Orr Street Studios is a room full of voices. This past Tuesday night, Hearing Voices Seeing Visions made sure to have visuals to enhance these voices. It was a night of sharing, of laughter, of behind-the-scenes talk and most importantly, snacks and wine!
First up was Steve Schroeder, who, after some time studying computer engineering, switched over to English full-time and now is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer. Poetry requires pickiness, so perhaps his “intensity bordering on obsession” is a useful trait to help him write. Steve has published two books of poetry. His first one is called “Torched Verse Ends” and his latest is called “The Royal Nonesuch.” He read from both and his reading was humorous (to say the least) in that everybody can relate to a love for Target and how frustrating transportation security can be. His poems are inspired from just about anything. Some are from ordinary experiences like seeing without glasses. Many of them were about his family members, some have titles taken from other published titles, some are inspired by other poets such as William Carlos Williams and E. E. Cummings, while still others are from the local news broadcast where “nothing happens and nothing ever does.” Oh, and Costco really does sell caskets! His books were available for purchase and signing afterwards, but you can always get them on his website as well. Orders directly through his website will be signed and shipped to you.
In the middle of the sandwich we had photographer Scott McMahon talk about some of his pieces and his process. His works were showcased throughout the gallery and he prepared a slideshow presentation that demonstrated all the crazy cool things you can do with a pinhole camera. For Scott, who provided us with another funny, entertaining talk, photography is not just snapping a shot and hoping for the best. He claimed he is “never satisfied with the image that comes out of the camera.” He “must work on it.” And work on it he does. He likes to use himself in many photos because like he explained, in his studio, he can manipulate the development of the photo how he wants, whereas partnering with another artist requires him to let go and compromise. He works with his friend, Ahmed Salvador in pieces of film they exchange in the mail. Scott may not like to call himself a scientist, but in a way he is—he creates art through the lens and is willing to experiment with different props, lighting, subjects, themes and is not afraid to put weird things on his head. Currently he teaches his M.O. to his students as an assistant professor of art at Columbia College.
Lastly, we had writer and mother Jill Orr (who is not the owner of Orr Street Studios) come up and read three of her creative non-fiction essays. She takes her writing from her family members, especially her kids. He first essay was about how in one household you can’t have two fun parents. While the un-fun parent must play Bad Cop, she (did you really think it was going to be her husband?) has all the power. Her second essay described why candy tastes better free, especially when you steal it from your children. Now, to preface, she doesn’t see it as stealing Halloween candy from her kids. She sees it as them paying a luxury tax, just to be clear. She has a whole set of rules for how you should do it right. You go for the common candies and doubles that are hard to keep track of. You cull out the candy you want while they are away at school. You let them know you’re checking out the candy (inspecting) for their safety. Her final essay featured Kermit, her husband, and sparkle Barbie, herself. Titled after the cliché, “How about them apples?” it was about her husband tasting apples at the grocery store before buying them. In one word, her performance was hilarious.
By the end of the night it was pretty obvious that art comes in different forms and no matter what form it’s in, each artist is trying to tell a story.