The first time (and only time) I went, I was struck by the finite nature of it.
To my amusement I found I was doing laps in the venue. Yes, there were performances periodically but it was like that scene out of National Lampoon's European Vacation:
"Look kids there's Big Ben!" (Again.)
I tried gazing at exhibits playing the role others were doing, nodding knowingly talking about light, and angles and form...and found that fake effort was devolving into a stand up routine. It made me laugh (and want to take a shower). THAT part of the evening became a trope which would years later make me a bit of a cynical bastard and translate into online satirical commentary/pseudo performance art.
You see, back then...I still believed in that "community" shit.
A friend of mine, during this odd, weird, sparse time at the event quipped "Is this it?" I shrugged. For all the hype and tales of glory...this was indeed, "it."
I people watched a bit. Some I knew...some I knew of.
The spaces between shows were painful as were the attempts by local knowns and unknowns to outshine, distinguish and level up amid a crowd of...whatever the fuck that was.
After 45 mins (or so) I went to a blues club next door.
The band was spectacular. The lead singer belted out some Howlin' Wolf tunes and quipped how she was going to make things "Dirty up in here."
I laughed, tucked into a couple Gin/Tonics and chilled. It fixed (considerably) a disappointing night.
Honestly, the event I was originally there for, that "Dirty" thing, was not my...thing. I realized later that what I experienced was exactly the point.
Yes, there were performances.
Yes, there was "art."
Ultimately, however, occupying an evening with fascination and brain candy was not the intent. The event was a venue to be seen, huddle with your squad, talk shit (about yourself and others) and maybe catch an afterglow play party in a jacuzzi room at a nearby Baymont Inn.
The suburban freebie newspaper readers, who considered themselves "normal" in their mind were there to see the "freaks" and feel connected to local pop kink culture. Like a zoo. That was the vibe.
Bros smelling of Axe body spray pranced and prowled around thinking this would be a place to pick up horny chicks (because Bro-Logic dictates that any women at an event like this would be...horny), flashing cash they made from their car detailing job the previous week. They will be behind on rent, and may miss that cellphone bill or child support payment ... "but fuck, dude...the freaky bitchez...."
Photographer types held their own Solo cups of $9 Bud Light Lime, also pretending to look at exhibits while complaining about GWCs, the latest flavor of the moment, who either does or does not use Photoshop enough, and the term "editing" vs "retouching" against a background of being jealous or getting butthurt because their ass-end convoluted contrived "edgy" gas mask/bondage photo didn't make the cut or hasn't sold yet.
Model types whispering rumors about who the performer on stage is banging and how ___________ is a hoe because: Support your fellow SWs but "just not dat bish."
Not my thing.
If it's yours: Godspeed. You do you. I can only speak for what I know best.
I was bored...and I haven't been back.
(screencap courtesy of The Dirty Show Facebook page. )