Posts Tagged ‘parties

23
Nov
10

What if you threw an orgy and nobody came?

The invitation got the wheels of my already-overheated imagination rolling.

It was for a birthday party for a girl I knew from the gym. I had been reintroduced to her at a party I attended a couple of years ago – the Global Warming Party, so named because of the pool in the backyard, heated to hot-tub-like temperatures in the middle of winter. The birthday girl had been there, and it was as debauched a party as I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Let’s just say, skinny-dipping was required, not just encouraged, and there was a downstairs room set aside for people whose carnal desires got the better of them.

The emailed invitation from the birthday girl – we’ll call her Fannie – mentioned a room for dancing plus the requisite DJ, a bar, and a clothing optional atmosphere. I thought a hot tub was also mentioned. The party was at a house, which meant that there would be extra rooms in which to crash, if necessary. The downside was, with Vancouver real estate prices being what they are (and houses in the city all but unaffordable except to the rich), the house was in a suburb, over half an hour’s drive away from the city.

Still, as the day approached, and my imagination became more fevered, the party took on Fall-of-the-Roman-Empire dimensions. My girlfriend, R., took little convincing, with the caveat that, should she start feeling like prey for a room full of white slave traders, we would leave.

Saturday night came around and, after a long drive on an unseasonably cold night, we arrived at the two-story abode. Once inside, we greeted by a guy in a bathrobe – Fannie’s boyfriend – whose eyes made him look as though he’d swallowed a bottle of cough medicine. He was having a conversation with the owner of the house, a guy named Gary, about who owed what when it came to bar supplies. It was not a good omen.

My spirits sank with each new discovery, except for the birthday girl’s near-birthday suit (a white mesh bodysuit). The house was unfinished – the rooms upstairs, including the living room and two bedrooms, were almost all completely empty. The food consisted of bulk plastic containers of croissants, no doubt for the morning (the invitation said the party was going to be going until the following afternoon). The “bar” was actually the kitchen, which had been cordoned off with tables and chairs. Except for a few people upstairs, it seemed empty, and there was little noise come from downstairs.

In the kitchen, as we sipped our vodka drinks, much was made about R; Fannie was quick to point out my girlfriend’s physical attributes, while the few guys standing around nodded agreeably. Shortly, our respective ages came under scrutiny. This was getting uncomfortable.

Downstairs, we found the only inhabitable space, a TV room with couches and carpet and a glassed-in three-person sauna. (There was no hot tub; I must have been hallucinating when I read the email. Perhaps I still had an image of Jessica Pare in Hot Tub Time Machine in my mind.) One sport wasted no time in stripping down to the altogether and getting his sauna on. He wasn’t the only freedom-lover – two other guys proudly displayed their fetishistic tendencies. One, Brent, was a short black guy in a belt that emphasized his equipment, the other was a Terence Stamp-type in his 60s and dressed in BDSM gear.

There were some nice moments – people shared some memories of Fannie, for instance (Brent told a story about being at an orgy with Fannie, who commented on the proceedings as they went on around and to her). And Fannie, singing a tune from her stage days revealed a surprising (to me) talent.

But here’s the thing – there was no music. And we knew no one – well, I knew the birthday girl, but barely, and I sort of knew Terence Stamp from the gym – so we stayed more or less silent. If there was going to be an orgy, which the email hinted at (my feverish imagination notwithstanding), these weren’t the people we wanted to have one with. We knew the time to leave had come when Terence sidled up to R. and started telling her his philosophy of life while she tried to keep her eyes off his pierced 60-year-old nipples.

So we pulled a quiet leave, sneaking upstairs and grabbing our stuff. On our way out we ran into our bleary-eyed host, Fannie’s boyfriend, who thanked us for coming. My first orgy – if it’s ever going to happen – can wait.

03
May
08

Coachella, For the Record, is Nothing Like Burning Man

On Friday, an acquaintance of mine who looks to have never been to anything edgier than a smooth jazz brunch was like, “Oh you’re at Coachella–the Southern Cal version of Burning Man.”

