By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
The Village Voice used its space more than appropriately in the five features that made up the cover package "Superclubs Die: Let a Thousand Parties Bloom" [July 17] to emphasize what happens when a humorless city government wages war on nightlife. Condemning the since-closed club Twilo for providing water and private ambulances to patrons is like condemning a needle exchange for providing clean syringes to addicts. Chalk up another casualty of ignorant, conservative hysteria.
Adjunct Professor in Music Composition
State University of New York
SIX DEGREES OF PROHIBITION
As an adult in New York City in the year 2001, I find the enforcement of the Prohibition-era cabaret laws extremely insulting to our culture. This city telling me where I can shake my rear end is ridiculous. I feel like running around an abandoned warehouse like Kevin Bacon to the song "Footloose." I have seen several clubs closed or fined because of these laws. It could be your favorite place next.
A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
A brief comment on Frank Owen's article "Private Pandemonium" [July 17], about the fact that the New York club scene is played out and underground house parties are more fun. No shit. Let's think for a moment about why this is. Perhaps it has something to do with the access that has been given to way too many jerkoffs, morons, and yuppies. Assuming this is the case, why then, when there's something new happening, something real and freaky and interesting, would you run a story about it? Please, if you get the inclination to do something like this again, think about it. There are so few places left to get away from these people. Why do you have to write them a fucking guide?
DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE
Although there are a few inconsistencies in Frank Owen's July 17 report on our group, I agree with the basic premise that Giuliani's "quality of life" measures and the use of archaic cabaret laws have severely stifled nightlife in New York. (For the record, the city was sued [after the demolition of the 5th Street Homestead squat] by the 5th Street Homestead Coalition of which the Blackkat DJ collective was a part; and our works are solid and not held together by "bits of duct tape.")
However, I disagree that the Giuliani crackdown has led to a flourishing of underground parties. These obnoxious acts by the city have hurt warehouse and loft events. The moving parties that survive today take place only through dogged determination, networking, and endless hassle. Perhaps a few clubbers have moved into the private spaces, but for those of us who have supported hardcore techno for years, the clubs, the lounges, and bars never offered much.
Most Voice readers would agree that city policy under the current mayor has hurt cultural life on many levels. I contend that the bigger enemy is the apathy and desperate need for quiet and convenience so prevalent in lower Manhattan and affluent Brooklyn neighborhoods. That's the real backbone of support for Rudy's monster. Would-be hipster upwardly mobile single young adults in this city need to ask themselves, "What have I done to stop this? What can I do?"
Lower East Side/Brooklyn
RUDY AND THE REDNECKS
As a former Twilohead (still nursing her wounds), I was delighted to stumble upon Tricia Romano's candid feature portraying the other side of the New York club saga ["Rave Robbers," July 17].
Clearly, an unstated aim of Giuliani and his cronies is the attainment of control over nightlife. The public is led to believe, however, that by paralyzing "these little buckets of blood," society will be better off in the long run. What officials fail to realize, though, is what is brooding underground.
If Giuliani's wet dream was to aggravate the hell out of club owners, promoters, and those who flirt with the scene, he has succeeded. On the other hand, and more importantly, his temporary gain has created a long-term loss. Namely, the semi-fascist Giuliani administration and those tied into it have prompted the younger generation to realize a painful truth: Only sustained resistance can prevent the takeover of our world by those geared to exploit and control it.
Giuliani can get the fuck off my dance floor. I don't want him there anyway.
There are reasons why clubs like Twilo, the Tunnel, and Limelight are chased by the city: lack of illegal-substance control, owners who don't pay taxes, improperly trained staffs, etc. Some of the biggest clubs in New York city are untouchable because they follow the rules. The city only closes a business when they have concrete reasons to do so.
BEHIND THE SCENE
I think the authorities were completely justified in shutting down Twilo. I was a Twilo- goer for a long timethat is, until three episodes where I was almost escorted to the infamous back room [where people who had OD'd allegedly were hidden]. That club was a crack palace. If it had stayed open, more deaths due to drugs would have occurred.
The writer's last name has been withheld.
MUSTO ON LINE
What a fabulous account by Michael Musto of the reality that door people go through on a nightly basis ["Door Diva: Musto Mans the Velvet Rope at Eugene and Spa," July 17]. Musto should be applauded and get a real Spa vacation. It's all in the name of the party! Hysterical yet true.
Amy Sacco, Proprietress
Lot 61 Restaurant/Lounge
Forget the beach books. Just give me bound galleys of La Dolce Musto to peruse whilst playing Russian roulette with the cancerous rays.
At the risk of sounding shallow, when's the next roundup of blind items due?
Do you know that out here in the stix Musto is manna from Manhattan heaven?
