While most of the other stops on the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe were showing more commercial, high-end art to the wealthy snow-bros in town from Aspen for the weekend, bohemian coffeehouse Yellow Feather was showcasing the music and art of artists geared a little more toward the underground. For many of the musicians performing last Friday, a show in a coffeehouse is about as mainstream as it gets; most of them are more accustomed to playing in punk-house living rooms and warehouse venues with a pay-what-you-can cover and a BYOB drink policy. [Photos by Courtney Rodgers].
"This probably wont be as good a show, because it won't be as quiet or intimate as most are," said Helios Wilson Levick, who showed several pieces of art and performed in three of the seven bands playing at Yellow Feather that night. "It is kind of cool to expose my music to new people, but I have really low self-esteem and I'm shy."
Helios would rather you not buy his art.
Helios went on to explain that while he was excited to exhibit his art, he had purposely priced many pieces ridiculously high, hoping that no one would buy them.
"This is a really enjoyable place," said Tovio Roberts, who also played music and exhibited art that night. Tovio has held a studio space across the street from the coffeehouse for the last month. "Helios and I have been coming down here to draw a lot. It's sort of replaced Pablo's for us as a place to hang out and draw. It's a lot more calm here."
Throughout the night, faces from the anarchist and underground punk community filed in and out, filling up the small space with happy voices and more than a little body odor. Yellow Feather retains an intimate, personal atmosphere that is sometimes at odds with the slick commercialization of the neighborhood. Vinyl records line the shelves of one room, available for anyone to pick up and play (assuming no musician is performing), and there's never a push to spend money or get out.
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The music on Friday ranged from the soft ukulele of Mariposa (Madeline Johnston, at left) to the freak-out weirdness of Fantard Magnus (Helios), the electronic psychedelia of Gemini Trajectory, the heartbreaking folk of Soup of the Day, the accordian-based storytelling of Calliope of the Future and complex rock instrumentals of You See This Gun.
Meanwhile, Helios's and Tovio's art, which is on display at Yellow Feather until the end of the month, works in intricate patterns of lines and small splashes that at first glance can seem abstract, but once they've drawn you in subject your eyes to a world that can simultaneously evoke pain, beauty and aggression.