Everything was against filling a mammoth club in NYC in 2001: Mayor Giuliani on the warpath against clubland (with Twilo having shuttered four months prior) + Club Security that abused patrons’ rights + Grand Opening just after 9/11, when the smell was still pungent in NYC’s air…
“Your presence on this Earth will come to an End / You have no sense, no purpose, no direction” #itisntoveryet #hesalwaysthere
The party started around midnight Saturday night and ended mid- to late-afternoon on Sunday, with the really great very NYC clubland hours being after noon usually except on holidays. Sometimes I felt like I was in purgatory until after 10am when suddenly the dancefloor would turn ON. It seemed like a cold world at the time.
In retrospect, looking at pictures and listening to the vast body of music that now is distinctly “Earth Music,” it wasn’t so bad. On behalf of my client Junior Vasquez, I produced events every Saturday from September 2001 until June 2003 (and all h0lidays) at a nightclub that was never on the map (so it was fresh territory) but whose facility was grand enough for the Queen of NYC – especially with the millions of dollars of renovations that we demanded before we signed on.
Like I said at the beginning, it felt like everything stood against me in Summer 2001 followed by what seemed like the end of the world on 9/11.
My family and I came second that Summer, except for the week and a half that Griffin was lost in Manhattan when he slipped the collar late at night outside the JVM office on Broadway & 21st Street.
Mauro and I were there installing a new computer and upgrading our connectivity all night because the office was too busy during the day. I ran Griffin out to pee, and he didn’t know the neighborhood. As we passed a deli, a person sitting on the street with a child (at that ungodly hour) scared him, he slipped the collar and darted across the street scared. We ended up finding him a week and a half later, but it was after a massive effort involving NY Post columnist Cyndi Adams, Mayor-elect Mark Green…
…Alessandra and Peter Gatien helped too. Alessandra had additional (even bigger) flyers designed and printed the day he was lost. I almost cancelled the Classics party at Limelight, but instead, she gave up her entire security staff during the party to hunt the particular leads we had in west Chelsea.
Griffin’s face is even on the Limelight Classics green t-shirt logo. Their help was motivated for sure by the fact that the Gatiens were ardently trying to convince me to move our party to Limelight. A new “Arena” was their concept, along with John Blair, with whom I very much did want to work. I appreciate/d Arena, but enough is enough with a carnival-style show. I didn’t see a seriousness about the music in that concept, well, the people behind it. I too had worked for Peter in that same time-slot as the Saturday night afterhours DJ at Tunnel Nightclub before managing Junior. In fact, I moved my records into the booth that they had built for Junior and locked them when I left. Peter gave me the booth to make me feel like I was playing from my own home. But it never felt that way actually. I could not see the light in the Limelight. See The Light @ Tunnel
We found Griffin. Sabrina Johnston turned out to be correct when she thought she recognized Griffin from the JVM office in the Poconos. Honestly I thought she was mistaken.. Sabrina’s not only got the voice but quite the eye, it turns out.
I had accepted and carried all of the burden of strategizing the “what next” for Junior Vasquez and our “JVM”. I felt very alone though because it was not in Junior’s skillset, for all his talent, to work through what we faced. I’d challenge anyone actually to figure out that helter skelter – 😕
It was a cruel summer. I had a lot of things on my plate, besides finding a NYC club. I know that most of the burden I brought on myself by wanting so much for JVM: the studios were in overdrive, Junior was playing more than ever outside NYC, the record label had taken off, there was a major uptick in Junior’s and JVM’s notoriety, popularity and demand. But in my gut I knew that without a NYC club to call home, the rest of it would crumble.
Earth became Home, and we made the best of it. We tried desperately to create new dancefloor memories and future classic songs.
My mama taught me to defy the odds however: hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
And that’s what we did. Against all odds, and though it didn’t seem like it at the time, I am now proud of what Junior and I did together.
Some people who helped really us take it over the top were Joe Carrano, Carmen Cacciatore, Teresa LaBarbera-Whites, Matthew Knowles, Donatella Versace, Brian Long, Vernessa Mitchell, Tom Silverberg, Fred Jorio, Mark Nelson, Markus Ebner, Matthew Piso, Franklin Fuentes, Hani, Hosh Gureli, Victor Lee, Cyndi Lauper, That Kid Chris, Tom Stephan, Steve Ramirez, Andy Jusuf, David Kniazuk, Austin Downey, Claudio Guzzo, Ted Arenas, Dean Winters, Kevin Aviance, Will Howe, Chris Grose, Kristine W, Angie Stone, Vivian Green, Lamya, Blu Cantrell, Deborah Cox…the names would keep flowing endlessly but…
The person I have to thank the most is Junior Vasquez. I am eternally grateful for the trust and confidence he placed in me. He certainly did his part: play his ass off. #earthpeople
But new missions to tackle. Mama taught me to say THANK YOU always before moving on. 🙂