NO Shirt ,NO Pants, NO Problem,Chaos On The Main
An interesting thing about Montreal is it shuts off entire sections of the city to traffic through out the summer for its festivals. Yesterday as I found myself on the way out for a night on the town. I was pleasantly surprised as I came across the Festival on the Main. A Festival where Rue Saint Laurent is shut down for the weekend. Vendors , artisans , merchants, freaks and families take over the street for shopping, selling, public art display and general neighborly comradely.
Rue Saint Laurent travels form south to north in Montreal and is one of the Major arteries utilized by commuters in getting through the city. Some might say that it traditionally divides the French and English side of town. French east English west, such notions are quickly being challenged and changed as English is slowly being accepted as a second language. Truly most people are bilingual to some extent as it is an absolute necessity. You can not stay in Montréal long without learning some French and be affected by its culture and much bigotry that use to be the rule towards English has changed as it is an absolute must for commerce. Rue Saint Laurent is not only one of major fare ways in getting from one side of town to the other, it is also one of the major commercial zone of the city, as it is a conjunction of restaurants, boutiques, second hand shops, bars and night clubs. Having this thoroughfare such down is no small feet as millions of vehicles must be detoured in order to accommodate it.
On this particular night Saint Laurent is shut down about thirty city block. There is a festive feeling as hordes of people have taken to the streets. Patios have extended well into the road and the smell of BBQ perfumes the air. Anything you want is for sale here from beaded necklaces to name brand shirts. This is a place where artists and free thought come together with capitalism and family fun, and the world seems harmonious as everything is in tune.
Fashionable hipsters sport tricked out BMXs, and low riders, B Boys break in the streets, there is a sea of beautiful mothers take evening strolls with their families casually looking for nick knacks while eating ice cream. Dads narrows their eyes and squares their shoulders offering protection against any young buck who may dare to disturb his families tranquility. I come across the Fringe beer tent. The bands have all gone home, the people have stayed, listening to Jimi Hendrix being played out of the loud speakers casually drinking plastic cups of Saint Amboise beer while discussing the pleasant turn of events as it had rained all day and turned into such a pleasant evening. They look through Fringe festival programs deciding what show they might see next.
I continue on my way to my destination as I am on a particular mission this evening. I am headed to the Academy (night club not the restaurant). I am heading there because as of late it, under the management of Nadege Zaghdoudi, it is quickly becoming one of the hot spots for free thinker and freaks, with interesting events planned through out the week.
Tonight it’s a No Pants Party with host DJ Davide and crew. I am one of the first people there; I enter and drop my pants and shirt at the door. I have no problem being scantily clad or naked in public spaces, I have not in a long time. It is NOT because I believe I am a demi god naked, it’s that I believe its part of my artistic duty to help liberate those who are self conscious about their bodies. I also you use it to challenge gender roles as in why can’t a man in a sexy pair of under wear be considered as sexy as a women who wears barely nothing. Or why should a man feel uncomfortable about his nakedness because it is not promoted by our society. I love myself, I am as beautiful as the most beautiful woman naked. One of the ways I show it is by being naked in public with out fear of ridicule.
It’s about eleven o’clock and there are very few people there the music is BOOMING though. Electro Boy and DJ Johnny Bonny Rock are the DJ’s listed, I do not know which one is playing. The music is great though and gets me and a couple others on the dance floor. I feel some how strangely liberated dancing in only underwear and boots. As the beats continue to beat the house slowly starts to fill up more, I am slightly surprised by the crowd that has shown up. They seem more like the type to show up at a college or university pub than a no pants party. There are couples, buddies showing up together, a few drag queens and groups of young women. Anything goes and no one is judged as we hit the dance floor.
The majority of people drop their pants at the door (you can keep them on if you pay cover). The range of undergarment is diverse and exciting. Of course there are lot of young women in skirts, women in their underwear, young men in boxers and shirts, and the most interesting out fit was on a man by the name of Eric. He was wearing a leather singlet with nothing covering his ass and a jacket to accompany it. He looked good, from one macho guy to another. Every one feels free. The low lighting seemed to help hide any of our not so pretty body features and allowed everyone to be more comfortable. There were inflatable pools out they were not really utilized although the pool toys made there way on to the dance floor. As the beats kept pumping out and people keep showing up the energy and increases. There is literally a flurry movement, as sweaty body bodies move to electric sounds everyone at some point hits the dance floor. It continued to a climax when DJ Davide took the stage close to the end of the night.
I love DJ Davide (Check his beats). His music is Clockwork Orange esq., very classical yet speaks of the future at the same time. It feels modern as he manipulates sounds giving them a hard edge, with nuances of computer composition, which have been magically composed for the 21st century. His work makes me feel like the future is here and now and we are getting ready to conquer outer space. Davide turns it up a notch or two or maybe three and I am not talking bout the volume. People are moving uncontrollably to his electric vision, ecstatic by the joy his music brings them. At some point the lights of club go on, but we will not stop and so he does not stop. Almost like an unspoken encore, he tries a couple of times to cut out the beats, we still won’t have it. Finally it is late and the music has to stop and even though the crowd wants more the music is cut. The crowd cheers and knows it’s time to go home. We gather our things and make our way out the door.
When I hit the street it is close to 4 in the morning (drinks are served till 3), I find myself in a VERY UGLY SCENE. The once beautiful people have been replaced by savage drunken animals, hungry for more booze, food, sex or fights. This is not a scene for the faint of heart. The weak of stomach should go home early, CHAOS is every where. I felt more comfortable in a club full of people with no pants. I chose to put my pants back on as I have a very long walk home and can go with out a hassle tonight. I am tired, I did hundreds of squats, painted all day and danced for five hours I put my head phones on and slip into the darkness of the city I love, thankful for a day in this artist’s life.