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“Hobnobbing Zmirkies, Batman!” was all I could think of at McCaig and Welles most recent art opening. While interviewing artist Roman Klonek, whose wood carving exhibition entitled “Hobnobbing Zmirkies” opened August 15, I kept imagining those zany expletives that would appear in Robin’s talk bubbles in old Batman comic books. I don’t think Robin ever used the phrase “Hobnobbing Zmirkies” when calling Batman’s attention to a group of rowdy hooligans, but if he didn’t then he should have! What an amazing juxtaposition of weird words by Klonek, who actually succeeded at creating an exhibition title that represented his works very well.
What about Klonek’s works were hobnobbily zmirky? For one, his wood carvings were very cartoony. Some depicted animal-like creatures driving cars or fishing or playing the piano. Others showed people being poked in the eye or with their heads popping off like a jack-in-the-box! In each piece, the bright colors and interesting quirky characters were perfectly described by the show’s title, even though Klonek admitted that the words didn’t really mean much to the exhibit.
“I chose these words because they sounded really good to my ears,” said the Polish artist, who now lives in Germany. “I thought they would be perfect for this show.”
The crowd that night seemed to agree, or at least seemed to be in good spirits while they hobnobbed around looking at the art – and this in spite of the fact that it was raining out and everyone’s main outfit accessory that evening was a wet umbrella.
On Monday night, I came upon some other wet accessories – swim gear! McCarren Park Pool was premiering “Sync or Swim,” a documentary about the United States Swimming Team. Produced and directed by Brooklynite Cheryl Furjanic, the film focused on the team’s endeavor to achieve success at the 2004 Olympics. It follows the Olympic team for more than two years, from initial try-outs to the Olympic Games, where the team ended up winning a bronze in the team event and a bronze in the duet event.
Furjanic, who was at the screening that night, said she had always been fascinated by the Olympics and was totally surprised when the team agreed to being filmed.
“I first saw synchronized swimming on TV,” said Furjanic who currently teaches documentary video production at New York University. “It was mesmerizing and I thought it would make a good film, but I didn’t assume that you could just call up an Olympic team just do a film about it.”
Furjanic is now in the process of trying to get the film distributed, but says her next film will most likely also be about sports. “I’m not an athlete, but I’m a huge fan of the Olympics,” she said, smiling. “And I love Michael Phelps. I’m in awe of him.”
For Phelps fans, Furjanic revealed that she was able to get some very candid shots of the now-famous gold medalist at the 2004 Olympics – before he was an international superstar. (For more information on the film and future screenings, check out www.synchromovie.com).
On my way home from the screening, I walked through McCarren Park and holy cow you would have thought it was Central Park on Sunday! The end of summer is upon us, so it’s get out while you can, I’m sure! Runners were running, soccer players were soccer-ing, and best of all, break dancers were breakdancing. There was a break dancing tutorial, which I may even attend one day, and a group of dancers who took turns honing their skills in rolled out pieces of linoleum. I’ve never been more inspired to exercise in my life!
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