Ariana and the Rose will kick off the first of a trilogy of immersive parties at House of Yes tonight, and the experience sounds KIND OF INCREDIBLE! light + space combines performance art, live music and dancing to create a fully immersive party, and the ingenious concept sprang from the brain of frontwoman Ariana DiLorenzo following time spent between NYC and London’s theater and music scenes. I was able to catch up with her on the phone this week to talk about how her educational background in theater played a role in the show’s development, how much glitter we can expect tonight and more, so read up on all the details below, and be sure to grab tickets to experience it all for yourself! In addition to tonight’s show, there are two more on May 24th and June 14th. (We vote you catch all three!)
So how are you getting ready for the first of these three shows?
We’ve actually finished the show now, so I feel like I can relax a little bit. It’s sort of like you stress out putting all the work into the promo and the show itself, and then the last couple of days, if we’ve done our jobs correctly then things should run themselves. So I try to relax as much as I can in the days leading up to the show, just being in rehearsal and making sure that I’m starting to enjoy myself. That’s the final piece I think. (Easier said than done, but if we do it all right, that’s what should happen.)
And so tell me about the actual development of the show, too! How did all of this come to be?
We started the idea a few years ago. I was living in London at the time, and I had been experiencing a few different things at once – they all kind of came together in my mind as one. I was going to New York to see friends at immersive theater shows (obviously the most famous one is Sleep No More, and then there was another amazing show in Brooklyn called Then She Fell), and in London, I was starting to go to these house parties in Shoreditch that were being thrown by my friends. They’d have live bands playing rather than a DJ, and I noticed how people were partying so much longer. It really changes the room when there’s live music happening. So it was sort of this combination of things coming together – me seeing the theater and to these parties and thinking, “I think there’s a place for this with music in the middle of it.”
Okay, and so once you had those wheels turning initially, how did you then set everything into motion for this show to evolve into what it is now?
Well, I had the idea, but I didn’t know if it was going to be any good or if anyone was going to be responsive to it. I’d been with my manager at the time for a few months, and I said, “I have this idea – I think I want to look into creating a concert with an immersive element to it.” She said, “Yeah, let’s try it, let’s go for it.” The first one we did was in a little art studio in London, and it wasn’t even ticketed, it was an invite-only thing. We ended up partnering with Red Bull since I’d just done a session for them, and they came to us to say “Hey, you have really visual music, are you doing anything else?” And I said, “Actually, yeah, I’m doing this party!” So they made a documentary about it. And we didn’t really know if anyone was even going to come, but we ended up being over capacity. We had to figure out a way to use a front courtyard for it, because we thought we’d only have a hundred people show up, and I think it ended up being almost three hundred at the first event, just through word of mouth. So after that, I said, “Okay, I think there’s something in this.” And of course at that time it was just the early stages of what the idea has become, but the kernel of it is still the same. And people seem to respond to it.
Do you think your background in theater was crucial to you being able to put all of these elements together?
Absolutely. I don’t think I’d have had the idea had I not started in theater, and I think when you’re going to pull from certain aspects of art, I think you should really know what you’re pulling from and be educated on that. I started in the downtown theater world in New York and went to school for devised theater, knew a lot of people who were making that, and to be applying that to music felt kind of fun. I don’t know if I’d have put two and two together had I not started in theater, to know that I could do it myself.
There are three shows happening in this set, so what can you tell me about those? Obviously even if there is a set sort of “script”, the theatrical element makes it hard to predict what will happen each night, but is anything currently planned to vary heavily, apart from the fact that the final party coincides with Pride?
The structure is sort of always the same in that it’s a combination of immersive theater and a party and a concert. We partner with different DJs every time, though, which is really important to me. The first one we’ve got Tommie Sunshine playing, which is really cool since he’s a legendary New York DJ. And then we have a few different changes with the shows, little things so that if you come more than one time you might notice small changes.
I also know there is a lot of glitter that’ll be happening. How long does that take to get on or off?
So much glitter! The glitter is on you guys, though. The actors and performers and I…well, the last time I painted myself in glitter, and I didn’t think it took that long, actually! I think maybe I have an odd perspective on glitter since I use it so much. I’m like, “What do you mean? It’s totally fine! It just takes four showers, it’s not a big deal!” [Laughs] And everyone’s like, “What are you talking about?” I’m like, “Yeah, so it’s in my shoes. Who cares?” I think that maybe I have a skewed version of what’s a normal amount of glitter to have. I feel like it’s normal to have a little dust of glitter all the time! [Laughs]
A couple of Prides ago I went to a party, and someone threw a bunch of gold glitter on me, and a week later I went to the doctor for my annual check-up, and she said, “Do you have children?” And I was like, “Oh GOD no! Wait, why?!” And she was like, “Oh, because there’s glitter in your ear canal!”
Yeah, that’s what happens! It just lives there. In our promo videos, we covered all the dancers and myself in head to toe glitter. Full face, body, hair, everything covered in glitter. All the dancers for the next week were just leaving trails behind. It was crazy, but it looked so beautiful! I just love having things that come from this performance art world, but then dousing it in glitter. There’s so much joy in that, you know?
Absolutely. Alright, and besides these shows, what’s coming up for you in the next few months that you’re stoked on?
I literally play a Communion showcase at Rockwood five days later, which I’m really excited about. Communion’s a really amazing label, so to be a part of their showcase is really exciting. And then I’m about to put out a rework of a single we put out last year called “Love You Lately” – there’s a really cool German DJ named Roosevelt who did a rework of it, and we partnered with a French label called Kitsuné to put that out. We have a really cool virtual reality activation at light + space that features that video, because we have a 360 video that goes with it, so that gets released, and then more light + space events, and also more music! Lots of fun stuff, playing some festivals and things as well, so it should be a fun summer!