Brandon Nastanski
Located behind two old wooden bookshelves I found on 13th St., the speakeasy is just big enough for two to three people to fit and one behind the bar. From the outside the installation appears to be nothing but the book shelves holding an assortment of books covering a wide range of interests, but mostly focusing in on nature, art, and fiction. Located on one small shelf is a group of books about alcohol, jazz, and one C.S. Lewis book The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. All of these are meant to be a hint at what lies behind the bookshelf. If the viewer pulls these books the bookshelf slowly swings open to reveal an intimate dimly lit room. Several skulls of a cow, a deer, and a beaver decorate the wall. The walls are stained a deep red mahogany and the ceiling is a rich red velvet. From behind you can hear the soft sounds of jazz coming from an old 1920’s radio and in an antique oval frame there is a print of an Ernst Hackel drawing of an assortment of lizards. There is a stool in front of the small bar top: both are constructed from an old filing cabinet. Behind the bar you will find me waiting to serve you a drink dressed in clothing from the period, a black vest, white shirt, black tie, slacks, and polished wing tip shoes. There are two shelves behind the bartender. One holds unlabeled bottles of red and white wine and a few decorations, on the other shelves are some teacups and saucers. I offer you a drink; you may have red or white served in a teacup with saucer. The piece becomes about the experience, the setting, and the conversation. Even if only for a moment we can forget the outside world and just enjoy this intimate setting.