Back in the day — or should I say back in the 90s — the holidays weren’t complete without The Jackie Factory’s seasonal extravaganza. Orchestrated by the creative team behind Mother, Empress Chi Chi Valenti and DJ Johnny Dynell, the hilarious holiday bashes were a slightly messy, somewhat sacrilegious take on the usual yuletide fare. So it was a joyous occasion, indeed, when I received an invitation to their Winter Solstice Holiday Celebration. The soiree was an early hours addition to the second anniversary bash for Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny’s weekly, Vandam, at Greenhouse, Sunday, December 19.
Greenhouse is the latest incarnation of 150 Varick; it’s been a number of venues and I hadn’t been there in ages. Once upon a time I booked Wednesday dancers and attended a SMack! there in a sundress, back when the bar was in the center of the room. The new layout allows for a far more spacious dance floor; the dangling crystals and blinking walls make you feel like you’re in the center of an LED disco ball. Downstairs there’s enough faux foliage to replicate a real treehouse ambience; I loved it! The bathrooms haven’t changed a bit, still spacious enough for a bump with a buddy!
From 10 til 11 the vodka was free, a welcome respite from exorbitant drink prices. I ran into the tres glam Jo Weldon, aka Jo Boobs, resplendent in a hot holiday red peekaboo dress, and we shared a banquette to watch the show. Jessica Rabbit Domination, aka Heather Liteer, performed a revved up rendition of her yuletide staple “Santa Baby” and The Dueling Bankheads revived their scandalous “Frosty the Coke Whore.” “Method go-go” was provided by a trio of ethereal Butoh babes, crowned with Kahlo-esque pointsettia headpieces. I’m afraid it was all a bit lost on the less-than-genius club patrons, with the obvious exception of the Mother crew.
I decided to hang out after the Jackie 60 segment of the evening, inspired by the convivial vibe and DJ Dynell’s thumping bass. I haven’t really done the whole downtown gay/drag nightclub scene in such a long time it was almost like an intrepid anthropological expedition! The music was mostly familiar; I got a real kick out of “I’m in Miami, Bitch!” which appeared to be a club favorite. I was slightly disappointed by the overall style of the crowd, or should I say lack thereof. Since when did denim become the new black? It’s sad enough that no one really “brings it” anymore but it was more or less a sea of jeans. Sigh.
Once the club was completely packed, an emcee got on the mic to make apologies for Susanne, who had “a family thing,” and intro the evening’s star act, Dirty Martini. She debuted her latest project, The New Weird, featuring Ms. Martini herself on vocals and backup dancers decked out in leopard. They all gyrated to “It’s Naked Time!” and her sexy dancers did, indeed, get naked! As did Dirty, of course. It was an orgy of flesh!
Sufficiently sated and slightly exhausted, Jo and I beat a path to the door by grooving through the dance floor, leaving the club to the kids. It was a great night!
150 Varick at Vandam
Doors at 10pm