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Lunar Inspiration 

Local artists again gather to celebrate the full moon

Susan Eyde will bellydance in the barn.

Mary Lucking will lure bugs into a tent and use lights to project their shadows onto the cloth.

Amanda Yopp will string 10 televisions along a desert path, each one playing a piece of a single video work.

Mykl Wells will make "some kind of plastic inflated sculpture," says Sharon Holnback, organizer of the second annual GLOW in Oracle. "We don't know exactly what it will be like until we see it."

That could serve as GLOW's official motto. Holnback has invited dozens of visual, performing and musical artists up to the Triangle L, her 50-acre Oracle spread, just north of the towering Catalinas. They'll make art in honor of the full moon, and it's anyone's guess exactly where their lunar inspiration will take them.

But this much is certain about what Holnback bills as a "nighttime art experience": Lighted sculptures will glow amid the moon shadows in the desert; an art exhibition will be in the barn; and music and dance will shake up the barn, a front porch and another stage set up in a wash.

"The original idea was to have artwork having to do with light in the night," Holnback explained. "We had some luminaria sculptures that we wanted to use. But then it blossomed. I started inviting all kinds of artists, and it went from there."

The first GLOW, in July 2004, was inspired by a rare astronomical event: The moon waxed full twice in a single month. This time around, August has only one full moon, but Holnback is extending Glow over two nights.

Friday, Aug. 19, the full moon will rise just after 7:30 p.m., Holnback said. The next night, Saturday, Aug. 20, the slightly waning moon will rise around 8 p.m. The multi-genre festivities will commence just after dark, simultaneously unfolding in the multiple venues from 8 p.m. to midnight each night.

Last year, Holnback, a metal sculptor herself, hoped perhaps 100 people might make the hour-long trek up the road from Tucson. She was astonished when some 400 showed up to celebrate lunar art.

"I was fairly surprised," she said dryly. This time around, she'd like people to buy tickets in advance, so she'll know how many moon revelers to expect.

Besides the TV artist and the bug artist and the inflatable-sculpture artist, this year's lighted sculpture walk will also showcase Fox McGrew. A resident of nearby Rancho Linda Vista, McGrew will contribute a lighted ceramic piece. Painter Alfred Quiróz will switch genres and do a performance piece.

Painter/sculptor/public artist Simon Donovan and some of his students, high schoolers at TUSD's Artworks Academy, are "going to build a black fabric box on the main stage," Holnback says. "They're going to put black lights on it and DayGlo fluorescents." The students will perform both nights. "Simon is also collaborating with some musicians to make glowing apparel. He did mention glowing bras."

Robert Hoffman will provide "some kind of lit sculpture. I think he mentioned bowling balls."

Sculptor Imo Baird and painter Matthias Düwel, both of Rancho Linda Vista, will perform as the Oracle Art Ensemble both nights, on the stage in a wash.

Ned Schaper, better known as art attacker Mat Bevel, will do a performance piece Saturday night. (He did a Flash Gordon piece last year.) The single-name artist Colleena last year made a mermaid whose mirrored tail "reflected the moonlight." This time, she's switching to "some kind of human statue" for her performance piece.

Eyde's belly barn dance will start around 10 p.m. on Friday. "She brought the house down last year," Holnback remembered. "Not everyone could get in. They were peeking in the windows."

Friday-night musicians include Tammy West, Rebecca Horton and Orion. Both nights, Kidd Squidd will spin discs of moon music in the barn from 8 to 10. Afterwards, on Friday night, he'll host a dance party until midnight, playing disco, tech and funk, Holnback said.

For the after-show Saturday, also from 10 to midnight, Kidd will cede the barn to Electroshockbox.

"I wish I knew how to describe it," Holnback said of the artist, who also plays with the George Squier Orchestra. "He does some DJing of recorded music, and he also has a computer of altered music. He performs along with it, kind of a singing, rapping thing."

Kevin Pakulis, a singer-songwriter who recently completed an arts residency at the Triangle L, is "really good," said Holnback, noting that he opens for such artists as Merle Haggard and also plays at Old Tucson. He'll play from 10 to midnight Saturday on a different stage. Also on Saturday night, singer Namoli Brennet performs.

Hungry lunar fans this year can buy a barbecue dinner. The main ranchhouse, a 100-year-old place that Holnback runs as a bed and breakfast, will open up as a café, also serving drinks and dessert. A GLOW boutique will offer assorted glow-in-the-dark items so all participants can shine. Art cars will give a lift to participants from the ranch gate.

And if monsoon rains threaten to block the full moon?

"I've been worried about rain, but I never thought about obscuring clouds until just this moment," Holnback fretted. She paused a second, then added, "Even if it's cloudy, everything will be well-lit. Maybe we'll get a big tent. Artists will be in charge of their own pieces. We're hoping for the best." That means two clear nights, lit by the light of a silvery moon.

More by Margaret Regan

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