How to Explain Your Thotty Raver Lifestyle to Your Family at Thanksgiving

What to say when your grandma turns to you and asks, "What's a 'Berghain'?"

by Austin Gebbia (AKA Dear Morni)
Nov 23 2016, 10:42pm


Thanksgiving dinner is when you find out that the people closest to you are not the people you thought they were. Early on in the night, much like the porta potties at warehouse parties, everything starts off clean and unscathed. Everyone in your family is mingling peacefully, and the only tension in the room is stemming from your niece asking if you have games on your phone, but first you have to delete all those texts from your dealer offering you Black Friday mushroom deals.

But as the evening goes on, you start to get more and more uncomfortable. As you're slicing a piece of pecan pie, somebody makes a remark about the bags under your eyes that you're still in denial about. You sadly fork your fifth helping of turkey into your plate and discover that tryptophan, if ingested properly and at the right angle, can get you higher than a Vegas DJ's booking fee. Even your somewhat cool cousin, who you just snuck out and smoked a bowl with, ends up letting you down when he boasts between mouthfuls of stuffing that he checked into the VIP area of Coachella on Facebook this year.

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When the conversation steers towards race and politics, shit really hits the fan. Your Tea Party aunt starts screaming that the illegal immigrants are stealing her jobs and that she wants The Wall built as soon as possible. Your homophobic cousin won't shut up about the benefits of conversion therapy and how he has a poster of Mike Pence on his bedroom wall. Your stoned cousin starts tapping on his FitBit the same way you'd cue up a track on a CDJ while ranting about why climate change is a myth.

Should I roofie myself? No, you did that already by accident a few weeks ago. Instead, when the conversation turns to you, and grandma asks what a "Berghain" is because she read about it in the New Yorker, you need to take control of the conversation. Squash the neo-Nazi propaganda and instead, talk about the things you care about: Art Basel, warehouse raves, and the difference between Burning Man and Further Future. If Fabric can survive being shut down for months by the authorities and having all of their licenses revoked — only to reopen and come back stronger — you can make it through Thanksgiving dinner without putting Clorox in your mom's gravy.

1. Berghain's door policy

How to bring it up: When the dinner table chatter turns towards foreign affairs, this is your opportunity to boast about the only overseas policy you're familiar with: the Berghain door.

What you should say: "Might I interject in this boring conversation about our relations with Russia? Let me tell you about Berghain. It's an infamous club in Germany with a scary guy named Sven manning the door. He judges your appearance and half of the people on the line get denied. There's no rhyme or reason to it, but that's what they say about your osteoporosis, too."

2. Burning Man vs. Further Future

Further Future (Photo by Stacie Hess)

How to bring it up: Your irksome, tech start-up vegan brother won't stop talking about solar panels on his new RV that runs on vegetable oil, the infrared sauna he invested in, or his stock in Tesla. Amazing. This is when you chime in and talk about whether Further Future, AKA "'Burning Man for the 1%," is better than Burning Man.

What you should say: "WHAT THE FUCK EVEN IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO, AND WHY DO PEOPLE ATTEND EITHER, YOU BATON-TWIRLING SAND-CLUSTERED ELON MUSK WANNABE?" You'll notice your entire family glaring at you, and parents covering their children's ears. "Sorry, what I meant to say was, can you pass the stuffing?"

3. Verboten → Schimanski

How to bring it up: Your grandfather will probably bring up Caitlyn Jenner and how he has a problem with her taking a shit in the same bathroom as his granddaughter. Keep the conversation light by bringing up a different kind of transition: Verboten to Schimanski.

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What you should say: "Speaking of transitions, this Brooklyn nightclub Verboten recently became another club called Schimanski. Verboten's ownership allegedly never paid some of their staff or artists, and even gave Donald Trump a run for his money when it comes to lawsuits. Then, in the club's dying months, New York State authorities seized the property. A homeless person lived outside the club's doors until it became Schimanski, a club under new ownership with a name nobody can pronounce or spell."

4. The DJ Mag poll

How to bring it up: The 2016 election is the hottest topic of conversation this season. When it slyly seeps its way into the conversation, like it always does, you can bring up another joke of a poll: The DJ Mag Top 100.

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What you should say: "Becky, it doesn't matter that you have a confederate flag hanging out of your pickup truck window, or that you want to shoot a Hillary supporter with the rifle you purchased at Walmart. What matters, xenophobic friend of Uncle Pete, is that Martin Garrix came in number one this year in the DJ Mag Top 100, and nobody understands how. As Donald Trump says, 'it's rigged.'"

5. K-holes

How to bring it up: When your cheap step-aunt reminds everybody for the seventeenth time that she bought her ugly cardigan with a pregnant turkey on it at Kohl's stuffed deep within the ale rack, just yell out, "DID SOMEBODY SAY K-HOLES?"

