When you are invited to something called the "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" you're bound to have some pretty awesome expectations. When you are a part of something called the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, your willpower exhausts in an effort to contain tidal waves of excitement/ a desire to convince every single person you come into contact with to come celebrate New Years Eve with you, Warhol style. Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory style that is.
Alright, let’s back up a moment before handing you some speed, a screen for printing and a black turtle neck. While at Bicycle Kitchen (check out my B.K. entry if you think this involves soup, the homeless, delivering soup by bike, the homeless riding bikes or a delicate combination of all of the above), a friend and Master Cook (I, still an eager apprentice), Mabell, was talking about her New Years plans, which sounded like a pretty fun deal (house party, cool bike kids) and she happily extended the invitation to myself and anyone else in the near vicinity (mabell is a badass with the kindest and generous of spirits)! But it wasn't until the ride home I recognized the epic-ness of the event to take place on Dec. 31, 2009. Mabell described the vision of the party which involved a Velvet Underground cover band to complete the whole event and they were still in need of musicians. I couldn’t help but note that I could play a number of instruments albeit none of them spectacularly and suddenly we were discussing rehearsal times. This was legit...a "we're entering a new decade, party-spectacular" I could only dream of being a part of!
The party was formulated in the minds of Mabell and her wife Xochitl and would take place at their lovely home, which would be transformed into the Factory (more on this later). The “Velvet Underground” would play 5 songs as the culmination of the evening at the Factory. The other members included Eric Potter, another bike kitchen aficionado and pro musician on guitar, Coral, also a Kitchen cook on drums, Ben Ling, owner of Pure Luck, one of my favorite vegan restaurants on bass, and a whole slew of amazing singers (including Xochitl!), each featuring on a different song and lest i forget two other bikies on violin and cello for a song. First rehearsal was fantastic. Showed up giddy like my first day at Disneyland. I provided keyboard, guitar and amp, and I guess because I wandered in with the keyboard I was invited to play it for the first song we rehearsed. Oh lordy... I didn’t even really listen to the keyboard parts and well…my piano skills went out with my pigtails. Luckily Velvet Underground tunes are relatively simple and very repetitive, so figuring out one or two chords suits an entire song if not multiple songs. Whew. The rehearsal space was perfect…unknowingly stationed behind some restaurant in a tiny room where we could all bounce the rhythms, tones and sound vibrations off one another. It sounded awesome and I really felt transported. The rehearsal ended up being one giant jam session, power chords and noise provided by myself, more talented endeavors by the others. Good times!
Let’s get to the party already: Mabell and Xochitl had their house decked-out upon arrival for our second rehearsal (on new years eve day of course) and I knew it was going to be the best New Years ever when the transformation of their house included their house wallpapered with tin-foil (yes...read that again...wallpapered with tin-foil!), an abundance of Warhol art all around, blacklights warming in the corners, DVDs of Warhol’s Screen Tests on the TV and Mabell off busy with her mylar balloon making set she bought online (heat knife included) to recreate Warhol’s Silver Cloud installation. Hardcore. Did I mention they even had a screen made in hopes that there might be some screen-printing action? Xochitl even had FauxBan sunglasses ready for all the band members (see pic). The bicycle kitchen kids (not really kids of course) are the coolest.
After the rehearsal, where we recognized the importance of a monitor, we split our own ways only to return to the house, possibly even more Warholized (Tomato soup anyone?), and ready for a party! People came piling in...and then more people showed up...and then a few more streams of Factory clad hipsters packed into the crowd and we were ready for a show! One dude seriously looked like Andy Warhol...totally went for it...fantastic. I was excited as flints of nervousness passed by. We played on the back porch and the whole backyard was filled with people...the whole set was amazing...it felt incredible to be up there playing those tunes in such a perfect atmosphere...and one song even featured a dominatrix and slave being whipped...what would a Velvet show be without some performance art?!
The whole evening was a whirlwind of New Years and Factory-style vibrations; mystery home-brew, mystery alcohol, smoke in the air, some random dude who no one could recognize with a goat-skeleton puppet (yup...real), dancing until 7, 8, 9 in the morning....it goes on. Best New Years ever. Mabell has since told me that people are still talking about that party and even inquiring about the "band"! It's a night that could never be repeated, i'll never forget it, and damn do i feel thoroughly privileged to have been a part of making it happen. Explode!