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15 Minutes at the Remote Lounge


by Tristan Trout



Last night I went to Remote Lounge, that bar in the East Village decorated in 1960s space-age décor, all vinyl and orange plastic booths that looked like they came from Stanley Kubrick's set designer. In front of every seat in every booth was a TV camera, a console with big, shiny, happy buttons, a TV screen, and a joystick. On the monitor, you can see the other people in the bar (or check your hair and makeup) and guide the camera around with the joystick. If you liked what you saw, you could press a button and talk to them on a telephone. You could see every corner in the bar; you could look at that gorgeous someone all night without them noticing. Every right to privacy was waived at the door. Or, of course, you could watch the art-school soft porn movie on the other channel.

It was more than a bar; it was an art school project. The drinks were accordingly expensive.

Too bad everyone was either tuning out the audio-visual noise, trying to look cool, pretending that constant surveillance was the price of being hip enough to go to a bar like this, or (if they were single guys) panning the cameras down to check out the tits of all the girls in the bar. You knew this because people's camera feeds were displayed on the wall monitors, and half of them showed grainy black-and-white sweatermeat. All this technology at hand, nobody making creative use of it. It was sort of like the way the boss has a six-million MHz Pentium 4 on his desk, but his secretary has to print out his e-mail for him.

The girl I was there with and I had the opposite reaction. We weren't creeped out at all by being watched. We reveled in it. To paraphrase that other retro-hipster, it was our 15 minutes. We'd wait until the camera was on us and pretend to pick each others' noses, or I'd pump my fist like I was jerking off just under the camera's range, or she'd put her lipstick on me, or we'd ring people up, tell them to check our channel, and start making out. She had the idea to hold up a little sign saying "I (heart) Mel Gibson" to the camera. I held up a sign saying, "Will perform cunnilingus for booze."

We had a great time.


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Posted December 16, 2001 1:51 AM






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