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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Masking for Trouble

Not even the rules of spelling and grammar apply to Terence Koh, who sent us this cryptic description of his latest project. We're dying to know what a one-piece face suit is. Visions of snuff films and lucha libre come to mind...

"i just doo window for opening ceremony for project i doo with them for t-shirts, books, one-piece face suits, pencils, sculptural tings, that will just appear

i also just doo their window display

i tink it is powerful for the future new york city

i tank you"

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Piece of ASS

What's happening at Terence Koh's ASS? In one sense, there's no telling. But at his ASS (Asia Song Society) gallery last night, he presented Fuck Friends (through May 15), works on paper, paintings and video by artist Leo Fitzpatrick. While mostly a solo show, living up to the title was a smattering of collaborations with artist friends Rita Ackermann, Lizzi Bougatsos, Dan Colen, Andrew Kuo, Nate Lowman, Adam McEwen, Neckface, Dash Snow and Spencer Sweeney. Now, we don't know which friends are fucking (actually we do), nor do we advise doing that, but here's an assortment of the motley crew who came to the opening...

Nate Lowman & Mary-Kate Olsen (they're dating, in case you didn't know)

Larry Clark, Leo Fitzpatrick & Terence Koh

Rogan Gregory, artwork

Paz de la Huerta

—photos Caroline Torem-Craig

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hint Gallery: Terence Koh

Turns out the sculpture Terence Koh wanted people to pee on at Mary Boone gallery was a marble urinal. That makes more sense. But no, they're not actually doing that here (maybe later at the Eagle)...

Terence Koh & Mary Boone

Terence Koh at the after-party at The Eagle

Lazaro Hernandez & Jen Brill, Yvonne Force Villareal

—photos Caroline Torem-Craig

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Hint Tip: Terence Koh

Along with aligning himself with art-world greats Jeff Koons and Mike Kelley, Terence Koh likes to use malapropisms and spoonerisms (and other jisms). It's an endearing and disarming habit, stripping away notions of propriety and formality so you can concentrate on more important questions, such as: Am I a hot skank? Am I drunk enough to pee on art? Will I get laid at the Eagle? ...

"deer kindred spirit

if yo are around next saturdae
i am making something gay fo tis i tink
perhaps you can pee on my sculpture
the secret party afterwards is at the eagle from 8pm onwards, like gay sausage party
but i don't want it to be a secret cause i am want lots of gays to be there actually no just all kinds of hot skanks girls and boys and boy girls and girl boy and boy boy

thank you

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Monday, February 16, 2009

New York Fashion Week: Jeremy Laing

By Franklin Melendez...

I sat directly behind a comely yet disconcertingly composed twelve-year-old, clad in purple tights, flippy skirt, boucle jacket and yes, even a satin hair ribbon. Perched in Jeremy Laing's front row with other social jewels, the prep-school princess kept cozy company with top editors, including Teen Vogue's Aya Kanai and most of the Harper’s Bazaar team crammed into a tight little corner. Annoying, yes, but her diminutiveness allowed me full view. Then there was the glittery support of Jeremy's friends (and fellow Canadians) artist Terrence Koh, cocooned in nubbly black, and legendary queer radical daddy, AA Bronson, in signature ZZ Top beard.

As for the collection, it was nothing short of exquisite, an incisive exploration of architectural shapes, fabric innovation and modern adornment. There were some re-imaginings of previous interests, such as minerals and crystal shapes, which were translated into bold proportions and lush treatments, such as a strong-shouldered coated wool coat that glistened unctuously like a faceted piece of fresh coal. It was as if Laing were re-channeling some of that initial spirit that made him such a talent to watch in the first place.

Wanting to delay the trek down nine flights of stairs after the show, I caught up with Mr. Bronson, to ask his thoughts on the collection: "Well, we’re friends of Jeremy’s, and we enjoyed the show immensely! We don't get invited to that many shows. But it's funny—when we're in Paris, we actually get invited to many more!” They have better taste, I assured him, before inquiring about current projects: "Right now I'm working on a seance called Invocations of the Queer Spirits, which is gonna happen on Governor’s Island. It's an old 18th-century stone prison that’s basically a big graveyard. It was an all-male prison which has seen a lot of action.” And that, pretty much says it all.

