Year-long “Wayne-O-Rama” event kicks off at Glass Street LIVE 2016
Ready to dig some Wayne White? The year-long celebration of Hixson native Wayne White’s work, Wayne-O-Rama, kicks off this Saturday at Glass Street LIVE 2016. The incubation of Wayne-O-Rama has taken years, but promises to be one of the biggest arts events Chattanooga has ever seen.
A press release for White’s book, Maybe Now I’ll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve, arrived in The Pulse’s office in 2009. A cover story on White, including his iconic work on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, album cover designs, and thrift-store painting projects followed, which led to a sponsored book signing, which led to a meeting of way-out-there minds between White and Chattanooga’s own Shaking Ray Levi Society.
Says Shaking Ray Bob Stagner: “Growing up in Chattanooga and attending Brainerd High school [SRLS co-founder, the late] Dennis Palmer and I knew other like-minded students from other schools. The [late] Reverend Terry Fugate was a classmate of Wayne’s. We kept up with his work and career as we formed the Shaking Ray Levi Society…We connected immediately with music, art, and humor.
“We had faced the same prejudices, being from the South, and had been deeply influenced by the stresses of our time—Vietnam, social unrest, assassination, extremely limited options for leading a creative life. The positives were growing up in a place where the rest of the world might see as another planet. Now, 30 years later we welcome our Chattanooga brother home to be honored and have a chance to say thank you for all the greatness of our evolving city, the South, and home.”
The Shaking Rays began collaborating long-distance with White, now based in Los Angeles, and the concept for Wayne-O-Rama evolved. This first event epitomizes what White wanted from the beginning, says Glass House Collective Director of Operations Zach Atchley—multi-level community involvement.
With a grant from the Educational Foundation of America, and in conjunction with the National Park Centennial Celebration, Glass House LIVE celebrates not only White, with his 12-to-14 tall marionettes of Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne and Union Gen. Tecumseh Sherman (commissioned for the event), but the reopening of the 50-acre Sherman Reservation on Missionary Ridge, with a quarter-mile parade highlighting new access points on a trail constructed to connect the Sherman Reservation National Park to Glass Street. CARTA will be providing a shuttle to the bottom of the trail.
Atchley notes that Chattanooga artists from multiple disciplines are participating, listing “local puppet-maker Colleen Laliberte [and others], Flashlight Shows curating the puppet parade, musician Nick Lutsko, music on the Jazzanooga stage, buskers through SoundCore, art exhibits, pop-up stores and food” as part of what will be a giant block party.
White is donating the giant marionettes to the Glass Street Collective, says Atchley, to be used in years to come in student history projects.
Glass House LIVE 2016, however, is just the start of Wayne-O-Rama, which will include an indoor Southside installation at 1800 Rossville Ave., feature segments on WTCI, a solo exhibition at the Hunter Museum, and multiple collaborations with Hamilton County schools. White explained in a recent Bitter Southerner interview: “Of course, this is also my bid to be a part of the great Chattanooga tourist-trap tradition.”
For more information about Wayne-O-Rama, visit wayneorama.com and face-book.com/WayneoramaCHA. But first, head to Glass Street on Saturday and get you some Wayne.
Glass House LIVE 2016, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24. Free. Event begins at 11 a.m. at the corner of Glass St. and Dodson Ave. For more information, visit Glass House LIVE 2016’s Facebook event page.