What You Missed Last Month in New York City (According to Linux)
This is What You Missed Last Month (According To Linux), in which nightlife it girl Linux takes us behind the velvet rope and into the VIP section of Scene-City. Through her extreme (sometimes exaggerated) lens, Linux gives us the tea on what really happened at every party-of-the-century that floods our Instagram feeds. This June, we follow Linux’s movements during New York’s first month of post-Covid revival after the pandemic’s seemingly never-ending war on partying. (A note from the author: don’t take what she says too seriously—she’s just a club kid after all!).
JUNE 1ST, 2021.
The day ‘everything reopens.’ Or was it May 31st? 26th? I don’t know—the old men in charge of our freedoms keep changing their minds. Regardless, the day has finally come where all the socialites, It girls, and club kids can finally post themselves at parties without receiving death threats from @GaysOverCovid. There’s a certain stench wafting through New York on the first day of this beautiful new month: hope, pride, and a tiny bit of pee (for flavor).
For the uninvited, the past year has been wonderful. The cool kids all got cancelled, VIPs ceased to exist, and Michael Alig finally died! But for those on the guest list, life has been hell. The fabulous sat home in sweatpants on Friday night. Partygoers mourned New York staples like China Chalet. I heard through a friend that they drained the Le Bain hot tub. You couldn’t go on social media without seeing countless posts proclaiming the inevitable: New York was DEAD.
So, how were the legends coping? You could still find Susanne Bartsch dancing in Zaldy at her weekly Zoom parties, Frankie Sharp built a nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen, and Ladyfag got engaged in Ibiza. The ravers of Bushwick ran their CDJs and generators from rooftop-to-rooftop-to-forest-to-rooftop-to-bridge-to-Ikea-parking-lot-to-basement-to-rooftop. I personally spent a few weeks partying in Miami and even threw an 800 person rave in Wynwood. (Would NOT recommend. The girls doxxed me for it and I lost over 5,000 Instagram followers!)
I started my month on Memorial Day. We were at Irish-owned 3DollarBill in Brooklyn for iconic pop DJ Ty Sunderland’s birthday party. The theme was ’80s. ’80s music, ’80s fashion, and ’80s drugs. At first I was like, “He’ll sprinkle a couple of ’80s songs into his usual set,” but no. It was back-to-back from 5 p.m. to midnight. I don’t know if I liked it—I don’t know if anybody liked it— but that’s the true essence of the ’80s: so bad it’s good. Everyone in New York was there—even the people I hate (until I kicked them out!). It was a sea of muscle gays high on every letter in the alphabet, and for the first time in our lives we weren’t dancing to disco, techno, or house, but to “Rio” by Duran Duran. Detox performed, and although her Delta flight lost her baggage, she still tore! On my way out, I saw a guy getting fingered to my favorite Billy Idol song. Yes, it was “Dancing With Myself.”
FRIDAY, JUNE 4TH.
All my gays know that Friday nights during Covid’s Q4 belonged to Switch. It’s a traveling warehouse party that we all invaded until it became a circuit party. It was a lifeline for a lot of us this past spring but, I’m sorry, I just can’t keep doing ecstasy on a weekly basis anymore. Switch will always have a special place in my heart, but as the city reopened, I was yearning for something more glamorous. Somewhere the bathrooms aren’t darkrooms. Susanne Bartsch’s Friday night cabaret New York, New York at Sony Hall seemed like the perfect inverse.
Susanne showed up with a broken ankle in a pair of grey Ugg boots but quickly switched to six-inch Vivienne Westwoods backstage. The injury didn’t stop her from a successful night—the show brought in nine standing ovations, and four of them were specifically for Bartsch! Over a bottle of Casamigos, my friends and I watched Amanda Lepore pull a red lipstick out of her vagina, followed by a pole dancing opera singer. There was a clown threesome at some point. What made this rhinestone-freak-show extra special was that half of the fabulousness was in the crowd. Not a single audience member wasn’t in some sort of head-to-toe fashion ensemble. I can easily say that at New York, New York I found the Friday night glamour I had been looking for! The show turned into an afterparty and before I knew it, it was 3 a.m. and I was drinking 1942 with DSquared and a slew of trannies. “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere! New York, New York!”
SUNDAY, JUNE 6TH.
Sundays are so fucking exhausting for me now, but in a good way. My days belong to TyTea and my nights belong to Battle Hymn. Yes—as I’m sure you’ve heard, Battle Hymn has returned! After a year and a half we are back in Chelsea dancing with Ladyfag, Eli Escobar, Michael Magnan, and Carry Nation. I got there early and invited myself into Ladyfag’s office, where she was getting her hair and makeup done, to drunkenly gloat about “my new nightlife column with Interview,” and to discuss her newly-announced pregnancy. I knew I’d overstayed my welcome once I began yelling at her hair god, Charlie Le Mindu, saying that I’d heard a rumor he had 60-inch virgin Russian bundles in his basement. My best friend made out with Troye Sivan’s ex while I got on stage and poured Grey Goose into the crowd’s open mouths to Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. As trans girls peed at urinals, fags douched in stalls. The night was a complete success. Ladyfag is an absolute star and selflessly brought New York’s most fashionable it-people together for the first time in months. My only complaint is that she wore a mask!
