Photography: Patrick Arias
The map brought me to a building with long-dead-but-once-manicured plants, and wood carvings, but no doorknobs at the entrance. I really hoped this was the building. I texted a friend who let me in, and got entranced by the big chandelier—and the three sub-chandeliers. Was this a church at some point? There’s a fireplace?
I was only able to visit the former Spectrum a few times during these anxiety-ridden workaholic years. One time was for a much-needed screening of Liquid Sky, followed by after-hours viewings of Annie Lennox, the other to help blow-up smiley face balloons for the next day’s shindig. I might not have been in the headspace for a rager, but I was glad to help set up the space with some intentional repetitive motion.
The collective feelings of love for The Spectrum are palpable, and its loss felt by so many, which is why, in this special dark time before The Future, seeing The Spectrum update to The Dreamhouse warmed both Spectrum intimates and acquaintances.
It was a joy to overhear folks squeal over mundane bits: the wide staircase leading into a basement floor of curated video; the many, many, bathrooms, their moppings both loving and thorough; the fabric walls, which had been stuffed with sound-padding (that squeal was mine). The excitement of an awesome new home.
And since it’s a soft opening, the space had little markers denoting in progress. The intimidating door leaning precariously against its frame—no need for a warning sign, folks knew to step clear. The pile of construction materials behind the refreshments. Yes, we’re all in progress.
The Dreamhouse allowed me to return a book from a friend I saw last night to a friend I hadn’t seen in months; laid me face down, ears up in full absorption of the readers; and lulled me to the floor with wooden blocks on strategic places on my spine, to have a rare few minutes off my feet.
I’ve been on high alert for months about what’s coming for queer spaces, and Dreamhouse’s soft opening helped me relax into these uncertain next few weeks. Whatever future the elections have in store for exhausted queer cultures, I’m comforted to know that The Dreamhouse will be here, unfolding and enfolding, meeting the needs of the next years.