DJ Culture Meets Garage

While big companies are finally paying attention to superstar DJs, New York scenesters are moving on to more do-it-yourself-style dance parties. We've been training our sights on the buzz around Girls and Boys at Filter 14 in the meatpacking district, a quirky melding of the remnants of DJ culture and the new garage rock craze that the fashion crowd and its dogs have been lapping at. Liv Tylerdropped by Girls and Boys during its first week, when Morning Woodperformed. Although it attracts the same crowd of moss-haired, tie-wearing rocker kids as similar parties that have started up at Rififi and Don Hill's, they still play dance music here. The DJs casually switch between Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" and Royksopp's "Epie" along with classic records from the Clash, Kinks, and Joy Division. Even more alarming, they take requests! We came in just as synth-pop group Carol Masters were finishing their set. Even though they were terrible, it is refreshing that live performance is returning to more clubs. Filter 14 owner Tommy Frayne says that the club's live music component is more popular than a lot of its dance nights. "We built this sound system around house music," he says of the club that once called Satoshi Tomiie a permanent resident. "We're even thinking about putting in a separate system for the bands."

Girls and Boys brainchildren Alex Malfunction and Alex English were former dance promoters who were handed the reigns on Wednesdays after their bosses' frustrating goes at importing expensive DJs resulted in threadbare attendance. Alex and Alex moved in with the idea of reopening the back room's stage for bands. The night has been doing steadily well since it started. Spa felt so threatened by the buzz from the party that they hired out PR powerhouse Nadine Johnsonto aggressively promote their Wednesdays.

"We were saddened by the closing of Brownies," said English. "There's all these amazing bands that have to play places like CB's Lounge—great venues, just very small." The end result is half live-rock party and half college '80s night—with a heaping dose of DIY-style preening. Despite the heavy array of Strokes look-alikes in the club, English swears that the point is to have a good time here, not to sulk and pout while straining to look cool. "We're all about the music. We're not trying to push an image." Tell that to the kids at the party. "There's nothing wrong with having a look!" balked Anna, a girl in pseudo-goth drag, clutching a skateboard. "I just come for the people I know. It's not one of those stupid techno clubs, where everyone is on Ecstasy. Better music, better people, better fashion sense."

Rock-a-bye babies: Girls and Boys at Filter 14
photo: Miles Ladin
Rock-a-bye babies: Girls and Boys at Filter 14


Richie Rich felt a little weird reliving actual scenes from his past when he starred as himself in the upcoming Party Monster. "I felt like I was going to need therapy after shooting some of the scenes in that movie!" he says of the experience. The Pan-like club kid-cum-designer of Heatherette was present at everything from Michael Alig's birthday party to the filming of the infamous Geraldo episode. "I kind of removed myself from that whole scene when the death happened," he told Fly Life.

In the present, Rich and Heatherette design partner Traver Rains are preparing for their fall show with the aid of two corporate supporters. First, Rich told Fly Life that Sanrio has commissioned the duo to produce a line of Hello Kitty couture. This had the eternally youthful Richie beaming. "I've just loved Hello Kitty since my club kid days!" Dasani water, the sponsor of the label's show, is putting out the cash for a contest in which one lucky Parsons design student will win a $1500 shopping spree of Heatherette merchandise and a day spent following the pair around backstage at their upcoming fall fashion show. They just have to design a shirt with "water" as the theme, the best of which will be selected by Richie and Traver. Hey, whatever pays the bills!


WE FEEL YOUR PAIN: Bradley Gumbel, son of television anchor Bryant. Are things back to "normal" in this town if even he can get stopped by the cops? . . . Naturi Naughton, the Latina member of teenybopper group 3LW, for being kicked out of the group, rather unceremoniously, and at a KFC, no less, as she told Wendy Williams on her radio show last week. In a statement issued by their label Epic on their official Web site, Adrienne Bailonand Kiely Williams deny that Naturi was subject to any physical abuse at the time that she got the boot. Naturi, cheer up, girl! Maybe the Fantanas will need a new flavor or something.


jgermosen@villagevoice.com

 
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