By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
You probably wouldn't think to seek a hip-hop education from a member of Interpol, but you'd be smart if you did. Lead singer Paul Banks is a true aficionado, as anyone who's been going to his and Alex Moreno's weekly Wednesday-night Deuce Deuce at the Dark Room can attest. They might love the genre, but their DJ names are not veryshall we sayhip-hop appropriate: Moreno's nom de disc is Womanmaker,and Banks's is, erm, Fancy pants. I told the boys that I am certifiably hip-hop retarded and apologized that I wouldn't recognize any songs but the most obvious. "This is 2 Live Crew," said Banks, whose all-time fave is Slick Rick, and helpfully pointed out Wu-Tang and Trick Daddy records. (Yes, I am really that bad.) Moreno cheerily added, "This is the only night where you won't hear Franz Ferdinand at this bar!" Later he played songs that can only be described as Junior High School Dance Soundtrack, 1991: Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It," Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison," and Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P."
Banks can sing in front of thousands of people and not bat an eye, but when he spins for a few hundred at a neighborhood bar, he's a bundle of nerves. He kept apologizing for the sound system and the lack of people dancing: "Usually we have the dancefloor going." But it was still early, and by 3 a.m. the floor was filled with dancing queens (the female kind).
The venue was also filled with downtown celebs: Har Mar Superstar wearing a fuzzy argyle sweater, musician Ezra Reich, Lit co-owner Max Brennan, comic David Cross. Miss Michael T sashayed in, looking elegant and glamorousas it was a special occasion. "It's my birthday!" he beamed, and handed out flyers for his Saturday Scenic bash, Rated X, advising, "Dress code: boots, boots, and more boots." (If you know, you know.) Banks's bandmate and the original Rock Star DJ, Carlos D., in keeping with his never-leave-home-before-midnight rule, finally turned up around three. Kelly Tisdale, Moby's partner in tea, sat in a booth with Spiky Phil and Nick Marc of Tiswas. Tisdale explained that Teany was not closed, despite the hyperactive press and blogs claiming so. Moby had decided he wanted to simplify his life (so minimal!) and handed the popular teahouse on Rivington over to Tisdale, who is scaling back the menu and keeping it open three days a week: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Tisdale was sitting in the same booth that Lindsay Lohan and Kate Moss had occupied a few weeks ago (celebrities! They're just like us!), back when gal-about-town Jenny Penny opportunistically loaned La Loha a Sharpie to write on the bathroom wall. This little stunt landed Miss Penny in the pages of Star and Us Weekly, making her mom proud.
Everyone was gearing up for the big opening night of the Annex scheduled for last Saturday. The grand unveiling and relaunch of Tiswas with the Longcut and DJ Mani of the Stone Roses was moved to Hiro. The Editors are a splashier choice for your first party, anyway, even if they are (good) Interpol-lite. But it was not to be: After temporarily being moved to Hiro and then back to the Annex, the Eds showed up for sound check on Saturday, but according to the band's publicist, the venue "still looked like a construction zone," so the live show was moved to Rothko, and Tiswas relocated successfully to Fontana's.
When the Annex opens, Lohan and Moss better hope the club doesn't use the creepy facial-recognition software called BioBouncer, which would recognize them as committing crimes against humanity for making bad records and dating lame, druggy rockers. The software isn't being used in nightclubs yet, but JAD Communications and Security wants some to test it. We'll keep you posted. Hopefully, the machine won't recognize us as being hip-hop retarded, and will let us back in.