The Dayglo tones, the Spandex, the artists, the affected Williamsburg-party vibe: Lumpen’s “Return Flight” conclusion to this year’s space-themed Select Media Festival was a lot like the blast-off event a week previous. Beneath the cavernous ceiling, Lumpen impresario Ed Marszewski looked down on the crowd from his loft like the doyen of a mystical space council. The partygoers danced on the floor below just like the geeky white kids they were. All the light-colored clothing aglow from the black light, errant leotards hugging silhouettes and shaking to beats from U.S. Girls, the occasional dry-humping: “Return Flight” looked more like a seething neon jazzercise gangbang than a triumphant return from outer space.
A Styrofoam covering protruded from above a staircase, beckoning. I descended through the portal to the basement below. Downstairs the edge of the universe awaited. There were a few empty cans of Old Style, a gaggle of smokers, and cinder block walls with holes punched through them. Inside lay the revealed Bridgeport underground, all pipes, dust, and a scurrying mouse. You could take a walk through a “black hole” which was a tangled maze of suspended trashcan liners. I knew all that awaited me at the end was a few high Lumpens and a strobe light. Instead, I tried to catch a ride to Party Planet, an interactive exhibit where passengers strapped themselves into a wooden box the size of a minivan and watched a simulated flight through space while being jostled around by young guys in white jumpsuits. The line was long. “I wish I had brought my camera!” a young woman in a sequined miniskirt shouted.
I decided to make a quick trip to Maria’s, the liquor store at the end of the block. On my way out, I passed two guys in rocket packs cooling off against the windows outside. Their friend, an older man in a leather blazer and wearing a handlebar moustache, declaimed, “The only thing that could make this better would be an intergalactic wrestling match.”