Monday, March 01, 2004

You talkin' to me?

Heard about this weird 24-hour Art/Music/Film event/exhibition thing going on this past Saturday night. This special event, titled 24 Hour Access: 24 Hour Psycho, was part of the Douglas Gordon exhibition at Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum.

What to say? It was very cool, semi-bizarre, and just generally very entertaining. The museum itself seems like it could make almost any piece of art seem cool. Massive, open spaces - rounded outer walls. I've never seen so many cool kids in my life. Seriously. Take every 'cool kid' from every DC-area college (and high school) and put them in 'cool clothes' and give them a place to come hang out and 'look cool' - this was the place. Oddly, I thought it'd be a more pretentious atmosphere, but I didn't feel that at all. How many people were there? During my two and a half hours - about 1:05 am to 3:45 am - 450 people dwindling to 250. Just a guess. It's a big space with at least three floors.

What else? There was this Andy Warhol-esque 'wall of tv sets' (about 60 tvs?) that had all this really cool imagery synchronously flashing up on it in the outline of the U.S. flag. Very, very cool-looking.

I'd have to say the best exhibit was the Robert De Niro Taxi Driver Movie 'thing' (fd: I've never seen the movie.). Two big movie-theatre-sized screens sit opposed to one another about 20 meters apart. You can stand anywhere in the room, between the two big screens. A three-minute clip of De Niro's scene in his apartment, standing in front of the mirror practicing pulling his gun on his unwitting adversary, is playing in a loop. Actually, both screens are looping the same video clip, with about a seven-second delay between the two. De Nero's now-famous line:

You talking to me? You talkin'-na me?

Of course, with the short delay between movie screens, it looks/sounds like the De Nero on one screen is having a little mano-a-mano chat with the De Nero on the other screen. Thus, you have created what is sure to be common around DC social settings for the next month or two, at least - the you talkin' ta me? introduction. Think of it as the current incarnation of the Whazzzuuuuuuuuhhhhhh Budweiser introduction of a couple years ago.

Last, but not at all least, I need to talk about the best band I've heard in at least six months. As part of this special event shindig, there were bands and DJs present. As I was finishing the exhibit - one loop around an entire floor of the museum - I heard some band playing. But I could tell they weren't just playing - they sounded good. I could tell it was live music - and it was emanating from 'down there somewhere'. Apparently the basement is where the bands and DJs were doing their thing. I eventually made my way downstairs and realized I'd just missed the band and caught some DJs holding it down fairly well - I'm guessing they might have been Yellow Fever (couldn't find a link) - given that it seemed like a couple of Asian-looking DJ dudes who were taking turns spinning records. Then 'the band' comes back on. At this point, I'm not positive if this band is the same one that was playing before the DJs, but whoever they were, they proceeded to wreck sh*t. Unbelievable.

I think the name of the band was Gully Jimson (no links), and you couldn't really hear the vocals b/c the sound in the box-like basement floor of the museum was semi-deafening, but damn did they rock it. I heard something about 'they rarely play together', and 'the older dude taught the other dudes how to play guitar', and 'the one dude is something-or-other at Catholic University of America', and one dude is the owner of Signal 66. I'm not even sure what genre I'd call it - George Thorogood meets Buddy Holly? Guitar action was nice - I'd compare it to the full and energetic sound produced by the new Aussies on the scene - Jet - with their single Are You Gonna Be My Girl.

All in all, an interesting exhibit, an interesting night.