Wrecking Ball Report, Part 1

In Arts News got wrecked at the Wrecking Ball on Friday, July 27, thanks in part to a weird Key-lime liqueur doled out by Visual Arts Director Meg Shiffler, who carried tiny little airline-sized bottles of booze in her utility belt.

The theme of this farewell party to ConWorks' old Terry Avenue space was, of course, destruction--hence the utility belt, and Executive Director Matthew Richter's hardhat and full-body work suit. And hence, as well, the constant sound of shattering glass; for a cathartic five dollars, you could spray-paint the name of your ex on a big windowpane and then hurl a bowling ball at it. The party's guests reveled in inappropriate gallery behavior: splattering paint on the walls and climbing on Patrick Holderfield's big human-organ-like sculpture (which the artist has specified will go down with the building). That all this transgression was sanctioned didn't dim its pleasure one whit.

The lovely and creative ladies from Vain gave out makeovers consisting of fake pink and green hair, glittery makeup, and yards and yards of tulle wound into creative haute couture. One poor man was transformed into a lobster. In Arts News was given cotton-candy hair extensions and a pageant-style sash reading, "Miss Lead," which we lost at some point around 4:00 a.m., before we had to be dragged home so those exultant ConWorks folks could get some sleep already. EMILY HALL

Wrecking Ball Report, Part 2

As the Wrecking Ball swung to a drunken close, the commemoration of a notable ConWorks last was one-upped by a surprising first for Matt Richter: forcible ejection. 'Round about 4:00 a.m., the kegs tapped, the wine bottles dry, a few stragglers lingered among the colossal debris for a nominal "after party" (translation: sobering-up session). But as Richter and five or six others basked in the party's afterglow in an enclosed corridor behind the main theater space, their buzzes were effectively throttled by a cloud of fire-extinguisher exhaust, which kept coming despite their anguished and angered pleas. Richter charged blindly into the oncoming cloud, grabbing the wasted culprit and his companion (both wasted enough to think their exploits hilarious), and proceeding to drag them physically through the vast expanse of the building, despite a vigorous struggle. Richter, in a fury, then delivered a very authentic bum's rush--throwing the aggressors first into, then out the door. But the drama was far from over. Back in the theater, as Richter checked to make sure no interlopers remained, he heard a small voice gasping for air. A woman who had been in the corridor when the extinguisher attack occurred was down on her hands and knees, suffering a major asthma attack, brought on, understandably, by the chemicals now in her lungs. She managed to wheeze that her inhaler was in her purse, which was in the cinema, and Richter bolted, calling out for an emergency search. After a very tense, brief interval, the inhaler was located, delivered, and deployed, and the asthmatic woman regained her feet. The crisis averted, Richter retired to the sidewalk for air, where he saw the fire-extinguisher snipers sitting in a car. Re-inflamed by rage, he promptly approached the car and excoriated them for basically ruining a triumphant night and threatening the life of an innocent partygoer. His rant was so righteous and damning that all the culprits could do was drive away into the rising sun. I was standing right there. It was killer. SEAN NELSON


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