Oh man, where do I begin? This weekend was chock full of Halloween parties and I chose one each for Friday and Saturday. What a difference these two days were.
How did our dreams end up like this?
Let me start with Friday. I was super excited to have scored tickets to How Did Our Dreams End Up Like This by Matte Projects x You Are So Lucky. It started out well. Then it turned into complete pandemonium.
First, the good part.
Promo emails for the experience said to chose one of two themes – lightness or darkness. So, of course, I chose darkness. It really seemed to me that they wanted to make this as much of an artistic experience as possible – think Burning Man meets Halloween.
So Friday after work I run home and get into my getup – a silver Venetian mask with black feathers jutting out the top, paired with a black jumpsuit, cape, super high black boots and of course, black lipstick.
Sorry for the poor photo quality – I was just running around taking selfies with my phone at that point and forgot to get a good full body shot.
Anyways, I headed down to the Governer’s Island ferry and boarded. I actually fist pumped when I saw this thing was going to be on Governer’s Island because I have always wanted to go there at night. The island has an old colonial feel about it and has the most beautiful old buildings that usually are closed to the public.
My friend that was going to go with me couldn’t go so I was flying solo on the boat until I met this awesome pair – a fashion director type named Pedro clad in a black velvet coat and Pilar, a Madrid-based former You Are So Lucky party-goer that was also super pumped for the event.
Let’s just say the costumes were amazing. Some people like my friends were just dressed in solid white or black beneath their coats, but most everyone else had crazy insane costumes. There was a group of angels with saintly homemade halos and just a spectacular vibe. Another ‘lightness’ party goer was dressed as a unicorn with a holographic silver jumpsuit and horn. (If anyone finds a picture of her floating around on insta let me know because her outfit was amazing). Another ‘lightness’ favorite of mine was a male angel with a shaved head who had tiny pearls glued into this super intricate tribal design across his head and face.
Then there were the people who chose darkness. One girl had a black feather mohawk and a black jumpsuit adorned with silver flecks. There was another girl who rocked a wide brim Beyoncé-est hat with her face hidden behind a tight dark mesh material as she rocked cage-like structures around her legs. There were many with ox horns and antlers. Others had dark wings.
So yeah, people were prepared to have a good time.
When we first arrived on the island, we walked back to a tent (well, after standing in a line nearly freezing to death because it seemed like people weren’t ready, but I’ll gloss over that part) where there was a huge open area with transient string music and absolutely perfect mood lighting, along with neon signs that left crazy imprints in your photos when you took pictures of them:
The food people weren’t ready either, but we were starving so we ran to the back of the tent and had some pumpkin curry. They were also offering these crazy lamb heads:
After our food and a blood orange tequila cocktail (which was amazing btw – thank you, bartender), we started to wander the tent and check out the other guests who were arriving. That’s when I ran into the angels.
We were told to bring ‘gifts’ to the party – something to offer the other guests to make it a truly interactive experience. I brought my Killstar triangular spells notebook and gold pen to write poems for the other guests.
The angels were going around ‘blessing’ others so I wrote my first poem of the night and entered the circle, handing it to them before disappearing.
That’s when they opened the hospital. Luckily I’m a person that arrives early for most things so I first got into the hospital building no problem. I’ll tell you what happened later in a bit, but for now I’m still focusing on the good part of the experience. 😉
So this hospital building, the one lit in red I posted a bit above, was the focal point of the party. Basically you wandered in and some rooms had experiences for you and other rooms were left empty so you had to create your own thing.
There was a room with giant golden balls for crazy looking photos, a room with a maze of tassels hanging from the ceiling, a room with sequins lining the walls so you could draw pictures. and other rooms with just neon signs on the floor:
Another room had mystic fog and red lights, with ambient electronic music playing:
I wandered into another room which had been left for someone to create and experience in and Rob, a pirate dressed in all black, had taken it over with a group of his friends. They asked people at the door if they chose darkness or light in that moment and handed them little pouches with gifts inside.
I chose darkness and they gave me one o the pouches that held a pair of little black dice. I wrote them a poem in return and took over the corner to offer poems to whoever else dropped by.
Rob and his crew kindly gave me one of the light gifts as well, which was a string necklace with a light at the end which cast this perfect eerie glow. I used it to see what I was writing as more people came into the corner and asked for poems.
