The brainchild of Montreal-based director, curator and artist Ariana Molly, C.R.E.A.M. is an anagram for Cinematic Rave Experiments and Musings, a hybrid event of film, music, art, dance and performance.
"To quote me," laughs Molly, "I like to say it exists at the precipice of salacious fantasy. All of the art space is tinted with something sexy, something a little naughty."
No stranger to extravagant, decadent events, Molly previously hosted the Cinema Erotica series with friend and collaborator Veronika Yemelyanova. The previous series showcased erotica cinema with a multidisciplinary twist. Also hosted at Cinéma L'Amour, Cinema Erotica shed light on one of the city's most neglected art spaces.
"For me, Cinéma L'Amour is my absolute fantasy space."
While the space entertains a predominantly male and mostly older crowd looking to watch adult fare on an average day, the identity of the cinema is slowly changing thanks to some killer merch and young people like Molly reimagining its possibilities.
"For me," says Molly, "Cinéma L'Amour is my absolute fantasy space."
From Yiddish cinema to naughtier times
C.R.E.A.M. builds on the identity of Cinéma L'Amour, which has been an adult cinema for decades. Molly instantly connected with the owner's son after she met him serendipitously after walking into the cinema for the first time, looking for information on how to shoot a music video there.
"We were kindred spirits," she says. "We're both Jewish and come from this long line of immigrant Jews that worked really hard to create something in this country. That really resonated for me."
Before its naughtier origins, Cinema L'Amour opened as a cinema known as Le Globe in 1914. Located on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, the cinema came to specialize in screening Yiddish cinema throughout the 1920s and 30s, embracing the glamour of the silver screen when it was renamed The Hollywood in 1932.
In 1969, it became The PussyCat, and first started screening erotic and explicit films. It fell under current ownership in 1981, when it became Cinéma L'Amour. It is now one of the only operating porno theatres in North America.
"Life can be so banal. Any opportunity we can create for people to indulge in their sensuality, creativity and play is exciting."
Self-expression in animal and ritualistic space
"The space has always had a form of eroticism tied to it. It's old and decrepit in a truly delightful way," says Molly.
Eroticism has been a core tenet of Molly's work. "It's the most animal thing inside us," she says. "The dance party space and the rave space are so animal and so ritualistic."
She sees the space as an opportunity to allow people to be free to express themselves through movement, all within a welcoming and safe space.
"What keeps the cinema excited about working with me is that energetically, we are contributing something really positive to the space," Molly explains.
Many participants have heard about the iconic cinema, but events like C.R.E.A.M. are the first time they've actually entered the space. "There's just something so special about seeing the look on people's faces when they enter and realize that this magnificent, original 1920s cinema is hidden behind (these) sketchy-looking doors," she says.
For its first-ever event, C.R.E.A.M. has a suggested dress code, "bloodlust."
"Life can be so banal," says Molly. "Any opportunity we can create for people to indulge in their sensuality, creativity and play is exciting."
She hopes that people interpret the theme of creativity. She never wants to impose anything, she also doesn’t want to tell people to “ like wear black." She wants something abstract to trigger something exciting.
Drawing people out of their bedrooms to explore the more sensual side of life out in the open, to experience the wild and unexpected in a wild and imaginative space.
An evening brimming with the sensual and the unexpected
C.R.E.A.M. will feature a screening of Tony Scott's iconic vampire film, The Hunger: The 1983 film stars Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon in an immortal romantic and sexual entanglement. Often considered one of the sexiest and coolest vampire movies ever made, The Hunger sets the tone for an evening brimming with the sensual and the unexpected.
Featuring a wide array of multidisciplinary artists, Molly wants to keep a veil of mystery, keeping some of the best tricks of the night under wraps.
"I want everyone to know there will be some unexpected thrills," she teases.
Molly is cognizant that porn has often been associated with private intimate spaces for younger generations. Whereas older generations had to seek out adult material in the outside world, for many young people, that experience is alien.
C.R.E.A.M. is drawing people out of their bedrooms to explore the more sensual side of life out in the open, to experience the wild and unexpected in a wild and imaginative space. In a world where social interactions are often relegated to the online, this cinematic rave defies the permanent and guarded, embracing vulnerability and ephemeral.
Here's where you need to go for tickets and more information on C.R.E.A.M.