Patchen's first warehouse party
Midnight Sunner (and former roommate) Patchen is breaking the law, breaking the law with his first illegal warehouse party. Here is his account of his recent exploits:
The text came at an absurdly early 8:31 A.M.
"Any interest in attending an illegal warehouse party in bmore tonight?"
The answer was, of course, totally.
I've mostly missed out on Baltimore's illegal/underground scene — no early-era Wham City shows, no freestyle battles, no dance parties that didn’t have the TaxLo seal of approval. I felt overdue for some illegit awesome ...
The texter—a dj friend of mine from DC we'll henceforth refer to as "DJ" — said there was a small cover and a Roman theme. He said his set would be early in the evening. He'd follow up with the address.
That evening found my girlfriend and I knocking on a door of a certain color in the alley of certain street. It was opened by a man in a toga. Immediately I regretted not having come in costume.
We flashed our IDs, paid the cover, got our wristbands and went upstairs. When I spotted the centurion, I really regretted not having come in costume.
But I'm skipping ahead. Turned out, this wasn't the warehouse I'd imagined — something like Sonar with a whole lot of extension cords in a neighborhood I'd only seen on "The Wire." Instead it was more like a typical loft/DIY artspace party, only with particle ceilings that suggested some kind of office. It was hot and humid and the only air came from a fan in front of an open door to a fire escape.
Whoever was throwing the event — I never got a clear answer on that from DJ; "some old ravers" he'd said — had done a pretty phenomenal job decorating. Almost every wall was covered with ivy, interrupted by the cartoony busts of emperors and columns drawn on paper plastered to the walls. There was a room with a bar made of tables; a main room for dancing with a dj booth, full lightshow, and projections; a kind of hallway/lounge; and a back room with another dj booth
and more of a seraglio vibe.
Much of the crowd was in costume — I saw togas, Mediterranean-looking dresses, big plumed helmets and full gladiator gear. The rest might as well have been in costume — ravers, girls with stuffed-animal backpacks, a couple in black who wouldn't have been out of place in a kink dungeon and a surprising number of girls with Orioles or Red Sox hats. The crowd was relatively young — I saw some Xed hands — and reasonably diverse — mostly white with a scattering of Indian, African-American and Asian.
The bartenders were pleasant and clearly this wasn’t a profit-making scheme — the keg was all-you-could-drink once you'd bought a $5 cup, and Gatorade and water were only a buck or two as well.
As for the music ... well, what I don't know about electronica could fill a hard drive. But both rooms had talented djs, the lights (controlled by a touch-screen display!) were impressive, and everybody took their turn on the dance floor. We bounced back and forth between the rooms, then settled in a bit once DJ got deeper into his set of two-step. We danced a little, then hugged the wall as ravers with glow sticks and light-up hula-hoops did their phosphorescent thing.
I'd love to say I stayed until the Roman bacchanalia became a Roman-style orgy ... but I only made it till midnight (I had my own djing to do in the morning). The list on the wall had djs lined up for several more hours and more people were arriving by the minute as we left, so I can only assume the rest of the night went well. After a warning that there were "No ins & outs!" — we assured them we were out — we were twice told to drive safe by toga-wearing doorfolk. I thanked them, wishing I was in costume.