Let me introduce you to my party people in the club…sings celebrity Jennifer Lopez in her popular pop song. “If you go hard you gotta get on the floor, if you’re a party freak then step on the floor, if you’re an animal then tear up the floor.”
While not Jewish, Lopez would have fit right in on December 24 at the annual Heebonism party, this year held at The Church Nightclub in downtown Denver. An edgy, stylish party put together by the terrific E-3 Events nonprofit organization, Heebonism is built on an annual national tradition of holding a singles party on Christmas Eve, when most young Jewish adults or other singles are at loose ends if they are not celebrating the Christian holiday with family or friends. The party’s promotional poster tag line was perfect this year, given its location at The Church: “It seems so wrong. But it will feel so right.” With the silhouettes of three Hasidic Jewish men underneath the caption, with the dramatic background of The Church there to amuse and entice one to certainly check out this party.
In a very nice December 21 write-up on the 2012 annual party by John Wenzel of the Denver Post, it says:
“Heebonism is aimed at hip, young Jewish adults looking for an alternative to Christmas activities, and part of its draw is its edgy, ironic tone.”
If you’re older than a Millennial or from another big city in the country, you may know this party as the “Matzo Ball.” This year there were Matzo Ball parties held in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. (Honest disclaimer: this author is older than the targeted age demographic of the party. ) Further while this was also my first “Heebonism,” the event left me thinking it could use a woman’s point of view or at least, the addition of maybe a New Year’s Eve party with a different feel, whether guests are young or over 40 like me.
According to MatzoBall.org:
“Now in its 26th year, the highly-anticipated MatzoBall® promises to deliver a night of high-energy networking and matchmaking for singles ages 21-49 nationwide. Sponsored by the Society of Young Jewish Professionals (“SYJP”) and JDate® the MatzoBall® offers men and women the opportunity to meet in a social environment conducive to developing networking opportunities, long lasting friendships and romantic relationships. Part reunion, part date night, USA Today dubs this annual affair the ‘Nation’s No. 1 Holiday Party.’”
The party organizers, Eric Elkins, Ean Seeb and Ezra Shanken (The E-3 of E-3 Events), expected as many as 600 guests on December 24. The event was indeed very well-attended. My girlfriend and I arrived there just after the party began at 8:30 p.m., having braved the start of a December snowstorm pretty typical for Colorado at this time of year. However, thanks to it being Christmas Eve, traffic was light and street parking next to The Church on 11th and Lincoln downtown was a breeze. Of the spacious nightclub, only three areas were open which, even at the event’s peak around 11 p.m., was more than enough room to accommodate the crowd. The party really got rocking around 10 p.m. and lasts until 2 a.m.
There were door prizes, a sponsored hour by Citadelle Gin of free cocktails at the start of the party, a convenient coat check downstairs, and a very nice crew of bartenders spending their time with us working on their Christmas Eve holiday. There was a practical and thoughtful $15 coupon for each guest to take advantage of not drinking and driving, and to instead use Uber.com car service for travel and stay warm and dry despite the snowy weather.
Of course the main dance floor was open, pictured here, but so too was the patio bar up the stairs from the very cool Light Room “photo booth” set-up. This was one of the most fun spots to stand near and watch party-goers mug for the camera and later I’m sure appear on the E-3 Events superb Facebook page.
There was a nice quiet space open, adjacent to the upper bar area, where a quasi Orthodox-dressed young man was stationed to hear guests “confessions.” There too people could sit in relative quiet and strike up a conversation if they wished. However, at no point in the evening did it seem like the guests congregated in that room, despite the comfy couches and peace. Most stayed on “the floor” which was very dark and very loud, with techno beat music I did not care for. But then again, as noted earlier, I am not the target age demographic. That said, I am a woman and I would have been curious to know how the girls at the party felt about trying to dance to what the DJ was playing.
Which is what was interesting. There were as many women at the party as men. But if the idea was for guests to make new “friends” or get a phone number, this was not the best scene. Don’t get me wrong. I give E-3 Events props, because dating during the winter holiday season is not easy. However, this was a party a woman goes to with their friends to people watch maybe and definitely to enjoy the wild, pseudo-sinful adventure of partying in an old church. It was not truly a party to meet and talk to other traditional singles.
Let’s say the idea was really to offer women and men to make new friends and even to start a new romantic relationship. Then I would recommend a change of venue from The Church or perhaps the addition of another annual party at a club with soft lighting (in contrast to nearly pitch black darkness punctuated by laser light shows and a disco ball) and Motown music (which is actually kind of retro hip all over again, in the spirit of what’s old is new again) among young singles.
Fortifying my thinking here is that this was after all primarily intended to attract Jewish and other non-Christian, perhaps secular, singles. And a party like this should definitely appeal to Jewish women.
In a recent article about Jdate.com in the December 5, 2004 New York Times, though, the author Sarah E. Richards quotes a particular astute young man as he comments about why he chooses to look for dates on this Jewish online dating site,
“Jewish women ‘’hold onto tradition — that’s important.’ He added that they also ‘take care of themselves — they just seem to be more put together.’
So it’s not a giant leap to see while The Church was an interesting and uber-hip place to hold a party for the younger set in the Jewish community in Denver, even for the young women present, a space conducive to being able to catch the eye of a prospective male suitor and also have a conversation might be worth exploring, while still maintaining the same stylish vibe E-3 is so talented at creating in their events.
After all, when the lighting was just right during the evening to see people better, I noticed more than one young fellow wearing an argyle sweater. Somehow I think that’s a once-a-year phenomenon for this particular nightclub and that Goth black leather jackets are more the norm at The Church.
Single readers in particular, Jewish or not, I welcome your comments. I hope you’ll return to read my future pieces about dating and relationships. And be sure to learn more about E-3 Events because one thing is for sure: this was a memorable, innovative, well-planned party and you won’t want to miss what these three gentleman plan next for Denver young adults. Have a happy New Year’s Eve, one and all, and here’s to more love and tenderness in 2013.