Have your friends been telling you stories over the years about their Black Party shenanigans, with tales of their annual NYC late night (slash early morning) partying growing more debaucherous, leaving you wondering whether they’re just making shit up? Then you obviously haven’t heard about what went down at the Roseland Ballroom, where drugs are infused with sexual liberation for one giant spectator orgy for the senses.
Salon‘s Thomas Rogers (the online mag’s deputy art director, heh) went to a recent Black Party. And lived to tell about it.
So, at 1 a.m. on a chilly March night, I arrived at the Roseland Ballroom with a mix of trepidation and excitement. Over the course of the next hour, the venue’s enormous dance floor filled up with thousands of sweaty, shirtless men, mostly clutching water bottles to offset their party drug-induced dehydration and dancing wildly to the loud techno music. The attendees were mostly in their 30s and 40s, eagerly showing off their gym-built bodies. The atmosphere was intense, but didn’t seem particularly crazy.
Then I felt a hand in my pants. One of the massive bar areas on the second floor had been turned into a makeshift darkroom. And as I walked a few feet into the dim lighting, I bumped into a group of men getting a blow job from a kneeling figure, though I could only make out vague shapes. In a way, it was exactly the commitment-free sex I’d been eager to try. But as their fingers inched their way into my underwear, and their hands got more and more aggressive, I realized I wasn’t even remotely turned on. I was just uncomfortable. This was nuts: I wasn’t going to have sex with a man, let alone a group of men, whom I couldn’t even see.
The atmosphere grew increasingly debauched. People had sex in every nook and cranny. On the second floor, two enormous porn stars, including artsy French actor (and Salon Man on Top) François Sagat, had oral sex in front of 50 or 60 people. Then they urinated on each other, splashing on the surrounding audience. On the ground floor, a long banquette was filled with dozens of men openly masturbating.
[...] I remember the exact moment I realized it was time to leave the sex party and go home. It was 7:30 in the morning, and I was standing in front of a bunch of cots filled with piles of naked men. A man dressed in a leather jacket emblazoned with the words “human urinal” was next to me, a funnel strapped to his face. And as I stood there contemplating the circumstances that had led me to this place, a man wearing nothing but a harness and underwear staggered down the hallway and accidentally pressed up against me. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed to his friend, as his wet skin rubbed up against my arm. “Some guy must have pissed ALL OVER my shoulder!”
[...] Then, around 5 a.m, I witnessed a scene that remains seared into my memory. A group of a hundred or so men had gathered around the pool table near the main stage and were watching four men, one wearing a cat mask and another dressed in a boy scout uniform. The boy scout first poured the contents of a beer bottle into the man in the cat mask, who was lying down on the table. The cat masked man shot the contents (and not with his mouth) back out onto onlookers. The boy scout then got rid of the bottle in favor of other implements; first a pool cue — handle first — then four pool balls. As I walked away, I saw him prepare to insert one more object: a magic eight ball.
This year’s festivities begin tomorrow night. And won’t end until sometime Sunday night. Well, if you’re lucky: I have plenty of friends whose Black Party experiences have been with them, and their medical health professional, for years.