In town for the Billboard Dance Music
Summit and an appearance on Fox 5s Good Day New York,
I caught former Exposé member Gioia Brunos performance
at Stonewall on October 4. Fans of the 80s pop trio may recall
that Gioia had to leave the group at the height of its success
in 1991 after an inoperable tumor was discovered on her vocal
chords. Tragically, doctors told her shed never
sing again. But after a decade of healthy living (and three
years not even talking!), the tumor miraculously disappeared.
Promoting her new solo career, Gioia sang her 2001 club anthem
"Free To Be" and her provocative new single, "From
The Inside" (the latter having been recently remixed
by Junior Vasquez), as well as memorable Exposé chart-toppers
like "Come Go With Me" and "Point of No Return,"
for an enthusiastic, beyond-capacity crowd. Its great
to see Gioia back in the spotlight with a truly extraordinary
and inspiring comeback.
Exactly one week after I moved to New York City, my favorite
nightclub Twilo was shut down. It was the first in a series
of setbacks that threatened to further diminish Manhattans
struggling nightlife scene. But I made due with the old standards
(Vinyl, Roxy, even Splash), thanks in large part to the top-notch
talent regularly occupying their DJ booths, and remained optimistic
that good news loomed on the horizon.
Hopes were high when Junior Vasquez moved his weekly after-hours
party, now dubbed "Earth," uptown to the massive
Exit nightclub. Unfortunately, in the immortal words of Miss
Deborah Cox, "Things just aint the same."
After steadily fizzling over the past year, the once fertile
Earth is now essentially barren, leaving many club-goers once
again restless for fresh party alternatives. (After the dreadfully
bland music I have endured during my past few visits to Earth,
including last weekends Monster Ball, this party has
regrettably fallen off my radar).
Then theres the Crobar drama. When the clubs owners
miraculously jumped through an imposing series of hoops earlier
this year to secure the proper permits and licensing to open
their proposed venue on West 27th Street (across from the
ill-fated Twilo), all indications were that the Manhattan
version of the Chicago/Miami glamour-club would be celebrating
its grand opening well before years end. Details are
sketchy as to exactly why this will not be the case, but it
now appears that well be lucky if were lounging
in the Dolce & Gabana-appointed VIP lounge by Gay Pride
But the news is not all bad. Victor Calderones monthly
Tribalism parties on Sunday nights at arc (f/k/a Vinyl) have
given the master DJ his first regular gig in the city since
he left Roxy last year. And it has just been confirmed that
Calderone will take up residency at the new Limelight (Republic@Limelight?)
when the disco church reopens after months of extensive renovations
on Sunday, November 24 (projected date at press time, subject
to change). Calderone will play every other week while the
remaining slots will be filled with a rotating roster of talent.
Its unfortunate that the only gay night will once again
be Sunday, but I guess we couldnt really expect John
Blair to compete with his Saturday night Roxy party.
Music That Shapes Our World
I rarely write CD reviews, but considering how many promos
I receive each month, it would be a shame not to share some
highlights. I had planned to feature Junior Vasquezs
"Earth Music 2" (Tommy Boy) in this space, but since
he totally blew off our scheduled phone interview last week
(and subsequent attempts to reschedule), well just skip
over the man whose bio alleges that his "following rivals
that of Jesus Christ" (!) and move right along to Chris
Coxs masterpiece ensemble, "12 Inches of Cox"
(Provocative Music). The hetero half of the Thunderpuss duo
unleashes a refreshingly current peak-hour assault of slamming
tunes, including Who Da Funks "Shiny Disco Balls,"
Thunderpuss & Barnes "Head," and "Open
Up Your Mind" by Eyes Cream. Timo Maas brilliant
dub of Mobys "We Are All Made of Stars" and
Narcotic Thrusts "Safe From Harm" also stand
out, although I can honestly say theres not a single
disappointment on this exceptional CD.
If youre looking for a slightly tamer, albeit no less
sublime collection of shrewdly mixed music, check out John
Creamer & Stephane K clever attempt to "join the
dots between progressive, tribal, deep and funky house"
on their stunning double-CD set, "Bedrock" (Pioneer).
For the philanthropic-minded dance music
enthusiast, may I suggest West End Records "Dance
For Life" compilation. Mixed by DJ David DePino to celebrate
the 10th anniversary of LIFEbeat: The Music Industry Fights
AIDS, this collection of West End classics like Taana Gardners
"Heartbeat" and several new tracks features productions
by industry heavyweights like Danny Tenaglia, Hex Hector and
Angel Moraes. Please visit WestEndRecords.com
to learn more about this noble effort.
Back at ya in 30 days