Pizza is the food of the gods. The very, very drunk gods. As everyone knows, there's nothing more comforting than sliding into a pizza parlor booth at 2AM with the sole intention to cram your piehole full of gloriously cheesy, liquor-soaking dough. So imagine if that late-night pizza stop wasn't the destination at the end of the night, but the destination itself. Imagine if someone just combined the best of two worlds—pizza and partying—and slammed them into a hip-hop-fueled, cheese-scented turn-up. Actually, no need to imagine. That's what happened last weekend at a gourmet pizza parlor in New York City.
The Pizza Party is the brainchild of $tuntloco, AKA DJ SYLO (Brady Ettinger) and Matt Ford—two Philly-based party-throwers who've been packing out pizza parlors in their home city for years. (THUMP was on-the-ground at one of their biggest ragers in Philly to date back in April.) The idea is simple—but brilliant. Ettinger and his crew haul in club-worthy speakers, local DJs, a bounty of PBRs, and stacks of pizzas into a friendly neighborhood pizza spot. They invite their friends. The party pops off. Through their dedicated efforts, $tuntloco's Pizza Party has become the nexus of an super fresh scene in Philadelphia—something that has grown organically for once, with nary a branded sponsor in sight.
"We're sick of all the BS elsewhere," said DJ SYLO, when I asked him why he decided to start Pizza Party. "We want something that's unapologetically dope, but we want it to come from us. We all have so much energy, we're all confused and angry with the world, and we all want to feel like we're a part of something that's real and righteous. Millennials are going to flip the world on its head mane. First things first though, let's throw an awesome party and bring everybody together. That's how it all started."
Last weekend, $tuntloco decided it was time to bring the Pizza Party to New York City. So they linked up with COSIGNED—a collective of New York DJs and promoters that includes Vicki "Vickivibe" Ho, Anthony Hull, Anthony Coleman, and Brandon "B.Rob" Robinson—and picked a fancy pizza parlor in SoHo to throw down.
After greeting the world's first pizza parlor bouncer, I walked into a darkened, cheese-scented room to an MC telling everyone about the "mandatory" coat check in the kitchen. The adorable resident DJ Vickivibe was playing a chopped-and-screwed remix of "Say My Name," while waving her hands in the air. Within minutes, the brick-walled parlor was filled up with friendly strangers. It seemed like every other cutie in the room had walked out of a FADER Fort party or something—they all seemed to be rocking beanies inscribed with Homiès, or some other tongue-in-cheek, pseudo-designer slogan. Cool parties in New York usually mean one thing: everyone's too busy being cool to let loose. But as the homies popped off to Ty Dolla $ign and Tiga, Pizza Party proved to go against the grain—everyone was down to fuck around, flirt with their neighbors, or scramble for a slice of free pizza. As my friend put it, "I'm a total loser—but I could still walk out of here with ten numbers."
Pizza parlor going up (Photo by Todd Pangilinan)
More people showed up than the promoters had anticipated, and the room was soon getting I-can't-breathe packed. I smushed up to B.Rob, who was busy getting flooded with hugs and birthday wishes, to find out what prompted him to get involved with this party. "$tuntloco parties are the most diverse I've ever attended in my life, and I believe that's a testament to both DJ SYLO's ability to tastefully dip between sounds, as well as my observation that Philly's underground scene is generally more accepting than New York's," he replied earnestly. "I love it here, but things are so competitive that everyone is trying to get weirder or tout how opulent and grand they are, so that they can stand out and hone in on an audience. We wanted to get something authentic going in a city where you're constantly bombarded with theatrics and empty promises."
"It's crazy how many parties suck," DJ SYLO added. "They just don't give you that feeling—you know the feeling! That excitement is what it's all about. That's what we want to do: uplift people's spirits."
As the night barreled towards a frenzied peak, Chrybaby Cozie, a lite feet performer and local dance legend, parted the crowd to showcase his skills to a mix of Lite Feet tracks spun by Cabo Blanco. As he spun around, showcasing his skills, several women jumped in to have their own dances with him—the last of which got pretty damn sensual. If dirty-dancing with a local dance legend in the middle of a pizza parlor is what will make New York's hype-obsessed party scene a little more real, I'll take it.
Michelle Lhooq loves partying as much as she loves pizza - @MichelleLhooq