Jeremy Laing

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

We're With the Bland

By Franklin Melendez...

What is Bland? According to the press release, it's a “fantastic experiment in modification and restraint that reveals a dynamic meta-aesthetic that is only desirable via adjective-heavy tropes, run-on sentences and compounded German vocabulary.” We might translate this semi-serious, semiotic code by saying Bland is one of those amorphous fashion-art hybrids with an enviably cool following from the moment of inception, which makes its actual content seem almost negligible.

The brainchild of Teddy, longstanding charter member of the Deitch Projects tribe, the line debuted last year at the Wooster space with a another art-heavy presentation involving mannequins, an all-black palette and conceptual pantomime-dance. The line offered some cleverly tailored jumpsuits and beautifully draped tops—a promising first presentation that took a turn to the macabre this time, maybe as an homage to its host Terrence Koh and his gallery space, ASS (Asia Song Society).

Returning to the mannequin theme, the result this season was less mime convention, more lost reels from Silence of the Lambs. It played out like the fashion-week fantasy of Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill, replete with studding, corsetry, rivets and hardware. The effect was brought to full-force when descending into the cavernous basement of ASS, which, needless to say, has witnessed its share of debauchery.

When asked about how the collaboration came about, Terence and Teddy were a bit at a loss. Teddy: “Well, it just…happened. Suddenly we thought we’d be here.” Terence: “It sort of...just happened…and then we were making vanilla milkshakes.” Fair enough.

Of course, all the cerebral gloom and doom was no match for the revelers, who included Deitch Projects director Kathy Grayson, artist Aurel Smidt and most of the cast of Butt. It made for a good thumping party, which the city quickly took note of, sending over a fire inspector before the night was over.

photos Maz Redpath

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hint Tip: Terence Koh

Should you find wandering around the bowels of the LES with nothing to do and nowhere to go, head over to ASS, Terence Koh's cheekily named gallery at 45 Canal Street, where he's installed "Winter Landscape," a riff on German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich's "Winter Landscape with Church." Here's what Terence has to say: "There is nothing to this installation except that we have taken out the religious things in the painting and just done a joyful winter landscape." Interpret that as you wish. The launch party is Friday, December 19 at 6:00 pm, and the installation remains open 24/7 through January. We're not sure how exactly they can do that, but there you are...

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Terence Koh Revealed

When he's not plating shit in gold, splattering his semen on canvas or just carousing around, art-world bad boy Terence Koh likes to read French poetry and, well, carouse around. He opened up to Hint on the eve of Flowers for Baudelaire, a show of new (and his first) paintings at the former New York studio of Richard Avedon, presented by Vito Schnabel and France's First Brother Olivier Sarkozy. By Aric Chen

So what is Flowers for Baudelaire all about? Are there "flowers of evil" to be found here?
They're just a series of readymade canvases covered in corn syrup and then dusted with powdered sugar—the easiest paintings I can think of to make. I felt we needed something sweet for our moment right now in history. And yes, each painting is a flower. Each painting is evil. Each painting is a star in a universe. Making them was like making a Zen rock garden. Just raking sugar. Simple evil.

The show is at the former studio of Richard Avedon, famous for its cyclorama. Why there?
It's all about how Richard Avedon would see himself in a mirror. What would he do? Each painting is the eye of Richard Avedon. Not the black iris, just the white parts of the eyeball.

What's the Vito Schnabel connection?
We met through Stella Schnabel, his sister, who I met through Dash [Snow]. Everybody just meets everyone in New York if you have the will to make something in this city. We are kinda seeing each other, even though he's 100% straight and I have a boyfriend. We are like brothers, but without the guilt of genetics bearing down on us. We've known each other for more than two years and dating off and on for about a year now. We watch a lot of romantic movies together and he brings me to basketball games. I only go shopping with Stella, though. Vito doesn't really like to shop much, though I bought him a Juicy Couture sweater last week.

