Free wine and cheese seemed to bring out the college kids on Friday night — either that, or they’ve become much more interested in the arts since we were in college. The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art hosted the opening of their new exhibit featuring sculptor Herb Parker and archaeological artist Joseph Burwell, which focused on the use of studio space as another art form. And that space was packed. A generationally-mixed group roamed the halls sipping on wine and beer and noshing on the Whole Foods catered snacks. We managed to fight the crowds to grab a drink before making our way to the equally slammed exhibitions.
First up was Herb Parker and his studio representation, which included a menagerie of strategically placed jars, skulls, and knickknacks. Sculptures were also scattered amongst the space allowing guests to get up close and personal to the art. That resulted in near disaster as one guest seemed to get too close to the display on rockers, almost knocking it over. Oddly, this only seemed to invite more people to see how close they could get the sculpture to falling without actually bringing it crashing down.
We decided to head out of the room before we clumsily knocked something over and meandered over to Joseph Burwell’s installation. Thankfully, a very helpful intern on staff helped us decipher his architectural designs and gave us tips on tracking down the artists. On the lookout for Burwell, dressed in all tweed, and Parker, who was wearing a simple T-shirt, we moved back to the reception hall. We spotted Parker standing by the Whole Foods spread, right in front of the shrimp. We waited patiently to ask him how he thought the evening had gone and what he thought of the opening. He seemed pleased although not very talkative. We did find out that he knew exactly where each jar belonged, and where each skull was placed. “Everything is done with an intention, a thought behind it,” Parker says. Hmmm, maybe we can use that answer when people see our messy desk spaces too. With no sighting of Burwell and only the stinky cheese left, we called it a night and were thankful to have made it out without breaking anything.
The next day the Grape Stomp was calling our name. After waking to a rainy day, we were concerned about the turnout. But this worry was futile. Another day, another packed party. Once we made our way through the food truck mob scene, we realized that the Vineyard wasn’t joking about bringing your own chairs, blankets, and picnic essentials. We were sorely (at least our feet were by the end of the day) regretful but kept on wandering to see what the festival had in store. There were crafts, a giant jump castle, and a gorgeous porch swing to entertain the crowd, but we made our way to the stage to get front and center for the first heat of the Grape Stomp.
It was there we ran into Team Awesome — otherwise known as Andrea Wheeler and John Biggs — waiting to try their luck in the stomp in the next heat. They had the most direct strategy for beating the other contestants: winning. With a decent number of no-shows, Team Awesome were summoned to the first heat, but sadly their strategy didn’t seem to work. Kristen and Josh Poston were able to collect as much juice as all the other contestants combined leading to some cry of scandal in the stomp. Word spread that a particular bucket didn’t have a screen on it like the other ones. The crew at Irvin-House removed all the screens for the second heat, and Jody Rhoderick and Joe Evans eeked out a win over the Postons and took home the prize. And just a warning: the saccharine smell of the grape stomp was nauseating, so be prepared if you want to compete in it for two minutes. We could barely stand it on the sidelines.
Lucy look-alikes also roamed the festival in hopes of taking home the crown of best Lucy impersonator. Rumors of a male Lucy made their way through the crowd, and halfway through the second grape stomp we saw him — he did exist. But in the hoopla of the contest we lost our man, so now on a mission, we sought him out and found him by the food truck with his Ethel, Chris Chapman. The two were in good spirits and definitely just there for a laugh — but we have to admire anyone who is able to find the best shade of red lipstick for their complexion and not be afraid to wear it with red hair. Way to go, Ed. Sadly, they didn’t win, but the adorable Gabrielle Clark did.
Having had our fill of the overly sweet Moscato wine, we stomped our way back to the peninsula.