The ban in the United States, a short-lived experiment that began 100 years ago, popularized the speakeasy: an illegal establishment designed to sell alcoholic beverages during the years when it was prohibited by law.
Now people are developing clandestine social clubs again – and are even designing their parties after the speakeasy era.
This is also true in Los Angeles, where more than 14,000 positive coronavirus tests are reported in a day and the public health risks of going to a party seem too obvious to leave party-goers in disapproval.
For the record: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend celebrating at home, wearing a mask around others, and definitely avoiding the crowds.
During the pandemic, well-attended parties across Los Angeles were largely closed, creating a culture of secrecy on social media. At the same time, the hosts of the underground party decide to invoke the truth of human behavior. They know they can capitalize on an innate desire to socialize. For all of those who cannot imagine leaving their homes now, there are others ready to celebrate the arrival of 2021 in the company of strangers as they would any other year.
One of those New Year’s Eve parties in Los Angeles is Spanky’s, which promises a relaxed affair at an indoor and outdoor venue in downtown. According to the invitation, the entrance fee includes a “10-minute Covid-19 antigen test”. (While testing can wipe out some people with coronavirus, it’s not a foolproof method. For one, rapid tests have a higher potential for false positives, according to the FDA.)
Chloe Chappe, 26, and a Los Angeles private chef, has been receiving Spanky’s emails since July and doesn’t know how she got on her mailing list. “I find it funny and frustrating that people are trying to justify the celebration right now,” she said. “Why are you trying to party when the infection rates are so high?”
In many cases, festivity has been traded for discretion. People “don’t post things because they know how much game they’re going to get,” Ms. Chappe said. “Since I’ve been deprived of this type of interaction for almost a year, I totally understand why people want to finally celebrate this year when it’s over, but we’re not at that point to be sure, so there’s such a dissonance there.”
Cherrelle Moore, 28, a New York freelance creative celebrating New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, has been visiting California for about a month. She said she went to “four or five house parties and a strip club” during that time. Ms. Moore plans to see people on the eve of 2021 – but limit her night to a low-key house party.
“People think that going out is just irresponsible, but it feels good and warm and good for your sanity to be with people you love sometimes and even meet new people – you just have to be responsible “, she said. She estimated that she had been tested more than 15 times – “almost every other week, mostly because I was in large meetings.”
Ms. Moore said she has never had coronavirus – “Thank goodness” – and she believes “a line of communication and trust is required” to connect safely during the pandemic. And while posting about it on social media, she noticed that it looked like “people were tailing me” and her friends, too, and started posting on her private Instagram network of close friends instead.
“The reason I even left New York was because I felt like I was falling into a deep hole again. I came here for friends. I just didn’t feel like staying in New York for the coming New Year, ”Ms. Moore said. “We can agree, disagree, but life is so short. It may sound irresponsible, but I’ll just live my life. I’ve been very careful and responsible all along, so I’ll try to show up and manifest for 2021, and hopefully it’s a lot better than this year. “
She is not alone.
An iOS app called Vybe Together encouraged users to “rebel” and “party” and was designed to organize and promote underground parties for the public. It seemed particularly well designed to assist parties who would break the applicable restrictions.
After receiving attention this week, its website went down and Apple pulled the app from its store on Tuesday. (Business Insider reported that TikTok removed the company’s account as well.) “We blew ourselves up overnight,” said someone who answered the Vybe Together phone. (The owners declined to speak further.)
The app only had a few thousand users, although thousands more waited for their access to be approved.
Vybe Together updated their Instagram bio in Trouble: “The App Store took us out !!! We will be back !!! Follow to stay updated !!! ”In the Instagram story of the account, a minimal piece of text appeared:“ Disproportionately blown up by the media. We don’t do big gatherings !!! ”
Eventbrite, An event management and ticketing platform has also been a popular option for people hosting parties. A “masquerade” was recently advertised in a Los Angeles mansion ($ 80, open bar, round-trip party bus). The invitation, which made a splash on social media, has been removed from the Eventbrite website.
Some other parties that were supposed to be held in popular Los Angeles nightlife spots (such as Bootsy Bellows and Harriet’s Rooftop) have also been listed on Eventbrite, but are now marked as canceled. Blind Dragon, a venue listed as closed on OpenTable, promised a “Premium Open Bar” starting at 9:00 pm. “Gatsby’s House NYE” in Huntington Beach had tickets from 99 US dollars and up to 3,795 US dollars. An event in the Skybar on the roof of the Mondrian in West Hollywood promised a special live DJ performance.
“Our community guidelines have always banned events promoting or containing illegal behavior, and our community plays an essential role in reporting events or content,” an Eventbrite spokesperson said in a statement. The company is investigating complaints and looking to promote digital gatherings during the pandemic.
“Since we weren’t able to bring people together for personal experiences, we moved quickly to help developers use their experiences online,” said Julia Hartz, founder and CEO of Eventbrite.
Those who want to party anyway will celebrate in retro style again: via private Instagram, DMs and invitations with no downloadable details, just an address sent by SMS before midnight, along with a request to wear a mask.
Earlier this month, the City of Los Angeles law firm filed a lawsuit against the manager of the LA Party Society, a nightclub in the downtown fashion district, and others associated with the venue for “holding crowded events amid a growing pandemic.” said Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles city attorney, in a virtual press conference.
From now on, the revised “targeted order, safer at home” is clear to the city. It states that “all public and private gatherings and events involving people from more than one household are prohibited, with the exception of outdoor religious services and outdoor political expression” – and that all “lounges and nightclubs” should be closed.