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Tag Archives: Music
Those were the words declared by Agatha of A Good Hostess Knows When to Use the F-Word in an email to me after we settled on our yummy, wintery menu for our Friday night dinner: beet and parsnip soup with dill cream, parsley root gratin with gruyere cheese, and jicama, radish and avocado salad.
Our selections came straight from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool (don’t you love that name?), one of my favorite cookbooks. I love it so because it is finely divided into eight seasons, from first of spring through indian summer and all the way to deep winter. It makes choosing a good farmers market recipe easy.
And we were definitely into deep winter. I made a mid-work foray to the farmers market–a benefit of working near Union Square–but it was past three and many farmers had already packed up to go home. I don’t blame them, the high for that day was 23 degrees.
I packed my bag with root vegetables: parsnips, beets, beautiful and garish watermelon radishes, and potatoes. I picked up some yogurt and swiss cheese as well, and peeled my dollars off with frozen fingers. Poor farmers.
After work the snow came down hard, glinting underneath the streetlights, like glitter on the black pavement. Agatha and my roommate E picked up what they could at Whole Foods, but oddly, jicama and parsley root was not available. C’mon, Whole Foods!
We made a quick stop at the Trader Joe’s wine shop. Exiting, we bent our heads against the wet snow, but finally gave up and shared a cab home. I beg your forgiveness, readers. I had on spindly heels that day and was sure I would twist an ankle during the 20 minute walk home.
Back at the apartment, we poured ourselves glasses of red wine, and I settled E and Agatha in at the dining room table to chop while I bustled around the kitchen getting my mise en place. We nixed the salad, since we were short on root vegetables, and moved the radishes to the gratin. Problem solved.
The apartment filled with the smell of stewing and roasting vegetables. Outside the wind blew, but we were cozy in our little place.
I highly suggest you have a wintery dinner in like this soon. February is the perfect time to hunker down and let your body luxuriate in doing nothing. You know, hibernating.
I wrote this piece for the amazingly entertaining website Narratively, which tells the most interesting stories in New York City. If you enjoy it, do me the favor of “liking” it via the wee Facebook button on Narratively’s page and/or sharing it with your friends. Grazie!
I emerge from the L at the Montrose stop along with several other people. The sidewalk is busy, plenty of cars pass. But as soon as I take a right down a side street, I’m alone. Squatting on either side of my route are warehouses, their windows dark and their brick walls tagged with graffiti.
I scan the locked doors as I hurry down the lonely street, looking for a certain address that was emailed to me in the middle of the week. I wonder what the chances are that the party got cancelled and if I’m here for nothing. Then I spot the man ahead of me, standing by himself. He’s big, and he looks bored. Bingo.
As I get closer, I hear the bass thudding. “You here for the party?” he asks me. “I’ll need to see your I.D., but we can check it inside.” He opens the door, checks my I.D. and directs me up the concrete-and-metal staircase with lime green walls, toward the deep bass and down-tempo of minimal house music.
Read the rest on Narrative.ly.
It’s not like parties were going to slow down in the wake of Sandy. Once the lights came back on, Manhattan shook off the water and mud like a wet dog, and went back to the business of working and partying.
But don’t call us callous. Every party promoter and business worth their profits has pledged to donate money to Hurricane Sandy relief–as long as you meet them halfway. Here are some ways you can send money to those who need it (and yes, there are lots of people who still need help) that involves a little something in it for you, too. Because we’re kind of over Red Cross here, anyway.
TONIGHT: I♥NY: Grandlife DJs for Hurricane Relief
8pm – 12am
Tonight (Saturday) is the last of three nights where SoHo and Tribeca Grand hotels will be donating all proceeds from their Hurricane Relief-inspired cocktail, the “Safe & Sound” as well as $1 from all beer, wine and cocktail purchases to a deserving charity nominated by that evening’s DJs.
Soho Grand Hotel, 310 W. Broadway, Manhattan
Tribeca Grand, 2 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan
TONIGHT: Mister Saturday **in Berlin**
Know a friend in Berlin? (I mean, who doesn’t?) Tweet, text, email, Facebook them about tonight’s Mister Saturday Night party. Not only will they have an awesome Brooklyn-ish time, proceeds benefit the Red Hook Initiative. Find info on the Facebook invitation.
I was kind of “meh” about the original Passion Pit song, but this remix by Classixx (they always do good stuff) makes it tasty.
