Hygienic: A major winter attraction

The Hootenany brings together local folkies on Friday.
The Hootenany brings together local folkies on Friday.

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Premature Burial" is one of the finest artistic explorations of claustrophobia ever attempted.

On the other hand, Poe never accessed the Hygienic Art Galleries during Hygienic Weekend - when the jubilant celebrants can absolutely get all shoulder-to-shoulder in appreciation of the all-are-welcome art show.

One of the brilliant aspects of the whole Hygienic package, though, is the array of possibilities going on all over town. Folks can take a break or wait for a bit of breathing room at the galleries - and stay completely entertained at the First Word poetry reading or the Cabaret Extraordinaire or any of a variety of musical events.

Chief among the latter, of course, is the Hygienic's official Rock Fix, taking place Saturday in the Crocker House Ballroom, but also including the Friday Hootenanny in the Dickson Tavern as well as Saturday's musical theater review, the Cabaret Extraoirdinaire, in 33 Golden.

"Music is such a special part of our community, so it makes a great fit with the Hygienic," says Rich Martin, managing director of Hygienic Arts, Inc. "It's a great communal vibe, plus the Rock Fix provides a bit of breathing room for people looking at the art. You can take a break, get a few beers and hear some of the best bands in the area."

This year's typically eclectic Rock Fix lineup includes Somewhere in Time, Chris MacKay & the Tone Shifters, the Sue Menhart Band, Violent Mae, the John Fries Band, Fatal Film, and the Paul Brockett Roadshow Band.

"The goal in booking the Rock Fix is to look at the show as representative of what the art show does," Martin says. "There are so many styles available in our community, so each year we try to bring in acts representative of the whole spectrum. Plus, we mix in new bands with some of the bands that have been around a few decades."

The Hootenanny is presented as always by the Shoreline Acoustic Music Society (SAMS) and will focus this year on "Drinking Songs" and the Cabaret will be hosted yet again by Venus Flytrap.

"It's not just the music or the art - it's everything," Martin says. "The ice carnival adds that outdoor element of fun, and we've added more poetry, as well. There's the fashion show and the film screenings and, of course, the people themselves. It's such a dynamic time for the city because everyone gets to discover or gravitate to their own modes of expression."

The annual Salon des Independants exhibit at the Hygienic Art Galleries
The annual Salon des Independants exhibit at the Hygienic Art Galleries
The Screening Room shows indie films on Thursday and Friday evenings.
The Screening Room shows indie films on Thursday and Friday evenings.

This week's Hygienic schedule

Hygienic-related events run through Feb. 8, but below is what's happening on this first week. The events are all free or by donation. For more information, visit hygienic.ning.com.


•Hygienic Screening Room
presents "Duty, Honor, Country: Betrayal'"

7:30 p.m., Hygienic Galleries, 79 Bank St., New London

This documentary produced and directed by Bill Dumas deals with the issues in the ACLU lawsuit against the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs, including misuse of the VA campus in West LA and its lack of housing and services for the thousands of homeless veterans in LA County, the largest homeless veteran population in the country. The film is narrated by Ed Asner. There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. and a Q&A with Dumas following the 7;30 p.m. screening. Dumas is the founder of Hygienic Art's Screening Room.


•The Hootenanny
7-10 p.m., Dickson's Cafe, 36 Bank St.

An eclectic line-up of folk and old-timey acts performing "Drinking Songs" hosted by Shoreline Acoustic Music Society (SAMS).

7 p.m.: The Crew; 7:20: The Banana Slicers; 7:35: Paul Brockett; 8: Paul & Cathy Carolan and Steve Fagin; 8:25: Charlie Reyburn; 8:50: The Friendly Ghost; 9:15: Kevin Kane; 9:40: Golden Ratio

•The Screening Room

6-10 p.m., Hygienic Galleries, 79 Bank St.

This indie film festival features both emerging and established filmmakers.


•Young Artists Exhibition

Noon-4 p.m., The Garde Gallery, 305 State St.

Young artists, ages 14 and under, submit their works under the same rules as the main event: one piece per artist and anything goes. Art drop-off 4-7 p.m. tonight and Friday. Saturday's opening event will include hands-on art making, musical entertainment, puppet shows, hula-hooping, more.

•The Rock Fix

7 p.m.-1 a.m., Crocker House Ballroom, 35 Union St.

Presented by the Telegraph Recording Company, New London's independent record label.

7 p.m.: Somewhere in Time; 7:50: Chris MacKay & the Tone Shifters; 8:40: Sue Menhart Band; 9:30: Violent Mae; 10:20: John Fries Band; 11:10: Fatal Film; Midnight: Paul Brockett Roadshow

•Cabaret Extraordinaire

8 p.m.-2 a.m., 33 Golden, 33 Golden St.

Music, burlesque, comedy and magic and more, hosted by Venus Flytrap and featuring house band The Weird Beards.

•The Ice Carnival

6-10 p.m., Hygienic Art Park, 79 Bank St.

Games, interactive experiences, more.

•First Word

5-7 p.m., The Telegraph, 19 Golden St.

Poets of New London county - including Jane Anderson, Daniel Boroughs, Jake St John and Thomas Weigel - do readings, and the mic will be open to the audience.

•Salón de co-dependientes

6-9 p.m., Expressiones, 84 Bank St.

An exhibition featuring the work of Hygienic Residents hosted at Expressiones.

•Hygienic Art XXXV

8 p.m., Hygienic Galleries, 79 Bank St., New London

The Salon des Independants exhibition is open to all artists. The rules: one piece per artist; no judge, no jury, no fees, no censorship.


•Young Artists Exhibition

Noon-4 p.m., The Garde Gallery, 305 State St.

See Saturday listing.


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