Justice for Barb!
Justice for Barb! This weekend you’ll get a chance to get down to this summers hottest TV show craze as a Norfolk-based creative collective will bring their sold-out Stranger Things-themed dance party to RVA.
“We’ve got a good history with throwing cool parties that are 80’s influenced, and this sort of gave us a way to reinvent the 80’s vibe as well as highlight parts of the genre that carry over into modern music,” said Charles Rasputin, Creative Director of Alchemy Underground and one of the creative developers of the Work Release.
Rasputin and his compadres at Alchemy Underground have been working to develop Norfolk’s creative scene for some time. The group started with a DIY space in a bummed out part of town and before long the city embraced it and development exploded around them.
“We were the first thing on a boarded up block, then you know how gentrification happens with artists,” he said. But luckily, instead of developers pushing them out, they worked with the group to develop the area into a creative hub. This lead to a more sustainable Alchemy Underground venue and artists space as well as well as Work | Release, an art space and creative venue located near by.
“We helped create something that would resonate with our city and also continue the DIY ethos of what we were doing before with more resources and more of a city-helping hand,” Rasputin said.
The fruits of that creative effort included the first Stranger Things-themed party which turned into a sold out event in Norfolk. According to Rasputin, a large part of that success involved working with local DIY artists to help build off a more accessible outlet like the TV show.
“People who live in Richmond or Norfolk don’t always get to see the cool parts of the subculture,” he said. “This gives us a way to reach the folks who might be open to a TV show but not a DIY venue.”
Stranger Things follows a group of young boys as they try and find their friend who appears to have been swallowed up into an alternate universe. The end result is an expertly produced, highly stylized TV show that taps into some of the most influential movies, TV shows, books and music of the 80’s.
“The aesthetic is perfect,” Rasputin said, calling himself a big Stephen King fan. “The storyline was simple and spoke to me. And it was also an easy way to tell people what to expect.”
But Saturday’s event will go beyond just the music with art installations aiming to fully immerse attendees in the show. Analog tech along with hundreds of feet of pulsating Christmas lights and even a bummed out Pam sitting in the pool are all on the menu.
“We’ve got to present the aesthetic of the show in a way that people seem to love, in a way that’s changeable from venue to venue, but still immersive,” he said.
But no matter the theme of the party or the level of detail put into the installations, Rasputin thinks the party is an excellent homage to a show which is already made up of many smaller homages.
The show itself is such a remix, and the creators are so honest about that,” Rasputin said. “And the people they’ve taken from have really been embracing it. I felt like this was a cool way to help cement their cultural relevance. Once people are throwing parties and wearing masks about their work, their brand and their intellectual work will benefit from it.”
The UpsideDown RVA – A Stranger Things inspired 80s Dance Party and Live Performance comes to The Broadberry this Saturday, 9/3, from 9-2AM. Costumes are encouraged.