How many of you have done laundry on a lonely Friday or Saturday night and felt like total losers? I see these people in the elevator all the time, pathetically wheeling their carts around when it’s prime party time. Thankfully for those sudsy sad sacks, there is a new party that could solve all of their problems: It’s the Dirty Disco, for which promoters transformed an actual Laundromat in Williamsburg into a nightclub.
I arrived at the self-service, coin-operated washing machine establishment to find it bathed in a soft pink light. A sexy blond was applying body paint and glitter and a couple of well-built young men were preening for her in the window where a sign proclaimed: "The Laundromat That Never Sleeps." The place was already jumping at 11 and it kept getting more and more crowded—eventually a line formed out the door. "May I ask you a few questions?" asked a guy with a video camera on the sidewalk out front. "Are you here to wash your clothes or dance?" he said to me. "Both!" Of course, I had bags and bags of dirty laundry in my hellhole apartment, but carrying them onto the subway seemed excessive.
At $75 a ticket, I figured the bash better be more fun than clean—and it was. Yes, one draw was the open bar with bottomless glasses filled by super hunky bartenders clad only in white terry cloth towels. It was the look of the place, the pink lighting, the good-looking crowd dancing in between the bank of washing machines and the kick-ass music by DJs Juan Maclean and Justin Miller. "Come on over here, I want to take your photo," said a striking woman with a huge camera. It was Ventikon, billed as the evening’s "eccentric photographer." She was pleasantly kooky, wearing a headdress of low-fat milk cartons as she dragged out a big frame made out of a collage of Tide detergent boxes to use for her pictures. It was touching to see what appeared to be the owners of the Laundromat in the backroom, with shelves of detergent and other paraphernalia. I waved at them but they never came out to boogie with the rest of us.
The Dirty Disco party "designer" was a tall young man called Adam Aleksander, who greeted everyone in his retro mustard jacket. Aleksander set me up at an ironing board in the front where I spent the rest of the night dancing with a can of starch and a Black and Decker steam iron. "Your shirt looks dirty, you need a wash and a press," I shouted at performance artist Sequinette, who had arrived with a tight lavender shirt that had a little gravy stain in the center of her bust. "I’d sure like to get into your laundry," I said. Maybe she didn’t hear me. She smiled but politely refused to remove her shirt.