Witness “The Spectrum” a fantastically psychedelic carnival fun house designed by Keith Albarn (father of Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz). Sadly this British Pathé film short is probably the only thing that remains of it and there is little to no information about it anywhere on the Internet. I’d have loved a chance to see this in person. As it was meant to be seen. On acid.
“Simple gadgetry activates light and sound in these way-out labyrinths. Albarn hopes that the people who wander through his Palace will be encouraged to master their environment, instead of being mastered by it.”
Watching this I got to thinking about a different druggy funhouse on this side of the pond—also no longer standing—the infamous Palladium night club of New York City. Once the fabled Palladium Ballroom, where Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Patti Smith, The Clash and Lou Reed all played, the Palladium reopened in 1985 owned by former jailbirds Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, who had previously run Studio 54. Artists like Francesco Clemente, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Laurie Anderson and Arata Isozaki were all commissioned to build installations.
The lighted staircase (see above) was amazing—especially if you were on Ecstasy—and the Basquiat mural behind the upstairs bar was nothing short of astonishing (and really, really huge, about the size of billboard). A house would crash from the ceiling onto the dance floor like the one that killed the Wicked Witch of the West and spinning walls of video monitors hovered overhead. (If you are thinking this sounds like the set of Club MTV, you would be correct.). It was a fantastically decadent place to spend one’s youth. Now it’s an NYU dorm with a Trader Joe’s grocery store downstairs!
(I wonder if they were able to preserve the Basquiat? It was painted directly on the wall and probably as valuable as the real estate itself).