Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lush Party at DEFSUP, 2008.

Argus: Lakehead University Student Newspaper, 2007
Article and Photos by Duncan Weller
Stereotyped divisions of people get wrecked at a pajama party. A few unkempt baseball-capped townies, surprised to be at a party without AC/DC playing or a hockey game on a television, stood against a wall in the red lit lounge absorbed in the image of the alien mix of people in all manner of dress. The townies looked pleased, amazed that there was an alternative to the T.Bay antilifestyle. Front man Eugene Hutz of the New York City gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello who stopped by with his band after their gig at Warp 9 refused to comment on Defsup’s fundraising party, stating, “I can’t believe people would rather play with a hula-hoop than come to our show,” leaving the distinct impression that he was upset he didn’t get a bigger turnout because Defsup’s LUSH party had stolen a potentially bigger audience from him. I was surprised everyone turned up so late. I arrived shortly after nine expecting a crowd, debating whether to write an article at all, as there were only about thirty die-hards present and only two serious dancers. (Defsup’s last party numbered more than 200). Then, at 11:15, WHAM! In strolled the extras. The party took off. The huge projected images of Japanese anime and the visual techno-crit film Naqoyqatsi now made sense. The austere basement slash gallery feel of the alternative art lair became the throbbing pulsing dance center it was intended to be. Surprisingly, the gallery was fulfilling one of art’s most basic functions – humanizing the world. Although there was a conspicuous lack of art on the walls, no doubt to protect the works, it was the partygoers who made the show visual and kinetic. People became walking dancing works of art.
A few art students from LU, along with local artists, were in retro pajama costume. The shiny kimono crew glistened. Ram had on his judo outfit. A very tall forester with a PhD was fully pajamasized, as were a few engineering students. Overall it was the women who really got into the party. They ruled the bordello, piling themselves and sprawling on to the floor as a result of losing their balance in games of twister. Despite the seeming mayhem, not one person was visibly intoxicated which lead me to believe that when the people and the party are fun, alcohol loses its commanding role as a necessary lubricator. And with three and a half rooms to choose from, a partygoer could stroll from one to the next finding a variety of entertainments. Rap stars and DJs kept a pulse going in the small back room. A good trick for anyone opening a club is to have at least one area where people can talk, where the music isn’t so loud you get hoarse from yelling, get a guy’s name wrong, and suggest something you weren’t intending. A key aspect of this party - communication was possible.

LU Radio and the Definitely Superior Art Gallery put on a great event with enough events continuously in motion to keep you on your feet and awake till whenever it ended. (I left early at 2am) There were groove drummers, six DJs to offer samples of electric music, ranting and poetic rap artists, all in an atmosphere both jazzy and comfortable enough to make you think you were in a friend’s basement. Two rooms offered projected images to view. Pillows, couches and bathtubs kept people comfortable and there was enough room for more than fifty people to gyrate and shake.

Of important note is how valuable this kind of venue is to the Thunder Bay community. The multifunctional use of a gallery I’ve seen attempted in Toronto and Vancouver where you would think hundreds of people would turn up. They generally fail miserably partly because of the snob factor associated with galleries and lack of inventiveness, which is surprising for artists. The gang at Defsup and LU Radio not only succeeded but have been asked by people in the community to continue hosting these kinds of events. And so they shall.

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