Woo Woo at the 253469

04/29/10 – By NATALIA BUIA

This is the Desert of Woo Woo. PHOTO Courtesy WESLEY RICKERT.

The art gallery 253469, on Bloor and Lansdowne showed city dwellers how noise and colour can empower empty white walls on a bleak Saturday night.

Located at 1267 Bloor St. E. this gallery which has only been open for less than a year, drew a modest crowd for their latest event, The Desert of Woo Woo on Saturday, April 24.

What is woo woo exactly? The term is used when describing things that are irrational, nonsensical or plain crazy. These are perfect adjectives to describe the scene at the event.

Owners Wesley Rickert and Kathleen Reichelt called upon other local artists to put together a peculiar program featuring art, film and music. The results were impressive.

One artist at the event, Robert Murphear showcased a few short films. One in particular called the Dancing Doll, featured a masked woman dancing.

“It’s about social distance…dancing is now robotic and strict,” says Murphear.

As small groups of people came in and out of the gallery, drinking the complimentary Stella Artois, local artist William Davison performed an improvised sound collage using found objects.

Davison rolled dice to determine which record he’d play sporadically in his set. This is referred to as aleatoricism; when art is created by chance. The other theme of the night, woo woo, really drew him to perform, he says.

“They put out a call for submissions,” Davison says when asked how he got involved with the event.

Davison currently lives in Toronto but before that, Nova Scotia was home.

“Nova Scotia has a reputation of having a good art school,” says Davison, who applauds the art scene on the east coast.

Another nomadic artist, Istvan Kantor who hails from Hungary capped off the rather eccentric evening. He’s no stranger to the artsy streets of any country. He says he was recently scheduled to perform in Germany but had to cancel due to the volcanic ash. He wowed the dwindling crowd, singing two risqué songs titled “Antihero” and “Antichrist” alongside video images projected on the wall behind him. Having a live actress to dance and drum as her body helped amp up his set. It’s no wonder such a strong piece was saved for last.

Owner Wesley Rickert says people can expect more events in the near future as 253469 marks their one year anniversary. For now, simply walking by to check out the window display is enough to inspire, wow or even shock those on traveling down Bloor St.

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