Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Cucumber Lounge defies the Monday blues

A brand new Sunday event offering a mix of live music, art and DJ’s has come to Sheffield to remedy those end of the weekend blues. Combining art exhibitions, performance and music, The Cucumber Lounge endeavors to conclude our weekend with some pleasurable entertainment and a little bit of culture.

The event is organised by Sheffield Art Forge, a non-for-profit social enterprise offering arts programming and professional artistic development. Every second Sunday of the month artists and musicians will fill the rooms at Creative Arts Development Space with eclectic sounds and thought-provoking art and performance.
Billy Christmas, a Fine Arts student at Sheffield University, runs The Cucumber Lounge for Sheffield Art Forge. Billy said he was inspired by Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland in which there is a club called Cucumber Lounge. “It’s playful but surreal and as the event is on a Sunday evening I thought ‘lounge’ was quite appropriate. It’s a chilled out event that is about appreciating a bit of culture rather than getting wasted,” said Billy.
Sheffield Art Forge runs the arts programme for Creative Arts Development Space, a multi-purpose arts complex in Shalesmoor. Dan Butlin, Sheffield Art Forge curator and event organiser said this event is part of their outreach programme. “We’re trying to broaden the appeal to people who aren’t the contemporary art crowd by creating a synthesis between art and music.” Dan said that they are also creating opportunities for artistic development by giving artists like Billy Christmas the opportunity and freedom to run an event with the support of Sheffield Art Forge.
Entertainment at The Cucumber Lounge
The first Cucumber Lounge kicked off last Sunday with music from Meat, Motherfolkers and Loveboat accompanying art exhibitions from Jessica Wong and Stuart Faulkner. There was also free face painting, poetry by Stan Skinny and an art performance by Stephen Milligan.
Jessica Wong’s exhibition featured installation art exploring the idea of things that are beautiful and ugly at the same time. Her work explores items such as the human body, which is both beautiful in the way it works and yet its guts and gory insides are also ugly. Stuart Faulkner’s exhibition included paintings with a subversive pop-cultural reference, including a painting of Harry Potter with the body of an imp. This painting refers to the American Christian reaction to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. 
Stuart Faulkner's exhibition 
The music included a mixture of folk, punk and an eclectic mix of everything in between. Performance poet Stan Skinny, who ensured the atmosphere remained light-hearted and relaxed, entertained the audience between bands.
Stan Skinny
Billy has many ideas for future events. “I want to have people walking around with platters of cucumber sandwiches and I also wanted to have a poet selling custom poems for shrapnel, but he couldn’t make it this time.” Billy also hopes to incorporate The Cucumber Lounge into other Sheffield arts and music events like the SKINN festival and Tramlines or Peace in the Park.
If any bands or artists would like to get involved in future events you can email Billy Christmas at cucumberlounge@gmail.com
Photos by www.joebream.com 

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