I often play a game where I imagine what I would do if I had unlimited funds. I'd quit my day job and write full time. I'd buy a town house in Cobble Hill. I'd own a dog and have the time to walk him myself. More travel, better wine, take care of my parents… my list ends about there.
Ivan Wilzig has used his wealth far more eccentrically. A New Jersey Jew, he inherited his fortune from his father, who worked in the oil business. After a brief stint as a lawyer, Ivan decided the only suits he was interested in wearing would be fluorescent pink, and Sir Ivan was born. He began recording remixes of hippie music from the 1960s such as "Imagine" and "Kumbaya," the music video for which "African Child" in Get Him to the Greek was surely based upon.
This Saturday I rode the Hampton Jitney to Sir Ivan's castle, dubbed "the Playboy Mansion of the East Coast." The animal-themed occasion was to celebrate his new single, "La La Land," off his Peaceman Label Group. But like every guest in attendance, you don't care about the music. You want to hear about the sparkly naked people and the drugs.
The bathrooms were dusted with glitter and cocaine residue, no doubt left by guests. Pink champagne flowed from open bars and waitresses refilled your glass before you were done with your first. The sounds of popping corks punctuated comments from socialites such as "I only did a numbie but holy hell, Colombia's finest." Body-painted models flirted with guests and played arm candy for Sir Ivan during photo ops. People set down their drinks only long enough to ride the carousel.
Around 11 PM a lady adorned head to toe in red sequins sashayed up to me.
"What's your name, honey?"
"I'm Sophie. What's yours?"
"I'm Goo Goo. Darling, do you have a cigarette?"
"Well, do you at least dance, honey?"
Goo Goo then took the champagne glass out of my hand, finished it, and led me inside the castle. Not an original cut of a song had been played the whole night; it was all remixes to everything from Ziggy Marley to the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack. After Goo Goo and I fluttered around the dance floor for a few songs, Sir Ivan appeared on stage to perform his new single, "La La Land." Supported by professional dancers, he flapped around in his pink peace sign cape and lip synced the whole damn thing. Painfully so.
While I certainly enjoyed myself (pretty Asian girl I met named Nina, DM me on Twitter!) Sir Ivan's riches-swathed reality was also rather depressing. I applaud the man for his individuality and charity work (at the party a large donation to the Trevor Project was announced) however if the invite didn't come with a castle and an open champagne bar would anyone have attended? As a music writer who often interviews unbelievably talented musicians relying on Kickstarter or starving themselves to tour, the unfairness of Sir Ivan's lifestyle did not go unnoticed.
Photos by @timthegiraffe