KCRW Masquerade Ball
Better Than: Left, Right & Center
For a party thrown by a public radio station, things got impressively rowdy at KCRW's fourth annual Masquerade Ball on Saturday night. Thrown at art-deco castle The Legendary Park Plaza, the Ball was a multi-sensory treat for the 3,000 dressed-up guests. The party was spread throughout venue's cavernous, opulent ballrooms and courtyards, which hosted performances by Mexican Institute of Sound, Hanni El Khatib, Dustbowl Revival and DJ sets by John Lydon, M83, Z-Trip and the KCRW crew.
It more or less went like this:
10:10PM: Power up for the night with fish tacos and a Coke in the outdoor courtyard where I spot several Wonder Women, Jem of Jem and the Holograms and a strikingly beautiful Jessica Rabbit, among others. “Are those people in Mormon missionary costumes or are there actual Mormons here?” asks a lady dressed as the Queen of Hearts.
10:34PM: Mitt Romney's Binders Full of Women Costume #1.
10:54PM: Mexican Institute of Sound launch into an energetic and exceedingly loud set of electro/R&B and Mexican folk fusion. “I think that man dressed as a cracker is not dancing!” yells singer Camilo Lara with a finger pointed towards the audience. Lara is wearing a t-shirt urging people to “give cumbia a chance” which they seem to be doing. The group sounds great.
11:15PM: Up the opulent staircase and inside the Plaza's main ballroom, Morning Become Eclectic host Jason Bentley plays loud, pounding house music for a packed crowd. He is dressed in a Roman guard outfit that consists of little more than a cape, some metallic looking underwear, wrist cuffs and a helmet. “That costume is a GIFT!” shrieks an enthusiastic woman dressed as Strawberry Shortcake.
11:18PM: Mitt Romney's Binders Full of Women Costume #2.
11:25PM: M83 plays a set on the venue's floor-level. But the hallway to get out of the ballroom, down the stairs and to this location has become so clogged that it's basically a pointless effort to try and move. A fireman guards the door, allowing the crowd to slowly trickle out while a growing horde of people waiting to see Z-Trip gather outside. “Screw this,” says a man dressed as Roger Rabbit,”The party is up here anyways.”
11:40PM: Momentarily accosted by Mario and Luigi on the dance floor.
12:00AM: I ditch the peacock wings I've been wearing, as bumping every person I walk past with them has become profoundly annoying.
12:30AM: Z-Trip comes on stage dressed as Clark Kent/Superman (suspenders and a white button down opened to reveal a Superman t-shirt plus horn-rimmed glasses) and proceeds to drop a massive mash-up that elevates the energy of the huge crowd and basically turns the event into a full on rave. “This is what a DJ SHOULD be!” yells a woman dressed as a gnome. The set is an unabashedly joyful dance party throw-down, and arguably the show of the night. Z-Trip's turntable skills are epic. The crowd seems to appreciate the moments of dubstep almost as much as the sample of “Don't You Forget About Me.”
12:29PM: Mitt Romney's Binders Full of Women Costume #3.
12:40AM: A man dressed as Steve Aoki dances with a man dressed as Deadmau5.
12:50AM: “You are KILLING me,” yells a surly, exasperated bartender (dressed as a bartender) to a woman in a stegosaurus costume who orders ten kamikaze shots at the packed bar.
12:56PM:A highly grateful Z-Trip thanks the audience for being there for the third time. “It means the world to me! You could be anywhere tonight!” Then he inadvertently makes everyone feel kind of poor: “I don't know about you guys, but when it's pledge drive time, I give $500 bucks every fucking time.”
1:10AM: A cow smokes a joint on the dance floor.
1:15AM: Z-Trip drops “Thriller.” “FINALLY,” yells a woman dressed as '90s-era Courtney Love as the crowd goes bananas and a dancing, zombie-fied Michael Jackson is projected on the walls.
1:25AM: I dance with the stoned cow.
1:37AM: Sweaty. So, so sweaty. The man in the ape mask and full on astronaut suit must be melting in there.
1:48AM: Z-Trip closes the set and the night with a load of funk from James Brown and Stevie Wonder.
1:57PM: Things I see on the floor on the way out include a tiny plastic shoe, a blue boa, dozens of sticks of Doublemint gum, clumps of pink hair, glitter, hundreds of empty cups, a pirate hat, one black pump and a plastic laser gun. Tweet me if you found my driver's license though.
Personal Bias: I too donate during the KCRW pledge drives.
Overheard in the Crowd: “I wish Henry Rollins were here.”
Random Notebook Dump: Not as many “Gangnam Style” guys as I expected.
See also: *The Best L.A. Raves This Halloween