Holiday Alterna-parties
- Time Out New York, 12/16/2009

Shirley Braha woke up one morning last September paralyzed by that peculiar brand of New York City boredom—somehow, everything had become routine. The NYC TV reporter (she’s the producer of indie music showNew York Noise) decided to attend a different party every day and chronicle her adventures on a blog, Within a few weeks, Braha found herself adventuring with old buddies, reviving old acquaintances (a camp bunkmate from the summer after eighth grade), bumping into family members (her wild-child Aunt Elaine) and making new friends in unexpected places—from doggy dress-up parties to a Port Authority pop-up shop. “I initially planned to go to 50 parties, but when I hit 50 I wasn’t ready to stop,” says Braha. “I made 100 my new goal. And I have a feeling that’s not going to be the end.” Over the next two weeks, Braha is planning to attend a wide range of fetes—and she wants you to join her.

Thursday 17

A Reading by Joshua Clover with 1989 Karaoke (Union Hall, 702 Union St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-638-4400,; 7:30pm, $5)
Party on! Writer Joshua Clover reads from his new pop-music history book,1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About, interspersing audience-driven karaoke with excerpts. Though she’s no chanteuse—“I like to think I can get by on my charisma,” Braha says—she can’t resist warbling her way through “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones, the song that’s quoted in the book’s title. Braha will attend party No. 86 alone, but that doesn’t faze her anymore. “I just go up to someone and say, ‘Hey, I don’t know anyone here,’?” she says. “Once you meet one person, they’ll usually introduce you around.”

Friday 18

Mondo Dance Night (Don Hill’s, 511 Greenwich St at Spring St; 212-334-1390; 11pm; $7, with online flyer $5)
Party on! DJ Dr. Maz spins indie pop and new-wave music at this Soho nightclub, and is a friend of Braha’s. “The project isn’t just about meeting new people,” she says. “It’s also about seeing older friends more often.”

Saturday 19

This Is Spinal Tap Sing-Along (92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St between Canal and Desbrosses Sts; 212-601-1000,; 11pm, $13)
Party on! Nothing says holiday cheer like acting out a mock rockumentary about has-been British metalheads. “When you work around bands, it’s extra funny because you realize it’s all kind of true,” says Braha. Chug a complimentary beer while belting “Sex Farm” until you puke.

Sunday 20

Cookie Takedown! (The Bell House, 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-643-6510,; 6:30pm, $10)
Party on! Braha doesn’t have time to cook (“I just order in and go out”), and tonight she’ll save even more by going straight to dessert. This all-you-can-eat event, featuring cookies baked by would-be master chefs, is hosted by Matt Timms of the Chili, Bacon, Tofu and other cooking contests. Gobble your dessert-for-dinner until you feel a little sick (but delighted), then wash it down with some spiked eggnog.

Monday 21

Amateur Ping-Pong Tournament (The Bell House, 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-643-6510,; 7pm; to play $5, to watch free)
Party on! Head back to the Bell House, because now is the time to live out your Forrest Gump–ish dreams—we recommend wearing a table tennis uniform if you own one—minus the whole Ping-Pong diplomacy bit. Although, first prize could win a few hundred bones. “I probably won’t play, because I suck at Ping-Pong,” Braha admits. “But when I went to a poker party, I got pretty competitive…so who knows?”

Tuesday 22

A John Waters Christmas (B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W 42nd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-997-4144,; 8pm, $39.50–$100)
Party on! The cult director’s raunchy one-man show is a cause for celebration unto itself: His monologue will meander from giving perverted gifts to lunatic exploitation Christmas movies to an unhealthy obsession with Santa Claus. Braha met Waters in 2007 at the New York Film Festival, but less glamorous encounters have since ensued. “I had dinner with my grandparents one night at 5pm, and John Waters was the only other person in the restaurant.”

Wednesday 23

New York Night Train Record Release with DJ Jonathan Toubin (Motor City Bar, 127 Ludlow St between Delancey and Rivington Sts; 212-358-1595,; 10pm–2am, free)
Party on! Free swag and a rockin’ dance party sound about right two days before Christmas. Toubin attracts a sizable, ’60s-loving crowd at his Wednesday-night gig at Motor City Bar, and through Christmas, he’s giving away between 75 and 100 records to revelers who walk up to the booth and make a request.

