Monkey See, Monkey Do

Food and films in a sensory chamber out of a Logan's Run fantasy

"When you lean in to listen to the nipple, it will remind you of when you were a baby breast-feeding," says Kasahara, who admits to never having been breast-fed. "The sense of sucking on your mother's nipple will conjure the emotional memory of this loss." The Monkey Town audience giggles self-consciously, but when Kasahara invites the crowd to tell her stories, everyone applauds.

Mary Walling Blackburn and Danyel Ferrari are the last to share their particular revival-based obsession: millenarianism. Historically, the Great Disappointment was the result of fierce revivalism that swept through western New York and New England in the mid 1800s. Millerites, who abandoned their homes, crops, and businesses to gather on mountaintops for the immediate coming of Christ, were left with nothing but an unfulfilled desire for the Rapture. On July 28, 2006, Blackburn and Ferrari created an orchestra of eight cars parked in a circle on the site of a former revivalist camp. The stereo of each vehicle contributed a segment of a song that had been inspired by the Great Disappointment. The drivers, their passengers, and residents of the town danced to the uncanny music, in the center of a circle illuminated by headlights. While the performance piece, inspired in part by similar dance parties held throughout Texas in the 1960s, was meant to be experienced, the home video is both touching and a bit eerie. An apt conclusion for the "Show & Tell" revival.

"La Charme" at Monkey Town
photo: Jacob Ritchard
"La Charme" at Monkey Town

"I thought they were going to make us dance," says 23-year-old Geno Ejzenberg with a little shudder. "I guess I would have. Monkey Town is my kind of town."

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