03 November 2005

belated account of all Hallow's Eve (or the weekend preface thereof)

i have to say, somehow, sometimes, i find myself involved in THE COOLEST THINGS EVER IN THE WORLD. EVER.
the AGO put on its annual "Shadow Ball" fundraiser on Friday, and i (cartwheels all over the computer screen) got to be involved this year. though i didn't get to put on stilts or set anything on fire (about which i've been haranguing the powers that be for three years), i did get to wear a gas mask, goggles, and a parachute suit, whilst creating some cool looking light overlooking what must have been a thousand of the more wealthy citizens of fair city during their halloween revellry.
designed by Steve Lucas (creator of Breathe) and Sherri Hay (one of the geniuses (genii?) behind Peepshow), i'm going to take a small moment to try to explain it, 'coz it was a visual feast gloriosa that will never be seen again, i don't imagine.
they took a huge cavern of a room which is the gallery school (probably the only part of the building that is not eviscerated with "construction" right now), and set up a scaffolding along all four walls of the perimeter.then they covered it with white fabric walls, into which had been sewn eight squares of scrim which acted as proscenium(s) of sorts. THEN. eight nightmarish scenarios were set up behind those scrims, and eight actors dressed as insomniacs were sent walking through the crowds and then behind the walls, up ladders onto the scaffolding, and into the scenarios, which were periodically lit up to act out their own worst nightmares. they found themselves amongst flames, caught buried alive underground, in a forest of maniacal chinatown flapping birds, trodden beneath giants' feet, and being chased on a hidden conveyor belt rigged so the backdrop travelled with them in their flight.

i played one of the sand dj's, i suppose you might call it; there were four projectors set up in two corners of the room with plexiglass layers of plates on which we were to fiddle with sand, water, and all manner of our own chosen sundry items; mine were xeroxed transparencies of suicide notes, one from the 18th century, and the other Virginia Woolf's (of course). these images were projected onto the walls above the scenarios, as added icing to the visual feast.

anyhow. the evening was a glorious success, marred only slightly by the AGO's insistence on mandatory safety lights (fluorescents grrr) which made things only slightly less stark than they might have been. Glorious.

(one of the actors, eating bugs.)

(view from one of the projectors, of the dining room tables, a la candlelight.)

(photos belong to Trevor Schwellnus, yet another of the builder/masterminds behind the Shadowball.)

sunday was reserved for Canzine, which has evolved from the big bop days as a kindda disorganized mess of DIY'ers selling photocopies, to those same DIY'ers who've gotten the hang of it all, and are making some Fantastic work, these days flanked at the fair by artists, installations and all manner of craziness.
i was very happily hoodwinked into helping Fran Freeman and a host of others cover a mesh corpse in hand made grass paper, while a dj did something profound and visceral through the speakers, and a forboding video played behind us. we paraded the corpse through the Gladstone and then left it nestled in some leaves a block away in the hopes it would benefit some Halloween revellers.
the evening ended with a liberal gentleman named naked Marvin, a tattooed and talented senior, who stripped down to his tattoos, to the soundtrack of a poison (i think) song, along with friendly Rich of the Brampton indie arts festival.

ah, toronto, how you do thrill me with your strange and sundry events.

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