The Magic of Diana Oh’s THE INFINITE LOVE PARTY
THE INFINITE LOVE PARTY runs Fridays & Saturdays through February 2 at The Bushwick Starr. Doors at 7:30pm, sleepover optional. Get tix at https://www.thebushwickstarr.org/
It’s the coldest night of the year, and I don’t do well with winter. I have on long johns and two pairs of socks and sweat pants and a hoodie and two shirts under a jacket and a scarf and boots and a new hat. Winter shell fully constructed, I enter The Bushwick Starr for Diana Oh’s THE INFINITE LOVE PARTY, and experience an absolute spiritual undressing.
The Bushwick Star – in Diana’s words: “What other public art house in NYC is going to let us have an adult sleepover?” – opens it’s doors and I see that Diana and her expert team have turned the theater into the greatest playroom I’ve ever been in. I take my shoes off and there’s soft carpet under my toes, impeccable lighting, and a relaxed ease to it all. Carefully redesigned for warmth and comfort, there are people on swings, finger painting, and sitting on balls discussing the state of politics and the state of their hearts. There are also TONS of bubble-blowing opportunities. One could analyze all the activities and see that there is a greater plan in place to ensure the party goers unplug from their worries and open their minds – or one could just relax, take off a layer of clothing and accept the medicine. These days I often feel like there is a sickness inside of me and every time I turn on the news to see the abuses that queer people, people of color, and femme people endure, I can feel that anger and sadness and sickness spread. There’s a bitterness that’s forming like plaque in my arteries. But at The Infinite Love Party, I am being treated for what I didn’t even realize ailed me. You-know-who is on TV doing his racist wall talk on this night, but I feel pretty far away from that. There are friends, and strangers who are probably going to become friends, everywhere I look. There is an open mic and a fantasy slow dance to memories yet to occur, and a dance party that is pretty cute. I fall in love for exactly 15 minutes and it’s the best. How did Diana achieve all this?
Diana Oh is out there making dreams come true. But she’s not alone in this endeavor. Nearly all of her collaborators are people she knows personally. In fact, she reflected to me later, “In one way or another I met each of them on a dance floor”. Choosing the artists to work on this party with her was simple. “A lot of it was, whose heart do I trust? Whose benevolence do I trust?” Trust. And that was the audition process. This chosen group, the Super Queero Heart Questers, take care of you in the space, show you around, talk with you, and wow can they dance.
Diana and her team’s process of art-making involved starting with meditation, mindscaping to the color of their hearts, a daily dance party, discussing what opens them up, what shuts them down, naming and claiming their own queer magic, and learning how to prioritize heart centeredness. Only THEN did they start to put together the actual party. Did I mention that the process was about 10 days? “It was two days in December, then the holidays, then back for a week – it was a sprint, and everyone knew that” Diana explains to me. And that’s the god damn miracle of theater. You certainly can’t tell that they put it all together so quickly, but it’s easy to sense the process they used. The process shows in the work. It’s warm in there. Cause the carpet is great sure, but it’s the spirit that heats you up the most. “The job was so clear, we just have to be a pleasure zone.”
Some might say that Diana is creating a refuge from the outside world where we can forget that it even exists – but it seems to me that rather than selling opium, she’s creating a party where we can recalibrate the way in which we move through our lives. As a recent blog post of hers says “I love squishy mushy yummy hugging teary bigger than my body process. We are signing up to be superhuman as artists. We are signing up to become the keenest observers of the human condition. Super. Human. The pain will never go away for any of us – the joy though, is something we can endlessly cultivate. I’m working on being superhuman.”
There’s a secret trick to magic. Trust. I’d strongly recommend that you trust Diana Oh. The magic that she’s making works.