Event Recap: Artopia 2011

Posted by    |    December 6th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Most of you were probably at home all warm and toasty watching movies and drinking hot toddies on Saturday night; no doubt laughing at those of us who decided to forge ahead with our plans and brave the cold rain.  But “those of us” who’s plans included Dallas Observer’s Artopia got the last laugh (sorry, couch potatoes).

You missed a sensory overload of awesomeness at The Dallas Contemporary. Attendees were bombarded with yummy food, delicious tequila concoctions, free t-shirts designed by Wade College (and screen-printed on the spot!), fashion shows with wide eyed, Lady Gaga-esque models, an appearance by the Vintagemobile, interactive nutcrackers (that happen to be naked female mannequins), not one, but two sets by badass Fort Worth band Burning Hotels, and a skeleton puppet show. I know, you’re jealous.

Thankfully, yours truly was on the scene taking notes, and my amazing team of YouPlusDallas videographers was there, Canon 7D’s in hand, capturing each magical moment for you.  Until the video is posted, I shall recount a few takeaways for you, dearest couch potato reader.

Original Talent Does Still Exist.  Don’t get me wrong – the Contemporary was filled with original talent that night – but sometimes the little guy needs a shout out.  In this case, that little guy is a little skeleton puppet named Mr. Bonetangles.   He quickly won my heart lip-syncing and dancing to Curtis Lee’s “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”.  Words can’t really do it justice, but that’s why we have YouTube (click here).

The Burning Hotels Are Awesome…and Gentlemen.  I’ll start with a disclaimer: there is no accurate the-band-played-these-songs blurb in this review. Normally I have a set list, or take notes during each song, but I was too busy rocking out to take notes. When I asked singer Matt Mooty for the set list, he tapped his finger against his temple for me.  “It’s up here,” he said. So for those super fans who wanted a play by play…maybe next time.  But I will say this: Burning Hotels always deliver.  Chance Morgan’s energy was off the charts and both he and Matt Mooty’s vocals were flawless. The addition of a drummer and guitarist for the Hotels’s live set boosted the pop–synth sound and brought it to an almost aggressive rock status. It was awesome.

Bonus: I grabbed Mooty between sets to say hello, and he was beyond polite and charming.

Dear Clark Hair Studio has your back.  I have naturally wavy hair, and not the cute kind; rather, the I-don’t-even-let-my-boyfriend-see-my-hair-this-way kind. I forgot my umbrella and got soaked on the short run from my cab to the Contemporary’s front door.  Thankfully, my friends at Dear Clark Hair Studio were in attendance styling the models, and they brought Moroccan Oil samples for all. (Morgan 1, Humidity 0. Zing.)

Dallas has a lot of seriously talented peeps.  But only three can be Masterminds.  The Observer crowned their Masterminds winners, all of which were awarded a $2,000 grant to do “whatever the hell they want with”.  These three creatives include:

Frank Lopez, a photographer who shoots with Civil War Era lenses and uses 19th century chemistry to develop the photos.

Katie Toohill, a 27 year old Oak Cliff native who thrust herself into her first original dance production, Grieve, as part of her healing process following the unexpected death of her father.  The whole thing was set to the indie-rock playlist she made in the days following his death.

La Reunion: Did you know that the land where Reunion Tower now stands used to be an artist colony called La Reunion comprised of skilled artisans from all over Europe?  Neither did I. Sad you missed it?  You’re in luck, because thanks to Sarah Jane Semrad and Catherine Horsey, there’s about to be a La Reunion revival.

Read more about these inspiring Masterminds here, and good luck resisting the urge to quit your day job and join an artist colony.

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