New York

Riff Raff Goes to Motherfucker, Has Sex Change

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LEANIN’ AND I’M SITTIN’

IMG_6050.jpg
Riff Raff’s new friends, Crazy Face and Napkin Neck Dude [from Last Night’s Party]

Motherfucker Labor Day Party [ft. Out Hud]
Eugene’s
4 September 2005

After much debate here in Riff Town, formerly Riff City, the Raff is putting crans in the dresser and coming clean on Motherfucker, a party mocked from afar, celebrated from within, simultaneously freakier and not nearly as freaky as everyone thinks it is.


Outside the Roxy

For some reason I thought the party was at the Roxy. It wasn’t, but the two minutes I was there, I did hear a bouncer say the following to a Puerto Rican dude waiting in line in front of me:

“Yo buddy, you gotta lose the bandanna. None of that 1970s shit in here, chico.”

Ugh.


Inside Eugene’s

Motherfucker, for context, is a mostly monthly, multi-room jam that founders Justine D and Michael T have been throwing for five years now. It’s a dance party for club-fearing rock kids, really–you hear post-punk, electro, house, dance-punk, and if M.I.A. counts, hip-hop (but no)–and by my count, one of only a few such rock parties around. There’s Fixed at Tribeca; Frisco has Popscene, Philly has Making Time; that may be it.

DJs are typically generous selectors, playing generally more rockcentric but secretly danceable stuff club skeptics respond to: I heard Annie, a Rapture double-dose, Bloc Party, Vitalic, the Who Made Who version of Benni Benassi’s “Satisfaction,” LCD Soundsystem, DFA1979, Go! Team, Out Hud, Blur’s “Boys and Girls,” Tom Vek, Soulwax’s nite version of “Krack,” Zongamin, a bunch others, the Kinks and Go4, and so on.

All of these acts are different, sure, but culturally something links them here, and they’re begging for an umbrella. That’s not even to say this music is necessarily important per se, but somehow these are the staples of a very specific demographic of indie kids dropping biases and, she wrote, learning how to dance. And beyond that, suddenly there’s a context for experiencing straight-up rock music (“Hard to Explain” came on at one point) in a communal setting that’s not a concert.


Riff Raff on the Rocks

I found my way into the green room on my never-ending search for free drinks and free wireless, and DJ Dave P (whose Bloc Party remix you may have heard by now) pointed me to a table with Grey Goose and carafes of mixers. I pour myself a modest cup; within three seconds I’m covered in vodka and a man has his hands on my collar.

What happened in those three seconds was not Riff Raff’s best moment.

“Yo buddy, take a walk.”

I didn’t know who this flannel-shirt asshole was telling me to take a walk; I had the green pass that let me into the general area, and I had been given the go-ahead to pour myself a drink by the party organizers. Either way, I apologized and started backing off. That’s when he started pushing.

“Yo buddy, I said take a fucking walk. This ain’t yours.”

“I’m leaving, I’m really sorry.”

“If you don’t take a fucking walk, I am going to kill you.”

Then he snaps the cup of vodka I’m holding into a billion pieces. The drink’s all over my shirt.

“I will actually kill you.”

And then he started following me as I took a walk to the DJ booth, loudly insisting that I take a fucking walk, as if my walking then and there wasn’t up to “take a fucking walk” standards.

Finally someone explains to this clown that I’m “down”–clubspeak for “blogging real-time”–and he backs off and complains to anyone he can about “that faggot over there.” In other words, Riff Raff just had his first run-in with Steve Lewis, owner of Eugene’s and shadowy (i.e. previously jailed, I’m told), hilariously no-temper figure in the New York club scene. “He taught me everything I know about the club industry,” Justine D explains.


Out Hud

Download:It’s For You
Download:How Long
Download:Hair Dude, You’re Stepping On My Mystique

Played live, and well, despite the pisspoor P.A.. But this is exactly what I’m talking about above. Out Hud are one of five or six indie dance flagships, yet I’ve always thought of them more as Chicago House Part 2, a little colder, a little bit weirder, nothing particularly indie or rock, totally making straight-up club music. Their only concessions to rock, really, are that there are musicians playing instruments on stage. Maybe that’s enough though, at least to break down gross electronic dance music stereotypes (easy to make, not music)?


Peacocks

Over time though Motherfucker has taken on extravaganza status, not nearly so D.I.Y. anymore, as much of a spectacle for its top-down hires (dancers, crowd-workers, transvestite party hosts) as its eye-lined clientele.

The pictures are truthful but misleading. Freaks do congregate; dollfaces flash unsolicited tit. I saw a girl with contact lenses that make her eyes look like tiger eyes, and she also had tattoos on her face that made her look like a tiger. I saw a guy with his head shaved in such a way that you couldn’t walk by him without seeing the word “GODLESS” tattooed on his skull. There were so many mesh shirts, so many high heels and so many dudes walking in them. My friend Matt, who ditched the Riff Train during the Out Hud set to mack on some 40-year-old who (he says) had her tongue surgically biforcated so she would look like (and kiss like) a snake, scoffed about all the “Andy Warhol leftover looking types.” Keep in mind this guy hooked up with the snake woman.

Two things though. One, obviously these are the people who get their pictures on the internet. But really 98% of the partygoers look just like me and you, t-shirts, glasses, totally regular tongues. And my guess is they’ve come to dance, because that’s largely what people do at Motherfucker. Not much peacocking, except the people peacocking.

But two, peacocking is showing off, and I don’t think this is necessarily peacocking, and definitely not fake. Hickey time: There’s not much of a social currency in dressing like a tiger or painting your eyes like a raccoon, is there? You get weird looks, some heckles, but all’s to say, I don’t think people are dressing up for others’ amusement, or for any sort of hidden hipster cred exchange. The dress is much more genuine, I think: People are relieved they can have their appearance reflect their inner psyche. Imagine going the whole week wearing a suit and a necktie, when on the inside, you’re a gay panther with ten earrings on your butt. Imagine working as a gay panther with fifteen earrings the whole week, and then finally Motherfucker happens, and you can finally dress up like the financial analyst you truly are. Don’t hate these guys; be happy for them.


Last Nite

On the way back I saw Nikolai Fraiture, the bassist from the Strokes, at the Waverly Restaurant. I have a history with Nikolai–back in 2002 I tricked the Strokes into thinking I was Pelle Almqvist from the Hives and, to determine who was the best band of the millennium, raced two of them in go-karts–but there was no need for re-introductions. It was 5am, and I wanted to make an ass of myself. For the next twenty minutes I thought of things I could walk up and say to Fraiture, who was now in the middle of his meal. Here’s what I came up with:

-“Yo, you eating something?
-“I see you’re eating something.”
-“Nice eats?”
-“How are the nice eats up in your piece?”
-“Those look like nice eats that you’re eating with your piece.”
-“Really looking forward to the new eats.”

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