The "Blue House" porch is dimly lit as we climb onto the stoop among a smattering of hushed smokers. We make our way down into the basement toward the music. A band called ThemAll is playing some jazzy, spacey rock while guests watch attentively, sipping their beers. After the band finishes up, a charming fellow in a polar bear costume takes to the living room piano and begins a grand opus. First in the composition is Dr. Dre's "Forgot About Dre." Next up—a downer—is Jay Ungar's "Ashokan Farewell," which a couple people recognize from Ken Burns's The Civil War. Some partyers grow sullen. Becoming alert to the song's aural dose of methadone, the ursine wunderkind transitions swiftly into K-Ci & Jo-Jo's R&B ballad "All My Life." The adrenalin kicks back in, and the party supplies both verse and chorus. At that moment, everyone is close to each other like mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters.

Back in the basement, house band NightShirt begin to play their brand of female-fronted post-punk à la Yeah Yeah Yeahs. After a few songs, however, the set is cut short. "It's already 11:00," guitarist/demented doctor Ben says. "I guess we're done," adds the slightly perturbed singer/zombie prom queen, Lauren. Afterward, Lauren conveys her displeasure about the short set to Ben, "We need to talk... I'm serious." Ben assents, but his nonchalance is deemed unacceptable. Lauren grits, "I will stab you in the neck with a fucking heel!" They withdraw to another room to sort things out. Ben is spotted in the kitchen later with no apparent puncture wounds. recommended

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