15 May 2005

dancing in the streets: a party beyond words

complacent throws some really amazing parties, every few months. my first party of theirs was back in 2000 where we got tangled in an installation in some dirty williamsburg loft, where people smoked from hookahs in tiny little tented domey areas aspiring to be something out of turkey. other parties have included live art, movies, djs, ice sculptures, bands, political tabling, radical cheerleaders (yup, i'm included), dancing, cheap food, deep discussion, and way too much to even begin to talk about. parties will have multiple location, secret locations, available by invite only following questions that wean out the losers from the winners (yes i was selected). last night's party was amazing, and was a traveling party.

first warm night began in the lower east side, took over several train cars, and moved to a park in red hook. years ago, when coaching the alphabet city track club, i ran here with my girls. last night, fueled by confidence, freedom, and rum, i ran around the track in a sparkly black skirt, laughing all the way around. i'm still me, i still am me!

the party moved, led by a small car-like vehicle (not really a car; basically more like a bike rickshaw thing with a huge speaker in the back) and the hungry march band somewhere in the middle. wings were worn. candy was handed out, bubbles were blown. vodka was sipped from flasks and whiskey from crumpled paper bags. i complained of the pulpiness of my rum cocktail, swigged it anyway.

we were all going someplace beyond reality.

at some point, a pickup truck appeared. people piled on the back. djs on a precarious plywood surface, played old school beastie boys. "you gotta fight! for your right! to par-ty!" we were taking over the streets, yes we were, even though they were quiet, back streets where warehouses and abadoned warehouses slept on this saturday evening. twilight crept as "no sleep till brooklyn" rather ironically played--drunk, we shouted, unashamed at the cliches. we were the revolution we hoped to see!

i danced with a drunk girl, a boy, a whoever, a person, a real-live human being. a couple went past with an office chair with wheels. they pushed me on cobblestones for a bit, laughing. we swigged life.

we arrived at a pier in redhook. in the street, in front of a bus with SENIOR CITIZENS on it, the windows were removed and speakers blared drum n bass. i danced--no, we danced. we danced. we danced as one.

pushing through the pulsing crowds with heavy breath and sweat, i walked down the boardwalk. someone was juggling with fire. someone was blowing bubbles. someone was saying, "this is my dream." we were all thinking, this is OUR world.

at the end, a capoeria performance began. we gazed at the dance, marveled at the movements. when it was over, cards were passed, compliments given. i leaned over the railing, staring at the water. moved back to dancing.

met an adorably drunk girl, who told me how brilliant i was. she was hanging all over my neighbor's business partner's arm. she told me i'd love iceland, she had to see me before i left. i laughed hysterically at her drunkeness, becoming drunker soleley by osmosis. my rum cocktail was finished, its plastic bottle gently abandoned in the proper trash receptacle.

tried to meet up with friends; directions from the train, or even the earlier park, were futile. we are here, you will find us!

went on another long walk. dancing in the streets. people with boomboxes. dancing on sidewalks. friends arrived. body paint?

cops and firefighters came. using power, and sirens, demanded us off the streets. i spoke (cheered) back:
they are the c-o-p-s,
with the badge on their chest!
they want to oppress, the people with less!
they're armed in dangerous,
the big boys in blue!
put your hands where they can see them or they're gonna shoot you!
their excuse is protection, their tool is control!
the time to act is now, take the pigs off control.
just me and my big voice, and applause afterwards.

apparently, a whale (a blow up whale) as well as a person had gone for a swim in the east river. supposedly, the person couldn't get back onto land; thus the cops were called. those piers are mighty high.

twister was played. a giant bottle for spin the bottle was carried past. a mother-daughter fairy team ran past. "is this heaven or what?" someone asked.

the party ended at a bar. life stories exchanged, salivia exchanged among strangers who you swore were only introducing themselves earlier, yet you knew by the end of the year, an engagement between them would be announced. i spun around groups of people, speaking with friends, talking about where i grew up and my rapidly approaching trip to europe.

we were far from civilization; who even knew where the train was? met several different people; the ones i ended up walking to the train with were amazing. they tried to convince me to go with them to a weekly drum n bass party, and i almost did; a paper which i haven't started yet and an early brunch with family prevented me from going. we talked about growing up in the suburbs or the city, and about jobs that made us thrilled to get up in the morning (even though we were broke) and ones that made us want to crawl back under the covers (even though we were paid $70k) and ones that the work we did we couldn't even describe what we did since we didn't know what we did. the conversation flowed, from buddhist sculpture to the virtues of growing up in queens. i can't believe such people exist in my city and are not exalted every day.

on the train, we separate; me to the G, them to await the F. i think of how rich my night was, of the rum that did not increase the chances of anything, but merely there; of the fun to be had in the future.

go out. make art. make friends. take over the streets with a party of 800 people. you can do it. we did. and i only looked back to say, "wow, this is amazing. look how many cool people there are in this beautiful city!"

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