It’s said that the election season doesn’t really begin until after Labor Day. What does that have to do with a very hip art show opening tomorrow night? Bear with me and I shall explain. Maestro, up “Twilight Zone” music as we go back in time eight years. (Okay, maybe the maestro musical cue was a bit much. Or more than a bit.)
In 2006 two-term council member Kevin McKeown was running for re-election but the powerful hotel industry had other ideas. They reportedly poured $400k into a negative ad campaign to link McKeown to the highly volatile homeless issue.
And get this, the PR Company creating the ads had ties to the infamous “Willie Horton” attack commercial from the ’88 Bush presidential campaign. (Ironically, three years later on his deathbed, Bush’s controversial campaign manager, Lee Atwater, asked for and received Michael Dukakis’ forgiveness for having stooped so low.)
The TV attack commercial on McKeown featured longtime Santa Monica resident, Michael Timothy McAlevey (Tim to friends) who voiced genuine concerns while the viewer saw scenes of the homeless and photos of McKeown. McAlevey had no idea the commercial would be used against Kevin and, in fact, had a McKeown campaign poster in his window at home.
Stunned after seeing the commercial while watching Monday Night Football, Tim demanded the commercial be withdrawn. When the producers hesitated Tim went public with how he’d been deceived.
The story was picked up by award-winning L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez and I even wrote a column on the subject. And yet, despite being outspent 20-1, Kevin received the most votes of any council candidate that year! (Forgive my editorializing, but once in a while the good ones win.)
With Tim being ever-enthusiastic, endlessly energetic and sharp, over the years I’ve stayed in touch with him, and vice-versa. A graduate of Saint Monica’s, Tim’s spent much of his life here, including 16 years as a little league coach. And if there’s ever anything going on in town that’s hip, newsworthy or trend-setting, it’s likely Tim will be at the front of the parade.
And his latest artistic “project” is no exception. Tim has been an artist since childhood. With my writing, sometimes I fancy myself as one but not after I talk to Tim for any length of time. His cadence and patter can be like a jazz musician as he excitedly segues from one subject to the other.
In fact, Tim has a blog appropriately entitled “Mind Jazz.” (He generously credits me with the title because I once described his writing “like jazz for the mind.”) After chatting with the ebullient Tim for over an hour the other night on a variety of subjects, I saw myself less as an artist and closer to, say, an insurance salesman. Oh well.
This brings us to Tim’s art opening tomorrow night, “The Other God Particles,” at the Hamilton Galleries on Ocean Avenue. For over six years Tim has drawn much of his inspiration from events taking place at the CERN project in Geneva.
It’s there that top physicists from all over the world have been attempting to locate the Higgs Boson, nicknamed, the missing “God Particle” or as some put it, how the universe began. (Is that all?) Talk about fireworks, on July 4, 2012 the apparent missing particle was actually discovered for which Peter Higgs received the Nobel Prize.
Then again Tim has drawn his creativity from a variety of sources, some from actual events, and some from his nocturnal dreams. One such reverie came in 1991. He was sitting at an oak table chatting with Jackson Pollack who encouraged him to describe the puzzle of life through his art, with emphasis on the word “puzzle.”
This “vision” led to Tim’s first gallery exposure with a series of Pollack-esque hand-painted magnetic puzzles which sold as quickly as he could make them. His “Puzzle Period” started with a dream but, tragically, ended with a nightmare.
In 1994, Tim’s 15-year-old son, Sean, passed away suddenly. With Sean’s younger sister, 7-year-old Lily, to raise Tim dealt with the loss bravely, “When the Universe kicks your ass, it gives back information if you are seeking it.”
Frankly, the physicists’ amazing work at CERN is slightly above my pay grade. (Actually more than slightly.) But I’ve seen Tim’s art, “The Other God Particles,” which it has inspired and the 40+ pieces are astounding. Additionally, I’m told that during the show, when all the lights are turned off, the artwork “Will come to an even greater life.”
Given Tim’s enthusiasm and talent, if you attend the opening I can almost guaranty you won’t be disappointed. At the risk of editorializing again, once in a while the good guy wins.
Michael Timothy McAlevey’s art show, “The Other God Particles” opens tomorrow night at the Hamilton Galleries located at 1431 Ocean Avenue from 6:30 to 10 pm. Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or email@example.com.