>Plus One is the Loneliest Number

>By Jeremy Tolbert
Seattle Editor
Boheme Verite Magazine
From Feb. 2007

Let me preface by saying that I make no qualms for having an introverted personality. This is just who I am, and I am ok with it. I’ve known it, my family knows it and my friends, god-bless them, are not bothered by it. Therefore, when I went to support a friend and fellow artist who was exhibiting her art work at the Columbia City Theater in Seattle, I had no fear attending my first art show alone. Yet, after observing the scene, I quickly came to realize that there are certain events that, in the immortal words of Carrie Bradshaw, require a so-called plus one… and an art show opening is definitely one of them.

Having popped my art show cherry this one evening, I can only relay what my first experience was. With an array of anticipation flooding over me when I came through the theatre doors, I was not really sure what to expect beyond what I had seen in the movies. The Columbia City Theatre venue, where Jimi Hendrix used to frequently play in the 1960’s, along with its occupants, was both bohemian and upper-class in style. One side of the room, there were those who looked like they had just come from a week long climb in the Andes with dreadlocks, North Face jackets and backpacks; on the other side, there were couples sipping alcoholic beverages in Chinchilla fur coats. The walls were lined with works done by other local artists and it wasn’t until I squeezed my way into the bar, that I finally saw my friend and her art.

Cynthia, who has stenciled only six months, creates stenciled pieces ranging from her take on well known works of art to famous faces, to personal photographs. This night her work displayed images of Jimi Hendrix, Al Capone, Tupac Shakur and several other pieces of her and her friends.

The evening was not only a momentous one for the artists that were exhibiting; it was also significant for me. Having ventured out to music concerts, museums, restaurants and outdoor events many times all alone, none of those had heightened my anticipated anxiety quite like this. Not only, in my opinion, does an art show opening require a plus one but it truly tested my shyness. Thus, while others drowned themselves in beer, wine and mixed drinks with friends, I decided to embark on my own and drown myself in the different assortment of art work that was presented.

Gliding sideways in-between one body after another, I scanned all the art as to appear fluent in conversational skill. Beginning in the bar, I did my best to get up-close to Cynthia’s variety of work. Continuing on while trying not to bother each person’s place at the bar, I slowly inched my way through the sea of bodies into the wide open space of the theatre where the display continued.

After over an hour and a half of acting as an art connoisseur analyzing fluid motion and artistic meanings, my anticipated anxiety turned tiresome. And with no one to talk with, I found Cynthia, congratulated her and left.

Having had experienced my first art show opening with anticipation and nerves, I was comforted by the fact I supported a well deserving friend. Even if, on this particular night, a plus one may have been the loneliest number… it turns out, in the end, it wasn’t half bad.

(Published in Boheme Verite Magazine Feb. 2007)

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