In the pink

On the afternoon before the Gallery Horse Cow’s Valentine’s Day party, the buzz was all over Sacramento. Shoppers scoured downtown stores for pink clothes. (Rumor had it that anyone not dressed in pink had to pay double admission.) At Cheap Thrills, comments flew from the dressing rooms: “I heard this guy wears a metal suit and runs saws all over it, and sparks shoot out.” “I’m modeling tonight, and I don’t even know what I’m wearing yet.” Tyrus Wilson could be seen through the window at Le Fun, furiously sewing for the evening’s fashion show. Even the barista at Infusion mentioned he was planning to be a go-go dancer there.

When love is everywhere, there’s nothing to do but surrender. So, you assembled the pinkest outfit you could find and arrived just after 11 p.m. Outside, there was a line of people dressed in wigs, wings, faux-fur coats, lingerie, fresh camellias and fluffy sweaters that ran the gamut from light to hot pink. Nearly every one of them tried to talk their way out of the cover, telling the doorman that they had no room for a wallet in their hot pants or that they knew someone inside. Having little patience for those who want to indulge in independent art without financially supporting it, you skipped to the front of the line and offered your money with a smile.

Inside, a couple hundred people lined the perimeters of the warehouse. Square stages were interspersed throughout. Huge movie screens offered simulcast views of each.

For the next several hours, a montage of strange and wonderful sights passed by. Belly dancers shimmied to Eminem tunes. Women covered in fresh flowers spun fire from their fingertips. The Lovemakers played a scintillating set, as vocalist Lisa Light pushed her way through the crowd, staring down boys and singing, “I’ve got you hypnotized.” People in metal suits ran buzz saws over their armor, creating showers of sparks. Models strutted for a seemingly endless fashion show. Some wore pull-tab flapper dresses, inner-tube corsets and gowns made of plastic bags—all recycled-material garments by Davis group Haute Trash.

The trash was fantastic, but the fashion by Amy Hemmens and Wilson was truly visionary. Models with hoods that totally obscured their faces wandered slowly through the warehouse in a parade of white, pink and burgundy. The clothing was so original, there aren’t even names for some of the garments: gathered velvet tubes that slid over both arms, shirts shaped like pink bows that bound the arms across the chest and asymmetrical masks that made it impossible to tell a person’s gender or race. For the finale of their show, two hooded models climbed atop the center stage and dressed and undressed each other. Some of their garments bound them together, and others barely stayed on their own bodies. Their dance became a metaphor for the transformative properties of relationships. It was a perfect Valentine’s Day gift and worth every bit of the buzz.