When my sister and I decided to fly my mother out from Chicago to New York City for Thanksgiving, she insisted on coming a day early to allow ample time for food preparation, idyllic family togetherness, and memory-making. What she didn't know is that I have a Thanksgiving tradition of my own: getting comically drunk and going dancing the Wednesday night before, then using my earth-shattering hangover as an excuse to not help cook the next day.
Back in Chicago, I braved sub-arctic winds to see Frankie Knuckles DJ at Smart Bar. This was my first Thanksgiving in New York, and the perfect party landed in my lap—the debut of Fade To Mind's renowned Los Angeles-based party series Viper XL in Brooklyn's Good Room, with label boss Kingdom, Ma Nguzu, Rizzla, Dubbel Dutch, and False Witness on the lineup. For this, I was very thankful.
I wasn't planning on inviting my mom. But then I remembered all the times she'd mentioned wanting to go dancing with me—and her idiosyncratic but genuine passion for dance music. After all, this was the same woman who bought Reel 2 Reel and La Bouche cassette tapes to play in our Honda Civic after hearing them in her dance aerobics classes, and just a few weeks ago, sent me Facebook messages linking to third-tier Disclosure remixes stumbled upon during her Indieshuffle binges at work. While my mom's tastes are often broad and woefully indiscriminate, that also means she's always willing to try just about anything new—and I couldn't fault her for that. (She's also my mom, so I technically can't fault her for anything.) Plus, I thought back to the time I took a friend from high school to Girl Unit in Chicago, and how afterwards he told me he "wasn't sure if he liked dubstep that much." It couldn't be worse than that, right?
It wasn't! In fact, clubbing with my mom was actually pretty fun. We made a good dancing team, she met a few of my astonished and thrilled friends, and I had to regulate my alcohol intake to avoid letting her see the monster I've become since leaving her watchful eye. Here's a brief timeline of what the night entailed.
9:46PM - We are negotiating how late to stay out. I try to explain that the venue won't start to fill up until 1, and that's already a stretch for her. We finally agree to be home by two. Coffee is brewed and drank.
11:14PM - We arrive to a mostly empty venue, although people do start to show up earlier than anticipated. I offer to buy her a drink and she asks for a whiskey with pineapple juice, which I am pretty sure she invented on the spot.
11:52PM - One drink later, this is happening.
she's singing along to turn me on by kevin lyttle #Fade2Mom— michel screwcault (@gabrielherrera)
12:15AM - I offer to take a shot with her. "Of what?" she asks. "Whatever you want," I reply. Inexplicably, she declines.
12:17AM - She gets heartburn. I suggest a ginger ale; the bartender gives it to us on the house because she's slowly begun to witness the inexorable power of the mother-son bond in the club.
12:26AM - As more patrons arrive, I ask her to tell me her thoughts on everything so far: "Everyone here has a very free spirit. Young people wear whatever they want, even if it doesn't match." After a few moments of silence, she adds, "You know what I feel? Like I'm in the future."
12:30AM - Second drink. The dancefloor is still sparsely packed enough that several people are voguing. I explain this concept with limited success.
"como se dice? voguing?" #Fade2Mom— michel screwcault (@gabrielherrera) November 27, 2014
12:41 - [in Spanish] "Why don't they play more reggaeton?"
12:53AM - She's started mocking other people's dance moves. Of note is an alt bro in an UNDFTD button-down waving his arms like a rabid duck, whom my mother imitates expertly amid cackles drowned out by bass. She and I are truly cut from the same cloth.
12:58AM - Whoever's DJing (I lost track) transitions into a string of instrumental grime tracks. Her dancing slows. "Someone is supposed to dance to this?"
1:02AM - "Why does no one request songs?"
1:09AM - She's bellydancing.
1:32AM - Taxi home. I'm genuinely impressed she lasted this long.
1:58AM - We discuss the evening's highlights over bowls of Trader Joe's Cranberry Almond Crunch in my kitchen. She demands I drink warm milk before going to bed. "It will help you sleep better," she says. I sleep like a baby.
Gabriel Herrera is THUMP's official Cool Tweet Guy - @gabrielherrera