Hong Kong Nightlife: May 30 – June 2

It’s definitely a sign (a bad one) of how fragmented Hong Kong’s indie nightlife scene is when there are three one-off parties are competing for attention, and then none in the following weeks.

Considering that tourists aren’t likely to find out about these in time and locals tend to be reluctant to move outside their comfort zone or read the entire Facebook event in English, that means that everyone is competing for an extremely finite pool of party-goers – at most, 250,000, or the 3% of the Hong Kong population who are English users. Throw in another 15,000 Frenchies, and then adjust for people who actually care about the quality of their drunk-socializing – it’s not that many.

Maybe this is just some secret showdown between them all to see who will thrive when faced with competition, but generally everyone agrees that they’re all shooting themselves in the foot. Get it together and space out the damn parties so we can throw more money at you! In any case, here’s where you want to be this week that’s not Lan Kwai Fong:

Boujis x Sailspin - Sin or Swim

Sin or Swim (FB event)

MAY 30 — Who cares what kind of music they’ll play, it’s nautical ’50s-themed and there’s free booze! I’ve been perfecting my Suicide Roll hairdo for special occasions like dressing up as a pin-up girl for some chance to win membership to some bar that doesn’t seem to enforce membership rules in general. Someone with breasts will probably take that Phuket vacation away from me. Oh well, at least it’ll mean they’re not a model.

Hexagon Hong Kong: Full Moon Party

Hong Kong Hexagon: Secret Full Moon Party (FB event)

JUNE 1 — There’s that word again. Secret. They’ve had poor luck all May and had to postpone the party twice, so here’s hoping third time’s the charm. They’re not revealing the location of the party until Friday at 6pm beyond that it’s in Stanley on the south side of the island, so sign up for their also secret (you know, I don’t think people understand what that word means anymore) mailing list and sit pretty. $100 “donation” to circumvent the liquor license and you’re all set.

EXP warehouse summer

EXP Warehouse Party: Summer Edition (FB event)

JUNE 1 — Another one!! The previous one was fairly lackluster, partially due to the subpar sound system and the venue too large for how many attendees there were. Its BYOB is going to make me and the 7/11 nearby very happy. EXP’s party is easy to get to, a stone’s throw away from Kwun Tong MTR station. The neighbourhood is in the middle of some serious gentrification, there may not be too many more of these.

Dandy

Dandy (FB page)

JUNE 1 — Previously Paradisco in Ap Lei Chau, Lucas has relocated to an indoor location in Wong Chuk Hang just in time for the rainy season. Share a cab with friends from anywhere on Hong Kong Island and it’ll come to a reasonable price. The DJ has something against top 40s, so those looking for alternative electronic music and a relaxed vibe should chance it out here.

LYV Summer Kick-off Beach Party

LYV Summer Kick-off Beach Party (FB event)

JUNE 1 — At $850, this one is most likely where all the Soho chachis are taking off to for a change. There is a two hour open bar, and buses that will take you to and from Pui O beach on Lantau Island. Eh.

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We Wanted to be The Sky @ Hidden Agenda

We Wanted to be the Sky @ Hidden Agenda

Clever band branding move, except that link is broken.

I went to Hidden Agenda last night with the intention of seeing The Dodos on Holly’s recommendation. And since I might not get accepted into school here, this might be my last chance to go see the venue!

Instead, what happened was I somehow drank too much at dinner and on the way over, was super high for this tough-cute and possibly South African opening band, then went to fall asleep on a really comfortable, plush couch at the back of the venue (best/worst furniture decision ever, by the way).

Then I woke up with the world spinning towards the song and had to go puke up dinner during the encore. Couldn’t we have saved this for the actual weekend?

If it had been the real weekend, I would have been ready for round two again right after, because party on.

All I remember of the Dodos was that they looked tired and wearing a uniform of white T-shirt and black jeans and shoes. I was pretty much wearing the lady version of that. Could easily have snuck off to Seoul with them.

Lana Del Rey – Queen of Disaster

Lana Del Rey - Queen of Disaster

Lana Del Rey is the perfect anti-pop star. Her versatile croon is instantly recognizable, her songs are all ballady things about good girl/bad boy power struggles, but she’s a brooder, Lana don’t care to look friendly and approachable.

And now hopefully with her second album Spiritual & Dark on the way, everyone can get over the whole constructed fame thing and we can just enjoy her music for what it is. “Queen of Disaster” is the new club breather, for the moment that you know the darkest day of a rough period is over, and nostalgia and cognitive dissonance can get to work suppressing the full brunt of those awful memories.

Who do I have to talk to in order to have her play a Hong Kong show?

Asia World Expo hoards beer from attendees

Empty beer stand at Asia World Expo

Um, did anyone else see this empty beer stand while at David Guetta?

 

Asia World Expo, what are you doing?!? For some reason, when I came into the venue through the expo’s lobby, the drink line was long. And you might think I mean long when I say long, but you’re thinking nowhere near as long. On the Asia World Expo site, it lists Hall 10 as having either a square meterage of either 5,600 or 11,300 (nope, they can’t even make up their minds about that) and the drink lineup went from ONE END TO THE OTHER, and then add in some snaking and looping.

Yet had you walked further in and ran around a little bit to look for your friends, you’ll see this furtive sign that nobody can see saying, “Beer Express Line”. At this point I was trying to look for a group who had a big stash of booze with them so I could buy some at a black-market price. Screw waiting around for friends!

