A sweaty night at the Electric Factory.
I’m in line at The Mood—South Street’s “authority on romance and sex,” according to their website—holding a gauze pad to the bloody hole on my temple where my piercing had been 10 minutes before, clutching “pleasure garden” scented massage oil and Climax Clix dual vibrating bullets. My head hurts, I’m exhausted and my eyebrows are still stained with faded pink and blue paint.
Rewind 16 hours.
It’s 8 p.m. on Saturday and I’m in CVS clad in a silver spandex onesie, my face flashily painted in pink and blue, buying two Kodak cameras I plan to use to capture my artwork. I’m going to see giant mouse-head-wearing progressive house and electro DJ/producer Deadmau5, and I’m going to paint some faces.
In the cab ride over, my friend finds a wallet. We promise the cab driver that we will return it to its rightful owner.
We arrive at the Electric Factory parking lot.
“Doses? Doses?” asks a lanky guy in a backwards cap, as though he’s selling hot dogs at a ballgame.
When I reach the entrance I hand the guard my backpack. She rummages through, makes me throw out a water bottle, but lets me keep my strawberry-scented bubbles, my facepainting kit, a T-shirt, a pair of sandals, contact solution, a tube top, three lollipops, striped neon knee-socks, my wallet, a pair of goggles, my phone, a pack of gum and a travel-sized bottle of shaving cream.
“I was gonna pat you down, but ...” she trails off, eying my bodysuit.
Inside, the hall is starting to fill up with teenyboppers and other normals who get to a concert like this four hours before the headliner.
I take out my homemade facepainting kit and strap it on. I’m ready.
Within minutes I have a line. I’m feeling good, dancing around, my fingers covering eager concert-goers in bold geometric designs.
“How much for facepaint?”
“Donations only! I’ll take anything though ... what do you have?”
By the end of the night I will have collected $27, more than 20 glow sticks, a Santa hat and a silver ring etched with stars.
One of my first customers gives me free reign to paint her bikini-adorned body. I slather her in orange and blue stripes, and she repays me by advertising my services. Later she finds me and I paint the faces of two of her friends, sitting on the ground outside in a cloud of cigarette smoke, my boyfriend rubbing my feet.
Deadmau5 comes on at midnight, and the rest of the concert passes in a neon blur of glow-sticks, giant mouse heads, and semi-gratuitous compliments.
“Bodysuit girl! You’re my favorite person here!” shouts one girl.
I’m having the time of my life. I’m drenched in sweat.
Each trip to the ladies’ room to refill my water bottle and relieve myself reveals slightly more disintegrated facepaint in the mirror, and it’s not until I narrowly avoid stepping in a fuchsia splatter-puddle of vomit that I reconsider my choice to take off my shoes.
Drinking at Monk's—for the Children!
BYO Vinyl at Prohibition Taproom
A Good-Time South Philly Bar