Tonight, the theme of The Party by Ostbahnhof is Berlin underground. The house music is so loud that it punctuates bodies and walls. A heaving crowd populates the dance floor as video screens radiate kaleidoscopic images. Then, suddenly, the music stops. A woman in flapper pearls and a black lace teddy is covered from head to toe in powdery corpse paint. She raises a helicopter pilot’s microphone to her mouth and shouts a string of German words, brave and harsh-sounding.
If watching this dub-step blasting, Benzedrine-fueled trailer moves you toward a migraine, you might assume that you’re too old for Low-Level Festival. I mean, isn’t this the sort of thing you’d find on Snapchat, anyway? What’s it doing on a slow-load medium like YouTube? In a way, you’re right– Low-Level is incredibly future-oriented and nearly everyone involved is so now, in mind and body, that they make Tavi Gevinson look like the Cryptkeeper. They’re hyper-concerned with the latest existing technologies and the kind of people who can actually understand what the last wave of Millennials, or kids born after the year 2000 (i.e. literally cyborgs) are thinking. Of course, that’s not the whole story.
The competition for summer weekend destination has been fierce: while Rockaway added a skate bowl and a (still forthcoming) palm-tree paradise, Coney Island leveled up with a Smorgasburg and some murals. Coney’s latest gambit? A freaking trapeze school. That’s right: Trapeze School New York, which has an outdoor rig at Pier 40 in Hudson River Park, is adding another location in Coney.
On a Southwest flight to Las Vegas, I sat next to a spunky, petite woman from Baltimore who now lives in Brooklyn. Her small stature belies her strength—I’ve watched her do handstands and seen her lift a man heavier than her while wearing kitten heels. Trixie Little was on her way to compete—for the fifth time, much like Diana Nyad—for the title of Miss Exotic World, the queen of burlesque crowned annually at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender.
When we last visited the Muse, the Williamsburg circus school that (along with Death By Audio) became another victim of VICE’s southward expansion, they’d just found a new home in an enormous industrial space in the farthest reaches of Bushwick. Angela Buccinni (aka Mama Muse) spoke of the school’s lofty plans to build out the huge space that is more than four times the size of their first location. Things have been quiet over there ever since but Buccinni says that, as of April 1, The Muse has been open for business. “Classes are in full swing,” she said. “I don’t think people understand we’re actually open yet.”
In the farthest reaches of Bushwick, right on the border of Knollwood Cemetery, Moffat Street drops off into oblivion. The sidewalks are cracked and few working street lights are there to illuminate the barren warehouses. Last night, long after the sun had set, I was walking down this end of Moffat in search of The Muse‘s new space.
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The Muse, a circus instruction and training facility in Williamsburg, has a new star student: Mr. Gorgeous was just crowned King of Burlesque at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas.
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