ArtFul Living

With Mike “Michelle” Ochonicky Healthy Planet Arts Editor

“Well, That’s Different!!”

Why do people say that when they encounter the unexpected? Of course, it’s different — that’s what makes “it” interesting! We say strange things when we don’t know what to say.

Different means interesting. Have you ever said, “Oh, it was wonderful — everything was the same as always, all just the same, totally predictable, nothing unusual.” Of course not! Different intrigues us. It takes us out of the ordinary. It’s refreshing and revitalizing. Different is fun and exciting!

As a new year begins, shake things up by making a resolution to search out the different. Make 2016 different from 2015. This is the year that you are going to experience something new, view an exhibition you’ve never considered, take in some music you’ve never heard. To encourage you to try the “different,” I’ve got some great ideas to get you started. You just might need a thesaurus to find the words to describe these ARTful experiences!

Opening on January 15 is Interpretations: 15th Biennial Teapot Exhibition at Craft Alliance Center for Art + Design. That’s right — it’s a show featuring teapots. Now, that’s different! But these aren’t your ordinary, just-add-hot-water teapots. These are whimsical, wild, crazy teapots rendered in clay, glass, metal and fiber by nationally and locally acclaimed artists.

According to exhibition information, “for centuries the teapot form has been influenced by cultures around the world as the focal point for ceremonial and social gatherings. A steaming pot of tea is a welcome invitation to conversation and companionship.” That’s especially true in the middle of January — tea comforts, consoles, calms, and warms from within. The vessels that hold this special beverage are things of beauty in structure as well as in purpose. The fifty teapots on exhibition at Craft Alliance highlight relationships between functionality and ornamentation. The opening reception is 6-8 p.m. and free to the public; the exhibition remains through March 20 at 6680 Delmar in the Loop. For info, visit www.craftalliance.org.

A sometimes-synonym for different is the word strange. And we all know that people are strange… but only Third Degree Glass Factory celebrates the fact that “People are Strange” on January 15 from 6-10 p.m. at a grand Third Friday Party. After more than 13 years in business, some strange characters have passed through Third Degree’s doors (I should know — they once hosted an exhibition of my artwork!). So, start the year in a strange way with a bite to eat from the Hotdog Man or Strange Donuts. Make your own strange hot glass (safely guided by Third Degree staff). Take in Terri Willits’ mixed media and encaustic works in “Obscured Transformation” in the East Gallery. Dance to the unique percussive sound of Raw Earth starting at 8 p.m., and watch fire spinning in the courtyard (if I have to explain it, you’ve got to experience it!). Open to all ages and free, find the party at 5200 Delmar; details at www.thirddegreeglassfactory.com.
Now that’s strange… umm, I mean “different.”

Still craving something truly “different?” Well, here’s the ultimate: Dance St. Louis presents the incredible dancer-illusionists of MOMIX in “Alchemia” on January 29-30 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus. MOMIX possesses the ability to transport audiences into an ethereal and enchanting world through trademarked use of really magical lighting and imagery. Led by artistic director Moses Pendleton, who founded the company in 1981, MOMIX is an offshoot of the dancer-athletes of Pilobolus.

“Alchemia” connects the four classical elements (earth, water, air, fire) and the “elementals,” or spirits, of each. The result is a performance of aesthetic thrills and metamorphosis. Pendleton’s result is a 90-minute concoction of light, music, dance, props and imagery that takes the audience from the world of reality into the mysterious world of the ancient art of alchemy.

The L.A. Herald Examiner reported, “People shouted out, gasped and applauded furiously. MOMIX is… turning audiences onto dance.” The Toronto Globe says, “The mad and marvelous troupe has all the mesmeric power of a magic show.”

The Healthy Planet says, “Go see MOMIX!!!”

Click here to view this month’s Artful Happenings