By John Russell / Next Magazine
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The top five reasons not to miss the 23rd annual Night of a Thousand Stevies
Jackie Factory empressario Chi Chi Valenti has been organizing and emceeing Night of a Thousand Stevies since creating the party at downtown nightclub Mother in 1991. The annual Stevie Nicks tribute event is a chance for fans to come together in all their leather and lace, to twirl in shawls and chiffon, to shake their tambourines along to lovingly irreverent reinterpretations and performances of the Fleetwood Mac singer’s biggest hits and most obscure b-sides. With the 23rd annual NOTS, Crystal, coming up at Highline Ballroom, we chatted with Valenti about what to expect, what to wear and whether or not we should be on the look out for Ms. Nicks herself this year. There are about a thousand reasons not to miss NOTS. We narrowed it down to the top five.
REASON #5: It’ll Be A Wet and Wild Time!
This year’s theme was inspired in part by the experience of so many downtown New Yorkers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Enduring the East Village blackout, Valenti says, Stevie’s song “Crystal” went into heavy rotation for some reason. “It’s about a lot of things, but it’s about the water swallowing you and kind of giving in to the water. So it just seemed like the right theme. It represents all of the watery imagery, when so often we’re always doing the birds in flight—but there are still seagulls in this one!”
REASON #4: Mermaids Are Really Trending Right Now
From Azealia Banks’ Mermaid Ball to that sexy gay Mermaid Boy, mermaids are huge right now, and NOTS is getting in on the action. “It’s going to be very mermaid and Neptune-rich as well,” Valenti says. “Machine Dazzle is doing all of our method go-gos as Stevie mermaids.”
REASON #3: The Celebrity Sightings
Courtney Love, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry and Boy George have all previously made appearances at NOTS, but there was one famous face Valenti remembers in particular. “The one and only night that Madonna ever came to Jackie 60, it was a Night of a Thousand Stevies. So she walks in and the entire place is decorated with images of another blonde diva!”
REASON #2: You Don’t Have to Look Exactly Like Stevie to Have A Blast.
One thing Valenti wants everyone to remember: NOTS isn’t a Stevie look-alike competition. “Whenever things err on the side of gay, creative, performance art—that’s always good for us.” Wild and creative looks incorporating imagery from Stevie’s songs are just as important as blonde wigs and lace shawls. For guys who aren’t into drag, Valenti suggests a classic Fleetwood Mac look, or something nautical to complement this year’s theme. One performer built his look around dream catchers for last year’s “Dreams Unwind” theme. “Some of the things that work the best are just taking one element that’s so different from the rest of your look and fusing it brilliantly.”
REASON #1: There’s Always A Chance Stevie Might Show Up!
Stevie has said on multiple occasions that she has every intention of showing up at NOTS one of these days—but in disguise and totally without warning. “I hope that the year she does it, she just decides very spur of the moment to do it and just pops in,” Valenti says. This could be the year!
Night of a Thousand Stevies: Crystal at Highline Ballroom, 431 W 16th St (btwn Ninth/10th Aves), May 3 at 9pm; $25. Visit mothernyc.com/stevie for more info.