How is asianpunkboy [Koh's former alias], by the way?
He is my best friend. We have drinks at least once a week—Johnnie Walker Black Label on the rocks.

So what's next for you?
I hope to take the whole of next year off and do nothing, like go to Jamaica and rent a nice bungalow with all the modern amenities, except no TV and Internet. And just sit and read and go swimming and fishing in the sea, pick pretty seashells by the beach and read nothing but Marcel Proust.

—Aric Chen

Flowers for Baudelaire, November 13 - January 2009, 407 East 75th Street

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hint Tip: Asia Song Society

Here's a surprise you actually want on Election Day. Shanghai artist Xu Han Wei will unveil a new large-scale work, a sculpture called HISTORY, on November 4 at ASS, Terence Koh's cheeky acronym for his Asia Song Society gallery. This is the first time Xu Han Wei will show in the States, but the gallery is tight-lipped about any other details, saying an English translation from Chinese wouldn't be appropriate. But since we're talking ASS, we assume it'll have some kind of punk, queer or porn theme—or all three.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Play It Forward

Anyone who's met Kim Jones knows the new creative director of Dunhill works hard and plays even harder. And when he plays, he takes pictures. These are of artist Terence Koh, in London for Frieze Art Fair, and the antics that seem to follow him wherever he goes...

Terence and model Cole Mohr dancing
Terence presenting his manifesto, "which we all loved," says Kim

Roller disco in Hyde Park

Cole trying on a palm leaf at the Fantastic Man party at Bistrotheque
Kim draped in fur

Gallerist Simon Parris and Kim celebrating Kim's first centerfold

Terence, "the talented Mr. Edward Tang" and unidentified friend
Anouck Lepère, graphics guru Felix Neill and Kim (hiding) at Terence's show at Serpentine Gallery

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Haidee Findlay-Levin makes a surprise stop in London...

I arrived toward the end of London Fashion Week with no plans of being here for the occasion. Hint Blog readers will know of my longstanding visa woes, and so a summons by U.S. immigration to attend my green card interview in London on the 19th of February—my birthday—was an event not to be missed. It was an invitation harder to get than any Fashion Week show, in fact one that transcends fashion altogether and was almost four years in the making. I was informed to arrive four days in advance, not for some welcoming cocktail party or a dinner to apologize for the long wait, but in time to attend a medical exam, after which an assortment of vaccinations would be all I could expect to find in a goody bag.

I left New York during a blizzard that resulted in a three-hour delay at the airport—not something one wants to add to a red-eye flight. A few more hours on the tarmac meant I would get into London dangerously late for my appointment with the embassy-designated doctors. I literally had three minutes to drop off my bags and change into serious attire. I chose a baggy pantsuit, which I hoped would give me an air of, well, suitability to own a green card. It was almost balmy in London. In the eight years I lived here, I don’t remember too many days like this, so much so it was making me nostalgic. I fantasized about throwing in the towel, refusing the green card and moving straight back here.

Once I was done with the tests and vaccinations, I pulled myself together and rushed eastward to Gareth Pugh's show. It was running almost as fashionably late as my American Airlines flight, but I made it in time, so I wasn’t complaining. In addition to every London club kid and club kid wannabe, I saw my New York next-door neighbor, artist Terence Koh, and his entourage of pretty young boys, a host of international fashion-show regulars and Michele Lamy, wife and muse of Rick Owens, both ardent Gareth supporters.

The show was not entirely surprising, and a very visible continuation of his previous collections. That said, I had to admire the craftsmanship: origami-like patent leather dresses and coats, plus some garments constructed entirely out of industrial zippers, creating a samurai effect. A couple of pieces were made completely from safety pins, and although neither concept is new, Gareth managed to make it his own. Remember Junya Watanabe's beautiful spring collection full of mostly gold zippers? And we all know the safety pin extends further back than Versace and Elizabeth Hurley. I was, however, mesmerized by the emerald green Swarovski-crystal tights on model Anouck Lepère's fantastic legs, only to be told by Seven's Joseph Quartana that they would retail at more than $6000. And that was just for the stockings, not the fantastic legs. At that, I turned my attention to the gravity-defying shoes that the girls wore down the seemingly endless warehouse runway, strutting to the sounds of original glam-rocker Gary Glitter (now locked away in prison—no, not by the fashion police, but for his bad behavior with young boys).

