Out Late: Inside an underground reggaeton party that only happens during retrogrades

Mercury in Reggaeton is redefining what a reggaeton party should look like.

Ian Kumamoto
Written by
Ian Kumamoto
Staff Writer
two friends pose
Photograph: By Luis Nieto DickensDamn Steven (left) and Lucas Skywalker (right)

"Out Late" is Time Out's nightlife and party column by DJ, Whorechata founder, and Staff Writer Ian Kumamoto, which publishes every other Tuesday. The previous edition highlighted Red Lantern District’s all-Asian drag party.

If you grew up listening to reggaeton, then you know it’s an inherently sexy genre. Lyrically, the songs practically beg you to find the nearest body and thrust your hips against it. But as playful as reggaeton is to the casual listener, the culture around is sequestered by a set of rigid rules: Namely, if you’re a boy, you best be dancing with a girl. 

To me, that’s what makes Mercury in Reggaeton, the two-year old Latinx-centered party, so iconic: It happens during the most rule-breaking time of year. If you’re not big into astrology, let me catch you up: Mercury Retrogrades are windows of chaos, of miscommunications, times when the normal order of things get turned on their head. If you’re a boy who likes to dance with other boys, for example, the retrograde might just be a window of transgressive opportunity.  

two people dance with each other
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens

The idea for Mercury in Reggaeton came about when Puerto Rican DJ and producer Lucas Skywalker started partying in La Perla, a neighborhood in San Juan that throws the wildest, most ass-on-the-wall type parties. Per Lucas, people’s homes are transformed into makeshift nightclubs where cellphone use is forbidden for practical reasons—"the parties are not exactly legal," he tells me—and then they play reggaeton, hip-hop, and top 40 hits well into the morning.  

Inspired by the energy and community that formed around those parties, Lucas wanted to bring a sense of underground reggaeton functions to New York and make them queer-inclusive. He started by recruiting some of his closest DJ friends, including Mazurbate, Joselo, Fried Platano, and Oscar Nñ. Then he found a co-producer, Damn Steven. As for the art direction of the flyers, he was drawn toward the testosterone-heavy, six-pack-ridden ads that a lot of gay Latin parties use. His instructions to the graphic designer were to essentially take those and Bushwickify them. The results were these now emblematic, glossy humanoid characters who are grabbing a planet I assume is Mercury and topping it. 

Photograph: Courtesy of DL presents

In order to recreate the underground feel of La Perla parties, the first Mercury in Reggaeton parties took place at H0l0, the stuffy basement venue located in Ridgewood. The concept of a reggaeton party that only happened during the retrogrades was so intriguing that the parties were packed from the get-go. Then, H0L0 shut down temporarily and Lucas scrambled for a new venue. His saving grace came in the form of SILO, a new, cavernous space that was formerly a plane hangar in East Williamsburg, with a DJ setup in the middle, Boiler Room style. 

 One parameter we stay within is that all the DJs and hosts are Latinx.

The latest Mercury in Reggaeton party at SILO boasted an incredible lineup of DJs that included Bronx-native Dada Cozmic, Manuka Honey, DJ Sammii Blendz, Neueportrait, and Skywalker. “One parameter we stay within is that all the DJs and hosts are Latinx,” Lucas tells me. The party hosts, who each had their own tables cordoned off along the outer edge of the dance floor, included Fashion Faguette, Cesar Lemonier, the clubwear brand LEAK NYC, and salon owner and hair designer Hair by Ian.

two friends in a nightclub
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens

Lucas says that one of the most exciting things about the party is how it’s evolved into much more than just a gay Latin party. When you go to a Mercury in Reggaeton, the attendees are what Lucas describes as “a mix of fashion girls, guys who take off their shirts immediately, and straight cis girls who come to dance.” 

A mix of fashion girls, guys who take off their shirts immediately, and straight cis girls who come to dance. 

Just two years into their inception, Mercury is already one of the most talked about Latin parties in the city, and Lucas is excited to keep dreaming upwards. “I would love to have this party at Brooklyn Mirage, or that type of venue with a festival vibe,” he says. The idea of a big, queer-inclusive reggaeton festival feels really fresh and exciting. If I’m being completely honest, I would buy a ticket to that in a heartbeat. “I just want to make it bigger, and better, and elevated.”

friends at a party
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens

An hour-by-hour account of a night at Mercury in Reggaeton 


I arrive with a group of friends, and the dance floor is already packed. It’s very POC, and the music is bumping. I think I hear some Don Omar mixed with techno, but Shazam can’t really tell me since it’s someone's original edit.


I’m dancing with some friends and I can’t help but notice how hot everyone here is. If people aren’t wearing something cute, they have their shirts off. If they’re not shirtless, they’re wearing crop tops. There really is a chaotic energy and I can’t tell if it’s because of the retrograde or because it’s just starting to get warm in New York, finally. 

friends at a party
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens


I’m surprised to hear some circuit mixes—a bold choice for Bushwick. But again, somehow it works. I realize here that the problem with circuit parties is not so much the music as much as it is the culture surrounding it, which tends to have a mean popular Fire Island gay energy to it. It’s the first time I’ve heard Latin circuit music surrounded by people who are not all cis men obsessed with being cis men, and I’m kind of living for it. 

I meet another Mexican-American person and he tells me he recently got out of a relationship. He says he hasn’t gone out in a long time and also points out that everyone here is so hot. “You absolutely don’t have to do anything with this information,” he says. “But I think you’re cute.”

person dancing against railing
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens


An aerialist gets on stage and does some acrobatics. It feels random but not in a head-scratching way; more so in a oh my god is that an aerialist?! sort of way. I doubt they have people doing flips like that in La Perla, and I guess this is what makes this a Brooklyn party.  

Photograph: By Luis Nieto DickensDJ Dada Cozmic wearing LEAK NYC


I go to the bar to take a break from dancing, and there are plenty of people hanging out and talking. This feels like a very social party, the type of party where people just start talking to whoever is next to them, which I don’t experience a lot in NYC nightlife. I end up chatting with some people, including some of Lucas’ friends Papito Suave and Kandy Muse. I exchange socials with a couple of other people. I can’t tell if we’re cruising or genuinely trying to be friends.

Shirtless person standing with hands on rail
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens


I lose track of time and realize that the party is almost over. Someone offers me poppers. 


SILO's staff clears out the venue and there’s plenty of people outside. You know a party was a success when people are not ready to go home. They’re all talking about where the afters will be. I order enchiladas and eat them standing up. I must have kept going because I didn’t get home until 9am.

person being carried
Photograph: By Luis Nieto Dickens

How to catch the next Mercury in Raggaeton party

Where: SILO or other venues around Bushwick.

When: Whenever mercury is in retrograde (that's usually three or four times/year)

Cost: $20+

How to get in: Buy a ticket whenever they drop a link. Keep an eye on dl presents' Instagram.

The vibe: Sexy and social.

What to wear: Whatever you want, or nothing at all.

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