Holy crap. Has it been five years already? Because that’s the amount of time it takes for editors and writers everywhere to forget that someone, somewhere, has already said everything interesting or revealing that can possibly be said in print about New York City’s infamous Black Party.
This time it as the turn of trash news site Gawker to send what we are supposed to think is some poor gay waif forced into the lion’s den of what was the 34th annual iteration of the Saint-At-Large’s Black Party, held once again at the Roseland Ballroom.
Written this time by <fill in the blank>, it’s a wry look at one innocent gay boy’s initiation in the demon worshipers and Satanistic rituals of the Black Party, after which the innocent lad is sucked into the vortex of wanton sexual evil and is never seen or heard from again.
Actually, no, the March 25 Gawker article was written by Rich Juzwiak, one of Gawker’s go-to gays and pseudo-gays when they want a vaguely homophobic article written in the knowingly hipster snark for which Gawker is known. The Black Party is both a lot of things you heard it could be, while still being less than you hoped for.
There were no demon worshipers, but rather it was a bunch of muscle-bound waiters, graphic designers, architects and hairdressers standing around trying to look like they are evil rather than just high and bored. Some people had sex, but a lot of people just danced and sweated and, just as with any bar in NYC on any non-Black Party evening, a lot of them went home and bitched to their roommates that they cannot get laid.
I know all of this because I used to trek to the Black Party, although not in recent years because I’ve learned that shoveling all that money into the hands of Saint-At-Large promoters can be better spent elsewhere.
These now-and-again Black Party exposés generally fall into three categories. The first is the article written by the earnest gay male writer, the wide-eyed journalist taking down the events — just the lurid facts, please — so as to tell the world what debauchery really looks like.
This is the category Andrew Sullivan fell into in his early years as the Not-Gay-Editor-But-Editor-Who-Happens-To-Be-Gay at The New Republic. As with Sullivan, these writers general snap out of it once they realize they’re not so much repulsed as extremely turned on by being dominated by hairy guys in harnesses.
The second category is the right-winger out to uncover the gay community as it really is: shocking, explicit and not bound by any societal norms. This is the category of notorious “Porno Pete” LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, who spends his life trying to document his worldview that homosexuals live to transgress, despite all evidence that most of us lead utterly conventional lives punctuated by bursts of naughtiness in college or on vacation — or at the Black Party.
The truth is almost all gay men, to say nothing of lesbians, will never, ever step foot at anything resembling the Black Party or any of its cousins held throughout the year. It’s a specialty event attended by a tiny subset of our population.
An additional truth is the Black Party is what you make of it. Some people do no drugs at all, nor do they drink before they show up at 8 o’clock in the morning freshly shaved, showered and sober, ready to show the strung out, worn out, sweaty throng there since 2 a.m. how to look truly fabulous and well -rested at a circuit party.
Which brings us to the third category of Black Party exposé: those written by some middling youngish writer selling what is billed as an honest look at the underbelly of the Black Party. Which brings us back to Gawker writer Rich Juzwiak, whose name actually sounds like something you clean off the floor of a backroom somewhere:
“I was going in jeans and a T-shirt, which is generally what I wear to everything. I do not go out of my way to be difficult—it's just that I don't go out of my way at all, generally, when it comes to fashion.”
Too hip to be bothered? Check.
It’s all so predictable, I could’ve written Juswiak’s article without ever going to another Black Party.
Can it be over-the-top? Certainly. If that is what you are looking for. But I live in South Boston, home of Boston’s annual drunk fest known as the St. Patrick’s Day parade. It is a day filled with enough substance abuse-fueled anti-social behavior to fill a calendar, all scrunched into one day in my neighborhood.
As I walk around my neighborhood the day after, looking at all the torn apart mailboxes, piles of excrement and vomit in doorways, and vandalized cars, I muse on the ways that humans — all humans — sometimes let go and do questionable things when they are under the influence of various substances and trying to get away from the drudgery of their everyday lives, just for one night.
And I wonder: where is the Gawker article detailing how awful straight people act when they decide to let loose, too?