Sunday, November 11th, 6-7pm
For you people out there with a lot of cash to spare, the famed spin-studio SoulCycle presents SoulCycle Ride for Sandy at its Tribeca studio (which suffered severe Sandy damage) with an all-star line-up that includes Janet Fitzgerald, Laurie Cole, Sue Molnar, Kym Perfetto, Melanie Griffith, Jenny Gaither, Jolie Walsh, and Ben Turshen. SoulCycle classes are super fun, think of it like a sweaty rave, just without the drugs or alcohol. 6:00–7:00 p.m., $1,500 (front and center spot and Soul Tee included), $500, and $250 bikes, www.soulforsandy.com
Thursday, November 15th
Alignyo hosts four classes with celeb instructors like Kristin Mcgee and Tara Stiles. The event will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
Chelsea art gallery Sky Light West. 10–11 am, 12:30–1:30 pm, 5:30–6:30 pm, 7–8:30 pm, $30
Peck Street Pickle Festival
Sunday, November 11, 11am-5pm
New Amsterdam Market’s second annual Peck Slip Pickle Festival will take place this Sunday, so show your support as the Seaport neighborhood recovers from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Over 20 pickle and fermented food producers will join their regular roster of market vendors and their hours will be extended until 5:00PM.
They’ll be collecting an OPTIONAL $3 admission to raise funds for storm relief.
The Bent Spoon is sending up specially made pickle ice cream, for sale at the Z Food Farm stall, proceeds will also go to storm relief efforts. Several Seaport small businesses will be setting up tables at the market to sell inventory not damaged by the storm.
New Amsterdam Market had to temporarily evacuate their market office on Front Street and will need extra hands this Sunday to help set up and break down the Festival, plus move a few more items from their office. Click here to register for volunteer work.
New Amsterdam Market, South Street between Beekman Street & Peck Slip
Last year, Jimmy’s raised thousands of dollars for relief when Hurricane Irene came through and hurt local farmers. Now, Jimmy’s, located in the East Village, needs help getting power restored to their restaurant and bar. Help them out by buying a gift certificate to the restaurant or ticket to one (or more) of their amazing fall events. To purchase a gift certificate and see a list of available ticketed events, visit the Jimmy’s No. 43 website.
A small neighborhood restaurant in the East Village focused on locally-sourced and seasonally-oriented food, they could use some extra love! To purchase gift certificates, check out their menus, and make dinner reservations, visit their website at www.northernspyfoodco.com.
Masbia needs help feeding 600+ relocated seniors at the Park Slope Armory. For only $6 they can serve one person a freshly cooked nutritious hot dinner. Donate here. Masbia soup kitchen network is where the rubber meets the road in the fight against hunger. They feed hot, nutritious meals to hungry men, women and children. No statistics. No bureaucracy. No middleman. They deposit food in empty stomachs.
Leading up to Hurricane Sandy and in the aftermath, Citymeals-on-Wheels has been taking emergency measures to ensure New York’s homebound elderly have access to food. Given the impact on transportation and power, many of the senior centers they work with are understaffed. If you are able to volunteer for meal deliveries, they will need extra help throughout the week.Please see more information here. In addition to volunteers, they need to raise funds to replenish the depleted supplies in their warehouse. Please make a gift today to help them respond to this crisis and prepare for the coming winter months.
Now serving New York City for more than 30 years, City Harvest is the world’s first and the city’s only food rescue organization. Whether you’re part of a group or just one person, there are plenty of ways for you to help in our fight against hunger. If interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities please email@example.com. Or, donate to help feed children, the elderly, and all hungry New Yorkers.
Since before day one of Sandy’s assault on our city, Food Bank For New York City has continued to serve their network of charities and needy families. Sandy’s impact is so much more than damage to buildings and trees. As new supplies of water and other supplies requiring no electricity roll into their warehouse, they know that they will be able to continue to meet the needs of hunger and poverty for those who have experienced it in the past and those meeting it for the first time as a result of this disaster. To join them in the fight, please: Donate Now, Volunteer, and Donate Food.
Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. They are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street,350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net. The task of rebuilding communities is a marathon and not a sprint. To view a list of hubs they have set up, visit http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/ or follow them on Facebook.
Green Drinks NYC
Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 6-9pm
Green Drinks NYC is pulling together support for fellow NY-ers during this tragic and chaotic time. Mix and mingle, raise funds and spirits post-Sandy. They are asking for a $10 suggested donation on Tuesday, and proceeds will go to the Food Bank of NYC.
On your way there, grab a warm blanket or cleaning product to donate to the Occupy Sandy Relief Effort.
Taina Cafe, 134 East 48th Street, Manhattan. $10 in advance or $20 at the door. Register Here.
