Re-format Spoke(n) Art Ride?
Thread started by ubrayj02
at 11.27.12 - 12:15 pm
I started the Spoke(n) Art Ride at the suggestion of Ruth-Anne Tarletz back in 2006. She was a member of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and I showed up at one of her Arts and Recreation subcommittee meetings out of the blue. In April of 2006 we tried to visit every gallery on the map with a group of about 20 cyclists. Now the rides get up to 150+ people and the reaction to our arrival is generally mixed from gallery owners. When Jose Huizar's office moved recently to scare off MorYork and Brian Mallman (two of the 2nd Saturday pillars) I went to a meeting at Cactus Gallery and got an earful from gallery owners about what a shitty bunch the bike riders were - we ate all their food, we weren't there for the art, we drank all their booze, we were rude, they think things were getting stolen by some of our riders.
I have been learning as I go with this night time bike ride thing, and I admit that the "bike party" scene has bled into a night that I envisioned as an art- and community-focused tour that would expand into a general bike friendly atmosphere and culture. Instead, it has at times turned into a bloated "bike party" with all the attendant baggage that brings.
After that meeting with the gallery owners, which was about Huziar's office and not the ride, I had a big epiphany.
Why not turn the ride into something that produces meaningful art and experiences instead of something vacuums up crackers and wine, sees what is there to be seen, and then splits.
Clandestine Music Meeting:
ride meets dance and music performing artists in a clandestine location in NELA for a short performance/participatory dance. Emphasis on the unamplified, or the modestly amplified, formats of various folks traditions. That is, folk, blues, busking, marching band, country dance, square dance, cumbia, sals, folklorico, flamenco, etc. The performers are entitled to collect a fee for their services and numerous amateur and semi-professional dance troupes and musicians in the area make most of these performances trivially easy to find acts for. Staging the performances is going to be totally wildcat style: unguarded electric outlets in various public parks; permission from neighbors to be in their alley for 20 minutes; irregular spaces inbetween infrastructure, under bridges, in the river bed, on hill tops, etc. No "drive there and catch the show" notices given, i.e. timing of the performance(s) is know to the ride organizers and the performers and is open to logistics screw-ups and changes of plans that come with doing events like this.
Short form plays that move locations with the ride. Actors can ride in character with the ride, or meet us at each location to stage the show. The plays for this haven't yet been written, but that is part of the fun. Imagine a play, lit by bike lights or by a mobile crew of stage hands, taking place at the start of a group ride, staged at various locations along the route. The plays will most likely have to be very easy to follow for those only paying half attention to them or for those who show up later on in the ride. The playwrights, the actors, the stage hangs - all should expect a little money for their troubles (maybe not at first, but definitely later on if the idea has legs). There is also money needed for props, lighting, batteries, portable mics, etc. Most of the audio and lighting can be carried on existing sound bikes provided by members of the bike community - but to put on a mobile stage show will require more coordination than one can expect from a volunteer sound bike rider.
The last part of 2011 I kept the ride away from galleries and did small scale versions of this stuff. Some of you may remember the ride in the arroyo with tons of pinatas, a marching band, fake mass, and a eulogy for MorYork - that was $300 to $400 to produce and was sort of a proof of concept done by Car (canadian girl who worked at the shop for a year).
When the ride started returning to galleries in 2012, I tried to make our arrival a bit more formal and to let them know when or if we are coming. I have found that a bunch of the people who shit talked the ride from the local arts scene didn't have as many people show up to their openings, or were bummed that we didn't come because we bring energy, money, attention, and spectacle to their events. So there is a balance that will always have to be a part of this ride. It is Saturday night, and people want to have fun - but the venues putting on the free show shouldn't be trampled.
I think I am going to try and beg some foundation money away from the 1% to do the rides in the future.
Anyone want to mock this?
This sounds like fun. I will mock the need for money. Why not try to do this without the need for all extras? At least at first. The more extras the more that can go wrong, especially carrying that stuff on a bike. Real drama is what people have been craving on the tell lye vision. You don't need a production for a reality show, just cameras to catch it or people to watch it. People will stop and watch other people roll around in their own extra-mints. It doesn't have to be winter green but possibly a story that creates attention.
People love drum circles (even though the people who aren't participating that are within ear shot don't necessarily feel the same way). A rolling jam on a bikes going from spot to spot. Maybe some trailers to carry the instruments?
What do I know. I most likely will have a reason why I wouldn't be part of it anyways.
Have fun with it.
We human creators are only limited by our imaginations.
11.27.12 - 2:30 pm