this must be the place....goin strong , yeah baby!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Search of the Lost Perfect Rager

2009 is starting off on the right foot. I think we were wandering in the wilderness for 2008. Maybe this will be "the year the indie kids started dancing again, again".

I believe it was J.T.T. aka someclouds who last night said "2009 is starting off a lot like my 2006, and 2006 was a great year for me." While I couldn't tell you personally what I was doing in 2006, I shared the sentiment, that somehow this calendar year was set to be a good one.

I don't know if people are getting back to the basics, more aware of the good vibes that lead to different sorts of creativities, or if there is a good moon that I am unknowingly taking for granted. It is certain however that Austin Texas scenic renaissances are far from unique, unless you are considering their frequency of reoccurrence, it which case, from a geographical perspective, it's incredibly unique. If you are interested in a better point of view than my own on this issue, you should read what the Lorax aka O had to say about it on the RXR myspace blog.

But anyways, while maybe only tangently related, last night at Schwaushberry Farms, Matt Schwaush's 24th birthday party took shape (no pun intended) as one of my favorite forms of this creativity---the monster perfect rager. I have not seen the likes of one in quite some time, and though they seemingly effortlessly existed in frequency for the early part of my college career, they tailed off, and I'd say the last one that approached this one was probably, oh, maybe the Talking Heads In Space party which was now almost a full 2 years ago. What follows is a chronicle of my evening...I have made this factual to the best of my ability, but due to the state of inebriation I was in for a large part of the evening, is probably not 100% accurate.


Rolling up circa 10:40 to find a healthily unstarted party, I joked to biking partner F. Rocketjockey that maybe the police had already come and shut the thing down. This was sort of an oblique reference to Matt's first party there, which had bands starting at 9 and was already pretty full blown by 10:40. Beer was in the fridge. I always prefer parties where the beer is in the fridge and the guests are just invited to go in the fridge like it's their house. BYOB was suggested, but due to the fridge policy, all BYOB ended up being for the party, as opposed to personal consumption. I find this to be a plus...sort of a semi-mandatory sharing thing on the beer, but if you want to pack yourself a flask, that's in the party guidelines as well.

And there was plenty of liquor and mixers. I'm not a liquor human myself, but the consideration to those that are always goes appreciated in a way that disperses good vibes across the party. Mailable as we are, ultimately people like to party the way they like to party, and drink selection goes a major way towards helping them accomplish that.

I arrived to essentially a hangout consisting of the hosts, the guests who would choose to come early, and friends from out of town. I find that hanging out with friends from out of town is a perfect early party experience. The most common alternative in my experience is 8-20 dudes standing around the keg, and to me there is always an air of oppression about that, like you are just waiting for the ladies to show up, and this is what the party is all about, as opposed to pure celebratory raging. Be they dudes or ladies, friends from out of town are always a superior alternative, and better yet, the out of towners came as a crew. Also it means the party doesn't really start with "the first people who show up to the party," but rather with people who are basically just hanging out. It was a situational organic pre-party conveniently at the location of the actual party.

It was apparent early party points must be awarded for a truly amazing theme and excellent interactive decor. The entire floor was covered in geometric cutouts, some in 3D, and the whole living room was rigged with flashing X-mas lights, eliminating the need for an excess of harsh white lighting. Markers were provided, and a sheet of paper was hung over the commode for people to draw shapes on. There were little sticky shapes that you could enhance your costuming with, and become a part of the theme even if you didn't bring anything. There was a guest book where you could sign your name, address, and what shape you were. There were even magnetic shapes all over the fridge.

I should also mention that I checked my watch when I went to grab my second beer and was surprised to find that it was already 11:45. I was so caught up in excellent relaxed conversation, that I managed to drink that first beer over the course of an entire hour, and didn't even notice. That is highly unusual for me. But there was no rush.

One more thing--it was obvious from the very start that when the time was right there would be an awesome dance party.

