Friday, August 5, 2011

Adventures in Hedonism – Lucent Dossier Experience

Lucent Dossier at the Palace - Photo by Luiz  Tuazon
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending Lucent Dossier’s reopening of the Palace Theatre in downtown LA.  When the show was announced, I knew I had to go. I’ve been following this troop of artists ever since I stumbled upon a performance of theirs at Coachella in 2004. When I saw them there again in 2005 they became my must see act – and the secret compelling reason to bring me back to Coachella every year. I had fallen in love, and so I warn you right now, this will not be a review of the night’s entertainments, but rather a love letter.

To simply see Lucent Dossier perform is to miss the point. To be sure their shows are exceptional, but you would be missing out on what truly is a total “experience.” In the past, I’ve climbed into a non-descript van on a rainy night to be taken to their temple, I’ve danced with them, tasted potions, posed for pictures, had my fortune told – I’ve even had my feet washed in rose water. Is it any wonder I stand so seduced? Or that I could not expect the most hedonistic of experiences?

I assure you, I was not disappointed. We arrived a bit later than I hoped – knowing there’s plenty show going on before the official 8:30 showtime. However, It appeared many others did the same, some ninety percent of the theater’s 1,000 person capacity seemed to be lining the block like a 1977 showing of Star Wars. We had a moment of despair as we hiked down the block to the end of the line, but once there it was clear Lucent was already bringing the show the street, entertaining us with a stilt walker, operatic announcements, and a whip wielding dominatrix to keep us all in line.

And this is the magic of Lucent Dossier, they cannot be confined to theater or stage. Lucent's performers also possess multiple creative talents, dancer, clown, soothsayer, masseuse, chanteuse, aerialist, photographer, painter, sculptor, poet - I don't know any of them limited to one single talent, they all shine in so many ways.

And so as I got to the theater, I treated myself to a Lucent cocktail, “Death in the Afternoon,” an old Hemingway favorite being a sort of Absinthe based champagne cocktail. It was a perfect accompaniment to the night and caused me to contemplate some other possible Champagne cocktail variations that I’d like to try out as I further refine my mixology inspired hedonism - stay tuned.

We settled in upstairs to see Very TALL Paul complete his act, and the two acts of Lucent Dossier’s main event, Act 1 - Showacide - Island of Lost Toys and Act 2 - Android Lover - Invasion of Love. We were in the balcony this time around, quite a change for us, as we usually position ourselves up front to elbow it out with the photographers (sorry about that Curious Josh, et al.). I missed the ability to give our favorite dancers a wink and a smile, but this time I got to be eye to eye with the aerialists.

The show itself? Fun, sexy, beautiful - the pyro elements had me at the edge of my seat – fire in a hundred year old theater? It seems no one so much as lights a cigarette on stage anymore – but words are useless to describe the experience, a long string of superlatives desperately trying to capture the right kind of awe, wonder, and desire. Instead follow the links below to see a few sites that captured better images of the evening. Of course, I must also administer the disclaimer that the images satisfy but one of the senses tantalized this evening.

As the formal “show” wound down, the “experience” was already in full swing. After thanking both audience and performer and before leaving the stage Dream Rockwell, Lucent’s fearless leader, dancer, choreographer, chanteuse... brought on DJ, Imagika, who immediately started spinning and set the dance party going. Our hips swayed their way through the tribal cumbia on our way to say our hellos and thank Ringmaster Roger, one of our favorites in the Lucent family – dancer, choreographer, photographer – did I mention that everyone in Lucent Dossier sports a multitude of talents?

DJ Imagika

My next destination for the evening was a visit to the Oracle (also dancer, chanteuse, artist...). Mind you, I’m a skeptic, but a skeptic that loves to pull out a deck of Tarot cards and give readings of my own. I have my own ideas on perception, and find that we say so much with our bodies, non-verbally, that often someone with the right kinesthetic sensibilities can easily come across as psychic. I think this is partly why I love to see dance so much, the primal wordless communication often reveals to me an almost omniscient wisdom. And again, as a hedonist having already satisfied the five usual senses, how could I pass up a visit to the Oracle and have a taste of the 6th?

The Oracle had me pull three stones, representing:
1) My present state – Transformation
2) My “call to action” – Lucent
3) My future state – Surrender
My Reading

The first is an easy read. The second was a call for me to let myself “shine” and be a star. The third was the most interesting to me. Surrender, but not in the sense of giving up and being defeated – rather in the sense of ceasing my own internal resistance and letting myself go. That’s a bit of a paradigm shift for me and a welcome bit of contemplation as I continue on my exploration of how I can live a happier, more fulfilling life as an enlightened hedonist.

Thank you Lucent Oracle.

The Oracle - Photo by Eleonora Barna 
While we didn’t stay till the 3AM close, we did spend some time in the basement Listening Lounge.  I sipped another Absinthe cocktail while Very Tall Paul pumped out one-man renditions of Spooky, Moonlight, and Billy Jean, as other lucent performers stopped by to dance and play.

Hanging out at the Listening Lounge

We had one last visit to make, our friend Risa who we met at a Lucent workshop a couple years ago, herself an aspiring performer, dancer, choreographer, and aerialist. In addition to those talents, she’s also quite the baker / connectionist and had offered us some vegan snickerdoodles, after all the other pleasures already encountered that evening, they were the perfect pallet pleasing dessert to conclude our hedonist adventure – exhausted, satisfied, and inspired.

Of course, my wife, Lisa also picked up some Harlot Hand Soaps, on her way out,which she has left in my car. Now every morning as I go to work, or drive off on another errand, I'm greeted by these hand-crafted scents and the pleasures of the evening continue to flood my memories. That, is hedonism at it's best.


Your Happy Hedonist - Photo by Eleonora Barna

Some important links for further study:
Lucent Dossier Experience Website
Lucent Dossier Experience Facebook Page - go ahead and "like" it

Review & Pictures on China Shop
Review & Pictures on Huffington Post
Review & Pictures on LA Music Blog

Awesome pictures of the event and after party by Lucent performer, photographer, Eleonora Barna
More awesome pictures from Phil Holland

Zbook - Very cool collaborative art project connected with Lucent's Oracle, Ceci Castelblanco

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to experiencing more Lucent with you :)