This area also appears to double as the place where early arrivals come to queue up before doors open. Here, I also found lineup-less ladies’ washrooms, tables to chill out at with a jug, and even food. But really, way to communicate between staff about a 40-minute wait at one bar and immediate booze available at the other.

Ok, picture time!

David Guetta @ Asia World Expo

@ David Guetta!

WKND: Secret Island Party!!!

SIP

Can’t wait for the next one. Secret Island Party is what all socializing pretty much should be like. It’s the rare instance in Hong Kong where strangers say good morning to you without following it up immediately with a demand for your money or flyer-taking. It’s a mini-Coachella, except even better because there were a shocking lack of teenage kids and property-destroying assholes. Yes, it is possible to have a shitload of fun and get drunk while still being a nice person.

We set up our camp on the beach and promptly dozed off to the sound of ocean waves and distant, ambient beats from the festival grounds, then woke up to eat. This is what weekend retreats should all be about! Toilets were of the modern variety with flushes and toilet paper stocker, food was mostly wholesome (but cup noodles were broken out after midnight when the burgers ran out!). People wrapped themselves in Christmas lights and tied glowstick stars to the belts of their dresses, meditation circles were had, and DnB fueled the floor until morning. Here are some of the photos I took, but really, check out the souped-up ones taken by official photographers here at their Facebook page! It tells the story way better than I do (how do photogs-by-trade ever get a minute to join in on the fun?!)

CrossProcessed Photo

Secret Island Party (24)

On the ferry over to SIP! I’ve been banned from posting my companion’s face on my blog, though, so here’s just some other strangers that were on it.

Secret Island Party (23)

Prepare for blastoff!! Cicada-spotting while lining up to get in.

Secret Island Party (22)

Secret Island Party (20)

There were a couple of dorky-looking Golden Retrievers roaming around, owned by the villagers. This one likes to eat grass.

9 things to pack to a Secret Island Party (that everyone already knows about)

Secret Island Party

Sailing into the bay of Tai Long Village.

“Secret” is the new nightlife gimmick in Hong Kong. What the event name actually means is “If you want to meet some 鬼佬, this is where they’re going this weekend.”

Secret Island Party is a two-day festival for hippies and investment bankers who wish they were more like hippies. In the day, you can take it easy on the beach campsite or indulge in some meditation circles, African drum circles, or trek to Pui O and back. Hide in your tent for a disco nap at dusk to avoid the mosquito and shark feeding times, and then be ready for all the DJs about to go all night until 6am playing everything from trance to DnB.

In true hush-hush style, the exact location and directions are not going to be revealed until Friday midnight, although you can charter a seat on their private ferry that will take you directly there. I can tell you now though, that you also will be able to take a public ferry to Cheng Chau, and from there it’s only about a 15-minute sampan ride.

Here are nine tips for what and how to pack:

  • Handheld flashlight: make sure the bulbs are LED for the longest-lasting and brightest light. Useful for disorienting predators and shining a light on passers-by so that nobody can see you peeing in the dark.
  • Get every kind of insect repellent you can get your hands on. Spray, patch, burn, and then all you can do is pray to god.
  • Wear your swimsuit underneath your clothes rather than packing it. Be prepared to have it substitute your underwear entirely.
  • Don’t bring a sleeping bag. Just use the yoga mat that you are renting from the party and put a light cotton blanket over it because ain’t nobody want to lie down on polyester when it’s so humid out. It doubles as a beach blanket as well.
  • Don’t bother with dry shampoo, just wear a hat on the second day if you have oily hair. For those with 公主病 (Princess Disorder), stay home, this is not for you.
  • BYOTP because there is a chance the toilet may just be a hole in the ground. ♥ Tempo!
  • Alcohol-based wipes for armpits (the alcohol will kill B.O.-causing bacteria), and baby wipes for the more delicate upstairs and downstairs.
  • I always prefer sneakers to flip flops to keep away the sand demons and also drunk people demons from stepping on your toes on the dance floor.
  • Shorts > sundress! Pockets mean light traveling and also prevents grass stains from sinking through onto your butt.

Going? Check these links first: FB event | Buy tickets | Camping stores in Hong Kong

#hkproblems_theplay 2.0 @ Grappa’s Cellar

IMG_4082

#umbrelladodging

So what was that #HKProblems_theplay thing all about anyway? Other than its awfully formatted name, it was a light-hearted, over-the-top look at the culture shocks and shenanigans of expats in Hong Kong. It was billed as interactive theater as well as a social media experience, though it failed from being in the wrong company. The point was that throughout the play, audience members could tweet their thoughts and their own problems, which would be projected onto the screen at several points during the play.

But hardly anybody outside of the cast and crew bothered. The kind of people who actually bother to reserve a table somewhere are just usually not frivolous tweeters. I did sent out the following into the Twitterstars: “How can this be observational humour when there has not been one single joke about the French?” but after realized that I @-mentioned a non-entity because goddamned awfully formatted names!

They definitely need a French character in there.

Some cringey bits aside (#suicide, I’m looking at you), the actors were great as amateur comedians, most of the skits were at least entertaining, with 180 degree costume changes, laisee confetti and a showdown between Rubber Duck and #saikungshark. It does kind of suck that the parts that got the most laughs was the video screenings, and the audience usually seemed unsure when to offer applause — actors, if you lead the applause the first couple of times, we’ll learn how to time it for the rest of the show.

There is a certain desperation in Hong Kong for more of this kind of stuff, if not simply due to a sheer lack of it. So while back home I would have written this off as not being worth the $200 cover charge, here I get that it just doesn’t go as far. They promised to be back in the fall, and they better be better.