Green Spaces is a hub for sustainable professionals to mingle and exchange ideas. If you want to get to know likeminded, green people like yourself, bring donations for World Cares (monetary donations and products welcome) to Green Spaces this Wednesday, and sip on some Brooklyn Brewery beer.
While new clothes (primarily socks, gloves, hats, scarves) are appreciated, the real needs are blankets, batteries, canned foods (tuna fish, etc), peanut butter, personal hygiene (feminine products, diapers, toothbrushes/paste, etc), cleaning products (towels, paper goods, tarps, etc).
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Lavera Non-Toxic Beauty
If you were thinking how you needed some non-toxic face lotion, this would be a great time to buy it. Lavera is giving $1 for every order placed in the month of November to Hurricane relief. By purchasing from any of their sites (loveTrueNatural.com, Lavera.com, Benecos-USA.com and TrueNatural.com) you will be helping a family in need get back on their feet.
“I Still Love NY” Tee
Chilean-born artist Sebastian Errazuriz’s wearable works were inspired by the rising storm waters that eventually overtook the Chelsea art district. All proceeds from the unisex tees benefit NYC Sandy relief efforts. Available at shopgreyarea.com, $40.
NY State of Mind Necklaces
Jewelry designing duo Dana Walden and Radika Chin’s recycled brass and sterling silver creation is a well-timed love letter to their ravaged home city. One hundred percent of proceeds goes to the American Red Cross. Available at danawaldenjewelry.com, $60.
Download the new song, “Hard Times,” by Buke and Gase, from the DIY New York band’s upcoming album (plus a satisfying B-side New Order cover) to benefit the pair’s old hood. All proceeds go to the Red Hook Initiative. Available at bukeandgase.bandcamp.com, $5
Choose Your Own Adventure!
None of this sound good? (Perhaps a bit too flip? Maybe.) Find out where you’re most needed at volunteermatch.org and http://www.nycservice.org/#s, and pick something that suits your abilities and tastes, like donating blood, going door to door to make sure all the elderly have been safely rescued from their homes, or working at a food bank to distribute fresh, hot food.
Certain things make green life worth living. Here’s what I’m loving this week and want to share with every single person in my life:
About maybe a year and a half ago, suddenly, there was argan oil.
It started showing up in product roundups of celeb favorites, and now it’s in all these random products from various mainstream companies–it’s like the acai of beauty products, except without the weird pyramid scheme.
You have proof that it works the first time you smooth it over your hair. It’s got an appealing, musky scent, and leaves your hair kick-ass shiny while fortifying it. Plus, if you get it from the right place, it’s organic and benefits female workers in Morocco. Do. not. get. knock-offs.
If you’re like me (or thousands of other New Yorkers), you enjoy a good mixed cocktail from the likes of Apotheke, Death & Company or PDT. Well, when I picked up A Perfume Organic to test at ABC Home, the rich, spicy scents actually reminded me of a hand-crafted cocktail from one of these establishments. I’m not saying I want to smell like alcohol … I’m just saying this USDA organic and vegan perfume smells delicious. If you’re not sure which scent to get, do like I did and buy a sampler first.
Tired of eating your quinoa salad style? Make it a little naughty by frying it up into crunchy quinoa patties. Damn, are these things good. And every time I reheat them for lunch, somebody (a coworker, a dog) follows be back to my desk to ask me what I’m eating because that smells so good. (Well, the dog just stared at me while I ate it. That would never happen with a quinoa salad.) I suggest being generous with the olive oil in the pan–the patties hold together better that way.
Find the recipe by Heidi Swanson at Epicurious
Don’t Go, by Justin Martin
This weekend I was supposed to meet up with friends on Saturday night. But because I got ready so slow and couldn’t find a cab (don’t hate me, there is no good way to get from 24th Street to Meatpacking) they were already inside Le Bain.
I really didn’t want to stand in line by myself. So I marched right up to the bouncers on the non-line side. They were in the middle of telling a pair of girls that they couldn’t get in if they weren’t on the list. “Hi, my party is already inside,” I said, and name-dropped a meaningless name. The bouncers exchanged a glance, took a look at my vintage 90s peekaboo dress and ushered me inside. “Sorry ladies,” one of them told the girls. “She’s on a list.”
There is never a list.
Anyway, this song played at some point during the night and I liked it. A lot.
I discovered the new designer Avery by Wang through the recently defunct EcoSalon (R.I.P.!). She’s only shipped her first collection in late September. But her earnestness and class–just read her email updates–shows through in her pieces. They are simple, pretty without being saccharine, and possess a soft utility.
I preordered this washable silk dress, nervously crossing my fingers that this untested designer would deliver.
