Monday, August 15, 2011
Photos and art review: CooLWaTeRs 3 at Kessler Theater (August 13)
For a single night, the Kessler was filled with mermaids, as if we were at the beach.
OAK CLIFF Walking into the Kessler Theater on Saturday night, I felt like a fish out of water. Mermaids with green shimmering painted-on scales, glittery red pouts, and skin-tight sequined floor-length frocks greeted us. So that's what “costumes welcome” meant on the CoolWaters3 invitation. We were instructed to "dive in and enjoy" ourselves.
CooLWaTeRs 3 was an event created by local found objects artist Julia Schloss, founder of Resurrection Art, an organization that promotes ecological responsibility and creative recycling through art-building workshops. The night was an island fantasy showcase of 20 Dallas-area artists including Kevin Obregon, Nicole Horn, Leroy Roper, and Linda McLemore. A silent auction benefiting the North Texas Food Bank allowed revelers to bid on a mermaid costume of their own to take home, designed by Lisa Renee. Tropical themed paintings, sculptures, and photographs lined the walls of the Kessler for purchase, including all things seafaring from sirens and mermaids to seahorses.
On stage, The CooLWaTeRs Reggae All Star cover band provided easy beats and slow jams for happy, dancing mermaids and landlubbers looking for a good time. Hosted by Dallas’ own Miss Violet O’Hara, the night also showcased two performances. The first was local burlesque dance Vivienne Vermouth, who twirled and simpered her way through a seductive routine set to Enya’s sailing-inspired “Orinoco Flow.” A 7-pound crown adorned with a pirate ship sat atop her shocking red and yellow hair as she undulated across stage, moving her curvaceous body like a wave until her big reveal: standing before the crowd in nothing more than turquoise pasties. I half expected clam-shaped cut outs.
The second performer was extremely talented aerialist Tiffany Diamond, making her above-ground debut dressed in a hand-painted body suit that made her resemble a beautiful, sparkling sea creature. A veteran Las Vegas showgirl and choreographer, Diamond recently began her career as an aerialist after training for the past four months with local aerialist Angi Bee Lovely. The crowd sat spellbound as she climbed the silk attached to the ceiling, suspending herself in the air above the stage. She moved up and down the taut cloth, holding herself in place with the strength of her arms and feet. Her performance harkened the old-world otherness of yesteryear circus and sideshows.
Tiffany Diamond’s aerial dance at the Kessler Theater (August 13)
All were encouraged to stop by photographer Jenice Johnson’s beach scene photobooth to memorialize a night under the sea, which had the appeal of carnival wooden face-hole cut-outs and the charm of prom night. Everyone looks better at the beach.
We left the Kessler on newfound sea legs after spending the evening in an imaginary cove off the “Cape of Good Causes.” It was the kind of mildly surprising night that makes you remember that in some corners of our fair city, imagination thrives and whimsy prevails.
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