By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
There was a crisis at the DKNY store for the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District's annual block party last Thursday: All the booze was finished. A wild mix had gathered for Princess Superstar, who was spinning funk tunes while the stage was being set for Run-D.M.C. I was a little worried: A schedule in the press kit had listed Princess Superstar as Super Princess, and only Jam Master Jay had arrived.
Run and D.M.C. did indeed show, and hip-hop kids, prune-faced uptowners, and LVMH execs were all swaying to the trio's live MC work. A woman with a gray bouffant flip balanced a cosmo and rocked to the beat. Some girl jumped onstage to kiss D.M.C. My favorite part was when they rhymed to the hardcore techno version of "It's Like That."
Looking across the street at the butt-clenchingly austere affair at the Calvin Klein store, one of the Donna Karan people cooed, "We have the better party! We have the better party!"
Meanwhile, Concetta Kirschner (a/k/a Princess Superstar) was "prepping" for her second set. How does an indie rock hip-hop queen get squeezed up next to overfabulous spreads of Madonna and Britney in Pop?
"I guess all of a sudden they decided I was pretty," she laughed, cueing a record. She was about to mix "Hava Nagila" with DJ Assault's "Ass'n'Titties." That's old hat for her.
Now that crossing clashing music genres is so the rage, the super princess must feel ahead of the curve. "I've been doing this since '94, but I know that other people have, too, so I can't take all the credit." Then she thought better of herself, adding, "Aah, well, fuck it! I'll take credit!"
Socialites puzzle me. They don't seem to do much except look perma-frosted for speedily penned fashion features about their various domestic hardships. Aerin and Jane Laudermuse about the trials of child rearing (tailored curtains and ice cream parties don't mix). Marina Rust goes on about finding the right shoe. Paris Hilton garners international attention for wearing the wrong shoe. (For a good laugh, check out her and sister Nicky's official Web site, www.hiltonsisters.com.) Some of them actually plan things, like charity balls, or start not-for-profits (a/k/a tax shelters).
The sun hadn't even set and Lotus was filling with the bold and the bourgie for a benefit concert organized by downtown publicist Jodie Becker for Lion's Reach, the children's organization she runs with pal Ginny Bond Donahue. Wife of architect and Joe's Pub owner Serge Becker, Jodie is probably the closest thing downtown has to a socialite. But as a black woman, she's a refreshing addition to typically toothpaste-white high society. She also has damn good taste in music: Tonight, she had arranged for Roy Hargrove, Me'shell NdegéOcello, Amel Larrieux, and Sade/Sweetback producer Stuart Matthewman to perform onstage.
The Lion's Reach board of directors reads like a page from Suzy, and the party's guest list was no different, with the addition of hipper, blacker faces like Jay-Z, Beverly Bond, Veronica Webb, and Chris Rock. DJ Mark Ronson (who looked sullen and bored) laid on plates of mellow soul and '70s r&b tracks, while the Jimmy Choo'd board members directed the crowd. Thembi Wesleyan Afrocentric swan in a satin dirndl skirt and cowrie shellsteetered around in Manolo sandals, frantically making introductions for the guests when she wasn't tripping on the stairs from the mezzanine with the $3000 corporate tables.
"Uh, is Damon always with some white model girls?" I asked event planner Lisa Lindo.
"Always," she sighed with a slight eye roll. "Always."
Watching Becker and friends was akin to being at a high school pep assemblyyou know, like when the Key Club officers speak. The angry teenager in me wanted to hurl out, "Cheesy bitches! Fuck school spirit!" but the truth is, it wasn't justified. Model-actress Zofia Borucka really does hit Utica Avenue every week to teach kids at the Clearpool Beacon Center, taking them on field trips to Jay-Z's studio. Becker actually does work the phones every day for Lion's Reach. They're not pushing themselves in front of tanks in China, but they're nice girls.
R.I.P. Kevyn Aucoin. Thank you for injecting the fashion world with a little bit of spirit.