Even if you don't consider yourself especially religious, or, conversely, are on such close terms with God that you know his last name is "Dammit," you'll want to make a pilgrimage to Within Heaven's Earshot. It's an exhibition of religious album covers — LPs presenting everything from ventriloquists for Christ to horrifically melted evangelical preacher Merrill Womack and Satan's latest tool: streaking. While it may seem easy to heap chucklesome scorn upon these seemingly naive intersections of religion and culture, when you actually see the recent video of ventriloquist Gail Wenos and her cheeky dummy Ezra, it seems almost terminally unseemly to do anything but smile and nod. Within Heaven's Earshot places a more personal face on these dusty relics pawed over during many a visit to the Salvation Army in search of bigger fish to fry. And yet it doesn't necessarily follow that, with this exhibition, representation equals endorsement — rather, it's like an afternoon hanging out with your grandparents, who are more than happy to tell you how things were and the way they should be. The exhibition — curated by Kieran Sala and with contributions from DJs and cultural archaeologists/necrologists Don Bolles, Howie Pyro, Mitchell Brown and others — ends, fittingly enough, on Easter Sunday, April 12, a day capped with a performance from David Leibe Hart, the master of puppets seen everywhere from The Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Show to Tim and Eric Awesome Show. The most bracing thing is that none of these albums has to do with edgy ideas in design and record sales. They deal simply with faith and finding people with whom one feels ideologically aligned — even if that means believing that the symbol for feminism is simply a circled pentagram and upside-down cross intertwined.
Sun., April 12, 2-7 p.m., 2009

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