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Call to Create: Where Have All the Good Parties Gone?

submission from student Bryce Dow-Williamson

Most parties at Warren Wilson suck. They suck because people are treating themselves badly through excessive drinking, a lack of consent-based interaction and top-forty materialistic fuck music. I thought I would come to this school and find gatherings in the woods and pastures with musicians who are all about jamming together, swapping instruments and songs. Instead I find twisted versions of frat parties with gender roles switched and the conscious/sustainable/socially aware mind tossed out the window for a chance to let loose all over everybody’s space. Some say college is the time for this; some want to be able to blame whatever they do on being drunk and laugh it off uncomfortably through a hazy memory the next day.

Friday night was different. I went to a party at Schafer B and had a great time. It was funky, it was dance-y and people were respectful of themselves and others. Maybe it was just the lack of an ambulance that brightened my heart or hearing James howl with the heavy bass of planet Funkatron. Truthfully, I’m a bit of a curmudgeon and I want to dance in my own space without feeling the threat of a booty attack. I love a good party; more than that I love a good dance party, and more than that I love good music that can jumble up my soul and put some boogie in my shoes. I also care about people; they’re generally alright.

Well, most of them suck and you can’t trust them for anything; but individuals can be endlessly elegant. You can’t have a good party without good people, and we have them here in our little bubble box community. These individuals would hug you if you needed it and discuss hopes, loneliness or the future. Some of these same ones might be bent over a railing releasing their guts or learning limits, boundaries and drinking vs. getting drunk. But it seems that when you work hard, you play hard, and Warren Wilson is always working.

The same night Jazz took over the village, and I have been repeatedly told that “it was one of the best parties here.” Live music is an untapped resource in our community. The fire invites it and we have the occasional open mic, but there is so much space that could be used. Why not have a music swap in the gazebo? Why not attend weekly jams in these often empty common rooms? Let us hear the musicians and singers before the end of semester shows. Let us use these lovely resources of space, performers and a willing audience.

Sage has great events and has been showcasing student talent in a refreshing way, but there is not enough space in there to move and breathe. The city of Asheville has great shows every night, but bars are inaccessible to most of the college, and cars can be hard to come by. We can invite Asheville in as performers and audience and create events that will connect our little space with the next level of larger community.

They say we live in a bubble, but I see it as more of a force field keeping us in and the larger community out. Music brings people together in a way that only food can compare to, and in our community we have an abundance of skill in both areas. I hear students who are not satisfied with what is here. At points I have agreed, but lamenting does nothing but build resentment, so students leave because they have not found what they are looking for. I want to create what I’m looking for and support you in the same. This place has the space and support to assist us in whatever we want, so why not?

I plan to have another live jazz show with some more live dance-able music, maybe with communal cooking or a potluck of some sort before and, hell, why not an after-party of soul music and more student DJs giving us something other than the top forty?


6 Responses to “Call to Create: Where Have All the Good Parties Gone?”

  1. there used to be more intentional, consent-based, parties but just like many other things at Wilson, they get picked apart and dismantled because socially conscious people who come to wilson seeking a utopia will always find something wrong with the nightlife scene. Here’s one of the big reasons the Funk party worked: Pub Safe wasn’t around and RA’s/RD’s weren’t enforcing rules that they typically do. Many people had alcohol in their hands and nobody was telling them to take it into their rooms or writing them up. When people don’t have to binge drink in their rooms before coming to parties, they drink more slowly and around other people who can keep them in check before it gets out of hand. Think about it, what parties have been the craziest? The ones that are closely monitored by Res Life and where Pub Safe is right outside the door (Sparkles and Spandex 2011). Feel free to disagree, but it’s a strong correlation. I agree though, Wilson tends to get the same DJ’s over and over for contracted parties, and yes, those DJ’s typically play top 40. Maybe if the contract system was a bit looser and less time consuming, more people would be encouraged to try to host their own with different themes and better music.

    Posted by Geezer | January 29, 2012, 3:38 am
  2. Thanks Bryce :) This is much appreciated.

