Tag Archives: Johnny Dynell

You Spin My Right Round, Baby…

I know a lot of DJs. From my years working in nightclubs, going to nightclubs, and participating in Burning Man and all its related events, I’ve met many people who make people dance with their music. I know that with all the technology we have now, “everyone’s a DJ.” But orchestrating a good time for a roomful of people — either a dozen or a thousand — is a true art form. I’ve watched when it hasn’t worked and it’s a very sad sight indeed. Ugh. Nothing’s worse than witnessing a DJ clear a dance floor. You won’t see that happen to any of my friends! Here’s a semi-exhaustive list. (Oh. And I’ve been failing slightly lately with where I actually met people so I’m not going to give too much, if any, backstory on these folks.)

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Johnny Dynell
He’s been Chi Chi Valenti‘s partner and co-producer of many events since I met him. He’s probably the most “famous” DJ I know. (Which reminds me of the funny sign that was on the bulletin board in the Mother office: THANX GOD I’M A VIP! Hah!) He spins everywhere from Fire Island to Cannes, gets hired for Elton John’s Oscar Party and is busy just about every night of the week. But I know him best for being behind the decks at Jackie 60 and all subsequent Mother productions.

DJ Althea Loveless
Still, to this day, the maker of the absolute best ambient theme mix CDs. Like a soundtrack to a mood. A set decorator for an idea. Difficult to describe.

Julie Covello aka DJ Shakey
I met Julie when she was DJing one of The Baroness’s bashes and was surprised it was her first fetish event. She totally got it. Since then I’ve heard her at all kinds of different parties. She gets all them, too. Plus she puts together a great clothing swap!

Douggie Style
I met Douggie when he first moved to NYC. We were doing “The Bunny Hop,” a SantaCon-type thing at Easter time. I was being bunny-esque but Douggie was being an evil clown. I wound up with grease paint on my ass and we’ve been friends ever since! He spins at all the fundraisers and on-playa at Disorient.

Sammy Jo
We used to work the door at Mother together. Since then he’s traveled with Scissor Sisters and DJs all kinds of fabulous parties, big and small, including our annual Halloween fete, Ghostlight.

Xris Smack
I met Xris in the early ’90s and went to his very first SMack! party. He’s about to celebrate his 20th anniversary. Wow. He’s been DJing some of the Kostume Kult parties recently. Worlds colliding. He’s also a producer and sound engineer.

Michael T.
I loved Kitsch Inn, which was my party, and Motherfucker, which wasn’t. Both may be over but back in the day, their dance floors were kept moving by the ever glamorous Michael T. He’s still spinning, both on the decks: Beauty Bar, David Barton’s Gym and the newest underground sensation Berlin; and onstage: Bowie Ball,  and Oh You Pretty Things!

Erwin Ozoa
Erwino is not only one of our DPW medics, he’s also an amazing DJ. He’s spun for our Shitshow Sundays, keeping us dancing (and screaming along) for over 24 hours. On one of our Mutiny days, he dragged his entire DJ rig out to Frog Pond and, I swear, was inside our collective heads, playing an incredibly eclectic mix. Masterful!

Ezra Li Eismont
Ezra, aka Old Man Gravyfoot, is the man behind the machine at all the most ridiculous DPW parties. He spins Yacht Rock and super cheesy 70s shit and we all sing along. It’s a beautiful thing. On his Chickenfish radio show, you might hear the “irritainment of meltdown music, obscure remixes of  or a full day of holiday classics in middle of summer. He is primarily a visual artist and deserves a whole separate listing for that. Stay tuned. Heh. See what I did there?

$mall ¢hange
Jim has been spinning the underground gigs forever, notably No Parking On the Dance Floor and Rubulad.

DieJ! Mars
Mars used to spin for Gomorrah. He was always so easy to work with. Today he lives in LA and is making movies!

Beenjammin’
Ben has been behind the decks at all kinds of cool fundraiser ’cause he can always be counted on. And he’s an amazing treehouse architect!

Orion
Another count on-able dude who will show up to support your cause!

John Margulies
Originator of Hobotech, most recently spinning at Coachella. Super fun guy who was always working the burner bashes before he moved west.

