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Q & A: Solar Culture takes inspiration from pineal gland

Photo courtesy of the Tucson Museum of Art
Terence La Noue's artwork is inspired by his visits to Africa, Morocco, India, Nepal and Central America. His textural paintings are layered with canvas, fabric, acrylic, paint and other objects.
By Kevin Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday March 13, 2003

Sometimes you feel like some live music, sometimes you don't. That's why Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave., doubles as a local art gallery/studio.

The artwork that adorns its walls also provides an excellent diversion for awkward in-between-set conversations, giving the verbal participant something to distract his listener's attention with.

"Yeah, so Ě that was cool Ě whoa, look at that!" said crafty, made-up speaker #1.

This artwork, both inside and out, makes Solar Culture one of the most visually appealing music venues in Tucson. Having more in common size-wise with a large car garage than a music hall, Solar Culture has been providing Tucson residents with a feast for the eyes and ears since the spring of '99, thanks to founder and owner Steven Eye.

Wildcat: How old are you and is Steven Eye your real name?

Eye: The name Steven Eye was born in 1982, the body that appears in the mirror every day was born in 1956.

Wildcat: How did Solar Culture get its name?

Eye: Solar Culture is an Atlantian cultural practice of bringing the "pillar of light" through the top of your head into your pineal gland, which is thought of as the seat of the soul. The "pillar of light" is galactic information that comes to us from the cosmos. Solar Culture is the practice of going online with the cosmos. For more history of this building and our scene you can go to our Web site and click on the history button:

Wildcat: How do you think the Tucson community benefits from Solar Culture?

Eye: Solar Culture is one of the last bastions of artistic freedom in Tucson. Caring enough to create a difference is one of the best ways that we can cause change in this world. Here at Solar Culture people get to share their creations, get inspired, and see amazing performances from all over the world.

Wildcat: What, if anything, made you want to provide this service to Tucson?

Eye: When I go to my special places of power, in the heart of the Mother Earth, and I ask for guidance, the message I get is: to make ecstatic energy available to the people. The best way that I know how to do that is to have amazing bands play in a safe, inspirational environment.

Wildcat: How can local artists submit their work to be displayed at Solar Culture?

Eye: Everyone who would like to show their work here is honored, and no one is turned away. It is free to show your work, and we don't take a commission if something sells. We do three shows a year where we accept everyone's art, October, February, and May. The best way to find out when those shows are is to check our Web site.

Wildcat: The musical acts that come to Solar Culture seem to be a bit off of the mainstream's radar. How do you go about booking these acts?

Eye: I work with many booking agents that are based in the big cities like New York, Chicago, LA. and San Francisco, Seattle. They are the ones that send us the bands that play here. The reason not many people seem to know these bands here is because we don't have an FM college radio station like many other cities. College radio is the voice of the youth; without it, you end up with a mainstream culture that is sold to the people, and makes them weak, stupid, and like sheep ready to be sent to the slaughter.

Wildcat: What was the most memorable show you've seen at Solar Culture or elsewhere and why?

Eye: One of the most interesting shows here was when PJ Harvey was touring with U2 and played Phoenix, and then Howe Gelb and Calexico got her to come here the next day to play a benefit for KXCI. It was like having English royalty in the house.

Wildcat: Who were some "difficult" musicians that played there and how were they difficult?

Eye: Normally the bands that play here are very sweet and wonderful, very thankful, and inspired from all the art hanging on the walls.

Wildcat: What is the deal with drinking alcohol in there? Is it allowed, not allowed, BYOB?

Eye: It is not legal for people under 21 to drink in this state.

Wildcat: Do you have any plans for the future?

Eye: To live my life to the fullest by experiencing, learning and giving.

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