2007… It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The year wasn’t so kind to some of our most beloved It Girls of the past — Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears, specifically — but it was as if the pop culture gods conspired together to bestow celebrity gossip enthusiasts (like myself) with the most epic string of events to ever take place in Hollywood.
Though I wasn’t arrested for a DUI or a probation violation (ahem, Lindsay and Paris) or didn’t suffer a head-shaving public breakdown (Brit-Brit, I’m lookin’ at you, girl), I must admit that 2007 was also a pretty rough year for me. I was in 10th grade, battling teenage acne, and years away from escaping the suburban prison that is Wilmington, North Carolina. Oh, and I was still stuck in the closet. Really, I was a disaster. So, TBH, it was actually nice to see that LiLo and Co. were also their own kinds of disasters, going through the wringer, as seen in the pages of — yes, yours truly — In Touch and all of the other celeb weeklies.
Well, guess what. That beautiful ?, iconic ?, sensational ?, glamorous ?, tragic ?, absolutely f–king perfect ? time in history has found new life in a recently installed art exhibit in Brooklyn, New York. When I first heard that what is basically a museum dedicated to 2007 was popping up just one borough away from me, I knew that I had to check it out the minute it opened. And, obvi, it was beyond magnificent.
The exhibit, titled “NICOLE RICHIE’S 2007 MEMORIAL DAY BBQ” — which opened on Friday, July 29, at the THNK1994 Museum — was directly inspired by The Simple Life alum’s infamous party. As you may remember, the raucous celebration kicked off with a leaked e-mail invite (that — OMG! — stated “no girls over 100 pounds” were allowed to attend) and ended with a disoriented Mischa Barton leaving on a stretcher after “mixing alcohol with antibiotics.”
With so many other headline-grabbing antics that occurred in 2007, I wondered why Nicole’s summer bash was chosen as the focal point. Matt, one of the exhibit’s curators and the 19-year-old mastermind behind the wildly popular 2000s nostalgia Instagram account @popculturediedin2009 (who only goes by his first name — so ~chic~, I know), told me why Miss Richie’s fête was the ideal muse.
“This particular event is pretty much the central focus of 2007. It’s where all these party girls came together. I mean, Memorial Day Weekend 2007 was really crazy. You had Paris getting ready to go to jail, you had Lindsay Lohan getting her first DUI, crashing her Mercedes into a tree,” Matt, who is a living encyclopedia of the mid-aughts, explained to me. “And then you had Nicole throwing this party with her friend Masha Gordon — and then the email leaked, which had a line saying girls over 100 pounds couldn’t get in. At the time, Nicole was the poster child for ‘scary-skinny,’ and it just really added to the whole scandal of it all.”
And, of course, Matt also emphasized the party’s grand finale, which came courtesy of a seemingly troubled OC star. “Oh, and then it all ended with Mischa being rushed to the hospital, only for Mischa and Nicole to say, ‘Oh, she only mixed antibiotics with alcohol,’” he said. “And we all know that it was probably something far more, Meesh.”
When I walked into the exhibit, I immediately felt at home. Between the all-Britney playlist (like, hello, amazing) and the artistic interpretations of some of my favorite tabloid images, it almost felt like I was walking into the inside of my own brain. Very surreal. And, in a way, kinda spiritual. After all, celebrity news is practically my religion.
While Nicole’s BBQ was certainly present on the walls of the exhibit (her 2007-era skeletal, bikini body is reimagined in a piece called “Twiggy Nicole” by MaVa), other unforgettable moments were also given the creative treatment. The one that spoke to me most? Laura Collins’ giant painting of Lindsay, Britney, and Paris cuddled together in the front seat of a car, getting ready to go home after a night out at the now-closed Guy’s Bar in West Hollywood. If I had $3,000 to blow, you best believe that acrylic masterpiece would replace my current CB2 wall art.
(Photo Credit: Courtesy of THNK1994)
And if my small, one-bedroom Manhattan apartment had the right space — or if I lived in a mansion with a pool house — I might even consider dipping into my savings to purchase “Lindsay Lohan Posing in a Bikini and Ankle Monitor,” another pricey (albeit stunning) work of wonder by Collins, which illustrates that momentous occasion when a post-rehab Linds attended a Boost Mobile beach party event without a f–k to give.
After checking out all the art, I — in the spirit of Mischa — drank some “Antibiotics” (a.k.a., SVEDKA and grapefruit juice) and then, after adjusting my trucker hat and retying my Kabbalah bracelet, literally thanked God. Because, like, I was feeling #blessed AF. If I couldn’t physically travel back in time to the glory days of 2007, at least I could relive its greatest memories for one night in NYC.
Me. Posing like LiLo in front of LiLo. With Paris and Nicole on my shirt. And Britney on my phone case. So meta, right?
“NICOLE RICHIE’S 2007 MEMORIAL DAY BBQ” runs through Sept. 10. For more information, check out THNK1994.com. Oh, and do yourself a favor. Go ahead and follow @popculturediedin2009. I swear to Britney, you won’t regret it.