This Is What Happens When You Go To A Lunch-Time Rave On A Tuesday
I'm a drowsy person. Despite repeated pleas from my doctor to stop self-diagnosing non-existing ailments, I tell everyone I have a sleep disorder (in addition to early onset dementia and a potato allergy).
So, per usual, the Tuesday of Lunch Break, a Perrier-sponsored party hosted by Flavorpill at Marquee in NYC, I ambled lethargically into the office with my lifeline iced coffee and signature droopy eyes.
I had completely forgotten about the 1-2 pm event. If I had remembered it was happening, and that my co-worker Kylah was also coming to take pictures, I probably would have refrained from cutting my own bangs before work.
Here I am at work engulfed by my cocoon of a sweater, sulking in a corner because I'm tired and full of regret for agreeing to attend an afternoon rave.
Anyway, as a person whose employment is vested in the Internet, I spend all day every day ingesting the words of my cyber peers. I have read every tip, trick and hack out there on “How To Wake Up” and “Reasons You're Tired That Have Nothing To Do With Sleep.”
After hearing about Flavorpill's free event, I decided it was time to leave the confines of my chair, peel my eyes away from an infinite splay of words and see if this could be an effective mid-day pick-me-up for people bogged down by that soul-crushing 9-to-5 monotony.
At this point, all I knew was that it's a dance party meant to provide a different outlet for people during their lunch hour, hopefully leaving them feeling rejuvenated. What I soon discovered is it takes flashing neon, an elbow-to-elbow turnout and alcohol to make that happen.
Aaaaaand we're really doing this.
I was a little wary because I am not a club person, nor am I a fan of the deep-house-techo-whatever-the-genre-is typically blasting through the sound systems.
Questlove was DJing the party -- which around 460 people showed up to -- and, admittedly, I know little about him (except that he heads up The Roots and plays on Jimmy Fallon).
There was an MC (Is that current lingo?) next to him, murmuring spontaneous pump-up lines.
His music was great. He played everything from '90s Britney to Busta Rhymes to Bieber, seamlessly remixing tracks into each other so the full hour was packed with momentum. He capped off his set with Earth, Wind & Fire's “Let's Groove,” which definitely brought me back to middle school bar/bat mitzvah days, but that might have been just me…
I spoke briefly to Lunch Break's founder, Sascha Lewis, before the event really kicked off, and he told me he thinks people are attracted to Lunch Break because it's a “unique experience” with an element of mystery (and it's great for social media).
At first, the arc of people holding up their phones, satiating their social-media fixes, was much larger than the inner circle of people dancing close to the DJ booth. By the end, though, most people were bopping and moving, with just a few shining screens dotting the crowd.
Everyone loves a good ol' Tuesday Boozeday.
In addition to all the photo ops, Lewis explained another appeal of Lunch Break is people don't have to wait to go out like this for a Friday or Saturday night.
Because nothing sums up noon on a Tuesday better than sexy marching band dancers.
I will say, there's something a bit more forgiving about day-time, sober(ish) clubbing (There was a bar stocked with three types of cocktails). Maybe the simple act of being at Marquee in the middle of a workday disarmed me, but I felt completely content hanging out alone amid the buzzing sea of co-workers, friends and couples (Kylah and I lost each other about five minutes in).
The vodka may have helped.
I asked Lewis what kinds of people typically attend and he described a mixed bag of young creatives in the digital world, freelancers and Midtown office-types. I didn't see anyone in a suit, but apparently that's more of a “2000s thing.”
For the most part, though, it didn't seem many people were indulging in brief respites from 9-to-5s.
I did see one guy in a blazer so, figuring he was my best bet for talking to any semblance of a businessman amid the ...eclectic... crowd, I asked him if his office was in the neighborhood. It turns out -- and what a good reminder about making snap judgements! -- he was a tourist from Chile who heard about Lunch Break from "the Internet."
No desk, no problems!
Floating around and taking in the scene, I actually ran into a girl I know who works in the hospitality industry. She said she came for networking purposes based on a friend “meeting a client” at the last one. Vague, yes, but it was too loud for me to ask her any more details… which also made this a curious atmosphere for networking...
If you pass by a photo booth and don't take a picture, were you ever really there?
After Questlove's set ended, everyone was handed a lunch bag with a PB&J sandwich, banana, KIND bar and can of Perrier sparkling mineral water. When we got outside and my ears regained function, I asked a few people how they heard about Lunch Break and why they came.
The general population expressed "the Internet" led them to the party, they came from home and they'd do it again.
Kylah didn't want her sandwich -- lucky me! Two for the price of one (so, still free).
Overall, I think an event like Lunch Break is a great way to dispel the routine of office life and, inundated by stimuli, I definitely felt energized while there.
One thing I'd recommend: If you are going back to work, maybe don't drink. The flashing neon lights, frenzied glow sticks and fill-the-room music slapped some alertness into me but, as common sense would have it, my energy waned along with my vodka buzz as I found myself back in front of my computer, with three more hours of staring at a computer screen left in the day.
Lunch Break will return to NYC on March 16. If you're not in Manhattan, fret not: You can RSVP to attend the free events in Miami or LA on February 26 or in Chicago on March 4.
Lunch Break also influenced the birth of another unusually-timed rave, Daybreaker, which you can check out below: