First, an announcement. I took my chemistry midterm yesterday, which means I can return to the realm of the living. It means I called the friend who'd called me at least 5 times in the last week and it means I'm writing (and hopefully reading) on oasis and it means I'm doing homework for other classes and it means that I won't have to stress about chemistry again! ... until next exam.
In celebration of my miraculous return to the land of the living yesterday, I went to check out MIX 24: New York Queer Experimental Film Festival.
And oh my god was it surreal in there. I went with a new friend of mine, Elliot, around 5:30. The venue's just a few blocks away from my dorm, in this huge warehouse that was converted, for the week, into the "Mix Factory."
Through the entrance is the hospitality desk, selling t-shirts and giving out festival programs. To the left is the box office. It is dark, almost too dark to figure out upon first encounter, and the black walls have stars, universes, galaxies, projected onto them. Trapezoid-shaped mirrors hang from the high ceilings, reflecting the twinkle. This room is longish and narrow.
Let's go right... behind a large curtain is a piece called "The Paradox of a Queer Dream." Naked bodies projected onto an indescribable tan background, I think with some balloons on it. The bodies are strange, some three-breasted, some ungenderable, some fucking, some standing, some covered in what looks like a knit sweater turned viscous. The projection twitches them between five or six different positions. They move like losing consciousness.
Next to that room is the main screening room. A theater, with seats, a projector in the back, a big screen in the front. Simple.
Leave this side and pass through the hospitality room again. On the far left end is the box office, flanked by two sets of stairs- one up, one down. Down is to the main space. Let's detour up.
Up leads you into a fur-covered room with low music, many pillows, and free condoms. A tiny television plays surrealist films with animals, unicorns, forests, SUVs, teeth, and whiskers. It is very, very quiet. If you watch out for wet spots on the floor it will eventually be a very good place to take a nap.
Now let's go down. Down starts with a long jungle hallway, I kid you not. It is warm, the ground is covered in plastic grass, the walls and ceiling sprout dark strange plants that grab your clothes as you walk by. I realized about halfway through the night that there were pinpoints of green light crawling through the grass and over the walls and my skin... little bugs. Life from a projector.
Now we reach the stairs. They are starkly white, undecorated, basementy. Black-and-white pornography is projected from three sources, landing one on the landing, one on the wall, and one down the middle of the spiral.
The stairs lead to the Lounge. The only way I can think to describe the lounge is "giant basement filled with pillows." except the pillows are pink and the basement is shaped like a cave and paper-mache pink stalactites hang from the ceiling and giant fuzzy pillow stalagmites topple under the weight of being fucked on and it feels a little bit like a giant vagina, a feeling which is reinforced by the enormous paper-mache tongue near the back of the room. The pillows slope down, urging people to face a stage/projector area where performance art happens and which later becomes a dance floor. Along the far wall is an open bar, and by open I mean "we don't have a liquor license so we can't charge for this alcohol and we don't have to card. Please leave a donation if you can" and next to the bar is a folding table which doles out free popcorn, bread and jam, and later in the night, some of the most delicious gelato (earl gray, olive oil, rosemary, and basil flavored) that I have ever encountered.
Behind the projector screen, far opposite the giant tongue, are little rooms filled with bean bag chairs. Make your own assumptions.
Off to the side is another little hallway, leading to four rooms. Each room has an art installation. I don't really remember what they were, to me they were little rooms where I could sit in a corner and let my mind occupy a tiny universe.
MIX was a tiny universe, spinning and dancing and breathing and fucking. Stepping outside for a cigarette was like waking from a dream about the world ending and realizing that the world was still there, unchanged, that helicopters and sirens were still zooming by towards Liberty Park, that taxis still honk and if you look down Lafayette late at night you can still see at least 15 streetlights go from red to green all at the same time.
I'm going back tonight (Jewface, of all people, just wrote on my wall being like "when are you going to ask me to go to mix with you?" so there's that), and tomorrow, I will write about all the performances, screenings, and events that I experienced. For now, the space was surreal enough.
And I have a hangover to nurse.