Quarter-Life Crisis?! Really? Is the Power Plant
art gallery going through it? Is the building losing the tar off its roof? Are there bald spots? Are its bricks cracking from years of staying out in the sun? Has it suffered through failed relationship after failed relationship with visiting artists and curators who just used it to better their careers? Perhaps it just needs a paint touchup? Or flashy, faster cherry-red projection screens? Perhaps it will now showcase only artists much younger than its 25 years in a bid to keep current and hip? The solutions are typical. But as one of Toronto’s preeminent modern art galleries, I think it’s all in its head. The Power Plant is doing great, and after a night spent at its annual Power Ball
gala, it’s looking younger than ever. Age ain’t nothing but a number.
We enter Power Ball to the cracking sounds of an outdoor spit fire roasting a huge bison, shipped down from the Yukon, as requested by chef extraordinaire Mark Thuet
. He’s busy preparing bison burgers as his assistants keep the fire going with huge shovels and cut layers and layers of moist, caramelized meat off the now almost bare bones spinning round and round the spit. Ladies in their finest and men in their dandiest wait for hot juicy cuts to be presented in their faces like hungry children in Oliver Twist
. Please sir, they want some more. And so do I. Oddly though, the cooked pigs' heads scattered around the service table as decoration throw me for a loop. I accidentally put my drink down by one poor Porky Pig and an odd Lord of the Flies
fear grips me and I’m unable to pick it back up. I run screaming into the gallery . . . in search of another drink.
We pass by a brand-new shiny-white Land Rover, the car of Rosedale soccer moms and Snooki. A crowd gathers as guests are allowed, with what I hope to be washable markers, to tag it like they’re covert graffiti artists. I choose to scribble, “Rob Ford I Is Gonna Run You Down.” Just joking. He would totally dent any car that struck him.
As we push through the packed patio, under trees strung with nests of piñatas, I pause. Our hands reach up, dig inside and pull out . . . candy! Sweet, sticky, wrapped candy. We giggle, shoving handfuls into our mouths, previously occupied by bison. Now that we’ve had our main course and dessert, it’s time for a drink at the bar.
Here we bump into performer John Caffery,
wearing a very tight disco jump suit. He’s not wearing underwear . . . again. By his side, Luis Jacob in a muted pink jacket is looking white hot.
We spot Rick Mercer
on the steps leading to the washroom but hardly recognize him. Has Slick Rick had some work done? The notorious Keith Cole
is sauntering about in little more than a glittery tablecloth. Please be wearing underwear . . . this time.
Designer Myles Sexton
is turning heads with an entourage of many, all wearing his unique fashion pieces, including rings, necklaces and even futuristic shoulder appellants.
, cobbler to the stars, is looking fetching, chatting with some buxom brunette in the Hugo Boss 3D Fashion Show Video Lounge. Strapping on my designer 3D glasses, I find the effect works much better if you pretend you're actually part of the 3D fashion show, so I begin doing full runway in front of the screen.
The Greta Constantine boys, Stephen Wong
and Kirk Pickersgill,
are spotted in a room chock full of total debs who are making full use of a swing, which has been strung up to the ceiling. “My balls are sweating,” Wong whispers. But your neoprene motorcycle pants look hot. That hot. Sometimes one must suffer, and simmer, for fashion. Beside them is an indoor tree fastened with fake iPad screens, which contain existential quotes from some obscure sources. I particularly like “Chances are you feel superior to almost everyone you work with— however, they probably feel the same way about you.” So true. Probably.
In another room, a woman dressed like a female Kermit the Frog sits in a performance space walled off from her viewers. Guests watch her from two windows and make her do their bidding by pressing buttons under the windows. Flick one switch and a red light goes on and she dances. Flick another switch and a green light shines, telling her to eat. Another operates a yellow bulb and she reads. Designer Evan Biddle
(wearing an outfit that he created just hours before) is making her wild by flicking all the switches at once. What to do, what to do?
Down the hall a future talk show is taking place, starring a Jenny Jones-type host, assisted by a man in a robot costume, a DJ and a panel of three wise men. Perhaps the Oprah of the next millennium? It’s performance art with real people as guests. Right now a very aggressive lawyer lady is lamenting that she can’t find any normal guys to date. But to me she just seems like a well-educated JWow. Yes I know, anther Jersey Shore
reference. I’ve never even watched the show. Honest.
The room where we spend the most amount of time is also the one that could cause the most damage . . . to those with visual sensitivities. Partying here are the always gorgeous Biko Beauttah;
the always dapper Glen Baxter; Amanda Lew Kee
, in blue lipstick that would make a snowman happy; Abigail Van Den Broek
, in an off-the-shoulder to-the-floor number; the wandering Roslyn Griffith Hall
;and a very yum-yum Morad Reid Affifi
. Hanging from the ceiling and anchored to the floor are large pyramid shapes painted with red, blue and green patterns. As the lights of the room change, the patterns created shift and move as well. It’s like dancing in a cave full of psychedelic stalactites and stalagmites. I want this entire setup in my bedroom. It would make sex so much more interesting . . . and would make me think I was moving up and own much more than I really do. Lazy. Yes.
And with that thought in mind I leave another fine, festive Power Ball
for my boudoir. Cheers to your 25 well-spent years, Power Plant, and here’s a toast to 25 more. Now stop worrying about those little cracks and blow out your candles. Age ain’t but a number. Unless you’re 50. — Rolyn Chambers
All photos by Sarah Swayze