    Posted by Mo | January 29, 2012, 4:00 pm
  3. so the party worked because people were allowed to drink and when that doesn’t happen then they drink more? not because of the different music or more sobriety? that’s confusing to me. As someone who was a monitor at the party, I disagree that “many people had alcohol in their hands and nobody was telling” them anything. there were some, and some were told. and how does commenting on something you hope for make it not happen? nobody is seeking a utopia, but we all want a similarity between intention and action. my hope is to create nightlife where binge drinking is not as necessary. that’s it. we can’t ask for less enforcement when nearly every weekend last semester included someone going to the hospital in an ambulance. alcohol is illegal for people under 21, being lax on those rules is what got the ATF out here and part of why Sandy has worked to change things a bit. I’m not trying to pick things apart until they are dismantled, I’m trying to bring into discussion something we can change and benefit together.

    Posted by bryce dow-williamson | February 3, 2012, 1:19 am
  4. I strongly disagree in the first statement. It might be because I am being attacked over my skills as a DJ or simply because it was harshly generalized. There are student individuals that like the top 40s, the majority or minority? I don’t care. It just satisfies me that they attend these parties along with 50 or so more individuals who just like to come to the event, socialize, and have a stress free event. Are they drunk? Maybe, Sober? Again Maybe. But which parties are not inclusive of those individuals in those states of mind? I have attended the funk party, there were intoxicated individuals and so were there at the Jazz party. I was however fully supportive of the funk and Jazz parties happening on campus since we don’t usually have those around, not particularly in Schafer B. We like diversity, and “booty attack” is one of the many diverse ways of interactive responses towards good music. Warren Wilson stands for many things, one of which is acceptance and understanding of the many backgrounds we all come from. The different music played during the funk party as well as the Jazz party ‘drove out’ the usual attendees to the previous parties and by “drove out” I am trying to avoid its negative connotation and that’s okay, really. Because when I play my songs in Stephenson or Schafer B or Bryson, I have not seen the students who attended the last two parties. People have their own interests, I have accepted that. I would like for there to be a 100% attendance in every party but that can and will never happen. There is always a middle ground but it will go one way or the other eventually. Relating the presence of pure Funk or Jazz in a party to lack of “booty attack” thereby avoiding ambulance calls is far fetched. I don’t like to conform to the traditions that warren wilson holds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I shouldn’t be at Warren Wilson. I love it here, I love the community and the values everyone here stands for – though different they might be. So I like what was just referred to as “materialistically fuck music”. Is there a problem to that? Does that make me wrong? Or does that make me a different person? No. I have survived so far. It is when we point out our differences and unveil them that we have actual problems. There can be really no conclusion that could be made over a set of parties. We have a whole semester ahead of us.

    Posted by Nebiyou | February 14, 2012, 12:08 am
  5. oh my, I am not trying to attack personally or say that what other people like is not as good as what I like. I know it sounds like that, but I just wanted a hook to start the article so that it was not just skimmed over. I apologize for not being more tactful. I just wanted to present an alternative that I hear a desire for. I wish the drinking was less because I have had too many friends die from alcohol related deaths in the last year and seen alcohol addiction turn to other addictions or result in a very stifled person with worlds of potential. The “booty attack”thing is more about my dancing alone being invaded by someone who wants to dance on me and I get uncomfortable but don’t know how to deal with it but run away. The ambulance thing was not related to that, I was getting deeply worried that they were becoming frequent… Does anybody care about the rest of the article? I guess people get moved to write about the negative. I really just wanted to put a voice to what I have been hearing and let people know my intentions to do something. I say that lamenting does nothing but build resentment in the article. That is why I was trying to propose solutions and why I will continue to try to get students involved with making the kind of shows they want. Again, I am sorry to offend but know that I was not trying to be personal and was just writing an article in a voice I thought would be read.

    Posted by bryce dow-williamson | February 17, 2012, 12:19 am
  6. Bryce, I dug your article, though being a day student doesn’t give me any opinion on campus parties. You know me, I’m a curmudgeon, too. But I’m sure being a little bit older than most students (c’mon, we both rock a bit of gray hair), you have a different idea of what a “good party” is. Indeed, the best parties are the ones void of drama and stupidity. Unfortunately, outside of small relaxed gatherings, those are hard to find on any college campus.

    Posted by Wes | February 17, 2012, 2:54 am

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