From an urban photography perspective, you cannot get any more dramatic than New York nightlife. City dwellers may be a theatrical lot during the day, but they are twofold when the sun goes down and the bars, clubs, and parties come alive. You have 1920s-style speakeasies with fedora-wearers and big bands playing, burlesque shows, drag shows, sunset discos, boat parties, punk concerts, go-go bars, underground fashion shows, underground techno parties, roller-skating house music parties, after-hours parties of all kinds—a whole nightlife carnival that is a photojournalists’ wet dream.
Within this caravan of craziness, however, is a type of nightlife that is even more visually dramatic: the New York “burner” (as in Burning Man) party scene.
True to the spirit of Burning Man, these parties usually feature partygoers that are dressed to the nines in elaborately-themed costumes. Most of them take place in private warehouses and loft spaces that are transformed into fantasia worlds—complete with glowing ladybug and firefly cars, lighted art installations, aerialist ropes and swings, crazy set designs, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, etc…
One of the best of these parties is the I Feel Experience. Their events take place monthly, are based on themes, and incorporate amazing visuals, costumes, and music from world-class DJs.
I have had the chance to attend and photograph two of their parties so far—Angels of the Underworld and The Frozen Forest. The later, held on February 26th at Santos Party House, was particularly intense from a visual standpoint (see slideshow). The costumes ranged from exotic woodland animals (I was a “deer hunter”) with LED horns to wizards with lighted staffs. The music was of course top notch.
Now, coming this Friday, March 25th, at Santos Party House (96 Lafayette Street), is Neon Dreams.
Neon Dreams promises to be a visual spectacle like none other. Blacklights will saturate the venue; partygoers in dayglow clothing, LED costumes, and blacklight bodypaint will be getting down; and crazy art installations and lighting will top it all off. It will be like teleporting into the movie Tron.
They also have a great DJ line-up.
Within the main “Black Light Hall”
- Special Guest (Germany)
- Sleepy & Boo (Basic NYC)
- Pony (Resident, Carmel Productions / Treetops)
In the Ultra Violet Den
- Jacob Groening (Délicieuse Musique – Berlin)
- Mateo (Akumandra / Autobrennt)
- Iman Rizky (ebb + flow / Second Format)
In addition to top of the line music, they’ll also have:
- Aerial performances by Phoenix Feeley & Teagan Lee
- Live visionary Shamanic UV 3D art by Myztico Campo
- I FEEL Serenity chill area
- Other performances
- UV bodypainting by Kirkworx & Friends
Costumes are required for all I Feel events. The producers recommend “Fluorescent, neon flowers, lIght-up Toys and accessories, glow headresses, neon tutus, fluorescent wigs, masks. Fantastical, Whimsical, Magical. Sparkle, Glitter, Sequins!”
Blacklight parties are the best. I remember going to Kostume Kult’s Black and Light Ball a year ago and instantly fell in love. That’s why I’m very much looking forward to Neon Dreams and seeing all the innovative costumes that are a hallmark of the “feeler” community. The music, as always, will be amazing too.
See everyone on the dance floor!
For Tickets, go here: http://neondream.eventbrite.com/
Directions to Santos Party House: 6, J, Z, and R Trains to Canal Street stops. Address is 96 Lafayette Street between Walker and White Streets.
Helpful Tip: Instead of taking a cab, download the Gett app and hire a private car for $10 rides anywhere in Manhattan below 110th Street