Tag Archives: Rubulad

Skin In the Game

A dog in the fight. A horse in the race. Colloquialisms for a vested interest. Recently it occurred to me that this (these?) sentiment is what can be the difference between an event and a memorable event. If you’ll pardon the sports analogy.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been at a few parties that restored my faith in…yeah, parties. In nightlife. Last night I hosted the launch party for the Figment book and the author, David Koren, read a chapter to the guests about “metrics” or numbers. About how we attempt to quantify everything. And as I was laying awake in bed, mulling over the evening and my recent successful forays into nightlife and the many events that vie for our attentions — and our dollars — and what it takes to make them “good” it felt like all the tumblers in the lock clicked.

Skin in the game. A dog in the fight. And not just by the event’s producers. That would be an easy thing. No, magic happens when everyone in attendance has some sort of vested interest. When everyone contributes. Participates. Is dedicated to the night being a success. For not only the producers but for them. The paying public.

My tired little brain and its tumbling lock parts made a mental note: Write a blog post about this. It is everything. It is why Burning Man works. It’s why Figment works. It’s why House of Yes is a huge success. And it is also why so many events that look great on paper fall as flat as…paper. Without passion they are all sports commentator and no sport.

So what were my recent experiences that brought me to this realization? One was a Rubulad. Yes, there have been Rubulads for years. I’ve been to many but certainly not all. As with any recurring events, some have been more successful than others. What made this one feel so…warm? I will chalk it up to the collaboration between Rubulad and JunXion, the many musicians and performers, the artists who had created art for the event and the venue. There were so many people who had a dog in the fight that just about everyone there was tangentially invested in the night being awesome. And it was. People danced. People smiled. It felt like…old times? I dunno. But wonderful. Dare I say…ecstatic.

Also recently I co-emceed the annual twirl-a-thon that is Night of a Thousand Stevies, “the largest and most beloved Stevie Nicks fan event in the world.” It is one of my favorite nights of the year because it is such a lovefest. The glow lasts for weeks afterward. I look at the photos and feel my heart expand in my chest. Everyone in the place — and it now sells out a pretty big place: Irving Plaza — is soooooo happy to be there. They are so excited to catch the tambourines we toss. They lavish those onstage with shrieks of enthusiasm and So. Much. Love. It’s difficult to explain. There are three full acts with dozens of performers: dancers and singers and puppeteers and lip sync-ers, each with at least one friend or “dresser” but more likely a bunch of friends. Some people have been attending NOTS (as it is affectionately known) for many of its 26 years. Yes, 26 years. The event itself is older than some of its fans. I’m sure I don’t need to point out that this is a rare thing. And in my late-night reverie I thought, this night succeeds so brilliantly because everyone in the building is seriously passionate about the party. No one is half-assing it. You can’t half-ass an evening of non-stop Stevie Nicks.

Obviously one also cannot half-ass Burning Man. The scare tactics of “the desert will kill you” aside, this is not an event that you bumble through. It takes planning, supplies and water. Lots of water. And while people have been lamenting that there are more and more “spectators” every year, the scales are still substantially tipped toward participation. There are more burners who bring or build, serve or spin fire. Who show the fuck up. All to make the week a success. Not just for themselves but for the 69,999 other adventurers out there.

Yet how do you get everyone invested? It isn’t an easy equation. And I certainly don’t have the answer. But when the room — or the acreage — fills up with nothing but people who can’t think of anywhere else they’d rather be and anyone else they’d rather be doing it with — drinking or dancing, painting, playing or pillow fighting — you will feel the love. You will look across the room — or the bonfire — and see the sparkle in the eyes of others and think “I am in exactly the right place.” There is nothing better. Nothing. So for a rapturous experience, make sure you have a horse in the race.

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C’mon, People Now, Smile On Your Brother…

Everybody get together try and love one another, right now…..right now….

In light of the world’s current lunacy — which is, sadly, not that different from last week’s (or last year’s) lunacy — I thought I’d spotlight some of my friends whose art form is gathering people together. The alchemy of putting people into a room together — be it a living room, bar room or ballroom — is an exceptional talent, one that can’t be learned or cultivated. You’ve either got it or you don’t.

unnamedSari Rubenstein and Chris Thomas have been curating Rubulad, “a community of artists and entertainers” with its corresponding art and music party, since 1993. In a sea of soulless warehouse events and overpriced parties serving up tiresome EDM in room after room, these two strive to offer a more nuanced and textured nightlife experience. By adhering to their vision, Rubulad remains one of the few events that attracts an eclectic audience, eager for surprises.

v_GSloft1Larisa Fuchs, of Gemini and Scorpio, has transformed a derelict loft space in Gowanus into a refuge for creative nightcrawlers, absinthe afcionados and period costume enthusiasts. Per the web site, she has hosted “theatrical performances, art shows, photo/video/television/film shoots, benefits, talks on curious topics, hands-on artistic experiences, craft sales, fashion shows, movie nights on its giant roof, music showcases, audio recordings, art & science lectures, dance classes — and of course parties.” Larisa’s weekly email blast about not just her events but similar, simpatico soirees, is an invaluable took for those seeking nightlife that’s a little different.