~Friends from out of town, pre-party at party location
~lateish start
~beer in fridge, variety of alcohol choices
~excellent, original theme, decor, and lighting
~confidence that the party would at some point become a dance party


Something about Schwaushberry Farms---this was the second major party there. As you may or may not know, the first party was something of a grand unveiling. A giant temple was erected, a badass mural whipped up, a path created through a bamboo forest, a shed set up as a chill zone, and that first party was everyone's first interaction with it. It was great, but IMO like a fine wine, this setup has really come into its own with age (and I imagine will continue to do so.) No longer was Schwaushberry Farms to be marveled was simply there to be enjoyed.

The best thing about all the shit that is back there and comprises the complex, is the disparate environments created that you naturally travel between at the same party, and the variety of social interactions you find yourself in due to these environments. There is only so much space for people in the bamboo forest, so if you are looking for a conversation with one or two people and less random traffic, your best bet is to go there. (Also, you are in a fucking bamboo forest. That's awesome.) The shed is an excellent place to go if you want to sit around in a circle with 6-12 people. The pyramid is a nice place to enjoy an eagle eye on the party, and if you desire an interaction with some random foot traffic. Then there is a dance party inside for when you are ready for it (or when people are collectively ready for it). All these environments also have the effect of supporting an extremely large number of party goers without the party ever seeming crowded.

Which, if you are having as much fun as you are probably having, is not something you will really think about or even notice. It's just a testament to the space during the middle of the party.

I barely noticed the time flying by, but can still recall specific conversations I had based on where I was physically at the party. I talked to friends and strangers alike with equal ease (highly unusual) and the level of conversation was noticeably very high. For hours I just wandered from one conversation I wanted to be in to to the next.

I also think that in this middle stage of the party beer from the fridge again manifests its advantages over a keg. Its possible to offer to grab people beers when it doesn't involve the hassle and unassured hygiene of carrying 3-4 plastic cups across a party (quicker, too). The net gain out of this is that if you are having a good conversation with at least a few people, but are out of beer, you can go run and get beers without having to end your can just offer to grab everyone a beer. By not having a keg you also minimize the threat of the certain randomly occurring conflicts that arise with negative keg-sniffing elements, namely, tap-stealer kid and there-is-a-15%-chance-I-might-be-an-aggro-tagger dude. On a separate note, I also find the keg is a place where you become trapped in awkwardly abbreviated or overly small talk oriented conversations most often, which, over the course of a night, can lead to a bad vibes association with the act of getting a beer, which as we all know should be an experience of pure unadulterated joy.

In addition to out of town friends, there were also 2 dudes from out of town who arrived in this middle portion not knowing anyone but were easily integrated into the party. To me this is a serious indicator of overall party mood and one of the prime signs that great partying may be approaching. One of the guys was a couch surfer, just passing through on his bike ride to San Fran, the other an art school grad friend-of-a-friend who had just moved to Austin. I noticed both having a great time and well integrated into the party throughout the night.

After my initial hour in which i went through one beer, my drinking sort of let loose here and I would care to guess that I consuming between 2-4 beers an hour, until the booze ran out (I got the last beer.) Wastedness gradually sunk in. To draw an aside, thinking about this reminds me of one of my strikingly finer moments as a human being. I was like 21 or maybe 22 and somehow in this argument with a high schooler who was trying to tell me how he could drink me under the table, or how drunk he got last night or something macho like that. I was like "oh yeah, how much did you drink?" and he was like "6 beers" and I was like "6 beers?" and he then said "and 2 glasses of wine" and I said, "oh yeah? 6 beers and 2 glasses of wine?" and he said "yeah, and 4 shots." and then somewhat aggravatedly asked "Why what do you drink?" and I said "I don't know, I don't count my drinks." It was somewhat of a strange booyah moment, but ultimately completely absurd and immature that I was egging him on in the first place.

But the point stands. I started drinking a lot. Martin threw in a shot of whiskey for me somewhere in there, (thx Martin!) That guy travels prepared.

