Since time immemorial, or since maybe 2004, we have received missives from a person called The Earl Grey, the greatest social documentarian of our time. As frequently as possible, we print these letters as a service to society. Today, he takes us on a journey through the past, recreating the intimate details of New York life in the halcyon days of the fin de siècle 1990s.
January 29, 1998 BeavHer was at Don Hill's, 511 Greenwich St., every Thursday, Frankie's famous, pioneering 80's revival fun-fest. Guests included model/actress Jamie King, at the time known as James [due to model-land confusion with fellow Next Agency stable-mate Jaime Rishar]. Top tunes from Frank's rotating 80s jukebox included included the Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock & Roll (But I Like It)," "The Jeffersons" TV Theme "Movin' On Up," Blondie's "Hangin' on the Telephone," Prince's "PopLife," The Beatles' "Come Together," Stories' "Brother Louis" from 1973, The Go-Gos' We Got the Beat," and Andy Gibb's light pop "I Just Want To Be Your Everything.' I found the mid-1990's BeavHer play-list, including TV themes weekly, to be among the most refreshing I've enjoyed in about 3 decades of NYC club-going. *** of 5 stars
Jan. 30, 1998 "Twilo Classics" on West 27th Street with English Drum n Bass DJs GrooveRider, Jumping Jack Frost, DB, & Dara. Twilo had earlier been The Sound Factory, and later was Spirit, before being shut down about three years ago in the Chelsea Police crack-down. Supposedly Drum n Bass survives as an under-ground genre, but I don't know anyone who still listens to DnB this century- despite its worldwide popularity in the mid-90's.
- The same night Closer were at Brownies on Avenue A with BigMouth. BigMouth vanished by the late 90's, and Closer became the BlowUps, the Mirror People and finally WhiteLight Motorcade. WLM released two excellent CDs but never attracted the attention they deserved during the NYC 'Rock Revolution' circa 2001 or so.
Jan. 31 1998 The Mooney Suzuki were at Coney Island High/Green Door, 15 St. Mark's Place. The Mooneys started out as a credible garage/Mod act in the mid-90s, but several changes in image & labels did them no favours in the hard-scrabble rock trenches. Coney was a much-loved and dependable East Village rock dive seemingly shuttered during the Giuliani era.
February 3, 1998 The weekly Subliminal house party was at 17 W. 19th st. Over the next 5+ years Subliminal boss Erick Morillo became one of the world's leading djs. Subliminal flourished at Centrofly until that club closed about 5 years ago. Now Morillo co-owns pacha on West 46th St., and he spends the summer in Ibiza.
Feb. 5, 1998 Tiswas, Nick Marc's long-standing Brit-Pop shindig was at Coney Island High each Thursday, this night featuring Smitty's performing. The low-ceilinged and claustrophobic upstairs at Coney provided many a beer- and sweat-soaked Tiswas night. A bit later in 1998 Tiswas moved to Don Hill's on Saturdays.
- Then over to BeavHer, top songs: Bowie's 'Suffragette City' Bee Gees' "Staying Alive," Four Seasons' December 1963," The Who "I Can't Explain," and New Order's "Confusion."
- the same night, Steve & Pedro from Shout! presented 'The Bounce' at the Cooler on West 14th St., with bands the Charade, Mooney Suzuki, Sonic Mood Set, & the Panic. Meat-packing has completely changed in the last decade I was at Kiss & Fly last Thursday on West 13th I could not believe the wanna-be Euro atmosphere and loose Russian 'models.'
- And Paint was at the Continental on 3rd Avenue/St. Marks Place. Paint was another under-appreciated experimental-art rock act of the mid-90s.
Feb. 12, 1998 "I Love Fayva," Captain Kangaroo/lounge singer Johnny Fayva hosted an evening of Valentine's romance at Don Hill's BeavHer. "Join Johnny & Ricky as they take you on a journey to the heart. Valentine surprises with Frankie 'Cupid' Inglese." Russell "Fayva" Steinberg moved his act West to L.A. in the 21st Century. Fayva always looked a lot like Tony Clifton to me, some other Andy Kaufman obsessive will have to puzzle out that connection.
