“Yes…I understand,” Zero said as he slowly paced towards the large window overlooking Philadelphia’s bustling nightlife. He stood there for a while as the sun faded into darkness. Ozaku (See AnimeNext Convention and Rave) stood quietly by the heavy oak table, attempting to make out any reflection of Zero in the window. It was hard to see, as the only light in the room came from a dim lamp on the table.
“Where should I begin?” asked Zero quietly. Ozaku fumbled with a pencil and pad of paper. “Any….anywhere is fine…” he replied nervously, prepared to take notes. “This isn’t a long story, but one of two separate affairs,” said Zero. “Are we ready to begin?”
“I thought it was just some kind of regular party?” replied Ozaku.
Zero shifted his posture, then turned and stepped towards the young man, placing his hands flat on the table. His face caught a flicker of light. “Sit down,” commanded Zero. Ozaku jumped backward in his seat. Zero’s pale sinister face was offset only by the bags under his eyes that matched his red shirt and black tie.
“It began a little over two weeks ago. I received the invite from Mario Manzoni, known to many simply as Fame Lust. It was to be a dark function; one designed to build and release sexual tension. Suits, ties, dresses, stockings; appearances were everything, and I knew too well that I would need to attend. I contacted an old acquaintance, Jayne Doe. She was versed in the art of nightlife and incognito; perfect for an event like this.” Zero smiled. “Had I known exactly what I was stepping into I would have reconsidered my position. After all, I was entering under the guise of a journalist,” said Zero to a wide eyed Ozaku.
“The night began like many others for me. The air was crisp and the bright city lights kept the flow of traffic moving. Jayne arrived promptly at 10 P.M in front of The Barbary and nodded to me. She wore a flowing black outfit, complete with a dark veil that draped her face. I, as always, wore my red shirt and finest black vest. A guard stood out front, meticulously checking identification. We received our stamp of approval and immediately sought out Fame Lust upstairs to pay our respects.” Zero leaned forward. “Are you following boy?” he asked impatiently hissing. Ozaku furiously scribbled down notes. “Yes…yes. I’ve got everything so far,” he hastily replied.
“As we reached the top of the stairwell, a brunette and her blonde friend stood quietly at the corner of the bar. The blonde snarled, briefly revealing her sharp teeth and glared at Jayne. It was a warning to let her know she was in their territory. The brunette had equally cruel intentions in her eyes. I grinned and shook my head as they quickly turned their backs to me; this was to be an event like no other. The barkeep placed a Blue Ribboned Pabst in my hand. I thanked him for the quick service, and made my way towards the social area looking for Fame Lust.”
“The low lighting impaired my vision. I noticed others aloof and wide eyed trying to take in the sights and sounds. Fame Lust gracefully sifted through the crowd to come shake my hand. He had an unmistakably cold touch. I joked about the cool air from the vents, even though it was frigid outside. He stared blankly, then laughed uneasily. He told Jayne and I to enjoy ourselves and to have a sick twisted time. A thick fog with colored light beams swirled around the room as he vanished. A familiar thud paraded around my head, reminiscent of music I heard over the last 10 years. An unsettling, yet familiar trance suddenly engulfed the room. People methodically moved about while waving drinks around in delight, as DJ Jesse Tyler spun dark dance music.”
“The kind of music that bad bitches like?” asked Ozaku.
Zero sat down at the table across from Oazku and leaned back. Ozaku smiled nervously after he realized the severity of his comedic timing. “Precisely,” replied Zero sternly. “The music ranged from ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones to ‘Closer’ by Nine Inch Nails, with every dark hipster pleasure in between. It was exactly what the bad bitches wanted.” Ozaku quickly scribbled a large smiley face next to the words bad bitches. “May I continue?” asked Zero.
“The event raged on like something straight out of the Addams Family, carefully draped in a pitch-black descent of madness. Seductive dancing, ulterior motives, and sexual tension radiated from room. You see Ozaku, no one attending had the right to judge anyone else. It was designed to let a persons morbid side out,” stated Zero.
“It’s like screaming, ‘Whip me!’ without the follow through?” interrupted Ozaku. Zero sighed heavily staring into the distance. “Exactly,” said Zero. “But allow me to finish boy.”
“Around the stroke of midnight, the Halloweeners invaded the grounds. I knew quickly they intended to take over the affair. I was shocked to find Waldo quietly hiding in the corner waiting for an unsuspecting girl to walk by. Soon Hamburgler made his way up the stairs holding a cheese burger under his armpit. His shady accomplice in tow was none other than Robin; even Batman rejected him as a sidekick.”
“The intense pulsing beats pushed the room to it’s boundaries. Everything came to an abrupt flourish. Madness and chaos ensued. Women jumped around waving their arms in the air, while men barely moved their arms and legs to the beat. But it was too late for everyone. Quailman showed up, bumping and grinding on anyone he could find.”
“Oh God, not Quailman!” exclaimed Ozaku, slightly in shock.
“I had warned everyone previously at the ’90s Party on the Moshulu that Quailman would one day return pissed. They didn’t listen. It was madness and panic as dance in your pants took over one-at-a-time. Amidst the confusion, I was suddenly pinned to the wall. A tall girl grinned and bit my neck, then casually disappeared into the night. The following morning the bright lights burnt my eyes, my skin was cold…”
“Seriously? Isn’t this like, Interview with the Vampire?” Jayne interrupted sighing heavily. “You’re no Brad Pitt, and isn’t Ozaku just Christian Slater?”
