People are drunk and nobody can decide who's the boss. "Tony Danza?" asks somebody on the sidewalk in front of a three-story industrial building in Belltown. Inside, theater company Implied Violence is throwing a rock-n-roll fundraiser called Respect the Boss. "No! Not Tony Danza," the guy guarding the door shouts. "Angela and Samantha was the boss."
In a hallway on the second floor, two stations of televisions, with four screens each, play episodes of R. Kelly's hiphopera Trapped In the Closet. Past the televisions is a big, empty room with a bar, some bunk beds, and Jherek Bischoff (of the Dead Science) accompanying himself on guitar and drums with a looping machine. Homemade piñatas hang in a corner—one is a brown globe with a picture of R. Kelly, another is a pink globe with a knife sticking out, dribbles of red paint, and a sign: "Honeymoon." Implied Violence member Mandie O'Connell says one of the piñatas contains a prescription for Plan B. When asked why the evening's schedule has so many conflicting events—many bands, a piñata smashing, some performances—she answers: "Pick your boss; respect the boss."
Downstairs, on the first floor, is a room in which you could park several delivery trucks. The band TacocaT play loud, happy songs about PMS and urinary tract infections while inebriates jostle and dance and an angry man in a button-up shirt keeps asking who set off the fire extinguisher on the third floor. People shrug. He, clearly, is not the boss.
Implied Violence began in 2003 as some dancers, musicians, and theater students who hated all the theater they saw. The company has performed difficult plays (4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, Die Wandlung by early German Expressionist Ernst Toller). They smash together newspaper stories, small talk, and advertising clichés with live music, repetitive gestures and language, butoh, boxing, vaudeville, hiphop, and, sometimes, feathers and goo. Implied Violence loves rigor and codes and seems to have infinite admiration for Gertrude Stein and the Wu-Tang Clan.
The party gets chaotic—tomatoes and dahlias are thrown, people make out in dusty hallways, a pack of men and one woman shout out Wu-Tang lyrics. During the "avant comedy" set, two men read entries from the diary of a 13-year-old girl named Tiffany while two other men fight playfully toward the back of the crowd. The pugilists are smiling but serious, smacking each other loudly. Are they performers? Just horsing around? Nobody can decide.