Apparently, all you need to establish cred as the new century's marketing genius is to construct a compendium of mediocre writing, photography, and styling, get some bigass corporation to underwrite it all, and then throw a hot party. At the basement-level bar in Ian Schrager's eastern stronghold Morgans Bar last Tuesday, English twins Sally and Sarah Edwards hosted an "exclusive guestlist" party for Introducing . . ., a mag that themes dialogue-style profiles and photo essays around each issue's sole advertising sponsor (this issue's: Adidas). I expected tons of celebs, but the only remotely famous person to show up was Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and his family. And it's kind of disturbing to flip through a new magazine and find yet another condescending photo essay on the "sexy and genuinely rhythmic people of Brazil," profiles of Musiq and Brendan Sexton III, and a rambling "update" on Kids alum Leo Fitzpatrick. Innocuous, until you see the Adidas mark in everything from the fashion spreads to a Q&A on Noel Gallagher's collection of . . . well, Adidas. It may be hypocritical to totally denounce corporate partnerships, but a whole issue devoted to one half-assed advertisment?
Something highly unusual happened at DJ Seoul's Direct Drive party at Baktun last Saturday: Women showed up.
The typically brimming pit of testosterone that is the long-running drum'n'bass party was infused with a heavy dose of estrogen, as young girls in pointy heels and cut-up tees swayed to the searingly soulful, even poppy bent of new d'n'b: Brandy and Tweet remixes, plus raucous rhythm-charged singles like Kosheen's "Hide U" or Shy FX's "Shake Your Body."
One prime factor in shaping this trend has been the rise of producers like Marcus Intalex, Carlito and Addiction, and Total Science, and small labels like Hospitalthe latter headed by the duo London Elektricity. The imprint even has a star act: High Contrast, a guy from Cardiff, Wales, who's been producing uptempo, disco-infused d'n'b since he was a teenager. His "Return of Forever" is in the UK Top 100. Most of the people at Direct Drive came to see London Elecktricity's Tony Colman spin a rousing, uptempo set of proper rollers.
Interestingly, lots of the girls shouting out were from Japan, where the genre has a huge following. One Asian honey even starting popping and locking. "If there are no girls on the floor, there's no party," Colman told me a few days later.
Probably just as hyped as Introducing . . .'s fete was the party for SEPPMarkus Ebner's new mag about style and soccerexcept, there's hardly any style, outside of spreads of Frankie Rayder and Karolina Kurkova posing in skimpily tied Adidas football jerseys. But the shindig was chock full of world-class debauchery: Hot-looking queens in boxing boots and muscle tees mingling with their lady friends, who'd gathered to hear Spencer Sweeney's set of '80s electro and r&b. I was living for the music, even though electro's now-irrefutable fashion-victim status made me queasy.
Somewhere between Prince's "I Will Die 4 U" and Human League's "Fascination" came in Veruschka, the former '60s model turned morose-yet-fascinating curiosity. Leather-faced, surly, she hobble-footedly swooned along to the music in an orange knitted sari. Otherwise, amongst the exposed pipes, raw concrete walls, and dusty sensation of chalk swirling about your legs, there was plenty of drama. The long toilet line, stacked with folks maybe a bit overaggressive about their bowel movements, brimmed into a fight between the Latin guy in a spiky red mini-mohawk and the reed-legged women with mousy hair, and as soon as they started shoving each other, everyone got involved. What started it? "Nothing important," a girl chided. "Girl smacks guy, guy spits in girl's face. It's over now."
I almost lost it when performance artist-singer Kevin Aviance waltzed into the party in stilettos, a gold lamé lace top and a furious tuft of black hairpiece sitting on his bald domeretro-'80s overkill or no, fierce queens are always in style. I noticed Stephen Sprouse lurching about before he darted around the hallway to a room obscured on one side by a large metal door. It was nice to know that not all the dust was from the drywall.