Monday, October 15, 2007

something for everyone

Saturday night's "Level" party, part of Design Week, did that thing that too many Santa Fe institutions try to do: please everyone, and end up pleasing no one.

Sure the party was fun, but that fun came from spending time with friends, not the bands or activities. Outside was a mini-skateboard park that provided the "family friendly" atmosphere, and probably a lot of bruises later when drunk 20-somethings who hadn't been on a board in some 10 years decided to try out the half-pipe.

Inside was a smattering of bands whose most obvious connection was that they knew the event planners. When I first showed up a man in rainbow tie dyed pants and light up fairy wings played the guitar while a woman sat on the floor with a wooden xylophone. He later played in a band with the DJ from Terra-ist Sound System, who was the second act I caught (I left for awhile to grab some dinner). Lady Processor sang with the System, then with Miss Ginger. The rotating musicians gave off the impression that whoever had the booking decision found their friends and their friends and had them play. Despite these connections the music didn't have much consistency or flow and wasn't really what anyone group of people wanted to see.

Advertisements for the party said 8-?, but failed to mention that alcohol sales would be shut down promptly at 11 pm. I'm not even sure that the people who showed up after than knew alcohol had ever been served, but it all worked out, because many people brought their own. Around midnight the evenings host got on stage and began telling everyone to pour out their drinks or they'd be shut down, calling the police "pigs" and creating an odd and out of place spectacle. Why a party that was (supposedly) permitted to last until sunrise would be in danger of being shut down was unclear. There was no sign of police, but everyone complied and tried to continue. Chispa, a local electronic DJ and artist, set up and rumors began to fly that he was it, that the party was over, through three more DJs (Walker, Carlisle McQueen and Feathericci) had hauled equipment to the space. A few ideas about where to continue were thrown around and eventually the DJs and a few of their friends ended up in a garage near Owl's Liquor. Ironically, just as Design Week's Luna space was covered with art, so was the last minute after party. The garage was offered up by a local artist and the intimate and decorated room was organically the feel that Design Week organizers tried to replicate, without much luck, in the warehouse. In the garage someone ended up wearing a piece of the art--a giant swirl that resembled a 9--and others danced with a dragon-like figure that hung from the ceiling. At the warehouse someone made out on one of the beds and a few people watched the videos, but mostly the art was ignored, as well as poorly labeled, giving the artists almost no recognition for their hard work.

The after party offered a good example of how a reproduction of the organic can just ooze contrivance.