By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
It's awards season and club people like to pat themselves on the back, too. Dance music's Golden Globes are the DanceStar USA Awards (announced in a few weeks at the Winter Music Conference in Miami), and the nominees are for the most part worse than the Grammys and the Oscars combined, since the organization continues to reward the stale and traditional. For example, in the Best Act category, judges are forced to choose between banalities such as BT, Deborah Cox, and the Crystal Method. For Best International Act, the choice is between Kraftwerk, Underworld, Basement Jaxx, Benny Benassi, and the Jethro Tull of techno, the Chemical Brothers. What year is it1994?
And for Best Album we have records by Paul Van Dyk, BT, Basement Jaxx, the Crystal Method, and . . . OutKast? (Anyone remember that game from Sesame Street, you know, the one that goes, "One of these things is not like the others"?) Finally, competing for the Best Celebrity DJ: Rosanna Arquette, Cameron Douglas, Danny Masterson, Voice royalty Adrien Brody (please stick to acting in movies as emaciated, starving characters), and Paris Hilton (please stick to acting in movies as emaciated, sex-starved characters). What! No Paul Sevigny? This is an outrage!
On the other hand, the first-ever nominees for the Dance Music Hall of Fame might seem old hat, but they're supposed to since it's all about history. The nominees for 2004 read like a who's who of dance music: Barry White, the Bee Gees, Chic, Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, Nile Rodgersand Bernard Edwards, and New Yorkers David Mancuso, Larry Levan, and Nicky Siano are just some of the nominees. Unfortunately, we're not really in suspense about who'll get inducted because we know they'll all get their due in due time. At least this bunch doesn't make you embarrassed for your industry.
They're huge in Europe: The Scissor Sisters, the fivesome who were once satisfied with playing the bar at the Cock, are now bona fide stars in the U.K., thanks to their redo of "Comfortably Numb." The Brits, who have better musical taste than their U.S. counterparts, sent the single straight to the Top 10 upon its release three weeks ago, and sent the band to appear on Top of the Pops. Confession: singer Jake Shears and I go way back. I used to serve him coffee in Seattle when he was a young buck.
Another young buck and his missus leave the city. Angus Andrews of the Liars is hightailing it to Berlin while his lovely lass, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, moves to L.A., land of sunshine and silicone. We heard they'd broken up but that turned out not to be true. Damn! I mean, oh goodfor them. Stalker of Miss O's that I am, I may just have to move there, too.
Recaps: Arc is closing just like I told you a few weeks back, despite the club's denials. The club goes out with a bang in April and becomes luxury apartments. Also, Armand Van Helden's hip-hop collaboration with Wu-Tang isn't the only thing he has up his sleeve. He's been shopping a mix disc around to labels that my source says has a track listing "straight out of the '80s." Someone may want to give him the memo that while he was away from clubland, the '80s came back and left already. For proof: Luxx, the venue that ushered in that '80s revival two years ago, is shuttered again after only a few months as Toybox.
And finally, Halcyon, the café-slash-restaurant- slash-record store, is shutting its doors in April. Until then, there'll be killer deals on cool antique mid-century furniture, as well as quality vinyl. With the best sound system outside of Twilo, the café attracted great DJs: Over the years, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads, electro-funk producer Arthur Baker, house legend Tony Humphries, and U.K. junglist DJ Storm graced the wheels.
Do not fret, however. If you are still able to read this between your tears, the Halcyon kids are regrouping by the end of the year and reopening. The new as-yet-undiscovered space, somewhere in Brooklyn, "will be everything that Halcyon is, on steroids," says co-owner Shawn Schwartz. "We'll be going from a café to a restaurant, and going from a lounge to a club." Which means, of course, that one of the cabaret law's most active opponents will now be looking for a cabaret-friendly space and dealing with the miles of paperwork necessary to get a license. "With everything I've done in fighting the law, if I am not prepared to actually go out and get one of these fucking things, then who is?"