She seemed to be permanently in motion, bouncing from group to group, the light not getting a chance to rest on her in any certain way. Wearing a black fitted number with slight panels of skin around her torso and back, the dress looked stunning but it was the ears that took it to another level – long, black and leather – rising high above her head, ensuring anyone that fell within her focus knew about it.
She was one of the standouts in a sea of amazing women, the cover of masks giving everyone the ability to play to their best features. NYE was a night for all ages, a night where cougars competed with college grads, and what better format than masquerade.
I threw on a Frank Sinatra remix, channeling the inspiration for the party, watching as an older guy grabbed a girl in a short black dress with a mesh trail, whirling her across the dance floor – a couple hours of drinking fueling his confidence. I’d never DJ’d anything this formal before. Feathers, ball gowns and sequins. Moneyed from the masks to the shoes, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t get loose later on – my job was to build the mood, keep it classic, disco, jazzy house, a sprinkling of pop.
Jay had got me the gig through one of his various contacts. Modeled on Capote’s famous party at the Plaza, The SoHo Grand’s Black & White Ball had the atmosphere right but not quite the attendance of the original. It’s hard to compete with Warhol, Sammy Davis Jr and the Kennedys, although there were apparently a bunch of New York power players here – whatever that meant. I did recognize a few ‘socialites’ and fashion blogger Margaret Zhang.
The dance floor began to fill up, I half watched Jay with a bunch of people at the bar – crashing conversations was his thing, a chameleon that could get on with anyone. I was playing a set in Brooklyn after midnight so our plan was to hit both parties, “I’m keen to experience it all, the full spectrum of the city.” Although I was prepared for the fact that he would end up staying here. Bushwick raves weren’t exactly his scene.
The Pressure To Have An Amazing Night
Watching the selfie flashes accelerate I considered when New Years had changed. At what age did the night’s mass attendance make it such a pressured cliché? All conquering FOMO forcing everyone to constantly weigh their night against something potentially better.
I used to love New Years Eve. Planned months in advanced – executed with a force that generated epic memories and photos that screamed good times. Since high school back in LA, I’d always spin at parties in Venice Beach before we got organized and started throwing our own. New Years was a time for no excuses, for everyone to turn up and test limits – limits we hadn’t found the edge of yet.
The admin required to do something decent in the city was like booking sex with your girlfriend – it robbed it of spontaneity.
It has become like a bad date that you can’t get out of. NYE suffers terribly from hype – huge expectations are set but the admin required to do something decent in the city was like booking sex with your girlfriend – it robbed it of spontaneity. Tonight is when you need individuals with the ability to inject something fresh, this room had a bunch of them – people that have made a life by living for the opportunity of a good story. I was happy to be the most obvious fly on the wall.
Too Many Lines, Not Enough Cabs
We down our champagne in uncivilized gulps, saying quick goodbyes and head downstairs to meet the car. It was near impossible to get a cab or Uber on NYE, which meant you really had to commit to one area of the city. The next gig had sent a car, we piled in, changing as we drove across the city. Every bar or venue, regardless of quality, dotted with lines of shivering women. My idea of a nightmare is wandering aimlessly on a night like this, waiting in lines to listen to crappy music followed by another twenty minutes to get a drink. Go to an event or get out of the city.
“Check out Drew,” Jay said, shoving his phone at me. “You know he signed with Ultra? Hitting up the festival circuit. He’ll be over in Europe for a few months.” The photo was taken from behind the decks, looking out over a huge crowd at some festival, 436 likes.
“That’s unreal.” Mesmerized by the thought of the young dude that used to play before me at tiny clubs and house parties. He had a couple tracks blow up online but I never pictured him breaking out. It ran around in my head until we rolled through the LES and some screaming drunk girl snapped me out of it.
As we crossed the Williamsburg Bridge Jay stocked up his Tinder, firing off a bunch of messages, something he called ‘front loading’ – preparing options for a night out. I wondered if people found it worse going home alone or starting the year scampering from an average hookup. I’m from the camp that always pushed well into the next day, ether playing or just trying to cram the last juice out of the occasion.
The Weirdness Of The Countdown Kiss
Space + Time is one of the biggest dance music events going on tonight, the warehouse was huddled a couple of blocks from the Morgan stop trying to remain inconspicuous as it spewed chatter out under the sparse streetlights of Bushwick. It was still just before midnight when we arrived, making our way under huge sculptures and lasers to the backstage area, looking out at the crowd, a drink safely in our hands for the countdown.
The visuals at these events were taking it to a new level, the countdown featured a UFO taking off and a huge hologram of a Astronaut – it wasn’t quite Tupac but this thing was floating over the entire crowd. From nowhere one of those really high girls backstage that no one seems to know appeared next to me, we go from a “Happy New Year” to a kiss, and now her tongue is everywhere in my mouth. When the awkward experience is finished she pulls back all lolly eyed, smiles, then disappears.
I get the tradition, but what’s wrong with a simple kiss on the lips? People spend all night lining someone up just so they can guarantee a bit of tongue. This one settled for the stealth snatch and grab. Jay was nowhere in sight.
Shiban San was starting his set on the main stage. I was on in thirty minutes over in the other zone, more of a trap/hip-hop feel. With the countdown over with the real part of the night could begin. It was time to get weird.