Press Coffee Bar To Hold Premier Art Opening
Black as the Devil, Hot as Hell,
Pure as an Angel, Sweet as Love.
~Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord
There are things that are serendipitous. There are things that smack of predestination. Then there are things that are just pretty damn creepy. I’m not sure which category this story falls under.
To introduce this story, I have to backtrack to October of last year when I received a call from my friend, Emanuel, telling me that I had to get down to the old home décor place at the corner of Wayne Ave. and E. Third St. and check out this gallery showing. I made it down there as soon as I could and…no Emanuel…but his phone call had led me to some of the most original artwork I had seen in quite some time. It was a mélange of media ranging from the contrasting screen print designs by Jannell Barker to the found art of Josh Florhe which held the moment of another age within its imagery.
I toured the gallery showing, tellingly titled Shut Up Art, and was amazed at the innate talent that the artists imbued. I began speaking with Janell about various topics, such as , how the exhibition came to be, bartending and even meandering over some of the technical aspects of silk-screening. Before leaving, I promised Janell that I would contact her (as well as some of the other featured artists) soon and we would get something down in print for the group. It was a promise that I fully intended to keep…right up until the moment that life got in my way.
It’s one of those things where unforeseen circumstances throw walls up in front of you and then, the momentum of the moment is lost until, one day, you are paging through one of your notebooks and you see a phone number and a pang of guilt forces you to close the book quickly.
Fast forward to last week…Wednesday December 29th to be precise. I was to meet DMM’s Brooke Medlin at a new coffee house called Press Coffee Bar to cover an art exhibition that they were planning. As I ducked inside the building, escaping from the gloomy day above, I was taken in by the warmth of the newly laid wooden floor and the expansive invitation of the room itself. I saw Brooke and another woman crouched in the loft at the rear of the building, which looked out over the whole storefront. I said hello to the bearded gentleman behind the counter and waited for Brooke to come downstairs and fill me in on the details. As I waited, I took in the freshness of the interior. New floors. A newly constructed and conformingly curved coffee bar whose coiled shape and muted tone was a wild variation from the gleaming utilitarian sharpness of the state of the art cappuccino machine. A bearded man behind the counter (who has a name which happens to be Brett Barker) informed me that the machine was made in Florence, Italy and was temperature controlled by a PID computer module that collected data from various sensors and made self correcting adjustments and that it had been used as a demo model at a Seattle coffee festival before arriving in Dayton.
Hearing Brooke and the other woman descending the stairs, I turned around to see…Janell Barker. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I could just hear the snarky remarks that may have been running through her head, remarks that she never said (but justifiably could have!) such as, ‘Do you think you could get this article done in time?’ or saying something to Brooke like, ‘This is the best you could do?’ or even, ‘You’re never going to amount to anything, so you might as well get used to digging ditches!’…sorry, that last one was me channeling my sophomore guidance counselor.
Apparently harboring no ill will, Janell began preparing a freshly ground cup of coffee for me, which made me groan inwardly, knowing that in moments, I would have to admit that I couldn’t stand the taste of coffee. Telling someone something that will disappoint them after you have already disappointed them is hard. Telling someone something that will disappoint them after you have already disappointed them as they approach you with a scalding hot cup of coffee is just plain scary. I began to quickly understand Al Green’s aversion to grits.
After I made my embarrassing admission, Brett began talking about the types of coffee they would be using, the type of rotating and artisan roasters they would be utilizing and then onto one of Press’ previous events, which was a coffee tasting experience that they call ‘Coffee Cupping.’ These things I will save for a future article, such as the circular pouring of water through a Hario V60 single cup coffee filter to make a perfect cup of java or how one should, “slurp” vigorously when tasting a new coffee to completely saturate the tongue all at once. These things will come later. The thing to concentrate on now is their Premier Opening Art Show.
As Brett and Janell detailed the type of art and the artists that would be showcased, I looked around the vaulted room, taking in the rough edges of the remodeling that had yet to be polished, looking upwards at the newly painted, bare walls, knowing that soon, a clamorous collection of artwork would peer down at the patrons of this little coffee shop, inspiring them with a thirst larger than the one to be quenched by any fancy French pressed brew. The artwork is what motivates us, that brings us together, that allows us to appreciate and accept without the burden of being deigned acceptable by others. The artwork is there as a vehicle for our muse to move us forward. The coffee is there to make us savor the moment.
This is a coffee shop that aspires to be more than just a retail establishment. They want to be part of the community and this art show is the first step in that direction. The Premier Opening Art Show will be held on Friday, January 7th from 4pm until 12pm at Press, located at 257 Wayne Ave. The show will feature artwork by Rueben Briggs, Eric Patton, Josh Florhe, Kasey Henneman, Jason Watkins, Jeff Richards, Mike Guidone, Jason Goad and Zach Armstrong. Regular store hours will be Monday through Friday from 7am until 8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am until 8pm.