It was while watching a woman be “disemboweled” to cure her of “political despondency” that we began to wonder, “What is the point of all this?”
This was just one of the rituals taking place at the Illuminati Ball, a sold-out affair for 1,000 guests that went down at The Weylin on Friday night.
Which was the first problem — the original Illuminati Ball remains an intimate group who frolic in a garden of earthly delights at an upstate chateau. Such evenings took place over the summer, with tickets priced at $450.
In turning scaling that concept up into a large party for 1,000 guests for the first time, more than the thrill of exclusivity was lost.
We began the evening gathered around an elevated stage watching “pagan rituals” to welcome us into a world of sensual delights with nudity, fire dancing and some light bondage.
But halfway through, VIP guests were told to put on blindfolds and hold hands — and then left standing around as the crowd was dismissed to wander the halls.
Not that there was much to wander to. GA attendees ($100) had three experiences that we found — a card table for a round of something vaguely poker-esque, a fertility room with a coffin where we visited twice and nothing was going on, and an operating theater that claimed to cure modern-world ennui with nudity, fake blood and a shot of vanilla vodka. If only.
The two additional experiences for VIPs ($200) were more in line with the event’s promise of “elements of wonder and surprise” that would lead us to “the light of esoteric truth.” Both the seance and mentalism sessions had some genuinely eerie moments that affected even our roomful of unbelievers.
But when you have 1,000 people dressed in black tie best and prime them with fertility rites, they don’t expect to spend their evening playing card games and watching fake surgery.
Without the sense of intimacy — not sex, obviously, but experiences that inspire and intrigue — you’re left with watching a woman furiously masturbate onstage while idly wondering if the line at the (cash) bar has gotten any shorter.
Not to mention the operational problems. The party ran out of masks even for VIPs, and many didn’t obscure our identity anyway so what’s the point? The performances didn’t start until an hour after the event began, and people waited 45 minutes in line for one of the rooms only to be turned away at the door because it was for VIPs.
It should come as no surprise that we didn’t have any epiphanies at a Williamsburg party. If you’re looking for a truly sexy evening, it can be found a little deeper in Brooklyn.