Wish You'd Been There

How the boldfaced and the beautiful spent their summer vacations

The sun-deprived denizens of downtown New York nightlife could use a vacation. While the rest of us were sitting around trying not to sweat too much, local bands and artists were scoring huge deals, cutting records, and making little girls cry.

Drag-cabaret geniuses Kiki & Herb capped off their summer by clawing out of the Cock and all the way to Broadway, where they'll perform till September so as to scare tourists more easily. They go for the kill with their opening number, a twisted version (is there any other kind in a Kiki & Herb show?) of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." To answer your question, Kiki, yes, we do think you're crazy. We went for opening weekend on Saturday night, and it was filled with the gays—as Kiki likes to say—with a handful of touristy types sprinkled throughout. Though we lost a few after intermission (what, you don't want to hear a cabaret version of "Don't Believe the Hype" sung by a crazy ol' bitch?), most out-of-towners didn't flee. I was proud to see two of our own make it to the big time. After they're finished with Broadway (been there, done that), they'll revisit Carnegie Hall this winter, but that doesn't measure up to Kenny Mellman's (a/k/a Herb's) greatest accomplishment this summer: getting a Chihuahua named Mabel with his BF.

Another local-gal-done-good, chanteuse and political muse Laura Dawn , is about to publish a book, It Takes a Nation: How Strangers Became Family in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, chronicling how over 30,000 Katrina victims were hosted by MoveOn families. She's playing with the Roots and Moby at an event for the book Thursday at Crobar.

The funds generated by this scene will, appropriately, not go to children.
photo: Tricia Romano
The funds generated by this scene will, appropriately, not go to children.

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See also:
Working It at the Car Wash
Pics from Va Va Voom Room's charity suds gig
A Fly Life Gallery by Tricia Romano

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While you were dozing in the sun, Interpol flew the coop and moved on (some would say up) from Matador to Capitol Records; in other, more important news, Carlos D grew new facial hair. Local girl-rapping trio Northern State holed up and recorded a new "genre-blending record," says MC Hesta Prynn, who enlisted the help of the Beastie Boys' Ad Rock and Caleb Shreve of Shitake Monkey. Local rockers Diamond Nightsscored a Jaguar ad using their totally fantastic tune "The Girl's Attractive," while their song "Destination Diamonds" scores MTV's Little Talent Show.

Hide your daughters! Heatherette are also influencing our nation's youth. Richie Rich and Traver Rains celebrated the launch of their new young-contemporary line at Macy's with a model search last Wednesday. Now any 15-year-old can look just like Amanda Lepore and Tinsley Mortimer, without the plastic surgery or the millions!

Other movers and shakers shacked up, moved, or shook their way through other continents: DJ Ulysses got engaged and moved to Brooklyn, techno producer Gregory Shiff got married and moved to Barcelona, and DJ/NY happenings mastermind Dan Selzer "moved to Queens so I can afford to live on a Z-list DJ's salary." Tha Pumpsta had his first gay encounter ("It was hot!"); Tim "Love" Leegot married while his label, Tummy Touch, turned 10. Theo toured with Rancid, Justine D. recorded a mix CD in Glasgow with Optimo's Twitch, and Ultragrrrl got a puppy named Monkey with her boyfriend, Brandon Reilly of Nightmare of You. Miss Modernagestarted a secret blog (somorescene.com) and went all emo. Angie Pontani broke off her engagement and "canceled my big fat Italian Jersey wedding!"

Writer-actor-director John Cameron Mitchell got a distribution deal for his sexy, controversial film Shortbus, opening October 4 at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema. He's throwing a party at Angel Orensanz on September 26 featuring performances by actors in the film, including Justin Bond, Daniela Sea, Bitch, Scott Matthew, and Jay Brannan.

Casey Spooner starred as Hamlet in Wooster Group's production in Barcelona, played Fischerspooner shows in Belgium and Poland, and is gearing up for the Deitch Projects Art Parade on September 9. The MisShapes, after DJ'ing men's fashion shows in Paris and Milan, scored a book deal; says Geo, referring to a recent TimesStyle article (full disclosure: written by two of my friends), "started a trend of rosé-drinking across the country." Andrew Andrew, those doublemint art pranksters, gallivanted to Honolulu; Lanai City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; London; Madrid; Puerto Banus; Paris; Berlin; Dresden; Aspen; Block Island; and most glamorous of all, the Jersey Shore. "All we have to show for it is a 1,000 euro bill for French dry cleaning," they complain. (Oh, boo hoo.) DJ Max Paskspent the summer recording in his native Paris, partying in Berlin with James F%^cking Friedman on a Love Parade float, and DJ'ing around Europe with the likes of Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, and Josh Wink. Zaldy, fashion designer extraordinaire, vacationed with Rufus Wainwright in Amagansett, tanned on Fire Island, and went shopping with the Scissor Sisters in Japan, Spain, and Australia.

Don't you feel totally depressed and unfabulous now? Feel better: At least you're not Sam Valenti IV, Ghostly International label honcho. He got held up at gunpoint by both criminals and the police at a restaurant in Brazil. "A big South American 'Hello!' " he writes.

Me, I went to Seattle, where after traveling 3,000 miles to get away from the city, I ran into Brooklynites Julie Atlas Muz and her hottie hubby Leonel Valle, in town for a week. She was performing at parties thrown by Seattle's queen bee of burlesque, the Swedish Housewife, and teaching the art of striptease to the unsuspecting innocents of the Pacific Northwest at Indigo Blue's Academy of Burlesque. The Seattle babes we saw seemed a little soft (save for fierce diva Indigo Blue), so it's not surprising that during the classes, Miss Muz made a few of them cry. I watched the Orchestra L'Pow show at the Heavens with her hubby Leo. When by the third girl's performance we had barely seen any boobage, we both shouted, "Is anyone going to take their clothes off?"

Thank God for Leo's wife. For her second number, Miss Muz did her patented bleeding-heart number where she squeezes fake blood out of a lifelike fake heart and pours it all over her nearly naked hot bod. After that she took a "Coney Island Wine Bath," washing off the blood with two gallons of red wine. You can be certain Seattle hadn't seen anything like Miss Muz.

She then returned from her vacation, donned an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny red polka-dot bikini, and joined Va Va Voom Room darling Kate Valentine for their second annual Va Va Vroom Car Wash Saturday outside Galapagos in Williamsburg. A bevy of babes—including Starshine Burlesque's Little Brooklyn, Bunny Love, Dirty Martini(summer goal achievement: "no tan lines!"), Ula the Pain Proof Rubber Girl, Bambi, Nasty Canasta, Leslie Russ, and Leslie's wee young lass Fiona (stealin' the show)—buffed and waxed cars to tunes played by Scott Ewalt. They got all wet for a good cause: raising funds for Safe House, a women's shelter. Valentine said they originally wanted to donate money to a children's theater organization, but they were a little nervous about the idea of bodacious babes in bikinis raising monies for innocent children: "They didn't want our whore money," Valentine says. In the meantime, she's searching for a way to produce the Va Va Voom Room in Vegas (somebody give this lady a contract!), while the gals are gearing up for the New York Burlesque Festival over Labor Day weekend. Better luck relaxing next year. But remember, there's no rest for the wicked.


flylife@villagevoice.com

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