It’s good to be gay these days.
Thanks to the tireless, often perilous efforts of the brave
men and women who have fought passionately since the 1969
Stonewall Riots towards achieving acceptance and equality
for our community, many of us are now comfortable and proud
enough to live our lives in varying degrees of openness. Closets
are for clothes.
Of course, we still have a long way to go, and there are
still many people who have trouble integrating into society
and dealing with their sexuality. So while those of us who
are lucky enough to live happy, gay lives might question the
value of Gay Pride celebrations in the year 2003, we should
remember that there are still plenty of gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgendered folks who benefit immensely from them.
Victor Calderone gets tribal
If you’re looking for a more bacchanalian way to celebrate
Pride, our illustrious city offers a multitude of extreme
dance parties that are sure to push you to the limits of your
endurance (but, I hope, not beyond).
It’s been far too long since Victor Calderone played
live in New York City. But on Saturday, June 28, the proudly
married new papa (greetings to Athena and Jivan!) bursts back
onto the scene to take us back to the deep, dark Jungle.
This fierce tribal dance party that he is both producing
and DJing will take place in one of the concrete jungle’s
most unique venues, the Hammerstein Ballroom. If you experienced
Caligula or last year’s Provocateur — each boasting
a 50-piece live orchestra and special performances by the
likes of Cyndi Lauper — you’ve probably already
bought your ticket.
If you haven’t yet been initiated into the Calderone
tribe, then break out your favorite headdress, brush up on
your voodoo, and prepare to embark on the wildest safari this
side of the Serengeti. High priestess Kevin Aviance will oversee
the evening’s rituals, including ceremonial dance numbers
performed by an African dance troupe and musical accompaniment
by a 20-piece percussion group.
Mitch Amtrak will guide revelers on a luminous visual journey
while Kevin Campbell (who recently worked on Lenny Kravitz’s
tour) cooks up some trippy video sequences to be displayed
on a mammoth 20-by-40-foot screen. Tickets are $60 until June
22, $75 thereafter, and can be purchased at Conquete (255
W. 23rd Street) or MyTicketPortal.com/Jungle. Be sure to check
out the Caligula video footage at VictorCalderone.com (click
on the Audio/Visual link).
Jungle also marks the beginning of Victor’s DJ tour
that will take him around the world to cities like Miami,
Los Angeles, Montreal, London, Spain and Zurich, where he’ll
celebrate the release of his new compilation CD, Resonate
(Statra). Advance copies will be available for purchase at
the Jungle party before it hits stores on July 8.
Standing out among Resonate’s 13 tracks are its three
original productions — “The Drive,” “Deep
Dark Jungle” and the title track. The CD is quite a
departure from Victor’s past two E=VC2 compilations
in that the almighty anthem has given way to a more sophisticated
underground sound that will still chill your spine with sporadic
but highly effective vocals.
Admittedly, even I am sometimes apprehensive when it comes
to tribal music because it’s just so easy for a DJ to
get lost in excessively repetitive beats that never really
go anywhere. But when it’s done properly — as
Victor so aptly demonstrates on this disk and during his live
performances — it can be a sublime journey that transcends
even the most deep-seated musical boundaries.
Plenty of other Pride parties
So now that you know where to be on Saturday night, what about
the rest of the weekend? If you’re a trooper, then I
suggest you start the weekend off early with DJ Billy Carroll
at SBNY on Thursday night.
If you can pull yourself off the dance floor for just a few
minutes (don’t wait for Billy to slow things down, because
he won’t!), stop by the front bar and say hi to my favorite
bartender (and SBNY’s diligent publicity manager), Larry
Bullock. He mixes a mighty cocktail, and those frozen cosmos
are quite tasty, too.
You won’t be able to enjoy any alcoholic beverages
there, but Danny Tenaglia will keep his mighty mixed crowd
dancing at Arc on Friday night well past the time the bar
would close anyway. And since Monday is an official gay holiday,
you have no excuse not to check out Ric Sena’s sizzling
hot Alegria party at Sound Factory on Sunday night featuring
Miami’s DJ Abel.
The weekend’s last dance (promise!) is a 25-hour extravaganza
called Beautiful that begins at 11 p.m. on Sunday. Billy Carroll
warms up the Roxy turntables (yes, Roxy!) before Junior Vasquez
takes over to spin for the better part of Monday morning,
afternoon and evening. Now that’s a trooper!
Circuit General’s Warning: It may be hazardous to your
health (and your wallet) to attend all of the above events.
Please exercise care when making your Pride party plans. Sleep,
it’s a good thing.
Crobar’s long N.Y. saga continues
When the long-awaited Crobar nightclub finally opens on West
27th Street (across from the former Twilo space), Victor Calderone
will take up residency on Saturday nights to play for the
gay boys who have missed him dearly.
The opening is still slated for the fall, even though an
administrative snag has postponed the Community Board’s
vote on the club’s cabaret license until next month.
Please keep your fingers (but not necessarily your legs) crossed
that there are no further delays.
Until next time: Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Yourself.