Two of my favorite things about St. Louis (its fire EDM scene and the iconically quirky City Museum) were slapped together for a magical night, so it was a no-brainer that I’d be attending. It was a party like no other! Think rave and dance club while exploring around a massive adult playground. The City Museum, full of repurposed architectural and industrial objects to climb through, was completely transformed for this event with lasers, house music, and the wild space creatures of St. Louis. Merry Pranksters and Firechasers abound as hidden characters revealed themselves around every corner of this playhouse!
Pretty much the whole event was a massive interactive art piece. The City Museum itself is a masterpiece of an art installation with industrial sculptures, caves, tunnels, waterfalls, and slides put together to create a magical playground. People dressed up head-to-toe in glittery makeup and otherworldly costumes to look like aliens and creatures of the night. An entire spectrum of flow artists spanned all over the place: glow-up jugglers, hoopers, poi, and other flow toys, you name it. STL local artist Gecko blessed our eyes with some mesmerizing live painting with the twisting, winding tree trunks and foliage of the treehouse in the Whale Room as his backdrop, where he got through two abstract psychedelic pieces by the end of the night. And of course there was live music blasting in every room at every moment of the night.
The main floor of the City Museum is like a sparkly dip in the ocean, or an adventure through an underwater treehouse. There’s a big white whale sculpture right when you walk into the Whale Room, hence the name, which made the perfect setup spot for the DJs. The rails of the playground part have fish-scale detailing, the balcony overhangs are giant shark jaws, fishies of all sorts swam around the room, cloth streamers resembling seaweed hanging from the ceiling, and copious amounts of mosaics and glitter of course to emulate an effervescent ocean surface. This room hosted mainly house and bass music, including a local favorite LuSiD, who had the most packed audience of the night, I’d say! Also performing the Whale Room were Saylor, Spin Cycle, and 18andcounting. Beautiful, trippy illustrations morphed in and out behind the DJs in a magnificent projection mapping display onto the big white whale, adding an extra layer to the imagery of a majestic ocean.
Ascending the main staircase is like walking through Candyland, with multi-colored balusters every spectrum of the rainbow, as well as a 3-story slide off to the left with the same detailing. Once you get to the second floor, directly to the right is the Vault Room, which is like the “Ballroom” of the City Museum. There’s a big open room with lots of pillars to the far right, a rounded bar in the center, and to the left is a smaller room, which is where the music was playing. Colorful balloons were scattered around the ballroom for people to play with, kick, and dance around. A shiny disco ball hung right out in front of the bar, giving the room total 80’s vibes. In the music room the stars John Cobb, Mark Lewis, Jesse Gannon, and The Disco Techs entertained us all night with jazzy techno tunes as bright lasers beamed between sweaty bodies dancing close together, really giving the ambience of a European night club.
CASTLE & SKATELESS PARK
Up on the third floor straight from the staircase you find yourself stumbling into the Skateless Skate Park.The stage at the back of the room went hard all night, with chunes provided by Molecule, Awake, Kid Kosher, and Atomix and The Vokalist. This was my favorite room to hang in. Heavy beats and wild lasers filled the room as these St. Louis party animals laughed and played, sliding down big bowls, spinning in dradle chairs, swinging from ropes, and running up and down the skateless skate ramps.
Just around the corner leads to Beatnik Bob’s Broken Record Cafe, a spin-off old-school rock n’ roll music cafe. In addition to the cafe selling ice cream, coffee, tea, what-have-you, local Asian Fusion restaurant Kounter Kulture also served up delicious meals in a pop-up stand linking the two music rooms on the third floor. The cafe is filled with nostalgic vibes by things like an old gaslight street lamp from the corner of Boyle Ave. and Olive St. representing Gaslight Square near UMSL. A mini library w/ seated tables, another disco ball, posters and stickers slapped on every inch of the room, and industrial sculptures and robots bring this room to life. STL Legend, Syna So Pro, Bounce House, Mammoth Piano, and Nightchaser’s co-host Captured Planet jammed out with bluesy rock tunes fitting for Beatnik Bob’s.
You could find fabulous Alexis Tucci, well-loved local DJ, founder of Nightchaser and curator for this magnificent SpaceChase event, running around all night in a star-like black and gold jumpsuit and beaming red-lipped smile. Much love and thanks to this goddess for putting together SpaceChase, sponsored by 4 Hands Brewing Company. The very first in a series of year long events was a total banger that will continue to morph and grow with the fantastic City Museum. The second one, Dino Side at the St. Louis Science Center, is happening this weekend so make sure to grab your tickets ASAP, especially if you slept on Spacechase which completely sold out, on a Monday night, mind you!
A little bit about the City Museum…
Robert James Cassilly Jr. was an American sculptor, entrepreneur, and creative director based in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1997, Cassilly founded the idiosyncratic City Museum, which draws over 700,000 visitors a year and is one of the city’s leading tourist attractions
“The City Museum is sort of a figment of my imagination, really. In a way I’m sort of jealous of music because music surrounds you, and it can overpower you and change your attitude and mood. So what I attempted to do was, sort of something like a Straminsky Symphony, is build this space where you can come with the sculptures and surroundings and then you walk through the middle of it so that all your senses are affected…”
Sadly Bob Cassilly passed away in an industrial accident in September of last year while working on his newest project of a concrete jungle amusement park, a 55-acre complex he called Cementland. “Bob lived a life of excitement, and I’m glad that he didn’t have to suffer from anything,” said Bruce Gerrie, a curator at City Museum and Cassilly’s longtime friend. “He went out as he was.” Hopefully the Cementland dream is still fulfilled, but the City Museum will live long in his legacy, and these Nightchaser events will continue to bring his dreams for this place to life.