Ever feel that rare nightlife sensation when you’re absolutely certain that you’re standing in the coolest room in the city? It’s like the opposite of FOMO.
Everyone assembled was obviously feeling it on a recent Saturday night at Opaline, a monthly multisensory party with no fixed address. The June edition was staged in a rowhouse in Columbia Heights, where, about 2 a.m., TrillaKay was spinning polychromatic Rico Nasty tunes while the venturesome rap duo Model Home was gearing up for a set of improvised turbulence. Everything sounded cool. Everyone looked cool. Everything smelled cool.
“I’m into aromatherapy and Earth medicine,” says Opaline founder Briona Butler, replaying the party in her mind a few weeks later. “So we’ll have certain incenses, or herbs, or oils going [at Opaline] to incorporate those healing techniques in a not-in-your-face kind of way.”
Butler brings that same laid-back fastidiousness to Opaline on the first of every month, booking area musicians, visual artists and fashion designers who deserve to have their voices amplified in a changing city. “Gentrification is disenfranchising black artists, especially the youngest ones,” Butler says. “With the [musicians] I invite, I feel like they’re building something with their music. What they’re emitting into the world feels instructive.”
July’s Opaline will take place at Dwell, the D.I.Y. performance space in Northeast, and will feature the avant R&B of Masie Blu, Knyves Escobar and Cramer — as well as fashion, jewelry and food vendors, plus a rooftop tent offering yoni steams (Google it). The goal is to have everyone feeling good in every way. “I’m super cozy and I want people to feel cozy,” Butler says. “Pleasure is so underrated.”