One of these days, I’d like to open a “Messy Motel”; buy a mid-century modern fixer-upper and revive it to all its shabby chic glory. Kate Berry is right there with me– in fact, she’s two steps ahead of me. The Australian photographer and self-confessed “stupid adventurer/ compulsive ideas lady” who founded a successful indie magazine, Lunch Lady and previously owned her own café, is about to embark on her craziest adventure yet. She’s about to host the party of all parties this summer at a run-down, forgotten motel in the middle of nowheresville, Australia.
Where most people see loneliness and cheap polyester bedding, Kate sees endless potential and a grand old time. As the creative director of her new venture “OK Motels”, she wants to transform the overlooked roadside motel into a vessel for time travel and rewind the clock to their more glamorous heyday– even if they never had one.
In the sleepy town of Charlton somewhere in between Melbourne and Adelaide, OK Motels is taking over the Charlton Motel for its first event this August. Kate and her team are going to be dusting off the classy 70s pool bar and function room to take “motel lovers who like to party” back to how it was and how it should be. “This gig will be like no other,” says Kate, who has teamed up with some of Australia’s coolest DJs with even cooler names like Tropical F*ck Storm, DJ Hot Wheels, Affordable Repayments, Cable Ties and B*tch Diesel.
The overnight gig will kick off with a nostalgic dinner (think country motel classics like roast pork with scalloped potatoes or fish curry) and ticket holders that didn’t get there early enough to nab a motel room (now sold out) will get to camp in the swanky glamping tents set up in the garden, or bring their own. It’s just the kind of excuse one needs to take a road trip and attend the most accidentally Wes Anderson party ever.
And the Charlton Motel manager couldn’t be happier about the invasion. “Glenda, the manager is working so hard making sure it’s all ship shape and in party order by August,” says Kate. “She’s a bloody legend. This event just wouldn’t have happened without her.” And if all goes well, there could be many more to come. Got a cool motel? Got an event? OK Motels encourages you to reach out and help them make it happen.
Why not breathe life back into the forgotten motels around the world? Party with their ghosts and toast to their untold stories! Not everyone gets it, but I think it’s an idea that I think needs sharing.