David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption kicked off in and around the Ace Hotel and Theatre today, being spread across four different buildings across downtown Los Angeles. This event focused on a plethora of unique media, including film, photography, special effects, virtual reality, visual art and music, that were all done in honor of David Lynch’s works.
Hailing from Missoula, Montana, David Lynch is predominantly known as a filmmaker and musician, who has composed various acclaimed works including Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet. As a strong proponent of transcendental meditation, a few of the event’s works focused on helping place the audience in this unique headspace.
All of the proceeds from the event went to the David Lynch Foundation, which seeks to assist people suffering from post-traumatic stress, using transcendental meditation. This organization has recently begun to work with what are deemed “at-risk” populations including the homeless, U.S. military veterans, African war refugees and prison inmates.
Erik Martin, the main producer behind the event decribed the following in an interview with us:
“All these artists that are here, in every discipline, are donating their time. The entire endeavor is charitable, 100 percent of the net proceeds go to heal post-traumatic stress. So you’re getting a feeling on stage that’s a lot different than other festivals. It’s not a commercial transaction for them. This isn’t a money-gig this is a ‘meaning-gig.’ It’s an ‘art-gig.’ It’s a charitable event. So it’s got a lot of power behind it, and I think you can feel that in the audience.”
One of the main art exhibits, Fetish, was hosted by David Lynch and prominent fashion designer Christian Louboutin, who is known for his high-end luxury heels. This exhibit, which opened up first in Paris, France, in 2009 focused on placing models in high heels that were impossible to stand in or even wear at all. According to Martin, this was the first time this exhibition was brought over to the U.S.
Another exhibit that was hosted was David Lynch’s Distorted Nudes, that served as his first foray into photoshop which he developed around 2006. Lynch used examples of “old-school” erotica photos, that are akin to the works of influential photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe, and rearranged them using photoshop to create an entirely new type of work.
One of the main speakers, legendary personality Grace Jones held a talk at the Theatre to close out the day event’s for the festival, which was preceded by the documentary film Bloodlight and Bami, that examined Jones’ life and trip to her home country of Jamaica in an intimate manner. This documentary was cut in between examples of Jones’ concert performance, and showed how Jones prepared for a variety of medium that she has been active in.
The entertainer described a bit of her history; her maternal grandfather had been a musician who toured with the Nat King Cole band, while her mother was the top singer in the church. She went on to explain that Sophie Fiennes, who directed the documentary, had complete control over it, and that she did not manage any handling of it, besides the title, due to the faith she placed in the director.
Jones explained that Bloodlight and Bami was a reference to the “bloodlight,” a red studio light that turns on when they are in the process of recording and “bami,” a Jamaican slang term for a style of cooking. She elaborated that this was done to mix in Jones’ love for entertainment and her Jamaican heritage.
A few blocks away at the Cooper Design Space, inside the Cooper Building, Jonsi of influential Icelandic experimental rock band Sigur Ros, held a “Liminal Soundbath,” with the help of Alex Somers, and Paul Corley. Inside this space, mats were spread across the floor, with scented candles, light sculptures and fog to give the perception of a sonic bath, meant to help the audience achieve a sense of peace and calm.
This experience could be described as pure ambiance as the sounds were completely engaging. Laying down it was easy to get lost into the music that was playing that sounded like a mixture of ambient noises with loud bass sections that shook the very space that it was in. This experience was made to help the audience get lost in the music as they meditated in a way that suited them.
“They create a very beautiful ambient soundscape so people can basically enter a deeper layer of their consciousness, through music,” Martin explained. “So it tied in beautifully with the concept of meditation.”
Once the day activities were over, the night music activities began underway with Dylan Carlson, an experimental roots/blues-rock musician opening the event with a 25-minute set. It appears as though Carlson has successfully overcome his health complications that forced him to cancel his European tour earlier this year.
Carlson performed by himself, holding nothing but the guitar he was playing, while wearing a purple suit as he entered the stage. He opened up the night with the title track “Conquistador,” off his latest musical project. Right after his performance, drag queen Katya did a short five-minute interlude lip syncing to an influential tango, before making way for the next performers.
Mike Patton and DJ Qbert were up next, mixing in music directly inspired from Lynch’s films into their set, that blended elements of hip-hop, rock, metal and even oldies. DJ Qbert spent his time mixing scratching and beat-making live, with Patton joining at certain sections
Patton, who is best known as the singer of Faith No More, covered a variety of different vocal styles and ranges for the performances. At some points, he beatboxed and scatted along to DJ Qbert’s beats, while at others he took the time to scream and sing along to a few different renditions of his tracks.
This experience was unique and at times comical, as Patton crooned to old 1950s styles instrumentals, followed by aggressive screaming and singing over heavy metal type rhythms that were thrown in right after. He even performed a cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony,” that got the audience engaged. While this was absolutely different from your typical Faith No More performance, the artists were both clearly having fun and the audience was receptive.
Eventually, the night closed out with a very interesting special piece, with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan scoring The 36th Chamber of Shaolin film live for the audience. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album, that is considered the group’s masterpiece, was directly inspired by this film.
RZA spun and made beats as the film played in the background, throwing down hip hop instrumentals to match the film’s scenes. Songs such as “C.R.E.A.M,” were sampled throughout giving a comical yet heartwarming conclusion for the night.
Photo Credit: Owen Ela