MG_0033Kae Burke and Anya Sapozhnikova have been investing years of sweat equity into the newest incarnation of their experiment in community collaboration, House of YES! “Bushwick’s performance art nexus” features soaring ceilings to accommodate aerialist acrobatics and 7,000 square feet of space, making it, truly, a “temple of expression, dedicated to community, creativity and celebrating life.” Aside from bringing together crafters and costumers, seamstresses and circus performers, these two dynamos are skilled themselves in all those assorted arts. In sharing their dream, they have inspired the dreams of so many others and their beautiful brainchild promises to be a home to theatrical extravaganzas for years to come. Bookings for December are being accepted now!

Sheila and Kenny started Chemistry in 2006 in response to Manhattan’s mostly misogynistic and male-centric swing party scene. Since then they’ve been gathering a “sexually enlightened” coterie of sensual seekers in assorted elegant spaces. The event “encourages the organic development and respectful connection between playful spirits.” Having attended, I can attest to that being an accurate description!

New Moon on Monday

As of tomorrow I will have been home for three weeks. It’s been exhausting and action packed! I’ve been brunching and dinnering and partying and working and generally trying to keep myself busy.

Today I had my first paid article in ages “published” on a web site! My friend Jamye got me the gig. It’s supposed to become a recurring column and I’m hoping I didn’t screw it up by completely freaking out when I saw the image they’d run with the piece. The title is “Aging Gracelessly” and this is what they chose:

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Uh, yeah. No. Nothing about my first person musings relate to this particular scenario. Nor am I interested in making fun of old women. I mean, I can make fun of myself. (You’d better not, but I can!) I’m not trying to be cruel to my, ummm, peers. They changed it, thank goodness. Go read it and see!

Anyway, back to my insanity. I celebrated Halloween a full seven times: The Haunted Halloween Bus in New Jersey, working the door at Honk, an oddball costume party at Coworkrs work share space (with DJ Spooky and a bunch of Orthodox Jews), the Nobot Heart party (in protest of the overpriced Robot Heart rave), working the door at Rubulad, Burning Man Happy Hour (where Pinky and I shared second place in the costume contest before we lost our prize at Dorian Gray) and Halloween itself, which featured a mad dash through the parade to catch up with the Kostume Kult float, followed by a stressful taxi ride to the Gene Frankel Theatre to emcee Ghostlight 2: The Haunted East Village, and finally, after taking down the decor at the theatre, catching the final few hours of KK’s big bash. By the time I went to bed Friday morning I was done! And didn’t even leave the house all day Friday. Check out Pinky and me in our gray scale ensembles!

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It only took us a year to finally realize these costumes! 

I’ve been making the tiniest bit of progress in cleaning out my storage space in an effort to return it to a functional costume closet. I brought up three boxes of…stuff…and unpacking them has been pretty damn depressing. Framed photos of my former life (my dad, standing, my husband, my cousin and her husband, my sister and her husband, all three of which are no longer husbands), more and more of the art nouveau boxes I collect — more and more all kinds of boxes, actually — which I’ve been cramming into my display case. I have plans to paint my walls. I want to hang the photos that don’t make me sad and all of the art that’s currently sitting on the floor. Moving back into my apartment has been a four-year-long process. I wish it could all just be finished already!

Oh, and I had another date tonight. It wasn’t…horrible. He was very aggressive about “booking” the date, even though I told him I was “skeptical.” Well, dinner was nice. He bought. But he’s a banker. A Republican. And 60. And he wore baggy khakis. Ack. When he said he’d like to see me again I told him it would be like taking money (or eating another dinner) under false pretenses. I did my best to talk him out of it, asking when he last stayed up all night on drugs or umm, partied at all. He told me that he was at Woodstock, which I’m guessing was to assure me he was, indeed, “cool.” I said I wasn’t talking about things he was interested in doing 30-plus years ago but, like, last weekend. He would not be dissuaded. In fact he practically insisted. Quite the salesman. However, I think I may have to tell him no. Is that awful of me? I mean, let’s be serious. A 60-yeard-old Republican banker? I just can’t. Not even for a free meal.

Okay, I gotta get some sleep.

EditrixAbby’s Valentine’s Party Picks

Ack. I hate Valentine’s Day. Over the years even when I’ve had a valentine – and there have been plenty – I’ve felt uncomfortably smug. It’s a manufactured holiday, created to sell cards and chocolate. While it can be a romantic time, it is more often the cause of anxiety. If you’re finding yourself in that latter emotional realm, you certainly aren’t alone. But if being proactive, as the optimists love to say, is your way of dealing with your “dreaded singledom,” here are a few of my suggestions for “staying in the game.”

