Halloween-ing Around

Susanne Bartsch, Halloween party, Citizen Chris

From the Susanne Bartsch Halloween party. Photo by Citizen Chris.

Whoa, it’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks! Particularly the weeks and days leading up to, and following, Halloween. I feel like I’m still recovering from all the festivities. There was a week or two in there, where it was just an endless stream of: throw on costume+ fangs+ contact lenses, go to a party, stay out until 4-5-TK a.m., go home, sleep until the next afternoon, take shower, mosey around the house a bit, and then start getting ready for the next event and do it all over again.

This year, I went with my black cat suit and black PVC corset, plus fangs, white face paint, creepy red eyes and the works to attempt to look like Selene from the movie Underworld. It was an outfit I owned, and intended to wear, for Halloween last year, but then Hurricane Sandy blew into town and literally rained on my, and everyone else’s, parade. But I brought the outfit out so many times this year that it more than made up for its lack of appearance last year.

Halloween, vampire, Selene, fangs, Underworld

Moi on Halloween. Scared yet?

On October 26th, when, I kid you not, there were probably hundreds of Halloween parties going on all around New York, I opted for Susanne Bartsch’s party at Buddakan. Bartsch’s parties have been the gold standard of glam, over-the-top extravaganzas for 30 years in New York. I’ve attended many of her other parties (On Top at The Standard Hotel, where I celebrated my 28th birthday on a Tuesday night, work be damned! Bloody Mary at Good Units, Vandam at Greenhouse, etc.) before and they never failed to deliver. There is always good pumpin’ disco music, the most outlandish costumes and diversity that you can’t get anywhere else. Her Wikipedia entry says that, at her events, she “staples the hipsters to the dandies to the drag queens.” An interview that Next Magazine recently did with her, said that:

“Her parties are not just for people who want to be the art, they’re also for people who want to see the art as well—which probably accounts for the wide variety of people she attracts. In a nightlife culture that is more and more divided along increasingly specific subcultural lines, Bartsch’s parties are a chaotic petri dish of sexualities and identities.”

Citizen Chris, Susanne Bartsch, Halloween party

Characters at the Bartsch party. Photo by Citizen Chris.

Yep, you name it, she’s got it! (Do I sound like I’m gushing? That’s probably because I am). I know a lot of party producers and promoters on the various scenes, and they all seem to go through the same parabolic curve of getting going, getting really popular, booking some awesome venues, getting hundreds of people to their events, and then burning out for one reason or another, or getting busted for drugs, or what-have-you. But Bartsch has mysteriously been able to sustain her popularity for decades. Her Halloween parties and New Year’s parties are often hard to get into, since everyone and their mother, father, gay uncle and dog wants to go to them. So you either have to be somebody, know somebody, or be extra fucking fabulous. Luckily for me and my group of accomplices, at least two of those factors usually apply.

Susanne Bartsch, Asian dancer, Buddha, Susanne Bartsch

A dancer at Bartsch-a-ween. Photo by Citizen Chris.

Buddakan, where the party was held this year, is usually an (Asian-fusion themed) restaurant by day, where I’ve enjoyed many a fancy dinner with financial industry honchos. This time, though, it was costume chaos. The get-ups were, as always, amazing and over-the-top. There were many Geisha types and dancers performing all over the place. The event space had two floors, several dance floors/rooms, lots of smaller nooks and crannies upstairs, as well as a banquet table downstairs that was replete with fortune cookies. I picked one up and opened it to find this written on the front in Asian-type lettering: “Live, Darling! Life’s a banquet and the most poor suckers are starving to death.” On the back is said: “Happy Halloween, 2013! Love, Susanne Bartsch xxx.” Sage advice, indeed. I wound up picking up several fortune cookies (even though I couldn’t eat any of them since I had my fangs in. I know, boo hoo, #costumepeopleproblems) to confirm that they all said the same thing. And, they did. So OK, maybe that’d be my one complaint: I kind of wished the fortune cookies said different things. And would love to be Susanne Bartsch’s fortune cookie copywriter. Pretty please? My friends and I danced and rubbed elbows with some of New York’s most fabulous creatures at that party until about 3-4 a.m. and then went to say hello to our friends at Arkham, a monthly goth party in my hood (Bushwick, that is) that we often go to, that was Halloween/Dia de Los Muertos-themed this time.

