Intrepid writer Alyssa Holland and friend
DAYGLOW w/ HARDWELL: Worlds Largest Paint Party in Atlanta, November 8th, 2014
On Saturday, November 8th I attended the weirdest event of my life and, believe me, I've seen a lot of weird stuff. Having just moved to North Georgia from Southern California, I’m really lacking in the friend department. Luckily I have a ton of cool coworkers and I’ve been getting to know them over the past few months. My coworker who also happens to be from Southern California, and Orange county which is even more of a coincidence, invited me to go to a “paint party” with her. This was the first Saturday I have had off since Music Midtown, so I jumped at the chance to go to something that actually sounded quite fun. My friend and I originally bonded over our love for the British teen drama Skins, and we’ve set out to base our hangs on what they do in the show, minus all of the crazy drugs they constantly take. On Skins, they go to clubs, concerts, camping in the forest, to weddings in the rural areas surrounding Bristol, go to pool halls and get in fights, and hangout at hip cafes after school. We like to leave out all the crazy stuff that makes for good TV, but it’s fun to feel like you’re a cast member of Skins with a friend who shares that interest. However, at this “paint party,” it felt a bit too much akin to Skins.
From what she told me, she had an extra ticket, and it was a paint party with DJ’s and dancing at an 18+ venue in Atlanta. From my experience, 18+ clubs never get too crazy because it’s a bunch of young kids who just want to feel cool and they dance, usually drug/alcohol free. I brought a towel and a change of clothes, and wore something that I didn’t mind getting paint on. We show up, and there were lines along the entire building with people dressed like Andrew WK (all white, ready to party). The venue was called “Wild Bills” and it was in a shopping center. Not what I was expecting AT ALL. We waited in line for 20 minutes, moved in and it sort of looked like a trashier version of the El Rey (in Los Angeles); red velvet everywhere, covered in tarps because of the forthcoming paint, and instead of swanky looking bars, there were carts selling Gatorade, water, and $1 candy. I immediately thought, “what the hell am I doing right now? I hope this is actually fun.” People were selling tempera (water based) paint in green, blue or pink. At first, the only paint splatter was from people opening their paint bottles and swinging them in the air. The building was kept cool, so the paint would dry pretty fast. Not bad. The DJ was okay and people were dancing and having fun. Then they brought out the paint blasters, a creepy recorded speech spoken through a deep monster voice about the control of social media, and weird visuals behind the DJ’s. The paint blaster came on with a power similar to a fire hose, and drenched everyone in the pit. The paint blasters were being operated by women dressed in psychedelic body suits and white wigs like something straight out of a Kubrick film. My friend and her friends wanted to be in the pit, so I stuck around. Being stuck in a pit body to body with soaking wet paint is disgusting to say the least. I kept thinking, “I don’t know if someone just threw paint on me or threw up on me.” This thought remained in my mind for the next two hours as I grew more and more paranoid at everything going on.
My friend got pulled to the front and the Andrew WK’s wouldn’t let me through. I also kept thinking about the supposed Andrew WK controversies floating the internet about how he isn’t an actual artist, that he’s an actor hired by corporations to promote fun and partying, and the actor who plays him has been switched halfway into his career. I thought, “Is Andrew WK behind this?” and “Was that weird social media speech coming from the same people who invented Andrew WK?” while I tried to search for my friend. I texted her friend, telling her that I didn’t want to stay until 4am when this event supposedly ended because I had work the next morning. I tried to sit and wait for them to see how long I could bear the paint, the people, the weird DJ’s and the overall weird everything. Is this what my life has come to? I used to go to shows for free and hangout with my favorite bands in a cool, somewhat classy setting. Now I’m at a weird gross 18+ paint party at a place called Wild Bills in a shopping center because my friend had an extra overpriced ticket. I reassured myself that Music Midtown was amazing, and the next event I go to will be a laid back concert full of 30 year olds who just want to stand there and hear their favorite songs from their favorite band from the 90’s. I heard back from my new friends, and they wanted to stay the entire time. So I left. I could definitely see my experience on an episode of Skins, where Franky gets freaked out by a creepy paint party and gets separated from Effy and Mini and she decides to leave. But in the Skins version, she’d get attacked by her former lover on the street or something.