Load Rezenhand
Aldo was one of our Click + Drag DJs.

There are more.
Friar Tuck
Arrow Chrome
Tim The Enchanter Schumacher
Illexandra
Jeff-O
Morgan
Shalin
Ian Fford
And probably even still more.  My apologies if I left you off this list or didn’t “flesh out” your listing. It got a little overwhelming.

 

 

 

 

 

Singled Out Chapeaux & The Empress

My original intent was to write about a different friend every day to tell the world about their awesomeness. I seem to have so much to say that I’m blogging about other topics as well. I kind of like how the two are working together, my random thoughts dovetailing into who I’m presenting. I’m also enjoying the immediacy. So I’m gonna stick with that.

Last night, as I mentioned, I wound up as a plus-one at a fab gala. My “date” was Chi Chi Valenti, Empress of the Motherboards (and formerly club Mother). It was a glamorous evening — cocktails, dinner and a wonderful show put on by Rosie’s Kids — where our table wound up in an awkward but hilarious spotlight: Kicking off the donation segment of the evening, Rosie asked who might want to start at $10,000. When she came down to $1000, she looked at our table. We were a colorful little crew, two of whom were sporting rather large chapeaux. “How about you, pirate?” she asked one. “No? Okay. Love that Pharrell hat,” she said to the other, who was wearing Westwood, sweeeeteeee, but not the Pharrell one, thankyouverymuch! Anyway, after another ribbing at the $500 level, someone side stage whispered, “They’re Jane’s friends!” which let Rosie know not to harass us for donations since we weren’t members of the moneyed class, merely guests of. It was an amusing little culture clash.

Coming home from the desert every year I experience similar culture clashes. I’ve wound up at a luncheon with Condoleeza Rice and a dinner with Susan Sarandon. I’ve celebrated a birthday at a posh resort in Playa del Carmen and spent weekends at expensive spas from Monterey to Sonoma. A week ago I was at a dinner dance at San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club. Just having dinner with my sister and her friends can feel like a journey to a parallel dimension. So being in a room full of people who can raise their hands and donate a few grand wasn’t all that odd. But getting singled out about not being able to was pretty goofy. It will provide chuckle-factor fodder in the future between Chi Chi and I, along with our flying foil-wrapped bagels and the egg-splattered stage.

chichi-sf08-360I’ve known Chi Chi since 1993, when she booked me to walk in the Goddess Ball fashion show at The Palladium. I didn’t realize then just how incredible that was…I was so excited and flattered to be included that the enormity of it somehow escaped me. I went to a couple of Jackie 60s, notably one that paid homage to Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill (I wore Tura Satana drag) and one of the annual Shoe Balls, where I wound up on my hands and knees mopping the aforementioned splattered eggs (in addition to quite a good amount of piss). When she and her husband, DJ Johnny Dynell, bought the club, I was recruited as a co-producer (and “Kink Control”) of the cyberfetish weekly Click + Drag. It was nightclub heaven.

I have an appreciation for people who recognize those who’ve come before them, welcomed them and schooled them. It reminds us that none of us get anywhere alone; we’re all in it together. It is a tradition in both the drag and BDSM worlds, to acknowledge the “mothers” and “fathers” who, literally, “brought us up” in the subculture. Chi Chi is my “club mother” and a mother to so many others.

Aside from contributing to my club education, I’ve absorbed oodles of other cultural ephemera from Chi. She is knowledgeable on an astounding array of topics: history, fashion, the arts, and, most especially, New York City. She was a fixture at Mudd Club before she ran her own establishment. And her legacy continues. Chi Chi’s expertise extends beyond being side stage or on the mic into the literary world. She has written for numerous publications and created one of her own: Verbal Abuse, “dispatches from the nightlife literati.” Her readings are theatrical and atmospheric, blending words with performance art, firmly based in both disciplines.

Chi has hired me to help co-produce Ghostlight, the Halloween haven that raises funds for HOWL Help, and Night of a Thousand Stevies, the annual evening of musical homage to Stevie Nicks, and Low Life @ HOWL Festival. It is always a pleasure to work with her. I am grateful for the many opportunities to be a part of New York City’s vibrant nightlife.

A note: This post is part of my 30-day “YES-vember!” project.