ImprovDates
If you fall between the somewhat arbitrary ages of 38-48 and you’re comfortable laughing at yourself (and others) you might enjoy Monday night’s ImprovDates, an entertaining cross between improvisational comedy and speed dating. Participants call it “fun and tension-breaking” and it certainly beats sitting across the table from a stranger, attempting small talk.

Event Details:
Date: Monday, February 7th
Event: ImprovDates for ages 38-48
Time: 7-9:30pm
Venue: Turtle Bay NYC, 987 2nd Ave between 52nd & 53rd
Price: $40 – includes one complimentary cocktail
Special Deal: Two-for-$60. Sign up with a friend of the opposite sex to each save $10, AND both get a free drink!
More info: www.improvdates.com

Sex Worker’s Literati’s ‘Ho’s Valentine Party’
For those looking to thumb their noses at romance and celebrate people who feign love for a living, join Zoe Hansen and David Henry Sterry for their Sex Workers Literati’s Ho’s Valentine Party. They’ll be serving up a night of “booze, burlesque, and a bevy of seamy, steamy stories” featuring readings by author, multimedia personality, love, sex and relationships writer Abiola Adams; Sex Workers’ Art Show participants and Literary Death Match Champion Lorleei Lee; exotic dancer and Mr. Choade’s Upstairs/Downstairs regular Rosabelle Selavy; the hosts Sterry and Hansen as well as yours truly.

Event Details:
Date: Wednesday, February 9th
Time: 8pm
Venue: Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery
Price: Free!
More info: www.bowerypoetry.com

Endless Night’s ‘Vampire Ball: Anti Valentine’s Masque’
If you are inexplicably drawn to Dracula, red wine and those Twilight films, you will definitely enjoy Endless Night’s Vampire Ball: Anti Valentine’s Masque. The immortal coterie behind this event celebrates their 16th annual Ball with two floors of goth/industrial music, performances by Mystical Hips and Libertina Dance Company, emcee Empress Chi Chi Valenti and more.

Event Details:
Date: Saturday, February 12
Time: 11pm-4am
Venue: Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette Street
Price: $18 in advance, $20 at the door and $30 for couples
More info: vampireballnyc2011-efbevent.eventbrite.com/

Rubulad’s ‘Super Fantastic Love Explosion! A Valentine’s Dance’
If fangs and frock coats aren’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer to trek to Brooklyn and hobnob with the hipsters at Rubulad’s ‘Super Fantastic Love Explosion! A Valentine’s Dance.’ Brooklyn’s “longest running art party” has been transforming boring nightcrawlers into actual artists for years now, so even if you don’t find a valentine, you may find your inner muse! The line-up is, as always, jam-packed with entertainment, including Lily & The Parlour Tricks, Viva’s Rock & Roll Burlesque, Modern Dance Awareness Society and The Dreams and Aspirations Vending Machine by Yung O., with DJs Shakey, $mall¢hange and The Vintage DJ spinning your super-creative soundtrack.

Event Details:
Date: Saturday, February 12
Time: 10pm-4am
Venue: 41 Varick Avenue, Brooklyn
Price: $10-$20
More info: 347-469-1553

Gemini & Scorpio’s ‘Steamy Valentine’s Night at the Russian Baths’
The sexy sprites of Gemini & Scorpio aren’t letting the celebration of Eros go by without a soiree! If you’re feeling especially daring, you may consider shedding your clothes for their ‘Steamy Valentine’s Night at the Russian Baths.’ I’ve written about their ‘Lip Service’ event in Soho but this tantalizing night out will require a trip to Kensington, Brooklyn. However, once there, you’ll be in paradise! Enjoy Russian, Turkish and Swedish steam rooms, jacuzzi, poolside dance floor, hookah lounge, delicious food and lots of steamy, sexy people! Add in entertainment by Hungry March Band and Mehanata (Bulgarian Bar) DJ Joro Boro and you won’t believe you’re in America!

Event Details:
Date: Monday, February 14
Time: 7pm-2am
Venue: Brooklyn Banya, 602 Coney Island Ave bet Beverley Rd & Ave C, Kensington, Brooklyn
Price: $35-$85
More info: www.geminiandscorpio.com

And if, after one (or all!) of these events you find yourself with a new paramour, you can join the kinksters at Chemistry for another one of their new nights, ‘SpellBound,’ “a lighthearted foray in BDSM, with sexy upbeat music, playful spankings, masters who adore their pets and lots of toys to lovingly tease the senses.” This fresh foray takes place on February 18. Check their web site for more info.

Whether you’re single or some interesting configuration of coupledom, there’s never a shortage of sexy things to do in New York City!