By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
For most musicians, bold politics don't go along with mass popularity (think Dixie Chicks), but for German trance DJ-producer Paul Van Dyk, who has been vehemently outspoken against the Iraq war, his political statements have had the opposite effect. Last Friday at the Roxy, BPM magazine presented Van Dyk an award for "America's Favorite DJ," in its annual readers' poll.
The artist, who's touring behind his fourth album, Reflections, is also taking part in Rock the Vote events around the country, something it seems none of his American peers are doing. Only in America would it take a German DJ to encourage people to vote. "Another way of looking at it," says Van Dyk, "is this is how cool the States are, asking a foreigner to do something like this. I don't think a German organization would ask someone from the U.K. to do this. It's one of the reasons I love America so much."
Van Dyk mused on the reasons his fellow DJs and pop stars remain silent: "Sometimes I wonder. They started to react to the RAVE Act when it was too late, when it was pretty much passed. Three, four years ago I probably was just like this as well." Big pop stars, he says, "are told they have to wear this, have to say this. These kinds of puppets are not allowed to make statements that could potentially piss off someone who buys records."
As for himself, "I'm not a marketing manager's dream; I'm a musician." Indeed, Van Dyk toured the country last year as the U.S. was waging war with Iraq, wearing a T-shirt that said "No War," and, not surprisingly, he caught some flak. "My opinion is based on real information, and some people just came back with 'You fucking German!' That was it!"
Well, this "fucking German" gets my vote, even if he does play trance.
Brooke Webster, that Meow Mix chick, is opening up another girlie bar in Park Slope. The two-floor, 4,000-square-foot space will have a 1,200-square-foot outside smoking terrace. They aim to be open in mid June for Brooklyn Gay Pride. The name? Cattyshack.
Brooke's a busy lady. She was recently elected president of the Lower East Side/East Village Chamber of Commerce. As part of her duties, she's organizing an industry-wide fundraising event for the Lower East Side Girls Club. Apparently, the Lower East Side Boys Club has a home, but the girls don't, and they have their hearts set on a new building, which they have to construct themselves. Each week in March, 20 L.E.S. bars will donate proceeds from drink specials to the girls club. In addition, Brooke's planning a benefit on March 28 at the Bowery Ballroom, where she hopes to raise $25,000 with celebrity DJs Mark Ronson and Stretch Armstrong and downtown DJ Johnny Dynellspinning. Glam actress Rosario Dawson will emcee the event and give away raffle prizes throughout the night. Brooke tells me one prize will be a year's supply of Krispy Kreme and a year's membership at Dolphin Fitness Clubs. That joker.
They're baaaaack: The Beastie Boys are putting the finishing touches on their new album, slated to be released in June. It's the first release for the aging Boys since 1998's Hello Nasty. The Strokesare set to kick off the annual SummerStage series in Central Park. Unfortunately, by the time the event happens, on May 19, no one will care about the Strokes anymore.
Richie Hawtin, exiled in Berlin, announced on plastikman.com Monday that the first Plastikman live show in nine years will take place at the Montreal Mutek festival in June. Asked whether or not Hawtin will be handing out tabs of acid at the door, as he was rumored to have done in previous years, co-curator Kevin McHugh (formerly of Micromini) responded coyly, "There are always surprises at Plastikman shows."
A book about electroclash is in the works with images from Diordesigner Hedi Slimane and Conrad Ventur, boyfriend of Larry Tee, the genre's mastermind. Tee says it's gonna be like hip-hop's Back in the Days, except it'll be about the "electrodisckopunk" scene of the early '00s. Thank god for this. It's been so long, I really needed a refresher.
Local drum'n'bass DJs Mathematicsjust returned from a mini-tour overseas, where they headlined clubs in Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Geneva, and a few other cities I can't pronounce and have never heard of. Drum'n'bass is not deadI don't care what you say. It's still big in Leuven.