“We’re in a hip-hop video,” shouted Kimyon, the local techno DJ and Trü Skül promoter. Of course we hadn’t really stepped onto the latest P. Diddy shoot, but up in the V.I.P. room of Guastavino’s on Friday night, things sure looked jiggy. The party was the last of a successful two-month run, with superstars like DJ Honda and Eminem dropping in, promoted by Frank 151 magazine and Persaud Brothers.
As “Oops (Oh My)” boomed over the system, a girl pointed out that the Southern hummingbird herself, Tweet, was in the house. Guru of Jazzmatazz, wearing a Burberry hat, smoked a blunt, and nearby, Chris Nagy, the owner of Good Vibe Records (home to Bahamadia and Slum Village), chatted with Frank‘s owners, brothers Stephen and Mike Malbon.
The V.I.P. room, surprisingly mellow, was suddenly squished with ‘hos, homeboys, and hangers-on. The reason: Jay-Z had arrived, and apparently your bottle of bubbly tastes so much better when you drink it within five feet of the jam master. Mos Def, dapper in a tan fedora, conferred with Jay-Z in the corner. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get more ridiculous, there was Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson posing for the camera. He had just finished testifying before the Senate about destructive coal-mining practices in his home state of Kentucky. Poor Kevin won’t be the next Bono: Some grouchy senators denounced his testimony as a “sideshow.”
Misstress Formika wants America to know that New York is not a town of boring yuppies. To undo the damage that Sir Rudy wreaked on the city’s once-hip image, the drag performer, who hosted the sleazy Squeezebox parties, is putting together a book called Ignited New York. A collaboration with artist Steve Ellis and photographer Misa Martin, it’s a compilation of the city’s most notorious freaks and geeks, with photos and bios of East Village luminaries like buxom female-female impersonator *BOB*, Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field, the legendary DJ Jayne County, Blondie sexpot Deborah Harry, and party-till-you-puke rocker Andrew W.K.
Formika has been particularly pickled by the “reinstating of Giuliani as a hero,” post-9-11. “Most of the people we photographed were aghast that anyone would consider him a hero. He put most of our friends out of work,” said the drag hostess, referring to Rudy’s crackdown on nightlife.
When she isn’t busy coordinating the unfinished book, Formika can be caught in the act at various venues. A recent Meow Mix appearance had the ace Fraggle Rock band doing a tribute to Cher throughout the decades. Misstress did ’60s and ’80s Cher, turning in a perfectly warbly rendition of “If I Could Turn Back Time” while wearing a black thong, a leather motorcycle jacket, and big, frizzy hair. Ever the professional, Misstress proclaimed, “Can you believe we just put this together today?” To which a guy in the audience shouted, “Who woulda guessed?”
Richie Hawtin sure knows how to throw a party. The techno DJ and newly minted New Yawker celebrated his 32nd birthday by throwing himself one of his famed bashes way the hell out in Brooklyn, on the sixth stop of the L train. “Bring earplugs, lots of them,” I was warned earlier by Viktor of Tronic Treatment, who helped set up the sound system, which included six refrigerator-sized speakers and eight bass bins lined up in between. The sound guys who delivered the equipment said it was big enough for a field of 4000 people. The space only holds 300 people. You get the idea.
Openers Magda and Troy played dubby and deep, and when Richie went on, even though you couldn’t see his bald head thanks to the blinding strobe lights, you just knew. Somebody screamed, “Richie, punish me!” He did. When the speakers overheated, a vexed Danny Tenaglia frantically tried to cool the amps by pointing the largest fans at them. “Look at me! I’m the biggest fan here!” he joked. During the interim, the crowd—which included Frankie Bones (who started these warehouse things in the first place)—sang “Happy Birthday.” Soon afterward, the sound system crackled with “Shake What Your Mama Gave You!” The crowd happily obeyed.