Thursday, January 31, 2019

Calling all free spirits, academics, and classically trained modernist types for an evening of amazement

Klimchak is a full-time composer-performer visiting from Atlanta. I had the pleasure of speaking with him at SHAMc this week during one of his practice sessions. 

“I’ve been playing music for a long time,” Klimchak explained. He’s SHAMc’s current artist in residence who will be performing this Saturday evening and presenting a Bolder Talk on Sunday afternoon. 

“I come from a family of drummers—my dad was a drummer; my grandfather was a drummer. Both got married and stopped to have a family, then it became a hobby. For a long time, I thought that would be my path too."

Klimchak, who goes by his last name, is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and relocated to Atlanta for grad school. That’s about when he decided music would be his life's work.

“I was getting set to go to law school but realized I didn’t want to go to law school.”

He composes for modern dance, film, and writes music for theatre as well as his solo performances. “I went pro about 1992 
and have been making a living at it ever since,” he said. “I do all original music.”

I watched him practice with Saturday’s guest percussionist Sean Hamilton and it almost felt like meditation. The music is like nothing you’ve likely heard before.

“I don’t have a really good name for it to be honest … it’s Klimchak music,” he said. His smile is generous and he’s willing to  explain his process.

"Experimental music is probably a 20th century phenomenon,” he said. “Music got to the point where people needed different things. Electronics gave people a whole new palette to work with. 

“I use a lot of homebuilt instruments. I build elaborate structures and do live improv—it is this written thing that has space to play.”

Along with Sean Hamilton, Klimchak has invited three other regional musicians to join him Saturday evening: bassist/composer Thomas Milovac, New Renaissance artist Elizabeth A. Baker and guitarist/composer Rex Shepard.

“With Elizabeth I will be playing this box that I built that I will be bowing and hitting and playing. With Thomas – he will be playing with his bass but I will be playing with tuned rice bowls and a theramin.” 

I asked Klimchak to give me an idea who the people are who are most attracted to his music. “In most cases they’re interested in something different. There’s a wide range, lots of different streams of people who like experimental music—a variety of people with different interests,” he said. “They’re sort of free spirits, classically trained modernist people, there is a whole group of academics, and I compose for them as well as the free spirits.”

Klimchak, Sean Hamilton and our own Ed Derkevics
February 2, 2019
Doors 7p.m. / show 7:30p.m. $5 suggested donation

His Bolder Talk will be at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, at SHAMc. Free admission.

Laura Kepner /

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The TypePoetry Project is underway!

If you’ve visited the Safety Harbor Library or SHAMc lately, you’ve probably noticed the typewriters.
(No, you haven’t traveled back to 1965.)
Ed Derkevics, who runs SHAMc Alive every month, and is often sitting with one of his typewriters at Cafe Vino Tinto, has organized TypePoetry in collaboration with SHAMc and the Safety Harbor Public Library. Ed wants everyone who visits either place to take a few minutes and sit at one of the typewriters. 
“I want this to be all-inclusive,” he said. “I want everyone to get involved. I want the whole community using the typewriters.”
A group of kids watched as he was setting up a  typewriter at the library recently. “They didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I had to explain that life was a little slower back then, when it was used.”
If his project goes as planned, it will become a snapshot of the community after about a month. He invites people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. And he wants you to know that you don't have to be a published poet or intellectual. This is about having fun.
There are stacks of 3 x 5 index cards near the typewriters at both locations and Ed hopes the community will use the cards to share their thoughts, words of wisdom, poetry, and stories about typewriters. Please remember to leave your name and contact information on the back of the card because he may publish them as a compilation in the future.
There are others in the Harbor who love typewriters, too. Mary Cummings is organizing a Type-in at the library on October 23rd. Bring your own typewriter or use one provided and join us beginning at 6 p.m.
“There isn’t room for revision when you use a typewriter,” Ed explained. “You’re in the moment and you have to choose each word carefully. When I sit in front of a typewriter I don’t worry about making mistakes. It’s an intention and it’s a great way to focus on your thoughts. 

