The desire to have superhero powers or lead a life with a secret identity comes with great advantages and disadvantages. Masks, costumes and super powers are part of many worldly cultural traditions, which express dreams and fantasies as well as power and fear.
With its new multidisciplinary project, "Superheroes and Secret Identities," opening Friday, Nov. 7, through Wednesday, Jan. 7, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts takes an up-close and personal look at the fascination with superheroes and secret identities.
Whether it's flight, invisibility, super speed, super strength or an avatar, the idea of having a super power has been around since the late 1930s. When the comic book industry exploded in the Great Depression and again in the early 1940s with World War II, superheroes were an escape from grim reality.
The Center in Ketchum has collected a number of artifacts and works, which reveal the idea of superheroes from several points of view. Featured in the exhibition will be fiber artist Mark Newport who knits superhero costumes. Newport's disembodied costumes comment on traditional notions of masculine identity and the idealization of unattainable powers. He also photographs himself dressed in costume and prepared for disaster in mundane settings, and creates his own embroidered and illustrated comic book pages.
The exhibition also includes Dulce Pinzón's photographs of Mexican immigrants in popular U.S. and Mexican superhero costumes as they work at generally low-wage jobs. Pinzón captions each photo with a note about how much each worker sends home to his or her family each week, which reveals another perspective to the myth.
The Internet has given all of us the chance to adopt alternate identities and extraordinary abilities in cyberspace. Photographer Robbie Cooper has traveled the globe photographing computer gamers who spend hours each day in online worlds like "Second Life" and "World of Warcraft." Cooper pairs his photographs with images of these gamers' online avatars, providing a provocative insight into the online world of fantasy role play.
The Center will hold an opening party on Friday, Nov. 7, in Ketchum from 6-9 p.m. Dress as your favorite superhero and dance in the streets in a tented and heated party next to The Center, which will include DJ Lenny Joseph.
The Center will present the director's cut of Superman and Superman II starring Christopher Reeve on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. at the Magic Lantern Theater in Ketchum. It's been over 20 years since the initial theatrical releases and Director Richard Donner has released his own versions, which include re-edits and never-before-seen material.
For details, visit sunvalleycenter.org or call 726-9491.
· Mark Newport presents a free knitting bee at The Center in Ketchum Thursday, Nov. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
· Party like a superhero at the "Superheroes and Secret Identities" multidisciplinary exhibition opening at The Center in Ketchum Friday, Nov. 7, 6-9 p.m. The party is free to members and $5 for non-members.
· The Center in Ketchum will have free exhibition tours every Tuesday at 2 p.m. or by arrangement. For details, call 726-9491.
· Superhero film festival featuring Superman and Superman II at the Magic Lantern Theater in Ketchum on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids under 12.
· The Graphic Novel teen workshop with Leslie Patricelli will take place Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Center in Hailey. Cost is $10 and the registration deadline is Friday, Nov. 7.
· Contemporary Graphic Novels exhibition at The Center in Hailey opening Friday, Nov. 14, through Friday, Jan. 16.
· I Want to Be a Superhero free family day with Leslie Patricelli will take place Sunday, Nov. 16, at The Center in Ketchum.
· A special evening gallery tour will take place at The Center in Ketchum on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m.
· Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon will present a lecture at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. The event is $15 for members and $20 for non-members.
· It's the First Place to Be for Gallery Walks on Friday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Dec. 26, 5:30-6:30 p.m.