Cashing In

Here's banking on Larry Tee's new gay Saturday bash

Here's a sure way to get people to come to your party: Give away money. Specifically, air-drop $200 from the mezzanine onto the dancefloor. It helps if the money givers are go-go boys with penises the size of very big bananas, and if their bananas are resting in underwear that resembles a hammock. It also helps if a siren wails at top volume while Sophia Lamar, dressed as Patty Hearst, stalks the floor with a fake gun and fake bodyguards in a fake heist.

The boys behind this stunt were Larry Tee and Josh Wood, for the kickoff of their weekly gay bash Bank at the newly renovated club Element, which used be called Bank in the '80s, 'cause it was once, yeah, a bank. Miss Tee, on something like his 10 millionth life in New York clubland, spun some hip-hop for the gentlemen before switching to house classics like Moloko's "Sing It Back." The party, part of the club's opening week, was a smashing success: Tatum O'Neal, Alan Cumming, and Chlo Sevignywere there—plus a line around the block despite the frigid temp. Downtown's glitterati showed up too, including Murray Hill, who, having no idea he'd wandered into a gay party, sat and ogled one of three women dressed as topless cheerleaders (OK, it was Cherry Dazzle).

Across the way on the mezz, two-thirds of the Trinity (Mackieand Drew Elliott) mingled with Amanda Lepore, fresh from a disaster in London, where she'd been booked to appear at a party but was deported instead. When reaching U.K. customs, she told them she was there to work, but unbeknownst to her, her temporary employers didn't provide the correct paperwork, so she was promptly shipped back to the States. In a jump seat! The horror! I asked Elliott why Lepore even told them she was working, and he sighed, "She's blonde."

Hammocked banana finds its Element
photo: Tricia Romano
Hammocked banana finds its Element

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    The night culminated with a show from drag diva Kim Aviance, dressed as Rapunzel and performing from atop a speaker stack. Shouts of "work!" and loud boos directed at the bouncers peppered her performance, which had turned into a literal tug-of-war between her and the security—with both parties yanking the fake hair connected to her head. When she finally got down, she shooed them aside with a talk-to-the-hand gesture. Snap! You've just been transported to Junior Vasquez–era Twilo.

    The next night I had the privilege of going with original disco critic Vince Aletti (my former editor) to a real New York institution—the Loft, with legendary DJ David Mancuso spinning on his modified audiophile turntables for the 36th anniversary. I was curious to see how much of the original idea of a dance party had been kept intact after over 30 years of people making it their own.

    What we call "going out dancing" sort of resembles the original—but it's like a copy of a copy of a copy. I didn't notice any alcohol being served at the Loft, so there wasn't the hassle of drunken dorks stumbling on the dancefloor. Also, people actually danced—like, rolled around on the floor and worked up a sweat. None of those don't-wanna-spill-my-martini dainty steps. Need I even mention there was no bottle service?

    The crowd was the most mixed I've ever seen—age-wise, race-wise, gender-wise: new-school music fans like the DFA posse (including James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy), Tim Sweeney, Small Change, Justin Carter of Nublu, and Christine Renee ("I come every year and I come early!") mingled with old-schoolers like Nicky Siano and Danny Krivit. As I was dancing (in between eating the complimentary food and drinking lemonade), it occurred to me that the event closest to the Loft in terms of vibe and crowd is Krivit's own party, 718 Sessions, held once a month at Club Deep. He may not have any barely clad go-go boys with big bananas to give money away to the crowd. But then, he doesn't need them.

     
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