Nightlife » Parties

WE Party Airlines Flies Into NYC Labor Day Weekend

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Aug 29, 2013

At last! The biggest, most lavish party production company in the world is arriving in New York the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Having blown minds in every major European city and from Tel Aviv to Brazil, gay New Yorkers (and everyone else) will finally be able to experience the parties that have become the stuff of legend in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

So get ready, New York. Now arriving: WE Party Airlines.

A spectacular party needs an equally fabulous venue, and WE Party and co-producer Masterbeat are taking over what is, with Roseland Ballroom, the best space in Manhattan.

Built a century ago as an opera house, the gargantuan space is known for its excellent acoustics. Since it hasn't been used for a gay party since Victor Calderone held his Pride weekend dances and the Saint-at-Large presented Jennifer Hudson just after her breakout performance in "Dreamgirls," this will be a whole new experience for a new generation of party boys.

"I've been preparing for this for a year," Masterbeat's Brett Henrichsen told EDGE. "I've never put so much effort into another party."

Considering that he's including Masterbeat's New Year's Weekend blowouts in Los Angeles and the WE Party during San Francisco Pride, that's saying a lot. Because Hammerstein is (like Roseland) a "black box," the producers bring in their own light and sound system.

While this is a challenge, it's also an opportunity. As with the Black Party at Roseland, this allows for state-of-the-art equipment. At Hammerstein there will be hundreds of lasers, the highest-rez and largest LED screen available and a sound system worthy of an opera house.

Strap Yourself In. It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Night

The theme, WE Party Airlines, is going to be carried out in every possible way.

"We’re turning the entire Hammerstein Ballroom into an airport," Henrichsen said. That includes, he promises, everything from the ticket to the decor to the go-go dancers. Even the baggage check will be, Henrichsen said, "a pat down you will enjoy." With Bruce Vilanch narrating the "safety presentation," you’d better buckle up, because it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Take-Off: Capt. Morabito

Reprising her highly praised WE Party performance in San Francisco in June, Co-Pilot Morabito will provide lift-off at 10 p.m. If you haven’t heard this DJ lately, you’re in for a treat.

Morabito has taken her signature "journey" in a new direction, with a heavier emphasis on electronica but giving it soul as only she can.

That said, the WE Parties don’t fill the whole night with the thudding sameness of the typical electronica that becomes so tiresome after a few hours.

"WE Parties are not hard," Morabito said. "They’re more vocal than tribal, more uplifting than hard pounding."

Here’s a tiny sample of her working it in San Francisco this past June:

Put on your headphones for this flight simulation

Cruising Speed: Manuel de Diego & Brett Henrichsen

At midnight, Spain’s Manuel de Diego brings you into the flight path for a smooth ride. This Spanish DJ has played the biggest clubs in Ibiza, Miami, Mykonos and everyplace else where people really know how to party.

De Diego has become WE Party resident DJ for a reason: His signature grooves combine the best of House, anthems, electronica and tribal.

From 2 a.m. until closing at 6 a.m. (plan your flight accordingly!), Brett Henrichsen steps into the pilot’s seat.

The founder of Masterbeat, Henrichsen’s name will be familiar to anyone who has been to a major gay party. Henrichsen got into DJ’ing from an evolution as a techie with a love of music.

It was while working at IBM that Henrichsen found himself working by day on computers and at nights enjoying DJs. He brings that love of music to his live gigs. It’s an infectious sound, a party sound that makes you want to dance, not grind your teeth.

That doesn’t mean light and fluffy. Henrichsen knows how to bang the beats. And, since this is New York, he promises, to give the city that loves its music hard what it wants.

Don’t believe me? Take a quick trip here.

The whole point of the WE Party experience is, Henrichsen emphasized, "about you. It’s all about making going out fun again." There will be no dance diva to interrupt the flow of the evening (and thank you, party gods for that!). This is a serious dance party for people who are serious about having a great time.

WE Party Airlines will depart from the Hammerstein Airport Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St., just west of Eighth Avenue and a short walk from a every subway in town (excepting maybe the J, M and GG), Saturday, Aug. 31, at 10 p.m. To book a flight for WE Party Airlines, visit your travel agent here.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


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