Liturgy (Almost) Plays a Break-In Party at the Old Secret Project Robot in Williamsburg

Rebecca Smeyne
Photos by Rebecca Smeyne

An "anonymous" promoter staged a party in a condemned building Friday night, but not just any condemned building -- the original Monster Island complex, one of 00's Williamsburg's most important creative hubs, which was shuttered last September. Secret Project Robot, one of Monster Island's many venues, has since reopened in a new space in Bushwick but the empty mural-wrapped building on Kent Ave remains as a stark reminder of old vs. new, money vs. art. The choice of location was thus symbolic, and the choice of entertainment -- the black metal band Liturgy -- appropriately dark and intense. Guests were invited to bring flashlights. There was a "visual director" -- Thunderhorse (who has collaborated with Tamaryn and Mirror Mirror at PS1's MoMA) -- in charge of mood lighting, as well as a top-shelf open bar. The building reeked like a litter box. Not your everyday party.

As it turned out, the affair, which started at 1 a.m., was busted by cops at approximately 1:06 a.m. (they called us "idiots"), and everyone hastily fled. One of the event staffers, on the way out, ran into a friend, who promptly offered her own under-construction space to continue the party. The party was then moved, piece-by-piece (after the cops left) to the new location, at 2 a.m. A bar was hastily thrown together out of detritus and people texted and tweeted about the change of plans. A small crowd filled the new space, a future cafe on Havemeyer with aqua-blue walls. Physical Therapy DJ'd for friends like fashion designer Gerlan and DJ Michael Magnan. There was a brief and surreal vodka-fueled dance party and, finally, Liturgy played, in a vastly different setting than originally intended.

We went to the party's original location early, and before it got shut down, took a fascinating, sad, and spooky tour of Monster Island's remains, including practice spaces, random bedrooms, screenprinting studio and art gallery. Photos from this, and the weird re-assembled party on Havemeyer, are included in the gallery above.

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