H2Oh My God: Scenes From Alyssa Milano’s Insane Designer Water Launch Party
“I’m so happy to be here,” Alyssa Milano smiles into a crowd of drunk New Yorkers. “We’ve got a special treat for you tonight, the…” she looks down at some notes scribbled on a sheet of loose-leaf paper, “Electrobatique. You’re really going to enjoy it.” And with that she leaves. It was a very short appearance, considering the party was billed “An Evening of Electrolytenment” featuring “actress Alyssa Milano.” She hadn’t even bothered to iron her dress.
Let me back up and explain. An Evening of Electrolytenment was an event held at Pier 36 on New York City’s Lower East Side to celebrate the national launch of Resource Spring Water with electrolytes, hence the bizarre portmanteau. The event was free and featured food, drinks (so many drinks), a very little bit of Alyssa Milano, an acrobatics show (the Electrobatique) and, of course, plenty of free designer water.
I’ll expand my focus a moment: designer water is, by its very nature, an incredibly stupid concept. But it’s also the very beating heart of capitalism: if someone is willing to buy it, someone is willing to make it. No shame in Resource’s game.
Pier 36 — our home for the night — is a massive space that sits on the banks of the East River. The space is rented out to celebrate launches of numerous consumer goods including Google’s Nexus 7, the Blackberry 10 and the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle: the capitalist Studio 54. For the night’s event, the space had been turned into a sort of oasis rave: strobe lights, lichen and plenty of wet bars. Upon entering, each guest is given an iridescent snap bracelet bearing the brand’s name and greeted by no less than eight eager, young PR professionals who do not instruct you where to go next but do instruct you to have fun. At first sight, the landscape is intimidating: there’s a photo booth, hors d’oeuvre booths, a DJ booth, and three bars. Towering in front of us is a fountain which spells out words in cascading water — the answers to questions whispered by guests into a bright, white orb carried around by one of the event’s sponsors: an aquatic magic 8-ball.
There was no shortage of alcohol (beer, wine and a special cocktail called the “electrolation”), nor was there any shortage of people willing to drink said free hooch. Around 9 p.m. it was time for the show and about 500 people who’d been drinking heavily for two hours were ushered over to a stage where the evening’s VIP, Alyssa Milano, was standing with a microphone, purse, cell phone, and a sheet of paper in her hands. She said her three sentences, and was off; I didn’t even get a picture, that’s how fast she was.
The Electrobatique was, in fact, a treat, as the Charmed star had promised. The acrobatic water show began with a harried woman trying to find a #chill place in Central Park to practice yoga. After dodging holographic dogs and frisbees, she’d just settled down when the stage filled with water and she was joined by several other electroacrobats. The scene’s backdrop changed to a cool brook, the show’s theme changed to a sapphic water ballet. The show’s camera crews kept focusing on guests’ faces as harnesses lifted the dancers into the air. Drunk on wine, but more so drunk on the attention, each was happy to oooh and ahh. Truth be told, the show was less “impressive” and more “happening.” And then it ended. Again the stage’s backdrop whisked us to a new location — midtown Manhattan — and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” came over the speakers, a subtle order to have fun dammit. Doors were opened and we were treated to an exquisite view of the Brooklyn over the East River and at this point I was either drunk or the cupcakes they passed around were the best damn things I’d ever eaten.
And that was it. We came, we saw, we drank. In the morning, bleary-eyed and face pounding, I chased two Excedrin with some electrolyte-infused water swag from the night before. As I sipped, I allowed myself, just for a moment to wonder, did I really watch some acrobats splash around in water to celebrate the launch of designer water? I did. We did.