I don’t normally don a certain style for sauntering the city, especially one that requires Neon Green. After purchasing my ticket I quickly started getting clues for what my evening at Vacant would entail. The first clue was an overly cheesy Will Smith. Not zombie killing, super hero Will Smith. This was fluorescent wearing, hat on sideways, one acid washed jean suspender unhooked, Will Smith. Think 1992. Then there was the video clip; Hip Hop. Old School, rockin’ beat, break dancing hip hop. My final clue was for the location. Up until the day before the event the only clue I had for the location was “South Side”. I’m heavy type A and these types of clues don’t bode well for me. Thankfully the Vacant folks came through and a GPS setting was sent via email. So I think I had it. Dress was 1990’s, hip-hop, oh and we needed to bring quarters. I figured for that one it would either be arcade games or juke box. It was arcade! I love Galaga. So, back to the outfit. I graduated from Lansing Eastern High School in 1988 so my memories (and possible collectibles) were off by a couple of years. So I did some research. Now I remember! Neon, scrunchies, painters caps and pants, high top Converse, jean jackets, ripped up baggie t-shirts. As I put pieces together more memories came flooding back. Yes, I’ve worn these outfits before. So I cut off a pair of Pat’s old jeans and shredded the bottom a bit, since I wouldn’t have time to let it wear out properly. I bought a set of neon gloves with the fingers cut out at Claire’s (those styles are all coming back) and a pair of bright green socks. I paired all that with a cut up baggy sweatshirt over a green tank top. The icing on the cake was a borrowed pair of black high top Converse. Sweet!
Finally making my way to the location sent via email I quickly spotted the balloons attached to a pole; more clues. This isn’t the place. The actual location is two buildings down. If the note on the balloons hadn’t given the location away, the brightly attired crowd hanging out near the road would have.
I parked and walked over. I gave them my ticket and my password; “Fresh”. They gave me a cup, a green paper fan and a waiting time of 9 minutes since I was early. As friends started trickling in I was quickly able to find someone to hang with while we waited. We didn’t wait very long when we got the okay to enter VACANT.
The idea of Vacant is to bring community folks to a space that is vacant. This allows people to come and see how the space can be used. This idea is similar to when Ignite Lansing hosted their event at the Knapp’s building and soon after the owner of the building decided to begin restoration efforts for the building. The second goal is to raise money for South Lansing Community Development Association as the proceeds from ticket sales go to this group. The last and most non specific goal is to get people in the community participating in something mysterious and exciting without them needing to think about much more than showing up and supporting the creators of this event. Without those willing participants this event would really be truly vacant.
Rose Cooper riding in on her Harley to perform a Spoken Word Poem