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The Culture Whore Brings a Fantasy-Fueled Pride Party to Bushwick

“Everyone should party together all the time," The Culture Whore told us, "but Pride week especially

“Everyone should party together all the time," The Culture Whore told us, "but Pride week especially." Much has been written about the well-known nightlife duo, responsible for producing and disseminating information about the covert happenings of the city’s queer underground.

Now, with NYC Pride officially upon us—and along with it, the "dusty desert" of commercialized events that inevitably dominate Manhattan—co-founders Mark Dommu and Paul Leopold have teamed up with Philly-based collective Factory Girls to present a multi-faceted pride party of our own: a refreshing two-floor carnival of souls called OASIS, with multiple DJs, hypnotizing visuals and a bevy of live performances this Friday night in Bushwick.

Mark and Paul kindly took us aside last weekend during their DADDY party (so-themed for Father's Day) and filled us in on what to expect at OASIS. Standing outside an East Village bar, we talked—or tried to talk—as all manner of friend and partygoer approached with hugs and hazy memories of the last night’s escapades. Still, we managed to talk Pride, Factory Girls, whether Bushwick needs a gay bar and what’s next for The Culture Whore (TCW).

What you need to know about OASIS

“Pride started as a backlash to the mainstream,” Mark told us. Ever increasingly a part of that mainstream, NYC Pride feels, to many, like it intentionally neglects to represent the nonconformist roots that once distinguished LGBT culture as counterculture.

Last year, TCW's inaugural Pride party, RIOT, was an attempt to deconstruct the recent invasion of the status quo into the fabric of queer identity. This year, TCW says OASIS is something different.

"It's more relaxed," Paul said. It's a "haven" from the mainstream, if more zen in tone. Expect DJs, drag and other live performances. Expect hair, nails and tarot. Expect dazzling visuals and hypnotizing lights.

Tale of Two Parties

There's OASIS NYC this Friday, but on June 14 there was OASIS in Philly—the first two-city party TCW has taken part in producing. TCW teamed up with Factory Girls, an "all-girl, gender-queer party" collective based in Philadelphia, created by DJ Katie K Rex.

Katie was the connecting link. “Mark met Katie years ago through a college friend," TCW said. "When she moved to NYC and we started seeing her DJ at parties, we knew we had to work together. It seemed like Factory Girls were doing something very similar in Philly to what we’re doing here, so it made perfect sense.”

Open forum: Does Bushwick need a gay bar?

We've had this debate on Bushwick Daily in the past and couldn't help but ask for TCW's opinion. Are places like Tandem and Bizarre, commonly held up as venues with a queer-friendly image, enough?

"Yes and no," they admitted. They cite challenges to booking in bars with predominantly straight clientele, like owners who aren't used to paying performers.

Furthermore, TCW mentioned that a party they'd recently been booked to host Tandem was cancelled by management. Coincidentally or not, management ousted another party from the queer community in that same week.

"But Bushwick is family," TCW continued. Not only are Mark and Paul based here, many of their friends "and the people we love" live here. They each create their own spaces, as per the neighborhood's DIY ethic. "No one is just going to hand you things. You have to do it yourself," Mark said.

What’s next for The Culture Whore?

With summer plans ahead, one era ends while a new one begins. "Faces are changing," Paul said. People who attended TCW’s parties years earlier have already begun to throw parties of their own.

"We keep waiting for the next generation to rise up," Mark said.

But TCW isn’t slowing down anytime soon. From their recent popular RED LIGHT PLANET to their double win for Event Producer of the Year and Event Publisher of the Year at Brooklyn Night Awards 2015, TCW is only thinking bigger, better and more elaborate production-wise (hence, their fitting party motto: "More is more"). With their first two-city party coming to fruition this month, the oasis that is TCW seems like it can only grow further.

OASIS will be held at 43 Scott Avenue near the Jefferson L stop, from 11 PM till 7 AM. $15 advance tickets, $20 at the door. For weekly info about everything happening in the queer underground, subscribe to The Culture Whore's newsletter THE WEEK.

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