Dinner conversation last night turned to how boring everything is and how great it was back in the day. I told my dearest friends how boring they sounded. They are avid readers of my rantings and accused me of hysterical optimism and other misdemeanors. I retorted that their perspective is based on the experience they had while partying in clubs I used to run.
That perspective is not relevant to today’s clubs where specialization and smaller venues rule, or vast neighborhoods with different small joints are the equivalent. Being all things to all people went out with the Gatien-era and my last great offering, Life Nightclub. I banged out a list of today’s clubs that cater to the wealthy, and those who feed at their teets: the rock venues and dive meccas, the hip-hoppy model bottle boites, and the sophisticated upper-class supper clubs and joints for genuine adults. I even talked about the Wiliamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick scene that used to fill the mega clubs when Manhattan had that particular edge. There are more places than ever. There is something to do every night. For the snarky at heart there will never be enough.
For the young at heart, like myself, there are never enough hours to enjoy them. There may not be a single, reliably brilliant 7-DJ spot that caters to a mix of cultures (although I argued Webster Hall on some nights really does it), but there are way more places to hang, and much more diversity than ever. Maybe drugs are not the center of the nightlife universe anymore. Maybe the “no smoking” policies have made it less noir, but I can live with that. There are amazing weekly parties, and one-offs, and pop-ups, and hidden gems if you pay attention. So pay attention.
Friday had one of those amazing one-offs. The 21st Annual “Night of a Thousand Stevies” was sold out at the Highline Ballroom. Brought to you by the Jackie Factory, it is a celebration of everything Stevie Nicks. Producers Chi Chi Valenti, Johnny Dynell, and Hattie Hathaway put on a night that made me laugh, cry, sing, dance, remember, and forget. The performers, which brought the ‘Stevie realness’ included Sherry Vine, Basil Twist and Little Stevie, Heather Litteer, Gypsy Wilde, The HoHo’s, Vangeline Theatre, The Rachel Klein Theatre, Poison Eve and and Darlinda, Jazmen Flowers, Adam Dugas and Mia Theodoratus, Amber Martin, Paul Alexander of the Ones, the Divine Grace and Lady Zobie, Machine Dazzle and Darrekk Thorne of the Pixie Harlots, Charlene Coran, Gusty Winds, Bella Luna, Velocity Chyaldd, Billy O, Miss Kelly Webb, Lea Loren, Fleetwood Visions, Johnny Quinlan, Carlos Alomar, Robin Clark, Fleetwood Visions, and of course—Slevy Nicks. I’m sure I missed a few, so please forgive. DJs Sammy Jo and Craig Spencer entertained between acts. It was glorious fun.
These days its all about GaGa and her half a dozen hits, which is fine and deserving of our love, but when you look at the catalogs of people like Stevie Nicks, or, say Diana Ross, who have dozens of brilliant songs to their credit, the GaGa hype seems just that. GaGa is from us, from our scene, and she is much loved. Watching the brilliant performers belt out hit after hit of Miss Nicks was enlightening. The highlight of the “Night of a Thousand Stevies” was a video message from Stevie Nicks promising to one day show up in disguise and mingle, then pop up and sing a song. Past superstars who have performed included Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, and Courtney Love. The crowd dressed in Stevie wear. The suggested dress code was:
“Hopelessly Enchanted Eveningwear, Heart Motifs,Vampiress Velvets, Nightbird Capes, Steampunk Stevie, Victorian Heart Lockets, Beauty and the Beast,/Jean Cocteau references, Leather (Daddy) with Lace, Stevie adorned Top Hats, fearless Sable on Blond hair effects, Spider Web Shawls or Total Stevie Realness all eras. BYOBT (bring your own bedecked tamborine) or catch one of our coveted throws.”
You must wait until next year, but keep in touch with this gang and attend events that they throw at you. Their club Jackie 60 was a top 20 joint of an era past. They are not as prolific as they were in the 90’s, but the quality, the fun, the genius, and the realness still thrives in these one-off events. Tell them Bugsy sent you.