The Kind of Conversation You Can Only Be Part of in a Video Art Booth on a Gallery Crawl With Free Wine, Vodka, and Gummi Bears
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND and I, clutching plastic cups of cheap chardonnay, enter small booth to find DARK-HAIRED MAN sitting on velveteen-covered bench, watching 4x2 foot screen. We sit as well.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Oh. That's interesting.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Do you know what's going on?"
DARK-HAIRED MAN: Not really…
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Are those his balls?
DARK-HAIRED MAN: I think so. I've seen a few of his works and he always has those, the dangling giant balls. It's a recurrent motif.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Oh, wait, now that guy in the sailor outfit's not wearing pants either...
ME: Well, he's clearly done his homework. It looks like a lot of old silent films, Murnau, Buster Keaton... (Yeah, I spent $90,000 on film school so that I could sound like I know something)
DARK-HAIRED MAN: Kind of a cross between Chaplin and "Last Tango in Paris."
DARK-HAIRED MAN: I always wonder how people can afford to put all this money into these things.
ME: Really? It looks pretty cheap. I mean, um, on purpose.
DARK-HAIRED MAN: Yeah, but it's an hour long.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Oh, God, really?
WOMAN IN DOROTHY HAMILL HAIRCUT and CONSIDERABLY LESS HIPSTERESQUE DATE peek in, hesitate.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Come on in. Don't be shy, just because the man's not wearing any pants.
They stumble in, somewhat tipsily.
DARK-HAIRED MAN: And like finding these locations, all that space, and the giant oven. I mean, where would you find something like that?
ME: Well, Brooklyn.
DOROTHY HAMILL: But Brooklyn's not cheap any more.
DARK-HAIRED MAN: True. There's nowhere cheap left.
ME: Queens. Jackson Heights isn't bad. (Yes, all conversations in New York City eventually turn to real estate. Or cell phone plans.)
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Washington Heights. That's where I live.
DOROTHY HAMILL: Really? Me too. 175th.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Oh, I'm at 143rd.
Uncomfortable beat of having revealed too much personal info to roomful of complete strangers.
ME (reading): 'The uterus'? Really?
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND (annoyed): Oh, so the oven is the uterus, uh huh, of course. That's why he's sticking his balls in there, so they get burned up. Lovely! Why does the uterus always have to be negative!
DOROTHY HAMILL: I wonder where the vagina is. I wonder if that's the whole nautical thing, you know, since it smells like fish.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: It does not! I teach kids sex ed and the boys are always saying that because they don't want to go down on the girls. It's really just a cop out.
DOROTHY HAMILL: Well, you smell like whatever you eat. I do eat a lot of salmon.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Right, but everybody's vagina is different.
DOROTHY HAMILL: They always say the nicest thing you can do if someone's going to go down on you is drink fruit juice and eat a lot of vegetables.
CONSIDERABLY LESS HIPSTERESQUE: I just know that smell asparagus makes.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND (scornfully): Um, yeah, that's urine? Not the same. They don't come from the same place.
ME: Speaking of urine, is that a bathroom?
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Is it? Oh good, I need to go next.
Film ends. DARK-HAIRED MAN gets up.
DARK-HAIRED MAN: Well, it was wonderful meeting you all, and discussing all…this.
OUTSPOKEN FRIEND: Yeah, have a good crawl.
DARK-HAIRED MAN leaves. I go to bathroom, return. OUTSPOKEN FRIEND goes in. TWO FASHIONABLE GIRLS enter and sit on the bench to watch film, which has started again.
FASHIONABLE GIRL: Wow.
ME: He's the black plague, and that oven is supposed to be the uterus.
FASHIONABLE GIRL: Huh. Did you figure that out or --
ME: Intertitles. But it was toward the end, we came in at the end of the last showing. Apparently it's an hour.
FASHIONABLE GIRL: Wow.
FASHIONABLE GIRL 2: Well...I just came in to use the bathroom.