Eight months after vacating the infamous east Valley party house known as Rasputin's Equestrian Manor (may it rest in peace), the Phoenix nightlife scenesters known as "The Family" have started throwing parties at their new home, a sprawling estate near the Arizona Biltmore called The Chateau.
We attended the housewarming party this past Saturday night. Several signs throughout the beautiful, ranch-style house announced that The Chateau is a "spiritual retreat" for people in the local scene.
Important note: there was nothing abstract or airy-fairy about The Chateau, aside from having great views of Camelback Mountain and the lights from surrounding mansions. It was a massive, freak chic nightclub.
Like Rasputin's before it, The Chateau occupies several acres with parking near the house. The property is completely insulated, and the music pumps from the professional sound system inside. There's a security gate with guards who check IDs as people arrive.
Just inside the front door, there was a bar offering beer and mixed drinks "for donations." We went with the cheapest "donation" -- a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $2.
Down the hallway to the right is a large dining room (future site of a dungeon), and a billiard room with another bar. Down the hallway to the left, there's a bathroom and a hookah lounge, decorated with plush black suede couches and complete with a stripper pole. This room, like most rooms in the house, is decorated with plastic skeletons and skulls, mannequin pieces, fetish art, rustic sculptures, and ashtrays (you can smoke anywhere in the house).
Across from the hookah lounge is a large room with a wall of windows facing the front yard. It's been converted into a sizeable dance floor, with a flashy light system that casts splashes of green dots and dizzying red circles down onto the dark wood. There was also a smoke machine, and a DJ spinning industrial, techno, goth, and darkwave dance music.
But most of the few hundred people in attendance hung around outside, lounging on the lush green lawn, under the big gazebo, by the pool (where we spotted some topless girls), and around the fireplace on a huge outdoor platform.
Among the throngs of women in vinyl, men in fedoras, and professional fire spinners, we spotted local notables like DJ Squalor, creator of industrial dance event *Sadisco, Simon "Nerd of War" Rohrich, and artist and Firehouse resident Shayne Bohner, who'll be holding a weekly "Day of the Dead"-themed dance night called Black Light Mass at The Chateau every Sunday.
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Many of the people in this party crowd regularly attended the goth night Tranzylvania every Friday night at Palazzo, which will stop holding it soon. We heard The Family may launch a weekly event for Friday nights at The Chateau.
We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can find fliers for events and information about The Chateau at www.myspace.com/pinupgirlscabaret