Described as a "DIY theme park" of sorts, the Multiverse, hosted by YoungArts during the Borsht Film Festival, weekend, featured classic carnival favorites and then some. There was (free!) cotton candy, (free!) beer, and (free!) arcade games; all of which were played and consumed while short films were screening in the backdrop.
Underpinned by the surreal mantra "all life is real," the Multiverse was divided up into separate realms that had to be experienced uniquely.
Though the entire evening was inspired by the 2012 viral sensation by Bleeding Palm, The Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse, the physical recreation came to life at the Zorgdon-4 Barfar Landing area with giant cutouts of some memorable characters. Those fitness-crazed dolphins working out in bikinis were there, a mutant manatee that bares a striking resemblance to Pitbull was chillin', and Star Prince himself hanging and ready for photo-ops.
Nestled close to the entrance (and between your favorite Multiverse characters) was a little Emotional Arcade. Developed and run by Brent Hoff, the balloon feelings contest pins four friends -- or strangers -- next to one another where they must prepare to feel either lust, bliss, chill, rage, or fear. Hooked up with an EEG headset and griping an airless balloon, participants are shown an emotion on a screen and the first one to fill the balloon with his or her emotion and make it pop is the winner.
Hoff explained that he got the idea from MRI machines, that moment during an exam when doctors ask patients to feel a certain emotion. Just as patient's brain lights up in different ways during the procedure, so too did the brains of the emotional arcade contestant. You could see little spurts of your brain reacting and see how conjuring up a particular emotion looked. It seemed to be one of the night's favorites, the sound of popping balloons filled YoungArts' campus all night.
At the Urban Reef, tucked in a corner by the Jewel Box, was an inflatable pen with an underwater-meets-wild-west feel. Guests could enter a pen and ride a hammerhead shark which might be easier to tame than a wild bull.
On the opposite end of the reef was Manny's Winter Wonderland where a giant, blue inflatable slide with a polar bear waited for you to climb up and shimmy down. While white flecks of artificial snow fell down around the wonderland, artist Manny Mangos performed spoken word poetry using a megaphone.
Since the evening was dedicated to the 9th annual Borsht Film Festival, it was no surprise that the outdoor cinema was the biggest draw.
A crowd seated along white fold-out chairs sat in the December breeze and paid close attention to the projection against the YoungArts' Tower Building. The films showcased featured a range of stop-motion, animation, documentary style, and single-camera shots. Starting with short films by National YoungArts Foundation alumni, then a series of shorts curated by high school students, and lastly ending with a segment called "Bosh Film Festival" which featured the premier of the crowd-funded sequel, The Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse! Part 2.
Aside from cult fans waiting to discover the real reason LeBron James left the Miami Heat or to find out why everyone is always yelling at Mario Chalmers, revelers made their way up to the third floor of the Jewel Box to enter the Postmodem Realities. They strapped on virtual reality goggles and were transported to anywhere in the multiverse. Two of your options included Julian Yuri Rodriguez's grandmother's memories of Cuba or an underwater coral garden by Coral Morphologic.
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The Multiverse quietly infiltrated YoungArts on Friday night and left behind a pulsing energy that only leaves us patiently waiting for more in 2015.
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