It was a group art party:
"The lights and stage were donated by Glen Echo Park. The Torpedo Factory brought the food [cheese, carrots, crackers, M&M's] I got the booze . . ." said Jackson Frost, the WETA producer. He's done "some Wolf Traps and Carnegie Hall" and is now doing "Art Beat" which debuts tomorrow at 9 p.m. on Channel 26 and was the cause of all this celebration.
Zenith Square, the collection of galleries and studies on Rhode Island Avenue NW, donated the space for the party which flowed from one lofty room into the galleries -- quite important if you wanted to talk (something impossible to do when the Pin-ups were playing). The Pin-ups -- a rock group, three women, one man, nice edge to them, big on volume -- along with jazz group Sufi Rain and reggae group The Community Warehouse all donated their music for the occasion.
Some didn't know what they were coming to before they came. "I thought it was going to be an art show," said one guest.
"For all of you who got invitations and couldn't understand them, this party is being given by five local groups for a program on local art," said Zenith's Margery Goldberg in corkscrew curls and jersey fringe and shoulder-baring dress the colors of clouds and sky at sunset.The dress was the art work of Ben Compton. She stuck her paper name tag onto her skin. "The best thing to do to celebrate was to have a party. And everybody knows artists throw the best parties."
The party-givers: Zenith, WETA, the Torpedo Factory, Glen Echo, and Lansburgh's, the one-time department store building which now houses 27 arts groups.
"Art Beat" is indeed cause for celebration because it will be the first monthly TV show devoyed to local arts. There have been several forums in the community for arts groups to talk to WETA about what they would like to see in the program.
"This is great -- all the groups together for a cause," said sculptor Carol Newmyer looking around. "I go to New York and all the artists are so cutthroat and competitive. They're all so afraid other people will steal their ideas."
Tomorrow night's premiere of "Art Beat" will include features on local arts groups plus a 10-minute panel discussion, hosted by WETA's Andrea Roane on whether or not the local arts community is healthy, plus a live performance.
"Melvin Deal is going to bring his drummers and dancers and he'll teach a class in my studio," said Frost. "Oh, man, I've been wanting to do a show like this for a while."
While Frost took to the dance floor, other faces in the crowd popped up -- artist Robin Rose, the Miya Gallery's Vernard Gray, art collective Local 1734's Jenifer Weiss and Ruth Stenstrom. And then there was painter Terry Parmelee (who rents studio space at Zenith) in a very, very short black and white lace maid's outfit.
"It was costumes-optional," she shouted above the music. "Halloween's coming."