The Austin Chronicle

Luv Doc Recommends: Texas State Arts Festival

Bullock Texas State History Museum, Saturday, March 1, 2008

By The Luv Doc, February 29, 2008, Columns

If you don’t think laser hair removal is an art, think again. It’s not all about carving landing strips and bisecting unibrows. There may be occasions where a customer requests to have his back hair depilated in a facsimile of C.M. Coolidge’s Dogs Playing Poker or his butt rug burned into Escher’s mirror ball. Exacting craftsmanship like that requires a steady laser hand and a finely honed aesthetic. Just because they don’t offer laser hair removal classes at the École des Beaux-Arts (which is, of course, pure conjecture based on the idea that the French are both stuck up about their art and huge body hair fetishists) doesn’t exclude laser hair removal from the arts entirely. Similarly, art made in Texas isn’t necessarily automatically relegated to a starving artist sale in the basement of an interstate Ramada. There are plenty of Beaux Artistes here in Texas – and not just the ones selling painted driftwood on the side of the road next to the beef-jerky stand. There are gobs at the flea markets and in the booths in front of the Fiesta Mart. After all, what would the world be without dream catchers and rope dragons and sea shell art and wind chimes? And what about chain-saw sculpture? Why fuck around with a chisel and knife when you can lay into your art with 3.5 horsepower of ozone-depleting artistry? Want a log that looks like a bear? Want another one? How about a set? Maybe a coffee table made of tree trunk slices? Imagine Rodin trying to sculpt The Thinker with a screaming, bucking 40cc Poulan “Wild Thing?” Wouldn’t happen. Chain-sawing, even as an artistic outlet doesn’t involve a lot of deep thinking. The chain saw is surely an ingenious feat of engineering, but like NASCAR, the guy running the machine usually isn’t the brains of the operation. Ol’ Leatherface was crafty enough to outsmart a few teenagers, but he was still a far cry from a Mensa membership. Nonetheless, the happy news for chain-sawers - and Texans too for that matter - is that art isn’t a brain-heavy endeavor. At its core, art is about communicating emotionally rather than intellectually – sort of like George W. in a presidential debate. Artistic genius is, to say the least, a different type of genius. Pollock splattering canvases with paint or Mapplethorpe shoving a bullwhip up his ass or Christo wrapping islands in pink polypropylene takes a certain amount of noodle, no doubt, but it’s not like they were designing fusion reactors. So in other words, when it comes to art, the pressure’s off – intellectually at least, which makes Texas a great place for artists of all stripes, many of whom will be in residence at this weekend’s Texas Arts Festival, a two-day art and fun filled event celebrating Texas independence and art. Not only will there be nearly 100 booths filled with arts, crafts, food, and drink, there will also be live music from morning to night by diverse artists like Sunny Sweeney, American Graveyard, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Grupo Fantasma. All told, 28 bands will take the stage Saturday through Sunday. At a $5 cover, that comes to just under 18 cents per band. When was the last time you saw Ray Wylie Hubbard for 18 cents? You don’t need to be a scientist to see that’s a damn good deal. Maybe you can take all the money you saved and get your cooter depilated to look like the Mona Lisa.

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