It’s quick, hot, cheap and dirty—and you’ll love it. Cheaper Than A One Night Stand is a series of one-day art shows that creates a venue for up-and-coming, under-appreciated artists. The series is run by the Vancouver-based artists’ collective Fracture Industries, which makes it its business to challenge the methods in which art is displayed and to shake up the Vancouver art world. The Cheaper series allows artists to sell their work in a vibrant atmosphere at prices affordable to even the most underemployed hipster.
The series began in the fall of 2001 and started out at bars and restaurants such as the legendary, now defunct, Sugar Refinery. After the huge success of Cheaper Part 5 in November 2003, however, the prominent Elliott Louis Gallery approached Fracture with an offer of wall space. Despite the cachet of a respectable gallery, Cheaper Part 6, held at the beginning of May, maintained a firm grip on its punk art ethic with booming, eclectic music and a distinctly non-stuffy crowd of more than 1,000 tossing back pints in the garden outside.
Cheaper Part 6 was the largest yet, featuring the work of 80 artists—300 pieces in a wide variety of media from photography to watercolour to tattoo art. The show earned about $13,000 by midnight—impressive, considering every piece cost just $150. In the end, however, the money made at each show barely covers its expenses. Any small profits go directly into the next Fracture project.
Graeme from Fracture maintains, however, that the months of work needed to organize each event are well worthwhile. “The rewards of our labour have come in so many other forms,” he says. “The artists and patrons we’ve met, the artwork that we get to see, the response from the public at our events, the connections people have made through us. We’ve helped to change people’s lives and by offering them exposure they could not get elsewhere. We have made some artists believe that they can have a future in art. This payoff easily surpasses any financial gains.” For more information on Fracture projects, see www.fractureindustries.com.
By Rachel Sanders
Tangiers, Never Bring You Pleasure (Sonic Unyon)
When Toronto garage-rock darlings Tangiers released their debut album Hot New Spirits last March it seemed like the almighty hype machine was working overtime. It would be an understatement to say the band was everywhere. Since then, Tangiers have lost two members, including their founding guitarist and drummer. With Never Bring You Pleasure their line-up is back to four members, including drummer Jon McCann who previously played in a little band called Guided By Voices (no stranger themselves to line-up changes). And while your band falling apart after your first release would drive most musicians to simply call it quits, Tangiers have matured with their sophomore effort, and their punk pop sound is better than ever. Plus, the album’s title is sure to inspire music writers everywhere to craft embarrassingly bad puns to work into to their reviews.
Bob Wiseman, It’s True (Blocks Recording Club)
It’s True marks Bob Wiseman’s first album since 1995. Produced by blocks recording club co-founder and Hidden Cameras/Barcelona Pavilion member Steve Kado, the album is an odd little combination of quiet folk songs and quirky electronic tracks. Wiseman’s strength lies in his storytelling and ability to craft interesting tales. This certainly includes album opener “Cousin Dave,” an old song about David Geffen, corn on the cob and Guns N’ Roses.
The Organ, Grab That Gun (Mint Records/604)
I liked The Organ even before I heard their 2002 EP Sinking Hearts. The Vancouver all-girl quintet recruited members not on the basis of musical ability, but instead on an appreciation of the sound the band was going for. Listening to their debut full-length release Grab That Gun the first thing you notice is that members have gotten better in the musical ability department, however, that doesn’t mean they have lost any of the ’80s morose post-punk sound that made Sinking Hearts so good. And yes, much has been made about the fact that vocalist Katie Sketch sounds like the love child of Morrissey and Kristin Hersh. It’s true, she really does.
By Lisa Whittington-Hill