New York City is an epicenter for many things, from art to fashion, the economy of politics and culinary celebration. An uncharted algorithm for culture, NYC willingly evolves with every generation. My friend and colleague Kathryn Buford, founder of Live Unchained, recently trekked to The Big Apple on one of her frequent soul-searching missions, unexpectedly landing at a most unique affair. A rooftop party in Brooklyn becomes an opportunity to raise awareness through the conjuring of introspection. Mixing masquerade masks with couture attire, Victorian furniture and hip-hop, Kathryn found herself moved by the sacred efforts of this Fear & Fancy event where rump-shaking and introspection are two sides of the same coin.
What I found most interesting about Kathryn’s account of Fear & Fancy’s homegrown gatherings is the use of masks to reveal instead of conceal, unmasking the hidden personalities of one’s soul. Creating an environment of acceptance through beautified interiors and alluring events, Fear & Fancy attracts artists, entrepreneurs, educators and activists in support of its movement. For Fear & Fancy, the message isn’t being shared, but deployed. In the purposeful design of a setting for knowledge dissemination amongst like-minded individuals, Fear & Fancy incites action through contemporary ritual.
“All the world is fear and fancy. We are not saints, we are not abusers, we don’t demonize one and embrace the other,” the group describes itself to Kathryn. Life according to Fear & Fancy is about appreciating and welcoming the balance between the pain (fear) and joys (fancy) of life, Kathryn writes, quoting Fear & Fancy founder Milan “Whippa” Whiley: “You wouldn’t know what pleasure was without pain and with too much pleasure, you become numb.”