DJ Aaron James On His Year In New York And Blast-Off To India

The way New Year’s Eve is falling on a Monday is a huge boon to marketing. Christmas spirit, gift returning, leftovers, and hangovers will linger until at least Wednesday, but by late Thursday/Friday, people will be desperate to have their big night plans finalized. A long weekend without work distractions will mean ginormous last-minute sales. I will DJ at the Dream Hotel Downtown which has sooo much going on and a built-in audience… I love hotel parties. I’ll tell you all about it early next week. After my gig, I’ll head over to a very private friends-and-family preview of an old club made new. This joint will help define this decade of clubdom. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to talk about this yet, but I’m sure club insiders know what I’m talking about. More on this after the holiday.

Tonight, the tireless Wendy Diamond is throwing her 8th annual Toys for Dogs holiday benefit in support of Hurricane Sandy animals. There will be photo-ops with a "celebrity" Santa, and lots of rescued dogs to mingle with. Dogs torn from their families or just plain lost and living in shelters will get a toy to ease their loneliness and confusion. The event will be at Amnesia, which in case you forgot is at 609 W. 29th St. from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

My pal DJ Aaron James is off to India for New Year’s Eve and a bit after that. He’s having a Blast Off To India Party at the Dream Hotel Uptown next Wednesday, December 26th. I asked him about his year-long stay with us here in the Big Apple.

It’s been a year that you’ve be in New York…
It’s hard for me to fathom it’s been almost one year since we last spoke about India, my travels, and my expectations for NYC nightlife upon my return. That seems like a small eternity ago.

When and why are you leaving?
I’m flying out next Friday the 28th … back to India to DJ New Year’s Eve at the world-class Shiro in New Delhi, and then to move every dance floor in India and SE Asia I can get my hands on. Considering I don’t even have a lease or any other thing binding me here, for me it feels like a full-on shift. It’s crazy really, like picking up from where I left off on a life over there … a twin universe almost of an entirely new set of friends, family, lovers, inspirations, dreams.

How long will you be gone? What’s the plan?
I’m on a one-year business visa, so unless I end up marrying some irresistibly alluring Indian woman, I’ll be back eventually. Haha. Actually, plan is to pop back in a few months to tour with one of my all-time favorite recording artists: Vanessa Daou. She’s dropping a new album in the new year, and has graciously asked me to be her U.S. tour DJ. I hadn’t planned on coming back until the visa expired, but considering I’ve been a fan of Vanessa’s since as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

I always knew I would be going back. It was only a matter of time. I’m not running away from New York or NYC nightlife as much as I’m branching out and seeing as much of the world as I can before I get too old and turn to dust. In the past year, I’ve seen the best we have to offer and the worst. I guess I’m just in a humble, grateful mood.

New York’s been good to me this year. Having come back last January with nothing at all in the pipeline, I’ve managed to work hard, keep myself more or less out of trouble, and pay off some $50,000 in debt, which was the main reason I stayed on so long anyway. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am entirely debt-free and feeling light as a feather because of it. Mission accomplished, and how could I be mad at that.

You’ve been back for a minute. What do you think of NYC nightlife?
I’ve come to accept the nightlife scene here for what it is … though I haven’t truly defined what “it” is. It’s less than I remember from years past, but so much more than much of the world has to offer. I rather focus on the positives now, and not be that hater that says the nightlife sucks now and forever and that there’s no hope. There are small beautiful pockets of resistance everywhere in this city – some sparkle and glimmer of originality exists as it once did, just perhaps it’s harder to find.

I love this city, I do. I only wish sometimes we could lighten up a bit, take ourselves a little less seriously, or with less vanity … and just dance, man. These days to me, nothing else matters. Off I go, always letting go.

 

 

 

‘Hitler’ Clothing Store Sells Shitty Clothes

So there’s been a bit of an uproar this week about a new clothing store in India named Hitler. Rightfully. But what of the styles for sale?

As Gawker and many, many others gleefully report:

As for the name, [co-owner Rajesh] Shah … pleads ignorance, telling the Times of India the store was named after his business partner’s grandfather who was nicknamed Hitler "because of his strict nature."

He continued: "Frankly, till the time we applied for the trademark permission, I had only heard that Hitler was a strict man. It was only recently that we read about Hitler on the internet."

I feel pretty comfortable calling bullshit on the "I didn’t know who Hitler was" claim, which dovetails nicely with a viral ad campaign based on international outrage, yet I can’t help but feel like everyone’s burying the lede here, and that lede is Jesus Christ, What Kind Of Clothes Are They Selling In India

Really, give these pictures a close look. What the fuck is that Ed Hardy-inspired Gandhi T-shirt that Mr. Shah is wearing? And what’s with all those Hawaiian-looking numbers hanging like rags behind him on the left? A Superman T-shirt, like some remaindered crap from Urban Outfitters? And a blue-checked, button-down thing that I swear my mom bought me from Aéropostale in 1999? 

Let us stress that this Ahmedabad-based outlet is situated in "the posh neighborhood of Vastrapur." Now please take a second to atone for your role in the globalization of consumer capitalism. We can only hope that despite all the free publicity for his ill-named store, Mr. Shah fails on his repugnant aesthetic alone. On the other hand, you can’t fault his vision: this is definitely what we’d all dress like if the Nazis had won.

Rajesh Shah

18 Again Vaginal Tightening Gel Commercial Rips Off ‘Like A Virgin’

18 Again: it’s not a sequel to the Zac Efron romantic comedy 17 Again. It’s a vaginal tightening gel and lubricant available in India. In this commercial set in a family’s home, a woman dances with her lover to a song that sounds likes Madonna’s Like A Virgin while hinting at him that she is — wink wink nudge nudge — "18 again" down there.

