Category Archives: Events

Have A Great Last ARTwalk weekend


And here it comes. The last-ever ARTwalk at the Valley View Center location is Saturday, February 18, and then we start the move to the new gallery shortly thereafter. One way or another, we have to be out and gone by February 28, and then demolition starts on March 1. The clearout is bittersweet: we don’t necessarily want to go right away, but between a steady decline of visitors and the steady breakdown of essentials such as escalators, this works out well.

As far as the new gallery is concerned, that’s been its own adventure. Because of prior commitments for two big shows in March and May, the Triffid Ranch will have the official opening in June. After that…well, let’s wait and see.

Anyway, for those coming out, a few notes. Firstly, for those who have been considering purchasing a larger enclosure for a while, all of those are now at Shirt Price rates for the duration of ARTwalk. In addition, for those wanting to get one but not being sure about hauling it home, park on the Alpha Road side of the mall (just look for the covered parking), and we’ll take care of the moving and loading into your vehicle. Other than that, we’ll see you on Saturday.

The Aftermath: ARTwalk – January Green

As promised, the first ARTwalk in January was one hell of a way to start off 2017. As promised, local horticulture student Christian Cooper showed and sold his range of houseplants, to the point where he won’t show up in photos. That’s because he was so busy, from beginning to end, that I completely forgot to get pictures of him in action. As promised, his sales were matched with an equal contribution to the North Texas Food Bank, and the NTFB received a contribution of $150 the very next morning. As promised, this was going to be just the beginning for the year. As we discovered two days later, that’s absolutely true, as we received notice that all of the galleries at Valley View Center have to be vacated as of February 28, with the doors to the mall blocked off and demolition starting the very next day. It’s been a good run, and on one serious high note.

So what else happened? The first and foremost was the debut of the new commission enclosure Arellarti (2017) (shown above and in the Enclosure Gallery), an experiment in adapting standard diorama-building techniques for a decidedly hostile environment for most model materials. Not only was the client (below) absolutely ecstatic, but her assignment gave me the chance to push the edge on new materials and new techniques, which will be used in the future for upcoming enclosures. Now we just need to snag a new gallery in order to be able to do so…

As for that new gallery? The search started months ago, with getting an idea of which areas and what sort of location would be most amenable to what was needed and what would have been nice to have. For no other reason, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity given by the Galleries at Midtown and the owners of Valley View Center for the last eighteen months, because when a leasing agent asks “So…what are you looking for in a space?”, I can give succinct, useful, and well-researched answers. Now it’s just a matter of getting returned phone calls.

And for future plans. No matter where we go, the gallery will probably remain appointment-only unless something drastically changes with the financial situation, and regular public openings will probably cut back to quarterly instead of monthly. ARTwalk was a great way to be prepared for the public and keep the place from resembling a shooting set from The Red Green Show a little too much, but it effectively removed three months of weekends from the work schedule. Besides, anticipation, on all sides, is good for the soul.

Other than that? We have one last ARTwalk on February 18 (for those on Facebook, details are here, and feel free to invite as many people as you can stand), and after that, it’s time for the clearout. All completed enclosures will be marked down to Shirt Price for all, so if you’ve been wanting to buy a particular one but haven’t had the opportunity to do so, get the space at home prepped and bring a vehicle to carry it home. (We have a cart to move it, but once out in the parking lot, you’re on your own.) All of the other galleries will be having both final art sales and liquidation sales of excess displays, supplies, and whatnot, so bring money for them, too. It’s been inevitable, but the closing of Valley View is a great excuse for a party, and you’re all invited. Selah.

Have a Great ARTwalk Weekend

Another month, another Midtown ARTwalk, and we’re starting off 2017 full throttle. This weekend’s ARTwalk not only features the debut of a new commission for noted voice actor (and very dear friend) Clarine Harp, but the theme is “January Green.” This means giving a space for new voices, and the new voice this month is Christian Cooper, a senior at North Dallas High School. This ARTwalk features a charity houseplant sale and show of Christian’s work, and considering that Christian is going to be someone to watch in a few years, now’s the chance to snag some of his plants before anybody else does. The festivities start at 6:00 on January 21, and we’ll keep going until everyone else goes home. See you then.

State of the Gallery

The big buy-stuff-and-get-drunk holidays are done. At the day jobs, everyone’s starting their first full week of work, and already planning vacations to get away from co-workers without the promise of violence. The kids are back in school, which in Texas means dodging the dolts who are terrified of thunder birds swooping down and stealing their children away, so they have to park in the middle of the street at rush hour and walk their kids directly to the front door. This being Texas, the weather keeps fluctuating between “black ice on the bridges” and “you’d think it was spring if you didn’t know better.” Yes, January is here, and preferably with as little pain as necessary.

