I went to NYC on November 10, 2007 to see Phil Lesh and Friends at the Nokia Theater in Times Square – in and of itself quite an event. I had taken a train from Philadelphia late, on a whim and with just my black zip up hoodie on my back. When I got to the show, some friends of mine handed me a flyer for the Net of Being opening party.
"Alex Grey's painting, 'Net of Being,' has been introduced to millions of people by the rock band TOOL. After years of labor this epic work is now on view along with numerous new artworks depicting Grey's mystic visions and an architectural model of the future Chapel of Sacred Mirrors." In addition to that wall sized painting; nineteen other new works were on display.
At the entrance to 542 W. 27th in Chelsea, NYC – we were greeted by a line of people waiting to get in the building. The bouncers looked at us, guided us around the ropes and told us to proceed to the 4th floor. Evidently there is an unrelated club on the second floor of the building, but being let into a club around a velvet rope based on looks was still an amusing experience.
Once upstairs and we forked over our $20 we entered CosMosis, the dance floor area of the space, where Schism, a Tool cover band was just starting. I have been a sometimes fan of TOOL, having seen them in 1993 with Lollapalooza, as well as having seen Adam Jones guest with Melvins – however had not been following their work recently. Schism sounded great and the space was decorated with Alex Grey wall sized prints, a video display and a generous littering of bean bag chairs. Alex Grey was painting live and grooving along to the band.
We headed next past the gift shop – which was closed – down a hall filled with people – to the entrance of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors gallery. COSM had unfortunately closed when the party portion of the evening – however there was a DJ in the darkened room in front of the entrance – which was fairly packed with people dancing.
Past this was the MicroCosm gallery which contained the Net of Being piece as well as other new pieces. Unfortunately the gallery did not have the glasses that come with the tool album to view the pictures.
When we returned to the other room, I noticed John Barlow attended by several people – watching Alex paint – with a big smile on his face.
The whole experience seemed very familiar as I am fortunate to be able to regularly visit Fenario Gallery in Eugene, OR which boasts similar artists and friends – Martina Hoffman had exhibited in Eugene was purportedly about and at a benefit dinner for CoSM the previous evening.
At the same time I wish I was better prepared to identify celebrities in the middle of the night as I would have done a better job hob-knobbing – and maybe retrieved some interviews in the process.
Go see Tool on tour now – and buy their new album before you go – experience visionary art and music at the cutting edge of psychedelia.