Just beyond the entrance to the museum, founder and creative director of Freak City LA Justin Time constructed a surreal shopping experience featuring a graffiti-d phone booth and a white du-ragged mannequin waiting at a bus stop. The mannequin was not to be the only white man in a du-rag at the evening's festivities.
The first performance artist of the night was Nao Bustamante bringing her piece "Deathbed," which originally premiered in 2010, into the cubicle Space 2. Walking into the space all that was visible was a lonely cellist playing morose descending lines, but as the spectators crossed behind a square black backdrop, Bustamante came into view, strapped with satin to a wooden slant board, with a golden dress and a deep red plush pillow at her feet. A video camera pointed down directly at her face, and the captured image was projected onto the massive screen in Space 4. Uttering defeated truths like “some memories didn’t happen” and seemingly choking herself with the faint and strained nature of her controlled breath, Bustamante worked herself into an emotional state witnessed rarely in the realm of performance art.
Outside, Juliana Huxtable stood guard at the DJ booth, pulling rhythms from vogue and house culture as she herself posed between the motions of mixing, as if to make an art piece of her own body.
James Fauntleroy, whom I had passed in the Freak City LA shop when he was still wearing a plain white t-shirt before the ceremonial donning of his “sensei” robe, gave the musical performance of the night along with his instrumental confidantes Thundercat, Terrace Martin, and several other other-worldly players. As is to be expected, Fauntleroy did something unexpected and improvised a score to a Felix The Cat movie made in the 1960s. Though incomparable to the energy in the mosh-pit that punk rock rappers Ho99o9 induced the night before, the seamlessly integrated grooves laid down by these musicians created a synchronous flow of movement throughout those in attendance.