RECAP: THE FUN CONFERENCE ON NIGHTLIFE AS SOCIAL PRACTICE

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This weekend, the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle hosted a three day conference called The FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice, and on Sunday morning we were up bright and early to catch our own Cameron Cooper as a panelist for the discussion “States of Excess and Undress: Fashion, Performance and Taboo in Nightlife.” Representing his party GAG!, and joined by panelists from the parties JUDY, My Chiffon is Wet, and WOAHMONE, Cameron shed some light on the beginnings of GAG!, the secret to the party’s longevity, and NYC’s attention span, or lack thereof, when it comes to parties.

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“People were still doing Manhattan,” says Cameron of the early days of GAG! “I saw a community of gay men in Brooklyn and thought, ‘this is the alternative Saturday night party.'” When asked about the longevity of the party, Cameron noted that hosting a party every other week kept things manageable. “[Hosting a] weekly would’ve killed me. New York has a short attention span for a party, but we kept growing it and changing it and started making videos called VideoMix that included everything from gay porn to MTV’s 120 Minutes, from Paris Is Burning to horror films.” When asked about the alternative nature of GAG! Cameron said “It’s about having fun, cruising, and dancing to something other than Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Britney Spears. Not that there’s anything wrong with those ladies, we just don’t play them.”

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Benjamin Haber from JUDY expressed that it’s not easy to sustain self interest and creative motivation as well as public interest. “There’s very little profit in this. It’s time consuming and it takes a lot of work. It’s definitely a challenge to learn to enjoy the party you’re throwing,” says Haber. Leo GuGu, who throws My Chiffon is Wet every week at Eastern Bloc notes that treating the event like a Broadway show or performance keeps morale high. “I take a five-hour energy drink at the beginning of every party and tell myself it’s going to be great and everyone’s going to love it. I try and keep a PMA: positive mental attitude.” As for what makes all the work worth it to Cameron? “When someone says thank you it really resonates,” he says. “It doesn’t matter the size of the crowd if there’s an audience.”

 

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IN THE HOOD – LOWER EAST SIDE: SEL RROSE

INTRODUCING: JEREMY LAING