Monkey Town 6: It’s Somewhere You Definitely Want To Be
Montgomery Knott’s multimedia pop-up rewards all your senses
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
11:00AM, Tue. Jan. 12, 2016
Never mind strapping anything to your head, citizen.
Maybe half of the near-breathless hype about the possibilities of virtual reality will prove, in the next couple of years, true. In which case you won't need to be getting your immersive, giant-sized video thrills via some event like this Monkey Town 6 thing that's improving Austin's entertainment options until February 7.
Still, even then, an event like Monkey Town 6 would continue to provide the sort of omnisensorial social opportunity and gustatory excellence that you couldn't get elsewhere than IRL, video or no video.
And never mind any of that VR shit right now, anyway. This is still just 2016, and if you want to experience something visually unique and hang out with a bunch of fellow culturistas and eat one of the best meals you can eat in this town, then a man named Montgomery Knott is your huckleberry.
That's because Knott is the originator and head honcho of the actual Monkey Town 6, an event previously visited upon NYC and Denver and Barcelona, and his collection of videos – by Takeshi Murata, Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Shana Moulton, Johanna Billing, Rachel Stuckey, Wiley Wiggins, Jeremy Couillard, Agnes Bolt, Theo Angell, and more – is screened on four enormous fabric walls that surround a temporary fine-dining arrangement in the middle of a mostly emptied warehouse on East Sixth.
And you know it's one of the best meals in town, because the chef responsible for its excellence is Sonya Coté of Hillside Farmacy and Eden East — and she's working her considerable culinary magic, this time, on shrimp and butternut squash and micro-wasabi and field greens and Texas Wagyu beef and pumpkin spice cake and — need I go on? About the glory of this food?
My friend Mark, who was there the night I attended, would swear his tastebuds orgasmed during the steak course. My wife Katherine, who attended with me, wants to have a gallon of that perfect butternut-squash-and-carrot soup delivered to our house each week. I think, even if you haven't already experienced the results of Coté's skills, you get the idea here. And the waitstaff, it should also be noted, were like service-oriented ninjas.
But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there's more.
In the middle of the meal, in the middle of the program, the videos and the food and the whole aesthetic gestalt of Monkey Town 6 are further enhanced by a live performance — and this canny Knott has a terrific shifting line-up of talented locals on the schedule.
The tragedy of having missed the nights that dancer Rosalyn Nasky was the attraction was mitigated by a transcendent performance from composer Justin Sherburn and pedal-steel maestro Bob Hoffnar on the night I was there. [Note: They played part of the Sherburn score accompanying the documentary Yakona, a film about the San Marcos River.] And that same Sherburn is teaming up with Sara Nelson on cello and Brian Cassidy on pedal steel for this week’s run. Not to mention the artists (go ahead, see for yourself) still to come.(And you know those creative folks at GSD&M were impressed by the whole thing, too. Which is why they made this video about it.]
So, yeah. You want a superb dining experience, a collection of odd/lyrical/innovative videos surrounding you on Brobdingnagian screens, a live show from local talent, and something you'll likely be talking about for months? Then it's Monkey Town 6 for you, citizen, and whoever your lucky date is that night.