The ladies lining up in lingerie outside Cake’s “La Dolce Vita” party at Lot 61 weren’t wearing much more than the traditional Tenth Avenue hookers found nearby, but at least a few talked like graduate students. Or at least like graduate students dressed up like Tenth Avenue hookers. As Melinda Gallagher, who has a master’s in human sexuality from NYU and was outfitted for the occasion in a black corset and G-string, put it: “Cake is not your mother’s feminism.”
Launched last year by Gallagher and Emily Kramer (Columbia) and her brother Matthew Kramer (Brown), Cake puts on monthly parties, most famously a June bash at Spa that landed it on the front page of the Post when two overzealous partygoers put on an impromptu sex show in a space-capsule-size “Freakbox” hooked up to cameras that relayed their performance to giant projection screens throughout the club. Eventually, the three want to create “the first designer sex brand for women,” complete with movies, a magazine, and even a “truly upscale, high-quality vibrator” developed in partnership with a noted designer (a sequel to Karim Rashid’s Oh chair, perhaps?). In other words: Branding – it’s not just for S&M anymore.
If every brand has its target audience, Cake’s might be those New Yorkers too tasteful for Playgirl but not quite nerdy enough for Nerve. “Our community is clean, professional, and out to have a good time,” said Matthew Kramer, dressed in white loungewear that looked a little like surgical scrubs. “Our friends are hipsters, professionals; they work in the movies and new media.”
Among the guests were first-timers Carrie and Tom, a couple who had met at a swinger’s resort in Jamaica and described their his-and-hers leopard look as “nasty in the jungle,” and Hannah, whose friends called her “the famous Hannah” when Cake showed onscreen the striptease she performed at one of its previous parties. “It was a liberating moment in which I could share my body,” she said. “It felt so good for me to share my beliefs with everyone else here – on a wide screen.”
Click here to read this week’s Big Question