At the front of the room, near the stage, a group of people donning fuchsia feather boas did the hokey pokey. Chi Chi Valenti, the former Mother hostess, wore full evening regalia, a black peacock plume springing from her blond tresses, perfectly matching her Stevie Nicks-like ebony gown. No, we were not at Filter 14 or Luxx or Centro-Fly or any other nightspot. This was a public hearing, occurring in broad daylight at the New York Law School, where hundreds had gathered to listen to a panel of experts, as well as the public, testify as to why and how the cabaret law should be changed—or preferably eradicated.
While the panelists offered more sober discussions pertaining to noise and safety in clubs, the public hearing—which had some 60 people spouting their views, each inside a two-minute time frame—was a bit more, shall we say, colorful. Gretchen Dykstra, the commissioner for the Department of Consumer Affairs, the city agency responsible for issuing cabaret licenses, wore an amused expression during much of the proceedings. This was unlike most public hearings, with local nightlife luminaries such as the volatile techno DJ Adam X, the activist-promoter Jason Blackkat, and the Dance Liberation Front’s Reverend Jen testifying before the board. “It was pretty wild,” said Dykstra later. “Many of [the hearings] aren’t that fun or that helpful.” And, she added, “This is the first time I have ever seen elf ears” (courtesy of Reverend Jen). While much of the two hours seemed like a group therapy session for promoters, DJs, club owners, residents, and booking agents to vent their frustrations over the law, everyone (and that includes the DCA) seemed to agree on one thing: Dancing itself is not the problem and shouldn’t be regulated. Hopefully new legislation will address the real culprits, namely noise, loitering, and unsafe clubs.
Almost as good as the public hearing was this weekend’s post-Dyke March festivities on Saturday night. Miss Fly Life got an invite from the Lower East Side Lesbian A-list to cavort around town to all the girlie parties. While the Dyke March itself is about as much fun as watching a bunch of people walking down the street could be, the after-parties didn’t disappoint. A friend and I met up with Girlie Action’s Vickie Starr, Meow Mix owner Brooke Webster (whom we dubbed the Mayor), her glamorous gal pal and Gloss promoter Rachael, and a slew of their fabulous friends at Webster’s spot on Houston. After we took in the sounds of Lady Base and E-Race—who were spinning the Carpeteria party—the phone rang. “I just got a scene report from the Dyke Ball,” said the Mayor. “They’re having sound problems and people are leaving.”
We headed over to the Theater for the New City anyway. Outside, a few hundred dykes milled about, and most people were indeed exiting the party. My friend joked that I should do a Jayson Blair Fly Life—filing the column from the confines of my East Village apartment and relying entirely on scene reports. Just then, Vickie got a call. “Scene report from Remote Lounge,” she told the group. “My friend says there’s a ton of hot girls there.” We all excitedly hurried over to the Bowery club (passing Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes outside Bar 81 on East 7th Street on the way), where former Clit Club promoter Julie Tolentino and Luxx’s suave Dee Finley were hosting the night’s most slamming party (aside from Meow Mix, of course). Again, the source turned out to be correct. Remote was crawling with luscious lasses, and since the lesbians had taken over both floors, the video voyeurism was conducted without interruption from gawking frat boys (although at one point a young guy valiantly carrying his girlfriend on the sidewalk outside idiotically proclaimed to a crowd of lesbians that they had just gotten engaged). Meanwhile, another friend called in with the news that Chloë Sevigny was partying at the Hole, and she was staying there because Chloë is so pretty, but I was unmoved.
Soon, the Lesbian A-list decided that they needed better music and headed back to Meow Mix. Miss Fly was in a cab home when the phone rang. “It’s Vickie. I got another scene report,” the voice said. “The Mayor has negotiated a limo for the eight of us, so we’re all riding in it to Meow Mix. You believe us, don’t you?” Of course I believe you. Baby, you’re a Starr.
Additional reporting: Daniel King