Absolutely Fabulous

There might be a man more fabulous than Casey Spooner. The Fischerspooner frontman's "special friend," Adam Dugas, is tall, dark, handsome, and talented. The dashing gent was the host and organizer of the second annual "Chaos & Candy," a demented holiday show for people who aren't religious and hate their family gatherings, but who still wanna get in the spirit of things. Some of the same characters appeared again this year: The scary plushie-like "animals" in the petting zoo crawled around on all fours near a bad Santa; the Cracked Nut Dancers performed their trademark free-falling pyramid; Dugas dueted with FS's Lizzy Yoder on "Baby It's Cold Outside," and Jennifer Lynn did a jazzed-up reprisal of "Santa Baby" (which, like last year, ended with Ms. Lynn baring all). Jeremiah Clancy, a/k/a Peanuts, stumbling around with a big glass of red wine, proved that he has a problem with spilling liquids on the audience, no matter which guise he's in. Before the show, he admitted that his previous night's performance might not have been an act, if you get my drift.

Dugas let his lesser-known significant other take the stage for a solo performance of "Snow Miser." (We marveled that Mr. Spooner actually has a good voice underneath all those studio effects.) There were a couple of moments when you wondered who was ripping off whom, as when Dugas insisted that they had to do a performance over again. (So very Fischerspoonery, mmmhmmm! Or maybe FS stole from Adam?) But Dugas stole the show and got jaded hipsters to stand up and clap—I believe they call it a standing ovation—when he finished with a rousing version of "Hallelujah," wearing a sparkling purplish-blue suit purchased on Delancey Street (no, really, it was). When we saw Spooner after the show, we told him how hunky and talented his BF was. "Oh yeah, honey," he cracked. "I married up."

A friend visiting from L.A. was excited to go record shopping in the city until he actually went record shopping in the city. "This city sucks!" Yes, dear. Indeed, the mass closing of 12-inch dance music specialty shops in NYC is alarming. In the last two years, Temple, Eightball, Downtown Records, Beyond Bass, Dubspot, and Throb have shut their doors, thanks to the post-9-11 economy, the downturn of the popularity of dance music culture—particularly in New York's embattled club scene—and the pilfering of music from online music sites.

One store owner thinks he has the solution. Stefan Prescott, the owner of the 15-year-old East Village wax shop Dance Tracks, is starting up an iTunes-like online record store for dance music. Customers will be able to download a single track from the site, with new releases costing $1.69 a pop, back-catalog tunes at 99 cents, and CD mix compilations at $7. Prescott says he got the idea when he noticed "how much music was being stolen on Kazaa and realized that dance music labels are losing out. The public would probably buy them if they were actually available."

Prescott says they have signed on over 30 labels who will be on board for the projected mid-February launch, with music represented in all of the same genres Dance Tracks currently carries, including house, hip-hop, new jazz, techno, and trip-hop. Unlike the physical store, the website will be geared more toward the average person who likes dance music, rather than DJs with turntables. "A lot of people are intimidated walking into record stores and feel stupid," says Prescott. "Even I get treated like crap." Not anymore!

Another local-boy-done-good story to warm your hearts for the holidays: Dance music scribe David Prince—with the help of a whole lotta friends—is starting up a satellite event to the annual Winter Music Conference in Miami. M3: Miami Music & Multimedia aims to be different from the WMC, which attracts a parade of pasty flesh to South Beach every March. Prince, best known to industry revelers as the man behind the Miami Master List, has shacked up with Flavorpill's Sascha Lewis and Mark Mangan, event producer Carolyn Clerkson, Willie Mack, and a slew of others. "We're really trying to do it for professionals, people who've been in the music industry for a while," says Prince. "[WMC] caters to beginners who want to learn Music Biz 101."

While the Nash Hotel will host the networking, the M3 music events—booked by Jonathan Rudnick, formerly of Giant Step—will be at the Surfcomber Hotel. And like the revamped business outlook, the music is getting a face-lift. "This music and this scene are much broader than [just house music]," he says. "It's not been reflected down there. That's part of why we're trying to do something—it's to expand the idea of what electronic music is." Damn, and I wasn't planning to go this year.

tromano@villagevoice.com

 
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