There was this one girl who had crazy alien contact lenses in so that her whole eye was nearly black. It was insanely awesome looking. Another group approached that were speaking in Chinese and, having lived in China for three years, I signed my name in characters and they were ecstatic.
If the party had stayed this way, it would have been a completely magical experience. But this is where it all when downhill unfortunately.
Nature eventually called and there were no restrooms in the hospital. You had to exit to go use them, which I was ok with. However when I went out on the steps outside I quickly realized that the makers of this event had gotten greedy and sold wayyyy too many tickets. So much so that the fire safety code of the building had already been met and a huge line had formed outside. People inside caught wind of this and stopped coming out because unfortunate people such as myself had realized that once you got out, there’s no way you were getting back in.
By this time the first party tent was completely packed and you could barely get in by the front entrance, so I went around to the back. Glad I did too because there was actually fresh air standing by the door at the back. Horror stories I saw posted on insta talked about the poor ventilation at the front.
By this time I had lost Rob the pirate and my Madrid friends. I texted Pedro to see where he was at and they, like many others were still inside the hospital, so I went back. By this time, the line outside the hospital had turned into a mob. With the tent already overflowing with people, many were waiting to get into the hospital for what they paid for – the main part of the experience. Temperatures dropped and it started to rain. People started chanting ‘let us in’ at security, who were holding people who had been standing 2+ hours waiting to get in. When people realized that the line wasn’t about to move at all because the organizers had oversold the event, people got pissed. The front of the line charged security and ran into the hospital anyway, putting it wayyy over fire code regulation. People were nearly trampled on the front of the stairs. I heard one girl broke her leg past the front door.
They then closed the front door and brought barricades over to try and contain the crowd. One of the event staff came out and started taking pictures of the angry mob, who in turn flipped off the camera in their drenched costumes. One guy graciously handed me an umbrella and I stood to the side, texting and trying to figure out that status of my new friends.
I think in an attempt to subdue the crowd they either opened the tiny Premium-only building or pissed off people walked through into that one as well because as when I went over there away from the mob, anybody could go in. Completely frozen from having waited an hour to try and reunite with my people, I went inside to a candle-lit living room and sat down on one of miraculously open pillows on the floor to warm up. This girl was reading tarot to people next to me and the staff told us to wait and some of us would be selected to go into the ‘ritual’ in the next room.
Soon enough the crowds must have realized that this building was open because everybody soon ended up in the living room with me. It was turning into the hospital mob all over again. Luckily the ‘ritual’ was starting and I was selected to go in as the crowd in front for increasingly out of control.
They gave us bowls of colored sand to meditate with and then started this intense BDSM-like show with black-leather clad dominatrixes sitting in chairs before us with their male “pets” at their feet. I will admit the vibe was definitely on point and the experience very cool, but the crowd outside had gotten to the point of overrunning the ritual room by the time it was over. I made for the exit and then realized that I forgot my umbrella and that the rain was 1000x worse now. I went back to get it and got caught up in a new mob-vs-security guard battle where security lost their shit and weren’t even listening to common sense folks anymore. Luckily one of the front door guys who had seen me come in grabbed my umbrella while the crazy security guard berated everyone in front of him, including me. He told me to wait outside with my arms crossed where it was RAINING and when I asked him if I could just standing under the awning, he started pushing people off the steps. Luckily my guy with the umbrella was back and threw it to me. I caught in and headed out on the grounds.
By this time, they had flat out closed the hospital (I asked if there was anywhere to go and the guy standing guard now in front of it laughed in my face). The tent was mobbed and it was 2am. I had tickets to the after party at 3:45am.
I asked a couple staff members what the status of the afterparty was with everything getting closed down, but no one seemed to have a clue about it.
So that’s when I left. What started out as something magical has been completely ruined by overselling tickets to the event. Luckily I caught a ferry back (Others were not so lucky and ended up stranded on the island after 3am).
Everyone else was equally fed up so I sent a recap of my experience, for what it was worth, to the creative minds behind this @williamxalexandra, asking for a refund. I received no reply. The next day they turned off comments on their page and left a note to direct all inquires to @youaresolucky and @matteprojects. @youaresolucky soon turned off commenting as well and a shitshow of horror stories from the event started appearing in the only place where people could put them – the @matteprojects page.
