Band skips performance due to nude paintings

By Brayton Cameron

The stage was set, the lights dimmed, the curtains opened, but there was one less band on stage Thursday at The House Café, 263 E. Lincoln Highway.

Keslinger, one of the bands scheduled to play, cancelled their show at the last minute because of nude paintings by local artist and alumnus, Gary Schirmer, hanging in the coffee house.

Keslinger’s fan base is primarily young Christians and the band was worried about how the paintings would be seen by their fans.

“Right now I’m working through what is an appropriate venue for us,” said Keslinger guitarist Seth Deming. “[The nude paintings] were a gray line and since it was a gray line, we decided it would be better if we didn’t play.”

Members of the band asked management of The House Café to remove the paintings. The House Café did not comply with the request.

“We agreed to showcase the artists’ work, and could not compromise their gallery time by taking down the paintings,” said John Ugolini, booking agent for Kickstand Productions. “[The House Café] are contracted and bound to an agreement with artists that showcase their work at the cafe. We are not permitted to take down artists work without the consent of the artist.”

Schirmer was not informed of the situation at the time, but said he understands how some people could have been offended.

“I know that there’s probably people that are offended by nudity in general I suppose,” Schirmer said. “But look at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and that’s really where my work is rooted.”

Some Keslinger fans did show up expecting the band to play.

“The attendance was affected and there were people who asked for their money back,” Ugolini said. “[Keslinger’s] complaint is the first we have received in response to the paintings.”

Although the show was cancelled, Keslinger was pleased with the venue’s response.

“[The House Café] is one of my favorite venues. I just love it,” Deming said. “I was floored about how cool they were about it.”