Featured Image Credit: Nicole Disser
Veteran Brooklyn event producers, House of Yes, brought a weekend of atypical, engaging, and captivating nightlife pre-Burning Man. They returned with their acclaimed Ketamine: The Musical, Love Muscle: Pre-Playa Art Extravaganza to follow on Friday August 19th, and another event, Taste of Dust: Urban Oasis, on Saturday August 20th.
Some of these parties were pre-Burning Man celebrations and were part of House of Yes’s Black Rock Brooklyn event series. House of Yes is becoming one of Brooklyn’s most talked about nightlife destinations, and I had the pleasure of exploring and attending the three above mentioned events.
Ketamine: The Musical
Knowing that tickets for Ketamine the Musical had long been sold out, I was thrilled to arrive to catch the last portion of the show.
Even before the rest of the show began, I knew I was up for something unusual. A bathtub filled with bubbles was stationed in the middle of the aisle. Dark and spooky house music played and black lights and psychedelic imagery projected on the curtain set the mood as the lively audience returned from the bar to take their seats before intermission ended.
Suddenly, dancers threw dust into the air and inhaled it as the lights dimmed, signaling the resume of the performance, and perhaps signaling the beginning or continuation of the ketamine experience that was already underway.
Ketamine the musical was described as an interactive experience that would take place seated, as “you obviously can’t stand while on ketamine,” so I was curious how the element of interactivity would be implemented. That question was answered right away as dancers slowly crawled their way through the audience, using chairs as hand and foot holds, making eye contact with the audience and regaining their attention after intermission, before segueing into a beautiful performance of aerial stunts which captivated us all.
A man who clearly represented the experience of someone under the influence, looked for keys as dancers appeared all around the room and taunted him by dangling key rings. To illustrate the drug induced experience, the mood changed with little-to-no warning, with a mashup performance of ‘Thriller’ and ‘Rammstein’ erupting out of nowhere, before the aforementioned ketamine user was quietly and beautifully serenaded in a bathtub. The entire show blew me away, and I only saw a small portion of the show.
Love Muscle: Pre-Playa Art Extravaganza
At the end of this performance, the cast, crew and audience erupted into applause, and everyone sort of just meshed together and entered into the main room and bar where upbeat indie rock brought the energy of the room back up. A line formed for the bar as the auditorium was being prepared for the evening’s DJs and some brave people dance on the large pole in the middle of the room. Drinks were served and a dance floor formed naturally while some headed to the patio.
In roofless patio area, delicious (and strong!) pina coladas were served, party goers could get dolled up with glitter and face paint at the “Salon Saloon” and climb on a treehouse like sculpture. An adjacent room with a “cuddle puddle” lounge played downtempo music and provided a place to lie down and collect your thoughts before returning to the party. The whole entire evening, from the musical to the nightlife portion, was interactive and engaging.
Once the main room had been cleared out and re-opened after the musical, partygoers filled it up quickly. With an opening of dark, deep, progressive house that was bit on the eerie side as dancers performed behind the DJ booth, it was apparent that some elements of the atmosphere of Ketamine: The Musical were being used in the production design for the nightlife portion of the evening, but the music became more upbeat and danceable as the crowd gathered to party after the performance.
Dirty Looks, Seth Hosko, N2N, and Nice Fingers all held it down as costumed dancers performed in the background to coordinated visuals. Occasional aerial stunts provided additional surprises, delivering something a little different than a simple DJ set with visuals and lasers.
Photo Credit: Sasha B.
Photo Credit: Sasha B.
The venue really felt like it belonged to the patrons creating the atmosphere of the evening. People with elaborate costumes and accessories, to those dressed business casual, to those dressed in street style were all equally represented. I didn’t feel out of place for not having dressed up. I saw goggles, hula hoops, pasties and all kinds of creative outfits and make-up.
Photo Credit: Sasha B.
The mood was so lively and I witnessed no disrespectful behavior or harassment. Lines were quick, bathrooms were clean, security was adequate and polite, bartenders were friendly, and I felt no bad vibes around. Through conversation I discovered that House of Yes has been getting a lot of attention in the neighborhood lately; for many people it was there first time there, but “people keep mentioning it.”
Taste of Dust: Urban Oasis
After experiencing what House of Yes had to offer, I was excited to attend Taste of Dust: Urban Oasis the following evening and brought two friends along.
We arrived early and watched as the venue filled up and transformed into a totally different atmosphere. A vendor set up a table to sell jewelry, someone set up a display of their art which could be viewed with 3D glasses and was letting people try it out.
Similar to the party the day before, dark/deep progressive house eased the crowd into the evening. As the night rolled on and hours went by, the music in the main room became more upbeat as the crowd increased in size. There were hula-hoopers, dancers, and festive costumes. A face painting station popped up as well. There was a much larger crowd the day before, as those who saw the musical had decided to stay. House of Yes’s unique take on nightlife, providing engaging activities that encourage communication and socializing created a lighthearted atmosphere carried into this evening as well, and I was not disappointed.
About House of Yes:
House of Yes opened its third iteration in Bushwick at the beginning of 2016 to become a beacon of NYC nightlife after shuttering its doors too soon in East Williamsburg three years ago. Original partners Anya Sapozhnikova and Kae Burke, teamed up with Ilan Telmont and Justin Ahiyon to build out the best venue ever with a little help from their friends, seeding a Kickstarter campaign for $92,340 (original goal: $60,000). The space includes an art-deco restaurant parlor, a spectacularly decorated warehouse-sized performance space, a courtyard with kitschy repurposed decor, and a clandestine mini-club. House of Yes is now the home of circus spectacles, immersive cinema, burlesque and cabaret shows, aerial extravaganzas, nightlife parties, morning raves, brunch, BBQs, and bubble baths, all with superior sound and exemplary service. Each night is specially curated to create an immersive experience with music, theatrics, and performances to titillate the senses and expand your mind, unlike any other venue in Brooklyn right now.
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