Cranky yellow: shows, crafts and art in the city

| Scene Reporter

Stuffed bunnies with skeleton faces, flesh-colored organic shapes with eyeballs hanging from tree branches and a painting from the “Meth & Hotdogs” collection are just some of the things that may catch your eye upon entering Cranky Yellow, a craft shop/gallery/performance space located on Cherokee Street.

While it has the same combined gallery and shop dynamic as the Craft Alliance on the Delmar Loop, Cranky Yellow has a very different target clientele. The store is filled wall to wall with “alternative” art in forms ranging from hand-embroidered clothing to stuffed creatures beyond any comparison to real animals.

Store manager Lori Layne attempts to maintain organized chaos in the store.

“There is a lot of kinetic energy, but I am very comfortable in here,” Layne said.

Layne and the store’s owner, David Wolk, handpick the artists whose work they display, focusing on work that is outside of what is usually considered fine art.

“We sell work by people that we know and respect,” Layne said. “The artists are from all over the country, some abroad, but mostly local.”

The store section of Cranky Yellow is open only on weekends during the day, but the basement space is used for a huge variety of events happening outside of store hours. Cranky Yellow hosts “gallery openings, punk rock shows, basically anything and everything,” Layne said.

“We are very open, and events morph into other things all the time,” she said. “Gallery openings morph into dance parties.”

Cranky Yellow has been in its current location for about a year, hosting such illustrious events as the Acro-Cats cat circus last April. On Friday, Cranky Yellow will host another event that is sure to draw a big crowd, but this time the entertainment will be from humans rather than felines.

“Too Late for Fun Time” is the name of Cranky Yellow’s first official variety show. According to Layne, about 20 members of the community have signed up to participate, with each given a five-minute slot.

“From what I hear, there’s going to be some amazing, cool stuff,” Layne said.

Specific acts will remain a mystery until the show, which starts at 9 p.m. The only information released thus far is the theme, which organizers request be used for “some degree of inspiration” for the acts.

The theme, as would be expected of a place called Cranky Yellow, is outside the usual. It is based on an endearing Missed Connections ad from the St. Louis Craigslist, titled “Post-it note inside of a Death Cab for Cutie album.” The author seeks the person who left a phone number under the words “Risk it. You know you want to,” inside the second-hand CD he bought.

It will be interesting to see how the sure-to-be-diverse group of performers is inspired by the theme. If the show is anything like the store, it is going to be incredibly eclectic and energetic. Even if you cannot make the show, dropping by the store one weekend will ensure that you get your fix of quirkiness.