Around 7:30 on Saturday night, I returned to the Gowanus Ballroom, dressed and ready for the party, still repeating the mantra I’d been saying to myself all week: everything will be fine.
I had reason to be concerned. As of 11am that morning, the space was, to put it mildly, a friggin mess (pardon my Brooklyn). Half a dozen forty foot metal slabs occupied what was supposed to be the stage area, several welders were busy at work on their metal projects and a film crew was shooting in the corner, a host of model sets and other props scattered across the room. There was no chance they could clean all of this up in nine hours.
But they did. And I have to thank TJ Volonis for not only devoting his entire day to making sure it all got done, but to reassuring me that this was just how they operated: everything miraculously comes together at the last minute. I had been to parties there before, but I had my doubts. All of them were erased when I walked in to the now dimly lit space. The metal slabs had been pushed into a corner, and the film props were tucked behind a curtain, making the enormous space both more intimate and dramatic. And if the ballroom is anything, it’s certainly dramatic: a forty foot high wood ceiling. An indoor tree house. Several life-sized cast-iron horse sculptures and other enormous pieces. I was ecstatic about hosting my party there.
Still, the concern was whether I could even pull off such a large scale event. Lord knows I like to throw parties, and have had pretty big ones at my apartment. But this was another animal altogether. I wanted this not only to be a celebration of the book–after so many years of struggling to get published, this was my moment to exhale–but also a celebration of emerging artists everywhere, a whole bunch of us getting together to create a wild, memorable evening.
There was so much to plan: the invites, the publicity, the posters, the guestbook, the bar, the catering, the layout, the roster and order of events, the securing of chairs (the space has no seating), the hangers for coats, the art work for the walls/tables, the FAQ for directions (the space is pretty hard to find, apologies to all those who got lost on the way!), the soap and toilet paper for the bathroom…the list goes on and on.
Landing the acts was the easy part, and I have to thank them all, not just for their incredible artistry but also for being so willing and enthusiastic. Susan Burns had a special costume made for the party, and hell, even a gay guy has to admit that it was smoking hot (and not because of all that fire). Susan’s first performance to Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” set the tone and the expectations for the evening, and boy did she impress us all.
Check it out:
Next up was Maya Solovey. Maya and I have been Park Slope Co-op shift partners for about a year now, and we always have a good time shooting the shit and laughing (we have the easiest job in the Co-op) After hearing snippets of her film score and watching her videos online, I knew I wanted her to play, and being the super chill amazing lady that she is, she said yes. Maya looked stunning and her voice blew the crowd away, with Taylor and Bob accompanying on Cello and Bass. So many people came up to me after the performance and asked me about her. Maya is promoting a new album now and you can see the video for her new single “Ring Ring Ring” here (and check out her web page: http://mayasolovey.com/)
Here are some pics and video of her performing:
After Maya it was my turn to take the stage. I wanted to acknowledge all the people that helped me put the book and the party together–a VERY long list. And I tried, but I really should have written a speech, since as expected, I forgot so many people. It’s nerve wracking, since I wanted to seem like all casual and off the cuff and from the heart, and in the process I forgot to thank two of the most important people, Jeff Bucari the photographer and Jason Covert the designer of the art work, and I had to go up to the mike a few minutes later and continue my speech. Yikes! I also forgot to mention my family (love you all, so many came out) and Jane Elias, my copy editor and dear friend. Luckily I didn’t forget anyone in the acknowledgments page. (I hope)
After the thank-yous I read the shortest story in the collection, “The Coming Revolution.” Gotta keep it short and move on to the more exciting stuff. Which luckily for me was the “surprise” performance of the evening, an aerialist. I didn’t book this until literally the day before the party, and only because Josh the owner of the Ballroom asked if I wanted an aerialist. Who doesn’t want an aerialist? Seriously. Roman did an amazing ten minute performance, even more amazing since he performs without a net or any safety gear. Plus, he’s kind of hot. (There, I said it. Roman, call me. Let’s talk about your moves.)
Check it out:
Last and certainly not least, the Discosticks. What can I say? The band killed it. These guys are going to be huge, and I’m just lucky enough to have booked them early. Shane bought a slinky striped dress especially for the occasion, and not only did the boys sound so awesome, they just have this mesmerizing stage presence. We got to hear new gender-fucking retakes on such classics as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, “Brass in Pocket” and “Respect” as well as newer pop songs like “Edge of Glory” and “Bad Romance.” The band did amazing mash-ups too, combining “What’s Going On?” with Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Major thanks to Shane, Mykee, Ryan and Dan for bringing it hard and making us dance our asses off. Book these guys now while you still have a chance! Follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thediscosticksnyc) and on Twitter (@discosticksNYC)
Pics and video:
At this point, it was almost 1am, so I threw on some dance music and the crowd that remained danced and got treated to a second performance by Susan Burns, which was even better than the first, if that’s possible. Lucky us. Check it out:
All in all, a truly magical evening. Thank you one and all to those who managed to make it out (almost 200 of you!) I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. I appreciate your support and hope you had an amazing time! Here are some more pictures, but please go on Facebook to see a whole lot more…