Wednesday night saw the most recent installment of Art Nouveau Events’ curated art gatherings. Following the smashing successes of their Star Wars, True Blood, and Harry Potter themed events, Art Nouveau head honcho, Teresa Korber, heeded the requests of the (thus far) jilted Star Trek community. Finally, we boldly went … to West Palm!
So, what exactly is a night out at a bar with a crowd of Star Trek devotees like? Well, there were plenty of Vulcan salutes offered to all, a moderately irritable man in full Klingon garb, and a whole ton of wonderfully creative Trekkie art on display at the fully decked out Respectable Street bar.
As I entered the bar, two men dressed in the uniforms of Star Fleet officers – one wearing a Kirk specific costume, and the other donning a command branch red number from the Next Generation series – exited the bar. The man in the Kirk uniform calmly stood on the sidewalk, proceeded to slap the plastic communicator badge pinned to his chest, and said to no one in particular, “Enterprise, one to beam up.”
I do believe I was beamed elsewhere in his wake, because when I asked the Klingon that followed would-be Kirk out of the bar’s threshold for a photograph, his only response came to me in the form of a grunt. At the door was a communal canvas upon which art fans and artists could create something together. By the end of the night, it was full of fun touches like mustachioed characters donning beatnik sunglasses.
The bar was decorated from floor to rafter with cardboard cutouts of characters spanning the ages, from Roddenberry to Berman; even a few characters from the recent – and surprisingly well done – reboot film were present. Littered around the room were assorted quotes from the original show, toy phaser guns, and of course, works of Star Trek-inspired art rendered in everything from copper to clay.
Artist booths were scattered about the room, and as they proudly displayed the fruits of their labor, show attendees took in copious amounts of the playfully named drink specials, which included the “Romulan Ale,” “Capt Kirk’s Alien Sex on the Beach,” and the “Beam Me Up” shot. Some of the standout pieces of art included the raised copper images made by Moss Waldock – particularly one of Mr. Sulu striking a menacing (and now iconic) pose with his fencing foil, and Cary Polkovitz’s pop-art prints.
Just when I thought I was going to leave the event empty handed, some of the work resting on the evening’s live artist, Justin “INVI” Vilonna’s table caught my eye. The great thing about Star Trek is that it has always posed some serious questions about the nature of humanity, the nature of the universe, and morality in general, all in an occasionally campy, but always entertaining, way. Vilonna’s mixed media works brought certain themes from the television show to bear on aspects of our reality, namely making the parallel between the forced assimilation of entire races by the fearsome, techno-human hybrid Borg, and the frequently invasive way Christianity is presented. Like the show that inspired the piece, the piece is as entertaining to look at as it is thought provoking.
–By David von Bader
Photos, also by Mr. Bader, below: