It’s only 11 o’clock on a Tuesday night and already I’m seeing double. No, I am not drunk, I’m at iParty, the iPod open-turntable event thrown by two young men otherwise known as a single entity, Andrew Andrew.
To say that they are funny funny is an understatement. Dressed in white lab coats and Coke-bottle glasses, they bring out the geek fetish in my friend. Though they are not related, and don’t really look that similar physically, they are difficult to tell apart. Even so, when I tried to take pictures of them, one Andrew demanded that he be on the left side. Always.
Their dedication to being identical is inspiring. They wash their clothes an equal number of times so that the clothing wears exactly the same. Right down to the tears on their sneakers. They also have the same tattoo. A friend said, “Some people move to New York to be different, and they move to New York to be the same.” Andrew—the chatty one—told me that they only have two looks a year. Summer—”This year we were blond surfer boys”—and winter—maroon turtleneck, dark blazer. “Last year we did our Harry Potter look,” he says, and flips open his Palm Pilot to show me a picture. “How do you decide what the look is going to be?” I asked. “We have meetings,” he said. Scary scary.
I had so many questions. “What happens when you are apart?” Andrew or Andrew: “We are never apart.” “What happens when you have a date?” “We don’t have time to date. We are always working.” Their work—and I am not sure if this is for real or not—includes stunts like making a logo tag to stitch onto designer clothing and a gold-plated security device (on sale at Seven for 90-something bucks). They also purport to have a baking-goods business.
Earlier in the evening, I had ventured to a very serious serious (I can’t stop!) panel discussion about New York ’70s rock, featuring icons from that era: the transgender DJ Jayne County, Maximumrocknroll scribe Mykel Board, the Dictators singer Handsome Dick Manitoba, and Suicide‘s Alan Vega. Gathered together by Jeffrey Wengrofsky, the host of TerrorSex Cabaret, for a series called “Profiles of the Downtown Music Scene” at the New School, the panelists reminisced about old times. In a way it was like listening to your grandparents talk, except the panelists are far cooler than Grandma. They traded tales about the various after-hours, and how Avenue C—where the new police station is—used to be like Beirut with drug dealers. “There were lines around the block, like a supermarket,” recalled Dick.
That sense of newness and excitement, missing from today’s world but abundant in the ’70s, came across, especially when Board gushed to Vega about his first Suicide show—”It was the first time I saw someone onstage not doing it to be loved. It was ‘Fuck you, I hate you!’ “—or when Brooklynite Vega told how he first landed on the Lower East Side scene. “Coming from Brooklyn to Manhattan, you might as well have traveled 3,000 miles,” he recalled. “It blew me away. I got stuck here.” Vega grinned as he told a story about walking around the street with the New York Dolls, who were dressed to the hilt and causing cars to stop on the street. And Jayne County said wistfully, “I got a gun pulled on me in Long Island—all because I was masturbating to the statue of Jesus.” Pause. “They weren’t ready for that yet.”
All lamented that New York has become a haven for “creeps”—Board’s euphemism for yuppies—and half-joked that New York is better when it’s dangerous. “We had crime!” said Board. “Now we have Kmart. New York is good when it’s scummy! If you really want to help New York, go out and mug somebody.”
“You could stay in a loft for $100 or $200. Artists could afford to live here,” said Vega. “Nothing is really going on now in New York, except maybe the Williamsburg scene,” he said, seeming a little sad about it all. “That sounds so old-farty!” said Board. “We’re turning into old people,” laughed Handsome Dick.
Who has arthritis? Raise your hand.
Proof that New York is over: The Bottom Line’s long battle with NYU is finito. A court ruled in favor of the university and effectively evicted the legendary music venue. No, no, no.
Proof that there is hope after all: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs nabbed a Grammy nomination for the Best Alternative Album. Yeah, yeah, (yeah).