By Jeffrey Matucha
by Jeffrey Matucha (Excerpt)
The Aqua Haute was a large warehouse that had been inexpertly converted into a series of small live/work spaces. Andre had already been there a few times before, usually to talk to Ian, the unofficial manager of the warehouse. The residents were an odd and widely varying collection of artists, musicians, and drug addicts. Most of the living spaces took up the bizarre third floor of the warehouse, the floor which hung like suspended boxes over the cavernous interior.
Virtually every square foot of wall space was covered with graffiti. Andre estimated that it would probably take a couple of days to read all of the graffiti throughout the warehouse. Some parts of the warehouse walls were covered with semi-competent works of drug-inspired art. The warehouse floor was habitually covered with second-hand furniture, beer cans, and motorcycle parts. There was a small band stage against the far wall, complete with a short plywood drum riser. The wall right behind the stage had long been covered with layer upon layer of band flyers. He wondered how far back the flyers went, if anyone would ever muster the time and the patience to dig through all of the layers of ancient copy paper and staples.
Tonight, the Aqua Haute was having a rent party. They had cleared and cleaned up the warehouse floor for the event. The residents of Aqua Haute usually held a rent party every month or so, charging a few dollars at the door so they could make enough to get past their rent and bills. Their parties always had a few bands and plenty of cheap booze. Occasionally, they would also included a few temporary galleries as a way of promoting some of their artists, as well as add some production value to the parties.
Andre was more than a little miffed when he found out that two other artists were having their works displayed alongside his. He was even more perturbed when he found out that someone else was getting the gallery section that was closest to the entrance, which was where they also happened to be selling the beer.
There were some stand-up walls made out of flat pieces of plywood and metal bracings where the artists got to hang their work. The painters who lived at Aqua haute had made them to showcase their own work for visitors, but they removed their pieces when other artists came by to put up displays. The other painter had already hung his paintings by the coveted entrance position. A sketched-out Throcker was posing her sculptures in the back gallery, the space over by the long and creaking stairway that led to the Daliesque third floor.
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