Don't Miss – New York: Laurie Simmons, "The Love Doll: Days 1-30" at Salon 94 through Saturday, March 26th 2011

March 24th, 2011

Laurie Simmons, Day 8 (Lying on Bed), (2010). via Salon 94

New York-based photographer Laurie Simmon’s show opened on February 15th and will continue through Saturday, March 26th. Simmons, who began photographing doll houses in 1976, has since mainly worked with puppets, ventriloquist’s dummies and various other sorts of dolls. Laurie Simmons  starred in the indie film “Tiny Furniture” directed by her daughter Lena Dunham, which was recently chosen as winner for best feature film at the South by Southwest Media and Music Conference. For her latest exhibition at Salon 94, entitled “The Love Doll: Days 1 – 30″ her subject of choice is none other than one “Love Doll”, a surrogate sex partner created out of silicon and other “life-like” materials.

Photo by Art Observed.

More text and images after the jump…

Laurie Simmons, Day 1/Day 27 (New in Box), (2010). via Salon 94

In 2009, Simmons ordered the doll fully customized from a high-end retailer in Japan, where they are commonly known as “Dutch Wives”. She proceeded to document the doll’s immersion into the “real world”, from the time of her arrival in a cardboard box to the encounter with another doll Simmons later additionally ordered. Though curiously de-sexualized, the doll remains an object of fascination for both the photographer and viewers alike. She is depicted in various emotional states, ranging from vulnerability (Day 8 – Lying on a Bed) to exuberance (Day 25 – The Jump). The series also reflects a kind of maturing process the doll goes through as she “interacts” with her surroundings. According to the exhibition’s statement, “The first days depict a somewhat formal and shy series of poses with an ever increasing familiarity and comfort level unveiled as time passes”.

Laurie Simmons, Day 25 (The Jump), (2010). via Salon 94

Laurie Simmons, Day 30 (Meeting), (2010). via Salon 94

Simmons’ Tribeca studio also served as the location for another project, the 2010 indie favorite “Tiny Furniture” written and directed by her 24-year-old daughter Lena Dunham. First premiered at MOMA in November, “Tiny Furniture” portrays the coming-of-age story of a recent college graduate trying to establish her place within her home and greater New York. Laurie stars in the film as the main character’s mother (played by Lena Dunham herself), a neurotic artist who’s  life’s work consists of photographing different kinds of miniature furniture.

Street views of Salon 94. Photo by Art Observed.

-L. Streeter

Related Links:

Laurie Simmons: My Daughter the Sex Doll [Artnet]
18 Questions for Artist Laurie Simmons [ArtInfo]
LAURIE SIMMONS: ‘The Love Doll: Days 1-30’ [New York Times]
Asked & Answered | Laurie Simmons [New York Times]
Laurie Simmons [The New Yorker]

Phish 3D a masterpiece; arrives in Buffalo this weekend!

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY) May 7, 2010 | Jeff Miers Sitting down inside the Dipson’s McKinley Mall 3D Theatre for a showing of the new “Phish 3D” film ? I was the only one there, which was really kinda cool! – I dropped the conveniently provided glasses on the bridge of my nose, the lights went out, the film started, and then a grand piano came flying out of the screen and nearly crushed me. go to website evo 3d review

Good morning. What’s all this, then?

Yes, “Phish 3D” opens with a shot of the band’s stage just before Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell and Jon Fishman walk on and take up their positions. It was McConnell’s instrument, a big, black grand ivory 88s, that nearly took my head off. It looked so real, man! And I’d had nothing stronger than my morning coffee.

The film opened in major markets gradually over the last few weeks, and so, by the time this two-day Buffalo run was confirmed ? Friday and Saturday evening only, beginning at 7 p.m. both nights, inside the Dipson Mckinley Theatre at McKinley Mall – I’d noticed the reviews in a few prominent dailies and periodicals. These were almost all snarky and condescending. One writer’s lead ? in a Boston Herald review – was built around the fact that he fell asleep during “Maze”, which he described as a “Pink Floyd-like space-rock jam”, despite the fact that it’s an up-tempo psychedelic country R&B tune with elements of a fugue.

But then, let’s cut the guy some slack – he was asleep, after all.

“Phish 3D” has already been roundly criticized, not so much for what it is, but for what it isn’t. And what it isn’t is Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster”, or any other “Behind the Music”-type documentary which attempts to tell the story of the musicians and their fans in a neat and linear fashion. The only drama in “Phish 3D” comes via the music itself, its performance, and its reception by the tens of thousands of fans who attended the three-day “Festival 8″ event.

So it’s a concert film, then. A wise choice, to focus on the music here, for the film is aimed at the genuine Phish-head, not the casual observer who might wonder what all the fuss is about, or just what the hippies have gotten themselves all worked up over this time.

The Phish-heads, of course, don’t need an introduction into the wonderful and wacky world of Phish, because they already live there.

“Festival 8″ was no mere concert, of course. The gig took place over Halloween weekend in 2009, on a site in Indio, California; over the course of three days, Phish played 8 sets of music, including an early afternoon acoustic set, and a “costume set”, during which the band performed the Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main St.” in its entirety.

The film breaks down this mass of music into three segments. The first captures a more “conventional” Phish electric set, opening with a torrid “AC/DC Bag,” moving through an inspired take on the newer “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” – with some dazzling soloing from Anastasio, who will spend much of the film offering up peerless guitar work – and hitting a peak with a mind-bending trip through “Maze.” (Yes, the very tune that put the Boston Herald critic to sleep. Inexplicably.) Part II of the film concentrates on the day-two afternoon acoustic set, which kicks of with a chugging “Back On the Train,” and hits its stride with a ridiculously strong “The Curtaain With,” which comes across in the acoustic setting as a cross between a Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays composition and a Gabriel-era Genesis suite. go to web site evo 3d review

Finally, we get to an abridged version of the “Exile” material, with the four Phish men finding augmentation in the form of backing vocalists Sharon Jones and Saundra Williams, plus a nimble horn section. Drummer Fishman’s take on Keith Richards’ theme song, “Happy,” is a hoot, but the highlight also happens to be Anastasio’s finest vocal of the film – an interpretation of the gospel-based beauty “Shine A Light,” which is pretty much transcendently beautiful.

As for the 3D effects, well, beginning with the rather startling on-screen arrival of McConnell’s grand piano, “Phish 3D” places the viewer at various points right on the stage, and right in the middle of the crowd. Balloons batted around amidst the sea of audience humanity appear to be bobbing about inside your cranium; exhaled puffs of smoke rise in front of you, and you can practically smell their source; thousand of glow sticks tossed skyward by audience members in time with musical crescendoes threaten to land in your lap.

It’s all really cool stuff, but just as has always been the case with Phish, the visual ephemera simply feels like icing on the cake. It’s about the music.

“Phish 3D” plays this evening and Saturday at 7 p.m. only, in the Dipson Theatres at McKinley Mall.

Phish 3D Review: 4 stars Starring: Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Sharon Jones, Saundra Williams Directors: Lawrence Jordan, Eli Tishberg Running Time: It’s long, dude.

The Lowdown: A condensed version of Phish’s three-day Festival 8 concert festival, filmed in vibrant 3D and presented in crystaline 5.1 surround-sound. Not a “band biopic; Phish 3D, like Phish itself, is about the music.

Here’s the film’s trailer:

[Video] Jeff Miers