Pinning someone down in an interview can be a bit like making a discovery in an archeological dig. You can sift and pick and brush for hours, and be lucky to walk away with a shard to show for it. Take, for example, the spelling of Museum of the WeirD director Dolan Smith's name. Or is that Dolen? (It used to be spelled with an a, but that e-mail address was taken on earthlink.) "Spell it how you want," Smith says, noting an affinity for "Dollin." Let us spell it Qwfwq, in honor of the equally nebulous being in Italo Calvino's t zero.
Then there's the educational status of Paul Horn, the brains behind last year's very popular Friendly Mart convenience store art show. Horn is sort of pursuing a graduate art degree at Rice University (an MFA, we think), but at some point he was politely asked not to show up at school anymore and to continue his studies at home. A fellow student once mistakenly thought Horn was threatening to cut off his fingers, but Horn denies that had anything to do with it. Let us call him postgraduate.
Qwfwq and postgraduate Horn will be renting out the 18th floor of a Holiday Inn Select for an even more difficult-to-pin-down "double feature." Qwfwq's show, "Clown Town," encourages attendees to dress up as clowns or strippers as they peruse various works of clown-inspired art. Qwfwq explains: "Strippers and clowns are the bottom rung of society. We hate them, yet are fascinated by them." They also happen to be, in Qwfwq's opinion, the two careers sought by people, like himself, who were abused as children. He's fascinated by the fact that although clowns are supposed to be funny, they're actually quite frightening.
For the postgraduate's part, he will put on "Million Dollar Hotel." Horn sees the project as an art-exhibit version of the movie Cannonball Run, where the who's whos get together and make a show all in the name of fun. Only this time, instead of Burt Reynolds's friends, the celebs will be prominent local artists like the Art Guys.
In practice, differentiating between the shows will be futile. Art from both will spill into the hotel rooms; some artists have rented rooms exclusively for their own work. Jell-O Leg Wrestling, Beat the Mime, Mindy Kober's Magic Box and a host of clown drinking games are just some of the events on the agenda to keep people entertained.
One marvels at how Qwfwq and the postgraduate got Eckerd Drugs to sponsor such a party. The trick, according to Horn, is not to explain everything. All the suits really need is a formal letter making it sound like a worthy cause so they can write it off their taxes.
"We'd like to encourage people to engage in risky behavior," Horn says of their lofty aspirations. If someone gets a little schnockered, at least they'll have a place to crash.