December 27, 2015
No matter how big the scene, when people spill out of a gig there is always the anticipation of the potential next move – which after party was everyone going to be at. Door lists are one thing, but real after parties, the ones in apartments and hotel rooms, they were a level up. The places where semi-celebrities shrink back to their human size. Just another body that has had too much or not enough.
We stand on the sidewalk outside Rough Trade, a venue/record store, a small show, local band getting started. I let the cold air run over me before putting on my jacket. It’s great to have Zack out, startup now firmly dominating his life – but you can’t blame the guy for digging in. I take a cigarette from him; I’ve never known him to carry a pack before.
“The places where semi-celebrities shrink back to their human size. Just another body that has had too much or not enough.”
We were planning on hitting up another gig over in Alphabet city, a couple of producers from Chicago. But Sam, a guy I used to play shows for back in LA said a crew was hitting a party in an Ace Hotel suite, an after party for some fashion event.
I’d never been upstairs at the Ace. Hotel room after parties are great, but there is a certain amount of politics involved. Not knowing the host means I can only turn up with a certain number of people, which means that I have to split on some of our crew, kind of awkward – but it only gets weird if you are weird about it. Best to just move with it.
I’d partied with these guys once or twice, good crew, always a real mix of characters. Zack decides to bail so I share an Uber with Sam, and his girl, we stop to pick up someone else at a bar just before the bridge. I’m half drunk and as we drive by the cross street to my place I consider just jumping out, this is one of those classic turning points when a night dramatically escalates and dominates the majority of the next day.
We play with the new feature where you can play your Spotify tracks; Sam plays the new Drake mixtape, which just broke almost every streaming record that existed. He pulled what had come to be known as a Beyonce.
He skipping through tracks, playing with his new found power. It must piss off the drivers, especially if you had a car full of wasted sorority type girls. Skipping through pop junk playlists and singing along for thirty seconds.
The Ace Hotel is in a weird part of the city, besides Korea town, there really isn’t much else around. This part of midtown is a splattering of high end fashion a bunch of restaurants, little to bring me here during the day.
We roll up through the famous Ace Hotel lobby bar, long brown coaches still packed even at this hour. We were here the other week for a friends band, a Sunday night band series. Pure hipster. Brilliant spot.
Everyone is just getting settled in when we roll up, scoping each other out, setting up the bar. Three girls come out of the bathroom together. The room is pretty big, doesn’t look like a hotel room, more of a massive loft apartment. Suites are tiny in New York compared to Vegas and LA. But this is huge compared to most of the rooms I’d been in.
We grab some drinks and chat to some of the old LA crowd that is doing a customary tour of duty in New York, most of them don’t last all that long over here. Can’t really blame them, I miss the weather and the beach like anyone else, the hustle is different, it’s all air brushed and softer, the fake smiles often make everything seem lighter, genuine or not.
“They had followings to provide for; one of them was an aspiring model trying to launch her career via Instagram.”
I didn’t recognize her at first, a bunch of people rolled in and I was just processing the room chatting to some DJ from the UK. She had on a leather jacket that looked like it had been crushed into a ball for the last year, crinkles running down the arms and front. The huge scarf round her neck made the skin on her chest shine. I had to thank her for the other night. Wishing I could remember her name. She obviously had some connection to East & Low, she was sitting with Vince and Darnell at the party.
We crammed into a huge weird selfie with the LA crew. They had followings to provide for; one of them was an aspiring model trying to launch her career via Instagram. From her posts I imaged all her followers to be thirsty dudes. There is the usual jokes of needing a selfie stick, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these girls produced one from their bag.
I caught glimpses of East & Low girl as she flittered around by the balcony. Saw her laugh. It was a great laugh. Nothing tells you more about someone then seeing them laugh when they don’t know your watching.
None of the NY people I spoke to knew – but I needed an approach. I wasn’t the type of guy to push up unannounced, I hated that over confident just for the sake of it bullshit. So what if you can bust into a conversation and feel comfortable with it, maybe they don’t want you there, just peacock fuckery.
“She looked cold, legs exposed, upper body tensed, the light from the base of the balcony painting a golden color on the ridges of her jacket and hair.”
When she finally went back outside, I followed making Sam to come out for a Cigarette, armed with the mandate that he would introduce himself first. We slide open the door, deep in conversation, she gives us nothing more then a quick glance. An older couple following her as she passionately describes something about her work.
She looked cold, legs exposed, upper body tensed, the light from the base of the balcony painting a golden color on the ridges of her jacket and hair. We take a spot next to them, I prod Sam to ask for a lighter, making my move when she fishes one from her bag.
“East & Low party?” I ask, “Thanks so much, you really came through for us the other night. Great event. Do you work with them?” I felt like a lightweight that could blow away in the breeze. She was one of those girls that could make you feel like an awkward little kid. That combo of alluring hotness and intriguing complexity.
This is one of those moments where you needed to switch it up, to take control of the conversation with some form of shocking yet witty story.
“Hi, yeah. No problem. Mason right?”
“Yeah, that’s it. And sorry?”
“Emma.” She said, after I had failed to execute a simple name discovery procedure. We take the lighter and I try to open up the conversation, asking, “So did you push on after the party?”
“Yeah, sort of. I had to organize the thing so I was kind of beat. But it was a fun night.”
The couple asked more about the party, drawing her back into their domain. This is one of those moments where you needed to switch it up, to take control of the conversation with some form of shocking yet witty story.
“Thanks for the light.” I say.
She smiled through lips perfectly coated in a red purple, jumping against the white of her teeth, turning back to face the couple who were awaiting her next words.
Sam watched along, jacket pulled up around his ears. Weak, very weak. I had mistaken the strategy from the start, we should have busted straight into their group rather then skirting off to the side.
That would have been my approach with a couple more whiskeys in the system. Never underestimate the boldness of believing everyone is waiting to be entertained by you, that you are gracing them with some kind of relaxed verbal performance.
A girl hadn’t had this kind of impact on me for a while now. Not since summer at least. You know the obsessive lure? The hook that makes you follow someone a block or two or linger to observe them from across the bar.
Emma – I am going to Face-creep the shit out of you. There was some solid Instagram stalking ahead, an expedition of discovery.