“What I hope is that people will capture a moment, a thought, a flash of brilliance, and share it with us.” 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Autumn Pearson: a Harbor gal and SHAMc's current Artist in Residence

I found Autumn Pearson working at her studio in downtown Safety Harbor. She winters here sometimes because her ties to the area go back generations. 

Autumn is SHAMc’s current Artist in Residence and will exhibit her artwork February 16, 2018 from 4-11 p.m. with her BOLDER Talk from 6:30 to 7 that same evening. It's free - We hope you'll join us.

 Me: “What brought you to Safety Harbor?”

AP: “My family has had winter homes here in Safety Harbor since the ‘60s. My great grandfather had a little trailer over at Harbor Hills.” She pointed to the home across the street. “My grandma and grandpa bought that house when I was about eight. I learned how to ride my bike on the brick streets and did cartwheels on the pier.” She pointed toward the house adjacent to her studio. “And in 1997 my mom bought this house.”

Me: “What has your journey been like with your art? Has it always been full time?”

“I have been a teacher and school administrator in New Mexico for almost twenty years. I just decided that isn’t who I am anymore. I was offered an artist in residency opportunity in Morocco. It’s my favorite place in the world so far. I did an exhibition there and then I went the Canary Islands for a month and a half. I was in the most remote and southern part, a place called El Hierro. It was really fun to live on such a safe, tiny island. 

“Now I am here in Safety Harbor. I’ve been here since the end of November working as an artist in residence for SHAMc and next I will head back to Morocco. Then I will see where the Universe takes me.”

Me: "That’s incredible—to have such diverse experiences to inspire you."

“That’s kind of why I’m here. I’ve been traveling since June. It was time to come home and check in and visit my momma. If I’m going to be in the U.S. I need to be on this path and continue to create.”

Me: “How do you describe your art?”

AP: “I use all found objects so when I drop into one of these communities, as an artist in residence, I show up with the same set of gouache – they’ve been around the world – and the same set of paintbrushes and I make everything from all found materials.” She motions toward her current project, a raised portrait on a multi-colored canvas with a textured background. “These were all found canvases, all recyclable material made of paper and minerals and it dries really hard. My mom is a weaver so this [the textured background] is one of her rugs.

“My show is called Giving Back. It’s giving back to Safety Harbor – it has been my second home – and giving back to my family because they’ve been here forever. I’m doing a series of portraits of my mom and her three sisters . . . they’ve been really special to me growing up.”

Autumn shows me a sneak peek of her series of women made from fence posts. It’s her grandpa’s old fence that she rescued from being burned in her mother’s fireplace. “I made a series of Moroccan women in traditional jellabas. The buttons I use are all traditional handmade by Moroccan women.

“My bigger concept is giving back to the environment by not consuming.”

Me: “That means a lot to you?”

AP: “I think a lot about it. I try to show people through art and through conversation to bring awareness about what they consume and leave behind. It disappears from their minds but it doesn’t disappear form our planet. 

“This is my giving back to SHAMc.” 

Autumn brings me into her studio where a three-headed mermaid rests, waiting for her talented hands. “It got its first bit of paint yesterday. This is made of palm fronds and the Tampa Bay Times. It will be covered with found objects from my walks.” 

Me: "SHAMc is lucky to have you here."

AP: “It is great to walk by the water every day and having an art center to connect to is really inspiriting. You can really feel alone being an artist in residence. Having a place that is always bringing in other arts and connecting with other artists – those are the things that SHAMc has given me.” 

Me: “What do you want people to know about you, your art, or the Bolder Talk and exhibit?”

AP: “ I want people who’ve never been to SHAMc to go. So many people – from Safety Harbor – they’ve never been to SHAMc. I want them to get out of their comfort zones. I want them to think about what they consume. I want them to come to this exhibit and see all of things that are normally thrown away. They might decide not to use a straw the next time they go to the restaurant . . .

“I want people to get out of their homes and their minds and have an experience.”

We want that too, Autumn! (So, readers, please  join us!)