Last Wednesday night, I saw my friends Jen and Paul’s fantastic and wildly entertaining performance, Imeday Imeday Ollarday Icklenay. I don’t remember ever having as much fun at an opening, as I did that night, and if you missed it, you still have a chance of seeing a repeat performance on January 12th.
Upon entering the space, visitors are welcomed by the red-haired, gold-clad, matron of this maniacal menagerie (Jen Catron) playing a piano, upon which the fattest pig you have ever seen lays splayed out. But be forewarned and prepared, gentle-reader, this nasty swine will shamelessly heckle you. Its impudence knows no limits, although it seems to think its onslaught of vitriol is all in the name of good fun. All I’m saying is be ready to insult this churlish porker back.
If you do manage to free yourself from the spell of the pig, you will find yourself amidst a slew of characters, which have jumped out of some of the most famous paintings known to Western Civilization. In Imeday Imeday Ollarday Icklnay, paintings literally come to life. Remember that crazed bird creature from Bosch who sits atop a high throne devouring its victims alive or the sultry, sex kitten odalisque from Titian or Manet? How about that hunky, scantily clad Saint John? You’ll get a chance to meet them all, along with a few others. Van Eyk’s ram whom I met for the first time that night, kept approaching me, cackling at me and throwing me into fits of uncontrollable laughter. Clearly I’m well matched with sheep.
The true enjoyment begins when the king /Maitre d' (Paul Outlaw), calls the select few paying guests to the dinner table. If you are wealthy enough to afford the $100, five-course meal prepared by chefs, you too could share the privilege of participating in this feast and being served by the aforementioned feral beasts. As soon as all the dinner guests are seated, a hydraulics lift raises the entire table about eight feet off the ground. Once the first course is served, the Maitre d' allows the remaining audience of plebeians to crawl under the transparent plexi-glass table and “come see what the rich people are eating.” Being a member of the commoners, and the ineffable absurdity of the situation that completely exemplified any status-related incident we humans manage to create so well, made breathing incredibly difficult for me during those very short breaks when I wasn't laughing.
There was a Dionysian aura surrounded the whole feast, and I felt like I had stepped into the good old days, a simpler time, like in the days of Petronius’s Satyricon, where Original sin had barely been invented, so no one paid much attention to it, and people enjoyed a much freer and more decadent life (or at least the Patricians did). My friends managed to create an incredibly enjoyable evening that didn’t seem at all burdened by the art history they were riffing off of, a feat since most work referencing art history is typically dry and belabors the obvious. And just as in the Satyricon, when the feasting, drinking, and orgies came to a stop, I was filled with a wistful feeling knowing that all this beauty that makes life worth living would one day come to a end.