Cheryl (The Dance Party That Will Ruin Your Life) is too intense an event for me to attend every month, though I’ve been to probably two a year since their 2008 debut at erstwhile classy dive Royale in Park Slope. Cheryl is a handful of semi-anonymous dance cats who, above all else, prize glitter, shoulder pads, fake blood, and hair extensions. They DJ, they synchronize their fist pumps, they tour Europe, they paint your face until you say Uncle. If I were you, I would watch some of the promotional videos on their website, keep an eye out for their next coup, and mark your Day Runner.
Cherylween is, as you might imagine, the group’s annual Halloween bash, and this year it entertained a few hundred lucky ducks in Bushwick with the theme “bi” (as in “bisexual.” “We hope to see you on Halloween dressed like a bisexual,” read the last line of their email invite.). This year, I started on a good note by giving myself a hella splinter in the clubhouse-that-time-forgot, in the yard at Secret Project Robot at 2:00 am. I leaned against a rough window frame in my sleeveless puffy vest and rubber snake boa and, as my hand shot up to give Gandalf a pat on the shoulder, my finger brushed some rain-splayed wood and sustained a little barbed puncture. The resulting couple of drops of blood blended in with the outfit, though, and with the setting at large.
Also taking up space with Gandalf and me in the open-air shack were a man-boy in a propellor beanie with a pint of mezcal in a Capri Sun bag, a drag Joey Ramone, a matching vest-wearer/snake-bearer with Zorro/Hamburglar eyes, a green-haired Björk with a surgical mask, and a cool leopard kitty with but a suggestive smidgen of feline nose. Also a plain-clothes guy with a square of blue electrical tape covering up the cop embroidery on his polo.
We ventured inside when the chill stopped being refreshing and succumbed to the enchantment of the big face posters hanging from the ceiling, the guys dancing on stage in silver tinsel wigs, and the line of masking tape being woven through the crowd by a Cheryl in a sparkling garbage bag onesie. Music thumped and sung; I found myself up on my toes, then my fingers poked high in the air. Someone got down on the floor like a boot-scooting turtle; there was at one moment a hollow pumpkin head engulfing a beat-bopping real head. I pointed and laughed at things, closed my eyes, kissed my honey, felt at ease and awash.
Cheryl is good, and Halloween is good, and Secret Project Robot is good, and Bushwick is good. You should come out sometime.