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Time Travel in Emeryville: The Factory Party

9 March 2009 No Comment

By Carlos Davalos
Photos by Howard Hsu

A congregation of look-alike Andy Warhols is not something that happens often. But on Friday March 6, in an Emeryville warehouse that reproduced the 1960s’ dark, industrial-driven art scene fathered by Warhol, the Third Annual Amoeba Art Show took place.

The Factory Party.

More than 60 artists showed their paintings, sculptures, installations, films, photographs and other mediums/works. And yes, there were also the Velvet Underground look-alikes, playing classic songs like Venus in Furs, Heroin, and Pale Blue Eyes in a huge, cold-concrete wing of the place, evoking the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Warhol’s multimedia road show.


It was still early; the labyrinthian depot was staring to get packed, seven or eight rooms transformed into galleries, food and beverage flowing and Christa Päffgen’s (Nico) voice in the background; like a sonorous fog covering everyone. The atmosphere conjured an artistic scene known for exploding in a promiscuous, heroin-nourished creative feast. And it was all very similar, except there were no needles passing around.

Later on, when the Nihilist Outlook & Grace (one of the two Velvet Underground cover bands that performed) was playing, the art show became a secondary thing; the Velvet Underground’s covers were flooding the main room, a bunch of eyes were closed and everyone singing.

“I guess that I’ll be the closest I’ll get to Andy Warhol’s idea of a party and his 1960s New York City Factory,” said one of the attendees, who had Fando & Lis’ (the first feature-length film by Alejandro Jodorowsky) spider woman tattooed in his chest. Very impressive.

One of the installations, the proliferation of fungal mycelia, created by Bruce Anderson, Dale Sophiea and Curtis Tamm, was a small tunnel made out of plastic garbage bags that finished in a warmed little room with natural grass and small tree stumps to sit on. The front wall had two screens just spitting nature images, 10 or more per second, very experimental. Grass disco balls hung from the ceiling — a fixture of intertwined ideas about nature and technology through art.

Amoeba Music, the East Bay Express, OFFSpace and contributing sponsor the de Young Museum teamed up to create a Peel Slowly and See session of art, music, and the artistic spirit of a character that defined a good part of today’s pop culture.

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