Retrospective: Gallery Night, Summer 2009

Local Trolley Issue 5, Post 4

Originally posted July 27, 2009 on the Sane Artworks Blog, this is a bad-a#$’s version of a Shih Tzu.

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All around Milwaukee you can see physical changes taking place: clean-cut mixed-use developments, fragrant plantings in the boulevards. The streets are even getting paved after ten years of neglect. Some of that same rejuvenating energy is being released on the social scene too. Gallery Night is not a new invention and it’s nice to see creative outlets taking root in Milwaukee.

One of my favorite displays of the night hung not from a wall of Art Asia, but from the shoulder of a stern-looking fellow who looked like a typical renegade with a Harley parked outside. Stereotypes in place, alligator would be expected to cover his feet. Instead one rested gently cradled on his forearm and bicep. Everyone has to have a cause.

The caretaker of the endangered Chinese Alligator had the kind of leeriness emitting from those that think satellite surveillance is being taken of them. Apparently he has been battling the animal rights activist, the extreme ones that do not believe anyone should own pets (especially if they are alligators). Those pretentious fun-suckers! Personally, I am all for docile 45 lbs, 18 year old alligators chilling on Gallery Night with their masters. Wait a minute… this must be one of only several handfuls of Chinese Alligators left on the planet.

Everything was red. Not Commy red but deep visceral blood red. This relic of a beast fit in perfectly with the ambiance of Art Asia, a trading post of Chinese gifts, furniture, and artifacts. Minus the crowd hovering around reptilian and owner, you may not have noticed the gator’s presence. It was a serene creature, an expression opposite to the one given by the typical bewitching “alligator smile”. The constant glance of this creature lacked menace unlike its relatives, looking almost relieved to feel protected by and outside force other than it’s own wild instinct. I am usually harsh on exotic animal owners, but I think I can let this one slide. My super-cool friend Miranda and I both ended up donating 5 bucks to the cause.

Gallery Night is a quarterly event.

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