I am amazed that something so magical could be ruined by such a careless oversight. @youaresolucky’s bio changed today to note that ‘a letter…will be posted Monday morning’ and I am VERY curious to see what it’s going to say.
For now I’m disputing the charge for the afterparty and hope that something comes out of it.
So yeah, at nearly 4am I got home – drenched and absolutely freezing, which is really saying something for someone who does not get cold easily.
I could only hope that Saturday night’s party would be better.
Having been to a few @shanghaimermaid shindigs before, I was super excited for their Saturday night party at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn. These folks know how to do events. They don’t oversell tickets but instead just charge slightly more so that everyone has a good time and plenty of elbow space. Take notes, @matteprojects. This party was amazingly romantic smooth sailing all the way and I am SO glad I got tickets to this. It turned my weekend completely around.
The premise for this party was a gathering to speak with spirits long gone, their website noting that “your fellow guests will be mediums, mystics, scholars of the occult, socialites, gurus, silent film actors, financiers, heads of state, artists . . . those attending from the otherworld may include: the marquis de sade, henry olcott, madame blavatsky, sherlock holmes, guests of the titanic, rasputin, queen victoria, marie antoinette,
a peking opera star, lewis carroll, a pirate, a circus performer, harry houdini, a brothel madame, or perhaps the recently executed tsar nicholas & empress alexandra of russia . . .”
Pretty cool, am-I-right? 😉
So I donned a Victorian steampunk uniform with an matching outfit for my boyfriend:
My boyfriend usually does not like to dress up but I think this may have converted him to my costume party ways because he received so many complements on his mustache. People were also fascinated that it didn’t fall off the whole night. I just loved the monocle he found and attached to the front of his outfit.
Speaking of outfits, this amazing lady with a Marie-Antionette style ballgown and luminous accordion greeted us as we came in:
And let’s take a moment to talk about this venue because it was absolutely gorgeous. The party was held at The Montauk Club, which is this high society gathering place out in Park Slope with beautiful hardwood decor, gorgeous chandeliers, and a terrace with intricate stonework. It was just perfect for this event.
Plus we had VIP tickets so we got early access to the second-floor lounge in the pic above where they had a lovely jazz band, @hotsardines playing. PLUS it was open bar so my full Irish boyfriend loved that ;p. Soon enough we started dancing by the covered pool table by the terrace and it was just so romantic. All of the Shanghai mermaid events have a heavy dose of romance to them so I highly recommend taking your signifiant other to one at some point in time for a magical night.
Speaking of magic, they were holding seances in one of the handsome rooms on the second floor, which was definitely a unique experience. I signed up for the 9:30 one and went in with an open mind, having no idea what to expect. They handed us sheets of paper and asked us to write out a name with our finger over the slip. For some reason the name “George Steinway’ slipped into my head. We had a close family friend/neighbor named George who passed away this year but his last name was not Steinway and I only realized this after I had already chosen the name George. They had us chant the names as the main speaker donned a mask and read some mystic poetry a lady in all black burned sage and wafted it around the room with a feather. They really pulled this off extremely well and it gave the party just the right amount of spooky Halloween vibes.
Once the seance was over, I went outside a reunited with my boyfriend who hadn’t gone in for fear of the occult, which I didn’t mind at all. We headed down to the first floor where another band struck up a tune and sequin-clad flapper girls took the dance floor.
It was one of those moments where everyone is genuinely happy and having a good time. No fakeness, no judgement. Just everyone complimenting each other’s costumes and getting down to the old school music.
And then they brought out our accordion-playing friend again, who, as I learned, was actually @nicole.renaud.neosoprano, French, and very very talented.
I danced my little heart out to this elegant music. It was a total redemption from Friday’s event and my boyfriend, who is actually very shy and not very much a party-goer, had an absolute blast. It was perfectly magical.
Honestly, if there was any way to give @shanghaimermaid a standing ovation in blog post format, I would, but for now just go check them out and await their next event 😉
So there you have it. That was my pre- Halloween weekend! Some of my friends were going to the Inferno party put on by the same folks who do Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel (which I still have to go to) and I heard that was awesome as well. So that might be something I will check out for next year’s Friday night party. As for Halloween itself, I plan to walk in the West Village parade, but I have yet to decide which costume to wear. Let me know which one I should chose via the comments on insta and thanks as always for reading. ❤