I'm a party boy. That's a weird thing to admit, but if the shoe fits, wear it until your feet hurt and they're covered with dancefloor muck. I work in nightlife as an art director and lighting designer, and have watched as parties—legal and illegal—pop up all over Brooklyn. We're going through some kind of nightlife renaissance, with memories of Mayor Giuliani's club crackdown fading faster than a Molly water-induced blackout.
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But the really good parties aren't happening at the shiny new music venues in Williamsburg. Please. They're dodging task forces in the shitty warehouses and semi-legal lofts where DJs go long past lunchtime (not that anyone's eating).
To prove that Brooklyn has become a DIY party paradise where you never have to go home, I decided to see if I could rave for the entire weekend without stopping, sleeping, or slipping into a nice, warm coma. Here are the DJs, loveable freaks, and techno zombies I met along the way.
Hour 1, 10 PM: As I'm basically embarking on KipChella2015, I pack a bag accordingly: notepad, water bottle, toiletries, party enhancers, and two bottles of Club-Mate—an overpriced energy drink from Berlin the Brooklyn techno community is obsessed with—that I've been hoarding for precisely this purpose. I head to Bossa Nova Civic Club, a bar in Bushwick that serves as my personal techno Cheers. Lauren Flax (of Creep) and Gavin Russom have their City Club residency there, and the spot isn't packed yet. I meditate to prepare myself for insanity to come.
Hour 2, 11 PM: I hop into a taxi and head to a pretty notorious after-hours spot in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. According to rumor/legend, this spot only throws parties on Friday nights—the Sabbath—when the Hasidic neighbors can't use the phone. It's pure genius.
Hour 3, 12 AM: The bathroom has a secret entrance and the guy behind me in line was a jerk, so I leave the main door locked and slip out the trap door into a closet, R. Kelly style.
Hour 6, 3 AM: Drexciya collaborator DJ Stingray is here from Detroit, and the windowless dancefloor is peaking. I rip my shirt off because if I'm turning this weekend into my own personal music festival, I might as well go full EDM bro.
Hour 7, 4 AM: I head up to the roof. Things are starting to get weird. My friend Clay is skating on a half-pipe someone installed. He's got a cigarette in one hand and a lit tiki torch in the other. (Casual.) A girl named Galadriel, from Berlin, starts talking to me about life, death, and caffeinated beverages. She's gleeful when I produce a smuggled Club Mate from my bag. Maybe it's the drugs or the full moon, but this is the most emotional honesty I've experienced all week.
Hour 9, 6 AM: The crowd starts to thin out, pair up, and head home, but I know that my odyssey has just begun. The sun is starting to come up and I'm starting to feel shifty-eyed, so I pop on my sunglasses, grab Galadriel, and head to Bushwick A/V—an afterparty so popping that it happens on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Security makes me throw out my water and bananas, probably because they have both water and food inside. It's basically Regal Cinemas in here.
There's even one loner spinning around in the dark.
Outside, the roof has so many tents it looks more like yuppie food market than a cracked out party den.
But any confusion is cleared up when a bro comes dancing up to us, squirming like he's getting an invisible back rub. He denies being on Molly, then propositions us for a threesome. We politely decline.
Hour 10, 7 AM: The DJ plays "Root 88" by Jay Lumen and my brain auto-lobotomizes. It occurs to me that afterparties are about the commoditization and brokerage of vibes.
Hour 13, 10 AM: Time has slowed to a crawl, my feet are swelling up, and I just remembered I'm on antibiotics for a sinus infection. But I push on, knowing that I'm doing this for… what, again?
Hour 15, 12 PM: My homegirl Ana Lola Roman comes in for a live set, mixing her vocals with wavy, upbeat techno. I am pleasantly surprised to find out that I can still move my body.
Hour 18, 3 PM: A burning desire to answer emails overcomes me, so I head home for a brief pit stop. I try to take a nap, but end up dry-heaving into the toilet for an hour. I end up spending two hours grappling with my personal demons—some emotional, but mostly gastrointestinal.
Hour 19, 5 PM: I head back to Bushwick A/V, but find myself locked out. I panic at my party fail, but remember that my friend Dance Bitch told me about another party nearby called Aphotic that Terrence Dixon is playing. Jackpot.
Hour 20, 6 PM: Doc Midi, a ghetto tech OG, is playing a hybrid set with a keyboard, delivering some wet, hot, man-on-machine action. I get a margarita and give a toast to no one. I also take this opportunity to clean my wisdom teeth.
Hour 21, 7 PM: I run into M, the proprietor of Bushwick A/V. He tells me: "In this scene you will find some of the most non-binary, transcendent thinkers, and the coolest part is they don't even know it. All they know is they're following the beat." A wave of PLUR washes over me and I feel like crying.
Hour 23, 9 PM: My friend Seashell shows up. You might know her from the Boys Noize video for "Cerebral." Her supreme baeness gives me a gust of second wind. I now have the energy to fanboy out a little and get Terrence Dixon to sign a record. Along with Terrence's agent, I dip out to the opening party of Halcyon, a legendary record shop that just moved to Williamsburg. They're still setting up shop, so we snag Badge of Honor at Rough Trade instead.
Hour 25, 11 PM: I'm beaming, brimming with hope and excitement for what tonight's raves will bring. At this point, I don't give a fuck about how clammy my skin feels, or the fact that my entire nervous system might be shutting down. Terrence Dixon signed my record. I am transcendent.
Hour 28, 2 AM: Seashell and I head to Palisades, a scuzzy music venue where White Material label founder DJ Richard is spinning with local boys Wrecked and Fatherhood. I describe the tunes as "sorry officer, vroom vroom" to Seashell, who nods in agreement.
Hour 30, 4 AM: We take off for UNTER, my favorite afterparty. My bestie DJ Volvox is spinning. It occurs to me that I've started this weekend with close friends, ventured alone into new and bizarre territory, and ended among friends. Therefore, I am finally free to get totally fucking trashed.
Hour 31, 5 AM: I am death, destroyer of dance floors.
Hour 31, 5:15AM: I am crying upstairs and having a small breakdown due to sheer exhaustion.
Hour 31, 5:30 AM: I hear a techno remix of "Blade Runner Blues," so I wipe off my tears and race downstairs to dance.
Hour 33, 7 AM: The smoke machines have lacquered the stench of smoke and sweat onto my body. I feel like I'm living inside an e-cig. Time and space have become a meaningless, hallucinatory procession of hazy memories at this point—I find myself thinking about all the fascinating human beings and total asshole waistoids I've met over and collected numbers from over the last three days. Brooklyn's seedy afterparty scene is even more lit than I imagined. It's a vicious cycle; I've learned that the deeper you dive in, the more you realize how much other stuff you're missing out.
My "33 Hour Party People" experiment has led me to supreme bliss, deep sorrow, and the type of catharsis I've only ever found in the midst of seizure-inducing lights and teeth-shattering bass. But I've just about reached the end of my techno rope, and decide it's time to call it and go home to my cat. Oh fuck, I'd forgotten I had a cat.
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