FROM THE STREET (Sinsational Meltdown at Sensory Overload)

A few shots later, I leaned heavily on the railing as I slid down to the third floor, where I stopped to catch my balance. One of the operators of Kina Kouture snagged me and began fitting me with an elegant necklace while another kept handing me purses that were vaguely reminiscent of Marina’s bedazzled fanny-pack.

Down another flight of stairs, the International Academy of Design and Technology was presenting a series of short documentaries, films and animated student works in the Cuban Club’s haunting theater. As I stood outside the theater, a Blue Head Tequila rep gave me a free drink ticket for a margarita, then finally gave me the margarita she was sipping when I told her I wasn’t up for waiting in a long line for another drink. I was a bit wary about mixing liquors and having a kind of sensory meltdown, but I figured it was fine so long as I stuck to liquors from the same region of the globe.

Downstairs, Band Marino utilized everything from a banjo and an electric ukulele to the sexitude of a fierce pair of jorts (jean shorts). The guitarists finished off the set with an entertaining charade of beating the front man with each stroke of their axes.

On the cantina stage, Locos Por Juana switched up the pace with some Latin flair. Although few understood the group’s Spanish lyrics, everyone knew how to move to the spicy, grammy-nominated rhythms.

No one knew what to expect when smoke flooded the outside stage, backed by neon-red lights and the mechanical sounds of a spaceship landing. Confetti blasted from the stage and rained over the anxious crowd as Apes & Androids dove into their first song. Their futuristic songs spanned the galaxy of rock, going back in time to glam rock’s forefathers and blazing ahead into a brave new world of electronic, synthesized, face-painted performance music. In an age where album sales and copyright laws have been corrupted by technology, the artists who will survive these shifts are those able to deliver an overwhelmingly visceral experience that goes beyond anything current technology is able to capture. A&A brought something that appealed to the multiple layers of human senses — like firecracker bursts of confetti.

E-mail Alfie at [email protected]

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I’m not sure how, but I found myself listening to two girls describe how they got kicked out of a strip club for repeatedly making out with each other and trying to climb on stage. I wasn’t used to conversing with classy girls in sun dresses about their first lap dances or how one recently received an expandable stripper pole for her birthday. I thought the only time I’d ever hear talk like this was over the phone for $5 a minute. Far from trashy, these gals were career women who liked to let loose after hours, and they were not alone. Friday night found them at Skipper’s, packed in with other young professionals partying like they were back in college to the grooves of MIGGS and the Chris McCarty Band.


The same feisty crowd showed up the next night at the Cuban Club for CL’s Sensory Overload. Walking in, I joined a stream of people who were lost in a literal labyrinth of multisensory art. Performers from Hat Trick Theatre Productions were set up in one alcove tap dancing, juggling, and doing a bit of magic. An installation by Calavera Comics featured two masked Mexican wrestler cutouts in a scaled-down wrestling ring. One of them stood with a hole between his legs where the other wrestler’s head should have been as partygoers took turns inserting their faces and posing for pictures. Marina Williams handed out 3D glasses, further disorienting patrons before they even made it to the bar. 3D glasses or none, Marina stood out like a piece of living art: patent leather red boots with more zippers than a Michael Jackson jacket, horn-rimmed glasses lined with rhinestones, and a sparkly fanny-pack.

Just outside the maze, on the courtyard stage, Tres Bien set things in motion with the swagger and sound of a headlining act. I wanted to stay for the whole set, but duty called, and I was off to cover the Polished Palate International Rum Festival. The fourth floor was a tangle of bodies stumbling and scrambling between tables lined with mini-shots of top-shelf and midrange rum. The promoters all tried to coax me into smelling and swishing their rum like this was a wine tasting. I wasn’t used to rum that didn’t burn like I was swallowing turpentine, but I still didn’t have the self-control to nurse the tiny shot glasses.

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