Clever product name. Alas, some of us don’t want sex to be "like our very first time" ever again. The tears. The tension. Dave Matthews Band playing in the background. No, thank you!

 

 

Madonna is no stranger to having her music ripped off and repurposed (cough Lady Gaga cough). 18 Again might just be the most … unique … example.

J.K. Rowling Addresses Indian Owl Smuggling Trend

As you may know, I turned into an animal activist overnight. I resisted chicken and ate a salad for dinner. I watched The Cove. Sure, this is probably a phase and I’ll be back on Spicy Wings next week, but for now I’m a crusader for animal rights and I’m watching you, whole country of India. Last week, it was made globally known that the Harry Potter franchise, which remains hugely successful in India, has captivated youth in all the wrong ways, making owls the trendiest black-market pet of the month. This major wildlife trafficking crisis has become such a noisemaker that the government got involved, and now, Potter scribe J.K. Rowling.

Rowling addressed the issue yesterday on her website: “There has been a spate of stories in the press recently concerning the upswing in popularity of keeping owls as pets, allegedly as a result of the Harry Potter books. If it is true that anybody has been influenced by my books to think that an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can: please don’t.”

Let’s hope her non-fiction is just as powerful as her wizardry.

Tar Balls Invade India

While Spain’s Costa Blanca region battles vicious translucent jellyfish and Alabama’s beaches face down Taylor Hicks, India’s west coast is getting its hands messy with something truly unusual. The hippies and jetsetters alike who frequent the tiny, seaside state of Goa, India, have temporarily stopped fighting over hammocks to observe one of the weirdest shoreline invasions yet: The pristine beaches have recently been awash with tons of tar balls, the semi-solid, smudgy layers of slime caused by the dumping of used oils by ships. Dear ships dumping oils into the sea: have you not learned anything from the oil leak on our Gulf shore?

Anyway, this is nothing unusual, as it happens every year. It’s only been abnormally prominent this past week. Goa’s Tourism Minister, Nilkanth Halarnkar, said, “The Coast Guard, Navy, as well as marine scientists, were being roped in to brainstorm and come up with ways to curb the tar ball menace in the future.” The tar balls are being collected and sent to an oil refinery for incineration. Goa, one of the more popular destinations in India, has almost 80 miles of (generally) untainted beaches. But visitors during their high season will have to somehow get used to the “sticky” situation: the tar balls look like they might be washing up on shore until October.

India Gets a Little Gay

When my friends and I went on a train journey through the state of Maharashtra a few years ago, we somehow got in a discussion with our waiter about India’s gay community. Our waiter genuinely had no idea what the concept of gay was. He was nineteen. We weren’t surprised, considering the traditional “taboo” the lifestyle comes with in India, and the fact homosexuality is generally not discussed. But thanks to several organizations like the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, National AIDS Control Organization, and perhaps a dash of Bollywood and its fans, the country is slowly stepping out of the closet and embracing a “pink economy” boom.

Last year, the country lifted a ban on homosexual sex. This triggered a spike in acceptance, and top gay pioneers are riding that card with full force, laying claim to the so-called “pink economy” that in the US alone is worth $640 billion a year. Let’s face it: gays have money and will spend it (thanks to—besides ambition and talent—DINK: Double Income No Kids).

In popular cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, entrepreneurs are targeting the gay business. Since July, more than fifteen bars across New Delhi have hosted gay events. It’s a somewhat sensitive movement, but it’s a movement nontheless. While same-sex couples still can’t get married in India, there’s always Nepal, which hosted the first Indian gay wedding last week and first Gay Pride Parade in Kathmandu yesterday. Work it!

Lindsay Lohan’s Indian Journey: Behind the Scenes

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here. Lindsay Lohan’s child trafficking doc, Lindsay Lohan’s Indian Journey, premieres tonight on the BBC. In honor of the momentous occasion, the Guardian has some fun “making of” tidbits about LiLo’s reported antics during the shoot. Some highlights:

*When it was time to go to India, Lindsay got flakey and repeatedly cancelled and rebooked flights and didn’t communicate her plans to producers.

*When she was tweeting messages like “Over 40 children saved so far,” and “Within one day’s work … this is what life is about … Doing THIS is a life worth living! Oh, and I’m talking about being in India,” she reportedly wasn’t even in India.

*When Lohan finally agreed to travel to India, three first class tickets had to be purchased at the last minute, reportedly for a cool $45,000, though the BBC says this figure isn’t correct.

*Lohan’s on-again-off-again flakeage meant she got to India the day after a planned raid by Indian authorities on a child trafficking operation. She was supposed to be there so that she could be filmed with the children rescued by the raid.

*The BBC allowed Lohan to travel to India without a work visa, which could mean she won’t be able to travel there again. Something tells us she doesn’t have any plans to.

*Lohan only spent 2 and a half days in India. Quite a journey.

*Lohan was a no-show for an interview with Unicef in New York that was to be featured in the film. Where was she when she was supposed to be having a serious talk with Unicef officials? Oh, a little soiree called Milan fashion week. *The doc features a scene where a little girl tells her tragic story of how her parents would beat her if she didn’t go out every day to earn money. LiLo sobs. The little girl goes to stroke her hair to comfort it. LiLo freaks out. “Oh my God! Oh my God!” she wails. “Sorry, I’m having a moment.” The cameras shut off.