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Mar 19, 2011

A Subterranean Celebration

After surviving their first year in independent publishing, the ZIGZAG crew had a reason to celebrate. Storming the exhibition hall with underground flare, ZIGZAG Magazine hosted the first multi-media festival to hit the Ringling College of Art and Design.

The impetus for the Subterranean Celebration was Van Jazmin and Brett J. Lindstrom's shared need to wake up the campus to Sarasota's eclectic art and music scene. Ringling, known to be more formal and conservative when compared to other art schools, would be forced to break the quietude and get loose for one night of creative jubilee.

Looking to turn away from the idea of the campus being isolated and confined by its borders with the community, ZIGZAG used the familiar Ringling campus to attract unfamiliar characters.

As a symbol of duality and unity, the showcase split into halves. On the light side, exhibiting artists displayed, traded, and painted away vendors set up shop.
Here, local sponsors showcased their services, like the Madeby Gallery which consigns with student artists. Others sold their hand-made wares, including the Jewelry Fountain and Clothesline Tees.

Other vendors were non-profits and community organizations looking for outreach to younger crowds; Planned Parenthood, Noise Ordinance and Rising Tide International to name a few.

UPRISE Arts Collective, a fellow representative of underground art in SRQ, set up a booth with several of their multi-talented artists.

Those who wandered into the dark side were met with a video installation by MANA, another collective looking to unite artists of every type to work on collaborative film projects (check out their blog Here.)
The film featured a mash-up by Jabari Anderson, Devin Hughes and Ted Weber.

The on the opposing end of the dark side, Kirk Hughes performed a piece entitled "The Unraveling". The performance sought to shed a light on appearances in society, and the delineation rational vs. irrational thought.

Outside, a stage reverberated with powerful speeches and musical acts. Combining funk, punk, garage and sprinkled with jazz, Nomads of the Nook opened the stage show with an awesome and eclectic sound that was par for the course of symbolism thus far in the celebration.

Sarasota favorite Fancy Rat hit the stage with their quirky stage presence and clever wordplay in their lyrics. (Writers note: I am completely in love with this band. When asked to describe their sound, I always say "It sounds like if The Shins and Modest Mouse had a baby, and that baby grew up to have a masters degree in english and philosophy and then had a child with the Cold War Kids, that child would be Fancy Rat)

Another gem of the Sarasota music scene, The Equines came out dressed in full costume. The band appealed to the crowd with the unusual mix of xylophone and the sweltering vocals of Erin Murphy.

Sons Of Hippies headlined that night, and most certainly did not disappoint. Their electric sound emanated through the whole campus, drawing in zombies out from the computer labs to witness an experiment in trance inspired rock music

John Lichtenstein closed out the night with an unforgettable performance in the courtyard, matched by two drummers playing in syncopation. The bass shook so heavy that at the end of the set, a lamp and the cab it sat on were both destroyed.

During the pinnacle of the event, the founders of ZIGZAG, Van Jazmin and Brett Lindstrom, took the stand.

Van spoke with subtle wisdom. In his speech, he suggested that fear is natural, but so is the ability to expel fear from your mind and body. Advising that we all embrace the fearlessness that we all can achieve, he went on to support the creativity that we all have inside of us.

Introduced as a "force of mind to be reckoned with", Brett Lindstrom then took up the mic with a passion that could only come from seeing a dream come to fruition. Urging the crowd to take advantage of all of their capabilities to make a better future for themselves and for one another, you could feel that this was not some meant to be a shallow suggestion. Even in the face of personal struggles, the creative community should remain in unity, and collectively rise to overcome anything seeking to circumvent its growth and progression.

In essence, this was the purpose of the Subterranean Celebration: Since its start one year ago, ZIGZAG hoped to dispel the idea of a "creative community" to simply make it synonymous with just "community". With help from many sponsors, vendors, artists, musicians, creators, film-makers, and other visionaries, Zigzag helped progress this point to the community of Sarasota: Zigzag means business, and it wants to show everyone in the world that you do too.

(photo credits: Colin Bright, Karen Arango, and Van Jazmin)