I was forced to go VIP because that’s how I roll. Just to get the basics out of the way – those valet guys were cute and hyper-efficient, check-in was quick and easy, and the décor was great. Those are all important basics.
Notably, the decorations committee did a great job with that big space and really gave the space an overdose of hipster glam: enormous gold mylar balloons all over the ceiling in the main room and these freaking awesome dead trees that had been painted gold and planted in cement blocks all over the VIP room. I was hoping that we were allowed to take the trees home like centerpieces from a wedding but sadly, that was not the case.
So the VIP experience … well the way I look at it, if I get dinner and my drinks all night it is probably worth the extra 60 bucks. And it was. The food was for the most part very good and they had a lot of participating restaurants, although I am not a huge fan of the program where a bunch of restaurants get little stations to ply their wares. It’s a little too State Fair for me. But you know, get your donations where you can! And the VIP bar had great bartenders and great vodka so that was sufficient to distract me.
Lest we forget we are at a MOCAD event, there was a video and audio experience that made every effort to remind us this is a contemporary art museum. And by that, I mean it made you want to go fetal.
While the video displays overall were really cool, the one showing in the VIP room was this weird Osama Bin Laden-meets-Wizard of Oz thing that was a little violent and a lot disturbing to this Friend of Dorothy. And the music. Oh. My. God. I know it’s like an art expression but please just drive a screwdriver into my ear. For twenty minutes, I can get into this. But two hours of the sound of nails on a chalkboard, well, that’s not my definition of aural pleasure, mbien?
I was worried that maybe they forgot these things are supposed to be fun, but when the live music started things made a quick about-face. I’m not typically a big fan of live music myself, so I wasn’t expecting much. And at first that fear was somewhat borne out: I never thought of “Eyes Without a Face” by Billy Idol as a very fun song. But somehow one group performing managed to find what little fun was actually there, suck it right out, and perform a perfectly joyless cover. Very postmodern, no?
But then something clicked and all of it started to really work. I’m not sure how it happened but once it did, it was amazing. Maybe it was the cool campy performance by Esquire. Maybe it was the weirdly homoerotic video installation playing in the background. Maybe it was the crowd reaching previously unseen levels of eclecticism. Maybe it was the Sisters Lucas covering the Go Go’s “We Got the Beat” (finally, some music for my people!) Maybe someone put something in my drink. Whatever it was, once it got there it stayed fresh and fun and interesting all night long.
Here are few quick video clips I took with my really bad cellphone camera, which I apparently somehow set to record in sepia tone. Huh. The volume is really loud on these, I recommend just hitting mute or turning the volume way down.
The homoerotic video art portion of the program.
This was actually a cool performance of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."