Friends say Claire Brownell brought them there hoping for a repeat of last month's funk night thrown by DJ Timekode at the same venue. "She kept telling us how packed and awesome it was with tons of people dancing and great music," said classmate Natalie Spechyson. I mean, Stechyson.
Instead, the group of 11 was greeted by pounding techno that sounded like it would be more at home in neo-Nazi Germany than Ottawa's Chinatown. "The beats were neither funky nor fresh," Brownell's friend Ben Nicholson-Smith said. "Claire and I used to go to a bar in London that had a weekly funk night, and she promised me it would be like that. She lied to me. Why would she lie to me?"
Nicki Thomas, another classmate, said her first clue was the strange manner of dress of many of the people in the line. "I know Halloween is coming up, but these people looked like fairy wings, vampire capes and rainbow hot pants were just a part of their everyday wardrobe," she said.
After paying $7 only to find the bar empty of all but an enthusiastic, wide-pupilled few, an already intoxicated Brownell proceeded to down several more shots, witnesses reported.
She then text messaged "Help" to her other group of friends, who were on their way to join her at the bar. "I knew something was wrong when I got that text," said Michelle Smoliniec, who goes by the alias Megababe. "Unfortunately I was too drunk to do much but send her a seven minute long voicemail about the time I worked as a lifeguard at a summer camp even though I didn't have any qualifications, skills or experience."
"I don't know what she was so embarrassed for," said classmate Sonya Bell. "I think rainbow hot pants are totally sexy. I almost wore the same thing."
Brownell was pronounced dead at 12:47 a.m. Sunday morning. Witnesses say she fell to the ground twitching and cursing the owner of the cafe who had told her on the phone that the same event she had attended a month ago was being held that night.