Beer Babe

Who cares about the Miss America pageant—all those stuffy contestants with frilly costumes and shellacked hair—when you can see the real girls of the Miss Rheingold contest?

Petite brunette Dani Marco, a 27-year-old bartender-actress, captured the prize last Tuesday night at her workplace, 13 Little Devils. While she fake-cried, "I need a tiara!" she smiled at her winnings, nonetheless. Marco is now part of a long tradition of Miss Rheingolds—which used to be a much bigger deal than it is today. Tippi Hedren, the star of The Birds, was a finalist in 1953, and although Grace Kelly never made it to the finals, she once yearned to be a Rheingold girl. In 1959, the company says, more than 22 million voters participated (this year around 50,000 voted). The popular contest ended in 1965, when, faced with racially integrating the contest, the owners opted to end it to avoid upsetting white customers. (The brewery itself shut down in 1976.) This is a different era, so the contest resumed when the beer company began anew. Our in-house celebrity Michael Musto was one of the judges who picked the six finalists (he voted for Shequida, of course). Last year's winner, Kate Duyn, gave the new gal a sash and a smooch.

While I approved of Miss R., I'm sure Kathleen Hanna and her mates in Le Tigre would burn me in feminist hell for even discussing such a thing. The trio, dressed in their wacky, matching, striped Day-Glo outfits, played Irving Plaza to a packed audience of dedicated feminists, lesbians, and the people who love them. Upstairs on the V.I.P. mezzanine, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner—who a friend kept referring to as her NBF (New Boyfriend) even though they've never met—stood on a chair next to Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst, to catch a glimpse of the O.G. riot grrrl. Nearby was Joan Jett, a close personal friend of Ms. Hanna, as well as the Cars' Ric Ocasek (yes, him again), who is producing Le Tigre's next record, taking in the show with his lovely wife, Paulina Porizkova, in tow.

Give that girl a tiara: Dani Marco (center), Miss Rheingold 2003
photo: Tricia Romano
Give that girl a tiara: Dani Marco (center), Miss Rheingold 2003

The next night, another punk dinosaur, Iggy Pop, celebrated his new record, Skull Ring, at Trust Lounge. The most amusing part of the party was the "cop" at the entrance sporting inflated boobs and smacking her stick as partyers passed by an electric chair. Inside, fellow gossip Marc Spitz of Spin wickedly waved to me from inside the V.I.P. area (bitch!), and James Murphy did his best not to trainwreck Mr. Pop's album. Alas, I was not important enough to get inside the V.I.P., which was one of those irritating closed-off-but-open-enough-so-the-public-can-see-inside-but-can't-get-in rooms—but apparently Queer Eye Ted Allen, Sum 41, Shannen Doherty (what tha?), Vanessa Carlton, Ice-T, and Kurt Loder were.

I couldn't have cared less; I just wanted to see Iggy's dog, Rocky, which is not a big, burly, badass pit bull like you'd expect, but a small, furry, muppet creature. Really, people, there is something wrong with the world when the man who made Raw Power and rolled around in glass now lives in Miami full-time and owns a fluffy white Maltese named Rocky. After a few seconds of petting Rocky and talking to his co-owner, Iggy's gorge girlfriend, I was ushered out like a leper of the press and sought solace in some liquor.

At the bar, I found the man with the best hair in rock, Nick Zinner, again hanging out with Conor Oberst, his NBF (New Best Friend). Zinner was nursing something like a hangover, since he'd just come back from a world tour with the YYYs (Japan, Australia) and leaves again in two weeks for a less glamorous leg (the Deep South). After the Le Tigre show, he found himself taking "drunk photography" of comedian David Cross. Don't wanna know.

Mr. Zinner, in addition to being a talented guitar player, is notsobad with the camera, and has a book to prove it too. Called Slept In Beds, it features alotta artful pictures of, yes, slept-in beds, with graphic design by ex-Voice staffer Stacy Wakefield, currently the design director at Artforum, and text by Zachary Lipez. I asked Nick about the book. "It's conceptual," he said in mock-serious tone. I'm sure those photos he took of Cross will be "conceptual," too.

Out with the old, in with the new: Luxx, the club that was home to all things electrotrash, has been sold. In place of the mixed rock-dance venue will be a gay disco, and, of course, a name change—from Luxx (which was icky in the first place)—to Toybox, which is maybe worse. The opening this Friday will feature Christian Serra (of Soviet) and Michael T. (of Motherfucker).


Special to the Web: "No No No: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner Pulls the Plug on Plaid Party" by Tricia Romano

tromano@villagevoice.com

 
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