Hugo, the so-called "Circus City" established in 1901 in southeast Oklahoma, is where traveling circuses have decamped during the winter months for the past 75 years. Currently, three nationally known circuses – including the Carson & Barnes Circus, the last traveling three-ring big top in the country – winter there, and, as you might expect, Hugo's Mount Olivet Cemetery is astounding. Tonight's opening of artist Michelle Mikesell's "Hugo, Oklahoma" exhibition features new paintings based on those buried there. Nicknamed "Showmen's Rest," it's one of only two graveyards in the U.S. devoted to the dearly departed people of the circus (not counting "The Family Circus," where children's jokes go to die). Mikesell uses the motif of birds throughout; they hold aloft the dead circus performers on their way to a fun-filled Valhalla. Mikesell's paintings are also available as signed limited edition prints, and the first part of the exhibition opening takes place just a hop, skip and a handstand away at the Electric Lodge (1416 Electric Ave.), as Mikesell collaborates with avant sonic acrobats Duo del Sol for a concert and film at 7 p.m. Altered Space Gallery, 1221 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; opening reception, Fri., April 6, 8 p.m.; exhibit runs thru May 4; free. (310) 452-8121, alteredspacegallery.com
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: April 6. Continues through May 4, 2012
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