It arrived neatly rolled and tied up in its sash in a biodegradable shipping bag, which is so refreshing compared to the overdone packaging of most brands and stores! I slipped the soft silk on for a day at work. And I can say I’m so pleased with it that I’m going to order some of her simple silk tops next … when I build my shopping budget back up.
I chose this track because it’s soft, pretty and feminine and yet still cool–like this dress.
Dress, Avery by Wang; tights, Uniqlo (they ripped quickly, so I would recommend investing in Wolford tights that will last a whole season), oxford pumps, Steve Madden; vegan purse by Cornelia Guest, available at Compassion Couture; sunglasses, Eco Optics; wrap bracelet/necklace, Snash Jewelry, available at Artist & Fleas in Williamsburg or on Etsy; lipstick, Jane Iredale.
Oops, haven’t done this since November. How time flies when you’re having fun.
OK, up this week for your green and partying pleasure:
Mr. Sunday (a.k.a. Mr. Saturday when it’s at night) is celebrating 100 parties of awesomeness
this next Sunday at their fabulous Gowanus location in Brooklyn. Eat food from food trucks, drink sangria and Brooklyn Summer Ale, and rock out under the fairy lights and disco ball to fabulous summer music. Because it’s the hundredth, special surprises are promised, plus commemorative memorabilia.
(Oh, and PS. This video has my friend Laura at 2:26 and me at 2:41. I freaked out a little bit when I saw that. And the track is so great at the end, too! I heard it on a boat party, and then at Mr. Sunday, and I was obsessed. Todd Terje: Ragysh.)
Free for the two first hours (RSVP to email@example.com) $10 after 5pm. 3-9pm. Gowanus Grove, 400 Carroll St (between Bond and Nevins), Brooklyn.
Buy Tickets for Good Beer
It’s not until the 31st, but you should buy tickets now for this delicious event, with locally-brewed beverages and food from Gramercy Tavern, Fort Defiance Back Forty and other, similar high-quality establishments.
Is it a form of cheating to play a song that one boy introduced to you while you kiss another?
It feels like it to me. When I press play on “Another Girl” by Jacques Greene or especially Nina Kraviz’s “Turn on the Radio”, it’s like walking into the bedroom wearing a lacy set that another man gave you. Sure, your own assets are the important part (roll with me on this metaphor: assets being good musical taste and an acumen for playing the right song at the right moment) but you’re using somebody else’s gift to show it off.
Then again, perhaps only musicheads experience this. We gift each other songs with a special passion and pride, because we know the right track can turn someone’s day or week around and become part and parcel of their emotional state, a soundtrack for their deepest hopes and fears and that particular moment in their life. But most girls only come as close to this emotional ownership as having a special song with their boyfriends. Everything they listen to belongs to 250 million other people as well. (Gotye anyone? Ugh.)
Once, when a song I particularly loved came on, I realized with a sickening feeling that the boy wasn’t worthy of it. I was despoiling its pure transcendence with a so-so makeout. So I showed him the door. In fact, if I make fun of your musical taste, you can be sure the relationship is doomed from the start. If you don’t realize how important it is to have something, anything with a bass box hooked up to your laptop so that you can get the full range and feeling of music, we will probably never build anything meaningful together. (Don’t fret, ladies, his rule does not apply to friendships, just romantic relationships.)
My starred playlist on Spotify is a history of my social life, and since one of my past times is dating, many of the tracks are tied to certain relationships. (Perhaps this is why I have a yen for DJs? One such guy is responsible for almost an hour’s worth of songs.) When I play Lana del Rey, cooing “You’re no good for me, baby you’re no good for me, but I want you, I want you,” I think of the short, intense and ill-advised relationship last summer I had with a guy who sent me the song, saying, “This is so true.”
Every time XX comes on, I can’t help thinking of the guy who said he and his friend called it, “closing music.” As in, take a girl home, put it on and she’ll melt all over you. He’s right.
(This is a remix so it’s more intense than regular XX. Love it though for yoga, though.)
Death Cab’s “Summer Skin” was the bittersweet song for summers between college when I knew I would leave my high school sweetheart behind soon.
