An Oral History of NYC Club Culture

Ladyfag pouring out her pay envelopes 

This past thursday we had the oppurtunity to attend the sold out event entitled "An Oral History of NYC Club Culture" at the Museum of Art and Design. The discussion was lead by a panel of nightlife icons including Susanne Bartsch, Ladyfag, Desi Monster, Brian Butterick/Hattie Hathaway, and Michael Musto. It was supposed to be lead by the infamous king of the club kids, Michael Alig, but he was not able to be released from jail on account of some "bad behavior."

Once we were seated, Ladyfag took to the microphone in the iconic Dsquared2 spine heels. Being the youngest member of the panel, Ladyfag, spoke about the current situation of nightlife, as well as the progression that has happened over the past 5 years. She claimed that, "if you're loyal to the people, they'll be loyal to you," and this is what makes promoting successful. Mid-speech, she walked to the front of the stage and poured hundreds of envelopes all over the floor. She then explained that these were all of her pay envelopes from her promoting since she had entered the scene. This dramatic attention grab was interrupted by the lovely Susanne Bartsch who exclaimed that all the yellow one's were from her. But Ladyfag couldn't stress enough the dangers of nostalgia, explaining that the current nightlife situation is dramatically different than that of the early '90s or '80s. She added "People now are referencing the '90s better than the people in the '90s could reference themselves," mostly impart to the invention of the internet. Meaning, that any teenager in middle America could have more information on the '90s club scene than anyone in the scene at the time. Michael Musto interjected that "everything was obviously better, because people are taking the worst of the present and comparing it to the best of the past," adding to Ladyfag's original argument. 

The internet was also a large topic of discussion as each member had a different view on the impacts it has had on nightlife. Many panel members agreed that it has made it much easier to network and get the word out about parties. Musto exclaimed that before the birth of the internet and online dating, people were forced to go out if they wanted to meet people, but that isn't the case anymore.Veteran promoter Bartsch, who missed the intimacy of person-to-person flyer invitations and explained that she still prefers to call people and invite them to her parties.  Bartsch, host of Vandam Sundays, also said, "I like to create environments, not just parties." Desi agreed, explaining that the difference between a regular club, and one his (or Ladyfag or Bartsch's) parties is the atmosphere that exists and the environment created. The conversation continued with topics such as drug use, outfit inspirations, and of course the occasional joke from Musto about Bartsch's lengthy time in the scene.

To sum things up, the times are different.We dont have a Studio 54, nor a Limelight, knowledge is now infinite, and even the drug of choice is always changing. Everyone agreed that as the times change, so does nightlife. Meaning that if you want to be a part of it you need to morph with it. What we took from this discussion was the importance nightlife has on our culture and that it will never die. Though we no longer have the urgency to go out to meet people, and it may seem more underground or less glamorous at times,  it has always been, and always will, exist. It is what you make of it and it is no one's place to say that our current nightlife situation in any less fun or interesting than that of the 80s or 90s.
Susanne Bartsch, Ladyfag, Desi Monster, Hattie Hathaway, Michael Musto
Zac Weiss, Jarrett Edward, Mich Dolce all wearing Jeremy Scott X Swatch
Oh, and the girl sitting next to us had a Jeremy Scott X Swatch watch, which combined with ours completed the set!

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