The party is a fundraiser for lauded local experimental-theater troupe Implied Violence, which is preparing to stage a new work on Governors Island in New York City. We're in the basement of the American Hotel in the International District. In the alley outside, groups of revelers gather around a pair of parked cherry pickers to smoke. Down in the basement, past a pair of walk-in freezers, Beast, Please Be Still are playing on a stage made of turf, making a sometimes dancey, sometimes psychedelic, and sometimes jammy racket involving drums, guitar, cello, horns, and some kind of an electric saxophone that looks like something out of the Mos Eisley cantina.
There's a shrub stuck sideways in the pipes that hang from the ceiling; pairs of headphones dangle from its branches. A partygoer says the headphones emit intermittent noises, but they're silent every time I check. There's a pair of effigies—stuffed dummies—tucked away and roped off in another room. There are three bars; the drink special is a bowl of "vagina punch." Between bands, the hosts raffle off packages of Plan B emergency birth control ("No babies!" exclaims one winner). TacocaT perform, and during their last song, the effigies are torn limb from limb and flung around the room. An elderly black man in a suit, Jerry, sings some songs, both onstage and out in the alley; he has a touch of Sammy Davis Jr. to him. A host encourages him, "Get loose, we got a bunch of effigies chasing you." A scuffle breaks out between one guy at the door and an incongruous group of possibly Russian agents (apparently one of them was shouting about "faggots"). The group is barred from reentry and eventually wanders off down the alley. Jerry is visibly upset.