“In the summer of 1961, the struggling city of Oak Hill invited the Infinity Corporation in with open arms. Jobs were promised. Deals were made…Something very dark was being done in those laboratories and soon everyone would know about it.” So begins Patrick McPheron’s “INVASION”, a vivid, campy delicious tour of a world drawn from 1950s and ’60s sci-fi and fashion. The candy-colored images resemble film stills from a movie full of sexy aliens and lonely housewives, retro spaceships and silver ray guns. “I grew up watching a lot of Irwin Allen shows like ‘Lost in Space’ and ‘Land of the Giants,'” writes McPheron in a statement. “I loved old ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Twilight Zone.’ All of the wacky characters and sets, color palettes, and story lines of those old shows were secretly embedded in my brain.”
McPheron, who has worked as a fashion photographer, unpacked those memories and combined them in strange and suggestive ways, emphasizing erotic undercurrents and giving a noir sensibility to his own version of that slice of Americana. “INVASION” was shown in downtown Los Angeles in August, 2015, in an exhibtion that transformed the gallery into Infinity Corporation Laboratories and was attended by some of the characters from the series. A crowd-funded book of the series was published this year, and McPheron is planning to show the work again at Night on Broadway on January 30.
“INVASION”’s cast was made up of real life characters, ranging from former Club Kid James St. James, who plays a sinister Dr. Milton Vincent in a three-piece windowpane plaid suit. As the CEO of Infinity Corporation, his skull peels back a bit to reveal his true mechanical self. RuPaul’s Drag Race star Tammie Brown plays Mrs. Esther Maxine Vincent, flanked by gas-masked henchmen and channeling a late-career Joan Crawford.
“With ‘INVASION,’ I created a whole town of characters and each of them have a background and a name,” writes McPheron. He sees his series as “the classic story of a power struggle for survival. It’s just told through big wigs, outrageous villains and technicolor sets.” It looks like good clean fun.
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