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Last weekend I broke the law. Yes, I am a terrible citizen. I smoked in a club. In the girl’s room. Hid in the stall, even. Pathetic, right?

Well, not as pathetic as the smokers on the dancefloor of Don Hill’s after midnight on Doom’s Day. They avoided the wrath of security by smoking stooped over—passing a cigarette much the same way one passes along a joint. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that.

Don Hill’s fervently upheld the new smoking law and forced people out on the street, although one friend did comment, “Great. I don’t smell any cigarettes, but I do smell weed.” It’s been funny, interesting, exasperating to watch people react to being told they can’t do something that’s perfectly legal in most of the world. I was spinning at the Soho Grand when a guy—about to set up shop at the bar with his laptop and cigarette—angrily slammed his computer shut when told he couldn’t light up. He must have been living under a rock. Even the Europeans knew about the impending law. A Belgian man ranted and raved outside while he was (what else?) smoking.

Earlier on Saturday night, I had gone to “Indo-Pak Attack” at the Pussycat Lounge to see scribe Jazzbo and Vice mag’s Suroosh Alvi. I can’t say that the PC Lounge peeps were as diligent at enforcing the law, but to be fair, they did have to deal with hundreds of hipsters dying to get in to see skinny strippers with real (albeit, small) tits looking bored on the bar top. In the house was Vice Recordings GM Adam Shore, who told me about Vice’s subsidiary label Wolfgang Mordem Records, which will be dedicated to comps and other non-artist albums. The first release will be Yes New York, a compilation of the best New York City bands of the moment, put together by Chris White, a booker for the CMJ Music Fest, and Brian Long, the manager of Radio 4 (who appear on the comp) and VHS or Beta. “They were working on this record before Vice Records even existed,” says Shore. “It seemed too perfect.”

Even better, the record is a benefit for Musicians on Call, an organization that brings musicians into hospitals to play for the sick. The comp features big names like the Strokes (live rendition of “NYC Cops,” which was removed from the U.S. version of their album), the Rapture (my favorite, “Olio”), Le Tigre (A DFA remix of “Decepticon”), and Interpol (“NYC”). But the record also shines the spotlight on such lesser-knowns as the Fever and the Roger Sisters, and features a song by Karen O and Nick Zinner pre-Yeah Yeah Yeahs under the moniker Unitard. (Karen O mentions: Five. Nick mentions: Three. Total Yeah Yeah Yeahs mentions: 10. Love from Karen O to desperate Fly Life columnist: Zero.)

I almost fell down the stairs (no, not due to overindulgence) at the sight of a guy wearing a T-shirt that read “Anywhere but Pianos.” Hilarious. One of those jokes that only you and me and Williamsburg hipsters who wear ironic trucker-style baseball hats would get, but so, so true. Last week, there were three must-see shows: “Pockit Rockit” with DJ Traxx of Chicago; “21st Century Bodyrockers” with Erol Alkan and Rory Philips of London’s “Trash”; and a jam featuring Death in Vegas. Everyone I know is sick of Pianos, yet it’s only been open a few months. Some people I know were sick of it after three weeks! Taavo, the guy who was wearing the shirt, also turned out to be its creator and the Pussycat’s Saturday-night promoter.

And, you read it here first, dammit: P. Diddy‘s single “Let’s Get Ill” was one of the big hits down at the Winter Music Conference, and P. Diddy personally made sure of it. Of course, the New York Post‘s Page Six reported this a week after Fly Life’s “WMC Diaries” but couldn’t manage to spell Erick Morillo‘s name right. (They called the “Subliminal Sessions” DJ “Erik Merillo.”) As much as we love to read Page Six, and as thrilled as we were to see Voice contributor and friend Bill Werde make its esteemed pages for his blog on System of a Down and MTV’s pro-war video policy, we were a little annoyed that they couldn’t spell his name right, either! They repeatedly called him “Bill Werthe,” even though they quoted liberally from his Web page! Guys, if you mention me, just spell my name right, OK? That’s T-R-I-C-I-A R-O-M-A-N-O.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 8, 2003

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