“That was bitchy,” my photographer said to me as we were ascending the Hall of the Universe—my infinitely useful photographer who happened to leave his only camera battery at home on the charger.
“What was bitchy about it?” I asked.
“I don’t know, just seemed bitchy.”
“Well, she was a bitch to me first.”
This was all in regard to a few minutes earlier when I had noticed a long line of people extending from a computer terminal. When I inquired of the last person in line—a middle-aged blonde with a mane of thick, brittle curls—for what was everyone waiting, she gave me the head-to-toe once-over, snickered and, turning to her friend thus dismissing me, said, “Uh, drink tickets.” Like, duh, I suppose.
I had replied, not at all bitchy, more with queenish indifference, “Oh! We already have plenty of those, more than we could ever possibly use,” and indicated the press pass dangling from my neck.
Speaking of press passes, there were an unusually large amount of them handed out here. The event we were all covering was flavorpill’s One Step Beyond party at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History. This being the first event in a series, it immediately occurred to me that everyone in attendance must be press or friends/acquaintances of the promoters. And that sort of thing always makes the crowd thoroughly random. People meandered about, mildly interested by the surroundings, but could not be tackled, roped and tagged, for around each corner turned another surprising sample of the greater population.
Those two Berkeley granola-munchers with the Kool-Aid stained dread-locks? Yeah, they were just hitting on the doe-faced girl in the teal Manolo Blahniks. And did you see the near confrontation between the benevolent Bohemian with his wiry six-inch beard and circular spectacles and those two US marines in full regalia who’re here for God knows what reason?
The setup was this: downstairs in the Hall of the Universe from 9 til 11, Le Castle Vania spun music, and was followed by Daniel Bell at 11. I was charmed to see people dancing so freely where countless gaggles of bored school children had treaded before. It was even more charming to see that many of these people hadn’t thrown out their baggy raver attire from the mid-1990s.
Le Castle Vania was hypnotic about in his work, as DJs tend to be. He’s a native of Atlanta and stylizes his music as “disco house/indie/electro.” His slight, boyish figure is topped off with a matte swoop of blond hair partially covering one eye. He was the sort of man one could watch for hours and discover oneself idly falling in love with, if one actually took the time to bother with such shit as love. Which, one does not.
Upstairs in a sort of banquet hall was the “Powerhouse” room where headliners were Julian S Process and Crystal Castles. A stage was erected here, but early in the evening it only attracted a constant stream of people that filed in, turned around, and left. This, among other aspects, lent the One Step Beyond party an overnight lock-in feel that actually translated into a sort of charm. Though an incredibly promising set-up, the only real problem with this party was entirely too few people and entirely too much space. Also, once you reach a certain age taking hallucinogens becomes no longer cool (nor, really, a viable option at all), and a party at a planetarium is one occasion that definitely could benefit from hallucinogens.
Thirty blocks downtown, the Museum of Modern Art has its monthly PopRally events, after-hour parties where ticket prices include an event and free booze all evening. The point, says MoMA, is to attract more young New Yorkers to the museum. The actual point is binge drinking. During the day, the Hayden Planetarium, though impressive architecturally, is a very mind numbing place—and this coming from an astronomy geek and devout museum-goer. At Flavorpill’s One Step Beyond Party were no DJs or musicians with a particular reputation for drawing crowds. Though people did come and considering this was the first in an upcoming series of events, one might guess the future of these parties looks quite promising. Thus driving home the point that learning can be fun.