For a while this summer, I listened to a remix of Above and Beyond’s “On the Beach” on repeat, because a guy who spends what seems like four days out of every week on the beach sent it to me, teasing me with its lyrics:
Everyday would pave the way for endless nights and dancing
And every night will fire our minds and liberate our souls
There’s nothing like you and me
On a beach
Moving with the waves in the sea
There’s nothing like you me
Out of reach
On the beach
There’s nothing like you and me
And now my current obsessions is “Set me Free” by Dato. The guy in question was showing me one song he loves while we sat on the High Line watching New York traffic slide by, sipping chilled wine from Solo cups and sharing earbuds like teenagers. But when the track switched into “Set Me Free,” I wanted that song for myself and made him send it to me the next day. It’s an anthem of possibilities for where this relationship could go. “In a state of mind/tease me/one of a kind/please me/only you can set me free/can set me freeee yeah.”
You see, music is an intensely personal, sustainable–free–gift that just keeps giving, for weeks or even years. I don’t want your jewelry. I’ll exclaim over it and toss it in a drawer. Nice dinners are delicious and then forgotten. But play me a beautiful song I’ve never heard and will never hear anywhere else and you have me. (Except take-me-back songs. Sending over a sad sack song after a breakup has never worked in the history of the world for any guy.)
Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll know that years from now I’ll be thinking of you while I lay on the beach, get ready to go out, and maybe even with a wry smile while I cuddle with someone else on the couch. He doesn’t have to know.
Alliteration. Copious references to summer. Delicious chillwave tracks that melt into one another like a scoops of ice cream on a hot day. These are the things that a perfect 2012 summer playlist is made of.
When my sister asked me to do her a “favor” and make her a playlist for her pool party this weekend. I was like, “Sure!” And when she said, “And, um, it needs to be long. Like, really long.” I was like, “No problemo, sister. I’ve got you covered.” Even better, she has no requests and trusts my judgement.
36 hours later I leaned back into my couch and surveyed the finished product: 9 hours of pool party perfection that will be popular everywhere from NYC to Annapolis. It starts with classic rock favorites, then goes into some fun 80′s rock tracks, then a few nostalgic 90s songs and old school hip-hop interspersed with 2011 and 2012 mashups, before dropping into current indie hits, then fading into some beachy chillwave right around dusk before jumping–around when everyone is ten beers deep–into cheesy pop hits that everyone loves to sing along to, before finally ending in excellent dance music.
My friend IMed me today at work saying he’s building a playlist for the Hamptons and did I have any recommendations. Setting aside the fact that he isn’t actually inviting me and is just asking for my song recos, I was like, “
I’m way too busy for this obviously, I’m not getting any work done for the next half hour. Hold on, here are twenty songs you should add.” Yeah. I love music.
I’ve shared the list on Spotify here:
However, there area bunch a tracks you can’t find on Spotify and have to download. Plus, not everyone has Spotify. So I’ve listed all the tracks for you below.
If the song title is linked, you need to listen to it/download it from SoundCloud to experience it. It’s worth it, I promise. The rest are available on Spotify and probably iTunes.
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
Volunteers – Jefferson Airplane
Joy to the World – Three Dog Night
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
California Girls – The Beach Boys
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
Take on Me – a-ha
Paradise City – Guns n Roses
Jump in the Line – Harry Belafonte
American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Song of the South – Alabama
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
Your Love – The Outfield
Centerfold – J. Geils Band
Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
You Make My Dreams – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Maneater – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Black or White – Michael Jackson
Heaven Is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle
Young Turks – Rod Stewart
Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
Walking on Broken Glass – Annie Lennox
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Lovefool – The Cardigans
Summertime – Sublime
Summer Girls – LFO
Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow
Miami – Will Smith
Cold Beverage – G. Love & Special Sauce
Feel-Good Hip Hop and Mashups
Feels So Good – Mase
Keepin’ the Faith – De La Soul
Body Movin’ – Beastie Boys
Dutchie Courage – Star Slinger
Sunshine – Atmosphere
The Good Life – Chiddy Bang
Summertime – Will Smith
The Way You Move – Outkast
Candyman – Cornershop
Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature
Tupac – Do for Love – Vodka & Milk
Runnin (Philippians RMX) – The Pharcyde
History Town – Mos Dub
Midnight Life – The White Panda
Dancing With the DJ (Chiddy Bang) – The Knocks
God of Joy (Dionysus) – Anthem
Foreign Exchange Student – XV
Stage Dive – Sol
Current Indie Hits and Songs That Should Be Hits
New in Town – Little Boots
