Each week the New York Times takes us on "A Night Out With," for which publicists arrange for bands or actors to go out on the town with a reporter for somewhat staged interactions. But it's no secret that no one really likes to go out. So we perform home invasions for "A Night In With."
Last night at 9 pm, a swarm of chubby girls were standing outside Crif Dogs in the East Village. They were drinking milkshakes. "Ohmigod, St, Mark's is so cool!" said one. A globule of chocolate shake landed on her tank top's U Conn logo. Six floors above her, the performer and DJ Michael Cavadias was hiding from her, and all the girls just like her.
He was totally on the couch. "Back when I moved in here in '92, St. Mark's was a real community," Cavadias said. "Remember Page, that transsexual performer with the blond flat top? She's dead now but I miss seeing people like her around. Now it's like MTV Real World out there." He is 34. He stroked the fur of his jet black cat, Lucy.
"In here," he said, surveying the small apartment that he shares with a roommate, "it's just quiet." Cavadias wore a faded gray t-shirt. In silver Gothic letters, the writing across the chest said: "Lords of Style. Fear God, Honor Thy Queen." A mounted fishhead stared gape-mouthed from the wall. Then Cavadias stared into his cellphone, scanning text messages.
Cavadias came to New York from California to attend N.Y.U.'s Experimental Theater program. His first day here he ran into Antony, of Antony and the Johnsons—they knew each other from the West Coast drag scene. "We went to the Pyramid Club on A the first night we were in New York. There was this trannie named Hattie singing Kate Bush's 'Wow.'" Cavadias began performing as Lily in the Valley at clubs like the now-defunct Squeezebox. "The party was hosted by Mistress Formika. It was insane." Cavadias played a trannie named Miss Antonia 'Tony' Sloviak in the 2000 thinkie-feelie movie "Wonder Boys."
When he does go outside, Cavadias can be found DJing at the Marquee on Wednesdays, for now still under the name Lily of the Valley. "I'm trying to change that," he says. "Now I just go by my real name." Also when outside, he spends time doing yoga (Kundalini) and drinking coffee (Mudd). "I text a lot," he said. He was texting as he said it.
"Oh my god," Cavadias said, "I got this Carl Sagan movie on Netflix. I'm sooooo excited to watch it." Lucy, spooked by the prospect of God, the Universe and Everything Else, jumped from the sofa and ran into the bedroom. The screen of his MacBook Pro flickered. Stephen Hawking rolled across the screen at breakneck speed. Cavadias laughed. "He looked so good back then!" Hawking's co-star in the documentary, the astronomer Carl Sagan, had died back in 1996. Cavadias sighed. But then he heard a ringtone. "Where's my phone?" he asked, and ran into the other room.