“Intima means the innermost part of an organ. A party should feel that way, taking something intimate and imagining it as a space for closeness.”
Bushwick is having a nightlife renaissance, where the dolls are becoming Leonardo and Michelangelo. They are throwing the hottest parties and spinning the hottest tracks, restoring the rave’s origins. What the dolls are doing can rarely be found in Manhattan; rather, one must ride the M and L trains to Intima.
Back in the 1970s, queer people of color organized hedonistic safe havens where they were free to dance, love, and experiment without fear. The disco music that fueled those clubs eventually transformed into house and techno. Once the world of EDM started to grow, it hit the mainstream, leaving behind the marginalized communities who first created the culture behind the sound. For evidence that the same infiltration still happens today, look no further than the straight takeover happening at Mood Ring. It used to be the place where you would run into all of your Grindr matches in one night—but now, you’re forced to pay a $15 cover to run away from all of the grinding hetero couples instead.
With the nightlife break quarantine demanded, and the closings of Bossa Nova and Rash early this year, there has been a missing piece in Brooklyn. The benders weren’t hitting the same, and clubs felt more like the Clout Olympics. New parties are emerging to fill in the void, one sparking the metamorphosis is Intima. Joni, the mastermind behind the rave series, tells me, “There’s a doll takeover, and it’s fucking refreshing. People are pushing what it means to create nightlife spaces in Brooklyn right now.” Her own events are even pushing the boundaries between performances and raves. “Intima means the innermost part of an organ, a blood vessel,” she says. “A party should feel that way, taking something intimate and imagining it as a space for closeness. When people step into Intima, they are stepping into the deepest part of me. I want to imagine everyone inside me.”
And that’s exactly how it felt, Friday night at h0l0. The recently renovated venue hosted a variety of sounds from Umru’s hyper-pop remixes—including a Drake song—to Dreamcrusher’s nihilistic industrial noise. New York legends Jasmine Infiniti and Lydo kept the energy flowing with techno and trance tracks. Club Eat absolutely ate with their J-pop-inspired music and an indie sleaze frontwoman. Joni performed a sinister set in the dark, illuminated solely by string lights draped around her, with some even flashing from inside her mouth.
Although technically in Ridgewood, Intima’s atmosphere was Mass Bushwick: lots of fishnets and leather, every style of platform Demonia, every type of facial piercing, furry leg warmers, chunky industrial jewelry, and a signature thread of alt throughout. The literal center stage allowed everyone to dance 360 degrees around the acts, while hitting vapes and passing poppers. People were spotted taking .5 iPhone photos for Instagram in the backyard. Sitting among them, my friend, Justin Pecisto overheard multiple conversations: “I’m learning a lot here,” he said, “You can buy T-blockers on the dark web, but it’s not FDA-approved. It’s healthy, though, and allegedly the hormones are better in India.”
A night of kundle and bundle at Intima brings hope for the future of Brooklyn’s queer community. In its sweaty closeness, the high BPM and smoke-filled room became a reincarnation of the rave scene. In the midst of Bossa Nova reopening last weekend and Rash soon following their footsteps, the dollified grassroots organization provided the long-lost club scene needed for people to dance their worries away until the break of dawn. As one party goer, Syn Cephu, tells me: “It’s hot, it’s queer, it’s tonight.”