Monday, October 5, 2009

Art is wine & wine is art

You ever wonder why wine is served at art gallery openings or poetry readings? There is an intrinsic value to wine as an alcoholic consumable that you just can't get from a beer or a shot of whiskey. As an art promoter in years past, I was asked by a reporter why I entered into the Wine Director world after years of promoting local artists with a variety show entitled yawp Carnival Poetica. I told him "wine is poetry".

My band played the other night, for the first time in 6+ years, a percussive poetry performance that was created as an alternative to the dry, coffeehouse poetry readings I had attended. It got me thinking again about the new role I had taken in life, and how poetry evolved into a wine position.

As much as I believed that photography has a poetic element to it, I've always felt that wine has the same aspects of poetry that you might find in a photograph. There are levels of enjoyment you can discover with each sip from the same bottle, that may not strike you immediately, but the more you consume, the more flavors and characteristics attack your senses. A poem, which differs from prose in that it gives you snippets of a story or conversation, allows the listener to build a complete image reflecting partly on their own personal reference point. Wine's enjoyment will also be built upon the foundations of the drinker's own personal experiences with wine.

The winemaker is a poet. He/she carefully designing what is, for all intents and purposes, an alcoholic beverage, to produce a product that transcends it's aforementioned lot in life. From a fermented grape juice we can find the most varied list of taste profiles, ie; tobacco, chocolate, berries, mint, citrus, herbs, caramel, stone, grass... the list goes on and on...

dare I throw cat urine into the mix?

The point is wine is a natural accompaniment to art. Not because it has always stood beside artistic gatherings simply as a staple beverage, but because it is a consumable that makes us think about what we're drinking and gets the creative juices flowing to examine everything around us with an interpretive eye.

Pittsburgh has an amazing art scene, as I imagine most readers will agree their hometown does as well. Think about what you're drinking when at local art events and consider that there is a reason those glasses of wine are being offered with alongside the artists work which hangs on the gallery walls.

For other art events I'm including a list of what you might want to consider drinking. If you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them as well.

  1. Steelers game = beer. Preferably Iron City, Yuengling or Straub. Rolling Rock if absolutely necessary
  2. Punk rock concert= see above but there has to be copious amounts of whiskey shots (Jack Daniels or Maker's fro the truly discerning)) also included between sets.
  3. Jazz concert = Nothing like a well made martini. I prefer gin with a good quality vermouth (good luck with that one) but a dirty vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives performs quite nicely.
  4. Poetry reading = in honor of Charles Bukowski, I'm going to recommend a nice whiskey cocktail like a Manhatten or Old Fashioned. Also recommend Absinthe for all the 19th century poetry lovers. Why not mix both, cover all your basis. Absinthe rinse, muddle some bluberries with bitters and a little simple syrup, splash or Grand Marnier, fill with Makers Mark, top with soda (very little soda)
  5. Pop Concert = Margaritas. They're easier to make than you think. Forget about the blender. There's nothing better than a margarita on the rocks. Thinking Dave Matthews to Jimmy Buffet. Tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, triple sec (or Grand Marnier)
  6. Traditional Irish music concert = duh? Gotta be a Guinness! And don't forget that Guinness is a mandatory substitution for regular beer at any Irish-punk show as well... here substitute Jameson for your shots of Jack.

I await your recommendations.

For my favorite Pittsburgh band check out Salena Catalina video I shot the other night:

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