Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trentonian TV: The 24 Hours of Atelethon

"It's not about us being there doing what we do. It's about coming to this place and getting away from the reality of life and being able to express yourself in an artsy way -- music, building a bike cart, sculpting a candle ... anything you like to do." -- Byron Marshall

"I'm a photographer, a videographer, a documentarian, a radical politican, a philosopher. I'm overall a member of the community. I grew up here. That means a lot to me to NOT leave this place. I've left and come back. My role here is to engage with the community and to be this new spirit who's not sick of fighting for the Atelier. This is my city. I'm fighting for this place. What am I fighting for? For me, and I speak on behalf of the Atelier and the Trenton community and every ghetto: We want self-organization, we want to be our own bosses and we want creative freedom and just want life. We want life back." -- Anthony Juno

"The whole point of this is to get people in there and give them the skills to be able to teach someone else or to do it themselves so they don't need my help." -- Wills Kinsley

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TRENTON -- "Mr. Collar Biz" called me and within minutes the Trenton Atelier guys rushed to the Trentonian TV studio for a quick live interview to promote the 1st Trenton Atelethon. This wasn't exactly the most thought-out Trentonian TV episode, yet the information the guys delivered was as timely and important as anything that's been said on shows hosted by L.A. or Freedom or Tyrone or that NAACP guy.

Byron Marshall (aka Black Collar Biz) brought Will Kasso, Anthony Juno and Wills Kinsley to Trentonian TV. During this impromptu episode they took turns explaining why the 24 hours from 10 a.m. Saturday, June 9, to 10 a.m. Sunday, June 10, are important for the artists inside the Trenton Atelier -- and for the Trenton community at large. The Atelier guys are artists. They're cool dudes, too. Tight. If you didn't know any better you'd think they've known each other their whole lives. And in some ways they have. Artistic energy is a fun thing to behold when you're in its midst.

Anyway, the Atelier guys have been around for 10 years or so thanks to Pete Abrams, an artist. During that 10 years the Atelier guys have built an empire of art at 220 Allen Street, behind the Trenton Fire Headquarters, although that empire looks more like a dungeon of bike parts, paint, pieces of metal, wax chunks and dozens of other things that look like they have no reason to exist. The Atelier guys use all of those things to make art together. And they eat meals together after praying over those meals together. And they philosophize about life together. Together they are one. Never "I" but always "we".

The Atelier guys make candles that burn for 30 days, and they rescue bikes headed to the graveyard then re-purpose them into funky kitchens-on-wheels, and they paint wall murals that will discussed 150 years from now, and they weld and build and create and teach. They are artists. The Atelier is their home, their community, and the Atelier guys are trying to expand their community in an effort to re-purpose Trenton's community in an effort to reshape the ideals of an American community that's been swallowed by politicians and businessmen who are "self-interested and self-serving." But I've digressed.

This is the deal with the Atelethon: The guy who owns 220 Allen Street doesn't want the Atelier guys there anymore. So the Atelier guys are seeking a new building, and the 24-hour Atelethon will raise money to help them move. They have big plans for their next home, and those plans include Trenton. "The whole point of this Atelethon," said Wills, aka The Bike Whisperer, "is to get people in there and give them the skills to be able to teach someone else or to do it themselves so they don't need my help the next time."

Marshall, Kasso, Juno and Kinsley (sounds like a law firm) all said wonderful things about art, society, Trenton, the Trenton Atelier and the importance of the Atelethon in relation to America. Please watch the 24-minute episode. Some people like the sizzle of a pretty set. The Atelier guys delivered the steak in the form of ideas and a plan of action. And now the clarion call: The 1st Atelethon needs as many singers, dancers, storytellers, poets, teachers, instructors -- from Trenton to Hamilton to Ewing to Princeton to Lawrence to Buxco to Burlco -- to come and provide programming. Trentonian TV has not broadcast for more than 2 hours, so 24 hours straight means we'll be charting into Jerry Lewis territory. I'll probably start redlining Red Bull about midnight.

And in case you're worried about calling in with your credit card number, don't be. The Atelier guys have set up a Paypal account, so it's no different than if you went to and bought some of their art that way.

Here are some of the Atelier guys talking about the 1st Trenton Atelethon: