Hundreds of Danny DeVito Devotees Got Together in Bushwick

“A Night of A Thousand DeVitos” invited die-hard fans and Danny curious to immerse themselves in all things DeVito.
Photo: Lucia Buricelli

“I think he’s coming tonight, I just feel him in the air,” John Beltrano told a friend while adjusting the tufts of hair sticking out of his semi-bald knit cap. “It’s like Beetlejuice – if you get enough people to shout his name and get naked on stage, that’s where Danny DeVito comes in.” His look, inspired by Frank Reynolds, DeVito’s character on Philadelphia is always sunny, also included black “glasses” made from pipe cleaners and a white T-shirt with seven score marks (another Reynolds reference from the show’s tenth season). But he wasn’t the only DeVito; Beltrano was just one of hundreds of attendees in makeshift black frames who had endured freezing temperatures and an L train stop to attend the ‘Night of a Thousand DeVitos’ premiere at Rubulad, an underground performance space in Bushwick.

For Alana Miller, the party organizer, filling the space with a swarm of DeVito lookalikes was in itself the goal. As she explained, “There are no bad ideas if you’re willing to commit hard enough.” She has been hosting events and parties under the name Glittermilk since 2020. Many of her absurd parties have been collaborations with Rubulad, including Disco Fish, an aquatic-themed disco party with mermaids and kiddie pools and the party. of Halloween “A Night of a Thousand Clowns”. . As a former arts therapist in the public school system, she spent her summers producing interactive experiences at music festivals, such as a performance where people repent of their sins to a dominating nun. In 2020, she decided to produce events full time.

That night, Miller was the host of the party, dressed in a fur-print tank top and a beer belly-shaped fanny pack over it that gave her the look of Danny DeVito’s body.

From the street, Rubulad’s garage-like space is easy to miss; there are no signs or markings, and the address is only given to ticket holders. Inside, the walls are covered with handcrafted artwork from past parties. In the courtyard, people caress and bask on rambling, colorful sculptures, like a giant mouth with a rainbow tongue that doubles as a seat.

The heart of the event took place on the indoor stage and on the dance floor, with a comedy and burlesque show inspired by Danny DeVito, and DJs scheduled from “nine until late”.

“Danny DeVito was not someone I would have mentioned as a favorite,” admitted Joe D’Espinosa, who was one of the DJs booked for the evening. He extracted excerpts from the theme song for DeVito’s 1978 sitcom Taxi and layered it with disco and house music.

At a Danny DeVito “transforming station,” revelers rocked bald caps, pipe cleaner glasses and “Hello my name is Danny” name tags.

Miller admitted the theme wasn’t completely arbitrary. “With the polarization of our country, there are very few people who are universally loved characters.” she explains. “But Danny DeVito sparks the instinct for joy in all of us.”

Many performances were created specifically for this evening. Dancer Lil’y con Carnage, one of the performers of the evening, performed a steamy burlesque routine inspired by “Trash Man.”

“There’s this feeling that the new ‘basic’ is this hot, shiny raver chick.” Miller added, “I’m much more interested in creating spaces for people to become a grumpy, balding little man.”

“I didn’t have any material ready for Danny DeVito,” said Nathan Dufour Oglesby, who raps about philosophy under the name “Nathanologie.” For the party, he dressed up as Louis De Palma, DeVito’s character from Taxi.

He tried new material on the audience: “Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman said once they got divorced, they got even closer,” he said. I want to know what love is started playing and the audience sang. “When I try to fathom the mysteries of love, I find myself unable to explain it. You need someone rich and smart, like Danny DeVito, to explain it.

Partygoers served up looks from DeVito’s five-decade career, a dynamic lineup of characters that included Arnold Schwarzenegger’s twin in the 1988 hit Twins and the penguin in Tim Burton Batman returns. “I forgot he voiced the Lorax!” someone shouted, pointing to someone dressed as such.

Those who ventured into the yard found a DeVito coloring station, a “Danny De-VooDoo-Doll” craft station, flash tattoos, and dozens of other artist-designed Danny DeVito experiences.

Tattoo artist Will Carr already had a design of Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds dressed as art critic Ongo Gablogian from Philadelphia is always sunny in his wallet. When he heard about the event, he designed five more flash tattoos.

MacKenzie Allulis, filmmaker and frequent attendee at Rubulad events, was surprised to learn they had received the first tattoo of the night.

Between sets, performance artist Roo Woythaler recruited fans to join a cult following the four-foot-ten actor.

Members of “DeVitoism” were given detailed brochures and then recorded together in small groups. They were then asked to free themselves from their shame or sins by blowing bubbles, connecting to the “DeVito within”.

For the party, Miller made a skirt of “Dovitos,” chip bags decorated with cutouts of Danny DeVito that she handed out throughout the evening. “I don’t know the real Danny DeVito, but I don’t think anything can make him happier,” she said.

Sari Rubenstein, founding member of Rubulad, never doubted Miller’s vision of a complete DeVito-palooza. “Turns out there are all these really intense Danny DeVito fans out there,” she said.

But some just came for the Glittermilk brand of bizarre jubilation. “I missed her everything [Alana’s] parties, but I think I picked a good one,” Jonah Levy said.

For Melinda Feedler, who already had a “Danny DeVito” crop top in her closet, DeVito’s pro-union policy were one of the reasons she adored the actor. “He is the embodiment of positive masculinity,” she explained.

“I’m from Maryland,” Rachel Miller said while queuing for the “DeVito Transformational Experience.” “I texted my friend, ‘Let’s go fucking weird,’ and she brought me here.”

The evening ended in the early hours of Sunday morning. After a conga line, the revelers chanted “I’m the Trash Man!” (an iconic Frank Reynolds quote) until local artist Julie LaMendola’s phallic sculpture (rumored to have already been used in a performance at the Whitney Museum of Art) floods the crowd with Danny DeVito confetti.

Danny DeVito, who reportedly received an invitation, could not be reached for comment.

Photographs of Lucie Buricelli

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