Why, hello there! (at Bartsch-a-ween)

The next day, on the 27th, I was going to meet a friend for brunch, but instead of brunching, we met up at a friend’s place in the Lower East Side and proceeded to partake in an all-day music, champagne, unknown substances and lounging fest with a bunch of our friends. Which was convenient for me, as I was going to The Poetry Brothel later that night and it was right downstairs from my friend’s place. That event was just marvelous, so much so that I gave it its own post here.

And if that wasn’t all for one weekend, I went to stop by Suspension, which was just around the corner at The Delancey, afterwards. The party is a usual monthly Fetish Tribe thing that I’ve been going to, more or less regularly, for the past three-four years. Even though I don’t tend to play there much anymore (if I ever did), I often feel at home there and it’s always nice to see and reconnect with friends, many of whom are guaranteed to be there, as some of them (like Mike B. and Skully and Phara Way) host it and many others just go there religiously.

The Kostume Kult parade float. Photo by Thomas Egan

The Kostume Kult parade float. Photos by Thomas Egan.

kostume kult float 2

On the actual Halloween night, Thursday, the 31st, I went to the Village Halloween Parade, which I was super excited about, because a) it had been cancelled due to the hurricane last year and there initially were rumors that it might not happen this year either and b) I hadn’t had a chance to participate in it for the last few years, due to work and bad timing, so I was glad to finally do it again. I marched with Kostume Kult, the Burning Man camp and arts collective that I’d been involved in for a number of years. It occurred to me that I probably haven’t been to a KK event in over a year, so it was really nice to see those KK Krazies once again and dance down the streets of Manhattan to some really good music that was thumping from the parade float. Later that night, I followed my KK brethren to the Kostume Kult Halloween party at the Union Square Ballroom, danced my ass off some more, found some old and new friends and generally had a dandy good time.

 

Halloween Parade, Kostume Kult

My friends and I at the parade. Photo by Nicholas.

But that’s not all, kids, on Saturday Nov, 2nd, I went to yet another Halloween party, Voodoo on the Bayou, that was hosted by the ever-lovely Erin of M Events! and was held within a portion of the old Limelight space that has, in recent years, lamely become a mall. It was great to visit the old haunt and see it put to its proper use again (well, its proper use was originally that of a church, but you know what I mean). I had a great time catching up with friends and dancing there as well, especially to the dirty beats of my sexy friends at whiteowljaguar.

Encore moi

Encore moi

Though I must admit that by the umpteenth Halloween party, I slacked off a bit, put on the same catsuit and corset, but avoided the contacts and fangs as they had become uncomfortable after a while. This costume was also the first time that I had ever attempted wearing contacts, as I never needed vision correction (at least not yet, knock on wood) and they were such a pain in the ass to put in! I don’t know how the rest of you, that wear them all the time, do it. I was super impressed at some of my friends, though, who went to a lot of the same parties that I did and donned a different costume for all of them. Party troopers!

The days in between some of these events were interspersed with other smaller engagements of parties, drinking and dinners with friends, storytelling shows and putting some finishing touches on my outfit. In the realm of TMI: whenever I get a full body suit, I usually order a zentai suit from China and most of them can be customized to have a crotch zipper built in, but this one did not, and as I was wearing a corset over it, it made it extremely difficult to go to the bathroom. Every time I needed to, I had to unlace the corset and then re-lace it all over again, Or rather have my friends do it (thanks, Roz!), which got annoying after a while, so by the time I had to wear it to the third party, I decided to get a zipper and sew it in myself. That worked much better for my peeing endeavors. Phew.

After a plethora of all those Halloween festivities, I retired the catsuit, at least for a while. And on the ninth day, this vampire rested.

P.s. I was pretty delighted with my Halloween selections, but I know there were countless other parties and events to choose from on all those nights. Please feel free to share your experiences of those below. The more reviews, the better!

(For more of Citizen Chris‘s gorgeous photos of the splendor at Bartsch-a-ween, go here. You can see the rest of Thomas Egan‘s Kostume Kult parade and party madness photos at the respective links).

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