Bowery Presents and 826NYC Present: The Prom You Were Promised

May 20th, 2009

We know what you’re thinking: How can I relive my own prom and help a good cause at the same time? That’s easy. Just break out your black-tie duds tomorrow and head directly to Music Hall of Williamsburg to celebrate 826NYC’s The Prom You Were Promised, featuring DJ sets by Vampire Weekend, Pat Mahoney—of LCD Sound System—and Hercules and Love Affair. All proceeds benefit 826 NYC. And to get you in the spirit, we asked Keith Murray, the guitarist and lead singer of We Are Scientists, about his prom experience.


“I never went to my prom. I can’t lie: In high school, I was a nerd. We’re not talking about simple, benign public awkwardness here, either. I was fairly aggressive about my social distance from the popular kids. I was what my current girlfriend cholerically refers to as a ‘righteous nerd’—one who recognizes his own status as such, and who relishes it; who outwardly celebrates it; who tries to use it to punish those who have transcended the designation.

“Appropriately enough, I spent that night making short films with my best friend and frequent artistic collaborator, Joe. Earlier in the week, we had collected the supplies necessary to handcraft a dummy we hoped would pass for Joe. It was just a Styrofoam head and a flesh-tone jumpsuit full of stuffing, but we did have a wig that looked enough like Joe’s hair to make the dummy a useful prop for several classic shorts, including Joe Falls Off Roof, Joe Falls Off Other, Different Roof, and the criminally under-seen Joe Is Hit by Keith’s Mother’s Car. Meanwhile, all of our friends were elsewhere, in formal dress, making out under adult supervision.

“I had a girlfriend at the time of my senior prom and STILL refused to attend. She saw no value in my numerous arguments against the tradition of the prom. She countered my assertion that the event was little more than an administratively sanctioned circle jerk for the cool kids by citing the fact that it ‘seemed like fun.’ Part of the problem must have been that she was, in fact, one of those cool kids. As I recall, she was nominated to the prom court. She may have even been named prom queen. I’m not sure, though. What I do know for sure is that the guy who ended up going as her (supposedly) platonic date was beaten up by total strangers at the after-party. Had I conformed to high school social mandate, that could have been me. I skipped my prom and dodged a bullet. The cool kids got theirs.” —Keith Murray