This Story Has Nothing To Do With: Trouble & Bass 4th Anniversary Edition
I arrived to Martignettis on Broome Street about an hour late. It was the opening night of the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” party I was co- hosting with Brendon James; a good friend and a well known “Door God” based in Downtown Manhattan. My 7am hang outs with the Upper West Side rap group known as Team Facelift had introduced me to Carolyne, a designer/ socialite type from Texas, who was convinced we could throw a party better and exclusive enough to compete with Butter’s world famous Monday night party. Back then I was soooo high (and art struck) I’d follow any girl that owned an original Andy Warhol… or four.
I would share in hosting duties while she and this kid named Varick would DJ whatever the electro dance hit of the day was. Our door would be tighter than double knotted shoe laces on a pre-schoolers sneaker. Our party was located underneath Martingnettis in a speakeasy designed club aptly named Bella’s, complete with a dance floor and wide booths perfect for “who has the bigger dick” bottle service. Our bartenders looked like blue blooded Hamptonites that had more money than the people they served. Everything about the venue screamed “exclusive”- including our doorman – who took 30 minutes to let me into my own party and only after burning the letters off my Sidekick cell phone keypad in an attempt to find a resolve.
By then my 1st guest, who was entertaining a bunch of vendors from her fortune 500 company, had left. No one wants to be first in an open space with more staff than clients. She apologized over the background noise of her co- workers riding the mechanical bull at this other bar called Mason Dixons. Fuck. My chain smoking was now a Cuban Link of anxiety. Is anyone going to even come to this party? And if so will the black Cerberus (3 headed dog that guarded hell in Greek mythology) with a walkie talkie let them in?! My fingers were cramped from trying to re-invent the mass text message in order for them to sound personal (or conniving). By the time I send my 200th text I was halfway through a Jack Daniels on the rocks and trading horrible one-liners with my bottle girl who kept asking me for a “twenty”.
His build was slim and angular like a sketch a fashion major does. He wore all black with a little chain hanging on the outside of his buttoned up collar. He matched his European cut suit with a black tie and a gold capped smile that could only say Brooklyn. He was known in most music circles as Drop the Lime, but I knew him as Luca. He arrived with Vivian – known as Star Eyes – a DJ and a member of the internationally known Trouble & Bass crew Luca headed, and Giselle, his absolutely stunning girlfriend at the time. Both of them wore all black in these unique neo-gothy fashion get ups that complimented him like a prostitute’s outfit compliments her pimp in any blaxploitation movie. Years later I would see this style copied by indie retailers such as Oak and Seven. There was no way the door hound wasn’t letting them in. If they would have showed up with a fog machine then that would have completed the look and made it perfect for the runway or an 80’s video depicting fashion in the future.
He doesn’t wait for me to order a bottle and buys us a round of drinks. Coolest motherfucker on the planet I tell you. By then Carolyne is train wrecking on the turntables (she gets better, eventually) and people are slowly starting to trickle in with a confused look as to what they were supposed to be experiencing. I hide my humbling anxieties behind my sporadic conversation skills. Soon Luca is telling me about touring Europe and the rest of my 7th grade social studies map and we joke about when he used to wear street wear clothing back in the Brooklyn House days at the Mckibben Street Lofts in Bushwick. We knew each other before in small doses from around “the scenes” but by the time my bottle came we had become pretty good friends. He promised to DJ my party one day and I promised to do mushrooms with him and his girlfriend.
Oh, yeah – during our conversation I learn that they knew someone with mushrooms and could get me some. Earlier that year I tried them for the first with my friend Frog and my only complaint was that we couldn’t find someone immediately to get me more. My opening night at Bella’s turned out to be a huge success but fuck that shit I was getting mushrooms.
Our party held its own against Butter for pretty much most of that summer of 2008. I managed to annoy Steve Aoki and several other celebrity DJ’s, Lydia Hearst made out with Varick and forever broke my cocaine enlarged heart, and our party got the coveted Page Six mention. The Page Six mention alone got my dick harder than using rubber cement as a sexual lubricant. Soon everyone wanted to be a part of our little Monday night venture. My wallet started to explode with business cards of people I would never ever call unless we had the exact same number and I was checking my voicemail, and I never checked my voicemail. Personally, my name went from “I’m on the list” to “I don’t need to be on any list, you tried to get into my party”.
By the middle of September everyone was clamoring to get on the list for the Mishka 5 year anniversary party during New York Fashion Week. Mishka is a street wear brand that did amazing things with an eyeball logo, seducing Hipsters and Hip Hoppers with the same look book without compromise. The RSVP list was closed a week before the event which had everyone sucking off whoever was close to anyone organizing the event in order to get in. I didn’t have to; Lucas – who was headlining the evening with Diplo – invited me to walk in with him. Alright-y then. This was also the summer I learned how to walk by my friends waiting on any line when I knew I couldn’t persuade the door people to allow them in with me. So chic.
The Red Bull Space – located on the west side of Canal Street where Tribeca meets the Holland tunnel – was showroom bright with nothing but a small makeshift stage and a catered bar. It was also the location of the party, with an area holding over 1,000 goodie bags and floor to ceiling speakers. Although the sun didn’t shine down there, the bass shattered the walls of your asshole. The music, along with the fashion snobbery “cool people” exude, filled the room like a foam party in a snow globe.
