Friday night, after a long day of unpacking kitchen stuff and admiring my new apartment, I got a call from M., a friend in the techno scene here in Chicago. Apparently, there was an event going on at a nightclub downtown, followed by someone's birthday party as an afterparty. I had made plans to celebrate my return to down with drink's at Jimmy's in Hyde Park with the U of C crowd that night, but I didn't expect it to last much past midnight, so I thought I could do both.
I headed down to Hyde Park with my friend Scott in tow and we met up with Shayna and Andy G. for some beer at Jimmy's. A few other people made appearances, including Travis, Greg and Melissa, and I eventually made my way back out around half past midnight, heading off to the club. The event was in the basement of Vision nightclub in River North; Vision is not exactly my favourite club--it's one of those mega-clubs that tend to cater to a meat-market crowd with trance and progressive house as the soundtrack--but this event was in a separate space ("The Lair"), and organized by folks that I knew from the Naughty Bad Fun Collective.
After dropping off Scott at a train line and getting some cash from an ATM, I spied M. crossing the street as I was searching for parking. After stopping traffic to say hi to him and his crew, I finally and miraculously found a parking spot only a couple of blocks away from the club and headed over. At the door, the bouncer asked for my ID as the doorwoman asked me if I was on the list. I said, "Well, I'm here for Nadia's party..." and the doorwoman said, "Oh, then go right in and take the spiral staircase downstairs."
I walked down a hallway and came to another woman at a cash register, who took my cover charge ($8; I still had to pay) and waved me in. I got a drink from the bar and looked around at a nearly empty club with some rather unexciting music coming from a stage that was "decorated" with a flashing construction roadblock. Hmmm, not what I expected.
A few minutes later, I remembered that the doorwoman had told me to go down a set of stairs, so I spotted a discreet spiral staircase and headed down. Immediately, the scene changed to a busy but small room with a DJ setup in the corner and some good, pounding techno. Apparently, the entire Volatl DJ roster was in attendance to spin for Nadia's birthday event. This makes sense, as Nadia is pretty much the founder and manager of Volatl Talent Management.
I immediately caught up with M., as well as several other friends and acquaintances from the Chicago scene. It was really nice to be back, and it was great to see so many familiar faces and get caught up on what they had all been up to. One particularly interesting aspect of this experience was how it was facilitated by the NBFC's forum / message board. While in Paris, I had been posting occasional stuff in the forums to keep people apprised of what I was doing and to share photos and party reviews. When I got back to Chicago, I immediately posted a message to the board saying that I was back in town. Within a day or so, several people had added me on MySpace, many more had sent me their cell numbers or asked for mine, I had a list of upcoming events that I was invited to attend, and I was helping a couple DJs make connections with promoters I knew in Paris. So when I arrived at this event tonight, several people knew I was coming and were eager to say hi, give me hugs, and chat with me about Paris. In other words, the experience of intimacy tonight was augmented and channelled by the actions we took on social networking sites in the days and weeks before. Not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, I'm sure, but interesting nonetheless. M. would never have called me to come out tonight if I hadn't been posting on NBFC, and few of the people in attendance would've known that I would be there (or perhaps even remembered me).
Anyway, I ran into R., a good friend and Sassmouth's boyfriend, and we spent a good part of the evening chatting. By 3am, the club was closing and the bouncers were hustling us to the doors. After my time in Paris, it was really weird to be kicked out of a club that early. In Paris, the headliner would be just coming on at this point.
From there, a bunch of us headed to M.'s place to hang out while Nadia and her crew headed over to her place to put set up the afterparty. At around 5am, we put together a car caravan and headed over to her place in Humboldt Park. Nadia has this AMAZING loft space in a desanctified church, with vaulted ceilings and long church windows. She had an incredible sound system and food and drinks for everyone, and things were just getting started when we arrived at 6am. Alas, I had a date for dim sum with two friends the next day at 11am, so I headed out shortly thereafter to get some rest.
Getting home at 7am, it felt a little bit like Paris all over again...