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In the age of seflies and Instagram, it may seem that narcissism levels have gone through the roof. However, a wave of young Houstonians are looking to dispel the negative side of duck lips and selfie-stick shots, leaning into the use of social media and over-sharing, and highlighting the silver lining of instant connectivity.

WhateverForever, a Montrose-based social group headed by Brooke Bechtel and Victor Cisneros, hosts themed parties every month inside Westheimer Curve club Etro Lounge, including this Sunday’s “Selfy” event. The party is a celebration of the Millennial generation’s viral sharing of self-based images and the use of platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

“I wanted to make a party that engulfed Montrose and that took elements of parties that I really liked, like in places like San Francisco,” says Bechtel, who was inspired to create the art-based party group after attending like-minded events in other cities. Bechtel’s grand scheme is to give people a reason to go out, creating an interactive environment at each event that will have attendees coming back for more. “Back in the day, in Montrose, there was always some great party going on and a photographer was there. People would log on to the computer, get the pictures, reminisce—it makes you want to do more and get involved and interact. I wanted to bring that aesthetic back.”

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To go along with connecting and reminiscing through photography, WhateverForever’s theme this month is that of the selfie (stylized as “selfy”). Enter Christian Alexander, who coordinated the eponymous Facebook group. Bechtel and Alexander collaborated on this Sunday’s party—which also features local vendors like vintage clothier Catacomb and a live DJ set by Alexander—to celebrate self-expression and body confidence.

“We are embracing self-expression, but not self-obsession. We’re the new content. Putting yourself forward can’t be a bad thing,” says Alexander. Party attendees aren’t just encouraged to snap selfie after selfie, but to upload images to the Facebook group’s page, which will then live-stream the images, projecting them throughout the club and creating a truly interactive experience.

“Parties are supposed to be about the people who go to them. The power of self,” Alexander adds.

WhateverForever: Selfy. Sunday, July 26. 5. Free. Etro Lounge, 1424 Westheimer Rd. whateverforeverhtx.com

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