She's Dancing Like She's Never Danced Before
by Matt Kalkhoff
 

Since I don't make it down to the East Village nearly as often as I'd like, I figured the grand opening of the Slide was the perfect excuse to see what those crazy village people are up to these days.
Billed as a revival of the infamous sleazy gay bars on the Bowery in the late 1800s, the tiny rustic cellar bar definitely left me feeling a little dirty, but more in the "I-need-a-shower" sense than the Christina Aguilera way. How many days until that blessed smoking ban goes into effect anyway?

In an impressive double homage (don't try this at home, kids), all "hookers past, present and future" were honored by the daringly provocative World Famous *BOB* as she dazzled us with a titillating topless tribute to Jennifer Beals.

Set to the compelling sounds of "Maniac" from the "Flashdance" soundtrack, *BOB* sent tidal waves of flesh crashing against her voluptuous body as she reenacted the infamous dance sequence that left the beyond-capacity crowd in a bizarre confluence of shock, shame and utter amusement.
Otherwise, the party was fairly typical by East Village standards. But I do predict many good times will be had in the future, like Milk Fridays beginning in February — especially if the number of drunken straight gals pushing their way across the room with lit cigarettes is kept in check.

Unlike A Virgin
Speaking of the East Village, one of New York's most infamous and enduring soirees is returning to the 'hood where it all began some 20+ years ago. I'm talking, of course, about the Saint-At-Large White Party.

On Feb. 15, over Presidents' Day Weekend, the venerable SAL will make a valiant effort to restore the prestige and allure of the first of their two powerhouse parties of the year by moving White Party from the Roseland Ballroom downtown to the elegant Capitale. A landmark Stanford White structure built in 1893, the club boasts a 75-foot high Venetian-style dome (sound familiar?) and impeccably restored Roman/Corinthian architecture, just part of a recent $20 million renovation.

Taking a break from remixing songs by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Cher and Madonna, the dynamic Thunderpuss duo of Chris Cox and Barry Harris, along with original Saint DJ Warren Gluck, will join illumination alchemists Guy Smith and Steve Revlon for an epic 16-hour psychedelic safari, presumably inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll and Timothy Leary.

The theme, "Alex In Wonderland," not only carries on the illustrious Saint tradition, but will also mark the closing of this year's Fashion Week extravaganza.

The infamous Black Party will remain at the Roseland Ballroom, with this year's event slated to take place on Saturday, March 22. Victor Calderone, Susan Morabito, and an as-of-yet undetermined opening DJ will man the turntables. Visit SaintAtLarge.com for more info.

Coming Attractions
A modern day spin on Shakespeare's classic advice, "To thy own self be true," Danny Tenaglia celebrates the fourth anniversary of his "Be Yourself" soiree at arc (f/k/a Vinyl) on Friday, Jan. 31. Fresh from a recent tour of Tokyo and Singapore (yes, you can chew gum there — you just can't buy or sell it!), Tenaglia will take devoted dance-floor disciples on a special 12-hour journey of his favorite house tunes both past and present.

Tenaglia's manager, Kevin McHugh, says that they are thrilled about the celebration. But he also offers a friendly warning: "Being Yourself on Friday may lead to being with someone else on Saturday, which may make you wish you were someone else on Sunday."

Be sure to check your drama at the door, because this party is all about the music. More info can be found at Dtourism.com.

With its liquor and cabaret licenses miraculously approved recently by the Community Board, it looks like the former Twilo space on West 27th Street will soon be reopening. The brainchild of wealthy Irish entrepreneur Robert Wootton, "Spirit" will attempt to merge New Yorkers' fascination with nightlife and spirituality to create an alternative multimedia entertainment complex featuring three distinct areas: Body, Mind and Soul.

The venue will feature live music and dancing, interpretive stage shows, a wide array of holistic healing treatments and spa amenities, and a full-service organic restaurant for the health-conscious connoisseur. Check out SpiritNewYork.com for more info.

During Chicago's Fireball weekend (February 7-8), the Electric Dreams Foundation will host its Fifth Annual Party Health Summit in conjunction with the Hearts Foundation, the Renaissance Chicago Hotel and DanceSafe. Keynote speaker Ethan Nadelmann will join other prominent community health advocates, like Alan Brown, Kat Coric and Dr. Christopher Mann, to discuss ways to produce safer parties while exploring a wide range of health topics pertaining to the gay party experience.
Admission is free, but registration by e-mail is required. Please visit TheFireball.com and PartySafe.org for more details.

Until next month: Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Yourself.


© 2002 Matt Kalkhoff

These articles appeared in NY Blade on January 24, 2003