"If you don't mind the -- fuss, we'd sure love to help."
<NYC> Chimaera Arts - Brooklyn
This is just one of the many abandoned warehouses in DUMBO, and like many of them it has recently changed hands. /Unlike/ most of those, however, it does not have some corporate developer's sign out front promising a transformation into luxury condominiums or a boutique shopping center or the latest concept restaurant. Instead it's marked by a piece of weathered but wildly colorful plywood propped up on a stack of broken pallets, which reads "Chimaera Art Space!" above "chimaera.org" in smaller letters.
The warehouse is moderately large and decorated with graffiti art in various styles--some of it recognizable as the work of renowned local street artists. A pair of monstrous scrap metal sculptures, perhaps still works in progress, flank the entrance. The building itself has undergone significant renovation recently, complete with wiring, plumbing, and a modular partitioning system. The grounds, too, have been cleaned up, ramshackle fences torn down and rusting detritus removed in favor of reclaimed (and brilliantly repainted) outdoor furniture ringing an impressively engineered firepit.
The warehouse is not /quite/ bustling, this evening, but it's far from empty. Many of the partitions have been arranged to segment off a few side studio spaces -- two of them are well-lit and closed off for privacy at the moment; from a third a freqent coming-and-going trickle of college-aged people are moving lengths of wood in from a truck outside to an in-progress modular sculpture currently mounted on a wheeled base.
Over by the firepit there's -- actually currently a fire, despite the sweltering heat of the day (oppressive in here, even with evening onset and many fans whirring.) At /least/ it's very small.
Perched on a chair beside it, Ryan is currently toasting a marshmallow at the end of a long twisty skewer of some sort of scrap metal.
Jax, on the other hand, is just flopped right onto the ground, a water bottle pressed against his forehead and his eyes narrowed -- not really at Ryan. Kind of up at the ceiling. "You could do that on the roof."
"/Way/ more mosquitoes outside." Ryan dismisses this suggestion airily.
Dressed in an oversized t-shirt that looks like a slightly cloudy blue sky and gray cargo shorts with yellow lightning bolts down the outseam, Tag is flitting about restlessly. He's fidgeting with a well-loved multi-tool, converting it from pliers to not-pliers and back again. "It'll be nice to have when the storm rolls in later," he hedges, conciliatory. "There must be something else that needs hands around here." Though perhaps it's not his hands that want something to do: scintillating waves of color are rippling out from each of his footfalls.
Marinov wanders through the warehouse, looking around at anything that they can get sight on. They are currently wearing a meshed black top and a pair of charcoal coloured shorts, light fabrics mostly in response to the heat, fur colour having been recently reverted to their natural rosette pattern. They sniff the air lightly while trying to determine the direction to head in, but the smell of burning catches their attention more than anything else and they start to approach it curiously. Until, that is, they catch sight of Ryan. They become just a bit more rigid, but try to stay cool when issuing a greeting. They wave their hand a bit too vigorously and settle on opening with, "Heeey. He- Privyet. Hey. Hi. Uh. Hi." Oh no.
As if on cue, there's a rolling crack of thunder outside, though as yet no drumming rain to follow it. Ryan still looks triumphant, though, poking his stick in Jax's direction. "See? You hate and I'm over here. A /visionary/."
Jax wrinkles his nose -- then lifts his head to snap at the marshmallow skewered on Ryan's stick. He rolls over onto his stomach abruptly upon hearing Marinov's greeting, though, propping himself up on his elbows as a dark blush floods his cheeks. "Marinov! Salut! -- Ryan, this is Marinov. They're --"
"-- the art thing, yeah, people have been raving." Ryan is unconcerned about the theft of his marshmallow. He relinquishes it to Jax, leans down to pluck another from a bag behind his chair and poke it onto his stick. Waggles it at Marinov with a bright smile. "It sounds -- needed. I bet they could put you to work, Tag. Honestly I can't see how /anything's/ more important this moment than s'mores but --" Shrug.
Tag actually jumps at the roll of thunder outside, though he does not actually seem dismayed. The pooling waves of color on the floor around him shimmer and flash with the sound. "Oh, that's lovely. You can /smell/ the rain. It'll cool things down so much." He waggles his fingers of his free hand at Marinov. "How goes the setting up? Are your people finding everything alright?" He hesitates, glancing sidelong at Ryan and then back at Marinov, grinning. "D'ya need anything colored? Or..." Holding up his multitool. "...tooled?"
Marinov also hops a bit in surprise at the thunder, and the insides of their ears redden as they recompose themselves. "Oh! Well, I've had a lot of help with it. To be honest, I am still sorta surprised that it's coming together so well," says Marinov, ears perked up and expression bright at having it recognized by Ryan. "Hi Jax, and heya Tag! And it's cool to meet you, Ryan." To Tag, they say, "Well, I imagine that there will be plenty of tooling needed, come to think of it. Setups for events and stuff are always, well, a bit've chaos!"
"I'm sure there'll be /plenty/ that needs tooling when it's closer to the date. There'll be a lot going on in this space, yeah?" Jax gestures around the warehouse as a whole, sticky half-a-marshmallow now stuck to two fingertips where he's plucked it from his teeth. "I'm glad it's coming along, though. It's such a great idea."
"Pleasure," Ryan answers Marinov easily. "Is there any more help you need? I've been wanting to ask you about this whole event. Definitely seems like a great addition to the community."
"It's brilliant," Tag agrees solemnly, "and needed." The clouds are slowly gathering to blot out the sky on his t-shirt. "The collective is proud to be able to support this event, and I'm /so/ excited." His cheeks color faintly. "Maybe a /little/ too excited? Definitely feel free to yell at me or at least send texts with little frowny emojis if I start trying to step in too much." He bounces up onto his toes, his sneakers going from pink to bright yellow. "But ah, also yeah, but Ryan said."
Marinov nods a few times quickly to Tag, "Heh, well, I'm excited that you're excited! Like, there's been so much interest and stuff and... it really does mean a lot to me, you know? I think it's needed, too. That's why... well, that's why I've been pouring so much into it! I haven't had time to have my own entry, but that's alright, next year!" Their attention then turns over towards Ryan, "You've been meaning to ask me... ?" repeats Marinov, "Well, now that you mention it... Like if you, uh, you probably know that your music is like... a big deal to my, like, demographic. If you played something, that would be... real cool, yeah? People would get real excited, lots of attention! But that might be the fanperson in me, 'cause... uh, I think you're awesome. Like, musically of course, one hundred percent for sure, but also..." They gesture between Jax and Ryan, ears reddened a bit more, "I think you're heroes. But I think I'm rambling and stuff, yeah?"
"Guess that kinda happens, don't it." Jax's nose scrunches up, slightly. "Shane didn't have 'bout /no/ time for competing in the Evolympics. But you grow, you get the swing of it, you -- hire a buncha people to do your work for you!" Now he's gesturing brightly to Tag.
"Is it /hiring/ if they just freely throw themselves at even the slightest hint of work needs doing?" Ryan's question is casual. He leans down again to retrieve graham crackers, little squares of chocolate, stack them and rest them briefly beside the fire. His head dips, lip catching momentarily between his teeth and tipping his smile a little lopsided. "Musically awesome. I'll take that complient."
The red in Jax's cheeks has never entirely vanished, but now it's back somewhat fiercely. "S'kinda you to say. Though there's plenty enough folks what -- might not use the word /heroes/, exactly."
"They'll use a /lot/ of words, though." Ryan is cheerful. "Similarly evocative."
This pulls a chuckle out of Jax as he rolls up into a proper sitting position. "We'd sort of considered -- I mean, we /want/ to support this project, y'know? But we wanted to check in with you about the best way to do that. I mean, ain't none of us /visible/ mutants, /and/ it's not like we need the exposure art-wise like a lotta up-and-coming artists do who might nobody never get a chance to see otherwise."
"But I'm not /un/aware that attaching my name to a project is kind of instant publicity." Ryan sounds a little wry. "It's just -- for better or worse, you know? That's kind of your call. We don't want to steal any shine from anyone, we just want to help make this project get off the ground good if we can. And there's plenty who like us, but plenty who --"
"... don't," Jax finishes this simply.
"That," Tag says simply, nodding at Jax. "I was also hesitant to ask cuz I figure you might feel obligated to us cuz Chimaera is providing space for some of the events, you know?" He's pacing again, flipping the multitool open and shut. A rippling psychedelic rainbow wake follows each of his footfalls. "I mean I'm not as polarizing as Jax or Ryan but still--don't need the exposure. Maybe there's a way for us to participate without /featuring/ our work? Like if Ryan /opened/ for someone else, or I did some advertising and decorating for the events." By the time he stops, his shirt is almost wholly gray, with only the soft suggestions of clouds on it. HIs hair is electric blue and almost seems to glow. "Dui bu chi, didn't mean to put you on the spot. I'm totally cool with just tooling things, too."
Marinov listens to Jax and Ryan speaking, ears flicking lightly, "I mean, I guess I wasn't suggesting performing as, like, an entry. More as like-" They look to Tag, and nod a few times, "Yeah, like, opening for someone or like, as something for the participants and attendees, as a closing..." They sniff for a moment towards the smores, distracted by them for a few moments. "But yeah, I think there's definitely ways for you to participate without featuring as entries. I'm sure some of the participants would, like, love help with decoration at their stations or for their timeslots. I know for some, they're pulling together at the last minute and need help bridging the gap. Or... really, anything you might think of to help with the volunteer efforts. I know you're all... well, brilliant, yeah?"
The youth crosses their arms over their stomach tightly for a moment and remark, "And... um. I know that you're controversial, but... sometimes you gotta be controversial, yeah? I'm not gonna shy away from what I'm about. I mean, you're right, that you're established and not, like, visible mutants, but I'd still like your hands involved in it. Like, help amplify or spotlight those who are participating? If that makes sense? 'cause you /are/ established. Or, yeah, failing that, just tooling things can even be a big help." Their tail twitches back and forth as they consider their own words.
Ryan's smile grows even brighter -- his brief chuckle highlighted in a shiver of bright-warm feeling that washes for a moment through the others. His fingers snap together. forefinger pointing at Marinov as he nudges Jax with a toe. "/I/ see what you did there." He scoops up his graham crackers -- just a little toasty, chocolate just a touch melty at its sides, and mooshes down a marshmallow onto one. Sandwiches it between another cracker.
Jax looks briefly perplexed, though he shakes it off quickly. "If you don't mind the -- fuss, we'd sure love to help. Just, maybe gotta brace yourself cuz if we're helping to spotlight or a -- /oh/." His eye widens, suddenly, fingers pressing to his lips to stifle his own quick smile.
"See? /Now/ you're there." Ryan's eyebrows give a quick bounce as Jax catches up. "It's okay, Marinov, not everyone's such a quick draw with the puns. I'll do a song here or there, maybe. You should get these two into some /performance/ art. You ever seen one of their art fights? Bet some folks would be /hell/ of down to step into the -- metaphorical -- ring with --" He gestures to the others. "Some more established artists MCing."
"Whoa." Tag brightens--literally. Sun-lit cracks form in the clouds on his shirt, and his hair goes azure like a clear autumn sky. "/Whoa,/ amplifying and spotlighting! Oh /man/ we would be /such/ entertaining art fight MCs. And we /know/ how to set up and tear down those things in a rush, too. We been doing them since before we had this space. Guerrilla art fights and all that." He bounces up and down in place, the wobbling concentric rings of colors on the floor pulsing through the spectrum. "Provided there's room for that sorta thing in the schedule, that is. You're already so overworked!"
"Art fights sound all kinds've amazing, actually, and could be great for some of the participants! I can make room or space, not to worry!" says Marinov, tail curled up and ears perked forward in excitement, "A little extra work will make it all the more satisfying when I roll into bed after it's all done. I'm just imagining it now. It'll be great." They pull their phone out of their bag to make a few quick notes, squinting and moving the screen closer and further from their face as they do so. "Spasibo, I appreciate it all. And... I don't mind any fuss. Leave it to me." They glance over their shoulder, "Oh... but I should probably get back to it. Clock's a tickin'! Do you have all my contact stuff?"
"I got it," Jax affirms.
"He's got it." Ryan jerks a thumb at Jax. "I'll steal it from it. It was good meeting you finally, Marinov. See you 'round, yeah?"
"If you /get/ a minute to breathe y'should swing by our place 'fore you head back t'school. I'll get some proper food in you 'kay?" A wide black-tassled silver Stetson appears on Jax's head; he tips it to Marinov. "Hasta luego!"