Velvet paintings are to art what romance novels are to literature. But unlike a tawdry book, you don't have to read a velvet painting, because a picture of Elvis or a unicorn or Jesus flipping the bird is worth a thousand words. And Bruce White's acrylic on velvet works are more tributes to pop culture than rural roadside kitsch. The North Carolina tattoo artist and painter has taken part in past Gallery 1988 group shows, including last spring's comedy-inspired “Is This Thing On? 2: The Weird Year,” which featured his velvet rendition of Eddie Murphy. For his first solo exhibit at the gallery, “Velvet Paintings for Your Inner Nerd,” White gives more than 30 nerd-approved cult, horror and sci-fi icons the velvety touch, from Stars Wars and Star Trek characters to Pee-wee Herman and Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy. “By the beard of Zeus!,” just the thing to keep you satiated until Anchorman 2 opens next year. Gallery 1988, 7020 Melrose Ave.; Fri., July 27, 7-10 p.m.; thru Aug. 15; free. (323) 937-7088,

Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 27. Continues through Aug. 15, 2012

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