At 1 a.m., walking a block away from the warehouse in which LadyFag and Seva Granik held a rave-themed party called Shadey-o's Saturday night in Brooklyn by the East River, you could hear the music pumping through the humid air. On the driveway leading to the entrance the stark effect of time was visible. To the right sat a warehouse — the warehouse — old, and on its 98th coat of paint. To the left, a development of apartments breaking ground behind a plywood curtain and a posted sign announcing its imminent completion. In the middle, on the driveway, a man was vomiting close to his attentive circle of friends, maybe from disgust at the ease with which the present bulldozes the past, but more likely from a very generous dose of alcohol.
Yes, 21. Yes, on the list. Stamp on the left wrist. The entrance ritual, then on to the massive warehouse, already-packed with revelers from all walks of life. Most of the people there were young, of course, but there seemed to be abundant diversity of social groups, joined together on the dance floor with a careless air, the carefully glittered bodies, made-up faces, soaked dancers, and sensual kissers.
LadyFag and Seva, who run Club Shade (Shadey-O's was just one of many parties), are pretty huge in the international nightlife scene. LadyFag has steadily produced some of the biggest parties in the New York scene in the last ten years — Paper magazine called her "The woman saving New York nightlife" and Next magazine declared she and Seva part of New York nightlife's renaissance — and has expanded beyond the city into producing events in Miami and even Paris. Seva adds the meticulous creative touches to the party. His work has been all over the nightlife map, from numerous warehouse parties to those thrown by famed designer Alexander Wang. Needless to say both LadyFag and Seva’s work were on top show this time around. Their Facebook invite claimed this would be the last Club Shade held on the East River front. “Thanks, condos!” it read.
The Manhattan skyline peered behind the stage and through the open dock gates like a jealous brother. The drinks flowed relentlessly at each of the plentiful bars. The lights danced along with those on the floor. People glowed in their nighttime personas, from those shaking bare north of the waist to those covered in makeup and glitter and lipstick and fishnets. Music was provided by luminaries such as Wrecked!, Honey Dijon, Heartthrob, and Fatherhood.
They flailed about carelessly, creating a sea of rhythm, or at the very least enjoying a high tide where they could be a certain part of themselves. The people, the energy, the East River: The rave was truly a live time capsule as far as those who had heard of or been a part of the old days of warehouse parties on this side of New York City were concerned. Though perhaps the laser-ejaculating inflatable penises are a more modern addition.
A steady stream of top of the line beats provided plenty of entertainment, as did rooms like the Pussy Palace, lit in red and projecting porn, and the Smart Bar, where a buff man dressed in nothing but pants and a lab coat was serving Red Bull concoctions and other liquids in pipets. This went on until well in the morning, when some of the remaining stragglers walked outside and started doing cartwheels because they could. And isn’t that what this is all about?
In the end, taxis knew where to wait, people knew who they were going home with, and as the sun rose and cast its rays across the prism of the overcast sky you could still feel the music pumping through the humid air, though this time the beats followed you beyond a block, and all the way home.
Photography by Jorge Corona.
Jorge Corona is a filmmaker born in Mexico, raised in Texas, and living in Brooklyn.