Like every experience that marks us for a lifetime, I found myself turned inside out, drawn and quartered. On Friday, March 27, I attended Art Party with the pre-conceived idea that I would feel out of place, these were not my people and that wasn’t my crowd, I felt completely out of my element. My ideas changed as soon as the host, Jessie Ray, got things started and I knew I was going to have my mind blown away by a surge of creative energy and expression.
Create or Die, located on a dead end road in Marrickville, opened its doors and provided Art Party with a home. A space that was completely filled with the bodies of those who have an appreciation for upcoming and established artists. Bean bags, chairs, half lounges, all the floor space was taken up, 400 people were expected to turn up for the night.
‘For those attending for the first time, Art Party is a genre-free performance evening, with extremely talented emerging and established artists who are looking to connect with fellow-hearted artists,’ Jessie Ray said.
In one corner, Tashi Honnery, described as a face painting fiend, was responsible for transforming the faces of the audience in cult followers of Kallidad, a three piece fiesta party band.
Having arrived early, I had pick of the best seat in the house, with a direct line of vision of the stage. I was surprised by the number of people that filled the space and I was also surprised by the level of respectability the audience showed the performers, even after the booze started to flow generously.
Emma Rose Smith is a spoken word poet and the first performer of the night. She read a few of her poems that were punky, provocative, descriptive and powerful. There was lyrical flow to her poems, Perfume, Always a fight on the Maitland line, Mark of an amphetamine girl are a few of the poems she read out.
She was very apologetic and did not have any intentions of offending the audience with her words. But she was far from that, her quirkiness, warmth and her words were relatable and had the audience laughing out loud.
Jessie Ray then introduced the next performer, ‘The chick with pink hair,’ Rainee Lyleson, a folk singer and songwriter. She captivated the attention of the audience and mine, her lyrics and her voice drew me in and I could not look away. I had my mind blown for the first time that night.
Inspired by relationships and nature, known to walk down the street and pick flowers and smelling them, she performed four original songs that night, Raven, I get caught up, I think I love you, star born lover. She had people up and dancing and she also challenged our perception of her and others around us. She believes collaboration is key.
‘Collaboration opens up to new ways of being with one another, giving and receiving what you have learnt, in order to expand creating a more connected sense of creativity in the world,’ Rainee said.
Jessie Ray then imparted some Art Party tradition by getting the audience to partake in Rocking Om Hug. The audience were required to hug a complete stranger by placing your head on their right shoulder, heart to heart, rocking gently as you hum.
‘We are all made up of vibrations,’ she says. ‘And the way you view each other is only an image of our vibrations. It is resonate and it resonates,’ Jessie said.
Feeling the breathing, the vibrations and the heartbeat of a complete stranger as you hug is very transcending, as you melt into the contours of each other’s bodies, safe and protected.
Then the lover of all things bacon, Onur ‘Angry Turk’ Ka, takes the stage. Onur Ka is many things and one of these things is an absurdist poet. He opened his performance by talking about the importance for support within the creative community is and support for local artists.
A great orator and storyteller, with an almost Captain Jack Sparrow like mannerisms, her read out a few of his original poems, that had the audience laughing. He collaborated with Avin, a singer and songwriter, on a song called Savageland.
Jessie Ray brought the evening down to a socially mindful level. Many people are drawn to the environment of Art Party because they might be suicidal or suffer from depression and this space provides them the support from the creative community and night to feel good by creating art.
Art Party is going to be teaming up with beyond blue and other mental health organisations to provide artists with the help that they need. The audience was introduced to The Equal Project, the audience were encouraged to show their support.
A Canadian Celtic Blue Grass group, The Bombadils were the next performers, armed with a harmonica and a banjo, they started off with a fiddle tune to hit things off. They came out nowhere and absolutely slayed the audience, getting them up and dancing and it was here that I had my mind blown for the second time.
The bombadils were a breath of fresh air, mesmerising, we all felt the need to remove our shoes and go dancing in the forest, an infectious tune that was felt by many. Inspired by,
‘Personal experience, stories of growing up and travelling and definitely other artists but I guess that is always changing, and I am also inspired by my band mates, as well as an evening like tonight is also very inspiring,’ Sarah of the Bombadils said.
After a 15 minute intermission, the audience was asked to step outside to enjoy a fire show. We all stood around Bella Fuego, which translates into ‘Beautiful Fire’, performs with her beloved Dragon staff. A sorceress who captivated our imagination form the very beginning.
Sexy, enchanting, mesmerizing as she manipulated and controlled the fire along her body. A temptress who has mastered the language of fire but also knows to be respectful and be weary. Daring the audience to take a step closer at our own risk, casting a spell on us, keeping us in place where all we could do is just stare and be hypnotized.
‘Fire is such a live thing to work with, it doesn’t matter how many times I work with its always so unpredictable but always so familiar as well, it’s like home for me now, there’s nothing that captivates the human eye, quite like fire, a light that’s hot and warm, it draws people in and it captivates people,’ Bella Fuego said.
Back inside, Magician Shade Flamewater dazzled the audience with his performance. He starts off by setting his hands alight and makes candle sticks materialize out of thin air. This is a man who is very good at what he does and he does it well and true performer.
My mind was blown for the third time when Shade made a dove fly out of a picture. He really put on a show, with many oohs and aah from the audience, he was a delight to watch.
The final performance of the night was Kallidad, a Sydney Mexican Heavy Metal band. Sometimes there are things that subconsciously beckon an individual to dance, Kallidad was one of those moments.
They played a short set of downbeats but groovy tunes and are the most humble of performers who know how to work an audience into an energetic frenzy. They had the audience boogieing as soon as they started to play.
A purely instrumental band that had the ability to get people dancing is an amazing feat and to see that in person was truly remarkable. Kallidad tries not to let the world get to them.
‘Don’t watch TV, don’t hang out with negative people, think for yourself, read a lot, don’t watch too many movies, and try to imagine the band that you want to be in and the band that you want to watch. So many bands bore me to tears so we try to be a band that’s not boring,’ Kallidad said.
Art Party was a blast, at the end of the night, the audience hung around, some laid on the road and stared up into the sky, trying to locate Venus.
It was a night of amazing performances, a great host and an amazing audience with a great venue, Create or Die. This is open to people from all works of life, don’t let your perceptions and fear stop you from attending. The next Art Party is on April, 24th.
Photography by Tara O’Hehir
The Studio – Deb and Storm
Sound Engineering – Aviel Peru