What do you look for in a good night out? Spiritual enlightenment and broadening the mind are usually not at the top of most people’s list.
Michael Noom and Adina Viarengo of Montreal psychedelic band NooM, have created a monthly series that aims to do just that. They’ve dubbed the events New Moon Psychedelic Mass, held on the night of the new lunar cycle.
New Age-y connotations aside, this is not some granola-crunching hippie shit where everyone is expected to sit in a circle and meditate. It’s simply a really good time where attendees get to watch short films by local filmmakers, see some good bands (Bearmace, NooM and Light Bulb Alley performed at last month’s party), partake in some arts and crafts and get their face or body painted. This Saturday’s event will also feature a paper airplane contest and group yoga.
It’s all in the name of bringing positivity into our lives and exchanging ideas that have the potential to make the world a better place, according to Viarengo and Noom.
“[It’s about] bringing people together in a nightlife environment where you can get more out of it,” Viarengo said, “we wanted to open up room for cool activities, discussions about information and sharing different forms of art. We want to bring down limitations and have people be exposed and try things out while they’re going out. Self-empowerment, empowering people spiritually, I think that’s something that needs to be highlighted in society right now.”
She’s not talking about spirituality with a capital ‘s’; Viarengo’s definition of the word is much more casual than that.
“I think spirituality is really about an acquisition—just asking the universe the questions that you have and being receptive to the answers,” she said, “it might be in the Bible or in the Qur’an or…”
“…a Bazooka Joe comic,” Noom offered, “I was walking in Salem, Massachusetts a long time ago and I think I was seeking a mystical experience. I was like ‘I wanna experience something trippy.’ I was by myself walking down the street. A little wrapper was blowing in the wind and it hit my feet and I picked it up. It was a Bazooka Joe comic. They always had the fortune under and it said ‘never underestimate the power of positive thinking.’ I had never been exposed to the words ‘positive thinking’ before and I was like ‘that’s a good idea.’ That fucking comic strip changed my life!”
“That’s the type of atmosphere we want to set up at the parties,” Viarengo said.
This might all sound a little ambitious but Viarengo and Noom think that the most effective way to bring about real change is by not sweating about the big picture, focusing on the self and by remembering that even the smallest gesture can lead to something.
“The spirit is us, really. That’s who we are,” said Noom. “If people are losing touch with who they are, they’re not in touch with their spirit and more in touch with institutional learning, corporations, pharmaceutical drugs, genetically modified foods, compromised manipulated mass media. Everyone’s like ‘well what can you do?’”
“I think that’s a really closed-minded way of looking at things—‘what can I do?’ Because everything you do is doing something. People should never feel like they aren’t making a difference because they are,” Viarengo added.
Noom and Viarengo understand that ideas and positivity can be contagious; all it takes is a common interest in being open. They’ve achieved this—whether consciously or not isn’t clear—by not setting up too much expectation for the people who come to their parties. If reading the event description leaves you feeling like you have no idea what this is supposed to be about, it’s a good thing.
This approach has worked in their favour. There was a diverse crowd of people and a really good vibe going on at the last one, which took place on January 30 at Café Cleopatra. Blame it on the influence of the new moon, which supposedly makes people act crazy, but there was definite electricity in the air that I don’t think had anything to do with the venue’s wild lighting fixtures.
Photos by Bianca David.