Social Mixer

Attend enough art events in Houston, and the faces start to look familiar. You'll spot the same theatergoers fanning themselves with programs at performances all over town, the same art patrons carrying glasses of champagne through all the gallery openings. LiveFeed 02 is here to stir up these social cliques a bit.

If forced to describe it in five words or fewer, we'd have to call it a fashion show. Certainly, the unique designs of Darshan Amrit are central to the event. (In the past, he's made a garment bag that cinches into an evening dress and a T-shirt that converts into a backpack.) Instead of using fashion models, Amrit will invite attendees to rummage through a pile of his clothes and try them on for the evening. Makeup artists and stylists also will be on hand to provide makeovers. The art group 12 Inch Couture is putting together a tiny Barbie doll fashion show to shadow the life-size event.

While all this is going on, images made by experimental filmmakers will be back-projected onto a giant vinyl sheet stretched over the docking bay at Commerce Street Artists Warehouse. These images will be interspersed with live footage of the amateur fashion show and manipulated by a VJ, who mixes the images on the screen and adds effects in much the same way a disc jockey mixes music.

"It's film not just for film's sake," says Microcinema's Patrick Kwiatkowski, who's providing the films for LiveFeed and also hosts screenings for a series called "Independent Exposure" at Fire Station No. 3. It's just one facet of the whole event, which, like live performance, can't be duplicated.

Rounding out the affair is the band. The screen doubles as the backdrop for the Indonesian orchestra Space City Gamelan Group, which performs with percussion instruments such as hanging gongs, metallophones and chimes. There will be two sound DJs as well.

Kwiatkowski says the party allows for a "hierarchy of engagement." For example, you can just listen to music in the background, while film requires a little more focus, because you have to look at it. Performance art, on the other hand, demands your full attention. During this event, people can engage on whatever level they want.

At last year's LiveFeed and a similar event this summer called faites de la lumière, some people chose to gather in the courtyard and socialize, while others set up chairs and just watched the movies. A few people crashed the event when they spotted the warehouse's flickering lights from the freeway.

Even better, a lot of business cards changed hands between folks who might not normally have been at the same party. Musicians talked to filmmakers about perhaps doing sound tracks, and artists struck up friendships with people who typically confine their activities to concerts.

If nothing else, LiveFeed is simply a place to hang out. "You can just sit in a corner and drink beer all night," Kwiatkowski says, which is what he plans to do, if everything goes off without a hitch.

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Dylan Otto Krider