The Unified Field (feat. Alex and Allyson Grey) 5.3. & 5.4
Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Words & photos By Brad Yeakel
This weekend was about connections. The Unified Field theory, in it's simplest form described that we are all extensions of one being. Within that one being, there were infinite variations, sometimes repeating within the whole. Our lives, intwined in a series of systems, webs, and planes, have become increasingly connected through the Internet, Facebook, and other fields of communication. The theory pointed to those types of examples as evidence of the Unified Field. The presentation was brief, and vague, but carried enough resonance to be effective in piquing my interest.
I was impressed by the number of attendees who had come out early to listen to the lecture. They sat on the floor of Cervantes, and intently listened to Jamie Janover and the Grey's. Alex presented his artistic depictions of the Unified Field, highlighting the newest book, "Net of Being," as well as his in-progress art sanctuary project known as "Entheon." Grey described using LSD as a lens through which he was able to see alternative planes of existence (his description made me think of changing camera lenses). Through those enhanced perceptions, Allyson and Alex claimed to uncover the nature of reality and ultimately they're capable of seeing the universal mind lattice, or neural web, that connects all of our knowledge and consciousness. Much of Alex's work depicted that grid in varying capacities. They ended the presentation by showing a kick starter campaign designed to raise money to fund the "Entheon" project. At the conclusion, Alex led the rapt crowd in a collective Om. As we chanted together, the interconnections intensified, and Cervantes became a smaller model of the whole... a singular system of connected beings exchanging energy and heightening our vibrations together.
Musically the weekend featured artists from next month's Sonic Bloom festival, and served as a sort of pre-party. The dj's and bands were all unique, and several of them were fun to watch. The two who really grabbed my attention were Orchard Lounge and Zilla.
Orchard Lounge, a Chicago-based dj collective, played some of the best house music I've ever heard. Consisting of a husband and wife (Spencer and Beth Lokken) and friend, Ben Silver, the trio rotated in and out, spinning off of each other's hooks, and inciting a dance party I didn't want to leave. I can honestly say I think Spencer Lokken's part of the set was my favorite DJ'ing I've ever seen. His mix was funk-heavy, groove-based, interesting, and unique... But most of all it was fun, and it made me move.
Zilla featured Michael Travis (String Cheese Incident, EOTO) and Jamie Janover accompanied by Aaron Holstein. As Travis laid down the rhythms, Janover countered with a combination of percussion and his specialty, the hammer dulcimer. Holstein provided bass and sampling to help propel the music. The trio was unique, entertaining, and sharp. It had been a while since Zilla played, and even longer since I'd seen them... It was refreshing to hear they were still as vibrant as ever. The band played a free flowing set that lasted about an hour and a half as Alex and Allyson Grey painted live on stage.
A mesmerized crowd stood in awe, admiration beaming, as Alex turned rhythm into line, line into form, form into being, and being into existence. It was truly inspiring. Alex exuded an energy I've never witnessed anywhere. Comparisons to both Salvador Dali and the Dalai Lama played in my head as I watched a mystic create spiritual, psychedelic art. As if a conduit from the spiritual plane was transmitting the ethereal detail to our reality, his strokes came deliberately, methodically, and perfectly. At times his eyes appeared to be closed as he laid his brush to the canvas, at others he felt the painting with his hands in what appeared to be an attempt to receive information from the canvas itself. His piercing eyes... enigmatic, captivating, and kind, intrigued and matched the brilliance and mystery of his work. It was an honor to watch him work. While Allyson hasn't enjoyed the same notoriety as Alex, the two of them were a gleaming example of love, creativity, exploration, and unity. They were cemented in my mind as a collective entity, just serving to crystallize the concept behind the entire evening.
When Zilla ended, another DJ took the stage and played into the night. At approximately 3:00 am I peeled myself away from a still-raging crowd, as the Grey's painted. With no end in sight, I reluctantly left the party. There was something peculiar about stepping out of Cervantes. Like leaving an Andy Warhol warehouse party with a touch of Burning Man flair, and stepping into a reality I'd nearly forgotten. A reality I was a part of.. We were a part of... just another node of the universe.
Brad's Photo Gallery