Labelmates

Captcha Records is a local record company that likes to party. And they showed it off last Friday at a label showcase in Bridgeport’s Co-Prosperity Sphere. The musician working the iPad for The North doodles a little more vigorously on his screen, and some more bass bounce enters the mix. A flask of Jack Daniels appears in his peripheral vision. He takes a belt of it. The flask belongs to a man wearing a pencil-thin chinstrap beard, a black bandana underneath a black baseball cap, a black shirt, and black boots. A long gray sash dangles from his waist. He lets go of the Jack and puts his arm around his identically-dressed date. The two look like heavy metal Latin Kings, and they aren’t apologizing for it, unless the liquor is meant as an apology.

They also aren’t dancing. The music is a runaway kraut disco beat, really loud and getting louder, and only one person in the Co-Prosperity Sphere is dancing. He’s wearing a sequined top and a scarf around his head like a bandage, and he’s dancing as intensely as everyone around him is refusing to dance. A lot of bespectacled men are folding and refolding their arms, listening and observing very thoughtfully, but they aren’t even nodding their heads in time. The dancer drops to the ground, throws up a stationary break dance position, then spins out of it into a funky trot. The projector responsible for background visuals wobbles a little, and one of the more stoic attendees gets caught trying to duck underneath its beam. No one’s fazed by a little scalp shadow in the frame.

Projected on the wall are many painted faces, all of them trapped behind a huge sheet of plastic, like the garbage man came into their scary carnival dressing room and just threw them all away. The camera flashes into each of their faces as they try to tear their way out of the bag using their teeth or tongues. It’s very menacing, very unsettling, until they succeed in breaking through the trash bag. Then all that’s left for them to do is to lean forward and frown really intensely. So the song ramps down. The dancer shuffles a little more slowly, and everyone else continues to stand at the same tempo. The man in black takes his flask back.