Bust out of your ordinary arts routine this month and try something new, like a music festival over in Hartsburg, a retro concert at the state fair, and some Audubon engravings that will have you walking on the wild side.
Since its inception five years ago, the peripatetic Elderberry Festival has bounced from one side of the Missouri River (Lupus) to the other (Forrest Rose Park) only to land, this year, back where it all started in 2010 in Columbia’s own version of Cuba: Hartsburg. Still a loosely defined three-day, two-stage, 30-band virtual walk-in-the-woods for campers and day-tripping music fans, the festival has bifurcated (there was a stripped–down 2015 model at Forrest Rose Park earlier this spring) before landing on the good foot and returning to its roots by the river.
Festival organizers fastidiously keep things locally sourced — you couldn’t ask for a better smorgasbord of Boone County music, eats and crafts — but are slowly spicing things up by expanding their sphere of influence as far as Springfield, St. Louis and Wichita, Kan. Custom passes are available for both the committed and casual concertgoer, and camping sites and constant activities make everything family-friendly. August may be the time to get back to where it arguably all started around here — the half-forgotten paradise that is Hartsburg by the Missouri River. By the way, attendees are encouraged to bring their instruments. There will be a percussion parade Saturday afternoon.
It was 40 years ago this month that I hitchhiked into town from Pennsylvania and enjoyed my first taco at Taco Tico on the Business Loop (sigh). Not long after, working for Maneater but holding to a personal tradition, I was thrown out of the Jefferson Starship show at the Hearnes Center, but not before seeing what I had come for: the opening act Flo & Eddie. Better known as the Turtles, Flo (Mark Volman) and Eddie (Howard Kaylan) were super–talented musicians who spun out of the Frank Zappa multiverse(Mothers of Invention, Girls Together Outrageously, Captain Beefheart, et al) as a subversive kind of irreverent, acid-tinged novelty act. Although they scored major hits with their legitimate band The Turtles, Volman and Kaylan eventually were barred from using the Turtles name. But time — and, as we know, money — heals all wounds and in the 1980s they began touring as “The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie.” The kind of casually brilliant satire these two can cook up mixes as a perfect contrast to their piquant, tuneful Turtles material. Expect brilliance all around from the Happy Together Showcase, which includes the Buckinghams, the Grass Roots and especially the Association (the dream project of pop production legend Curt Boetticher). For those of you who are leery of the talent involved in many “oldies packages” let me reassure: you don’t get worse at playing a musical instrument. It’s not like golf.
State Historical Society of Missouri
Aug. 29, 1:30 pm
Spend a Saturday afternoon with art curator Joan Stack on a walk-through of the dozens of oversized engravings and colored lithographs by early 19th-century naturalist John James Audubon at the State Historical Society of Missouri. Stack’s 1:30 p.m. tour on Aug. 29 features “Audubon’s Paper Menageries: Birds and Quadrupeds” from the society’s voluminous holdings. The exhibit offers stunning and timeless depictions of the creatures that inhabited the Missouri frontier during Audubon’s time.
Audubon, who began life as an illegitimate child in Haiti, grew up in France before immigrating to the United States at the age of 18. After working odd jobs in several East Coast cities, Audubon landed in Ste. Genevieve, where he struck upon the idea of documenting the wildlife, both prodigious and strange, that teemed on the prairies and plains to his west. Audubon’s bird depictions are life-sized and aflutter with purposeful daily activity; his quadruped works (bison, skunk, beaver, etc.) engage by seemingly breaking art’s “fourth wall” and react (often fiercely) to encroachment by the viewer. All of the creatures, both extinct (passenger pigeons, bison) and extant (black bears, field mice) are rendered with shockingly poignant verisimilitude that leaves the observer haunted.
Catch the exhibit in the society’s Main Gallery, located on the University of Missouri campus.