Feb. 13, 1998 Tsuyoshi Suzuki, one half of the Psy-Trance production team Prana, made his first ever Manhattan appearance, at Vinyl in TriBeca I think. His previous tri-state performances were at the Matsuri party & the Liberty Science Center, as my techicolour rave flyer informs me. DJ Icey from Florida and MixMaster Morris were also on the bill. Vinyl has been known as Nasa/Shelter and later Arc before closing in 2003, one of the best under-ground dance venues of the house, rave & progressive eras. Some people still swear by Psy-Trance, but I haven't listened to Trance since 2002 at least.
Feb. 19, 1998 Tiswas at Coney Island High featured Closer and Altra performing. Nick marc's best tune of the night was 'Shout to the Top' by the Style Council. Other Tis' classics incl. the Jam's "Start!" The Charlatans' "Weirdo," The Stones' "Satisfaction," Blur's There's No Other Way, " Pulp's "Disco 2000," The La's "There She Goes," Duran's "Girls On Film," the Smith's "This Charming Man," The Chemical Brosthers' "Leave Home," Stone Roses' "Fool's Gold" and "Elephant Stone," and the Ventures' "Hawaii 5-O" theme. Nobody doesn't love a 1970s TV theme !
Feb. 20, 1998 Spacehog played the Westbeth Center, a showcase gig for their second "Chinese Album." Talk about yer 1 hit wonders.
- Afterwards over to Vinyl/Nasa for 'Beatbox' with Carlos from SF [one of my fave 90s rave djs ever], James Christian & Heather Heart.
Feb. 21 1998 The Upper Crust headlined Coney Island High/Green Door.
Feb. 26, 1998 BeavHer at Don Hill's with guest Tamika & top tunes "Good Times" by Chic, M's "Pop Muzik," Rod Stewart "D'Ya Think I'm Sexy," Frankie Valli's "Grease," Rick Springfield's "Jessies Girl," J5 "The Love You Save," Bee Gees' "Staying Alive," Beastie's "Brass Monkey," Blondie Call Me," Iggy "Lust For Life," Til Tuesday "Voices Carry," Prince "Erotic City, MiJax' "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," and the Specials' "Do the Dog." I've enjoyed several hundred nights at Don Hill's since 1994, but the party I definitely danced the most songs at was always BeavHer in the mid-late 90s. Even songs like Steely Dan's 'Black Cow' got me sweaty & percolating, if you can believe it. I hope you can.
- The same night the Charade headlined Tiswas at Coney. Another under-valued Mod revival band on the Tiswas- Staten Island circuit of the mid-1900's.
Feb. 27, 1998 I attended the Omega rave at Vinyl/Nasa with djs Charles Feelgood, Scott Richmond, Micro vs X-Dream [Long Island Caffeine tag-team], Odyssey, I-Cue, Justin Time and a special performance by Richie Rich!! Feelgood still holds down the Baltimore house scene while Richie has impressed all his Limelight/Tunnel/Nasa co-conspirators with his 21st century Heathette success. No Heatherette show at last week's NY Fashion Week howevs, come back Richie!
- Top Media Events in Feb. 1998 included El Nino & Global Warming, Monica Lewinsky, the UnaBomber's shack, and Peter Gatien was acquitted in his drug dealing case at Limelight nightclub.
- Sadly the Beach Boys' guitarist & founder Carl Wilson passed away at 51. In a somewhat lesser death, Falco [Johann Holzel] died when his SUV crashed into a bus in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Also Antonio Prohias, who drew "Spy Vs. Spy" in "Mad" magazine, died at 77.
- My favourite film in Feb. 98 was 'Gia' on HBO with Angelina Jolie. I also saw 'SpiceWorld' on 86th St.
- Art shows in Feb. 1998 incl. Penelope Umbrico at Julie Saul, and Marc Quinn & Nicolas de Stael at Mitchell Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Ave. .
- The US Post Service issued a cool cross-word puzzle stamp.
- And my Horoscope Lucky Colours incl: sky blue, navy blue, purple. & pink.
- The Earl Grey -
By Steely Dan