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Friday 24 November 2017

Party on down with a clubbing experience like no other

A clubbing experience like no other awaits hedonistic clubbers who enjoy letting their inner monster take the dance floor, writes Caomhan Keane

Caomhan Keane

Unlike most women, Mimi Rouge couldn't leave her peculiar craving behind her after giving birth. "I went to see the movie Party Monster when I was three months gone and I was overwhelmed by this desire to attend a club like the one portrayed in the movie." She obviously wasn't going out much at the time so watching club kids like Michael Alig and James St James pushing sexual and social norms through costume and make-up excited her. "I wanted to get dressed up and push boundaries on the dance floor in the same way they did. Such a place didn't exist in Dublin. So I made it."

Partie Monster, a haven for outsiders, spat glitter in the face of a lumbering club scene. Hoping to provide an alternative to the repetitive dance nights that relied on passive consumption, it first erupted onto a South William Street dance floor in 2009. The monthly bacchanal fused elements of performance art with make-and-do couture, injecting Dublin's jaded clubbers with 10cc's of visual inspiration. "People can get bored of the same old routine week after week," Rouge tells Day & Night."

Setting down roots in RiRa, the themed evenings and DIY glamour of those gathered loosened the constraints of everyday life allowing people to explore their own limitations with like-minded people. "It doesn't swing any one way in particular," she laughs when asked if the Partie Monster was a gay night. "But the people might."

Aine Macken, a 30-year-old artist from Dublin, says the Partie Monster lit up her social life with the force of lightning bolts. "It allowed me to explore being more adventurous in a safe environment, to be grotesque and glamorous at the same time. Where you weren't the freak or the weirdo, cause everyone was."

Lorcan Devaney was an 18-year old schoolboy from Mayo when he started commuting up for the night on his own. "A friend stood me up at the last minute and since I was already on the bus I just went ahead. I thought it would be weird but the costumes are the ultimate icebreaker. I met my boyfriend that night and we have been going out ever since."

Potential monsters can be put off when faced with all that dressing up. "A lot of people come to the first one in their normal going out clothes and they see that every one else has gone to so much effort. They end up feeling like the odd balls," says Rouge. "Thankfully we have someone on hand to do their hair and make-up should they want to join in. And if they want to stay the way they came, that's fine too. It's a relaxed, open environment"

Despite being one of the few nights to still have a cover charge at the time Partie Monster was a recessionary rager. "It's about grabbing together all the disparate materials in your house and making a costume out of it," Mimi says. "I usually strip down, lash on the body paint and stick a lamp shade or tutu on my head. One good kink can offset an entire look."

On any given night you could be greeted by a six foot promotional carrot dragged up and garnished with real veg; a man in a dress made from sliced bread; a life-size Barbie with a matching life sized box; or a bloke in the throes of childbirth.

The venue was equally tarted up, once with actual pigs hearts strung from the wall, another time via a recreation of Tracy Emin's Bed and then their was the sensual instillation where clubbers were blindfolded and taken on a trip through their other senses. "You just never knew what to expect," says Macken. "One moment you would be dancing to some out there electro track and the next thing the DJ would drop Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet and 12 couples would appear and do the most perfectly choreographed dance.

"Once a girl dropped on the ground and started recreating the video to Kylie Minogue's Slow. Within 30 seconds every one in the club followed suit."

And during the crowning of the prom king and queen, Mimi dumped a bucket of pig's blood all over them and cut violently from cheesy Americana into Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. "The place went nuts!"

She could tell the writing was on the wall for the night's spell in RiRa when every other night at the venue became free in. Unable to find a suitable replacement, Partie Monster went on hiatus in late 2011.

Now it's back, with a headline DJ set from electro clash goddess Peaches taking place this Sunday at the Button Factory. "She embodies our spirit so completely in terms of sexual identity and balls-out attitude. She puts on a show with pyrotechnics and women spraying the audience with champagne."

Partie Monster present Peaches, The Button Factory, December 15, 11pm. Tickets €22.90.

Irish Independent

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