In the beginning there was Pablo Cano. At least that's what the artist enchants one to believe. Like a mixed-media genie rubbed out of a lantern from Hollywood's golden age of spectacle, Cano thunders onstage today at 2:00 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) with his boldest extravaganza yet.
Pablo Cano: The Beginning, featuring a Cecil B. De Mille cast of marionettes, promises to shanghai audiences on a wild ride from the Jurassic Age and into the future, dropping the curtains with a toe-tapping Busby Berkeley finale that would leave monocled movie moguls moping for more. Dinosaurs swallowed by lava, Adam and Eve evicted from Eden, a deluge of biblical scope, Noah's Ark and a Barnum & Bailey menagerie, a technology parade featuring man's greatest inventions, and a gargantuan encounter between robots and UFOs all collide wondrously in Cano's titanic vision of life on our planet.
Cano's blockbuster, inspired by Fernand Leger's designs for the 1923 ballet La Creation du Monde, is choreographed by Katherine Kramer and includes a troupe of dancers and musicians merrily collaborating to orchestrate the fabulous fandango. "The show starts and ends with a big bang," Kramer laughs. "Pablo has created an incredible cast of puppets and we have a talented ensemble of musicians who make the production feel like a fun stage musical." Kramer mentions that choreography for puppets is challenging. "The focus of the dancer is to become the puppet's soul. They also have to remain cautious not to overshadow the puppet," she adds.
Upstaging Cano's jaw-dropping creations seems impossible. "I made Juanita the turtle from a birdcage and gave her Coke bottle caps for skin," Cano explains. "I used a toy wagon to give her movement and fashioned her head from the arm of an old office chair." How does the marionette master's epic story end? "All the puppets come out and sing an old Tin Pan Alley tune," Cano croons. "That's all; there isn't any more." The show runs through December 18. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $2 for children under twelve. Advanced reservations required. Call 305-895-6211, or visit www.mocanomi.org.
Andrew Reach makes his colorful masterpieces with a computer, but don't call his work digital art. "To me it's painting, whether it's with paint or pixels," the artist explains. Although artistic desire always haunted Reach, not until he found himself at his lowest point was he able to express his creativity. He was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis, a spinal disease that threatened his internal organs and nearly caused his head to become dislodged from his neck. Unable to work, he spent nine months lying on a bone growth machine, sinking deeper into depression. The need to express his anguish consumed him. Using Photoshop, Reach began creating bright, beautiful artwork reminiscent of the modern masters. His first exhibit, "Beyond Pain," offers inspiring testimony to the powerful effects of art as therapy. "I am trying to break through certain areas of myself, and I'm finding ways of expressing myself through the computer that are different than anything I've seen," he says. Meet this incredible artist at his exhibit opening tonight at 7:00 at Tip Freeman's Paintings and Art Gallery, 738 NE 79th St., North Miami. Call 305-754-8221, or visit www.andrewreach.com. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Biology-Inspired Swirly Gig
Juliana Kang takes cues from nature
Juliana Kang is attuned to the rhythm of a crab's mad dash along the road to nowhere, mindful of the grooves of burrowing insect larvae within a tree's guts, absorbed by a spider's lyrical tap dance upon a rippling lake. The artist's solo show, "Migrations," opening tonight at 7:00 at Diaspora Vibe Gallery (3938 N. Miami Ave., Miami) traces the movement of living organisms across Earth's surfaces.
Her work seems alive with claustrophobic scratching, seismic spasms, agitated skittering, and whirlpools of swirling pencil smoke. Kang, who has an extensive background in biology and ecology, spends much of her time on trails and bike paths, in gardens and natural settings, seeking inspiration for her work. "I am constantly finding ideas for my drawings by paying close attention to the texture of rocks, logs, dirt, and paths," she says. Tired of seeing those nasty skid marks left by fellow corporate lemmings? Then hike your wingtips, or smart office pumps, over to Kang's invigorating show. Call 305-573-4046, or visit www.diasporavibe.com. Carlos Suarez de Jesus
Groove Is in the Art
Each person perceives color in different ways, a complex reactive formula based on retinal reflex, memory, and the hard-wiring of the brain. New Jersey-born artist Alissa Christine attempts to tap into the phenomena of light and color for her latest photographic art exhibition, cleverly titled "de:lite." "I like to alter the way the light is registered through the photograph, something your eyes can't do," says the artist of her seamless fusion of photography and graphic design. By enhancing or warping certain parts of a photograph of, for instance, a few people on a street corner in front of a hotel, Christine transforms an image of reality into what she sees as a more "delicious" form of life. These trippy, psychedelic pieces are reminiscent of amped-up Rorschach tests or Georgia O'Keeffe orchids on Red Bull. Tonight's opening party is from 7:00 to 11:00 at Art Café (427 Jefferson Ave., South Beach). The exhibit runs through November 13. Call 305-531-0770, or visit www.alissachristine.com. Christina Kent