The Playdead Mansion is very cool, though it might not suit Hugh Hefner – too many clothes.
And while Playboy Magazine may have inspired Stu and Bean Playdead to start their clothing-company-turned-jack-of-all-arts community, their workspace is distinctly grotto-less.
What does fill the one-level warehouse-style space just off of Queen Street past Dufferin are countless jackets, shirts, sweatshirts, paintings, pieces of odd furniture, pieces of photo and video gear and other random items that speak to the “Cult’s” seemingly arbitrary, but incredibly impressive creative output.
Formed in 1999 to give the pair of local kids a reason to screen print one’s quirky renderings of dead Playboy bunnies, the last decade has included its struggles, but also seen Playdead Cult open of two stores, join myriad rock tours, outfit celebs, throw dozens of parties, fashion shows, rock shows, art exhibits and start a band – A.P.E.
Above: Machetes @ The Playdead Mansion/Below: A.P.E. @ Viva Los Muertos
Not that Stu, Bean or any of their Playdead cohorts are rich. But they are a classic example of people who live their art and seem to be taken care of for it.
“We live ghetto fabulous,” Stu assures.
But what they lack in independent wealth they make up for in the independence that surrounds their creative process. Working with what you have or can scrounge from the surrounding neighbourhood to decorate, inform and entertain is one reason why.
That they’ve created their own “day jobs” through the frugal pursuit of every artistic whim and created a fascinating space with roots in Parkdale before it became what Stu calls “another Richmond,” is not only impressive, but downright enviable. And to hear them tell it, there’s plenty more to come.
As for future ambitions, they include belly dancing and stage shows, the extension of Viva Los Muertos, an annul music fest they hosted the first edition of this spring and perhaps even a theme park that Stu hopes will make you feel like you’re on acid.
Which is to name but a few of their ideas and degrees of seriousness and not even scratch the surface.
Ten years into their lifelong lifestyle project and a porno mag might be the only thing they haven’t thought about trying. Then again…
“We want to do everything,” Bean assures. There will be Playdead everything.”