Thursday 24

Heebonism (Fontana’s, 105 Eldridge St between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-334-6740,; 8pm–3am, $15–$25)
Party on! If you’re a Chosen on Christmas Eve, Heebonism, thrown by Heeb magazine, is one of your best bets. Prepare for a rowdy dance soiree with tipsy, kinky Jews, some strip dreidel and a gagged Santa. Braha plans to navigate this one with Brenna Ehrlich, who runs the blog Stuff Hipsters Hate ( They met last October at another Heeb shindig, hit it off (“I guess we bonded over the blog thing,” says Braha) and are now party partners.

Friday 25

Chinese and a Movie: Mel Brooks Double Feature (92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St between Canal and Desbrosses Sts; 212-601-1000; 2pm, $25–$30 [includes buffet])
Party on! It’s a given that Braha would follow Heebonism with a classic New York Jewish Christmas. The all-Brooks afternoon starts with Blazing Saddles at 2:30pm, followed by Star Wars spoof Spaceballs at 4pm. Show up early to scoop up some of the kosher sesame chicken and egg rolls at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Saturday 26

Pump Up the Jamz 90s Dance Party (Blackout, 916 Manhattan Ave between Greenpoint Ave and Kent St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-383-0254,; 10pm–4am, free)
Party on! It’s the 27th-birthday edition of Braha’s regular DJ gig—and everyone’s invited. Brush up on your Salt-N-Pepa lyrics, because she’ll be spinning Kris Kross, La Bouche and other ’90s mainstays with her friend Peggy Wang, of Brooklyn band the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

Sunday 27

Smiths Night (Sway Lounge, 305 Spring St between Hudson and Renwick Sts; 212-620-5220,; 10pm, free)
Party on! Enjoy a wild, sweaty mope-dance at this weekly tribute to Morrissey and the Smiths, deejayedDJ’d by Brian DeGraw and Ben Cho. “I can’t believe how many people are there at 3am on a Sunday,” says Braha. Wear your Chucks on your feet and holiday agngst on your sleeve.

Monday 28

Muddled Mondays ([Le] Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St at Thompson St; 212-505-3474,; 7pm, free)
Party on! Muddled Mondays was created primarily for service-industry workers who’ve successfully gritted their teeth through another weekend of slurring, stumbling customers. But anyone is welcome to sip the $5 drinks (and hit on an off-duty bartender).

Tuesday 29

Code & Beats (New Work City, 200 Varick St between W Houston and King Sts, room 507B; 888-823-3494,; 9pm, $5)
Party on! Avi Flombaum, founder of DesignerPages, conceived of the Code & Beats party: “Ten to twelve programmers will be in the center of the dance floor coding, while I deejay some serious beats,” he says. “It’s all about creating an environment that will celebrate the art of writing code.” Braha first met Flombaum at an office-warming party for Harvest (party No. 56), a software company—an event she was invited to after crashing a Marathon after-party (party No. 50) the week before.

Wednesday 30

Le Bingo! with Murray Hill and Linda Simpson ([Le] Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St at Thompson St; 212-505-3474,; 7pm; free, bingo card $2)
Party on! Braha kicks ass at bingo, but she hasn’t tested her skills in a while. “I won a lot of piña coladas and tuna sandwiches,” she reminisces. “This could be a good opportunity to see if I’ve improved.” Drink your way to le win while drag mainstays Hill and Simpson get the balls rolling.

Thursday 31

Emerald Nuts Midnight Run (Central Park Bandshell, entrance at Fifth Ave and 72nd St; 212-860-4455,; 10pm–1am; free to party, to race $35–$55, registration closes Wed 30)
Party on! Braha doesn’t have much time for exercise—and partying doesn’t exactly replace cardio. “If you can exercise and party at the same time, you’ve got it made,” she says. The race doesn’t start until midnight, so gear up with some dancing and a costume contest, followed by a fireworks show. When her competitors (dressed as assorted sporty reindeers, Santas and elves) head home to shower, Braha plans to forge ahead in her leggings and fleece. Where will she go next? “Some crazy party,” she says. Duh.