Saturday, June 23, 2007

AVAAZ at Galapagos Art Space

Yesterday, after dropping off Bear at JFK --
and being totally unaware that the Virgin Atlantic plane she had boarded was slated to stall on the tarmac for four hours, waiting for that evening's series of short storms to pass, and then take off without most of the food on the menu for passengers on the flight to London--I drove around aimlessly for a while, like anyone deprived of their young might, and decided to check in at the proudly independent Art Space still known as
Galapagos.


There, the twenty-and-now-early-thirty-somethings still milled and jostled, partying hard without ever lighting a cigarette, because, as Director Robert Elmes has correctly said, "We
have our whole lives to live and that is terribly important." The reflecting pool at the entrance is limpid and surprising as ever, but as Galapagos has prospered, it will be moving quite soon from Williamsburg to DUMBO. I considered Lillian Godchaux's Solstice VII, which was going on inside the storied Back Room, and had been described by Lillian herself as "A night of LSD and Native American freak-out driven folk and SF-based soary acid folk in hither, wildering, and bewonderment of this great Solstice VII of the New Water/Matter Era." But I was curious about AVAAZ, the act scheduled to appear on the Main Stage, so I missed Almaden, Zachary Cale and Feral Cat. Instead, I spent the same $7 and one extra $ on two under- priced drinks at the candle-lit bar, especially to watch some of the members of AVAAZ (not to be confused with Avaaz.org) setting up their fast-rising electroGLOBALdiscotek. Taking in their sleek looks, I wondered if they all had gone to MIT and now have day jobs at investment banks-- not that there's anything wrong with that.

The best version of Sea had just opened down the street
when I first saw Galapagos. I had gone to N Sixth Street back then entirely because Dave Eggers and McSweeney's held their first and earliest New York events in the now fabled Back Room, while they were reinventing fiction and food, hilarity and social awareness all at the same time. They turned writing into performance art as well -- right there at Galapagos, where I recall a gentleman in his nineties telling a tale of death and playground slides to the sound of helpless yet respectfully muffled laughter-- and now they need our help getting past their distributor Publisher's Group West's bankruptcy, by reason of which they are suddenly out $130K in one fell swoop. Say it isn't so...They are making a valiant effort with their online sales of all manner of items McSweeney and also with their "Heartbreaking eBay Auction of Staggering Audacity"...












I pondered this tale of swinging through the ages by a length of tooth floss, and drank two drinks one after another as images of something like starlight played on the blue velvet curtains. These were soon drawn back for the laser light show streamed through whirling stencils in many-colored beams by dimmSummer, and young Pat Miscellaneous, bare-chested in chinos and a full dress, full length Cheyenne
headpiece started rapping through the hai-chai remix that DJ Boo (aka Juggaknots) and I believe Bollygirl DK also had started up together. This was with and sometimes without a duet from--? Samera? Reena?. Then came DJ impala's entr'acte, and she played September, Billie Jean, Kiss, and just a few minutes of the long version of Marvin Gaye's Gotta Give it Up, but stopped while people had just started moving to this party-song-to-end-all-party-songs, to move on to Patti Labelle's original version of Lady Marmalade. How long ago it seems and yet not so far away at all. Meanwhile, silhouettes danced on the once again starlit velvet curtains, and cellphones flashed as taking pictures became general. Then came all-Desi recently schooled Bamboo Shoots, who are a really good, very special band that somehow brings the lead, rhythm and bass guitar plus drums format into the present moment. They were reviewed on Sepia Mutiny and played on Conan. Strangely, it was the Cold War era movie playing on the screen behind them that distracted, and because I'm not of the three screen generation, I spent at least fifteen minutes growing older trying to figure out who was who in black and white in Juliet of the Spirits. And then I had to go home while the band played on...and go to sleep, missing Butterthief and Suspicious Brown...

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