While the summer of 2009 will not be remembered for exotic vacations, gilded sunglasses, or posh purchases, it certainly will go down as one of the most creative seasons we've seen in a while. Young trendsetters lacking funds are creating good times within their means with cheap, yet still innovative, summer activities without maxing out their credit cards. A few notable examples:
Dumpster Diving: The definition of dumpster diving has expanded far beyond that of freegans scavenging for throwaways. Indeed, the resourceful crew of the Macro-Sea
artists collective has been converting old dumpsters into urban swimming pools in Brooklyn, NY. There's no need to worry about residual grease from last night's Chinese food, as each dumpster is cleaned and, for good measure, lined to create a barrier between its present use and its sordid past. The dumpsters are then installed, complete with sundecks, in empty lots or backyards where joyful swimmers can splash around sans entrance fee. Bathing caps are not required, we hope.
DIY Sculpture Gardens: It's no longer just the upper crust that gets to stage garden parties with fancy champagne and caviar. Okay, maybe only the rich have bank accounts big enough to provide fine bubbly and imported roe, but the under-employed are creating their own takes on these soirees typically found at the Met rooftop
and the like. A group of Brooklyn-based artists recently debuted a homemade sculpture garden on their very own rooftop, where they invited friends over to schmooze and booze amid their works. Financially challenged culture vultures swarmed "opening night," where they were wowed by a variety of sculptures, including one of Superman climbing a brick wall. In place of passed hors d'oeuvres, psychedelic neon plastic pyramids dotted the tar surface where hipsters imbibed BYO 40s. Even after the opening, the sculpture garden has become a nexus of barbeques, impromptu dance parties and campouts. As the art market slowly withers, we expect to see more artists showing their work in unconventional spaces, often meant exclusively for their friends' eyes only.
In-Home Bars: Why go to the bar when you can build one in your loft? That was the thinking of Chicago-based artist Dustin Ruegger. Using scrap wood, bar stools found in an alley, palm leaves, and decorations from the thrift store, Dustin built a Tiki bar in his house. Channeling the ghost of tropical vacations past, Dustin strung lights and netting over a wooden fence he constructed, decked it out with artificial plants, and installed handmade shelving for a stereo system and a TV that plays a found amateur video loop of tropical fish swimming in a tank. Now instead of biking to an overcrowded watering hole, Dustin and his friends gather around his Tiki bar to drink rum cocktails and play low stakes poker. Similarly, a group of friends in New York City have also taken it upon themselves to erect a tropical-themed bar in their Bushwick loft. The move to make one's living room look like a mini-Club Med just may be related to the new fashion movement of twentysomething males dressing like Florida retirees
. And unlike a real trip, these require no plane tickets, meaning everyone can gather at the blender to whip up another round of daiquiris.
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