When I ran joints, I had a standard that I held my staff, my club and myself to. That standard was: What would Andy Warhol think if he walked in tonight? Sometimes he did. It made me proud that one of the great creative minds of that century—and certainly the greatest social mind downtown has ever known—was entertained by something I helped to create. If Andy were alive today he would find Kayvon Zand’s Dorian Gray party and he would be excited by it.
He would want to know everyone who attended and he would hang for hours. He would try to make them all superstars, but correctly realize that God had preceded him. It is like that. Dorian Gray is the best party of the week for those whose heads tilt a little, or for those who prance around the flames of such folk. I love Susanne Bartsch parties as well, but Kayvon’s are sexier for me, darker for me and at the same time very friendly and inclusive. I like the music at Kayvon’s much more. I love johnny Dynell and the cohorts of fabulous people who Susanne uses for sound, but I think Kayvon’s is more forward, more edgy—more me. The luck of it is, we have multiiiple great weekly parties in an era when fools complain there is nothing to do.
Now, Kayvon was doing his weekly Dorian Gray at DL, but the community got in an uproar over DL in general. Then, small-minded MIMBY bitches got it up their tired old asses that Kayvon’s crew were offensive. DL bowed to this repressive pressure and cancelled Dorian Gray. The party has settled in the cozy confines of Bowery Electric, and tonight—Wednesday October 9th—is its restart. At Bowery Electric it will thrive, grow and teach a generation how to do it right. I caught up with Kayvon and asked him all about it.
So Dorian Gray has a new home.
Yes, Dorian Gray has moved to Johnny T’s club, The Bowery Electric. It’s the perfect home. Johnny T, who was responsible for Mother Fucker, gets it. When looking for a new home for the party, the most important element was finding a club owner who not only understood the importance of the alternative element of nightlife but also valued the party.
Your parties are certainly spectacles, a lot is put into production. Tell me about the players and the concept.
Having worked on others parties and The Box for years, I always felt like there were parties that had elements of the reigning years of nightlife in NYC but were not yet around the Top 40 commercialization of the city. The party is the only weekly dance party that plays Goth, New Wave, Alternative and Synth Pop exclusively. Our DJS Wren Britton, Johanna Constantine and Sean Templar were involved in the days dating back to the limelight, so they had lived the vision I wanted to bring back to NYC nightlife—where the looks are just as important as the music. Everyone comes with a look, not just the people that are working. It’s a nightlife revolution! The freaks are taking back the night.
This isn’t a goth party as I remember them, it’s something much more. Is it definable?
It’s an alternative dance party. We’re a blender. We have drag queens, goths, punks, club kids, rockers and scene kids. Check your age, race, and orientation in at the door. At Dorian Gray you never know who is going to walk in and who they are going to walk out with!
Tell me about the music.
The music comes first. We play anyone from Goth, Industrial, Synth Pop to new wave. We also feature upcoming local acts and performance artists. It’s a celebration of the real new york. Setting the tone and not following it.
The crowd is actually very friendly and accessible—is this a philosophy?
Our previous venue who has a lot of parties told us we were the friendliest and most respectful crowd. I can’t disagree. We have never had a fight or had theft. Rare to say in nightlife. I think we all just want this party to live and respect it and those who have been supporting it. It’s a community of like minds and anyone who takes the train in combat boots and fish net stockings has my respect.
And you have a performance career of your own?
Here’s my music video/mini movie for "One Way Flight!" Currently I am working on an EP with Gomi.