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This is the Rez-Erection: Inside Brooklyn’s most unhinged Easter party

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“Happy Easter, friend,” says a performer clutching a bible. “May I bless you?”

Two adults wearing furry bunny ears hesitate, then nod in agreement.

“Jesus today has risen,” says the T-shirt-wearing pseudo-priest, stroking his bible, which, on closer inspection, is coated in creamy, white slime. “I believe he is coming today and he is coming right now.”

Then, the graceful climax: The sticky fluid (water and cornstarch) is wiped over the partygoers faces.

This is the Rez-Erection, a performance art rave and Easter cabaret show, hosted by immersive event producer Zoe Nightingale. While the majority of New York City’s Easter fanatics have flocked to the time-honored Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, roughly 100 Easter-curious individuals have stayed on this side of the river for an alternative, more unhinged celebration in Brooklyn.

Eccentricity is encouraged at the Rez-Erection (Photo by Arielle Domb)

Nightingale and a team of six other women have transformed a Dumbo office space into a candy-colored playden, brimming with pastel balloons, giant blow-up Easter eggs and potted flowers. Tickets are $46.

“New York can be so fancy,” says Nightingale, who is wearing a pink blazer, petal-sized pink eyelashes and a psychedelic coral-like hat. “We really try to provide spaces that are just really, really silly. It really helps people get out of their shell; feel really free; feel really safe.”

Free and (mostly) safe (Photo by Arielle Domb)

Nightingale has been throwing “one-night-only immersive world phantasmagoria” across the country for 14 years, taking her everywhere from Burning Man to Coachella to Heidi Klum’s iconic 2022 Halloween party. She came up with the idea for today’s party as a way of learning more about Easter — a holiday which, growing up as a religious Jew, she knows little about. “I like the frivolity of it and the gayness and the fun of it,” she says, “Our parties are always trying to understand culture and make fun of it in a way that’s inclusive.”

The party hall is crammed with irreverent details: an upside down cross hangs behind a mock Last Supper banquet (the center piece is a plastic rabbit with a carrot joint hanging out its mouth). Three “Christian ministers” circle the room, providing opportunities to confess. “It’s very gratifying to take something I took so seriously and now cover it in fake jizz,” says the performer enacting the bible ritual, who grew up Southern Baptist (and requested anonymity for this article).

Glitzy bunnies and kinky bunnies unite (Photo by Arielle Domb)

Guests arrive in a whole array of Easter-inspired (or Easter-subversive) costumes. Glitzy bunnies. Sweet bunnies. Kinky bunnies. There are blow-up chickens held like handbags. Big bows and bonnets decked with campy decorations: bedazzled watering cans, porcelain teapots, doves.

Photo by Arielle Domb

After the bible blessing, guests are welcomed by Megan Sipe, a chocolateur and dancer, who is wearing a red chef’s hat and a gold swimsuit. She asks participants to rub cocoa butter into their hands, then sample a truffle, which is infused with Earl Grey tea and rose.

“What’s amazing about chocolate is that it’s interactive,” says Sipe, who, later in the evening, will emerge on the dancefloor with a bowl of melted chocolate, asking guests to paint it over her body. “Chocolate makes it easier to say yes.”

‘Chocolate makes it easier to say yes,’ says Megan Sipe (Photo by Arielle Domb)

Nightingale is adamant about keeping phones off the dancefloor (at multiple points throughout the evening, she walks up to partygoers glued to their iPhones and introduces them to a new group of friends). She’s organized a whole array of activities to keep her guests busy: There’s a flower-foliage-entwined swing on the dancefloor. A psychedelic ball pit. A bonnet making station. Even a furry-walled, pastel-sex-toy-studded “bunny dungeon,” where guests can receive bunny-shaped tattoos from an artist wearing a leather dog mask.

“I try to bring as many weirdos as possible to every event,” says Nightingale. “The idea that you don’t have to care what people think about you is really powerful. It can be a transformative experience.”

Peter Mercury co-host-cum-rabbit (Photo by Arielle Domb)

Around 8 p.m., the variety show begins. A performer dressed as Jesus cracks eggs over the breasts of Virgin Mary. A bunny rabbit strips on stage. Another circumcises a carrot dildo using a hand saw. Someone masturbates with a crucifix.

“It’s very counterculture,” says a woman wearing a long white fur coat (who requested anonymity for this article). While identifying as more conservative than the party’s crowd, she appreciates that the party is “causing a challenge,” asking guests to get uncomfortable “and try to figure out why you’re uncomfortable.”

A Last Supper ‘porno’ (Photo by Arielle Domb)

This year, Easter Sunday falls on the Transgender Day of Visibility, a coincidence that partygoer and costume designer Archie Goats, who grew up queer in a very religious family, appreciates. “It’s like reclaiming power over the things that used to make you feel bad about yourself. What better to laugh at than the things that were used to punish you?”

Someone rollerblades past us holding a real live bunny rabbit, joining a dance floor of bunny-eared, bow-adorned adults, munching on carrots and boiled eggs.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry,” says Archie, “I’d rather laugh.”

Dogs dressed up too (Arielle Domb)

The post This is the Rez-Erection: Inside Brooklyn’s most unhinged Easter party appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.



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