The Finch Mob Collective

A new phenomenon is aflutter. A group of innovative artists and goofy theatrical inventors have been working together for a good while and now are focusing on group exhibitions and performances, with other artists invited as well. Will Chase, who also curated the recent Spectra Ball, and curated the Finch Mob show at a home turned into a temporary gallery, says their art falls in between commercial and noncommercial. They are calling for breaking down barriers that keep us from using our creativity to foster change in the world. Here here!

An extraordinary thing is occuring here, as they are not only thinking in terms of visual art, but guerilla art, silent movies, civic outreach, and mayhem.

I attended their gallery opening on the 29th. I was moved by the spiritual power of a large painting of a heart and its energies, painted by a circussy woman named Bonnie, or Bunnie, Reiss. I could stare at it for a long time, letting it expand my openness, feeling as if my own heart ckakra could reach the size of the painting.

The various circus performer types were doing contact improve and casually playing with difficult moves, as people cheered. I later discovered more about two Finch Mob participants through a CD of a travelling conceptual, twisted, idiotically brilliant circus by Ben Turner and Dattner that travelled through the country, performing in 20 cities in double that amount of time, making audiences into temporary circus performers, such as the Amazing Moderately Flexable Man.

The lithe, ridiculously magnetic Ben Turner was adorable in a variety of roles such as the Self Taming Lion Man, and the Emotional Escape Artist. Dattner and Ben made use of the traditional circus obnoxious overacting and relentless flamboyant level of excitement, but their travelling circus was anything but conventional.

At the Finch Mob opening, I learned something new about fire, from the beautiful photos of Gary Wilson, capturing individual licks of fire that are intensely convuluted and striking. Who would guess flames looked like that?

An Immaculada painting by Susan Montana Murdoch explored the relationship between the Catholic imagery and the original Mexian imagery it was replacing, and using in order to take over the minds of the people they were conquering. Not enough attention is brought in art to the serpent religions and how they have always mutated throughout cultures. This painting is a beautiful example of how compelling the archetype can be made.

There was a one of a kind performance by Tim Barsky, who for many years has pioneered new musical territory by playing his alto silver flute while beatboxing. Alto silver flutes are not common instruments to begin with, and look surreal, as if blown on by Salvador Dali, as they behave like normal flutes until the suddenly bend around to look back at their player.

A very personable man, he has a true musician’s passion for creating something new, with excitement. An educator, and storyteller, Tim has a lot of other projects that involve the community, such as the Vowel Movement, bringing together Bay Area beatboxers, and and Everyday Theatre, combining Jewish folklore and the hip hop cuture, and a play called As in Sleep. A new play, Dreaming in the Firestorm, comes to the Oakland Theatre on June 17th.

He showed me how he does a type of circular dreaming that goes so far as to isolate each nostril as well as breathing at the same time through the mouth, so the flow of air is continuously going in three channells, to make sounds like multiple instruments. His performance brought energy to the already energized crowd, as he slapped the flute, played chords on it while humming, beatboxing,

Like the dream I always want to have, I was shown the alleyway down below, where people were playing the strange instrument in the narrow alley. It was based on the back of a piano which was splayed against the wall, but the strings went on and on, criss crossing over each other, with various levels of the wooden surface to strike powerfully. We played it with screwdrivers, which worked the best, keys, cups, which were not as successful, fingers rubbed with resin. Collaborating, picking up playful, surprising mini rhythms with them and and playing off of each others’ constantly changing sounds was delightful. This instrument was created by brothers Chris and Marcus Guillard.

Check out the Finch Mob website to keep up with future shows and acts of mayhem mixed with genius.

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