or A&E’s Steven Seagal Lawman series (just as comical; if not more so unintentionally). That being written, I have two separate and extremely different, yet equally as entertaining concerts to mention taking place this Wednesday, December 9th for you to choose from at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.

To always be honest, I don’t really know anything specifically about either one but they both sound fantastic to these ears. First, beginning at 6pm at the Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall, you will find the Blair Pre-College Program Scholarship Recital. It will be a gathering of Blair’s finest pre-college students featured in a variety of solo works ranging from piano to strings, woodwinds, brass and voice.

If the new kids don’t tickle your fancy and you feel like shaking your groove thing, pat those feet and turn the corner on over to Ingram Hall around 8pm to share witness to SANKOFA-Vanderbilt’s African Drum and Dance Ensemble. Directed by Kwame Ahima, this performance (as mentioned to me by a friend) will make you forget about your worries and the cold rain outside and force you to feel the beat of their drums with that of your heart; pretty intense in a good way to write the least, eh?

If you choose to only do the drums on Wednesday and regret not finding the time to hear the Scholarship Recital, feel free to see the second show with the same students performing on Thursday, December 10, at 6pm once again at the Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall. And, if you don’t go to either because you are being a scrooge and need some holiday cheer in your life, there is yet another chance by weekdays’ end to check out the Blair School of Music’s Blair Children’s Chorus Holiday Concert at Ingram Hall on Friday, December 11th, at 7:30pm. Featuring the Blair Children’s Concert Choir, Young Men’s Chorus, Choristers, Nashville Boychoir at Blair and Young Singers of Blair, this event is also free and open to the public. It all sounds like a really good deal to me.

Chuck Beard

Adventures Inside A Bright-Eyed Sky

Just a quick reminder…and break from promoting all the passionate artists in and around Nashville that I believe in…the following is a bit of shameless self-promotion……..

A few years ago, I set out on my own adventure and wrote and self-published this short novel:

Adventures Inside A Bright-Eyed Sky is a not so tall tale about a boy named Jay, told by Jay, a young boy that is having trouble finding the reasons why his childhood seems to be departing just as soon as he is getting to the heart of it all.

In the search of truth behind every day everyday mysteries at the same time crossing paths with various characters into his life with lessons not really pertaining to the current thought of the moment, Jay discovers just how adversity, friendship, and death all happen for a reason … Jay discovers himself.

Jays adventures remind us all that sometimes, you have to step on the bus and find out for yourself. Sometimes, life just happens. Sometimes, sometimes, just may be right now.

All proceeds will go to Adventures Inside a Campus for a Cure, Inc. A registered 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization whose mission is to create dialogue about the effects of cancer and to raise money for cancer research.

Together we can HELP find a cure!

To purchase a copy of Adventures Inside a Bright-Eyed Sky click HERE.

Chuck Beard