With the tagline "be the strange you wish to see in the world," one would wonder what exactly Nonsense Night is. But that's the point, or rather the anti-point.
Nonsense Night is a randomly occurring monthly event held at Tangent Gallery, while there are themes – some more eclectic than others – the night is more about community.
Zak Winchester is the "creator" of the event but does not want to be known as the leader, as he put it "there is no leader."
"It started in 2014 and became monthly in 2015," said Winchester. "It grew organically from having events at Tangent that were open slates, and we started calling it Nonsense Night. There were no plans and it’s blossomed into this thing with themes."
When it comes to themes there really is no limit. The October 2017 theme was "Ice Cream Funeral Parlor" celebrating life before death. They have also had two installments of "The Weird War" where people picked a side (Bubbles or Sparklers).
For DJ and frequent Nonsense-er Brenda Lopez-Lopez, her favorite theme has been the Weird War. But what truly drew her into Nonsense Night was how different the event is.
"I reached out to Zak because it's so different from every other event I've worked," said Lopez-Lopez who regularly performs at the event. "It’s a place where adults can go, hang out and have fun. You can really be yourself."
While artists and performances are booked you can go there and "not care about what's going on, on the stages." This sentiment is backed by performer and Night-goer, Phoenix Wright – who has only missed one event in the past two and a half years.
"I have had art installations and performed at many of them but it's about the people," said Wright. "The night is a blank canvas for local Detroit artists, dreamers and doers, it's a call to arms over a joint idea that welcomes all people to share their art through a similar lens."
The night invites people to be part of the festivities not just to watch the show but be the show. Which is part of why Wright started going in the first place.
"I was craving community and artistic expression, it was incredibly welcoming and it became a platform for me," he said. "Having an outlet became an addiction, getting to experiment with a lot of stuff and things that were bouncing around in my head."
Nonsense Night is dictated by a "Nonstitution," which has three rules. Don't try to define it, don't take it seriously and don't do anything without M.E. (mutual enthusiasm).
"The people that go are very well-behaved and respectful of each other," said Winchester. "It is a community, and it’s a constant thing for people to look forward to."
He hopes to continue to expand the reach of Nonsense Night to the great lakes area. The event has spread to Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids already, and Winchester has a few popping up in Ohio.
The next Nonsense Night is 6 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Tangent Gallery; the theme is Non-Con, Nonsense Night's take on Comic-Con.
Tangent Gallery is located at 715 E. Milwaukee Street.