Art Dommage

Styrenes Tour – Day 8
Unremarkable drive from Nashville to Cincinnati, reading and playing Xbox in the van. It is weird to sit in a moving vehicle while driving a virtual car onscreen; yet oddly satisfying in rush hour traffic coming into Cincinnati.

Art Damage Lodge

A collective live-in performance space in an old Masonic Temple on Harrison Street on the Northside of Cincinnati. After a 3-story walk up load-in and set up in a large open auditorium which was the masons’ ritual room, one of the 10 guys named John who live there showed me ‘the pit’:
Under the eaves in the attic is a small closet is a hole in the floor fitted with a wooden man-hole cover over a dark, sealed pit, maybe ten feet deep and five or six feet square. The wood has a square cut in the middle plugged with a squat obelisk of granite. The stone has a ring in the top, and there’s a large wooden pulley hanging from the rafters overhead, presumably to lift the block during whatever Masonic ritual took place in the pit. The stone is engraved with the letters TKSHTWSS in a circle on one side. I’m still trying to figure out what paraphrase of “It puts the lotion on it’s skin” these might stand for.

This was an In C night, reasonably executed, rounded out by local guests including a great high school guitarist whose parents drove him down from Columbus. The opening band played an impressively terrible set, strip mining covers like Nilsson’s Jump Into the Fire and Joy Division She’s Lost Control, lopping off all the peaks and dumping them into the valleys, leaving a barely recognizable relief map of the song. It was a consistent procedure they performed throughout the set with a kind of virtuosity; even though the result truly sucked, I have to admit I kind of liked it from that angle.

O. Henry Goes Swimming
Act 2 opens with a bathetic slide back to the standard pre-season sight: Cincy Quality Inn has an empty pool with a tarp over it. May be the influence of the Masonic pit, but I feel like I should start looking under the tarps.


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