Around the Bend – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Kids – MGMT
Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Now We Can See – The Thermals
Daylight – Matt & Kim
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Shuffle – Bombay Bicycle Club
Burn It All Down – VHS or Beta
Houdini – Foster the People
Don’t Stop – Foster the People
Bombay – El Guincho
Rain of Gold – Young Empires
Nobody Lost, Nobody Found – Cut Copy
Show Me – Mint Royale
Lights & Music – Cut Copy
Pumped up Kicks – Foster the People
Hearts on Fire – Cut Copy
Remixes and Mashups
Don’t Move – Phantogram
Flowers – Teeth
Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix) – Whitest Boy Alive
Sunshine (Justin Faust Remix) – Picture Book
Polish Girl – Neon Indian
Passion Pit – Sleepyhead Remix – Streetlab
Diet Mtn. Dew [the original, not album version] – Lana Del Rey
Breathe – Capital Cities ft Tupac Shakur
Chill(ish) Wave (Like, Not Strictly but Close)
Brooklyn Sunburn – Teen Daze
Just Another Day – Stori
License to Drive – Work Drugs
Lovers Carvings (Bruno Be & Eddie M Remix) – Bibio
Untitled – Interpol
Myth – Beachhouse
You Can Be the Boss – Lana Del Rey
Under the Kicks – Ellie Goulding vs Foster the People
I Wanna Go – Summer Heart
Fifteen – Goldroom
Luv Deluxe – Cinnamon Chasers
Too Young for Love – Superhumanoids
Learn to Fly – The Knocks
More Fun Remixes
We Found Love (Star Slinger Remix) – Rihanna
Hollywood Featuring Penguin Prison – RAC
The Night Out – Martin Solveig
Reasons ft. Andrew Allen (Kiely Rich Remix) – Project 46
Your Body – Gigamesh
FACT mix 327 – Disclosure
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Gucci Gucci – Kreayshawn
We Found Love – Rihanna, Calvin Harris
Call me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson
Last Friday Night – Katy Perry
Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
California Gurls – Katy Perry
Friday – Rebecca Black
Firework – Katy Perry
I’m on a Boat – The Lonely Island
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
TiK ToK – Ke$ha
You Make Me Feel – Cobra Starship
Blow – Ke$ha
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
In the Dark – DEV
Memories – David Guetta, Kid Cudi
Give me Everything – Pitbull
Like a G6 – Far East Movement
We R Who We R – Ke$ha
Image credit: iamliam on Flickr
A year and a half ago, I went to a The Danger party for the first time, and had my mind blown.
I was naive and exuberant. Oh heck, I still am. But I’ve learned a little more. I used to benchmark my nights out against that one night, because it. Was. Amazing. But now I have a new party to yearn for, which seems similar but is really very different. Check it out:
|Came with …||A girlfriend who was kind of freaked out by it||An insider who introduced me to everyone, including the organizer|
|All about the …||Spectacle||Music|
|The Scene||Artists and hipsters||Musicheads and DJs|
|Who Knew About It||Everyone and their sister||Those in the scene|
|Venue||Third Ward||An empty commercial space downtown|
|Ended at||3 am when the police came||After 8 am|
6:00 pm, Friday
I was recovering from being sick all that week, and had a sore throat. I turned down an invitation to a dinner date, saying that a 10 pm reservation was just too late.
But then M. called, saying there was an underground party that I would just love, and I shouldn’t miss it. “A third of the crowd is musicheads, a third of the crowd is DJs, and a third is the DJs’ girlfriends and boyfriends. It’s all about the music.” Sold.
I pulled a sequined All Saints dress out of my closet, that I’ve never worn and decided, “Why not? Let’s get some use out of it!” I layered a fitted black sweater, jean jacket and faux fur vest over top, with black tights and lace up flats. I threw some stuff in a neon orange cross-body bag and headed downtown.
Here’s my track of the day. It’s not quite the mood of the music out that night, but I’m obsessed with it so I want to share it with you:
M. met me outside and we went around the corner to grab cash–illegal venues don’t have credit card machines. Inside the bank, I could hear the deep bass thumping through the ceiling.
We returned around the back of the building, inside a nondescript door, up a bright white staircase into a vast, stripped commercial space. Inside this giant, white concrete box, the music swelled and thumped.
Far on the other side, over the heads of the crowd, I could see a giant screen showing psychedelic visuals, below which a DJ hunched over his table. The lyric-less house techno was as stripped and basic as the space, purely functional. I closed my eyes and let it break over me. As I waited to check my coat, I fought the urge to dance, but gave in as I saw that all the other girls were bouncing along to the infectious music. How could you help it?
New York girls were everywhere. Tall, beautiful, girls with bored eyes, boots and slouchy dresses, silk blouses and hot skirts. M. couldn’t walk five feet without running into someone he knew. But we finally made it back to to the VIP section, where a group of Russians–two men and two pretty things–waved us in. One blond bounced in platform pumps. “That girl is going to hurt in a half hour,” I said to M. “Oh, she’s Russian. They know how to work the heels.” He handed me a cup with a tag that said “Drink Me,” catching my eye and nodding. I did and the music swelled and grew large and all encompassing. “I’m so happy,” I said to M. “This is so amazing I can’t stand it.”
