10 Dec 2014
To reach Vice’s 20th anniversary party at the Brooklyn Navy Yard last Friday, attendees braved heavy rain, waited in long lines and had to walk several blocks more to reach a hangar-like space. Oh, and the only bathrooms were outdoor porta-potties.
So it was very Vice, which is to say that it was more orchestrated mayhem than sophisticated fun.
Inside the hangar (actually the Duggal Greenhouse), the walls were covered in Vice’s magazine covers over the years: Beavis & Butt-head (reading Vice, no less), a near-naked woman (bent over, natch), Terry Richardson (overlit, plaid shirt).
And regardless of whether it was a great party, heaps of people showed up.
Many were in their 20s, many wore distressed denim and many had hair colors not found in nature. (Insert any and all clichés about American Apparel and the L train here. They all work.)
In a V.I.P. area above the stage, Michael Stipe and Christina Hendricks took their places by the balcony. Spike Jonze was milling about. Scarlett Johansson, wearing a black motorcycle jacket, was by the bar, chatting with Jonah Hill.
“Kim Gordon and a Beastie Boy are here and you’re talking to us,” Mr. Hill said. “What’s wrong with you?”
About 10:30 p.m., a celebratory concert began. “It’s going to be crazy,” an M.C. warned the crowd. “It’s going to be fun. Enjoy yourselves.”
Over the next three hours, a slew of big-name performers serenaded the crowd, many doing covers of songs that had been big with the Vice audience over the years.
Nick Thorburn, formerly of the Unicorns, sang a rendition of “House of Jealous Lovers,” the punk and dance hit from 2002 originally performed by the Rapture.
Ms. Johansson dug further back when she belted out a cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
But the highlight for many was Pussy Riot, the embattled Russian punk group, who came on near the end of the evening and did a terrific cover of Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon,” which served as a kind of anthem for some in this narrow demographic, a 718 equivalent of “Born in the U.S.A.”
The Russian band has been staying in Bedford-Stuyvesant and attending protests surrounding police conduct in New York and Ferguson, Mo., in Times Square.
“Do you have cigarette,” Maria Alyokhina, one of the band members, asked moments after her performance. “If I don’t have cigarette, I will die.”
As she lit up, her bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova moved to a green room, where she discussed her stay in New York and her association with Vice. “We’re doing a lot of stuff with them,” she said. “We like the approach. It’s semi-serious and it’s entertaining.”
When the concert came to an end, a D.J. took over and a dance party began. “I want hip-hop,” said the designer Alexander Wang, who had a large posse with him. “I want to pop pop squat squat.”
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