Only at a Gemini and Scorpio party can you rub elbows with Jean-Paul Gaultier, catch a brass band in a bathhouse and witness a circus show outside of Lincoln Center.
The nightlife scene has shifted lately. Thrill-seekers are tired of flashing ID, putting up with the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, and listening to an iTunes-generated playlist of overexposed pop songs. Jamie Kiffel (Miss Gemini) and Larisa Fuchs (Miss Scorpio) know this, which is why they began throwing their own parties, attracting the types of people they want to meet and generating exclusive invite lists.
Kiffel and Fuchs met in 2002 when Kiffel moved in to Fuchs’ ex-boyfriend’s place. (Fuchs tells us she may have been spending a little too much time over there for being an ex-girlfriend). The two bonded over tales of their online dating experiences and planned to write a book about Internet dating. They began their weekly events lists compiling cool events going on around town (you can subscribe on their website) and throwing their own parties as an extra to their intended book with the idea of attracting the kind of creative types they wanted to meet, and because they wanted to suggest interesting date ideas.
"We'd already been throwing some spectacular themed costume house parties in [my] ex's home," Fuchs says. "We started out doing just one party a year, on Valentine's Day, which was fairly intimate by our standards now: 50 people, then 75, then 100. Each year we'd get emails from couples promising to bring single friends if only we let them come. Eventually, we gave in and realized that what we were doing was just throwing offbeat, colorful, themed parties, and that really any party is a singles party in the sense that as long as you're attending events where you're likely to meet like-minded others, you're increasing your chances of finding a great partner."
In October 2011, after four years of hunting, Fuchs found her dream loft in Gowanus — a run-down, boarded-up 1970s woodworking shop with rotted floors and plywood walls. Five months and a depleted savings account later, the first Gemini and Scorpio party there was a hit. Last May they raised $32,118 on Kickstarter with 580 backers that allowed them to make repairs to the place, install a better sound system and add new décor.
The parties are a wonderland of sorts with unusual themes, required costume attire, burlesque and circus performances, live bands (some that perform in a bubbling Jacuzzi), elaborate decor, aerial and fire artists, and after-hours delights — like their House of Scorpio make-out and Kinky Salon parties.
Fuchs says she is amazed at how big Gemini and Scorpio events have become. “It’s wild,” she says. “I know a few babies now born to couples who met at our events over the years.“
But they still host parties in other locations, like their Masquerade Macabre and annual Halloween, New Year's Eve and summer steampunk Lost Circus events, which attract 500 to 1,000 revelers. They also throw site-specific events, like boat parties and their renowned Russian Banya parties, where attendees don bikinis or swimming trunks and hop in a steamy Jacuzzi with the band, smoke hookahs, drink vodka and mingle with other semi-naked New Yorkers.
“We could have never imagined it would grow to this," Fuchs says.
If you go
Gemini & Scorpio are throwing a “May the Fourth” Star Wars Day party beginning at 9 p.m. on May 3 and continuing well into the early hours of the 4th. Called Cantina at the End of the Universe, the party will have you dancing and carousing as if in a galaxy far, far away. Alien monster puppet creature funk band Big Nazo and Stumblebum Brass Band bring the live sound, then DJs take over to keep the party pumping. Costumes are required, Jedi! Tickets are $20, and RSVP is required for the address.