NEW YORK – A doctoral candidate in Yale University's American Studies Program is teaching a course in "nightlife culture" that includes DJ lecturers, a field trip to New York nightlife hot spots Le Bain and the Boom Boom Room and a discussion titled "Looks, Doors and Guest Lists: Getting Past the Velvet Rope."
"I worry about whether people will think this is serious," Madison Moore said. "But it's not just about getting drunk. It's about the history of it, the Harlem cabarets, understanding race, gender, sex, Prohibition and the law."
Ivy League schools seem to be taking party studies seriously -- nightlife kingpins Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss spoke recently at Harvard Business School. But some parents might have mixed feelings about the Yale syllabus, which includes headings like "Studio 54 and Limelight: The Birth of the Mega Club."
Moore's "Dance Music and Nightlife Culture in New York City" seminar at the 310-year-old institution of higher learning also features texts by Village Voice writer Michael Musto (whose recent piece, "Why I Hate Nightlife," is a tortured love letter to the scene) and Anthony Haden-Guest, who won top prize in Spy magazine's 1988 Ironman Nightlife Decathlon.
Speakers include Madame Wong's and Red Egg pop-up club mastermind Simonez Wolf, Santos Party House's Andrew W.K. and Vibe magazine co-founder Scott Poulson-Bryant.
Wolf will even create a one-off party at Yale to show the preppies how it is done. But students should not stay out late. Moore's class allows just "one excused absence," otherwise, they will need a note from the dean.
"I always describe Yale as being ... pretty traditional on one hand, but pretty progressive on the other," Moore said, adding, "The iPad generation wants to know about pop culture."