Imagine that you have travelled forty five minutes by subway and bus on a cold, dark day - one of the coldest and darkest of the year. Imagine that you have pre-gamed a little bit and the duty-free amaro you brought back from Italy last summer is hitting your bloodstream just right, that the couple of cute little vaporizer puffs you blew out the kitchen window have made each individual streetlight fascinating and distinct as you walk to where you're going. Imagine that your heart is absolutely brimming with promise and renewal, that you feel with crystal certainty that twennytwenny is in fact going to be your year, that it will so unwaveringly be your year that there will be plenty to go around, it will be your year and the year of everyone you love. Imagine that you are with your sweetie, someone who lives far away and you don't get to see enough but that doesn't matter because they are here now and they are all dressed up because, god damnit, you're going to have some hard-earned and deeply deserved genuine fuck-the-world fun tonight. Imagine that you went dancing together before during what is hopefully with any luck the worst week of your lives, and that night you finally sweat more than you cried though you hadn't stopped crying for days. Imagine that you soaked through all your clothes and sloughed off the hurt in your heart. Imagine that you had been chasing that particular high together ever since, going out dancing at every opportunity but still never quite catching hold of the cathartic and painfully transformative joy of that particular dance floor abandon. Imagine that you are determined tonight to shimmy and wiggle right out of your corporeal form, that you want the kick drum and the fog machines and the various foreign agents in your bloodstream to hover you right out of your skin. Imagine that your friend who has for years now DJ'ed at your concerts and your house parties will be playing for an hour or so, right when you arrive. Imagine that he's maybe wearing a funny little bucket hat, imagine that he has picked out a number of songs meant to make you specifically freak out while dancing. Imagine that this deliciously anticipated night of partying is taking place the night before new year's eve. In fact it is a new year's eve eve party, advertised as such, on multiple fliers that don't agree on what the actual address of the place is. Imagine that the place is in fact a corrugated metal box - a former auto garage - where you have had band practice countless times. A place that was so inhospitably frigid and unheated once that it cracked part of your guitar right in half when you tried to play it. Imagine that the space has been transformed - both by concerted effort today and the gradual process of you and your friends making work there for years - into a deeply warm and overpacked space filled with fog machines and empty beer cans and one thousand friends you can shout at over the music. Imagine that there are strobe lights and improvised lasers made with projectors borrowed from various apartments and a cobbled-together PA system that threatens to either short out or catch on fire and, this year, a folding outdoor tent like you'd see at a farmer's market over the dance floor, which makes the rarefied space right in front of the DJ booth intimate, a room within a room (last year this party happened on a slightly smaller scale but your friend still managed to cover the entirety of the floor in reflective, mirrored mylar which looked sick as hell but was maybe a bit slippery and treacherous for dancing). Imagine that your friends who run the space recently let a kinda famous band shoot a music video there and that they used the money from the space rental to hire their actual DJ friends from Philadelphia, who promise to play a polished set of boogie cuts and city pop and cocaine disco classics. Imagine that you have brought along a little digital camcorder with the half-baked intention of capturing some documentation of this holy bout of boogieing you are about to embark on. Imagine that you stick it in the corner of the pop-up tent, or you point it at your friend as he transitions between tracks. Imagine you forget about this footage. Then imagine revisiting this footage exactly one year later, new year's eve eve 2020, wondering if you managed to catch anything, anything at all, any flicker of the divine. Imagine noticing the time stamps on the footage are all from between 2 and 5am. Imagine opening the longest video there (shot at 3:15am) and seeing, well, almost nothing - there is a spider of light slowly morphing and rotating in the upper left corner of the frame and some indistinct and shuffling shapes, a few blinking lights. Imagine that there is audio, but it's squeezed and compressed because the camcorder simply couldn't handle it, yet as you watch the dark shapes rock back and forth you can hear slap bass and hand claps, clear as day. Imagine that you see no evidence of all the promise you felt last year, that from what you see on the footage it might be possible that it never was going to be your year anyway. Imagine that you can't put the two pieces together, the footage and the memory - that you remember so vividly the magical and sweaty partying in your bones, viscerally. It actually makes your mouth water to think of it, like you're literally hungry for it. But what you see in the video just seems to be a lot of people crammed in a room within a room. But then imagine you haven't done this for months and months. And imagine how it would feel to be crammed in a room with loud and insistent music and loud and insistent people, breathing their air and holding their torsos tight when you hug each other hello. Imagine hearing the bass rattling the corrugated metal from two blocks away. Imagine the exhausted cab ride home, first glimmer of sunrise over the river, laser lights flashing still behind your eyelids long after you've fallen asleep long after the morning breaks. Imagine holding that much anticipation in your little beating heart. Then imagine walking in to the party.
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Good morning, and happy new year -
Other now unimaginable moments from this time last year: throwing an impromptu new year’s eve party with last-minute visiting friends and walking to pick up 200 dollars worth of catering from Vanessa’s Dumplings, joining a 24-hour dance party in progress at Nowadays at 9am the following morning and never feeling more sober in my life. My, how we used to cram it in back then!
I don’t have any news at the moment ~ really just wishing for you personally a moment of renewal and reflection tonight at midnight.
But what about you? Are you sloughing it off? When was the last time you got the hell down? Are you holding anticipation in your little beating heart?