Peculiar, plastic things from strangers have recently become a motif in my life. The first was a Jesus-head Pez dispenser (yeah, I didn't know they made 'em, either), mailed with no return address, phone number or accompanying explanation other than a crayoned note that read, "Sinners Re-Pez."
Next up, Big Nick of Big Nick and the Gila Monsters sported me a rather frightening synthetic version of his blues outfit's mascot to promote the band's debut CD, Out From Under the Rock (monstertone). The disc is a fairly tasty blend of vintage Chicago- and Louisiana-style blues, but that damned plastic lizard is just gonna have to go. It's bright orange and black, first of all, and its teeth are bared. I mean, this thing would send the average house cat running for cover.
The cake-taker, however, has to be a tiein to that mysterious "Look, Listen" disembodied-ear advertising campaign that hit Phoenix earlier this month. Here's the scene: I'm sorting through a crate ofmail one Tuesday morning and pull outa small, square box. I cut through thetape and open it up. There's nothing to see but packing material. I start sifting through, feel something rubbery and pull it out. It's a human ear. I scream. What thehell is this, Blue Velvet? The Life and Times of Vincent van Gogh? No, just some ad dork's sick idea of how to pique my interest.
The horror. The horror.
I need a stress hammer after that one. I need a party. And I think I have just the one.
They're calling it Dizzyland. It's the grand-opening gala for 8th Day, a new "nonprofit center for the subcultural arts" located downtown at 806 West Madison--right next to the underground nightclub Chupa.
Dizzyland is set up to be a combination rave/art opening featuring the work of four local visual artists (Marcus Kelly, Eric Soroker, Jay Fotos and Rudolph), and a lineup of rave deejays that reads like a partial who's who on the wheels of steel where the Valley underground is concerned.
Taking turns at the tables will be: the Sketchinician (a specialist in Goa Trance, a subgenre of techno coming out of the scene in Goa, India); Chupa co-founder Eddie Amador; the egomaniacal, but undeniably talented, Emile (last seen sporting Josta wear and proclaiming, "It's tough to come down to Earth when you're treated like a god" in the water line at Icee, a rave held February 10); Markus Schulz (head deejay, The Works); Inertia (who spins out of town more than he does in, these days); and R.C. Lair (whose disc Incredible Exploding Sonic Circus lands nowhere short of a psychedelic symphony. Place to buy it--along with techno in all shapes and sizes: Swell Records and Clothing, 2515 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale).
The day for Dizzyland is Saturday, the time is 10 p.m. to dawn. Cost is $15 at the door. Info number: 8585041.
Before it became 8th Day, the industrial catacombs at 806 West Madison were used as a labor-hall organization that found odd-job gigs for the homeless. The building was built shortly after the turn of the century, says 8th Day co-founder Tommy Hough, and was originally the Joseph Smith Cotton Gin.
The labor hall was one year into a three-year lease when Hough called the organization "just to see if they wanted anyone to take over their lease." It just so happened it did and, last month, Hough assumed the "roughly $1,000 a month" payments on the 10,000-square-foot complex.
Here's the walk-through: Just inside the front entrance to 8th Day is a 2,000-square-foot room that Hough says will serve as the center's primary visual-arts gallery. Starting Monday, that gallery will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hough says group exhibits will rotate monthly, and each changing of the guard will be marked with a rave/opening similar to Dizzyland. The raves, he says, should cover the lease and maintenance costs. "We hope to have the center pay for itself via the fund raisers," Hough says. "But the entertainment is not the focus here so much as the art."
Nonetheless, the raves should be Eticket rides. Separated from the art gallery by a series of hallways, 8th Day's "entertainment room" is a 4,000-square-foot concrete-and-metal cavern that is, in a word, ideal. Painted matte black, the space looks straight out of Blade Runner.
Hough says startup costs for 8th Day exceeded six grand, two and a half of which were spent on a used Cerwin Vega sound system, including a mixing board, amps and eight 500-watt speakers.
The rest of the funds went toward first and last month's rent and the first stage of restoration--specifically, chess-board tiling in the gallery and a lot of black paint. Hough and helpers have knocked out the ceiling tiles in the gallery area and adjacent hallways and painted the exposed ceiling black to create a false sense of depth.
"When we came in here, it was disgusting," he says. "It had been a crash pad for the homeless. There was trash everywhere, and some of the rooms hadn't been gone into for years."
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Aside from the gallery and rave space, 8th Day has at least 3,000 square feet of office space Hough plans to open up to visual artists and musicians as work/rehearsal space. "Eventually, we want to have an event here every week," he says, "whether it be an art opening, a poetry reading, a dance performance or a live concert.
"The unifying theme is that the artists who create and perform here will be totally free from censorship, and generally their work will address themes and social issues that run far from mainstream culture."
The EP release party for local metal heroes Zig Zag Black's new set, Dose, is scheduled for Saturday at Hollywood Alley in Mesa (7:30 p.m.; $5 cover also gets you aDose). It Crawled From Tucson, a monthly showcase of bands from (duh) Tucson, revs up Wednesday at Nita's Hideaway inTempe. Lineup for the launch includes the Drakes, 35 Summers, and Dog and Pony Show. I'm outta here. Vaya con Pez Jesus.--David Holthouse