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Photo: Alicia J. Rose

Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock’s smart, pop-inflected blend of jangly psychedelia and punk attitude has been pretty irresistible for 30-odd years. This August, Yep Roc records will release Luminous Grooves, the label’s second box set of the Brit rocker’s oeuvre; it contains three vintage ’80s albums (two studio, one live), and two discs of unreleased material. You can check out what he’s been up to lately tonight (Thursday) at the Linda, where Hitchcock will put on a solo show.

The WAMC Web site has as apt a description of Hitchcock’s lyrical interests as you’ll find anywhere, noting that they “tend to include surrealism . . . characterizations of English eccentrics and melancholy depictions of everyday life.” (You know, the average interests of the average English iconoclast.) You want further proof of his reputation as a writer? At Hitchcock’s 2003 birthday concert at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, actor Alan Rickman read one of Hitchcock’s poems. We ask, what’s cooler than getting the imprimatur of the original Die Hard villain?

Robyn Hitchcock will perform tonight (Thursday, July 10) at 8 PM at the Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Ave., Albany). Tickets are $25. For more info, call 465-5233 ext. 4.

Keith Edmier: & Episode 1

The baby boomers were the first generation to grow up with televisions in their homes; by the 1970s there were innumerable shows directed at children, ranging from educational to pure entertainment. The 1970s provide much fodder for the artist Keith Edmier. If you missed his retrospective last year at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard, now is your chance to catch up on some of his personal history. Keith Edmier: & Episode 1 will open tonight (Thursday) along with Steve DiBenedetto: Edge Dwelling at the University Art Museum. The unifying factor in Edmier’s museum installation is a re-creation of a television set loosely based on Chicago’s WGN-TV’s Studio 1, where children’s shows such as Bozo’s Circus, Garfield Goose, and The Ray Rayner Show were produced. Edmier explains that he was partly inspired by the museum space itself: “I was looking through old photographs of the museum as well as a Ray Rayner book about television, and I noticed an architectural relationship between the museum and that of a sound stage. Even the second floor balcony resembles a catwalk.”

By re-creating the set using personal source material, borrowed items, and reconstructed elements, Edmier explores the very mutable boundaries of memory. In many ways, Edmier’s artistic process resembles the theory of memory consolidation: Neuroscientists believe that each time a memory is recalled, it must be rewritten in the brain, thereby, becoming essentially a new memory—or more like a photocopy of the original. By using archival and original material intermingled with reconstructed or substituted objects, Edmier conflates the past and the present, in essence reconsolidating his memories.

He says, “I wanted to explore, through this exhibition, the things that influenced me early on to see if these were the things that made me an artist. I was particularly interested in things like Dirty Dragon and the Blob from the show Gigglesnort Hotel, or the special effects from movies like King Kong.”

“At age 13,” Edmier says, “I started corresponding with Dick Smith, the special-effects make-up artist for such films as The Exorcist and Altered States. I sent him photographs of my amateur attempts at copying his work. Smith later introduced me to Rick Baker, who gave me my first job in film working on Captain EO with Michael Jackson.”

In addition to elements from these various phases in his life, Edmier includes clown imagery throughout the exhibition. He says that “the clown is an ambiguous figure who is neither child nor adult. The clown becomes a vessel onto which anything can be projected.” Similar to the clown, Edmier has chosen to accent the exhibition by painting the walls in the same background color used for bluescreens. This intense blue becomes invisible when images are projected onto it.

This exhibition not only brings together elements from Edmier’s past, but it also has allowed him to reconnect with some of the people who were influential early on in his life. The show becomes a creative timeline that follows into the mid-1980s, when Edmier left for Los Angeles.

Keith Edmier: & Episode 1 and Steve DiBenedetto: Edge Dwelling open today (Thursday, July 10), and continue through Sept. 21, at the University Art Museum (Fine Arts Building, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany). There is also an artists’ reception today (July 10) from 5 to 7 PM; there will be an “artists in conversation” program on Sept. 16 at 7 PM. For more info, call 442-4035.

—Nadine Wasserman

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