The crowd was a mix of Williamsburg lumberjack school drop outs peppered with the Reed Space/ Supreme/ Nike Dunks sneakers street wearing enthusiast. After a few moments of my eyes adjusting to the color blindness of everyone’s outfits I found Giselle standing next to the DJ booth near all of my Never Scared Brooklyn Kick Ball teammates. We all traded pleasantries then traded baggies followed by currency. Then we all simultaneously checked out of Hotel Reality together, one gross bite of fungi after another. After 30 minutes of gagging and several hours of Diplo and Lucas trying to out-bass each other, the entire event turned into one gently shaken snow globe – with colorful garments floating and haunting the white rubber room of a location we all were dancing in like maniacs in slow motion.
Here’s a trick Lucas and Giselle taught me that night– at psychedelic gunpoint: If your friend is tripping balls and it’s obvious, make him look at you directly in the eye then put your palm on your face and drag it down – like your face is melting. Be sure to add mummy noises for added freak out effect. You can repeat this over and over throughout the night, it’ll never get old, no matter how prepared you are.
The night was one uncontrollable laugh attack. Everything fluctuated in and out like someone was pressing their fingers on and off an old lap top screen or a 3d movie of 1000 party people sitting on rocking chairs. For some reason I remember a lot of dry humping and face licking but I’ll assume that was Brooke – one of my kick ball (and best) friends- making my high as tenderly awkward as possible.
Then FUCKED UP got on to perform. FUCKED UP did rock & roll/ punk like loud stereo feedback can ruin speakers. Everything went from a calm strawberry vanilla frosty swirl in a cup to a strawberry and “what the hell?!” daiquiri chopped up in the most violent blender ever. Beer, then beer cans started flying from one end of the room to the other as the event security slipped and fell trying to control the free alcohol charged and “ironic” mosh-pitting crowd. Even the girls dressed in delicate heels and outfits they wouldn’t drink red wine or eat chocolate in jumped into the middle of the fray like it was a sample sale at Marc Jacobs. The speakers screamed obscenities at me, intensifying my trip into an uncomfortable paranoia. I no longer felt safe, it was no longer fun, and I hid in the bathroom – that kept melting before my psychedelic eyes – until the band was kicked out by an exhausted security team.
I stepped out of the bathroom to a party that collapsed under the weight of its own excitement. Everyone I knew was trying to figure out how to get to Brooklyn for the Flashing Lights party Jess Jubilee (who up until this point I swore she hated me, hindering my cool points) DJ ayres, and DJ Catchdubs was throwing at Public Assembly (a venue on North 6th Street in Williamsburg). This is where my memory gets blurry. By the time we all found each other in the middle of the chaos outside of the Red Bull Space our group had ballooned up to 13 people. Yellow cabs only take 4 at a time. The scene outside was a frenetic pace of everyone up streaming each other for cabs making the yellow more coveted then the last napkin at a BBQ. Never mind the riot controlling tactics of the police who had arrived on the scene after several fights. We needed at least 3 cabs. We had the price gouging Lincoln Town Cars circling us like sharks near an underwater blood bank with a BP oil type of leak. Yeah we weren’t taking one of those. Then my warped mind comes up with what I felt was a brilliant idea. I persistently tapped Luca on the shoulder like a curious child…
“Yo let’s get a limo…”
“A what?” the group universally responded.
“A limo, we have enough people, let’s grab a limo!”
“Ok.” Responded Luca, “Let’s grab one of those…”
“Why what’s wrong with that one?”
“We need a navy blue limo.”
“A what?! OJ we are not going to find a navy blue limo, this isn’t the 80’s”
By this time the mushrooms had fully devoured whatever remained of my perception and my stomach was completely poisoned.
“Yes we will, watch…”
“Can we take that white one, get it? White. Limo. That’s cool right?”
“How about that one then?”
“OK you’re bugging out dude, everyone try to grab a cab…”
All I remembered from that moment was Luca’s gold teeth gleaming under the pulsating street lights as he vetoed my idea and all of the girls darting in different directions through the movie premier levels of traffic on Canal Street. I never wavered. The mushrooms had given me a conceited amount of confidence no man should ever entertain without being a billionaire or a magician. The first group had finally found a cab and was halfway inside when they heard my “STOP!!!” crack open the midnight sky…
The insides were a worn grey with jagged cracks in the leather that had foam and a spring or two creeping out of it. The décor had hints of fake mahogany wood grain and antiquated/ broken machines to match the smudges of dirt and desperation. The side doors had and empty bottle of champagne and a few dirty glasses that probably weren’t washed since Mayor Dinkins was in office. The door handle on the left side was sagging under its own weight, poorly held up by an overuse of silver electrical tape. The rest of the inside was filled with glittery Lisa Frank stickers and perfumed like stale cigarettes or a cheap 70’s coke dream.
“This is like the limo he takes his family to Costo!”
“Or to drive around Craigslist hookers…”
“Not even Craigslist, Hunts Point!”
But yeah, I got my navy blue limo.