M. would periodically disappear and leave me in the VIP section, but I knew he would come back. My sweater was stuffed in my purse, so my sequins sparkled in the flashing lights. (Hey, if you don’t have long Russian legs, you do what you can.) I sidled up to the side of the DJ stage, between two speakers stacked ten feet tall to watch the DJ work. When I dance, I like to bounce my hips, float my hands in the air, close my eyes and wave my head from side to side. But the jaded girls didn’t do that. They stared at the DJ, hands grounded on a purse, speaker, barrier, whatever was available, feet rooted to the ground, bending and straightening one knee with an aggressive hip-jutting motion. I liked it– it was stripped-down dancing like the music.
I didn’t have a wristband to get into the VIP section, but I’m beginning to learn that a sparkly dress and some convincing B.S. will get you in anywhere.
I was making friends with girls in the bathroom line, and being picked up by boys every time M. left me. I felt like I had been talking so much that I hadn’t really been listening to the music. My voice was starting to fail me, growing hoarser and hoarser.
Nobody could fathom that I had never been to a BLKMarket party before. “Where are you from? Wait, you’ve lived here for three years? I don’t understand. So, what do you do when you go out? How could this not be your scene? You’ve never even heard of this?”
I tried out different answers. “I go to bars?” “My friends aren’t into music like this.” “I’m a WASP.” “I went a private liberal arts school.” “I’m really not that cool.”
“Can I ask you a question?” I said to M. after dragging him to the open empty space behind the VIP section to sit down and take a quick break. “You’re really intelligent and well-educated, I know that. Do you ever find all these people a little … shallow?”
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I come here for the music, not the people. These people, they will talk to you and be in your space, touching your arm and stuff–super friendly. But none of it’s real. [I know all about that. It's called sorority rush, but not as fun.] You just have to be here, in this moment, and not worry about what will come after.”
“That’s very Buddhist of you,” I said. “Isn’t that why people get drunk and party? So they don’t have to think about the past and the future?”
This video is from another BLKMarket party, to give you an idea:
I idly wondered if it was light outside yet. The final DJ pair was up on stage and the music refined itself and rolled out over the thinning crowd of diehards. I stood in front of the stacked speakers, and when I held my hands up, a breeze puffed over them on each beat, whisping my hair.
My energy was starting to flag and my hair smelled like smoke. (What would be the point in prohibiting smoking when the whole party is illegal?) M. joined me, and I turned to him, throwing my arms around his neck and thanking him for bringing me here. I was so grateful it made my heart hurt.
Perhaps this all sound boring to you. Where is the spectacle? The famous people? The outrageous events?
It’s true. There weren’t many stories imbedded in the night. The people I met were associate producers, financial analysts, waitresses. But it was still amazing, because of the music. You have to witness it to understand how music like that can make seven hours drift by without your even noticing.
I grabbed my coat from the coat check, testing out my French on a cute garcon before M. inserted himself and scared le monsieur away. We pulled on our coats and emerged into the gold early-morning light. Joggers were out on Houston as we wandered down to Katz Deli for a bite. I was still elated and wide awake somehow, practically dancing down the sidewalk.
It was one of those New York nights that make everything–the overpriced rent on a tiny apartment, the indignities of the subway, the overcrowded everything–totally and absolutely worth it.
A month ago I was sitting around with some sorority sisters, having a cocktail, and telling a story about a fascinating night out. And then another story. And then another one.
When one friend gushed, “Alden, I love hearing these stories about your life. It’s so entertaining,” I blushed. I feel like I’m always talking to much, taking up space in conversation. But lately, she’s right. My stories have been just so damn good. And I haven’t been sharing any of them here. (Well, except this one.)
That’s because this blog is about living sustainably. And what does a DJ booth, a magician, and butt naked and un-photoshopped celebrities have to do with living sustainably? Nothing, really.
And yet, these stories are too good not to share. Mildly inappropriate? Eh, depends on who is asking. If you are a former classmate from my blog- and publicity-averse alma mater, I can imagine you saying, “Alden wrote a blog about how she walked out of the Standard hotel at 9 in the morning,” with a raised eyebrow. But I’ve effectively stopped caring about that subset of the population.
