One of the things I love about doing the photobooth, and not roaming photos, is that I can turn the space into whatever I want to be. We’ve been saving this backdrop for a while because it never seemed right for any of the parties we were doing. Barring any candy raves, I thought it was just too garish for an event where everybody was dressed up in mute-colored club clothes, but I think it works perfectly as a lush forest for magical creatures to frolic in.
The way we lit it, it kind of looks like the party was thrown in a clean, brightly lit room, as opposed to a dank basement in Humboldt Park. Not just any basement, mind you, but one of my favoriteÂ dank basements, that I keep finding myself returning to under different circumstances. It isn’t one of those constantly revolving spaces, that’s always got a different group of kids living there, throwing events (see: 21st and Kedzie, Walnut and Wolcott, the Congress Theatre storefronts and the lofts above Lubinski Furniture), at least as far as I can tell. It’s just a place. In 2006, some of the Riot Fest guys threw an after party there for the Hideout Block party, and it was full of young record company executives in suits standing next to bike messengers pissing in the alley. Four years before that, it was a punk house that looked kind of like the Batcave… there were giant pieces of furniture built by a performance artist who lived there, oversized Siberian Huskies happily running around, and a bank of computers wired together that looked like the war room in an 80s political thriller. And now it’s the Flopsy Tea House.
Of course it’s not a house, and as far as I know it doesn’t serve tea, but if Magical Creatures was any indication of what the kids who run the space are capable of, I hope I can break my routine and come back before 2014. Magical Creatures was a benefit for IDA, short for Idyll Dandy Arts, a community that has been developing over the last 16 years in rural Tennessee, with the goal of “to shar[ing] and teach[ing] skills which are often not accessible to the GBLTQ communities” (i.e. farming, construction, shit that’ll help you survive the major revolutions and minor apocalypses). For what it’s worth, everyone I know who visited came back with a sunnier perspective on , one that lasted for months before the soul crushing heartbreaks and banalities of day-to-day life in the city started to chisel away at.
As far as the party, it was somewhere between a circus and a variety show. There were bands, djs, and clowns. Miss Bea Haven came out with a set of classic, old school burlesqueÂ and the notorious Cabaret of the Nameless did continued to mine the field of performance art, hardcoreraunch, and John Waters-esque cutesy kitsch that they do so well. Some of the performances suffered from poor amplification and wandering attentions as the long list of acts played out, but there was a huge crowd throughout the night, and when the DJs came on to turn it into a dance party proper, the room exploded. Lots of juking. Lots of making out. Some more-than-making-out. Crazy sexual energy.
Check out the full set of pics from the night below.