Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cake, Art and Breasts

We'd spent the previous fifteen minutes watching skaters on the Rockefeller rink, because Chris had been insistent that we didn't arrive at 9.30 on the dot. When we turned up to the gallery it was clear that the other liggers hadn't been so scrupulous. Ten minutes in, the crowds resembled were packed as tight and elbowy as Christmas Week shoppers, clutching coats, plastic cups of Chablis and each other.
"Wine!" whinnied one brunette, pulling her companion over to the table where an equally pretty girl was pouring glass that were snatched away as soon as she moved the bottle on.

We didn't know it then, but despite the high percentage of beautiful people, things were about to get ugly. The theme of the night was cakes and art, and it was definitely the former half of the formula that had got us up in Midtown East on a chilly autumn night. From the way the crowd was scrumming this way and that, noses in the air, eyes everywhere but the gallery walls, we weren't the only ones. As if part of some elaborate tease, one room showed a video of exploding treats, cream splattering across walls and faces, while in another cake-eaters with gold leaf on their mouths were projected onto a blank white wall. Menawhile, a camera on a miniature blimp recorded the crowd's reactions.

We tried to follow the river of heads and elbows towards a live performance, but ended up so tightly crushed and towered over that we barely got out with out Chablis intact. Then, amidst all this studied oddness, I hear a familiar strain...
"Oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind."
A tall, black girl is holding a half-empty tray of cakes above her heads. When a woman tries to take one she pulls the tray away.
"Hey Mickey. Hey Mickey."
At the hand claps she stops, thrusts out a hip and lowers the tray. A red-faced ex-public school type saunters over
"Oh Mickey what a pity you don't understand.You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand."
The girl gives him a sultry look and pushes the cake into his mouth, like a bride on her wedding day. The man, smirks as best he can with his mouth full. Backs away.
"Oh Mickey what a pity you don't understand. It's guys like you Mickey..."
The girl moves on. She is wearing shorts and long socks. Her breasts are bare. There are two or three more 'Mickey girls'. All are black, with light brown skin, pretty faces and full, naked breasts. The men eating the cake and recording the girls on their iPhones are older, less attractive, white. This is an art show, but it feels like a cross between an x-rated Hooters lounge and a slave auction, except that no money (and not even a lot of cake) is changing hands in the open.

Later on, when we can't bear the crush any more and our Chablis is getting warm, we start the slow push towards the exit. Standing by the wall I see the first Mickey girl again. She's standing on her own, looking at the crowd, and she has a plain gray vest pulled on over her outfit, like she's heading to the gym. Strangely, she looks more vulnerable with her clothes on.

We leave without getting any cake.

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