And there is my mother (Hi mom!) and my sister who is a total prude. (Sorry sis, it’s true. But that’s part of why I love you.) For these reasons, not every detail needs sharing. But I find these shiny moments of New York insanity beautiful and exciting, even if they are de rigeur for a certain set of New Yorkers who may pat me on the head for my naïve enthusiasm. I’ve given all of this consideration, and decided I’m going to pay homage to the second half of my tagline, “… in the city,” by throwing up the more notable events. I’ll start with last night.
(PS: This isn’t even the best story. Stay tuned for more.)
I Know the DJ
I love music. Hence, I love DJs. I’ve spent the last few months fraternizing with the guy I’ve referred to as “The DJ” among my friends, and my Spotify playlist is bumpin’ as a result. Despite really enjoying his company, I eventually realized that I needed to move on. (The exact moment can be found in this post.) Mainly because he was unreliable and had odd moments of crass frattiness.
But also it was weird to call him a DJ when his equipment had blown out and he wasn’t even DJing anymore. He was no longer being a waiter to support his DJing on the side. He was just a waiter, and I found his almost complete lack of ambition uninspiring. (I do owe him for introducing me to Floating Points and Koreless, though.)
I really do believe that if you make space in your life, new people will fill it for you. Well, a new DJ entered to fulfill my amazing-music needs, and he’s quite an upgrade.
Michael Arana is a lawyer and DJ, and he’s good at both. I haven’t witnessed his lawyering in action, but his pedigree–Stanford undergrad, NYU law and a stint at Lowenstein Sandler –speaks for itself. And after last night, I can vouch for his DJing ability as well. Here’s a smart lawyer who taught himself to DJ and now draws crowds of hundreds at top-notch NYC venues. It’s a LinkedIn profile deserving of respect.
I should probably clarify now that my relationship with Michael is entirely platonic. My friend is a friend of a friend of a friend of his, and he’s such a gentleman that after I met him at a bar doing a set, when I sent him a Facebook message asking about a music phenomenon, he drafted a thoughtful reply and quickly invited me to some of his events.
He does a weekly brunch, for which I could not find any girl who was available to come with me. Too bad, because apparently they were dancing on tables and one of them (the tables) split in half and crashed to the ground. “Everyone stopped and looked … and then just kept dancing,” Michael told me. Nice.
Last night I brought my girlfriend, who shall be called J, with me to Cielo in the Meatpacking district to see his set for Wobble. He describes Wobble as his “upstart tech-house label.” Whatever it is, it’s amazing, and it’s every third Friday at Cielo.
At first when I realized we were going to a party in the meatpacking district, I groaned. “F–ing Meatpacking district,” I said to J. “I’m never dressed slutty enough, you have to wait in line just to prove you’re pretty enough, and the guys are terrible.” I hoped maybe Cielo was different.
Well, it didn’t really matter what Cielo was like, because J and I got in for free by RSVPing to Arana’s list, and we walked straight to the booth. I expected just to hang out for a little while and then get out of his way, but Michael opened the door and welcomed us in, pouring us drinks and inviting us to hang out there the rest of the night. (And effectively saving us probably $90 in total on alcohol.)
If you ever have the opportunity to hang out in a DJ booth–and I mean a real DJ booth, one with a raised platform and a door and a shelf full of fresh glasses for pouring drinks–take it.
J and I loved it. We barely left the booth all night, except to use the bathroom. We hit the dance floor once, but left after five minutes of physically pushing sketchballs off of us. So we retreated back to the booth to dance there and hung out with cool people.
You know that moment when the DJ gathers up the music, pushing it higher and higher, tensing the dance floor? And then he drops it and the sound explodes and everything is right with the world? Yup, there’s a reason electronic dance music (EDM) is picking up cultural speed this year.
The sound quality inside the booth is the best in the club. The drinks are free. You never have to deal with self-involved guidos hitting on you. You can watch the DJs work, which propelled our enjoyment of the music to whole new levels. Michael handed us a video camera, and we took turns recording the crowd with their hands up and zooming in on Michael’s hands skimming over the dashboard. J really wanted to press the button for the fog machine, so I marched up to the lights guy and asked, and she got to do it. It’s the little things, guys.
I loved the set from the female DJ, Niki, as well. Michael talked about her skill with a sort of awe, which I too felt only five minutes in. It was mesmerizing to watch her tiny butt bounce around in her form-fitting striped dress as she worked the equipment, unleashing energizing beats that demanded you dance.
We were there until 4am, closing down the club, and then headed out to Brooklyn for an after-party involving some Romanians and a tweeter that is just entirely too large for an apartment.
If you want to hear what his music sounds like, here you go. I’ve been bouncing to it at work, it makes for nice energizing ambient music.