Dinners & Social
Long before “social practice” entered the lexicon, the Mainstreeters were consummate hosts. Much of their interaction revolved around their home life, beginning with high school and lunchtime trips to each other’s houses, where they indulged in midday escapades. As they grew older and found housing near one another on Main Street, they became known throughout the arts community for their parties.
It is often said that you would remember where the Mainstreeters stood if they came to your art opening, because they would leave on the floor behind them a ring of cigarette ashes. Their entourage or gang presence was a tough one, but they were also generous in welcoming new people into the local scene, indulging in excesses and having fun. Various boyfriends of Carol, Ann, Deb and Jeanette came and went, as did Marlene’s suitors.
“The Complex” at 26th and Main was an important space to meet and concoct plans for new projects. Life and work blended, with dinner menus serving both as meeting minutes and documentation for work done over bottles of beer. In an era where many artists lived in commercial spaces in order to keep their artist-run projects afloat, Mainstreeters practiced their art (or creative tendencies) within the realm of domestic space.
Beyond the parties they threw for each other, the Mainstreeters became involved in more formalized event production. Annastacia McDonald partnered with Fernando Antunes to decorate large rooms for professional gala events, with other Mainstreeters chipping in their expertise. Antunes, who came to Vancouver from Toronto, was an integral figure in the local design and fashion scene throughout the 1970s. He was among the first to succumb to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.