By Tara Bennett
The Baton Rouge arts scene is bringing it to new heights these days. Take for instance the Pop! Smart Show, an assemblage of artists, ranging from visual to scientific, who come together in a melting pot of creativity. In just one night, attendees are exposed to visual art, music, aerialists, dance performances, and interactive media.
Behind Pop! is Neda Parandian, a local artist who spearheaded the series, which began in June as a way to give artists of Baton Rouge more exposure. The inaugural pop up event paid off according to Parandian, as the show brought in over $2500 in sales for the artists.
“The show was so successful in every way,” said Parandian. “I wanted to work my butt off to make sure I could get as many people in through the door in the demographic that would help support the sales. I’m really happy with that.”
After taking a break in July, Pop! returns on Wednesday, August 19 at the Varsity Theater at 8 p.m., continuing to offer more opportunities to artists.
Parandian attributes much of the success of Pop! Smart Show with the team of talented artists and musicians that devote their time and effort as well as Parandian’s team. The co-produces of Pop! include Robert Wilkinson of the Walls Project, AirSeekers and Aristocracy Apparel. Also accredited for success in the show are graphic designer Gabriel Aguilar who creates the monthly poster designs, and nature photographer Shane Leggio.
On tap for the evening’s entertainment is music by Tego, Paul O’Neill, M.c. Docsta, FierRabbit EarthChilde and floodmusic. A dance performance will be put on by Salsa Ardiente Dance Company. It is one of Parandian’s goals to include and feature arts of many different varieties.
“I’m all about cross-promoting the arts,” said Parandian. “We always want to cover all spectrums of the arts.”
Technology art will be on display throughout the night, including 3D projections by John E Gray and Jim McCarthy, steampunk art by Mike Carambat, and black light reactive cartoon paintings by Michael Walker, which use LED lighting that change colors to the music that’s played.
“Every time the music changes, it makes the painting look completely different,” said Parandian.
Level 482 Electronic Gaming of Hammond will also host live streaming games, including Soul Caliber and Smash Brothers. Brittany Morse will perform a tech-filled, contemporary mime performance about a tale of unrequited love. Jana King will return, as will Jaime Ray, who will perform a freestyle aerial piece.
New to this segment of Pop! will be a live stream of the event, offering people a chance to experience the show without being physically present. Parandian says she came up with the idea after seeing live streams of art events in bigger cities and wanted to bring the same to Baton Rouge.
“I love being able to see what’s out there even though I can’t get to California or New York,” said Parandian. “It’s nice to be able to YouTube something like that and see what other people are doing.”
General Admission for Pop! is $8 in advance and $10 at the door. VIP Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. VIP Tickets include balcony access, food and wine pairings, plus pastries by Chef Amanda Schonberg of Sweet Creations.
There is still an open call to artists, who can sign up at popsmartshow.com. New artists are charged a one-time payment of $25 and no commission is included. Tickets are available at The Chimes Restaurant & Tap Room on Highland Road, or over the phone at 866-777-8932 and online at ticketweb.com. For more information, visit facebook.com/popsmartshow.