The Discovery Meadow, Comes Alive at Night in Pre-Zero1 2008 Festivities, by Tamara Alvarado, resident of Spartan Keyes, Martha Gardens

“You have to see the monkeys!” “Have you seen the monkeys?! “You HAVE to go to Discovery Meadows – there’s something crazy going on there!”

Peter Hudson’s Homorouboros, zoetrope with strobe lighting.

So off we went with a few friends – one drummer, two dancers and a writer – to go see about these monkeys. What we found and experienced is one of the highlights of the second biannual Zero1 Festival centered in downtown San Jose. The best way to describe the work is that it is a carousel (called a zoetrope) that combines delight and fear in your heart. The artists approached us and asked us to join them and play the electronic drums that “power” Homorouboros. We stood under the umbrella like structure and attempted to find a common beat. My drummer friend, Laxman, immediately found a beat and inspired us all to pick a drum and play. With the imposing, 24-foot-tall structure looming overhead, the drum beats reached a frenzied pace and the carousel began to move. The monkeys came alive with a strobe light effect and we witnessed magic! The monkeys swing from branch to branch, and are force fed an apple from a snake. It was both startling and delightful. Everyone stands at attention at the most unreal prospect of watching full-size monkeys “swing” in front of their eyes. For a few seconds, you are transported and forget that you are in the middle of the urban jungle. An artist present, Scary, introduced himself and talked to me about the piece and its travels through the Burning Man festival. At first, I was hesitant to talk to a grown man named “Scary” but five years of being MACLA’s executive director taught me to go with it. I appreciated his insight on this beautiful and innovative piece.

Homorouboros will be in the Discovery Meadow, on the corner of San Fernando Street and Woz Way through June 15th. I encourage you to experience it for yourself.

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