Oh Boy!

Boy George, photographer, ragga star? Hip-hop karaoke

BOY GEORGE, '80s icon, singer extraordinaire, and now—photographer? The Boy debuted some color portraits of his friends at new West Village club Movida last Monday, including a shot of AMANDA LEPORE in her hotel room.

Entirely self-taught, Boy learned by watching the photographers who have snapped his famous mug. "In a way, after years of having awful pictures taken of yourself, you started to be able to tell when a picture would be any good," he explained. "You know what they are going to make you look like if they told you just to stand over there. You knew it was going to be crap." Back in the day, he used to take advantage of his access to celebs like JOAN COLLINS and sneak in his camera. These days, Miss Lepore is one of his favorite subjects; Boy half joked that he wanted to do an all-Amanda calendar outside various New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Stock Exchange.

Proving that hip-hop stars aren't the only ones to delve into several businesses, Boy has turned himself into a virtual cottage industry, with his own label, Protein, and a fashion line in addition to his photography and musical endeavors under his pseudonym, THE TWIN. He's working on a ragga collaboration with the dirty duo of AVENUE D, who are signed to Protein. The song's called "Fire and Desire," which he described as a "piss take" on the genre's often homophobic lyrics. "They've got a great sense of humor," he said of Avenue D, and revealed that when the girls stayed at his house in London, they did what any normal person would have done. "While I was gone, they went and tried on all my clothes and took pictures of themselves!" he laughed. "They didn't tell me but I knew they'd done something because I saw that a hat had been moved, and I asked them about it, and they started giggling."

And don't tell Boy that New York's nightlife scene is dull, 'cause he loves it—especially mixed parties like Beige and those at Plaid. "It's more exciting than it's been in a long time. I was here eight years ago and it seemed to have died down." He attributes the resurgence to "right-wing politics. Creativity blooms in that environment."

Across town, a very different sort of creativity bloomed. At what was possibly the first-ever all hip-hop karaoke party, a sea of, yes, white hipsters lined up in Rothko to embarrass themselves. Wiggas unite! A girl warbled BIZ MARKIE's "Just a Friend," and someone calling himself MC DEAF MUTE (hey, that's my name) took a stab at "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang."

In the audience were the only three white girls who should ever be allowed near a mic at a hip-hop event, HESTA PRYNN, GUINEA LOVEa/k/a SPERO, and SPROUT of NORTHERN STATE. Spero revealed that in a strange twist of fate, AD ROCK of the BEASTIE BOYS(with whom they are always compared) has become one of their biggest fans. At the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans in October, he made sure to catch their early set on the second smallest stage, riding one of those little golf carts over so as not to miss it. That was a big deal. Even bigger is when he gave them props at the end of their headlining set alongside other, more famous, bands who played, including THE PIXIES, CYPRESS HILL, SONIC YOUTH, and GREEN DAY. And bigger still: He wants to do a remix of one of the songs on their new CD All City.

Alas, only one of the quick-tongued ladies, Hesta (introduced as regular gal Julie, so as not to intimidate the less talented crowd members), got up on the mic for NOTORIOUS B.I.G.'s "Juicy" at evening's end. And no, I did not partake in the festivities since I am so hip-hop retarded, I would botch even the most well-known Beastie Boys song.


tromano@villagevoice.com

 
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