With the new year comes the regular evaluation of where the Triffid Ranch is going, because we’re not sure ourselves. To answer the incessant questions: yes, we’re still at the old Valley View Center in North Dallas. Yes, we know the mall is going to be demolished. No, we don’t know when it’s coming down, or when we’ll have to vacate the space.With the incessant TV news segments involving someone who hasn’t been to the mall in 30 years, with closeups of the shock on their faces to discover that Wicks ‘n Sticks and Kay-Bee Toy and Hobby are shut down, you’d never know we had a thriving gallery community out here. Tell some people where we’re located, and they react as if they’ll be hit with demolition charges and buried in loose bricks the moment they step inside.  (I had to explain that to a niece who had to comment that “the mall is coming down” as if we’ll be caught in the destruction the next day, explaining that just because the mall will eventually be brought down, but it won’t be brought down today.)  This isn’t being helped by coverage in the Dallas Morning News by the self-styled “James Lipton of Fandom,” where you have to wonder exactly how many times he had his head flushed in mall toilets during his high school days that he’d dedicate so much time and effort gloating about the mall’s demise. (As someone who also once had a career at a weekly newspaper involving writing about nothing but science fiction movies and comic books, yes, it sucks that nobody can afford to pay for that coverage any more. Get over it.)

So here’s the situation as we know it so far. Yes, Valley View Center is facing demolition. Everyone knew that going in, and we specifically knew that when we opened the gallery nearly two years ago. No, we don’t know when demolition will start: that information hasn’t been shared with us or any other gallery owner. Yes, some galleries have cleared out, but most of that was because of the hype about the demolition last summer, where patrons worried about flying bricks stopped visiting. Right now, what we know is that the AMC Valley View 16 cinema, which I’ll add is the best first-run movie theater in the Dallas area for the price, signed a new lease for at least the next six months, and demolition can’t be completed so long as the theater remains. The old Foley’s building at the southwest corner of the mall is beginning demolition, but as that space had been empty for years, this doesn’t affect anything with the main mall and won’t for a while. For the duration, until we specifically hear word otherwise, the Triffid Ranch will remain at its current location, and we’ll be continuing with events at that location until we get that final word.

On that subject, the next Midtown ARTwalk is scheduled for Saturday, January 21 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., with this month’s theme being “January Green“. This one will be a bit different: besides premiering a new commission for famed voice actress and dear friend Clarine Harp, this show features guest horticulturalist Christian. A local high schooler, Christian first came out to the gallery last year to see Nepenthes pitcher plants in situ with his large and very enthusiastic family, and then invited me to see his collection of rescued plants. Folks, seeing Christian’s work with cuttings and plants previously rejected as being “too rough for sale” made me remember what I was like when I was 17…and makes me want to invent cheap and effective time travel to go back and kick my previous self’s lazy butt up around his shoulder blades. January Green is an exhibition and sale of Christian’s best houseplants, and all sales will be matched by the Triffid Ranch with a donation to the charity of Christian’s choice. Yes, he’s THAT good.

As for the rest of the year, the show season is going to be a bit sporadic, and only partly because of the mall situation. For those unfamiliar with the glorious fiasco that was the Marvelous Nerd Year’s Eve event last month, we didn’t dodge a bullet by not attending. We dodged Slim Pickens riding the bomb. We missed this, but after last summer’s InfiniCon, combined with more and more local conventions and shows having issues with attracting attendees, it’s a matter of cutting back on outside shows and concentrating on the gallery. That said, All-Con on March 16 through 19 and Texas Frightmare Weekend on May 5 through 7 are still essential. As for the next Blood Over Texas Horror For the Holidays show at the end of the year…if they want to put up with me, I’ll be honored to show off plants. Until then, ARTwalk is always open, and expect a special surprise involving the Dallas Arboretum in March. Details WILL follow.

Have a Great ARTwalk Weekend

Well, we’re down to the last ARTwalk of the year this Saturday, and the Triffid Ranch will be open along with the other galleries from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. OOOo or whenever we close up. Carnivorous plant enclosures, books, T-shirts…we’re all set. Combine this with an early 14th wedding anniversary celebration, and you have reason to come out and see the gallery, eh?

The Aftermath: Blood Over Texas Horror For The Holidays – 5

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Well, that does it for the overview of Horror For the Holidays, and now it’s a matter of getting word about next year’s show. If it remains a one-day event, I’ll make the trip, and make sure that the hotel doesn’t “accidentally” lose the reservation this time. If it ever becomes a two-day show, the problem will be getting me to leave. I’d avoided Austin for years because of horrible experiences in the past with certain elements of Austin’s fan community, but I obviously never met any of the horror fans. They’re good people, and comparing them favorably with Dallas’s horror fan community is the highest compliment I can pay. Selah.

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The Aftermath: Blood Over Texas Horror For the Holidays – 4

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For folks in the Austin area, this is Bunny, the vendor liaison for the Horror For The Holidays event. Please buy her drinks, or whatever she wants, and put them on my tab. Whatever it costs, it’s not enough to compensate for her kindness and professionalism. Thanks to her, Horror For The Holidays was as much fun for the vendors as the attendees, which is saying something.

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I’d also like to give a shoutout for Dan and Courtney above: Dan used to be my editor for a while at the long-dead comics activism Webzine Savant (it wasn’t the venue that created the term “Cat Piss Man” to describe the worst members of comics and science fiction fandom, but, to steal from Bette Midler, it certainly brought it to its high level of popularity), and I owe him for not killing me when he had the chance. Courtney deserves the same credit, because of the fact that she was never an editor of my work. They both deserve both deserve free drinks, too, for his taking the bullet she dodged.horrorholidays_11132016_15horrorholidays_11132016_16