Some arrived on stilts. Others with giant, rabbit-like feet. Some were completely hidden in costume. Others bared it all in only body paint and stick-on eyeballs.

However they came, there was no holding back for attendees of Bushwick venue Elsewhere‘s Halloween bash this Monday.

The 2022 party marked an extra-special milestone for the venue by also marking its five-year anniversary.

To celebrate, Elsewhere secured Grammy-winning British producer and artist Mura Masa to take the stage for the night, and the gig sold out well ahead of time. Inside, the ceiling was hung with creepy, upside-down adornments, green slime, ghosts and ghouls.

Despite a drizzly fall evening, partygoers turned out in the hundreds to show out and get spooky across multiple different dance rooms.

In the packed Elsewhere Hall, elves, demons, cyborgs, Power Rangers and dead drag queens got down to Mura Masa’s hits, before enjoying a prosecco toast to the venue’s fifth birthday.

May Lee, who was dressed as her own brand of elf-cat, told BK Reader the night held special significance.

“This is low-key a tribute to a friend of mine who passed away, he’s the one who introduced me to Mura Masa, and I was a big fan after that,” she said.

“I’m not going to sob here because I feel the tears coming, but it’s refreshing to be able to see Mura Masa live and also just honor my friend for introducing me to such an amazing artist.”

Lee said she often visited Elsewhere and enjoyed how you could meet all walks of life at the venue and “just be you and share it with the world.”

Elsewhere launched on Halloween in 2017, and its team has roots in the Brooklyn music community that stretch back to an original, experimental, early-2000s venue in Williamsburg called Glasslands.

Since opening in 2017, Elsewhere has hosted “thousands” of artists and presented over 20,000 hours of live music amid more than 600 events per year, according to the venue’s website.

Brooklyn DJs Emily Gurland and Nina Gofur played their third gig at the venue on Monday under their DJ name Fever Dream. They said Elsewhere had become one of “the clubs” one thinks about when considering the New York music scene, and they loved how it plugged smaller acts alongside larger DJs.

“It accommodates bigger acts, and because of the multi-rooms, smaller acts get people filtering from the bigger rooms,” Gofur said.

It was incredible for Fever Dream to be playing on a bill with Mura Masa, for example, Gurland said.

The DJs added that they would love to see the ticket prices stay affordable for Brooklyn locals.

“I think the higher the ticket prices go, the less successful it becomes, and the more specific type of person will be here, the person who has more money and maybe works in finance, not the locals,” Gurland said.

One of the venue’s founding tenets is creating a nightlife space where eventgoers are free from hatred, harassment and discrimination.

This year Elsewhere has been in the media for creating nightlife spaces for diverse audiences, including music lovers from the Middle East and North Africa and its diaspora and dancehall audiences.

“House rules” are presented on signs across the venue, and include no homophobia, transphobia, sexism, violence or abuse of power.

Diego Mazzaferro (R). Halloween at Elsewhere. Photo: Jonathan Mora for the BK Reader.
LJ Jaeger (L) and Diego Mazzaferro (R). Halloween at Elsewhere. Photo: Jonathan Mora for the BK Reader.

Bunny-eared model Diego Mazzaferro said he comes to the venue often, and loved how there was always a mixture of people in the crowd.

“It’s always a good time and everyone is very respectful, and you can always hang out and enjoy your night,” he said. Bushwick artist and local leader Paperboy Prince was also spotted at the party, wearing leopard print and a cowboy hat.

Meanwhile, BK Reader found JD Fontanella dressed as a giant, horned, skull-faced beast, clambering his way to the venue’s rooftop to dance in the rain.

JD Fontanella attends Halloween at Elsewhere. Photo: Jonathan Mora for the BK Reader.
JD Fontanella is interviewed by a reporter at Elsewhere. Photo: Jonathan Mora for the BK Reader.

Fontanella said he was there to celebrate the venue’s birthday. His history with Elsewhere went back to day one when he helped build the venue’s rooftop area as a facilities manager.

“I don’t even work here anymore, and I still absolutely believe in it,” he said.

“This community is amazing, the people who run this place really know what they’re doing, they’re taking it in a direction that is outstanding and I’ll never leave. They could burn this building down and I’d be back next Halloween.”

Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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