Sunday, July 23, 2006

Out of My Element

A friend from college, Matt, came to NYC this past weekend. He works for a company called Recessive Gene Records and was in town with his talent, Katherine Schell, for some business with Music Television and Video Hits 1. He called me up Saturday to see if I wanted to hang out with him. He said he was going out with his booking agent, Ilya, and meeting up with some MTV guy named Charles to go to some Prada party. The activities somewhat appealed to me, and I decided I’d go.

We all met up at Zum Schneider to have a couple beers. Our friend Jackie, who has lived in NYC her whole life but couldn’t navigate her way through the public transportation system if her life depended on it and also has a severe gambling problem, met up with us as well. Zum Schneider is a beer garden and had a plethora of fine brews from which to choose. Feeling overwhelmed, I just ordered the first tap that I saw—Schneider Weisse. It was actually very tasty.

We ventured directly across Avenue C to some Latin lounge that only offered liquor and $8 bottles of Amstel Light. It did have an Indian movie projected on the wall even though you couldn’t hear the dialogue. There were a lot of loungy yellows, oranges, and pinks, not to mention a lot of Asians in the corner behind us. They were all dancing and taking tons of pictures with their extremely skinny Sony Cybershots. I almost felt the urge to bust out my burnt orange Casio Exilim, but without my mini tripod I felt outclassed. This lounge also offered $20 hookahs, which according to Ilya, was crazy expensive. I wanted to give the hookah a try. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t feel or taste anything as I inhaled. Apparently, we were smoking some apple, I think green apple from the way it tasted as I exhaled. Just to summarize, we were at a Latin lounge with an Indian movie projected on the wall, tons of Asians in the corner, and smoking a hookah. I think I was the only person there that looked remotely Latin.

In any case, Charles, the Music Television representative, showed up at this location and told us we were walking to the special party now. It was being thrown by Pat Field at a club called Element, and he was on the list. I think all those facts were supposed to indicate that he was super cool, but we were all clueless about everything he said and just blankly nodded at his statement.

As we approached the venue, I noticed that the outside was abuzz with a motley crew of characters. Some people were even dressed in costumes. I didn’t think anything of it because I figured that it must be the norm for a Prada party. We eventually navigated our way through the maze of costumed partygoers to reach the side door that led to the basement. Because Charles was on the list, we didn’t have to wait in line and we all felt very special. As I’m walking down the stairs, I saw this postcard on the ground.

It struck me as a little strange because I thought this was a Prada party thrown by Pat Field. I started to question what we were doing, but decided to give it a chance. We walked inside the club, and it was a pretty lively scene. It was more of the same type of people—costumed, extravagantly dressed, and probably gay. I kept thinking, “It’s just a fashion party,” so I figured it was normal.

We made our way to our special private alcove, and purchased drinks. Actually, Matt purchased drinks because he had a corporate card. I love expense accounts. We lounged, drank, and watched the parade of freaks as they looked at us in envy. I also decided that I would try to fit in, so I completely unbuttoned my shirt. Even after doing that, I was still the most conservatively dressed person there. In any case, we got a good laugh out of it. There was also a woman who was probably 40 who decided that she would jump into our alcove and start dancing with Matt. She was somewhat scary. The highlight of my night was when Amadeus showed up. I’m not completely sure why he came in, but I was very happy to see him. I wanted to break out in “Rock Me Amadeus.” Falco would’ve been proud. (I definitely got pictures of all this stuff, which led to Charles asking Matt why I took so many pictures. Matt didn't bother explaining the Asian affinity for picture-taking. He just said that I was in culture shock. Click the link in the right sidebar to go to my photo album. If you don't see the sidebar, just cut & paste this link: http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=casm83)

While we lounged, Charles explained that this was not a Prada party. It was a party thrown by Patricia Field, the costume designer for The Devil Wears Prada. She rented out the entire basement of Element for this party. When Matt had explained the party situation to us earlier, he couldn’t completely make out the voice message that Charles had left him. He also had not heard of The Devil Wears Prada, so that is why he thought it was a Prada party. No one really cared because we had our own VIP area and got free drinks.

It was about 2 AM, and we felt like going to another bar, particularly a more normal bar with a greater majority of straight people. Ilya was also feeling really uncomfortable because Charles was definitely trying to spit mad game at him. Unfortunately for Charles, Ilya would never fall for his semi-popped pink Abercrombie polo under plaid sportcoat because Ilya likes girls. Before we left Jackie thought we should check out the upstairs main club. That was a big mistake. The aforementioned postcard finally made sense. The Abercrombie & Filth party was upstairs. Full-fledged gay bar. Have you ever seen the episode of The Simpsons about the steel workers? At the end, the steel factory morphs into a night club and all the steel workers become gay and yell “Work hard, play hard” in a gay lisp. It felt exactly like that. I suddenly realized that all those stereotypes about gay clubs are true. At that point we left, especially since Ilya was really feeling the heat from Charles. We went to some dive bar across the street, and I bought the guy a Bud Light. He had a tough night.

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