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Firehouse No. 13 shakes up summer slump

The Everything Parties
By ABIGAIL CROCKER  |  August 26, 2009

everything main
TOO MUCH? NAH An Everything reveler.

To wake the city from its summer slumber, Firehouse No. 13 has been programming, well, everything.

Each Sunday this month, the Central Street gallery space/performance venue/artist-in-residence program hosts an "Everything Party," an over-the-top affair combining live music and multimedia exhibits.

The first was a freak circus-themed spectacle called "Massacre Under the Bigtop." Then there was a '60s pop-art gathering, "The Lee Harvey Oswald Post? Modern Make-out Party." And last Sunday, a black-lit electronic bash titled "Oppress Yourself."

"It's almost insultingly too much," said Anna Shay, director of Firehouse No. 13.

The most recent event may have been the most jarring to date.

Providence based band the [Viennagram:] played as their alter ego Czech iz Your Master, a more zombified version of themselves, alongside bands Eat Cloud, Wires!Wires! and LLove. Free admission was granted for those who brought a full-size Christmas tree.

Band members milled about before performing, dressed as ghouls, pirate zombies, and mad scientists. One was heard before seen, dragging chains hanging off his burlap costume. A computer program which acted as the emcee spouted off monotone announcements to the audience and art inspired by '80s video games hung on the walls. Caution tape was strewn across the walls, in keeping with the oppression theme, said organizers.

"We wanted people to say, 'See there is cool shit in Providence,' " said Shay. "And not just around Halloween."

During intermissions, one band member wearing a witch nose marked audience members' faces with black-light paint crayons — then smeared the goopy liquid with his hand, getting paint in nostrils, hair, and ears.

LLove, an electronic dance band, played an underutilized piece of musical equipment: the theremin. During their set, someone took a model animal head which was perched on a platform, put it on, and started dancing.

As Czech iz Your Master played, a drummer in a Santa suit pounded on an electronic drum set but also used a side snare. The lead singer rushed out into the audience to writhe on the floor, then retreated to the performance space, taking down a bit of the mise-en-scene in the process.

"There's goes the hammock," said someone in the audience as the interlaced rope installation came crashing down on the stage, lead singer entangled.

After the set concluded, the singer went around and passed out carbonated beverages without saying a word and then left.

Also called "Sundae Fundae" by some (after the ice cream served at the events), the party has been a coup for the studio space, according to Keri King, co-director of the series. Firehouse plans to continue the event next year.

But there's one last party set for this Sunday; the pinnacle of the series, said King, as the party's theme is "Everything Iz Everything."

The Boston Typewriter Orchestra, a group that uses the writing equipment to create beats will play, and the space is planning a most obscure costume contest.

"It will be a cornucopia of pop culture," said King. 

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