Performance space the Bubble will host its third all-female art revue, Trouble with Girls, Saturday. The event usually takes place over Valentine’s Day weekend, or at least it has the last two years. But this year, there’s a different kind of celebration coinciding with the show. If you’re unlucky enough to be by the beach this weekend, you’ll certainly catch a whiff of the testosterone and glorification of military might better known as the Lauderdale Air Show.
However, the Bubble will be far far away from that Budweiser-drenched beach party and all the traffic jams that come with it. Instead, Bubble attendees will see the biggest Trouble with Girls revue yet, with over 40 artists participating. Salty Eggs caught up with Trouble’s founder and organizer Janette Valentine — better known for being part of Miami doom-metal trio Shroud Eater and proprietor of Terribly Girly Photography — Thursday night. Sitting at her studio after performing her super-hero feat of the day — finding a stray dog (Melvin) a temporary home; she would’ve taken him in had she not already taken in three rescues – she spoke with us about the event, her time at the Art Institute, and her new band Jellyfish Brothers.
First, is the dog you rescued OK?
Yeah, he’s good. Not a drop of pee and not a piece of poop in sight. So we’re good.
How did Trouble with Girls start?
A couple years ago I thought about showing some of my stuff because people had been telling me, “you should show your stuff at a gallery or maybe have a show.” I said I don’t know I’m not into something really stuffy like that. A lot of art galleries tend to be stuffy.
People mentioned it a few times. And I was just like, fuck it. At the time I thought it might be cooler if I had other people involved, not just me or whatever. It’s not like I can have a full fucking solo show. I wasn’t into that idea. So I thought, let me do something different and just involve a bunch of girls and put something together that would involve my other artist friends and just other women I admire. And that’s how it kind of came together.
It is a whole different thing from the musical side and the photography stuff you do.
Which I guess (Salty Eggs music editor) Erica covered when she did the article about you guys last year or the year before that.
Yeah, and actually this year I’m not showing anything because honestly I have not had any time to do all the things that I wanted to do. But it’s cool that I was able to get a lot of people together and put it together so everyone else could show their stuff.
How long have you been doing photography? Did you do it before you went to the Art Institute?
Yes, but just fucking around though. I seriously got into it, like, after I finished school. So I think it’s been about eight years now that I’ve been doing it as a business.
When did you go to the Art Institute?
That was, I think I graduated in 2005 or 2004, 2005.
What did you think about it? Do you feel like it was worth it? Because people have a really wide range of opinions about the Art Institute.
I guess it really depends on what you want out of it. You kind of make it what you want it to be. And honestly I just wanted to get technical training. And that I got. I think the creative side kind of wasn’t really promoted as much for me anyway. Like I found that the photography program for example was more about training you to become an assistant, because as soon as everyone graduated they were like, “OK now we’re going to get you assisting jobs.” And my mindset, because I started school when I was like 27, I was a little bit older, I wasn’t so of the thought: OK I’m gonna, like, go to school to get a job. I was like I wanna go to school because I want to work for myself. Like I want to be a photographer, I don’t want to be an assistant.
Do you think they get their stats up that way? So they can say this percentage of people got jobs.
Exactly. Yeah. And the funny thing is that when you go to job placement they pretty much say like ohh if you get a job at like Walgreens in the photo department, that’s pretty much considered in the industry. And I’m like no. That’s not why I went to school dude.
I know, I know. It’s crazy, it’s crazy. And I didn’t really anticipate that I would do a yearly thing. Like I said after the first year a lot of people started asking me like, “hey are you gonna do it again because I want to do it.” And then it just sort of became like a thing where people are asking me if they can participate. And this year I actually waited because I wasn’t ready. I was a little bit hesitant to do it because I knew that it was going to be a lot of work. Having to run a business, be in two bands, and put together an art show is crazy. But I guess I am a little crazy.
What’s the other band you’re in?
I’m playing in another band called Jellyfish Brothers.
It’s cool, it’s like a combination of surf and doom and it’s fun, it’s definitely fun. And it’s very different from the Shroud Eater stuff that’s for sure.
Who’s all in that band?
They’re actually neighbors, they’re our upstairs neighbors. Greg and Eddie Alvarez. They’re obviously two brothers. I am not a jellyfish brother, but … I guess I’m the jellyfish that got caught in the tentacles per se.
Aren’t jellyfish asexual? I don’t think there are boy and girl jellyfish…
Ohhh yea, you’re absolutely right! So yea, I am a Jellyfish Brother now. I am a shroud-eating jellyfish brother.
[Note: Jellyfish are both asexual and sexual.]
Is (Shroud Eater guitarist) Jean in that band, too, or is it just you?
No no, just me.
Yes, she’s a graphic artist, so she helps me out behind the scenes. Like all the visual material she takes care of.
But as far as organizing and all that shit — obviously the Bubble is responsible for the space so they help me out a lot — but as far as booking the artists and making sure everything is organized and shit, I’m taking care of that. Next year I’m definitely going to call upon a group of helpers, because I thought I was going to pull every fucking hair out of my head this time. I was like holy shit. I didn’t think so many people we’re going to be involved and it just, like, grew. In two weeks it just got crazy!
Looking at this year’s list, there are a lot of people involved.
Yeah, I’m a little nervous about it because I didn’t really anticipate it was going to be that busy. But hey fuck it, you know let it happen and if it looks good then it’ll be even better next year.
When did you start planning this one? How many months ago? Or did you start right after the second one?
Umm, no, no, no, no, it took me awhile. See if I had more time it would be a lot easier. But time is very limited for me because of all the stuff that I do. But honestly I am the kind of person that works well under pressure which means that I procrastinate in a certain way. (laughs)
But it’s like a comfortable procrastination. Where I stress myself out enough to get shit done without leaving any loose ends because then that’s really stressful. But I say I was supposed to do it in February. So since February I’ve been kind of planning it out heavily for about a month now. So I can only imagine if I actually put about six months work into it.
Yeah, well everyone needs a system. And it sounds like your’s works.
We’ll see what happens!
When you first chose the Bubble, it was right after they opened?
Will you do the events there indefinitely?
Yeah, I think so. I’ve built a good relationship with Yvonne and Garo, and they’ve been really cool with me and the space itself is really cool because of the whole indoor/outdoor thing. And the fact that they have that cool stage outside is good, because then we can do the burlesque performances and we can have the bands playing and shit like that.
Yeah, it’s a great space.
I feel like the Bubble was kind of a catalyst for the scene. And your event has really become the major event for the Bubble. I think Trouble with Girls is probably the biggest thing they do all year.
Cool man. That’s good to know! And hopefully it will continue to be that way, too. I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again next year. My thing last year was that I wanted to involve more artists because I felt like, it was kind of not enough, you know?
Since you’re not showing any of your art at this one, is there any artist that you’re particularly proud of having their stuff being shown?
Umm. Hmm. It’s a tricky question.
It’s like picking your favorite child.
Yeah, that is a tricky question. It is like picking your favorite child. I think obviously I have my close friends that I’m proud of that I’ve kind of seen grow from like the first show to the third show. And a lot of my friends that became involved sort of really got on the ball doing this shit because of the show, which is awesome. They started painting more they started making more crafts and stuff and I’ve noticed that their lines have grown in the last couple of years. And I think that that might have, like the whole show idea, might have ignited a fire under a lot of people’s asses to get shit done, which makes me happy.
The Trouble with Girls. Saturday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at the Bubble (810 N.E. Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Admission costs $10; all ages.