CREATIVE PEAKS: Local Flair

By on December 13, 2016

Vendors sling holiday gifts, a thespian returns with another work poking fun at Jackson, and artistic love letters abound.

Blacker Arrow jewelry is among the local wares on sale at Cocktails and Creatives Wednesday. Mike Piggott hangs new work Friday and Andrew Munz is raising cash to make you laugh with I Can Ski Forever 3.

Blacker Arrow jewelry is among the local wares on sale at Cocktails and Creatives Wednesday. Mike Piggott hangs new work Friday and Andrew Munz is raising cash to make you laugh with I Can Ski Forever 3.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – This holiday season you have your choice of craft fairs and art shows, but Cocktails and Creatives is a little different. The evening event isn’t just about shopping—although you’ll find gifts for everyone on your list. “It’s also an awesome holiday party where I see all my favorite people of Jackson,” said Cassandra Skipitis, the art events coordinator at The Rose and Pink Garter Theatre.

For its fifth year, the event is doubling in size. Skipitis is opening the theater to accommodate almost 30 vendors selling creative and handmade wares.

Danny Blacker is returning to sell jewelry she creates from shotgun shells and feathers for her line, Blacker Arrow. Each piece is handcrafted and unique so no two look the same. Her work has become so popular it’s easy to spot on people around town.

Whitney Eliott is a “master-knitter.” Skipitis is such a fan of Eliott’s work, she’s already commissioned her to make a winter hat.

Rob Kingwill is another popular returning vendor. He brings his Avalon 7 gear, including breathable facemasks for skiing and snowboarding and other apparel.

Folks will also see work from artists like Kelly Halpin and Walt Gerald, who is currently the featured artist at The Rose. Jenny Dowd has a booth with her pottery.

New vendors this year include Sheena Dhamsania, who creates homemade body scrubs. She’ll share a booth with Rich Goodwin, selling his homemade bath bombs.

There are gifts for everyone at the event, even your pet.

On a trip to Mexico Julieta Lyall saw a man weaving ankle bracelets. She told him he’d sell more pieces if he made dog collars. The two partnered up and now she’s selling woven collars that can be custom designed with your animal’s name.

While perusing all the booths and chatting with friends and neighbors, patrons can enjoy cocktails from The Rose. “It really has become quite a social event,” Skipitis said. “It’s worth blocking out an entire evening, no matter how quickly you finish your Christmas list.”

Cocktails and Creatives, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, December 14 at Pink Garter Theatre.

A path to eternal skiing

Ben and Danny arrive to Jackson fresh from Georgia. The stage is dark and ominous music plays as locals clutch their skis on stage. This scene, which shows the pride and sense of guardianship Jackson residents feel for their town, sets the stage for I Can Ski Forever 3, an original satirical musical about life in a ski town that Andrew Munz is working to fund and open in March.

I Can Ski Forever 3 follows the successful I Can Ski Forever in 2014 and I 2 Can Ski Forever in 2015.

Munz is trying to raise $15,000 by Dec. 22 via Kickstarter for the production. As of press time, he had raised less than $6,000.

With I Can Ski Forever 3, Munz is changing the format from a sketch show to a musical with a linear story. It follows two men who move to Jackson as they try to plant roots here.

“The ski culture has this personality that is easily identifiable and also very welcoming,” Munz said. “People come in from all over and find themselves embraced by the culture fairly quickly, as long as they are willing to change.”

The show also explores how Jackson changes in the eyes of the two main characters and through time.

Munz is acutely aware of how Jackson has shifted over time, and how it continues to change. He’s lived in the valley since he was 7 years old and sees people struggling to achieve coveted “local” status.

“It creates an interesting journey of identity that the characters go on,” he said.

The show will have higher production values—from musicians to choreography and dancers—than the two previous shows. It also will run four nights to offer more chances for locals to see the play. Munz is in talks with the Pink Garter Theatre and hopes to use its 350 seats for the four shows.

Creating a new show wasn’t hard. Jackson has so many quirks, there’s always fresh material.

“There are just volumes of things that are still untouched,” he said.

The new show, for instance, deals with the housing crisis, complete with a fantastical solution.

“It offers a tongue-in-cheek meta message that the show has touched on in the past, but we really swallow it whole this time,” Munz said. “The idea of ‘I can ski forever,’ is both a delusion and a badge of honor.”

Donate to I Can Ski Forever at kickstarter.com/projects/munzofsteel/i-can-ski-forever-3

Odes to places and people, new and old

Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes when Mike Piggott is driving he keeps a sketchbook in his lap. Though he doesn’t attempt a masterpiece while behind the wheel, he’ll flick a few lines. There’s inspiration everywhere.

Piggott used that inspiration for his one-person exhibition, “I’m pretty sure I’ve never been here before,” which opens Friday at Tayloe Piggott Gallery.

The 14 oil and gouache paintings are new, painted within the last year and a half and inspired by road trips, walks in the woods, and the interiors of homes where he spends time.

“Almost every day is a new day and every minute is a new minute,” he said. “You can look at the same thing and it just speaks to you and gets more beautiful. This show is about that dialogue with where we live.”

The work is modern and intimate. In one piece chickadees float in space, wings folded. In another, yellow daffodils cast a red shadow. A tree branch’s leaves appear like camouflage in a field of green and blue.

Piggott draws the things he sees, no matter how simple. The thread tying the work together is they are all inspired by the places he loves, whether it’s an owl hovering above a tree branch or watermelon slices on the floor.

“Life is just a mystery and I think the mystery is the fun part, that’s what makes us curious,” Piggott said.

In one of Piggott’s paintings, he creates a Cezanne-like tabletop that lifts to shift perspective. In another, two framed pieces of art hang on a wall, a nod to artists who have inspired him.

“I think every painting is a love letter to the arena of painting,” Piggott said.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve never been here before” opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, December 16 at Tayloe Piggott Gallery. PJH

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