Looking at Gidget Gein's art is like recognizing an old friend in a crowd and joyfully running up to greet him, only to be appalled by the huge new tumor sticking out of his side. The former bassist for shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, Gein will unveil his new artwork in an upcoming solo show at Perihelion Arts in Phoenix. The self-described "Surreal Pop Exploitationist" blends subculture, sex, drugs and death into a subtly disturbing pop-culture pastiche. His gray-and-red portrait of Star Trek's Mr. Spock looks pretty pedestrian until you see the swastikas on Spock's shirt sleeves and notice the title of the piece: Close Encounters of the Third Reich.
"A lot of [my art] is shocking, but I try to do it in a way that's not . . . controversial, so that you'll think it's pretty or interesting," says Gein. "Then, later, you'll realize what it is, and then be shocked and either ashamed that you liked it, or have a new perspective on stuff you thought you didn't like."
For example, Gein's UnPop Cansresemble Andy Warhol's famed soup cans, but they're actually replica canisters of Zyklon B, a cyanide gas used in Nazi concentration camps. The Box, Gein's beautiful, (seemingly) abstract sculpture made out of ink on acetate, faux fur, fluorescent light and glass, is a big vagina.
"I use porn a lot in art, whether it's close-ups of vaginas, penetration, she-males or whatnot, because I think two of the greatest forms of art are advertising and porn," Gein says. "The two of them do exactly what great art should do -- it makes you think, you should remember it, [and] you should either love it or hate it."
Gein will attend the free opening reception for his show at Perihelion Arts, 1500 Grand Avenue, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, September 2. The exhibition runs through September 30. Call 602-462-9120 or visit www.gidgetgein.com. -- Niki D'Andrea
Boy Fiends and Ghoul Fiends
Like death much?
Halloween's not for another two months or so, but there's no reason you can't start thinking ahead to those seriously spine-chilling days devoted to the dead. Get into a spooky state of mind with The Ghouls, who'll haunt Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt, on Monday, September 5. These four fiends from Philadelphia gnash out some morbid music in the same ghastly horror-punk vein as The Misfits, and Samhain, with songs about death, zombies, Armageddon, and violence. The licentious lineup also includes rockers Sigma, and I.D.K. Doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is $6. Call 602-462-5516 or visit www.ghoulspunks.com. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Art murmur at PHiX
Who says there's no room for philosophy in art? Not local sculptor and mixed-media maven Jimi Girdner. Influenced by Dada surrealist Marcel Duchamp, as well as "primitive," ill-fated '80s artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Girdner imbues his pieces with questions, whether it's a spiral staircase constructed of plastic spoons and forks, all spray-painted gold, or a provoking abstract image on canvas. "My new works have a philosophical base to them," Girdner says. "The focus behind my work is the mysteries of existence." Get cerebral with Girdner at PHiX, 1113 Grand Avenue, on Friday, September 2, with a free opening reception for his solo show, which runs through October 6. Call 602-252-7449. -- Niki D'Andrea
Stay up late at Cooper'stown
"On First Fridays, as things wind down, people want to have a couple of libations and see some more entertainment," says Sonik publisher Randy Phillips. "We want to bring some of that energy downtown." On Friday, September 2, all cylinders will be firing at Alice Cooper'stown, 101 East Jackson, as the magazine presents videos, live painting, and DJ action by Alpha Monster Collective, along with musical performances by Lust, Stamina, and -- hot off the release of their Laurel Canyon CD -- the Black Moods. Admission is $8 to the 21-and-over event, which starts at 8 p.m. Call 480-966-0030 or visit www.sonik.info/blog. -- Julie Peterson