Uh. No. Let’s get it straight please. Burning Man is essentially an annual party/performance art gathering / electronic music mega-marathon / grownup getaway / highly evolved uber-rave that’s been going for gosh I dunno must be nearly 20 years now. Most of the longtime attendees are at least loosely affiliated with an artists’ collective and/or mixed media space and/or DJ crew back in the Bay Area (and now in LA and New York too, I guess), and these collectives are responsible for building all the amazing installations and throwing the best parties at Burning Man, because (at least up till recent years and maybe still; I stopped paying attention) there was never organized entertainment there, and nobody was paid to play. Also up till recent years there was little law enforcement and almost zero regulation of substances, which was what drew a lot of people out there to the desert–apparently there’s something oddly compelling about taking way more drugs than you can handle, wearing sparkly fairy wings and nipple tassles and/or a Muppet costume, and acting like a 3 year old in 120-degree heat.

For me, it’s not compelling b/c there is nothing I hate more than watching a bunch of grownups acting like 3 year olds and/or stumbling around in Muppet costumes being unable to handle their drugs. Don’t get me wrong, I love electronic music–prog house, breakbeat, electro-pop, and almost anything that comes out of Scandinavia or Iceland. I have for decades. However. I also love air-conditioning, running water, and fellow partiers who are okay with me not owning a tutu & wings.

Which brings me back to Coachella. Apart from the fact that it, too, is in the desert (a TOTALLY different one, in a completely different state), it has very little in common with Burning Man. First of all, it’s organized by GoldenVoice, which is one of the best concert promoters in the business. It gets the most amazing musical lineup of any festival in the country. And HELL YES, that musical talent gets paid!! (Rumor has it, in fact, that Prince got upward of $4 million. But I cannot substantiate that, nor do I really care all that much.) Not only that, but the people who do the art installations also get paid. There was some Burning Man art in the mix this year, but not a lot, and it was specifically selected…and those ppl got cash I do believe.

As for the substances–well, they were heavily, heavily regulated. You couldn’t drink alcohol, nor were you supposed to smoke, anywhere except in a couple designated areas. I heard–though did not see for myself–that there was no alcohol in general camping. I stayed in the artists’ quarters, and there was some there Thank Gawd! And you know, I think there was, throughout the place, a general waft of weed & maybe a few bug-eyed folks, but really it was soooo mild. I didn’t see a single tutu, not even on a dude.

And at least on Friday, almost everyone was asleep by 2AM. Thousands of early-to-bed fuddy-duddies we were. Even the serious Burner crew next door had, like, a little tiny mellow party that fizzled by sunrise. Shocking!

So why were we all there? To see the music. Which, as I said, was incredible. A lot of people bitched about the lineup this year, but I must say that Goldfrapp ruled my universe, and Adam Freeland brought the bass admirably for a a 5PM set, and Aphex Twin kept his insanity to a minimum, and the Verve sounded just like they do on the radio…though I didn’t actually watch a second of the show. Oh, and I heard Pendulum was awesome. Spankrock chicks were badassed-yummy and sizzling. Datarock had a hilarious audience of 17 year old hipsters doing the seizure dance in between looking around self-consciously to see if their neighbors were okay/impressed with it.

I did not see Jack Johnson, sorry. And Fatboy Slim (AKA Norman Cook) just downright SUCKED. He was bored and boring, totally phoned in the set, and was disinterested in the audience to the point of being rude. Damn he’s terrible. Why is he famous again?

Back onto a positive note, I heeeaard that on Saturday Portishead stole the show. This doesn’t surprise me; they sounded as good as their album at the soundcheck. Beth Gibbons is a bit of a weirdo, but she’s beautiful to listen to.

Anyway, so that was Coachella. Nothing like Burning Man. Also not exactly the transcendental cultural experience people have started purporting it to be. But a damn good music festival–and I hope it stays around a while.

Oh, and yes I did see a couple SNOWBIRDS but nothing to cause undue panic. Thanks for remembering.




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