The audience was filled with heavily made-up faces—and it wasn’t the girls I'm referring to. Boys with pan-stick and raccoon eyes might just signal London's move from New Rave to Goth. Please, not so soon! While Gareth’s clothes were entirely black (except for the silver of pins and zippers), the model's faces were white with blue-shaded eyes and lips. The show make-up, by the fantastically talented Alex Box, must have sent those boys running to the powder room for a touch-up.

Only a few weeks ago I was in London to work with Alex and Eugene Souleman (one of London’s finest hair stylists) on a couple shoots for i-D, Showstudio and MUSE. Alex turned out the make-up, shot after shot, each face its own new canvas. One of my favorites was a girl with duck-egg blue hair, a completely blue face and a blue and pink floral Dries Van Noten dress. A modern “Blue Lady” like that of the master of kitsch, painter Vladimir Tretchikoff. I guess its effect was still resonating with Alex by the time of Gareth's collection.

I left the show with Anouck and her boyfriend Jefferson Hack, editor-in-chief of Another, to celebrate her 29th birthday. After a brief detour home for a remarkably quick make-up and costume change (into a fantastic peekaboo vintage velvet dress), we set off for an opulent private club in the West End where Jefferson planned a dinner party for Anouck and some of her friends. Though apparently only organized the day before, it was wonderfully decadent, especially considering it fell between a bunch of Fashion Week parties and the famous “tea party” he was hosting the next day. Jefferson is a wonderful host, who managed to take special care of Anouck while still making the rounds to each of his guests.

As the birthday evening rolled into Valentine's Day, the party moved to Sophisticats, a misleading name for a stripper bar where even pasties and G-strings seemed excessive. Besides the obvious things one observes when presented with a lap dance, I couldn’t help but notice how flexible the girls were and completely comfortable in their own skin. I vowed to return to my regime of yoga and pilates when this endless traveling was over, but I won't be trading in my YSL platforms for those plexi-heel stripper shoes anytime soon.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Part two of Cyril Duval' Art Basel adventures...

Now enough about art, let's talk about the world of glamour and futility—parties! First up, the fete for the fourth edition of Javier Peres' Daddy magazine, hosted by himself, Terence Koh and Aron (the downtown don) in a men's strip club called Goldrush. Seeing the queer mafia in this crappy neon temple, symbolizing Western hetero cowboy power, was actually pretty cool—cute faces all around, no useless celebs showing off, plus everyone got free lap dances, thanks to Daddy Javier. Later, speaking of naughtiness, Monsieur Andre and his Le Baron team again provided the best place for finding trouble. Indeed one could meet almost anyone there, burning the last energy of the day in secret communion before waking up four hours later to buy and sell more art. Then there were parties for Purple, WOW, colette (this pic is of Sarah and myself), etc. So many parties, so little time.

And now, I'm still shocked by how people can throw a party and simply expect people to gather in an ill-designed space. I mean, an open bar isn't everything. Thus, the award for creative laziness goes to Visionaire's party to celebrate its latest art book, despite the hot vinyl records inserted inside, such as my pal Mai Ueda, with her great “I Wanna Buy Some Clothes“ track, and a hilarious backstage compilation by Michel Gaubert. Not only did they settle on MINI as their sponsor (do we care about a toy car gift?), but the doorman was possibly the bitchiest ever—fortunately, I didn't have to tangle with him. Upon entering, we were welcomed by half-naked, long-haired Chippendale look-alikes (I never thought I would one day say that—please someone bring back Hedi's skinny boys), who shamelessly pushed copies of the new Visionaire in our faces, as if we were shopping for live chickens in a New Delhi market. Plus, the music was all about Justice (nothing against them, but you know), the cocktails were kind of weird and we had to contend with an army of paparazzi trying to find the beautiful people. Perhaps they were waiting for late-arriving Linda Evangelista, as I was not.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Not even the theft of his laptop at the Miami airport (and no, there is no back-up) could keep Cyril Duval from sharing a few of his Art Basel adventures earlier this month. Here, the first of three parts...

