Depending on your vantage point, Valentine’s Day is either pretty or painful, but if you’re in the latter group, there were a couple of parties last week that took the sting out of not getting hit by Cupid’s bow.
Scribe NELSON GEORGE‘s Valentine’s Day party at Table 50 was a slow-jams kind of jam, where the ladies were given roses and got in for free, the DJ played grooves by SMOKEY ROBINSON and RAY CHARLES, and the guys made smoove moves. It was fitting for George to host such a party since the writer just published a story in Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica 2005, but when it also became clear that there were more solo than coupled ladies, I wagged my finger at the host: “This was all part of your master plan—getting a roomful of single women all to yourself!” “Nah,” he said, smiling sheepishly. (Later, when I told a friend about my theory, he said, “Fuck yeah. Nelson George is smart!”) It worked. He danced the night away with about 10 different lasses to prove it—and I was only there an hour. Over in the corner, MELVIN VAN PEEBLES, all 72 years of him, was getting down so hard that I was afraid he’d break something.
On the way out, I finally met one of the club’s owners, MARK MATHEWSON. I was afraid he’d beat me up on sight since my last Table 50 visit involved a model-type blonde hostess telling poor DAN SELZER and JOSH HOUTKIN to hurry up and play JAY-Z ’cause The Village Voice was here, and I sort of made fun of her. (OK, I totally spanked her in print.) Mathewson, who must be a masochist because he doesn’t drink and owns a nightclub, wasn’t mad, but he said the hostess is no longer with the club. (Don’t look at me!)
While good soul music is lovely, I have to admit bad heavy-metal power ballads are closer to my white-trash heart, and after three years of promising to make it, I finally witnessed the greatness that is CATHY CERVENKA and her Love Bites! metal party. The LOVE BITES! BAND—whose talents made it more than a karaoke fest—were joined by a slew of local guest singers, including JOHN GAENZLER of SACCHARINE, LISA JACKSON, and LASHELLE, who slugged their way through the best of the hair set, including MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s “Home Sweet Home,” NIGHT RANGER‘s “Sister Christian,” and DEF LEPPARD‘s “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” There were lighters given out at the door, which people dutifully hoisted at the appropriate moments, while they sang along without shame. Most frightening is that I could follow just about every single word of SKID ROW‘s “I Remember You,” delivered masterfully by MILITIA. During Cervenka’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” man of the moment MIKE ALBO and JILL PANGALLO performed a special “interpretive dance” involving tennis rackets and tennis outfits that no one understood, but it seemed appropriate.
The crowd’s fave was LaShelle’s “Purple Rain,” which isn’t technically a power ballad, but hey, I wasn’t being too picky since LaShelle was so good. My favorite cover was a spot-on rendition of HEART‘s “Alone” by YANA CHUPENKO (of SHINY MAMA). She was great, even if she was drunk. Cervenka introduced her and warned the crowd, “Don’t sing drunk.” But smart people, they didn’t listen to her.
Upstairs, the man who makes things go at the Delancey, GEORGIE SEVILLE, spun more rawk and revealed that the owner of the club and the boys who run the popular Sunday-night Shout! party at Bar 13 are joining forces to open a rock bar in the least likely of places: Miami. While the venue will be away from the Day-Glo of the South Beach strip, it will have one advantage over that area—it’s going to be located on mainland Miami in one of the only spots in the country where it is legal to have a 24-hour liquor license. My guessis those rockers won’t take Cathy’s word either—they’ll definitely drink and sing.