“Relax, nothing is under control,” came the words through the loudspeakers, sparking the electricity in the air at last weekend’s Create:Fixate event. British DJ Adam Freeland had just plugged in and lit a jumble of wires and screens and buttons, and as the music began to fill the space beneath the open Downtown Los Angeles sky, things were about to ignite.
The hours before had been a barrage on the senses. The Premiere Events Center, a large warehouse space in the less populous area of downtown, had been filled with art and sculpture and music done by emerging as well as established artists. Curated and produced by Michelle Berc, the theme was “Wisdom Within Us,” and artists were asked to create a piece of art based around their favorite quote for a special collection of new creations.
As Freeland’s song continued, my date and I tried to choke down our heavily-poured vodka drinks in near perfect unison, sensing that there would be some dancing, some expression of energy, some fucking jumping up and down to come soon.
We had walked around the exhibition, carefully noting which of the pieces we liked the most. She liked a multi-paneled work entitled “Jewel-Osco,” which was an installment named after drug stores (or supermarkets), and featured connected string across canvas to nails, in careful geometric precision. I was more attracted to works which resembled Banksy and Ralph Steadman, by Treiops Treyfid and David Phillips, respectively. Some people like replicas of fruit, or peaceful nature scenes, but I’ll take naked cardboard people surrounded by junk mail any time.
“Under Control” gave in to a fever pitch, and the screens high on the wall next to Freeland came to life as we started moving to the beats. Two guys who call themselves “Museum of Traffic,” wearing giant Bono-sized Fly shades and blankets (one of them Superman themed) ran the visuals from a corner booth. They looked as if they’d just come from Burning Man, and their lights flashed and flickered on the walls outside of the warehouse.
Just before Adam came out, we had watched a band called the Love Grenades play an amazing set back inside. What started as background music as we wandered through exhibits and took silly photos on an electronic postcard kiosk became a focal point, and we watched singer Liz Wight dance between the crowd in her ripped tights as she sang.
Adam Freeland is a DJ, but also a rock star. He plays the crowd every bit as much as any lead guitarist, and throws in snippets of his back catalogue to satisfy the trainspotters. It’s no surprise that he’s about to embark on a tour with his band to support his upcoming album, “Cope.”
In a time where it really does seem as if “nothing is under control,” you’d never have known we were in a credit crunch by looking in at Create:Fixate. Perhaps even in desperate times, art continues to thrive.