A new mash-up between social media and party planning.
First there were giant pillow fights and neighbourhood-wide games of capture the flag. Now, the social-butterflies-slash-event-organizers of Newmindspace are launching what they describe as no less than “a vision for the future of partying.” Called Speakeasy, it’s a social network that hopes to match party-throwers with party-goers via a web app that allows people to plan events and make them available to people who register online.
The first set of Speakeasy events happens this weekend, in New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.
The events can be as simple as a house party, or as lavish as an all-night bash at a downtown venue. Hosts can make their events open, so anyone can show up, or they can set it up so those interested have to send a request via the website—important screening, especially if you’re inviting people into your home. Users, who set up profiles on the site, are also encouraged to get testimonials from their friends so party hosts know they’re cool.
Speakeasy founder (and former Torontoist contributor) Kevin Bracken says that Speakeasy is a natural extension of the kind of energy that went into offbeat events like communal lightsaber battles, and that the time is right for a new approach to partying. People are sick of the club scene, he thinks, but go for it anyway because there are few other options. “There is so much pent-up demand for these kinds of experiences,” says Bracken. “I have seen 500 people fill a warehouse in the middle of nowhere because it promised to be novel, memorable, and unique. I believe that in an era where people are feeling more adventurous and hungry for something special, experiences like the ones we’re curating with Speakeasy can change the way we have fun.”
There are currently nine events listed for Speakeasy’s inaugural weekend in Toronto—a mix of some events that seem to be specifically created for the network, and some more traditional events that are using Speakeasy as a new listings opportunity. For anyone who wants to check something out this weekend, Bracken recommends Speakeasy and GouletGourmet Present Trippin’ on Love. It’s a “taste tripping party” where guests are given miraculin, a sugar substitute that makes sour things taste sweet—so guests can chomp into a lemon and have it taste like candy. (They can also drink cheap wine and have it taste like fine reserve.)
Another event Bracken highlights, and an interesting test of how this kind of network might fare, is It’s My Birthday and I’m Moving to South Korea! As its name would suggest, it’s a going away party for a Korea-bound traveller, held at the host’s apartment. It appears to be a standard house party—the difference in this case being that, since it’s on the Speakeasy network, total strangers could send a request to show up.
Giving the public the ability to create their own events allows for an unpredictable range of possibilities. As we talked over coffee, Bracken recalled the era of ’90s warehouse raves, which broke several laws but resulted in legendary parties. He hopes that Speakeasy will allow people to stage risky events in that vein, but without breaking the law outright.
“The best parties happen on the edge of legality,” says Bracken. “The best experiences don’t happen in the sterilized world of bars and clubs.”