Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: 10 Jan 2009 - Critical Mass @ The Uptown Theater

16 January 2009

10 Jan 2009 - Critical Mass @ The Uptown Theater

18x24, taken - 2009 01 10 The Uptown Theater (Vibesquad, Somasphere, Johnny C, The Floozies, GEM)

Another investigation of partiality, transparent process (leaving some parts incomplete allows people to follow my train of thought), and layering of complementary geometries (letting hanging "vines" drop over the top of the painting and the partial wall gives it a "trellis" effect...I'll be returning to this combination of discrete abstract and organic elements in future work). I like how the negative space at the bottom gives the entire arrangement a feeling of suspension, like you might be able to duck under it and check it out from the other side.

This was painted in the smallest room of the biggest electronic music event I have ever seen in Kansas City. Three different production groups got together to pack the historic Uptown Theater with people covered in blinky gear; it was pretty amazing. Big events like that come so rarely to the Midwest that the excitement was palpable, everyone was flashing eager smiles to each other as they came in...there was a definite contingent of dressed-up club types, but just as much tie dye, as well as less ostentatious general nightlife aficionados. They don't call these things "raves" anymore...but, uh, what are they called? Cuz that's basically what it was. Only with three rooms on as many floors.

The main room was headlined by Bad Boy Bill and DJ Magic Mike - of whom I can say nothing, because I was in the room put together by Lawrence KS's Cicada Rhythm Productions. Johnny Gallup, the man behind the cicada, has done more than any other person to bring quality electronic music to the KC/Lawrence area, and he's a genuinely friendly guy to boot. EOTO thanked him by name in their liner notes, because he's just that cool. And he brought some great music to the little bar by the entrance where I was camped all night:


Lawrence local live electronic groovers, the golden child of the scene, here/now. Still in the early line-up flux stage, but strong in The Force. Potential energy...just like an actual gem.

The Floozies

Drums and looped guitar/synth duo with entirely too much funk and talent to be languishing in Kansas City. If you produce shows, book these guys. I've seen them bump two hundred people like they were just rolling out of bed.

Johnny C

A Cicada Rhythms standard, this DJ not only put "tasteful" and "dub-step" in the same room together for the first time, he officiated their wedding and delivered their kids.


Lincoln, Nebraska quintet riding the wave of techno-translated-into-rock, high energy, high tempo, great drummer...they make it around to festivals, so keep an eye out. They're a lot of fun.


Aaron Holstein of Zilla's DJ/producer project. He actually went to school for music, knows the theory, has killer studio skills, can play bass and keys at the same time...and yet when he gets behind that laptop we can forget all of that and just let his luxurious bass rattle our hips and levitate our waving arms. My first night live painting was for him, so I get all sentimental whenever I have another opportunity to do so...largely because his positivity is unstoppable. Right before his set, some dumb girl unloaded a fire extinguisher over the crowd and they had to close the whole room for half an hour while they cleaned up - we weren't even sure if he was going to be able to play. (What's worse, we all thought it was a fog machine and stayed there, breathing toxic fumes, until we were all coughing and realized something had gone awry.) But then he just booted the whole party back up like nothing had happened, reminded people that nothing really stands between a dancing crowd and a good time.

So yeah, it was a lovely night, and I met some amazing people in the crowd. Everyone was at their sexy best, lots of glitter and feathers and custom ballcaps and trophy girl/boyfriends. A real lust parade, which as far as I'm concerned is one of the best live painting environments. I really wanted to get out of that room a little more and shake it in the main hall...but hey. I had a job to do.


In other news, for those interested in art theory and philosophy and psychology and spirituality and where those things all tie together:

Around this time last year, I interviewed the internationally renowned integral philosopher Ken Wilber. We talked at length (75 minutes) about his elaborate (but previously unexplained) perspective on the future of art and music, the common qualities of post-ironic expression, and the spiritual significance of the artist. If you can handle reading along to my transcript with its handy notes (necessary for understanding Ken's dense and specific philosophical language), I HIGHLY encourage hearing what he has to say about this shit. It is SUPER important information for anyone who wants to learn more about how the evolution of consciousness we're all going through is starting to take shape in the arts. I never found a suitable place to publish it, though. So here it is: