Darcy James Argue's Secret Society in Brooklyn Babylon. Photo Credit: Rahav Segev.

Brooklyn Babylon, performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society in collaboration with graphic novelist Danijel Zezelj featured live music, animation, and live painting. The show open with music played by musicians dressed like street urchins from Elizabethan England. They performed a number, which was followed by Danijel Zezelj appearing on a platform in the background. He went to the center of this platform, picked up a roller and began painting. A few minutes after he started, a screen came down between him and the audience and animations started to play on it. These animations told a story of the building of the Tower of Brooklyn which was to be the tallest tower in the world. The story was told from the point of view of an old man and his grand-daughter. The old man was a carousel builder and the mayor had commissioned him to build one for the top of the tower. He did as the mayor had asked of him but he noticed that some of the little girl’s favorite places were destroyed to make room for the tower, one of them being a cafe that she loved. The old man noticed how sad this made her, so he decided to give her a surprise.

When the tower was finished and the carousel installed, the old man and the little girl were the first to ride it. The carousel started to spin at a regular speed but it slowly started spinning faster and faster until it flew off of the top of the tower. When the carousel was airborne a parachute device came out of the top of it. It flew through the air until it finally landed in Coney Island. Once there, a group of people ran to it and started to work on it. When they finished the carousel had become the cafe that had been destroyed during the tower’s construction.

As the animation was projected, the musicians played and gave the story feeling. They played slow calm music during parts of the animation that showed the actual construction of the tower, and fast panicky music during suspenseful parts, like when the carousel started spinning off of the tower. There were breaks in the animation where Danijel Zezelj could be seen painting on a long white canvas. The final picture he drew was of the tower itself from a view that was not shown during the animation. All the different parts of this performance went together perfectly. Each element supported the others, creating a whole experience that was greater than the individual parts.