Current mood: Only very slightly sore
Last night (read: hella early this morning) I got back from the Ninja Penguin art show. I enjoyed it. It was something halfway between an art show and a party.
The front room was the gallery, and it had a cheezy life-size styrofoam ninja temple on the right wall (I mean the Ninja’s were life size and styrofoam, not the temple) and on the left wall and in various other places were the art displays. Stepping in the door, I practically ran into Bernyce of Le Menagerie, who was wearing, what was by far the coolest Ninja costume of anyone present. You see; guests were encouraged to come in costumes on the themes of Ninjas or Pirates, and many did. There were also a few guys in drag, an assortment of goth costumes, and a couple of 17 year old hoochies (I presume they might have been intended to be “Pirate Wenches”, but my extensive study of Pirate history informs me that it is very unlikely that any real pirate wenches wore florescent-orange hot-pants)
Anyway. Back to the art. This was a “Tangible” art show, which means that you are not only allowed, but encouraged to touch the artwork (Fun art-gallery side-note: If you are ever in the Babylonian sculpture room of the British Museum in London, do not under any circumstance attempt to touch the 3500 year old bas-relief stone murals, for example, to point out an interesting sculptural feature to your sister. Your finger will set of the alarms and summon the guards even several centimeters away from the surface of the stone) But yes! This art you could touch or even pick up. Many pieces employed texture, such as ninja-silhouetted in sandpaper on wood, or a giant pirate skull sculpture with cool sticky-spiderweb eyes, or a ball-and-paddle game with ninja poetry and artwork painted on the paddle, and of course you could actually pick it up and play it. Bernyce’s piece entitled “Sista Ninja” was a mixed-media watercolor, including tinfoil ninja stars, and a ‘Fro made from real human hair. My favorite piece was probably the Julie Keene’s Bunny vs. Squirrel Box … actually that was Ninja Bunny vs. Pirate Squirrel, in keeping with the theme of the show. It was a panel-comic painted on the surfaces of an ordinary corrugated cardboard box, which doesn’t sound like much, but overall shape and layout of the panels combined with Julie’s soft-high-contrast art style made it look remarkably cool. I also was both amused and alarmed by the sculpture that appeared to be constructed entirely of gummy-dinosaurs (you know, like gummy bears except dinosaur themed… at least I think they were dinosaurs. They were so mashed together, they could have been gummy-spongebob‘s for all I know.)
Moving on, the back room was the dance floor. They had a small bar, and DJ’s from Ninja Skillz were playing (technotrancehouse-ish stuff). It had a small party atmosphere that would have disappointed a serious clubber; consequently I greatly enjoyed it. I don’t much like to go to crowded clubs anymore, as there is seldom room to actually have any fun, so this small informal mini-club was exactly what I needed. I had a great time.
Also, I knew from the flier that there were supposed to be martial-arts demonstrations, but I did not expect to actually participate in one. At one point I was sitting there, and listening to these two guys discussing board-breaking (there was a pile of boards on the corner of the ninja temple for that purpose). Apparently one guy intended to break a board, and he wanted the other guy to hold it for him, but the other guy wasn’t feelin’ it. So he says, “How about that guy, up there?” and points up on me (I was at that moment, sitting way up on a ledge where I was probably not actually supposed to be) And so I agreed, after some safety instructions, how to hold the board for him to break it, which involved bracing myself, and holding the sturdy-feeling board up more or less in in front of my face, while he punched through it from the other side. All went smoothly, and nobody was injured.
I don’t have any idea if Penguin Palace plans to host any more such events, or if it was a one-time thing, but if they do, I would be delighted to go again.