Over on the Infringement beat, I eventually lost count of all the references, eccentric and otherwise, to the “October Surprise” storm that devastated so many of Buffalo’s trees and transformed other vegetation last fall. It has been popping up in poetry readings, in theatrical monologues and one-act plays, and so on, on at least two occasions as a metaphor for the war in Iraq. And it figured in the one show last weekend that directly acknowledged the intersection of GW and Infringement—a trippy little number called “Garden Talk,” set in the private greenspace behind a newish art gallery called Sp@ce 224. (The “@” is annoying, but the venue is folksy and inviting, and its courtyard easily as nice as many on the Walk.) The performance, a loose but fairly accurate approximation of a typical GW back yard at the height of the walk (except with plastic flowers), featured lots of poetry on scrolls, conversations with lawn gnomes, a “money tree,” and, yes, an opening moment of silence for all the trees that gave their lives in the storm—or so I am told; I missed the actual M.o.S. because I was busy getting liquored up at the GW media event.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more works in the years ahead explicitly bridging the imaginary divide between the two festivals. (I just remembered: as part of a conceptual project of my own in the Fest, I distributed seeds with various instructions on things to do with them.) A contemporary art gallery in nearby Rochester launched an event several years ago inviting artists to make site-specific work for their own yards or other people’s, and that concept seems to be tailormade for a community like ours.
In the meantime, bring on the talking trolls and bowling/gazing balls; I welcome them, one and all.