Party Planet

Depending on how naïve you are, calling a dance party celebrating gay life in Bridgeport the “Snow Ball” is either seasonally appropriate or disturbingly indecorous. Lumpen, the party hosts, probably intended the title to be both, but it indicated neither, since there was no snow on the ground last Friday night and a decidedly demure scene taking place inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere, Lumpen’s headquarters. What the Snow Ball provided was what any Lumpen event demands: randomness. There were no fewer than four “main” events taking place, all unrelated. For guests, there was dancing, air hockey, a home-style food buffet, and a trip to Party Planet, a simulated Space Shuttle ride leftover from last year’s Select Media Festival. (The “Party Planet” turned out to be Earth, albeit an Earth that looks a lot like Brazil during Carnival.)

The live music program included bands like Pillars And Tongues, as well as I Ching Meander, but the real action was on the floor, where friends were meeting and singles were mixing. “So where do you work?” “At the MCA.” “I love the MCA! Can you get me free shit?” Other guests were less importunate. “So where did you go to school?” “How do you like Chicago?”

Dancing started about the same time the home-cooked meal appeared on a table against the right wall, so while a few people nodded to the beat under the reflected light from the disco ball, others were eating ham, mashed potatoes, and pumpernickel bread out of assorted pots and pans. “Are you going to try the stew?” The “stew” consisted of beef broth with onions in it.

Then a crisis occurred. The Party Planet ride broke down, or at least the fog machine apparatus did, and the room filled with synthetic fog. The dancers didn’t seem to mind, though, so the party went on. For a gathering celebrating gay life, the demographic of the guests corresponded closely to national averages. Maybe 1 in 10 partygoers was gay.