UTAH STORIES: CHINA BLUE
One of the greatest secrets about Salt Lake City is that the people really know how to party. Salt Lake, really? Oh yeah. There’s a substantial party culture made up of gays, abductees, punk rockers, stoners and people who have been oppressed for generations by perfectionist creationists and now they have one of the most talent-filled subcultures the country has seen.
The culmination of the underground party scene happens at China Blue, a four story house built in the mid 1900’s that began it’s occupation back in the late 70’s (from what I’ve heard). It’s nicer than a trap house, but scarier than a teenager’s bedroom. When I searched Google I found nothing on China Blue. The only way I know is because I fell upon it one night three years into climbing the ladder (and falling numerous times) in my party career.
I fell in love with the mystical and magical doll house quality the minute I stepped a drunken foot in. Landing at China Blue, dressed to the nine’s me and my three girlfriends nursed our pre-hangover’s with some hits off a joint. In the kitchen was a full suit of arms. Every wall was covered in art and writing from top to bottom. The fourth floor had a DJ set up and was utilized frequently. The top floor also had a little cove of couches, perfect for an intimate mushroom trip with a tiny window looking out to the street. One time I drank a beer up there that people had used to ash in all night. Another Thanksgiving we pre-gamed there shotgunning beers before taking off to freestyle rap to a nine piece blue grass band. It is in that same room we began to write the lyrics for “Glitter Done: A Redneck Drag Queen Musical”. The occupants of the house were mostly Peter Pan’s and lost girls. Some were Circus performers, clowns and fire spinners. One girl that lived there made her living from sending her used underwear to men she met online. Most of them waited for Burning Man and made preparations year round. Many times there would be some bus conversion parked alongside the street. There was a gigantic cement fire pit in the backyard and although the neighbors probably minded the occasional drama and loud noise, the house was an epic piece of Utah history that screamed to the world that we do in fact know how to party.
Before I came along, the house had seen some memorable moments. Brian Mitchell, the man who abducted Elizabeth Smart, had actually brought her along one night to drink and preach.
During Salt Lake’s great Punk scene a la SLC Punk Sean Fightmaster used to live there. It was said that Bob in the movie was based on Sean. Sean died from Hep C (was the story I heard) and had a binder full of Polaroid’s of the girls he slept with. When the story was recounted to me, my friend said Sean pointed to each girl and let him know if they were alive or dead from Hep C.
There were famous people that visited the house. Politicians. I saw Guru (Gangstarr) in concert and he invited me to go back to China Blue with him. I was tripping on mushrooms so hard I declined, but I was like “What? How do you know?”
The house had a reputation that preceded itself and so actually getting absorbed by the history was a magical experience. Also, adding to the magic was the creation of plot lines involving interesting people doing interesting things, creating art and music under the influence of drugs I couldn’t even recount by name.