LET US SPRAY
Erik Baard's article "Mutant Malathion" [July 24] was richly unsettling. Here in New England, where mosquitoes sing "We Shall Overcome," the West Nile virus, like Lyme disease, is now a real threat. However, if given a choice between a highly toxic bug spray and a mosquito's hypodermic tongue, I'll choose the tongue. In many ways, nature's fatal toxins are less horrific than what is cooked up in chemical labs. Perhaps this is because nature does not produce her toxins for the sake of money, as do chemical labs.
Having read Peter Noel's article about the legal fight for a share of Abner Louima's settlement ["Cat$ and Dog$," July 24], the question in my mind is, "This surprises anyone?" Who didn't see this sort of outcome the minute it was announced that Johnnie Cochran signed onto the case? Cochran is the legal equivalent of Don King: The only color that really matters to him is the color green. Louima will be lucky to see a red cent by the time Cochran and his Nightmare Team are finished with him.
FORCING THE ISSUE
As one of the cosponsoring organizations of the International War Crimes Tribunal on Korea held here in June, we would like to thank Chisun Lee for her excellent report ["Rite for the Wronged," July 3]. It is unfortunate that most of the mainstream media ignored this historic event.
The American people need to learn more about the hidden history of the Korean War so that we do not make the same mistakesand commit the same war crimesin the future.
Peace groups in the U.S. should pay more attention to the long-suffering tragedy of a divided Korea due to the continuing presence of U.S. military forces in South Korea. They are the only foreign forces still stationed there.
John Kim, President
New York Chapter, Veterans for Peace
OUT IN THE BARRIO
Richard Goldstein's article "¡Visibilidad! The Making of a Latino Gay Movement" [July 17] was timely and informative. However, a couple of points need to be clarified.
First, to imply that the "emergence" of the gay movement in "Hispanic communities" is recent is misleading; what is recent is our increased visibility in the predominantly white mainstream gay community. It is well known that there have been active Latino and Latina gay and lesbian activists in the Latino community since the 1970s, including the New York-based Comite Homosexual Latino Americano (COHLA). The present-day Latino queer organizations are a direct result of this long history of activism.
Second, Goldstein is mistaken when he states that the Puerto Rican Day Parade is "one of the few ethnic celebrations that never had a problem with maricones marching under their own banner." For many years gay and lesbian Puerto Ricans did not march because of the hostility of the spectators, who routinely threw bottles and heckled them. The parade organizers also required the homosexual contingent to march with leftist groups, and it was not until 1989after the intervention of state human rights officialsthat the groups could march on their own.
Finally, although Councilwoman Margarita Lopez did not intervene in the Bronx billboard controversy, she has been a consistent ally in advancing the rights of all Latinos and Latinas in New York City, gay or straight. She is a visible presence at many queer Latino events and ran and won her campaign as an openly lesbian Puerto Rican. She deserves a little more credit than she received in Goldstein's article.
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
Highland Park, New Jersey
The writer is a board member of Latino Gay Men of New York.
As Latinos living and working in environments plagued with poverty, disenfranchisement, prejudice, Catholic morals, and a lack of privacy, we have to read Richard Goldstein's article "¡Visibilidad!" with a bit of caution. Coming out in our neighborhoods can be the object of congratulations from friends, as Goldstein mentions, but it almost cost my life and my partner's when we were savagely bashed by seven people of color inside a D train in the Bronx about two years ago. Visibility to become martyrs of a social movement that already has too many martyrs is not necessary. We have to be more careful than to give our lives away for a poster with the words "gay" and "sex" on a bus. We must explore other venues in which the necessary education of the people in our neighborhoods is less sensationalistic and more effective.
I propose a change: From "V for Visibility" to "S for Survival."
SCENE & HEARD
Having just moved to New York City from Boston (where I wrote for an alternative weekly paper called the Weekly Dig), Tricia Romano's Club Crawl columns have been invaluable to me, since I am very passionate about dance/electronic music but don't know the local underground scene. Romano knows her stuff like a seasoned pro and hasn't let me down with a single inaccuracy or mistruth. Best of all, she really knows the music and it shows in her clear, concise writing.
Props, big up, thanks Tricia.
WORST LANDLORD WEST
Thanks to James Ridgeway [Mondo Washington, July 17] for mentioning our work on [Spanish ambassador-designee] George Argyros. But just to correct a small point, our paper's investigation into Argyros's alleged tenant swindling has been done by R. Scott Moxley, not me.
Costa Mesa, California
In Peter Noel's article "Cat$ and Dog$" (July 24), a word was dropped, distorting the meaning of the second sentence of the fourth paragraph. The sentence should have read: "In one unpublished interview conducted two months after Louima was attacked in 1997, [original Louima attorneys Carl W.] Thomas and [Brian] Figeroux recalled how their relationship with [Johnnie] Cochran and his sidekicks went from bad to worse."