The Somerville-based Union Square Round Table is about to prove how funny high art can be. Or, maybe that's not what it's going to do at all.
"I will feel like we did our job if people can't tell if we're kidding or not, and even more so if we can't tell if we're kidding or not," says Chris Braiotta, a Somervillian (and occasional Phoenix contributor) who has sat at the metaphorical Round Table for four years.
Founded by Ben Dryer and still-sometimes-participant Eugene Mirman (back before the latter became a big deal), the USRT makes it their business to eschew the humdrum of typical live comedy. This Saturday and Sunday (February 25-26) at the Aviary Gallery in Jamaica Plain, the group will curate its first art show, "Implosions (from the Art Hole)," a calculated jumbling of gallery exhibit, performance-art fest, and general freakiness.
"We're looking for ways to break open the idea of a standard club show," explains Braiotta, "just so we can keep ourselves interested and not want to kill ourselves."
So far, this weekend's docket includes an exploration of the relation between hair weaves and remote-control cars, offerings from an artist who may or may not be imaginary, and a piece dubbed "Your Body Is a Gift," aiming to "contextualize your body while interrogating notions of what is given to you," says Braiotta, possibly in jest. Running throughout Saturday will be a "redolent" re-creation of Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic's "The Artist Is Present." The original consisted of a woman sitting rigidly still while gallery-goers sat in front of her — apparently, the USRT version has a lot to do with odors.
Physical pieces slated for display include handiwork from USRT members and outside submissions that were decreed "in some way, mind-blowing" enough for "Implosions," Braiotta says. Each day will wrap up with something akin to USRT's usual comedic spoken-word/variety-show session. Whatever you call it, don't call it stand-up.
"Most people are leading pretty bland lives," says Braiotta. "By coming to this show, they will be, let's say, tickled out of that blandness and pushed into an uncomfortable light of self-awareness they didn't know existed. Also, it's a cheap night out."
"IMPLOSIONS (FROM THE ART HOLE)" | February 25-26 @ Aviary Gallery, 48 South St, Jamaica Plain | 802.318.3293 | Admission is free. Donations will be appreciated.