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What you should say: "Well, aunt Kate, k-holes are what happens when you do too many bumps of ketamine. You enter a dissociative state, it's perfect with a Bedouin set, and it takes you seven hours to send a text message that says: "Where r u?"

6. Art Basel Miami

Basel Castle at Art Basel (Photo by Michelle Layne Lawson)

How to bring it up: A relative will pull up your Instagram and let you know that they can now zoom in on your pictures. It is in this precise moment that you mention your upcoming trip to Miami for Fart Basel.

What you should say: "It's a Miami shitshow like Winter Music Conference, but with less of the Space clubbers that put GHB in their Dasani water bottles. I go and pretend to like the art, when really, I don't understand it, but I do have a Baron Von Fancy sticker on my phone case. I've been practicing my this is an impressive piece of art face in the mirror. To be honest, I'm really going to drop acid on the beach, try to hang out with Richie Hawtin, and blackout in the lobby of the Fontainebleau — a South Beach ritual. Wanderlust works in mysterious ways. Just kidding, mom."

7. SoundCloud

How to bring it up: Someone is inevitably going to ask if you're still single. You can either ask how they're juggling their own extra-marital affairs, or you can take the high road and say the cheesiest thing on the face of this planet: that you're married to the music. (Just try not to throw up in your mouth.)

What you should say: "Music streaming is the biggest thing right now, but I just can't seem to find a player with the right chemistry. SoundCloud is always down, sort of like me. Spotify freezes my computer, and I should just remove it from my dock, but I'm weirdly attached. I like Apple Music, but I heard they're high-maintenance and have lots of internal problems. I always say that Lee Burridge should start his own streaming site and call it 'All Day I Stream.'"

8. Fabric

(Photo by Danny Seaton, courtesy of fabric)

How to bring it up: You're happy Fabric is reopening. You want to share the news with everybody. Throw it in whenever you want—you worked for it.

What you should say: "A club in London called Fabric got their licenses seized by the government after people died after taking drugs in there. But we recently found out they're going to reopen under new conditions, and now everyone's celebrating the return of a club that a year ago, they shit-talked as a playground for tourists."

9. The Chainsmokers

How to bring it up: You don't, unless somebody else does. Which is bound to happen after the radio plays "Closer" and your entire family shrieks about how much they love it.

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What you should say: "I remember when I saw them at LAVO back in 2010. They're just two overhyped frat bro dudes in disguise." Then you walk away, grab the aux cord, and politely put on Jackmaster's Tweak-A-Holic #3 mix.

10. Secret Warehouse Raves

How to bring it up: When a friend's parent asks if kids are still "going to those clubs," take this opportunity to vent about something that's virtually meaningless to everyone else.

What you should say: "Grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, friend of mom's that lingers: Listen to me. Technically, all the raves are in warehouses now. But if I see one more "Location: secret Brooklyn warehouse" on a party flyer, I'm going to stab myself. THEY AREN'T EVEN COOL ANYMORE! OK, carry on."

11. Promoters

How to bring it up: When somebody asks, "who keeps texting you?"

What you should say: "The real pest problem in New York City isn't the subway rats—it's the promoters. I'd rather a Bassnectar fan stand above me and shake the dandruff from their dreadlocks into my mouth than be on any of these promoters' reduced guestlists. They text you regularly, in all caps, trying to convince you that going to a club with people smoking hookah is a good idea."

12. Techno fashion

Techno interests me (Photo courtesy of Liisa Jokinen)

How to bring it up: You already know that people at your Thanksgiving are going to bash "the Millennials" for a multitude of superficial reasons, fashion trends being one of them. Come prepared with a rebuttal for when a distant friend of a relative asks you if the Rick Owens sneakers you're wearing are supposed to look like clown shoes from Hot Topic.

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What you should say: "The first rule of techno fashion is: you must always wear black. Capes, joggers, t-shirts, jackets—the darker, the more techno. You will be shunned if it's graphite or slate. I just posted a quote on Instagram that says, 'I'll wear black until they make a darker color.'"

13. DJ riders

How to bring it up: When your relative gives you a dirty look for pouring yourself a glass of wine because they think you're still fourteen, use DJ riders and their bad tendencies to deflect from your negative habits.

What you should say: "You think I'm drinking a lot? Do you even know how much DJs consume in one night? Their riders are insane. Before a show, an assistant goes and retrieves everything on these lists of what the DJs needs. They put things like eight bottles of Dom Perignon, twenty bottles of Hennessy, gluten-free pastries, cake, an inflatable raft, vacuum-sealed underwear, and anal beads. So don't look at me like that for drinking a glass of cheap Pinot Noir."

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