And So We Embarked Upon This Project..

Image to stage an art show in motel rooms with everyone/anyone in charge. No one would curate. No one would procure an event permit–no one would need to. Individual artists and creatives would rent rooms–the public would be invited.

“Get a room, Make a Show”. This is the motto and literally the only rule observed. The third weekend of June would always be our event’s weekend. OK, so 2 rules.

That first year it was actually called Dada Motel and the event took place over the fourth weekend of June, 2007. In Reno, we have the month of July reserved for an event called Artown. That city wide establishment festival is run by a non-profit organization with a large budget.

For years Reno’s visual artists have felt shafted by that event’s planners so El Jefe’s new event was to steal some thunder from them. We did it the very weekend before July starts. Ours became the alternative arts event of Reno.

It’s always the issue of insurance. Artown, being a non-profit corporation, has many hoops to jump through and the full gamut of restrictions. This dullness is passed along to the artists. Visual artists do not sell tickets to their events and quite often not one penny is made. Trust me, I know. These points all make for very restrictive parameters in putting together an art exhibition unless the show is held in existing spaces open (and insured) for the public–motels-HellOOooo.

Controversy is always good for publicity. Those first few years you’d hear much harsh talk about Artown. People seemed to eat that shit up… our friends anyway.

Myself, I never wanted to give Artown the satisfaction of thinking their event led to the creation of our event. A city council guy, their leader, actually tried to do just that. In a meeting with state officials, I’m told he actually tried to take credit for NadaDada as an explanation of why Artown needed more tax money. Our event has hosted the creative contributions of 350 artistic souls at no cost to tax payers. Alot of people are very proud of this fact.

The big non-profit corporation that claims so much in the way of tax breaks and public funding now also wants to accept credit for what we’ve done, categorically, WITHOUT the assistance from the trickle down. No sir! Artists created this event not a board room.

We’re not against public funding, I just don’t want to see artists sucking from that teet anymore. (I’d like to credit Jefe with this analogy). Artists are leaders. Creators make the world. We are not paupers and we are not handicapped and we’re not in need of aid. We create culture. Culture is not enslaved by subsidies.

Sure it’s a pride thing. NadaDada is proud to be a positive contributor to the economy since 2007. We pay for motel rooms and event locations are rented, drinks are bought… presented are musical and theatrical shows to an accepting and contributing public. We do not present “starving artists” or something akin to battered wife shelters in need of donations.

There is only so much public money out there and there’s no reason an event like NadaDada should compete with organizations for that funding. No, we can’t accept tax deductible contributions–we’re not a church! We cannot claim grants for the organization itself because there is no organization. There is no trickle down within NadaDada. It’s a self run band of gypsies who know how to party. We have only our selves to thank.

It’s nice to be mobile and it’s effective to be nimble. People have come and gone and many have brought new energetic contributions. If everybody owns it, every one of them is free to assist.

I think when people fear calling it anarchy, they can’t get “chaos” out of their head. Destruction is not part of our game and our movement is not really against anything; we’re simply offering a different model of self-government. We all want the same thing and that is simply to be able to create freely and to exhibit at will. There is such a thing as self policing and friction usually takes care of itself.

Some ancient philosopher once observed the ironic center of man’s desires: to fit in–acceptance, and also to be recognized as exceptional–individualism. There’s collective good but we also want to be able to stand out. As long as we’re all allowed to pursue both aims, we should remain healthy as a culture.


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