THURSDAY, JUNE 10.
As proud New Yorkers, we’ve come to learn that nobody does it like us. It takes a real New York doll to show up in the most fabulous looks in the most fabulous rooms. To be the perfect balance of cool and cunt, party and poise, is no easy task. Every few months an out-of-towner makes a trip to Scene City to prove they can hang, only to end up hanging themselves. Internet pop-star Slayyyter came here this month and did the opposite. She invited the city to celebrate the release of her album, Troubled Paradise at Brooklyn’s well-known club Elsewhere. I knew the crowd would be in a combination of NastyGal and Dolls Kill, so I went the other direction. I sported a Chanel A-line tweed dress with an Audrey Hepburn up-do.
Slayyyter booked Rosemont legend PAT to lube up the crowd with his deejaying, a great call. Every time PAT plays a set, a cool crew of Brooklyn kids dance and gab in the DJ booth around him, and the visual borders on performance art. As the clock struck 9 p.m., Slayyyter slithered through the crowd to the late Sophie’s “Immaterial Girls” and onto the stage. The song choice almost seemed planned, as if she was backstage, heard Sophie’s tranny anthem, and knew it was time. She was wearing New York designer (and my old roommate) Saint Sintra, and, in a nod to The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, wore ruby stripper heels to match. She did nine songs off her new album, and I was in the DJ booth behind her so my focus was on her fans. 16-year-old gays in neon cowboy hats cried as Slayyyter sang about sucking dick.
In between songs she would make out with her boyfriend, whom she told us multiple times was well-endowed. After her show, we gossiped together about everyone we knew backstage. She loves Judy Garland, Ayesha Erotica, and Paris Hilton in that order. We bonded over getting cancelled on Twitter on the same day that week, and how much the background characters of our community love to hate us. The night was cut short and she left us all wanting more when at 11PM she changed her outfit and hopped in an SUV to Times Square for a press meeting at Spotify. Slayyyter threw herself into a sea of sharks and we ate her up, savoring every last bite.
THURSDAY, JUNE 24.
It was the Thursday eve before New York Pride weekend and all through the town people were whispering one word: Madonna. Yes, you know exactly where I’m going with this. The week prior, The Misshapes dropped a five-second teaser on Instagram with Madonna’s “Future Lovers” playing and geotagged New York City, leaving all of us to figure out the rest. In this citywide scavenger hunt for Madge, it didn’t take long to find our buried treasure at Boom Boom Room. The buzz surrounding this party rivaled that of a NYFW or Met Gala afterparty. I was told to get there by 10 p.m. so I got there at 9:45.
The entire block around the Standard was packed with over a thousand people, and they weren’t nobodies, they were stars. Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Leah McSweeny and Violet Chachki were in full-on street mosh pits waiting for the iconic door girl, Connie, to let them inside. A pregnant Ladyfag small-talked to her party regulars and Emily Ratajkowski got her photo taken as we all waited over 30 minutes to be let inside. Even getting inside was not enough; because then you had to be let onto the 13th floor, and then into Boom Boom Room, and then into the VIP area of the Boom Boom Room. (I am proud to announce that my friends and I were the very first group they let into the party…thank you Connie!) It’s almost as if Geordon Nicol of the Misshapes gets off on making New York’s elite cosplay as General Admission. The best part is that they are more than happy to play along.
Once inside, guests posed for countless photos and grabbed a drink at the open bar. A-list celebrities and the most connected gays in fashion gossiped as they waited for the Mother of Pop. Apparently Madonna personally approved each person on the guest list. I sent a 10-person list to Greg K and seven of them got rejected! The words “Courage” “No Fear” and “Resist” were projected in bold red font all over the walls. I saw on Madonna’s Instagram story that the same words were also plastered all over Times Square. The club was filled beyond capacity to the point that it was impossible to walk, so Aquaria and I perched at a table in VIP. It didn’t take long for our table to accidentally become the Rupaul’s Drag Race section as Gigi Goode, Gottmik, Detox, Symone, and Violet Chachki joined us. The main topic of conversation was where could she possibly perform? It’s too packed! I said to everyone “If she was truly a star, she would perform on the bar.”
