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Saturday, December 1, 2007

What It Was Like at The Belmont

posted by on December 1 at 4:17 AM

There was a room that was wall-to-wall dirt, leaves, and rocks. There was a room with wood pallets (like, for forklifts) on the floor and in stacks and jailing off the closet entrances, and on the walls those wheatpasted animals by NTG you’ve probably seen around town.


There was a closet in another room where you opened the door and spun a wheel and depending on what colored dot you landed on you were given a gin and tonic, a gin and orange soda, or a hardboiled egg. There were hundreds of photos pasted on the hallway walls. There were pages of The Stranger pasted on the hallway walls. There was a red door with “THIS IS NOT A DOOR” written on it.


On the second floor there was a ladder that took you to the roof, so long as you had one of the 66 “show” tickets. Once at the top of the ladder, feeling the cool air of outside, a couple guys hoisted you up and, coming out onto the Belmont’s roof, you realized that you were onstage, and people were sitting in folding chairs watching you. The roof had been transformed into seating and a stage. There were four huge bouquets of white balloons. There were cloaked figures and a couple cardboard-cutout wolves—positioned in a way that mocked and mimicked Joseph Beuys. The roof itself was covered in dirt, with flowers planted here and there. Bright lights cast people’s shadows on the surrounding buildings.

As each new person came out of the hole in the roof, one of the guys, in a vest and parted hair, shouted out, “OH HEAVENS! IT’S A PENGUIN!” Whereupon the person coming out of the hole in the ceiling felt really embarrassed and everyone sitting down laughed or clapped. Then another person would come and the guy in the vest would shout, “A RIVER OTTER!” Or “A PEACOCK!”

As you came out onto the roof they handed you a paper cup full of liquor and the guy in the vest shouted, “And to escape any type of criticisim forthright, you will promptly be plied with booze!” And so you went from being embarrassed and confused to being given a drink—and look! You were outside! On the roof! And all those people down there in the street weren’t! Hahahaha!

“It never ends! It never stops! It goes and goes!” the guy in the vest shouted as one audience member after another came out of the hole onto the roof. “There are blankets! Use them!” the guy in the vest kept telling the crowd. And it was true. There were blankets. The guy next to me said, “Here, Christopher, have some blanket. Some $4.99 Bed Bath & Beyond blanket,” he said, holding up the tag.

Implied Violence did a show. (Who? Start here.) The show starred Ryan Mitchell and Mandie O’Connell and was about a woman who’d drowned her son in a river and was having to tell the story over and over again, Implied Violence-style—in increasingly frantic iterations, with dancing. Then there was some fire extinguisher plumage. There was music by Orkestar Zirconium. There was a point at which the audience was sprayed with live crickets. And then there was a dance party.

And then Orkestar Zirconium descended back into the building and out into the street and there was a dance party in the street, out in front of the Press Condos, and the cops joined. A view of Belmont Avenue from up on the roof:


For a long while the band played while the cops watched—shades of the INB. It looked like the cops were gonna be aggressive, but then they backed down, seemed to back off, and a very loud sustained cheer went up in the crowd. But then a couple more cop cars showed up. You could see them on various side streets. They shined their crazy spotlights back and forth across the The Belmont, with it’s ironic frat-boy tag (“SPRING BREAK”) in big green letters.

Someone inside The Belmont broke a window. Someone out on the street started pounding repeatedly on a Dumpster. Someone threw a potted flower at the cops but none of the cops saw it. Someone on the street was shouting, “Fuck you, police! Fuck you!” but it was just some girl being funny. Nevertheless, she shouted it like they were her dying words. Some guy threw a No Parking sandwich board into the street and shouted, also mock angrily, “Fuck the man!” Some other girl shouted, “Condos! Condos!” and it seemed like maybe she meant it. One of the cops replied in his megaphone with extra amplification: “Hey, don’t blame us.”

Then someone threw a bottle at the cops, and this time the cops saw it, and suddenly, all at once, in formation the cops started marching. Toward the buiding. Or something. It wasn’t clear what they were marching toward. That marching-in-formation thing’s gotta be in a manual somewhere. I think we were all supposed to think, Man, those are some meeeeaaan cops! We better do what they say!, but that isn’t exactly what everyone thought. People laughed. It was a sight. Some girl behind me was taking pictures and saying, “Holy moly. Party of the year. This is gonna force me to blog again.”

Eric Grandy said, “Do you ever think how hard it would be to explain to your parents the art that you like?”

The one Dumpster guy was still pounding on the Dumpster, he’d worked up quite a rhythm, and finally the cops were sick of it. Half a dozen of them came over to stop the guy, and then they stood around the Dumpster, hands clasped in front of themselves, serious expressions on their faces.

“They totally secured that Dumpster,” someone said, laughing. “That Dumpster is totally locked down. No more drumming on it.”

One of the rooms in The Belmont had been full of sandwich boards that had been painted over—sandwich boards that had been advertisements for condos—and all these painted-over sandwich boards had since been set outside. They were beautiful, these sandwich boards. A colorful yard of tombstones. I decided to take one into custody. To take care of it. I carried it all the way home.

UPDATE: Spelling and grammar has been fixed, Snooy. Was kinda inebriated, obviously.

RSS icon Comments


You need an Iphone so you could have posted right from the party. Spend some of your bus money on a phone with edge capabilities. P.S. You need to go back and reread your post, there are a few errors in spelling and grammar.

Posted by Snooy | December 1, 2007 8:40 AM

Completely epic.

Posted by trent moorman | December 1, 2007 4:15 PM

You kids...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | December 1, 2007 4:30 PM

Now THAT's a righteous event. Mad props to everyone involved.

Posted by treacle | December 1, 2007 5:39 PM

Oh Hell,
i miss all the good shit,someone stole my drugs!

Posted by Belltown RichE | December 1, 2007 6:29 PM

don't get me wrong...i'm all for having a good time, but does it have to be such a pointless disruptive irrisponsible specticle committed under the guise of "anti-the man" sentiment? the dilapidated shithole...slash...hotbed for drug dealing and garbage dumping known as "the belmont" should have been torn down years ago. the last thing i thought as i finally drifted off to sleep just a few hours before my alarm would wake me again was "what happened to freeing tibet?"

Posted by capitol cam | December 1, 2007 8:28 PM

my pictures of the art are right here:

Posted by ... | December 1, 2007 8:52 PM

How cliched, unoriginal and boring.

Posted by Nebula38 | December 2, 2007 10:05 PM

The artist and attendees you describe sound a lot more predictable and yawn-inducing than the cops.

The kind of people that feel safe yelling at cops are either extremely sheltered, or can't hold their liquor. Both are boring.

Posted by Dougsf | December 3, 2007 8:58 AM

Uh yeah, so boring, people getting kicked out of their homes, the neighborhood turning into giant eyesore of aluminum siding, so boring, uh, so predictable, all that madness, shit i could've done what took over a month to put together in like five minutes with some crayons, uh.

Posted by Nerd | December 6, 2007 1:45 PM

Wha?? I almost moved into this building last year. I had no idea it would become a totally mind-blowing art-house apocalypse. I just really liked that the landlord was cool and the fridge was in the closet. And it was cheap. Sad. Bye, Belmont.

Posted by Katie | December 6, 2007 11:30 PM

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