Epiphany Theatre at Elliot Hall, 2501 N.E. 30th St. in Fort Lauderdale, explores the life of long-forgotten gay illustrator J.C. Leyendecker in Lance Ringel’s “In Love with the Arrow Collar Man,” playing through Feb. 25.
In his heyday a century ago, Leyendecker was one of the most famous illustrators in the country, supplying the covers for the Saturday Evening Post, creating the New Year’s baby and providing art for iconic advertising campaigns.
His muse (and lover) was Charles Beach, a young Canadian who would become the most recognizable man in America as a result. Their lives and love are a largely overlooked chapter in LGBT history that Ringel’s two-act drama attempts to correct.
The production doesn’t come close to the standards of most community theaters in the region – the venue is a church fellowship hall with improvised lighting, the sets are slapped together, and the actors appear to have provided their own costumes (none of which are remotely vintage or appropriate for the period). Off-Off-Off-Broadway is an aspiration.
The performances are unbearably stiff, although credit goes to Michael Perry for stepping into the leading role just five days earlier. Similarly, Ringel’s play often feels like a Wikipedia article (complete with an art professor as a narrator) and could benefit from some broad editing.
While $30 is a steep price for this production, this lesson in gay history just might be worth it. Or simply Google it.
Go to ArrowCollar.Eventbrite.com for more information and tickets.
The Art of Making Art
Art Gallery 21 presents a new art installation featuring local Wilton Manors artist Tin Ly, “Traditional Chinese Artist’s Tools Re-examined,” at Island City Cultural Center, 600 NE 21st Ct., Feb. 18 – March 12.
As a boy attending school in the Chinese sector of Saigon, Vietnam, Ly learned calligraphy with simple traditional writing tools such as soft goat-hair brushes, ink sticks, and inkstone.
“I was fascinated with the different effects of such simple tools and objects that could create varied writing styles of strength, nuance and vitality. How do I re-interpret and transform these writing tools to reflect the understanding of my cultural heritage?” Ly explained in notes for the exhibition.
In his latest exhibition, Ly created a series of clay objects that transformed the traditional Chinese artist’s tools, such as paint-brush, water-dropper, brush-washer, and brush-rest into unique sculptural objects for contemplation. A series of small water-medium paintings harmonize the exhibition.
For more information, go to ArtGallery21.org.