As the main exhibition is the focal point of Art Basel and what allows people to expense their trips, I'd like to start with my two favorite booths. (Look for party tidbits in the second part.) First, a big shout-out to ShanghART for its supermarket installation, which artist Xu Zhen filled with products to resemble a Chinese grocery store. (With my numerous trips to mainland China, I can vouch for the authenticity of every detail). But here, all the boxes, bottles and so on were emptied of their contents in what appeared to be a comment on his country's paradoxical images of wealth and want, and which were available to buy directly off the shelves (we spotted art stars Eva & Adele doing exactly that). What a beautifully poignant concept.

Not that I'm allergic to the decorative nature of art, and certainly Miami is the ideal place to shop for colorful art that matches your chinchilla couch. It's just that sometimes functional installations are stronger than paintings, in the way that a simple tropical fish tank might rock your interior more than a Damien Hirst. Some leading curators have long analyzed this, and I am here thinking of French critic Eric Troncy, who has constantly challenged notions of artworks as mere display elements. To him and myself, a juxtaposition of work by great artists—say, Jorge Pardo and Olafur Eliasson—doesn't automatically work.

Hint readers will know I'm sucker for the work of Terence Koh—so now for the expected mention of the Peres Koh booth, perfectly placed in a corner of the exhibition hall. As always, Koh's Art Basel contribution was a dark monolithic riff on love, sex, life, death and immortality. Although some people still don't get him (at least if you read and believe the blurbsunami that flooded APB online), I'm always amazed by his clever plays on the media and the art market through the crude yet oh-so-real reality of his art. There's no bullshit in his work. Chapeau, Mr. Koh!

Finally, am I the only one shifting from admiration and respect to exasperation and lassitude regarding the whole Reena Spaulings/Bernadette Corporation/Claire Fontaine conglomerate thing? I mean, yes, we know that capitalism doesn't always work (oh, and by the way, Andy Warhol knew, too), but they are still making a good use of it. Well, we all do, but at least we don't make morality issue out of it.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Photographer and style-hunter PLAY on Terence Koh's latest incarnation...

You just can't control Terence Koh—art superstar, fashion extremist and all-around eccentric. He recently spoke at a political forum in Berlin wearing a Gareth Pugh latex dress and full geisha make-up. But you may know him best from his first and very controversial solo show, GOD, at de Pury & Luxembourg gallery in Zurich back in June.

That's where we first met, for a photo date. He wore Balenciaga gold robo-pants and stood in front of Last Supper of The Antichrist, the central piece in the show—and the darkest, with disciples as skeletons, a colony of poisonous ants living in the body of Jesus and so on.

His latest pièce de résistance, BISHOP, can be seen in Season's Greetings, a Christmas-themed group show of contemporary photography, also at de Pury (Dec. 3 to Jan. 27). An extension of GOD, BISHOP is a series of photos showing Terence dressed in episcopal attire and riding or posing with a white horse. (These images will also be part of the catalog for GOD, which will be released in March in what promises to be a very special and scandalous launch). Of course, it's a lot more sinister than it sounds, and I wanted to get to the heart of it—so I emailed Terence. Within three minutes, his response: "It's about a horse. It's about a love of a horse. And God fucking a horse and getting fucked back. Big hugs. T" And that, my friends, is vintage Terence.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Berlinnocence Lost, Part II

The second installment of Cyril Duval's German adventure...

Two days later ended up being totally different from the Bang Bang bar. Beating the cold snap with my Abominable Snowman fur coat, I went with Hanayo to HAU 2 theater for Bruce LaBruce's premiere of his first play, Cheap Blacky. The place was packed and it became obvious that it was already a success. Here's what Bruce told me about his experimental concept: "The idea for Cheap Blacky originated from the moment it dawned on me that there is a black servant named Whity in Fassbinder’s film “Whity” and a white servant named Blacky in Joseph Losey’s film Boom! As for this production, after one day rehearsing in the space, I realized we would have to have major lighting, so we requested and got the best lighting guy in the house, a Marxist intellectual lighting technician! So we lit it like a rock show!”

