Chase, the single-monikered promoter of monthly party the Look, wants you to know that there’s more to life than New Order. Since summer 2005 she’s been on a mission to share less ubiquitous dance music with a certain downtown crowd normally held sway by very obvious songs easily found on jukeboxes. Her parties—though they cater to a clientele that looks, feels, and smells like a tawdry L.E.S. crowd (spiky haircuts, pointy boots, etc.)—are different in one respect. Instead of listening to the usual pop–new wave–post-punk hits, the Look’s patrons get schooled on Italo disco or classic Detroit house and techno. Call it the re-education of the hipster.
“That’s what I decided to do ever since the MisShapes started getting really big,” Chase says. “I wasn’t a promoter at that point, but to hear about something all the time and wonder, ‘Why are these people so quick to follow a group when there’s really nothing solid about it?’ . . . It’s literally just a following. I want to challenge people.”
Most recently, the Look drew a few happy souls to the trippy West Eighth Street club Love on Valentine’s Day—a perfect match for the gay boys and the straight girls who love them. Didn’t matter that they trudged through snowy sludge to reach a half-empty club—everyone was more than happy to have a spacious dancefloor, an awesome soundsystem, and the cozy cuddle room at their disposal. At the Look, you won’t see people, as Chase says, “staring at the door to see if another downtown celeb walks in.” Instead, you’ll be listening to classic Detroit tracks like Carl Craig‘s “Throw.” Thanks, DJ Timmy, for that Valentine’s treat.
Influenced by Love, Chase keeps the Look on the down low, not promoting beyond the same mailing list she started with in 2005. “It’s like a clubhouse,” she says. “It’s never gonna be something to blow up to be huge—it’s always gonna be a secret.”
I BROUGHT THREE WHITE GIRLS!
Recently I went to hear Prince Paul and his co-DJs A. Vee and 3D spin at their monthly Ill-Out night at APT. The clincher: If you brought a white girl before midnight, she got in free. The point: “to promote racial harmony.” Being a good sport, I brought
three very hot white girls; two were visiting from California as close personal friends of Daniela Morselli, Tommie Sunshine‘s lady. We could tell that the gentlemen in the Ill-Out crowd were very happy that I brought them.
The year-old party—which has boasted special guest DJs like Mark Ecko, Paul Rosenberg (Eminem‘s manager), and MC Serch—is a welcome respite from the cheesy, flashy bling of more mainstream hip-hop jams. And judging from the crowd, they didn’t need to make an effort to achieve racial harmony: It was a pretty diverse group already. But I still didn’t miss the opportunity to ask one man, “Did you bring a white girl?” He cracked up and shook his head and put his arms around my friends.
Of course, not everyone was so pleased: Justin Carter, the new musical director of APT, says he got some complaints about the flyer, as did DJ A. Vee, who said they received a few protests on their MySpace page, though he adds that “Most folks saw the humor behind it all.”
Asked what gave him the idea for “Bring a White Girl,” Prince Paul responds, “Because ‘Bring a Black Man Night’ was a total dud. We wanted to find something that’ll bring both black men and white men together. Besides money.”
GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS GUIDO
Pop-punk band Good Charlotte‘s two Madden brothers are indeed— as Paper mag’s cover story last month touted—unlikely arbiters of the underground, but Page Six’s tipster might’ve missed the memo. Benji Madden might be a rock-star DJ, but because of his friendship with longtime spinner Junior Sanchez, he’s one of the few who’s bothered to learn how to mix. That’s why a recent Page Six report about Benji not knowing how to use the DJ equipment at New Jersey club Bliss struck a sour note: I’ve seen him spin, and yes, he knows how to match beats, and makes pretty smart musical connections as a result, impressing this jaded clubber. I e-mailed Junior about the item, and he says it was all a mix-up: “He didn’t suck. They [the crowd] just weren’t into his music. It was a guido club that wanted Jonathan Peters–type poo. Benji is actually a pretty good DJ—he gets better and better, and can hold almost any club down.” He paused. “As long as there’s no guidos involved.” Well, he’s got this guido’s stamp of approval.
When he’s not running the annual Warriors Halloween party,
Phil Oh is apparently dreaming up big-time book ideas. The affable, ever-quotable promoter-turned–trashy-novel-author makes getting a book deal sound easy. He’s the co-writer—along with Amanda Kerlin, a model-turned–art-history-major—of the recently released Secrets of the Model Dorm, a breezy, beach-ready read that reveals what it’s really like to be piss poor, underworked, and gorgeous. The characters include a Metamucil-and-vodka-swilling lush, a coked-up Ukrainian diva, a few goody-two-shoes types, and the protagonist, Heather, a model who yearns to make it in the art world. Since none of them are getting jobs, they are constantly hitting the clubs, going to real-life places like Marquee, Bungalow 8, and Cain. There’s even one scene with
Tommy Saleh, Mandy Brooks, the Rapture, and Justine D.
all gathered at the Tribeca Grand. “Phil loves to name-drop,” says Kerlin of her co-author’s taste for cameos.
Oh had his eureka moment a few years ago while spinning at Verlaine: “I was drunk on Bloody Marys, and then I thought, ‘Who can I exploit for money?’ “, he says. Unbeknownst to the agency, he’d lived in a so-called “model dorm” for a short stint (“I freeloaded Kato Kaelin–style for five months”), and thought that all the nutjob girls and crazy stories might amount to an entertaining novel. He called up Amanda and asked if she’d go in on it with him. “I thought, ‘Who speaks English, and who is not in rehab right now?’ ” he jokes. “Amanda has the most compelling story.” A few chapters and phone calls later, they had a bidding war and a book deal. “Neither of us are career writers, but we decided we’d give it a shot,” he says. “Which is funny. A lot of writers try their whole life to get a book deal, and here we are.”
Oddly, he wrote himself out of the book—there’s no gay Asian minder crashing at the dorm. “I’m happy I’m even in on it to begin with,” he says of the final product. “Amanda’s a pretty 22-year-old blond six-foot-tall girl; I’m this short skinny Asian fag. Who’d buy a book from me?”
Maybe he’ll come to regret such humility, though. “I dunno why I did that,” he says of deleting the Phil Oh character, sounding genuinely irritated with himself. “I don’t know—shit! Fuck! I could have been a D-list celebrity. Oh well.”