Lost Horizon Night Market: Party in a Box Truck

Parties and art never went together as well as this past Saturday’s Lost Horizon Night Market. This free event — entirely arranged via email, social networking, and good old word-of-mouth — involved a variety of mysterious lounges, performances, cafes, installations — all situated within seemingly ordinary box trucks.

A caravan of 19 such trucks were arranged inside a vast indoor garage on the waterfront of a desolate Brooklyn neighborhood. Nothing was for sale, and you needed to bring your own food & beverages.

The key here is that the event was participatory, meaning you didn’t go simply to passively view art, you were invited to experience it.

Yet, what made this particular event so fascinating was the many inventive ways each participant completely transformed their truck from something empty and uninspiring into great fun. All I could think was how the next time I see a box truck out on the street, it might be one used here.

Some highlights included…

Pinhole Truck
As many of you know, MSLK is no stranger to Pinhole photography from our experience at Burning Man. However, this was a new twist.

Organized by our friends Dimitri, Annie, Navah, and led by the incredibly talented and energetic Bryan Dalessandro, this truck transformed into a photo studio as well as a darkroom. Using an novel, homemade pinhole camera made from a 3-foot diameter geodesic dome, the goal was to take a 360° view. The resulting image would then become a 3-foot wide Chinese lantern. Neat, eh?

Here’s Bryan setting-up. You’ll note behind him is a 12-sided shape, the camera.

Below is a shot of me and some friends inside the truck, listening to instructions which basically told us not to move AT ALL for 30 minutes (note: when someone tells you need to stand still for 30 minutes, they really mean 40 minutes)…

Most were smart and found comfy spots on the floor to spend the time while I, on the other hand, chose to stand to make for a better composition. Not a good idea, as I developed a leg cramp after 3 minutes. Nonetheless, it was more fun than I could have imagined, especially as people walked by to laugh at us. The whole experience of posing felt like one part window-display-mimes, one part Hands on a Hardbody, one part Andy Warhol film, and the remaining majority was like high school detention.

Despite all our efforts, Bryan told us that the exposure disappeared once exposed to light, the result of bad stop bath. At times like this, adages like “life is about the journey, not the destination” and “it’s not whether you win or lose…” come in handy.

Rocking Chair Truck
Consisting of over 20 rocking chairs, this truck truly “rocked.”  The purpose of this truck was simply to come on in, sit down, rock back and forth… and that’s about it.

This guy was the king, and served us all wine…

Happy Birthday Truck
Celebrate your birthday… today! Our friend Kat made this truck which included streamers, singing, smashing a piñata, and cake.

Happy Birthday to you (& you & you & you)…

Erotic Bakery Truck
You can choose to believe me or not, but I really never went in here. Evidently, you could decorate cookies in any way your dirty mind desires…

Shooting Gallery Truck
A sign on the outside read “Annie’s Organic Ice Cream” which was, of course, a ruse. Once inside, you were led down a corridor towards the back where a loud, mechanical sound was coming from.

Turning around, you noticed an air-powered automatic BB-gun you could shoot into a bizarro nativity scene with ram’s horns, squids, and who-knows-what-else. While not ice cream, still very cool.

This crucifix served sweet wine in a most unholy way…

Smash Truck
The idea here was straightforward: stand-in room constructed in the back with a large inch-thick clear door, and smash the hell out of anything you want. TV? Wine bottle? Hard Drives? What ever you want to bring and decimate.

This is the room before the smashing began. Note the fence material and wood pallets used to protect the truck…

A smashing success…

Stripper Truck
This  truck lived up to its name, complete with an array of talented exotic dancers. The only picture I can share is the decoration on the outside…

Other Trucks…

I wasn’t able to get to see everything. There was so much to see, and many old friends to catch up with. Some of the other trucks were playing movies,  serving noodles, hosting talk shows, featuring circus performers, serving tea, silk screening posters…. one even featured a Japanese soaking bath. A particular favorite was a dance truck which played great music while we tested the limits of the truck’s suspension by jumping in unison.

Waiting on line for the bathroom, I saw a naked man bolt out of the bath truck only to run back in when he realized how cold it was outside. Amazing.

I’m constantly amazed how inventive people are, especially when they break out of the  established norms of parties, bars, galleries… and even trucks.

All and all, an amazing and memorable time. I really do hope everyone got their security deposits back from the truck rentals places.