Bushwick might just be NYC’s sexiest neighborhood.
On the otherwise unremarkable corner of Jefferson Street and Wyckoff Avenue sits House of Yes — actually its third edition, after the first in Queens was lost to a kitchen fire in 2008 and the second to East Williamsburg’s gentrified rents in 2013. And while the venue, founded by Anya Sapozhnikova and Kae Burke, has always been a hub for alternative creative expression in the city, the newest edition is forging into the steamier side of nightlife.
“We were always eclectic — we’re not a nightclub that does theater sometimes, we’re very immersed in both and everything in between,” says Sapozhnikova.
And what they’ve noticed is the mainstreaming of polyamory, S&M and swinger parties, but without the culture and context of the communities where they originated. So when it came to creating a celebration of love and sexuality at House of Yes — a space whose very name implies a place of discovery and acceptance — Sapozhnikova and her team wanted to make vital elements like the fluidity of sexuality and the importance of consent had to be part of it.
Think of House of Love, which returns Oct. 1, as a progressive party about sex (there’s no nookie on the dancefloor.) What there is, is pretty much everything else: performers who may pull you onstage to dance, off to an S&M-themed room for some light themed fun, or just give you a necessary 5 a.m. shoulder massage; a strip club that “celebrates the beauty of strip clubs, which can be a very beautiful place of female camaraderie and sex workers’ rights in that everyone should be treated with respect and that womens’ bodies are beautiful”; live music and acts, plus secret alcoves and sensual settings from a rooftop hot tub to spontaneous blind(folded) dates.
Or duck into a quiet area (House of Yes is a sprawling venue, with indoor and outdoor spaces), where you may find a workshop or talk going on. “It’s all that because we’re not flat characters, we’re humans, and we have feeling and emotions and it’s important to stimulate all the senses,” says Sapozhnikova.
These parties also have a personal touch. Both founders are aerial dancers, so at the previous Houses they’ve produced the theater and circus performances, outsourcing parties to producers. Since reopening House of Yes in January, however, they’ve been taking on that role as well — and creating events with a more personal touch.
“We’re creating these parties for the community at large but also for our friends, and we just want to make it as amazing as possible,” she says. “It’s touches like having ice cold watermelon passed out on the dancefloor at 2:30 in the morning that make people feel like they’re in a place that cares about them and understand, ‘Wow, to have thought of that the owners must know what it’s like to dance for eight hours straight and be thirsty and want something sweet.’”
Whether it’s a couple looking to try something new or friends encouraging each others’ exploration, all genders, sexualities, ages and bodies are welcome — as long as they come ready to truly become part of the evening, especially by wearing a costume that “makes you feel beautiful and fun and exciting.”
“Parties should not be a consumer experience,” she says. “They should be a sharing experience, where you give as much as you receive.” Sounds like the recipe for sex and love, too.
House of Love
Oct. 1, 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
House of Yes, 2 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick
Tickets at the door, $15-$30
Must be 21+