Vice spent $250,000 on their 15th Anniversary Halloween Party last night. Our intrepid Gawker Party Crash photographer Mo Pitz accompanied me out to a massive, two-story warehouse in Brooklyn to find out where the money went. We have answers.
Pictured above, from left to right: Vice founder Suroosh Alvi, a hostage, UK/European editor Andrew Creighton, and Vice founder Shane Smith.
"Oh, man," Vice executive editor Chris Cechin giggled at the massive warehouse across the street from Vice's headquarters that housed last night's shitshow. "There're so many places to blackout in there!"
I dropped by the Vice offices in Williamsburg Friday afternoon to grab wristbands for Mo and I to get in. Chris wasn't joking. The space was the literalization of everything about Vice's culture of yore even before anything was even placed inside. Two floors of flat, dark space, with concrete pillars, and yes, plenty of places to get fucked up, black out, and make questionable decisions in questionable costumes. The question then became: with the $250,000 they've bragged about spending on this thing, what, exactly, will they fill it with?
"99%, these are gonna guarantee you admission into the party," VBS.tv staffer Rory Ahearn warned me as he handed over two paper wristbands dotted with smiley faces. "But to be on the safe side, get there early." He wasn't joking. We approached the party to an entire block of Williamsburg quartered off by cops and barricades, and two lines: one that snaked around the block and then some, and the other—for the blessedly wristbanded—which ran the length of half a block. Rory was nice enough to get us in, past the complete insanity of the line and the line's security, who weren't being kind to anyone, including the Vice staff. This would later become a problem.
Once inside, Mo—dressed as Playboy's Marge Simpson—and I—dressed as the scariest creature of them all: a cracked-out blogger—cased the place. On the first floor, ravey techno music blared. They'd installed a halfpipe they—I don't know, staffed?—with some decent skateboarders on it. People weren't really watching. But they were watching Williamsburg's aspiring American Apparel models strip to their skivvies for the photo shoot Vice had set up for the party's attendees, who almost always dropped trou for the camera. Two bars dotted the floors, and getting booze wasn't a problem. Lots of tequila, lots of Colt 45. Now do you know whose party you're at? Then take a deep breath. Cigarette and weed smoke clouded the air. Now you do. No wonder they didn't pay for fog machines.
The second floor: bangers, blasting. In line with their 15th anniversary theme, almost all 90s hip-hop could've kept an awesome, dancy, sweaty, drunk, Blue States Lose: All-Stars crowd of costumed hipsters dancing, if not for the bands interrupting them. Jersey post-garage youngsters Titus Andronicus got screamy, seminal afropunk band Bad Brains got punky, and almost every other band was unanimously heckled in some regard. Two more bars upstairs kept the booze freely flowing. Beers were beginning to get tossed across the room. I resisted the urge. It was difficult.
From a balcony in the back of the second floor, Vice's inner-circle watched from their perch. There were two bathrooms, and two "green rooms." Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's former-press-secretary-turned-fucking-Vice-staffer Alexander Detrick grabbed me and got me up there, even though I didn't have the requisite "special" wristband with little fish dotting it. I wondered if this was an allusion to Jesus. It was entirely possible.
"There're some people you gotta meet. Hang tight." Detrick walked back in with Vice founder Suroosh Alvi. "This is the Gawker guy," Detrick introduced me. Alvi was dressed like an Islamic Extremist. Feet were shuffled, loins were girded. "Yeah? Alright. We can take our hits. We're not pussies about it." I asked Suroosh about the cash spent on the party, and how Vice has—as they said it—managed to stay afloat "while the dinosaurs that surround us slowly suffocate in the tar pits of their financial ruin."
"We're doing the same thing we've always done," Alvi explained. "We're careful with money. We don't waste it. Except when we wanna do retarded shit like this."
Making our way back downstairs, we ran into Animal New York's Bucky Turco. "Yeah, I got past the line. I saw some girl out there get slammed. Security manhandled her and kicked her out, and she threatened to quit Vice," he laughed. I guess she helped plan the party." This story was later confirmed to me by a second witness, one who tried to get in the party, but couldn't. Detrick stood at the front of the party while security told him to get out of the way. The party was nowhere near the full potential capacity of 1,800. It was maybe half that at 1:30 AM. The guards were only listening to two people, who couldn't be found, and Detrick wasn't one of them. "They've gone completely renegade," a Vice staffer explained. "They're in bed with the fuckin' cops." La Superior owner Filipe Mendez stood next to me on one side of the barricade, trying to get someone in. I was doing the same. Security warned us that if we stepped on the concrete outside the warehouse, we wouldn't get back in. Finally, I gave up. Nobody else was getting in that party if security there had anything to do with it. Besides, what's easier? Letting tons of people in and letting Vice take the heat, or denying entrance to relatively harmless hipsters, and calling it a night when it's time to get rid of the lucky few who gained entrance?
We've tried our best to approximate where Vice's money was allocated, but Turco astutely noted: "If you want an incredible party, you don't tell people you spent $250,000. You don't give them that expectation. You just spend it." He was disappointed.
