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Even A Retro Video Game Contest In An Art Gallery Couldn’t Break Me

11:04 AM PDT on October 19, 2015

    Before you read any more of this, it’s probably worth mentioning that, to me, the best video game there is and ever will be is Angry Birds. So you should know ahead of time that I clearly do not know what the fuck I’m talking about, even more than usual.

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    It’s become clear, now that I’m on the third one of these things, having been to a Bird Simulator, and then an Evening of Plant Music, that L.A. Taco is attempting to break me with these events. And now that I’ve passed the first couple levels, it’s time to raise the bar. That’s right, last Saturday, they sent me to a Level Up! a video game tournament in an art gallery. For… some kind of charity.

    Great. Sounds great.

    Sitting down and writing this now, I actually had a moment of realization, that I was about to write about a fundraising event and I had absolutely no idea what cause was being supported. It turns out, Level Up! is in support of LERATA, or, the Laboratory for Experimentation and Research in Art, Technology and Architecture, AKA perhaps the least valuable charity I could possibly think of. Seriously, their own website says “The mission of this non-profit organization is to provide a platform for experimentation and research in the fields of art, technology and architecture, and to foster collaboration for the purpose of discovery and advancements in these fields.”

    That’s right, folks, I went to a fundraiser for an organization for some of the people least in need of any help on the planet earth. And look, what I do is absolutely inessential. I get that. But come the fuck on.

    And so, on one of the hottest days of the year, I found myself at the Temporary Space Gallery, which had been repurposed from “Art Space” into “Art Space full of Video Game Enthusiasts, Food, and Extremely Alarmed Art Gallery Employees.”

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    So the event itself was really, really simple. Around the gallery, which held completely different and unrelated art, there were video game consoles set up, with the evening’s featured games Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers. In the middle of the room, the actual video game tournament was being projected on the wall. In the corner of the room, there was a bar serving beer and wine, which I’m assuming is pretty standard for that gallery, and a sterno heated buffet table with stuff like macaroni and cheese and meatballs in sauce. I’m no expert on art gallery logistics, but I feel like one thing to take into consideration when choosing what type of food to serve in one, things like “sauce level” should be really high up on the list.

    Right as I walked in, I heard several very stressed out gallery employees reminding each other to “make sure they don’t leave any meatballs on the art.” This went on all night, with cups and plates and bowls being shuffled off of artwork, as two cultures of people who don’t give a shit about each, the video game people and the art people, tried with medium success to occupy the same space. Oh, and a third type of person, the writer standing by the industrial A/C unit chugging as much free water as I could get my hands on.

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    As an added bonus, the event also featured a Party Game Truck parked outside, which was some kind of R/V filled with flat-screen TVs, video games, and, while I have no idea of knowing this for sure, felt like someone had invested in a mobile strip club business that failed and had to be repurposed for games.

    Should you go to the next one of these things? Obviously if you’re super into video games, video game people, and supporting potentially bullshit non-profits, this is definitely the place to be, but if I may, I’d also suggest that for anyone super into accidentally getting meatballs on a painting, this will definitely be your jam.

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