The lights went down, then up, followed by ninety minutes of flamboyance. I knew right away that I was watching a reinterpretation of the film Theorema by Pier Paolo Pasolini. (Quickly, for those who haven't seen it, it's about the beautiful and young Terence Stamp as a mysterious guest in the house of a bourgeois Milanese family. His velvet eyes and magnetic sex appeal seduce all members of the family, including the teenage kids, both parents and the maid, who is the other central character). Thrilled that I was watching a recreation of one of the most influential movies I've ever seen, I was all eyes and forgot to breath at times. The best moment for me was when the maid, played by Vaginal Davis, first entered, descending into the crowd and singing the blues, à la Billie Holiday, in a distorted but vocally perfect way.

Later, at the afterparty, where Peaches and others were DJing, I learned that Bruce and Vag have known each other for more than fifteen years, since Vag lived in California (she just relocated to Berlin), and that Bruce introduced her work to the Butt guys, who awarded her with their latest cover. Such family stories! As the play is going on tour, starting with Zurich, I urge everyone to see it.

I then had to leave for Miami, where my mongolian lamb fur coat would not be necessary, though I was sure it would still fit in. But I can't wait to be back in Berlin, if for nothing more than the mystical toe worship that Vaginal Davis promised me. My French feet will never be cold again. Oh, I almost forgot! Terence Koh would like to tell Hintsters that asianpunkboy is back.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Berlinnocence Lost, Part I

We asked Cyril Duval—aka item idem—to tell us all about his first trip to Berlin...

On my way to the Netherlands to accept a Great Indoors Award for my design of Bernhard Willhelm's Tokyo flagship [see Hint's store report, April '06], I decided to stop over in Berlin to take in two art shows by friends Terence Koh and Bruce LaBruce. I wasn't prepared, however, to be welcomed by snow and a 20-degree temperature drop from what I'm used to in my home of Tokyo. Shame on me for bringing nothing heavier than a simple jacket. So I borrowed an Abominable Snowman coat to weather the weather.

Having missed the September opening of "Blame Canada," a gallery show by Terence and Bruce inspired by Twin Peaks, I wouldn't miss the closing party at Bang Bang, a well-named bar and large-scale installation at Peres Projects Berlin, in the Kreutzberg area. As neither Terence (out of town) nor Bruce (in town, but uber-busy on something else—see below) could make it, I went with Hanayo, the ultimate German goddess-guide. Hanayo and I became very good friends in Tokyo a while back and we have many friends in common, such as Michel Gaubert, who discovered her when she famously covered "Joe le Taxi." Hanayo and I even have our own invisible band. She knows all about Berlin and who's in town at any given moment. And she has that little extra je ne sais quoi that makes everyone go totally crazy for her.

Hanayo [left] and I arrived to a dark space with black-latex-covered walls (a Terence trademark? It did remind me of "God," his antichrist installation at de Pury & Luxembourg in Zurich) and I was struck by how insane the place was, anchored by a giant metal dance floor recalling Michael Jackson's sidewalk-tapping Billie Jean video. But here the tiles were all black, conveying pure darkness—no lights or smoke, just a ladder leading up to the second floor on the ceiling. For a long time I've known about Bruce and Terence's idea of a backroom with glory holes placed horizontally—imagine manhoods in stalagmite/stalactite formation—and here it was right in front of me, but without the flesh of opening night.

With people dancing maniacally around me, I managed to make it to the bar, where I got a Twin Peaks flash. Suddenly I was in Laura Palmer's worst nightmare, except there was no red-velvet curtain from which Bob, her killer, might pop out, just a bar heavily decorated with trophy animal heads, upside-down oil paintings, weapons and other fetish hunting curiosities. To me, the bar became the core piece, or at least the one directing the overall concept. And then, someone whispered to me, "Terence Koh—he is Armageddon!"

To Be Continued...

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