By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Speaking of, the Christian hoedown was only slightly less squeaky-clean than the crowd at the New Yorker Festival's New Yorker Dance Party (four words I never thought I'd see together) at T New York October 6, hosted by the magazine's pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones and featuring German DJ Michael Mayer. If you ever wondered what the crowd at a New Yorker dance party would be like, it was a bunch of people who look like they read The New Yorker, dancing. Mike Rubin, dance music enthusiast and homebound writer, asked me, "Is this what [upscale bottle-service lounge] Lotus is like?" (No.)
The New Yorkers boogied down proper for Mr. Mayer, who is starting to resemble a minimal-techno DJ less and less and a trance DJ more and more. Another critic, Andy Battaglia, pointed out that us dance music dorks were the ones standing dourly in the corner while the pointy-headed people danced. Point taken.
The next night we joined the New Yorkers for " PJ Harvey Talks With Hilton Als: A Conversation." Als asked some important musical questions, but when he played snippets of songs by some of PJ's favorite artists, she started to dish. We learned that Björk is a hyperactive spaz ("She has so much energy, I feel like I'm on coffee all day"), and that she and collaborator Tricky walk everywhere ("We're the only two people who walk in L.A."). And that Tricky is different than you and me. "He's in his own world," she said. "Tricky World."
The hour-long session went over its allotted time, which meant I had ample opportunity to cry uncontrollably at the sight of Polly Jean Harvey. I don't understand the reaction at all. I love her and would like to marry her and everything, but it's almost like a reflex muscle. Hilton would ask her a question, PJ would answer it, and I'd tear up. By the end of the Q&A, when she got down to business and started playing some tunesincluding two new ones that she wrote on a piano (a first for PJ) in addition to "Dry," "Man-Size," and the finale, "Water"I was a goner. Pass me the holy water and a Kleenex. I've been saved.