“Leaping Jesus! When the hell did you get into my apartment!?” I said nearly falling out of my chair. Jayne shook her head, “It was open…”
“What I do know is that I’ve been on a week long bender and to this date I’m incredibly sure vampires are cool,” I said with a sense of accomplishment.
“Did you even mention how amazing MMP was downstairs?” asked Jayne.
I stared blankly. “I’m trying to write this review!” I yelled while flailing my arms in the sky. Jayne shook her head again, then grabbed my laptop. I reached over attempting to hold on for dear life before falling out of my chair and knocking over my glass of Absinthe. “Serves you right,” she laughed. “I’ll finish this.”
Well, now that we’ve indulged in Zero’s Cruel Intentions: A Vampire’s Tale, let’s take a little trip in our magic mystery machine and two step back to the 80s and 90s. Eras where music was totally bitchin’ and more about the bumpin’ than the grindin’.
As Zero bobbed around Barbarella, leaping from one corner to another, I lurked in the shadows of the bar double fisting some Pabst. Something was off, he was a bit more hyper than usual. “They’re all secretly vampires,” whispered Zero sneaking up on me. I didn’t have enough hands for the amount of drinks I needed to deal with this tonight. On the other hand, the laser lights and rolling fog added to the allure of my disguise for the evening. I caught a sudden chill, one so frigid you could see your breath…no, wait, that was just the fog machine. “Order me another one of their finest Blue Ribboned Pabst!” Zero shouted across the room. He was hopeless.
Swaying to the dark beats, I continued to survey the scene. I gave up on trying to tame Zero’s new found energy and did my own double fist dance moves on the floor. As I channeled my inner vampire, I swore I heard the Jackson 5 in the distance. Curiously, I crept toward the top of the staircase and peered down the narrow walkway. Ever so slightly, a familiar funky beat broke through the eerie jams. It rhythmically called to me ‘ABC..simple as Do Re Me.. easy as 123’, could the King of Pop’s ghost been summoned by the Barbary’s spooky partygoers?! I spotted Zero by the DJ booth and hurried over to him. “I see the darkness has taken over you. I’m going downstairs Count Dracula,” I announced to Zero, chuckling at my seemingly clever joke as I walked away.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge zombie, ghost, ghoul and vampire fan but, I had to see what was going on downstairs. I descended the staircase among the shadows, and slunk into the crowded dance floor. The ENTIRE cast of ALL THAT was here! Pizza face, Earboy and Lori Beth Denberg were busting out some fantabulous dance moves. I was whipped into the mix, while the Jackson 5 sparked an American Bandstand style frenzy. People were twisting and shouting from the door to the stage. DJ Deejay spun the classics relentlessly, taunting the crowd on.
Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ blared through the speakers as I shimmied off the dance floor and over to the bar. “One Pabst, please!” I smiled, tipped the bar tender, and turned back around. Material Girl seemed somewhat inappropriate for the craftiness of the costumes that surrounded the room. There were no scantily clad cops, slutty school girls or any other overly priced Halloween Adventure costumes that I could see. The disco ball hung high above the crowd, spinning to the grooves, shining its retro spotlight on everyone. I had to get back in there.
Squeezing my way back into the center of the crowd, I couldn’t help but notice the pink, curly haired man dancing wildly, center stage. He waved his arms about, like a righteous groove conductor. The dance floor obeyed his every command. We only wanted to party like it was 1999, when dancing like a zombie evoked thoughts of ‘Thriller’ and Prince had yet to become an enigma. I took a jump to the left and a step to the right, put my hands on my hips and bent my knees in tight. The time warp began and I snapped back to reality.
Suddenly, I remembered I was missing something, Zero! How long had I been in the MMP era? Scared that he may have joined the walking dead, I charged up the stairs, into the smoke and lasers and adjusted my vision. I spotted Zero in the far corner talking to what appeared to be Morticia Addams in spike covered heels. Zero’s new vampire senses alerted him to him to my presence as he slowly turned toward me. I gave him the nod, it was about that time. Zero smoothly took Morticia’s hand, kissed it and bowed toward her. I could see his smirk trying to emerge as he walked toward me. “Good night there, Count?” I nudged Zero and smiled. “Excellent evening, Madam” Zero eloquently replied. Quickly, we bid our farewell’s and made our way downstairs before the Zombie masses returned to their graves.
The bottom line:
CRUEL INTENTIONS is a magnificent dark party. The music and atmosphere is designed to let our your ghoulish and vampiric inhibitions. I can’t stress this enough to everyone remember to get dressed up, SUIT UP, MAN. Fame Lust is there to capture your gorgeous self so run with it, get decked out. Jesse Tyler played some mean beats. My only recommendation would have been to throw in some classic goth-industrial tunes to bring some a few of us back to the good old days of Nocturne @ Shampoo!
DJ Deejay’s MMP is one hell of a classic jam, throwback party. This is a great way to get your mind off the stresses of today and groove back into a much sweeter time period. Drinks are cheap and the music bountiful. Only thing required to bring are your finest MMP dance moves, anything else goes!
Special thanks to:
Fame Lust for graciously allowing us to use his INCREDIBLE work.
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