~different partying locations / spacial orientations / lighting effects
~lots of people, but nowhere was crowded
~high level of conversation
~no shoratge of beer or liquor
~got the last beer
~no negative elements crashing the party
~getting wasted but never noticing it
~strangers welcome and having a good time


Great parties IMO are always a balance between detail oriented consideration for personal choice and the necessary fascism of an itinerary/theme. The itinerary/theme is what makes a party feel unique and creates a new environment for party goers to interact in, but if its too overbearing then it becomes the activity, rather than the backdrop. This is one thing I love about Halloween...because everyone participates to the extreme in costuming (the theme), but due to the nature of the holiday, that is still the backdrop and not the focus of the night.

At some point, all the conversations to be had got at least their fair shot at fruition, and it was time to get down to business. The cops had come, leading the host to shoo people inside the house, where the music was still cranking out the jams, albeit down at a volume that suggested "wait til the cops leave". To me, if it happens with a certain amount of serendipity, (which it did) that can be a really special part of the party, especially if people have been instructed to go inside or leave (which they were). It builds the anticipation while simultaneously transferring the serious dancers to where they can do some serious damage. It's like having a gas leak concentrating in your house. That dance party was about to explode.

E. Saucepot was manning the wheels of steel when he got the all-clear and recranked the volume. The groove built across a few songs and he quickly through the switch into overdrive with "Lovetrain" and then a double shot, "Let's Groove Tonight," and "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire back to back. The power went out during "Let's Groove Tonight" and the crowd kept it going by clapping and singing how the chorus goes. There were soul train conga lines formed on 2 separate occasions, during that span and it was the highlight of the dance party for me. I also finally bore witness to Saucepot using the headphones as a microphone with his best Magic EL-J impersonation, "how about it for some Earth, Wind, and Fiaaaaaaahhhh," or something like that. It eventually got too hot inside that room, ending the dance party, but it was long enough that people got out of it what they needed. And I think that it was the kind of dance party that hints at greater dance parties to come.

~started all at once, ended all at once
~ultimate dance party
~conga lines (twice)
~double shot of Earth Wind and Fire
~E. Saucepot finally screaming into his headphones like a microphone


At this point in the party I was fucking wasted. Usually, at some point over such a long night I will run into some bad vibes and think "that situation would have been better had I not been wasted" and it will slow down my drinking, but that never happened. After the dance party ended, there was some randomish wandering around outside. It became semi-apparent that the party had gotten out of control, the neighbors were pissed, and everyone was being told to get the fuck out. There was another party, of KVRXers down the block that I had been meaning to get to all night, but I had just been having too much fun, and there was a semi-exodus in that direction. I felt like I was gonna puke. We hung out at that party for a bit. There were definitely some ultimate bros I shot the shit with for a while, and while there was some dude that went aggro on me for wearing a tie (wtf?) with "these aren't the droids you're looking for"-like deftness I managed to avoid an altercation I was in no state to deal with. I think everyone was getting kicked out of that party too, and I took the opportunity to go back and bang on a locked door to Schwaushberry Farms where I was mercifully greeted and let back in to pass out on the couch. Saucepot ended up passing out there too and there was some ex-roommate post-rager ultimate bro time as I was sobering up enough to be able to get to sleep. The next morning we went to Aranda's, for coffee and cheap Mexican food: the perfect ending. And that is why I will always love Burnet Road, although I fucked up and ordered the Flautas instead of the Enchiladas which I realized is what I really wanted after the Flautas came.

~party ends at one time---everyone kicked out
~after the party ended, we went to another party
~pass out without transporting myself home
~varying ultimate bro-times
~Cheap Mexican food hangover brunch at Arandas #3.

Yeah, that was fucking a perfect monster rager. Put it up there with the "is the AC record the best of 2009?" questions, but I'm excited for the next 11 months.

I love you all


  1. def my fave part of the night was when we all kept the song going by singing nonsensical words that matched the tune of the song and clapping and dancing, absolute fucking magic.

  2. I'm really glad all the Casavista crew could make it out. Thanks for DJing, thanks for dancing to the music, and thanks for just showing up to get yo drink on while getting your dance on while getting your beat on. yeeeeaaaaa