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Hybrid? event; Hallwalls mega-party? is a sensory overload? of artists, entertainers

On Saturday night, hundreds of artgoers will converge on the former Pierce Arrow showroom (1685 Elmwood Ave.) for Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center's 24th Artists & Models party.

The popular fundraiser, which has drawn crowds to various disused buildings around the city in recent years, includes more than two dozen art installations and performances along with dance, music and drinks.

"From its inception," Hallwalls curator John Massier wrote in a release, "Artists & Models has always been a hybrid creature, a mixture of planned, thoughtful artistic purpose and unhinged, spontaneous activity. It has always been, and remains, a zone of sensory overload, temporary psychosis and unbridled enthusiasm."

This year, the wide open space of the Pierce Arrow complex – not to be confused with the nearby Great Arrow Building– lends the event an even more communal sensibility than usual.

"It has an interesting architectural structure, vaulted ceilings and arches," said Hallwalls Executive Director Edmund Cardoni. The event, he added, will be "more spectacular than usual and will be seen by a lot of people at once as opposed to people exploring through nooks and crannies."

The theme of this year's affair is "Showoffs," and, as is typical for Artists & Models affairs, it has attracted plenty of bizarre and often tongue-in-cheek installation proposals. Some artists have chosen to interpret that theme broadly, while others have ignored it completely. There some 30 installations or performances.

In one of this year's zanier installations, a collaboration among Alice Alexandrescu, Kyle Butler and Shasti O'Leary Soudant, features 5,000 twistable balloons dropped from the ceiling. Visitors will be instructed to create a single mammoth balloon animal "that will then be paraded through the space and perhaps even onto the street."

Elsewhere, visitors will be hacking away at a unicorn piñata by sculptor Bethany Krull, listening to the dulcet tones of a roving artist known as Jimyn The Singing Mime or participating in Jeff Maciejewski's installation "Aunto Botzo's Ice Cream and Advice," which will dish out "advice about perms, the coming nuclear war, and why you should kiss boys."

The event will also host performances from Melanie Aceto Dance, the Real Dream Cabaret, the artist collective Buffalo Lab and live painting by Phil Durgan and Joel Coon. Music is by Live Band Karaoke, Jack Topht, the 1 2/8 Path Band and DJ Alexandra P. Spaulding.

The event, launched in 1984 by Tony Billoni, is Hallwalls' largest fundraiser of the year.


Artists & Models

When: Preparty at 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Main party at 9 p.m.

Where: Pierce Arrow complex, 1685 Elmwood Ave.

Tickets: $15 advance, $20 door; $50 for preparty

Info: 854-1684 or