On Party Themes In Clubs

This started as a reply to a comment by Dale Innis on a recent entry on Miss Emilly Orr’s blog, but it got rather long, and it’s a subject that’s come up before, so I thought it might be best to move it here.

Oh no, I just had an awful thought! Eventually there’ll be a grid-wide hunt for every vapid “Best in…” theme (“theme”) that lazy club hosts use to bribe people to come to their clubs!

As somebody who attends such events, and as somebody who occasionally runs them, I contest this characterization. I would describe them as “useful” and their users as “practical,” rather than “vapid” and “lazy,” respectively.

I have an extensive wardrobe, which reflects one of my primary motivations for being in Second Life: I enjoy playing dress-up. It is therefore not surprising that I enjoy having events at which I can show off my various outfits, and admire those of others. I could happily attend weeks of “Best in Red” or “Best in Black” events without repeating myself. Similarly, I can run such events and assure myself of a very wide audience of people in the same situation.

More creative themes are more fun for the person doing the organizing to devise, but they’re worse in just about every other respect. The more specific or outlandish the theme, the less likely people will have something appropriate onhand, the less likely people will attend, and the less likely you will end up with an event achieving the critical mass conducive to people having fun on a non-sartorial level.

Granted, this doesn’t apply to all events. For infrequent community events for which people have plenty of time to prepare, more creative themes can be wonderful; indeed, “Best in Red” would hardly make sense for those. I did not attend “Dress as Your Favorite Jaeger,” but it nevertheless springs to mind as a recent example of this; it was intended as an exceptional event, it was advertised well in advance, and advice and outreach were given for those without previous experience with such forms.

But for day-to-day club events? All my experience says: the simpler, the better.


2 Responses to “On Party Themes In Clubs”

  1. daleinnis Says:

    I greatly appreciate the very thoughtful reply to what was likely an offhand and thoughtless comment. Let me try to be more useful by writing down some of why I think I dislike pretty much the entire “Best in [adjective]” event meme.

    When I was first introduced to clubs in SL, sometime around December of 2006, the first two clubs that I went to, Gypsy’s Midnight Club and the (rather rapidly renamed) Playbunny club, didn’t have “Best in [adjective]” events, didn’t have the currently-inevitable host+DJ structure, didn’t even have events of any kind as far as I can recall (just hours). People went to them just because the other people that went to them were fun. We danced, listened to whatever music happened to be streaming at the time, oogled and tipped and discussed physics with the dancers on stage, and so on.

    Nowadays nearly every club I go to or stumble on has nothing but “Best in [adjective]” events, all with exactly the same [expletive] structure. People show up wearing clothing that fits the adjective more or less well, people vote for their friends, someone wins for reasons essentially unrelated to their costume, and that person gets some money. It is incredibly tiresome! People have stopped thinking of novel ways to make their clubs or events fun, outside of perhaps picking a novel but still doable [adjective]! I mean, really!

    It would be a breath of fresh air, really, to see a club event that was announced as “fancy-dress with a maroon theme” (if we want to give people a chance to show off their wardrobes), withOUT contest boards and voting. It would be different, anyway.

    If there were three or four or a dozen different kinds of events in SL clubs, I would probably not complain so vehemently, or even not at all. But there seems to be only one: “Best in this!”, “Best in that!”, “Best in the other!”. All with voting boards and cash prizes.

    So my justifications for my adjectives are that these contests are vapid in the sense that they have no novel content, and the hosts that run them are lazy in that they are just picking an adjective in an event format that is long long past its sell-by date, or at least ought to be one of a dozen different event formats rather than one of one, and not innovating in any way.

    (Haha wow, this is sounding like I take this issue Way Too Seriously! Actually I’ve had a fine time at Best in Xxx events, and hope to attend one of yours someday. So consider this to be a bit of Vehement SL Crackpot RP, if you will be so kind…)

  2. Emilly Orr Says:

    I tend to agree with Dale, but I’d clarify by saying–some club owner tosses up a “Best in Red” theme, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But someone sends out a notice like:


    makes my skin crawl off and the desire to commit avatarcide looms large.

    (I’m one of the admins in the SL DJ Network, so that kind of ad? I see nearly every single day.)

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