Dirty Blonde: A-Trak's Unibros and the Box's Woes
"This fall, say no to tweezers." That's Montreal-born DJ A-Trak's suggestion in honor of his current world tour, Attack of the Unibros, a double bill with Berlin's Alexander Ridha, the German electro DJ and producer who labors under the moniker Boys Noize. ("It's uniBRO because we're bros, bro," writes A-Trak on his record label's blog. "Shout out to the Bro Bro Brothers.") They hit up Europe in September, and after a short jaunt across the border to A-Trak's homeland, the dance duo returns to the States for a Friday-night date with Webster Hall. "It's a peaceful union between Germany and Canada, all for the sake of DJing and baseball caps," explains A-Trak, the former tour DJ for Kanye West. His label may be named Fool's Gold, but by all appearances he has the Midas touch.
These boys are busy little bees. The Parisian fashionista label Kitsuné snapped up what was left of A-Trak's already-packed schedule (his popular Nike + Original Run album, titled Running Man and released over the summer, had people going crazy) to pin him down for a "Say Whoa" 12-inch that will be released this month (with remixes by both Sinden and Boys Noize, natch). His clubland collaboration with Laidback Luke, "Shake It Down," is due out on Fool's Gold within the next few weeks, and he's finished mixing and mastering Kid Sister's debut album, Dream Date, which he executive-produced—since, you know, he's her boyfriend. For his part, Boys Noize has unleashed a string of high-profile remixes this year—Snoop's "Sensual Seduction," Sebastien Tellier's "L'Amour et la Violence," and Cut Copy's "Lights and Music"—as well as a remix compilation of his 2007 debut album, Oi Oi Oi.
At Friday night's gig, expect hip-hop, electro, house, and all the blurring in between—especially when A-Trak and Boys Noize are joined by the DJs from GBH faves Alex English, JDH, and Dave P, as well as Cut NYC's the Captain. The Cut DJs and promoters are launching a new series of events at Webster Hall, which clearly wants to be thought of as a dance destination: The night before the Unibros stop, Cut hosts Bloody Beetroots and Alexander Technique (from DJs Are Not Rockstars) for a Chromeo after-party there. (Just to confuse the scene further, GBH will also be gunning for that post-show crowd with Chromeo's Dave 1 and P-Thugg—joined by Nick Catchdubs, the other Fool's Gold founder—for its flagship weekly party at Hiro, Cheeky Bastard.)
Are you confused yet? There's more: The Captain is also part of the Trouble & Bass crew (along with Drop the Lime, Star Eyes, and Math Head), which celebrated its two-year anniversary last Friday at Love with Miami's DJ Crazy, a three-time DMC champ (and tour DJ for—guess who?—Kanye. Yes, it all comes full-circle). Turns out they're taking their party and moving it back to Brooklyn; Public Assembly will now play host to Second Saturdays. I still haven't actually been there since the owners of Galapagos, Williamsburg's seminal performance venue, said "fuck this" to rising rents and hightailed it over to DUMBO. Guess now I have a reason to.
For anyone who still cares, the fate of the Box has been pushed back a bit longer. At last Tuesday's full community-board meeting, Board 3 (which covers the East Village and the Lower East Side) agreed to delay a final vote on whether or not to recommend a liquor-license renewal for the club—sorry, "jewel-box theater"—until October 20, in order to give the owners and neighbors extra time to work out their differences. (This should not be confused with the September 15 meeting of the licensing committee, which voted to deny the renewal.) As we know, community boards don't have the final say, but for better or worse, those votes continue to become more and more important—as Studio B, Death & Co., and Beatrice Inn can all attest.
Of course, that's only one of the Box's problems. Co-owner Simon Hammerstein defended himself in the Times over the weekend against the now-famous MySpace accusations posed September 8 by burlesque performers and former Box regulars the Porcelain Twinz, somewhat hilariously citing his impending marriage as evidence that . . . well, I'm not sure what. Whatever that "December-ish" wedding is meant to prove, it doesn't temper the claims of staff prostitutes, in-house drug dealing, physical abuse, sexual harassment, and the host of other charges presented in great detail by the women. (In the blog post, they also explicitly chronicle a threesome they say they were forced into with Hammerstein, though it isn't clear from the writing why they complied or why, following that night, they would promise him a blowjob—"half joking, and half serious"— if he would allow them to perform one of their favorite shows. Anyway, it's lurid and messy stuff, and I feel weird repeating it. Read it yourself if you want at myspace.com/porcelaintwinz.)
The meeting's less-fortunate souls include Milk and Honey honcho Sasha Petraske, denied the request to serve vino at his latest venture, Mercury Dime (some 260 signatures of East 5th Street residents in opposition helped seal that deal), along with Mercadito, shot down even though the owner removed that allegedly bothersome bench that was so convenient for smokes between margaritas. My favorite flavor? De pipino—cucumber, lime, and chile de arbol. Might wanna go enjoy it while you can.
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