At the bartenders began clearing and wiping down the bar with towels, confirmation that I was right and Madonna truly is a star after all. (As if we didn’t already know that.) Madonna came out in a blue wig and performed one of my favorites, “Hung Up.” She would’ve been close enough to touch if it weren’t for the swarm of security separating us from her, running around the bar after her as she vogued and sang for us. After her performance she told us Honey Dijon was her favorite person in the world and Zachary Quinto joined her on stage. They began auctioning off Polaroids and selfies with Madonna to raise money for the Ali Forney Center. She chugged champagne from the bottle and called people in the audience poor if they didn’t donate. She said things like “You spend $3000 on a bag and can’t donate to a queer homeless shelter? You people need to find god,“ and, “Can you take a moment from your selfish drinking and partying to think about other people for once?” The heckling worked as she raised thousands, $10,000 alone just for someone to take an iPhone selfie with her. There was also a silent auction selling fashion items by designers like Moschino, Valentino, Supreme, and Hood By Air. Altogether, the Misshapes’ pride extravaganza raised $100,000 for the Ali Forney Center and $50,000 for the Hetrick Martin Institute. See, clout can be charitable! All of this is exactly why I am giving the Misshapes’ Madonna party my first monthly FOMO Award. This was the most memorable night of the month, and maybe even the season. The unofficial official afterparty was at my house and went on until 10 a.m.
FRIDAY, JUNE 25.
Boats make everything better. It’s a fact. As a city with seasons, New York summer is meant for boat parties. I know I talked about him already, but we have to give credit where it’s due, and Ty Sunderland has accomplished A LOT this month. His boat party on Pride Friday was simply beautiful. He gave the gays a chance to celebrate Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica,” since its release last year was disrupted by Covid. Tickets sold out in seconds, leaving people to scalp tickets on hookup apps like Grindr. The three-story boat left from Hell’s Kitchen and went down the Hudson River, around Manhattan, up the East River, and back. Arra and Ty Sunderland deejayed specific songs as we passed certain New York landmarks (The National Anthem at the Statue of Liberty, Britney Spear’s Super Bowl commercial at the Pepsi Sign, and Lady Gaga’s unreleased “Brooklyn Nights” under the Brooklyn Bridge). One of my friends got so drunk that security had to put them in the jail cell in the bottom of the boat. Ruby Fox and Vincint performed. Adam Lambert wore a dress and danced alongside RJ King. I had a heart-to-heart with Gaga’s manager, Bobby Campbell, on the front of the boat. We’re best friends now! After sailing for four hours, we safely made it back to land, all of us having lost our voices from screaming the words to every song that played.
SATURDAY, JUNE 26.
This year’s Pride was like none other. Iconic New York parties like Papi Juice, Gayflower, Battle Hymn, On Top, Pride Oasis, WeParty, Love Prism, and Devil’s Playground sold out of thousands of tickets in under five minutes. I was being paid to be at pretty much all of them, which was a blessing and a curse. This meant I could have fun, but not too much fun. In an attempt to let off some steam from working 3 parties every day, I treated myself on Saturday night by actually buying tickets to one of my favorite underground warehouse raves in Brooklyn. It had my three favorite things: haze, muscle gays, and techno music. The recurring rave is so focused on staying underground that they refused to let me even mention the party’s name. I can’t even give it a code name that slightly rhymes! They refuse any and all press but still sell out in seconds because they are that cool. Photos and videos aren’t allowed whatsoever and although tickets were a bit expensive, they have a rule that all trans women get in for free.
Around 11 they sent an address to ticket holders. From there, a security guard decided if you were cool enough to get further directions to the venue. Ok, I promised the producer I wouldn’t say anything else about them but it was so SO good. Berghain exists once a month, and it’s in the heart of Bushwick. If you know, you know, if you don’t, you don’t! Around 9AM I left for another techno party at Nowadays in Brooklyn. BK’s techno princess, Pauli Cakes, was working the door and the vibe-maker TT deejayed. It was too early for the bar to sell alcohol so trans supermodel Teddy Quinlivan and I drank espresso on a packed dance floor alongside the same people we had seen at every other Pride party that weekend.
It was comforting knowing that the who’s who of NYC were all on this weekend bender together, and that none of us were in it alone. Until early Monday morning, the entire scene had party-hopped until sunrise four days in a row, each of us afraid to risk missing an event after being locked inside for over a year. Last Pride, we had everything stripped away from us, and we were not going to take being on a dance floor for granted ever again! By the weekend’s finale, on Sunday at Battle Hymn, we began greeting each other with the question, “Have you slept?” We asked because we had all danced until sunrise together just five hours earlier. We didn’t go home to sleep— we went home to change into a different outfit! The month of June was a marathon for us all, with socialites passing the finish line hand-in-hand in Ferragamo and Louboutins. It was undoubtedly a great month for New York nightlife, possibly one of the greatest. Congrats if you got in, you know what you had to do to get there. And if you weren’t there, I give you permission to use this column to lie and say you were. See you next month, New York. 💋