We have all heard of the pop-up restaurant fad of late, where hip chefs erect temporary underground supper clubs for a night or two in semi-private spaces, but here’s a new one for you: pop-up discos.  Brainchild of party designer Adam Aleksander and pumped by Gilt City, we wonder if this will herald a new breed of nightlife events in New York City’s clubscape.  But at $75 a ticket and limited to 200 partygoers, will this sort of concept really get enough people on board to become a trend?

This first installment was called “Dirty Disco Launderette” and held on Friday June 17, 2011 at the Metro Community Laundromat on Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Upon approaching the Laundromat at 1am, curious passersby slowed their pace to peer into the 4,000 sq ft laundromat’s street windows to see what the hubbub was about.

Walking into the launderette, you could immediately see that this was a serious production.  Four long rows of commercial washing machines were filled with costumed revelers of the hipster persuasion dancing to the beats of DFA Record’s The Juan Maclean and Justin Miller.  We expected more of an indie-dance and nu-disco twist, but got a healthy dose of deep tech-house instead – all good!

Your 75 clams buy you an open bar, served by semi-naked glitter-encrusted sexpots at two bars.  Sure, they were well drinks, and could have been a bit stronger pours, but we’ll let that one go.  At the far end of the laundromat was the DJ booth where the dancers were concentrated.  Lasers, lighting trusses, a disco ball, and smoke machines provided the dancefloor ambiance among the bass-bins – quality installation for a one-night affair.

Cute girls with cocktail trays were passing out free cans of Mercy drinks, a new vitamin-infused potion touted to provide a hangover-free morning after a rough night (it worked).  The red and purple glow from the laundromat’s neon signs illuminated the rest of the debauchery – partiers pushing each other up and down the rows of machines in laundry basket races, dancing on the machines themselves, and even cocktailing inside the big commercial driers.

Detergent bottles and cleaning products were strategically placed around the venue to remind you of where you were.  People were taking their party garb pretty seriously overall – we saw a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, a 7 foot transvestite with a hot pink bouffant, shirtless six-packed boys with sunglasses and afro wigs, and a general crowd of people dressed in their trippiest Burning Man-esque threads.

We heard rumors of 25 hired agent provocateurs blending into the crowd and preparing some sort of planned dancefloor uprising, but by 2:30am with the party going strong, we still hadn’t seen it.  Overall this was a very original concept and a fun shindig filled with great vibes, cool like-minded people, and excellent underground tunes.  We look forward to seeing what Adam Aleksander has in store for us next!

– Eric Reithler-Barros

Photos by Jeffery Owens