That's the (Low) Life

Fuck Kelly Osbourne. I want a reality show based on Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was impossible to take your eyes off of the buzz band's lead singer at the Voice-sponsored Siren fest (shameless plug!) on July 20. Watching her strut and stomp and huff and growl and purr while swinging her jet-black Dorothy Hamill hair, it was clear that O has more stage presence and charisma in her itty-bitty, black-gloved pinky finger than all four members of dumb sorority-girl-band-posing-as-punk-rockers the Donnas combined. Karen O, can I be your friend?

Murray Hillheld court behind the Stillwell stage, happily guzzling Budweisers faster than the frantic Dazzle Dancers could refill his cup. In Mr. Hill's camper, two Dazzle Dancers were giving each other a semiprivate dance that—like their stage show—also involved exposed private parts. At first, they didn't seem to mind the line of girls waiting for the bathroom just five feet away, but then one of them feigned embarrassment, put his hands over his wee-wee like a little kid who needs to pee, and scampered out. Carry on boys, carry on!


0-Town: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' frontwoman storms the Siren stage.
photo: Keith Bedford
0-Town: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' frontwoman storms the Siren stage.

A certain music scribe bent my ear the other night at the Soho Grand about his recent time as a juror on a case involving a lawsuit against the owners of the defunct club Life. Irwin and Roy Stillman were sued by designer Michael Fink and engineer Raj Parikh, who charged they weren't paid in full for their services. The jury found the Stillmans liable for breach of contract and fraud. While the juror told me he knew nightclub owners were sleazy, some of the skeevy business practices that the shady duo owned up to in court were jaw-dropping.

The Stillmans would bully some contractors into working without a written agreement and wielded their law degrees with savvy. When Parikh and his lawyer initially contacted the Stillmans, they responded with a threatening letter on "legal" stationery inscribed with "Stillman & Stillman," but, according to the juror, the Stillmans said on the stand that they aren't practicing attorneys.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation came from a witness called by the defense. The witness, an engineer, testified that he was lured to the Stillman offices under the pretense of (finally) getting paid, but said he was then forced to sign a statement blaming the designers for all the building's problems. "Irwin told him he wasn't leaving the room until he signed," the juror said.

An attorney for the Stillmans declined to comment.

The Stillmans were so spooky that the jury fled the building together immediately after delivering the verdict. Said the juror: "They were a scary bunch."


Kinetic Records, home to artists like Paul Oakenfold, Sandra Collins, and Kosheen, reportedly laid off five employees last week. According to a source, the trance imprint "didn't adjust the business plan after 9-11," even as other labels were scaling back. Case in point: The money from a distribution deal with BMG provided the label with extra cash—which they spent on steep advances (six figures for Timo Maas) to lure artists to the imprint.

"Sometimes you have to downsize to grow," said label honcho Steve Lau. "These situations are especially difficult when you work with a team of hardworking, creative people that you also consider your friends." Lau is probably counting his lucky stars he didn't sign Fischerspooner for $2 mil—unlike his peers over at Ministry of Sound.


Video bar Remote is only as fun as the people there. An excruciatingly hip crowd took over the high-tech lounge for electro quartet Ladytron and video artist Eric Robert Parnes on July 18, prank calling each other and showing off on the screens. Which set DJ Ilana of Plant Bar to wonder, Why is it that when women are confronted by a camera, their first action is to show their tits?

While she was contemplating this deep thought, the downstairs dancefloor started filling up with attendees of a Wired magazine party—most of them nerdy, annoying guys in stuffy shirts.

Soon our phone rang. "Come down here!" shouted a tech geek, frantically jiggling the joystick in a manner that looked disturbingly like he was beating off. Then he really turned on the charm: "Look at her tits! Look at her tits!"

There goes the neighborhood.


tromano@villagevoice.com

 
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