Written by Patrick McNamara
A few nights ago I went to see Andrew W.K. bring his advice column to life and discuss his party philosophy at Santos Party House - a fitting venue since he co-owns the place. I arrived shortly after doors and already there were about 100 chatty happy people milling about. Maybe it was 75 or 150. I don't know. Numbers were never my scene.
I found one of the last remaining seats next to some other poor sap who was also flying solo. I sat by myself and stared at an empty stool on a small stage while the a/c blasted me with an early winter. My state could have been meditative if not for the guy standing directly to my right grazing my face with his bulging backpack (he soon realized this after one or two gentle nudges, apologized, and was extremely gracious). I politely asked the other poor sap flying solo if he might save my seat for me so that I might hit the bar and forget my great trouble. He obliged.
I couldn't understand a word the bartender was saying to me. But I did manage to understand “3 drink minimum" and was able to successfully procure alcohol by a mixture of pointing, head movements, and eye raises. Back to my seat (which the other poor sap saved commendably) I cupped my beer with my shoes on the floor so my hands wouldn't get frostbite (that a/c, though) and waited for the show to begin. And 45 minutes later, it did.
Andrew W.K. came to the stage from the crowd and you'll never guess what he was wearing - white shirt, white pants, black watch. Yes. The guy goes all in. He took his seat and I got out my notebook, ready to write down his words of wisdom. Except my pen had red ink and the dark club was lit by red lights. And the ink was really faded because sometimes I use the tip of my pen to unclog my one-hitter. What I really need is a long paperclip, I think. Andrew seemed nervous sitting up there all alone on that stool. This I culled from an exchange he had with one of the first questioners. “I'm a little nervous," the woman said. “That's OK. I am too," said Andrew.
The evening gained momentum and we were on our way, the awkward pauses gradually decreasing as brave questioners approached the stage and spoke into the mic placed eye level with Andrew's feet. Topics covered included: Cancer, Drugs, Co-Workers, 9/11, NYC, Ambition, Resting, and “Law & Order." (Andrew W.K. really likes “Law & Order.") With every question, Andrew made sure to first thank the person for asking it and then think on it some before he spoke. He told us at the outset that he wasn't there to tell anybody what to do. Rather, he just wanted us to think and talk about being alive together.
Here are some snippets of Andrew W.K.'s advice that evening: “Be your best even when others aren't." “Be nice." “Have a nice time." “Ambition is overrated." “Transformation is overrated. Don't be afraid to be who you are." “Cheer each other on even when it makes no sense at all." “Be careful of summing people up as being either good or bad. People are complex." “Everything will work itself out assuming you are doing what you want to do and aren't holding anybody back." “Party is finding joy."
The audience of 100 or 75 or 150 was very chill (and not because the room was approximately 45 degrees) and respectful of both Andrew and each other the entire night. After each question, the room clapped. After each response, the room clapped. At the end, everybody clapped. And then Andrew W.K. took a picture with every single chatty happy person who wanted one. Judging by the line, almost all 100 or 75 or 150 people did.
I'm glad I went. I had a really nice time. #party
(Photo Credit: the other poor sap flying solo - he was super cool)