Yale students walking to Alchemy Friday night were looking for the usual: they wanted to relax, strip off their clothes and, of course, get a good lei.
It was not to be. The Exotic Erotic Luau, scheduled to take place Friday night at Alchemy, was cancelled due to a conflict between the nightclub and Poise Models, a sponsor of the event that is being investigated by the Connecticut Attorney General’s office.
“What [Alchemy] really had a problem with was — a negative article in the New Haven Register against Poise Models,” said Theresa Nguyen ’05, an event coordinator with Poise Models.
Friday, the Register ran a front-page story saying Poise Models, a New Haven modeling agency, is under investigation for withholding thousands of dollars from Thursday’s Child, a Los Angeles charity. According to the article, Poise Models held a benefit for Thursday’s Child in May and has only given $1,000 from the event’s proceeds to the charity.
John Divella, the president of Poise Models, said the event was not a benefit.
“Nowhere did we advertise it as a charity benefit,” Divella said. “I can’t believe I’m looked upon poorly for giving $1,000 to a charity.”
Friday, Nguyen and members of the Yale Surf Club, which co-sponsored the event, arrived at Alchemy and were shown around the club. Michael Kai ’05, the president of the Yale Surf Club, said they were told the event was cancelled because of the bad publicity. Nguyen said Jimmy O’Brien, the head of marketing and promotions at Alchemy, gave another reason for the party’s cancellation.
“He said, ‘I don’t need another 400 Yale kids here. It’s just going to be another kiddie party,'” Nguyen said.
Alchemy managers did not return phone calls over the weekend.
After learning that the party could not be held at Alchemy, organizers called several other clubs looking for a suitable venue, Kai said. Because of the late notice and the need for a closed bar, no venue could be found, he said.
Friday night, Kai sent an e-mail blaming Poise for the party’s cancellation.
“I regret to inform you that the Exotic Erotic Luau has been cancelled,” Kai wrote in the e-mail, “Poise modeling, a sponsor and organizer of the event, misled the Yale Surf Club about having rented out the Alchemy nightclub.”
Kai said he has since learned that the situation was more complicated than he originally thought. He does not hold Poise fully responsible for the cancellation for the party, he said.
Divella said he has offered to pay the surf club $1,000 to make up for the club’s expenses. The check, Nguyen said, will be given to the club Tuesday.
The name Exotic Erotic comes from the now-defunct Timothy Dwight all-campus party with its infamous “the less you wear, the less you pay” slogan. Though the Alchemy variation planned to charge all guests — clothed or not — the same price at the door, the party still promised some skin. The surf club planned a bikini and hard-body contest for the event.
Kai said he did not know if the club, which participated in an annual Ivy League surf competition Saturday, will try to hold another party.
“I hope that if we plan something, it’ll be met with the same enthusiasm,” Kai said. “I hope people show up.”
Divella is suing the Register for slander and defamation for Friday’s article, Nguyen said. Divella confirmed that he has sought legal counsel, but would not elaborate.