Haven’t you heard of the incredible CHERYL ?
Who are they ? What are they ? Where do they come from ?
CHERYL is a wildly creative gang composed of four young Brooklynites who started throwing insane costume parties around NYC about five years ago. They’ve since been touring Europe, setting up parties in the most unexpected places, and are just about to invade Paris for the very first time on Saturday.
Let me introduce you to the delightful Nick Schiarizzi, CHERYL’s resident DJ, who kindly accepted to shed some light on CHERYL’s nightly fabulousness before Saturday’s exclusive CHERYL WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE party at the Nuba, the new trendy bar on top of the Docks.
– What does CHERYL stand for ? Is there a specific meaning attached to this name ?
CHERYL is our name, but it’s pretty hard for us to explain why. Initially the name made us laugh, as it’s a bit of an awkward name for a party and artist collective. But over time we’ve come to realize it’s the perfect name for us, for reasons we can’t completely describe. Some of us think it’s an everyday name – everyone in the US knows a CHERYL – others in our group think it’s a reference to the people we grew up with.
– Why this uncanny fascination with blood and glitter ?
CHERYL is all about realizing you’re alive, and pushing everything to the extreme. When you get that perspective on things, to not take anything for granted, and to party as hard as possible (because why wouldn’t you?), things come together, and CHERYL comes to life. A lot of our themes have to do with mortality and blood obviously ties in with that. The glitter just takes everything to the next level.
– What do you think of the attitude of our generation toward partying ? Do you feel young people are more eager to party and participate in costume parties ?
We think partying is different everywhere, and everyone has a different reason for partying. It’s a bit hard to answer this question in a general way, but we find that there are plenty of young people, new to clubbing and partying, who love what we do, just as much as some of the older, more seasoned club-goers. I think that people are equally excited across the ages to come and party with us and get dressed up – the younger ones might self-destruct a bit more on the dance floor, which we appreciate.
– Does Cheryl ever get political ?
No. Along with being semi-anonymous, which allows us to put the spotlight back on the crowd instead of on us, we try to make our party accessible to anyone – we don’t all have the same political beliefs within our group, and we don’t try to preach to our crowd in any way. There are parties in Brooklyn that are heavily political, so people have that option if they want it, but we don’t usually go into that territory.
– What do you think makes Brooklyn such a suitable place for emerging or independent artists and performers ?
New York has always been the cultural hub of the United States, being our largest, most international, and most important arts city, and in recent years, Manhattan, where everything was once centered, has become too expensive for most artists to live in. So Brooklyn is just the continuation of what New York has always been doing, just pushed across the river for those of us who are not independently wealthy.
– You haven’t performed in France yet, have you ? But you’ve performed in London, Berlin, Barcelona and Lisbon. How is European nightlife different from NYC’s ?
We have not yet performed in France, but we are very excited about it. Nightlife is different in each city in Europe – some cities have a hard time letting loose, some cities go all out and rage, some cities want to transform your party into a techno bear rave. I think that each city takes what we’re giving them and makes it work in their own special way. In New York, you have the Brooklyn scene which is more DIY, affordable, scrappy, creative, etc and often is a mixed gay/straight crowd. In places like East London, the crowd is often exactly the same as Brooklyn.
– You have partied at the MoMA in NY, how did that go ? Did it go as well as you expected it would ?
The MoMA party was so fun. We took over the first floor of MoMA and projected our videos in a huge atrium on the second floor. One thousand people bought tickets and it was one of those moments where we felt really proud of CHERYL. We had a bunch of interactive mannequin stations, a mannequin DJ, and some brief performances on the floor, and then it morphed into a huge dance party which I DJed. It was a great night for us.
– What was the most memorable place you set up a party at ? Where would you dream to throw a party ?
A patio in the middle of Madrid, a pier on the East River in Manhattan, or underneath an elevated highway in Brooklyn with our mobile dance party van. Those are some pretty weird places for us. We would love to throw a party on an airplane – imagine how quickly the flight would pass by, and how fun it would be during turbulence with strobe lights.
– The party you threw at the MoMA celebrated the Cindy Sherman retrospective, and she obviously is one of your sources of inspiration. What are the persons, icons, artists & works that most inspire you ?
We have a lot of sources of inspiration. Some from pop culture, some from the dollar store. A lot of stuff from our childhood, like obscure movies and shopping malls and television shows that stuck in our memory. We have a lot of respect for contemporary artists like Cindy, but I’d say our main sources of inspiration come from some pretty unexpected sources. We love T-Boz from TLC and her trademark mushroom tendril hair. She inspires us. We also love Count Chocula, the chocolate dracula cereal we have in the US. We love the 1980 movie « The Apple » about a future 1994 in an America run by a record executive named Mr Boogaloo. We love cats. And we like shitty hair extensions you can buy at dollar stores. These things inspire us.
– Does fashion influence your work in some way ?
Definitely – our party is all about the costumes. Our themes encourage our partygoers to create their own costumes out of everyday materials, and make their costume debut at our party. It’s one of the few parties I know of where people come in costume everytime, but there’s no bad attitude or snobbiness about it – it’s always fun and funny and impressive how creative people get.
– Any musical crush you’d like to share with us ?
Many – Michael McDonald, Toni Braxton, Todd Terje, TEED, Matthew Dear, and Sylvester to name a few.
See you Saturday !