I wasn't. I got in for free, didn't wait on line, drank a bunch of shitty beer and booze and bounced. I feel like I'd just had The Vice Experience, especially when a street fight later erupted outside the bar I'd retreated to down the street with the aforementioned denied party refugee. Maybe Vice did, too. Vice grew up, past their grimy roots, and is now a full-fledged capitalistic endeavor with its own corporate culture. They went from rejecting The Man, to taking his money, to becoming The Man. So why not waste a quarter mil on some party to get a bunch of Williamsburg kids—soft by any traditional Vice measure—fucked up? And why the fuck not have draconian security who, for one night, can put them back in the position of being oppressed by The Man? It's enough for them to prove that, like it or not, they're still Vice, and they're spending $250,000 on a party to very effectively remind themselves of that.
I ran into Cechin again on my way out. He was wearing some kind of knit sweatshirt, and asked me if I'd seen the bands. "A little bit," I told him. He closed his eyes, pushed me, and pointed upstairs, to where they were playing. "Go." Okay, but first, one last question for Chris: Where'd the $250K really go? Where were the drugs? He again, eyes at half-mast, grinned and pointed to his stomach. The possibility he's telling any degree of the truth, in any context, should not be ruled out.
And that was the Vice party.
Bro you know what I'd totally fucking do with that chick and her straw? Bro what? Bro! A bunch of fucking blow. Bro. BRO! Blow: $100,000.
DO: Dude you know those girls who like look at every picture like they wanna fuck the camera? They can be 92 years-old and shitting in their Depends and it'd still be hot RIGHT? Well it's even super awesome hotter when it's a tatted up 'Burg babe with a celly in her strap.
DON'T: Do any drugs as unidentifiable as your costume.
"Dude. We gotta go. My fuckin' landlord's here. He tried evicting me outta McKibben seven times already."
DO: Brahsome, those rad honeys who could just snap your neck like fuckin' that and then shotgun a bunch of meth-laced Gatorade and do her little brother's long-division homework for him? Marriage material if you like the short-leash thing. Literally. Meth-laced Gatorade: $1,500
DO: Be a former Gawker night editor and current Animal New York blogger named The Cajun Boy, who walked into the party with a real, fully fucking functional axe. So when everyone else bitches about how they couldn't get in the party, you can say you walked in there with a not-at-all-concealed weapon. Also DO: be the most ass-stompingly large guy in the room, while carrying a giant fucking axe.
The Nightman Drunketh. FameGame's Ryan Brown was not hired to make sandwiches for this party, but gets +2 FameGame points anyway. Good thing, though, because apparently the only ones he had on him were made with Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Psilocybin.
DON'T: Act surprised when Mo drops a 'bow on you for being a second-rate Playboy Bunny. Fight! Fight! Fight! [Alternately: "Huge rock, this big! I mean, really, where could they have stashed it? Where?!"]
DON'T: Go past the Grand stop in that costume. Just don't.
DO: Take a big whiff of the smiley gas. DON'T: Ask what's in it. FunnyFace Gas: $5,000.
The LDS goes on missions to all kinds of foreign lands, but only their Constantine-like operatives who did Basic Training in hell get sent to North Williamsburg.
Everybody be cool! Especially with the Pulp Fiction costumes. That were everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
Jesus Saves! By not spending any money on booze at the Vice Party. Thrifty! Promotional appearance fee by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: $10,000.
This guy spent the night crowdsourcing his Twitter followers to see which one of the four Boys II Men he should be at any given moment. #ShutUpNilla Vice paid this guy as Nu New Media Outreach. $1,000.00
Day of the Dead-eyes. The Vice party was like the Willa Wonka factory of drugs! The schnozzberries tasted like schnozzberries! Also: the wallpaper was lined with huffable glue. $4,000.00.
Not a scene out of George Romero's next flick. Welcome to the Port O' Potties of A Thousand Key Bumps. $5,000
Animal New York's Bucky Turco, who doesn't enjoy having his picture taken, while we try to goad him into his first real Glamour Shot. That said, he finally relented to show us his "good side." Talk about Photo Sense.
DON'T: Be that white guy dressed as Sam Jackson. Related: the possibility of a Post-penned headline when this guy gets his ass kicked on the J/M/Z tonight: SNAKES ON A TRAIN.
DO: Young chicks, Broregard. Get 'em while they're still teething. ON JESUS. Also, your Linda Blair-Exorcist fetish scenario with a cross is something you only get to indulge in one night a year, and it's not Easter. Bro with god, young conqueror.
These guys went down the rabbit hole. NO, EW, GROSS NOT LIKE THAT. I was talking about the Vice party. But the odds of him getting a pinky in his ass tonight are "likely." Str8 guys. What're you gonna do?
Yours truly with FameGame's Ryan Brown. What, you think I drank all that? Hell no. I backpacked a lifetime supply. I'm taking a bath in Schlitz right as I write this. $25,000.
Gawker Party Crash Photog Mo Pitz, Mission: Accomplished. Mo enjoys a very, very, very well-deserved cocktail for her brave efforts. Also, some Valium, given to her at the door. $5,000.
"Do you know what the fuck an Asparagus-Burger is, buddy? You know why? Because I buried it like I'm gonna bury you!" This Is Why You're Fat co-author Jessica Amason does research for her next Book Deal Book, This Is Why You're Not Getting Into The Vice Party. Chapter Six: Because you showed up. Security, w/Extra Unnecessary Anger Package: $50,000
Chapter Seven: Because you're still wondering how we got in and you didn't. What? It wouldn't be the Vice party without harassing those who couldn't make it, and the assholes who denied them. Damn the man, save the empire...
...Which would be these fuckin' guys.