As my date and I make our way through Commerce Street Artists Warehouse, we follow the laughter and horrid Christmas music to one of the main galleries, which has been brilliantly converted into an office for the I Love You Baby Office Christmas Party. Garish tinsel and holiday streamers run along the walls, around the Christmas tree and onto three cubicles, which are decorated to the exact specs of your typical Office Space holiday environment. My favorite bears little sticky-pad notes-to-self that you'd picture at a place like Enron (or, say, a certain local alt-weekly): "Kill Self/Others" starts off one list, followed by "buy detergent, pick up dry cleaning, ammo, drugs." It's also adorned with holiday cards, a picture of a dog and managerial flowcharts -- plus a chart tracking the FBI's procedures during a hostage situation. The keyboard has been reconfigured to say "FUCK THIS," and "My husband is under the driveway" is scribbled on the monitor's screen. Of course, all this is accented by teddy bears, little Santas, candy canes and office supplies.
The party's a blast. Revelers line up for the water cooler, which is filled to the brim with gin -- Bombay Sapphire, at that. Meanwhile, the guys from I Love You Baby, dressed in festive -- if goofy -- office attire, mingle with their "co-workers." Rodney, wearing a black suit and an oilman's Stetson, harasses some of the female revelers. But he's not as bad as Will, who's pulling everyone, male and female, under the mistletoe and kissing them. Much of the crowd has shown up in faux office attire (one young lady is wearing a cute little black dress covered in Post-Its). A cute, tall redhead clearly dressed as the hot office secretary is spending a lot of time at the Xerox machine, where people are photocopying their body parts and then hanging the copies on the walls -- or themselves.
The crowd is a who's who of the local art scene. I spot the Art Guys' Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing (Massing's son makes some brilliant photocopies), gallery owner Deborah Colton, Not su oH's Jim Pirtle and even Stephen Torton (who hung out with Basquiat). In a truly meta moment, a few of my co-workers show up, and we start gossiping about our office. We're interrupted by ILYB's Paul Kremer, who gives us a big hug -- in order to wipe off the gallon of Lagerfeld cologne he's dumped on himself.
As we leave, the redheaded secretary is posing seductively with her friend on a scooter that's magically shown up, and a food fight is breaking out in the lobby. Outside, the chill of the evening greets us -- and breaks up the Lagerfeld cloud that's now on us. I decide to touch up my résumé when I get home, just in case I Love You Baby needs an intern. -- Steven Devadanam