The Bridge Motel is just a few steps from the Aurora Bridge, Seattle's most popular suicide jump, and it is seedy—needles in the sheets, crushed crack pipes beneath the beds, a steady stream of twitchy clients, a history of murder. The manager says it's haunted: "There's something in these walls—human drama seems heightened here somehow."
That manager is dk pan, a butoh dancer, performance artist, and impresario who moved into the Bridge Motel last November, when friends bought the property (with plans to tear it down) and offered him the job.
He had one stipulation—that, before it was demolished, he could turn the entire motel over to artists for a night of installation and performance art. After a year of addicts, pimps, and last-stop lodgers, the night has finally come. This Saturday, September 15, the Bridge Motel will become Motel #1, the first site of the tripartite Motel Project. (Motel #2 will be a weeklong artistic residence in one room at the Ambassador Motel in late September; Motel #3 is incipient—Tubs, in the University District, is a rumored location.)
A wake for the doomed motel and its presumably doomed residents, Motel #1 involves dozens of the city's best artists, and it will be great. A truncated tour:
In the kitchen, Davida Ingram will cook for people who have responded to her business cards and internet advertisements: "Black woman willing to make your favorite meal. You share the recipe. I prepare. Come hungry." They buy the ingredients, she cooks, and everybody thinks discomfiting thoughts about servitude and race.
In another room, Implied Violence will perform one of their signature chaotic spectacles. This one involves demolishing a wall, a lot of gold paint, and moving furniture from one room into another.
Artist Jack Daws is a perfect fit for the seediness of the Bridge Motel—his work reaches across to the far side of the law. In the past, he has filled bubblegum machines with prescription drugs, sent counterfeit pennies (made of gold) into circulation, and carved weapons out of wood. His performance at Motel #1 is secret, but it involves tearing off a section of roof and something about campfires being the American West's first form of transient, motel lodging.
There will also be a room-sized camera obscura, tree stumps cast in porcelain, a roomful of salt, a creepy van blasting loud music and stage smoke, butoh walks on the roof, and, in the parking lot, a lounge, with all the motel furniture dragged out onto the pavement.
It will be a wake, an exorcism, and a séance all in one.