The invite was black and red. It had been delivered by hand that day. “I apologize,” the RSVP said. “No guests allowed.” Meaning no plus ones. Meaning that the next part, instructing me to be at the WESC store in Soho at 10 p.m. sharp, where “you will be blindfolded and taken to the party location,” made me feel a bit uneasy. I’m all for a little kink every now and then, but blindfolding and secret locations most commonly mean a shit ride home.
The party was for Skrillex, the five-time Grammy nominated (possibly) “Best New Artist of the Year,” who kind of looks like the offspring of a young Corey Feldman and a vampire dinosaur. Skrillex had teamed up with the clothing brand WESC to throw a party celebrating the awards noms, his show at Webster Hall last night and seemingly himself. I’ve never been into crazy heavy house. Seizures are something I try to avoid, and the constant key shift, the scratching on blackboard sound effects and the panicked light show that inevitably couples with it would kill an epileptic Great Dane. But I threw caution to the wind, thinking it’d at least be a pretty rad party.
At 10 p.m., the WESC store was packed. Allow me to amend that: the street outside the WESC store was packed. There was a line that went down Lafayette both ways. People were running up to the door, hand-delivered invitation outstretched, where the bouncer would just laugh in their face and tell them to get in line. “But I have the pass!”
The bouncer smiled, “Yeah, so do the rest of these people” he motioned left and right. I may have possibly (absolutely) cut the line unnoticed. In the 15 minutes it took for me to get inside the store and grab my blindfold, various rumors circulated about what the night held. The space is in Brooklyn. It’s in Jersey. It’s in Omaha. They’re going to drug us I hear. Y’know, that’s what they do at these sort of things. I heard the Fugees are going to play. Wait, like with Lauryn Hill and Wyclef?
Inside the store, models stood around drinking beer. Photographers snapped shots of them, “Tell me you love it-HIM-Skrillex.” The clothes remained out on display, and some people were using T-shirts to dry off the wet PBRs that were free for the taking in a tub of ice. I grabbed my blindfold and crossed the street where charter buses waited. Waiting to get on, I saw a friend walking down the street and shouted “What up?” He told me he had forgotten his invite at home, so he was gonna run and grab it, “I’ll probably go straight there. I hear it’s on Varick and Vandam.” That was about five minutes away. That didn’t make any sense. Why charter a bus to take you walking distance. Why not cut out the middleman of the WESC store and just deal with shit at the actual venue? I figured he had probably misheard.
A young man playing bus chaperon asked that I put the blindfold on as I boarded. When the bus was packed he told us to leave the blindfolds on if we wanted. “It makes it more fun. But we’ll be there in, like, five minutes.” Vandam and Varick! WHAT THE HELL?! The lights on the bus turned off and the crowd made ghost noises. The middle school aspect of it was nice enough. But five minutes later the bus stopped and out we went. Five blocks from our original location.
The party was held at new art-themed nightclub, W.I.P., Work In Progress. The vibe of the club is dingy, similar to the revamped Don Hills, but with a more open hall-like space. Walking down the staircase into the party, I came across a fire breather. A magician was doing card tricks in the hallway, while a woman lay naked under a pile of melted candles, still burning. Another woman was dressed up as some sort of mythical animal, and pranced around the room. In the main room a contortionist twisted himself in and out of pretzel form, under the gaze of the satyr who was sticking a screwdriver in his nose, all the way back. A feeling I’d be able to fully appreciate five seconds later when I realized it was a cash bar. No open bar section. No free booze.
Friends, I apologize if this is a let down. But there are few things my fragile mind cannot comprehend. One of those things is when a lavish party is set up, chock full of pricey shenanigans. Acrobatic tricks meant to blow your mind away enough that you lay down your cash for a little boozey booze. Facts: Minimum credit card tab, $50. No ATM. Drink average $15. It was 11 p.m., because we had all been told to come to the party at 10 p.m. sharp. It was too early to stay sober until 2 a.m., when some guest performer might grace the room with their presence. This was a PR-planned party with an extensive guest list, who all received SNAIL MAIL invites. Snail mail costs money. Charter buses cost money. Even blindfolds cost money. As do all the performers prancing around. In fact, it all costs quite a bit of money. Ask anyone at that party if they’d rather have had all the spectacles or a little sauce to enhance the spectacle of the party. What’d I do?
I left. Skrillex or no Skrillex. Grammys or no Grammys. A sober night with dull expectations ain’t my rodeo, folks.
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