Queen Mary (Long Beach, Cali.)



Night of the living daft.

In a weird bit of post-modern space reassignment, once-opulent cruise ship Queen Mary now hosts late-night DJ-driven dance parties – or more indelicately, raves – under the “Queen Mary Live” banner. West Coast favorites like DJ Dan, Christopher Lawrence and DJ Irene have rocked the decks’ temporary decks, while thousands of refugees from L.A.’s showy lounge scene attempt to liquid dance. QML brings in sound, lighting and video, for an experience that can only be described as…surreal.

Our Stalkers checked out Paul Oakenfold’s February 10 “voyage.”

Stalker #1
Not many clubs boast entering at the top, but the Queen Mary’s seemingly makeshift rave spot had us enter from the highpoint (where they mysteriously sold...hats). And as you might imagine, it only went down from there. Busted escalators made the place seem like an abandoned mall; while blissed-out suburban L.A. freaks bugged to the sad and distorted sound system, which (sans fills) made the VIP section sound like the far dressing room at Forever 21.

If only the crowd looked that good! Tragedy in slow-motion all around as Oakenfold slushed out tired clichés to the numb-skulled droids who whistled it up for every preset build-up: boooooommm! Was that the sound of the Queen herself, come from the sky to scorn her former glory vessel for this fall from grace? One could only hope this party would sink to the bottom, where at least the fish and algae might give the room some kind of decor.

Is this what it was like to be a messy 15-year-old club kid? For their sakes, I hope the Queen Mary seafarers remember that night as gloriously as I remember my first time at Twilo. But as one of the older, sober folks there who has lived long enough to compare, I am telling you it would take a whole pharmacy to burn a beautiful memory of that place in a mind. Yikes! I wish I had bought a hat, at least. It was raining when we got out and, like any sane and scared people escaped from a suburban zombie nightmare, we had a really hard time finding our car.

Stalker #2
I think the boat is a time machine. I can’t remember the last time I saw a dude in UFO pants, or a girl in platform shoes and hot pants with a glitter face. I mean, people do this? This still happens?

The decade-swap made it to Oakie’s record bag too, because he was playing tracks from trance’s glory days as if we were still living them, and the crowd responded in kind. The lone new-ish record was Nick and Danny Chatelain’s “Is Killing Me,” at about plus eight: mega anticlimactic. But don’t tell that to the fist-pumpers who bellowed “Paullliee!,” “Sopranos”-style, during the severely shortened build-up. It’s a good thing that Oakenfold lives here now, because there’s nowhere else in the world where he’d get this kind of reception.

We were in the ship’s hull, the colon, the pit: that beneath-sea-level part where Irish peasants dance like no one’s watching and Rose seduces Jack by standing on her toes. But if the iceberg hit, these kids would have been frolicking in the waves.

Stalker #3
You know the movie “Dawn Of The Dead,” when after chewing up all the major cities, zombies hit a mall in the middle of nowhere? If that mall was seaworthy, then I promise you, I was in/on it.

It’s easy to hate on this party; essential, almost. But when you think about it, it could go down in the clubbing history books as one of our highest-level desecrations of decency, like the Nervous Records Winter Music Conference parties at Denny’s, or on a macro level, the MTV Music Video Awards at Lincoln Center. These kids – come to think of it, they weren’t really kids, more like 20-somethings acting like kids – were living it up, really going for it, spilling drinks and diving sloppily all over that poor busted boat. Which in some weird subcultural way, is pretty cool.

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Copyright 2006 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2006 TESTA Communications