For New Years 2011 I’m looking past all the dubstep poster parties, the furry boots, the sets by DJ D-BAG; I couldn’t care if Flux Pavillion is an artist or a venue, this year I’m taking refuge on the other side of Denver for a party worthy of the last New Years Eve mankind may ever to celebrate before doomsday.
Rounding it’s third year, HOWL is a united showcase of music, performance, and environmental design thrown by Betty Bluebird, who brought the Clyfford Still grand opening into being back in November. Each year’s HOWL borrows the aesthetic of a new era in history, with this year’s clock turned back to 1858.
A pastiche of pioneer-punk and that sexy delta sound, HOWL featured a photo booth and confession booth – both of which became the kissing booths – not to mention what we all came to call the love tepee, lit from within so as to cast incriminating sillouettes of it’s goings-on to outside. The showcase also held tarot readings with Andye Murphy, a gaslamp bar by Peach Street Distillers, and all the vaudville cosplay one off-street denver warehouse could contain.
I had some favorites around the room which included terrifying Alex of Edward Sharpe doppelganger, see through dress girl who’s response I will quote, when asked about her attire was, “Wha tits to ya?”, and female Sherrif Woody with a perfect midriff not even Pixar CGI could recreate. I and mine came in feathers and warpaint as every cowboy party needs to be crashed by a few Indians.
Our host for the evening was fantastic faux-Frenchman Naughty Pier, from Lannies Clocktower Cabaret underneath Denver’s famous historic D&F Clocktower. Pier introduced the fetching Miss Orchid Mei who commands the stage with a cocktail of traditional Chinese dance and classic burlesque. At the request that I lend her my face she was kind enough to powder over the lipstick marks I got earlier in the love tepee without messing up my warpaint. The woman is a surgeon with a foundation brush.
Next onstage, Possessed by Paul James, a one man band but multiple-personality performance, uses the pronoun we to broker introduction between the crowd and his several selves. He or they had mic’d an overturned suitcase on the stage floor to stomp in the low end while playing the devil out of a fiddle and howling verses that devolved into and out of prosaic gutteral yawps. He had charmed and enchanted the costumed crowd and all he had played was his sound check. Whether it was the spirits in him or the spirits from the bar, Possessed by Paul James got the room moving.
Party maker/mastermind Jessie De La Cruz was onstage to thank everyone for coming out and then Miss Orchid Mei, back for her second act, was in and out of a red feather dress in two crowd teasing minutes and emptying a bottle of champagne all over her bad self. Now, with the bubbly flowing, the countdown to a surely legendary 2012 could begin.
Everyone knows when the penultimate minutes of the passing year arrive one has no other job in the world but to find someone to share the first kiss of the new year. All my guys’ put thier cameras down and Naughty Pier took the stage to count off the year’s last moments. I can’t describe what the transition from ’11 to ’12 looked like because everybody knows it’s impolite to kiss with your eyes open but when open they did, Reverend Deadeye was onstage to make sure 2012 started off a loud. Between reappropriated gospel verses and riffs about why 2011 could go bleep it’s own bleep I can’t quite figure what belief system the good reverend serves but he sure as champagne ignited my faith in blues.
With Deadeye playing in the background I called my mother to tell her I loved her and took a shot of what I can gather from the bar menu smuggled out in my jacket pocket was Bourbon, bitters and fresh pressed apple juice, a concoction they called Buffalo Bill’s Ghost. Alternating from banjo to resonator guitar, Deadeye was headlining HOWL like a madman. Simply put the crowd danced until the clubbers and ravers everywhere else had called it quits. I call HOWL 2012 a pioneer in NYE celebrations.