By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
If there is a better way to cheer yourself up during a losing election night than with a bunch of half-naked bodacious ladies, then someone please tell me. The ubiquitous MURRAY HILL hosted performances by a bevy of the city's most talented burlesquers, including the WORLD FAMOUS PONTANI SISTERS, JULIE ATLAS MUZ, the WAU WAU SISTERS, and AMI GOODHEART, for a western-themed election night special at French bistro Florent in the meatpacking district.
A friend sniffed, "You're spending election night at a French restaurant? That's not very patriotic of you." Oui, monsieur. I couldn't think of a group of more like-minded people. We hate BUSH, love good food and wine, and like watching Moulin Rougeinspired entertainment. Upon our arrival, two jolly men brandishing cigars were waltzing out. Apparently, they were real, live Republicans who were being applauded for . . . leaving. The two seemed to have wandered in, but when Hill asked if there were any Republicans in the house, these brave souls raised their handsand got rightfully razzed.
After the enemy left, the Wau Wau Sisters jumped on the bar in cutesy cowboy outfits, started out with mustaches and blond wigs, ended up in a gunfight wearing next to nada, and then, strangely, made out. I feel sorta dirty, don't you? In between shows, Hill called out what little good news there wasBARACK OBAMA's landslide win earned huge whoops of joy, as did the shout-outs to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which both voted in favor of KERRY. Ms. Goodheart, cabaret singer extraordinaire, gussied up in a barely-there outfit and with more rhinestones around her eyes than on a Vegas showgirl's tiara, sang an a cappella version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that rivaled MARIAH CAREY's for octave drama. She had "Land of the Free" stenciled on her tummy, with an arrow pointing downward, and "Home of the Brave" written on her lower back, with a similar arrow. Sounds like a nice place. I'd like to visit.
Sick as a dog, both from the ever diminishing returns and from the Halloween flu, we waited for the second set, knowing that if the better results that would never come through didn't cheer up the crowd, the Pontanis would surely do the trick, especially in their triple-threat black cowgirl shoot-'em-up getups. Our favorite showdown came with Julie Atlas Muz's raunchy take on our "future first lady" (she was still optimistic at that point), TERESA HEINZ KERRY. She started off donning a black business suit, but ended up in purple lingerie, and sealed the deal with a giant bottle of Heinz ketchup filled with red glitter, which she commenced to squirt on herself. Anyone feel like dessert?
Before Florent, we hit up ANDY BOROWITZ's election-night show at Marion's/Marquee. At that early hour, 8 p.m., the gloom hadn't yet set in, as exit polls were tilting toward Kerry. Borowitz invited guests like JESSI KLEIN of VH1 and DEAN OBEIDALLAH of ABC News Nowonstage for a talk-show-type chat, as a crowd of normal-looking New Yorkers (i.e., they seemed to know how to operate an iron) tittered with such nervousness, they barely responded to anything.
A tipsy Klein managed to freak everyone out with her (hopefully in jest) opinion that CHENEYwas the sexiest candidate, and noted that she was much comforted by OSAMA BIN LADEN appearing so "tan and well rested." Nothing she said could jolt the tightly wound crowd. And it was only 9 p.m. By the time we left Florent two hours later, we had a feeling that those two Republican jokers would be having a victory smoke. Let's hope they choked.
As if you needed another reason to slit your wrists, Sonic Groove, the city's premier techno specialty shop, has closed its doors after 15 long years. Said longtime employee DAN PHYSICS in an online statement, "Unfortunately . . . we were unable to keep up with our rising overhead with the advent of online record stores and a weakening electronic music scene in NYCand quite frankly the world." Run by New York techno legends FRANKIE BONES, ADAM X, and HEATHER HEART, the store had moved just last year from its longtime Carmine Street digs to Avenue B, but it was not to be.