"Can I name your azz?" a slinky young female in short shorts asked me at an Internet Week event last Thursday. I was taken aback. I thought she was calling me an ass for cock-blocking her enthusiastic conversation with a Reggie Watts look-alike.
Turns out Val was just enthusiastic toward everybody, since she, a "strat intern" for the ad agency Mother New York, had been tasked with handing out red nametag stickers that read "HELLO MY AZZ IS." I decided I’d let Val put her branding skills to use.
She settled on "appetizing." As I went to peel the sticker off, she said, "No! I have to slap it on you." Branding, indeed.
Downstairs in a basement concert venue, ass shaking was mostly the preferred method of locomotion, with titty-twirling a distant second. Host Johnny Santos exhorted the dot-com-heavy crowd of twenty-somethings, most of which showed up to catch Das Racist: "Get your ass on the muthafuckin’ floor. Get those titties out. This ain’t no muthafuckin’ Sunday school."
This wasn’t no ordinary rap concert, either. Held on a block of 11th Avenue where Mother occupies an entire building, the "cocktail hour" began on the ground floor, where the reception area had been turned into a bar serving Stella on tap and the conference space had been cleared of tables to make room for networking web nerds and the DJ equipment of Geoff Gamlen. On the other side of the bar, some of Mother’s bees were still hard at work on their iMacs.
Gamlen, one-third of the DJ/VJ trio Eclectic Method, synced "Major Lazer" and "Groove Is In The Heart" audio with video from Gorillaz, Jimi Hendrix and remixes of YouTube viral favorites like "Greatest Freakout" and "David After Dentist."
Over a cigarette outside, I asked Galem if the corporate nature of this event bit into Eclectic Method‘s club-banger cred. "What we do is very punk, and, because of its punkness, it appeals to both the corporate and underground side," he told me.
His manager Justin was more direct: "Our list of corporate clients is laughable. We don’t wear it on our sleeve because it affects the cool factor. But you don’t make any money playing clubs."
As the night grew old, Dap continued with his efforts to stamp out wallflowerism: "Get that booty shakin’! Who the fuck is not shakin’ their booty?" Intern Val was complying wholeheartedly with his assignment, grinding hard on another glitter-faced Mother employee.