City Seattle Parties
posted by February 2 at 11:50 AMon
This post was written by T.R., a Seattleite who recently moved to New York City.
On a balmy Saturday night, a small line formed outside Gallery Bar, a brand new venue open for just a week on Orchard Street in New York City. But instead of chattering the usual list of VIPs and promoter’s names, you only had to say one word to get in:Seattle.
There, in the bowels of the Lower East Side, gathered a few hundred former Seattleites in a bar part-owned by a Seattleite. The party, in its second year, is the brainchild of former Stranger photographer Casey Kelbaugh, who moved from Seattle to New York three and a half years ago.
He called the idea, “an experiment.” Judging from the crowd it was a pretty successful one. For the first Seattle party last year, held at a friend’s loft in the East Village, he sent out an email to a handful of friends a day before the event. A few hundred people turned up. This year, he had a mailing list of 120 people, and this time, over 250 Seattleities pining for the friendly Pacific Northwest charm came together.
Other than the guy wearing a (hopefully ironic) red and black flannel shirt, and a knit cap, there was only one other sign that it wasn’t a typical crowd of New Yorkers. “Everyone’s so huge!” said Kelbaugh, an observation echoed by another friend. “Maybe it’s the Nordic thing,” I pointed out.
Even though I lived there for six years, I only recognized my friends who I came with, including Courtney Reimer, a writer who moved from Seattle in 2001, and is now the director of the MTV and VH1 Radio Network. Reimer observed the scene: “This party sort of gives lie to the fact that you know everyone in Seattle because Seattle is so small, but I don’t recognize a single person here,” she said. The table next to us was having better luck—they soon erupted in high-pitched squeals at the sight of a familiar face.
Last year at the first Seattle party, actor/musician Ryan Link, manned the stereo, resulting in a predictable, but surprisingly satisfying musical mix: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, The Pogues, Nirvana, Pearl Jam.
This year, the DJ spun an odd selection of songs from my junior high school years. What was he doing playing Boys 2 Men, Teena Marie, and Sheila E? A friend threw ice cubes at the DJ to show her displeasure.
I asked the DJ why he wasn’t playing “Seattle music.” Turned out, he didn’t know it was a Seattle party, and certainly wasn’t from the Emerald City. “Seattle music?—I wouldn’t even know what that is.” He shrugged. “Sir Mixalot?”—T.R.