Last night’s Paper Magazine Nightlife Awards joined the dismayingly long list of 2009 award-show travesties. The invite-only event went down at M2 (the old Mansion) to a packed audience of important downtown scenesters (that’s the whole point of invite-only, right?) and D-list celebs. Huge mock disco balls made up of smaller crystal spheres and elaborate flower-stemmed chandeliers hung over the Svedka open bar that most likely facilitated some of the night’s absurdity. Let’s just say we can’t wait until this whole “getting Kanye-d” trend is over.
To be fair, the list of nominees should have tipped us off to what we were in for. The “People’s Choice Award” for Best DJ included a handful of people we’ve never heard of, alongside the Misshapes (is this 2004?) and Paul Sevigny, who definitely fits the “Nightlife” part of the award, but definitely doesn’t rank among the best DJs New York City has to offer. The Best Club nominees featured a collection of frou-frou lounges–1Oak, Hudson Terrace, Von, and Butter, to name a few–that we doubt a majority of Paper‘s readers have ever even seen. It was clear this was merely a popularity contest between the downtown hip and the select clubs they’ve managed to scam their way into.
Around 9:30 p.m., the magazine’s own Mr. Mickey, decked out in a fabulously sequined tuxedo jacket for the occasion, scurried onstage to kick off the festivities. “I’ve never used a teleprompter before,” he admitted, while shouting out the event’s DJs (Harley & Cassie) and thanking Kid Robot for the specially designed trophies. Then came the flurry of awards. The night’s big celebrity, Taylor Hanson, presented “Best New Party” to 66Sick Wednesdays at Butter, not to be confused with the party of the exact same name at Happy Endings on Tuesdays. The concerned recipient took the award and explained that the party’s name was actually not 66Sick, and it was on Thursdays, not Wednesdays. Confused yet? We were.
Awards continued to fly–Macoa won Best Nightlife Food (as Das Racist’s “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” played overhead), the Standard’s 18th Floor won Best Hotel Nightlife, and Best Promoter went to NY promo giant Andy Shaw, who told the audience he prefers marijuana to cocaine. Sophia Lamar and Bunny Kinney presented Best New Nightclub to the Standard with a series of ill-fated quips–“At least London don’t have no shitty faggots,” crowed Kinney. (Dude, really? Who are you again?) Scissor Sister Ana Matronic sauntered onstage to give the award for Best Designer With Influence to Sophomore; Amanda Lepore presented a leather-clad Ladyfag with the “Future Face of Nightlife” award. “It’s only right I present this,” she joked. “I’m the only girl here that will look exactly the same in 2033.”
Then things got even messier. The drunken announcers for “Best DJ” began reading the nominees before giving up: “I’m sorry, we missed a bunch of names.” (Note: Those names included the only nominees I’d heard of: Mark and Samantha Ronson, DJ Ayres, Nick Catchdubs, Justine D, and Rich Medina.) Harley and Cassie won the award, soliciting another “Who? What? Where am I?” from the person standing next to me. (Apparently the way to become a famous DJ is to admit you aren’t good at DJing, but are terribly clever and cute nonetheless.) An irritated James Murphy intercepted the duo and jumped onstage to, you guessed it, announce, “I’m sorry, but Justine D had the best DJ year ever. Of all time.” The People’s Choice award in the same category went to Andrew Andrew, but the duo had already left the building. Somewhere in the background, Matt Levine was pissed, too. And said so.
Soon thereafter, our own Michael Musto was inducted into the Nightlife Hall of Fame alongside Indochine and Beige. “I hate people–I think they’re vulgar and crude and awful,” he noted while adjusting his intricately patterned blazer. He then presented the People’s Choice: Best Party award to OPEN at Santos’. Finally, something we can get behind. Mayhem immediately broke out as a screaming mob, some wearing Santa hats, ran onstage. “Santos is happy to accept this award on behalf of Q-Tip, Vashtie, and DJ Gravy,” one yelled into the mic. (The omission of Rich Medina’s name from that shout-out was unsettling. After all, it was his party until last month.) They went on to thank the patrons, DJs, and everyone who’s had sex in their bathrooms. “I’ve never had sex there,” complained Musto. “Not even when I keep my legs open.”
If there were other awards, we didn’t care. The Ting Tings were scheduled to perform but cancelled, leaving the Drums in their place. By 10:30, the Svedka open bar had made the crowd rowdy and loud. Not to mention that the whole thing had strayed so far from what we conceive as any sort of accurate representation of NYCs nightlife that it was amazing we’d lasted that long. We congratulate you, Paper, on another year of partying. We just wish you were better at it.