I do not go out in New Haven. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sure, there are a lot of nice things to do here, and I like New Haven a lot. Really.
But where gay night-life is concerned, there is only so much Brit-pop, Abercrombie T-shirts and cookie-cutter queers a gay boy can take!
There’s only one nightclub that gets my biscuit hot, and it just happens to be in New York City. I know you’re just dying to know all about it. And I’ll tell you. But first, let me explain a trend I call the death of fun and frivolity in going out.
Once upon a time, I spent Saturday nights at Gotham Citi, that weekly beacon of beef. Gotham was alright at first, but week after week of the same bad music, sticky floor and overpriced cover charge eventually took its toll.
And I finally decided to put a STOP to going to Gotham.
What bothered me at Gotham was the lack of really good fashion, of kooky people who not only wanted to get down, but who cared enough about the fun of going out to plan to wear something borderline ridiculous. I wondered, “Why don’t guys dress up to go out anymore?” I mean, some girls do. In fact, I see a fair number of girls on my walk to class each morning who look fresh off the catwalk.
In “American Psycho,” Bret Easton Ellis said “Surface, surface, surface. That’s all there is left.” I say, if surface is all there is, spectacle should count for something. It only requires a little effort.
Just today I saw a girl with a humongous beautiful red bag and, for just a second, I thought it was a Birkin — you know, the four to six figure bag with a two-year wait-list.
I swear to God I almost passed out. Right there.
Guys, on the other hand, are a different story. More than a handful of guys — gay and straight — around Yale and in nightspots in most other cities don’t want to draw too much attention to themselves. For me, going out should be more than emptying bottles of vodka. It is to see and be seen with your friends. Going out should be a spectacle, your chance to display your hottest threads, be the center of attention and have fun.
So whenever I feel the need to see and be seen, I zip down to New York City to a place called “Don Hill’s” which is the only venue you can find me at on Saturdays: MisShapes.
Pegged by Gawker and the New York Times as a “hipster dance party” and the “Studio 54” of our generation, MisShapes is organized by The MisShapes, a team of three DJs who wear black and who are probably much cooler than you. Madonna has DJ’d there, as has Hedi Slimane of Christian Dior Homme, Kelis, Leelee Sobieski and Bloc Party (whose lead singer I resemble, apparently!).
But the thing that really makes the party stand out, apart from the music, which is so very good, is the kooky style of dress it takes to get in that makes every week feel something like Halloween. So if you want to go to MisShapes, be sure to wear the weirdest and most ironic stuff you can find.
And, um, leave the flip-flops at home.
On a single Saturday Night at Don Hill’s you can see: a drag queen; celebrities; androgynous guys and girls; skinny jeans; big hair; small hair; somebody in a birthday hat; a Captain Planet t-shirt; a ski suit; a ski mask; a cape; thick glasses with no lenses; Palestinian keffiyahs or imitation “gangsters.” You can see old Hollywood, new glam, sequins, sparkles, weird shoes and haircuts. You notice gay couples, straight couples, “Wall Street” types, black people, white people, everybody else. You dance next to straight boys who look like girls, or people who don’t speak English. So if MisShapes is a “hipster dance party” where so many different types of people come together, is this fun and frivolity the key to being seen as hipster?
In the last few years there has been a lot of brouhaha about “hipsters,” especially as Williamsburg, Brooklyn has been colonized more and more by “the hipster.” But let’s get one thing straight: the single thing that defines “hipsterdom” is irony for the sake of irony. And the irony is produced not by the “hipster” himself, but when you see him wearing thick black glasses with no rims and in a cape, or in long white tube socks, very short blue shorts, a Ramones T-shirt and a headband, and you think, “um …”
When people talk about hipsters, they can usually only refer to selected fashion traits. And these fashion traits are usually about F&F, irony, which ends up masking over other characteristics, like gender or race. If you’re a gay boy, a straight boy or a black girl who wears all the things that people say “hipsters” wear, you’re might get reduced to “hipster.” Anyone can fashion or unfasten himself to and from the caricature of the “hipster,” and maybe this is why so many different kinds of people find themselves at MisShapes every Saturday. F&F brings us all together! It’s like “Shortbus,” except instead of gathering for sex, people come for the music and spectacle.
So, no matter where you go out, in New Haven, New York or Wallingford, let’s bring back the F&F, spectacle and irony into going out. Come on, it’s Saturday night! Put on your dancing shoes and let’s dance that paper away.
Madison Moore is still on the waitlist, not for a seminar, but for a bag.