Night of a Thousand Stevies brings Crystal Visions to life

Jazmin Flowers in a shot from past years, returned to celebrate the Night of a Thousand Stevies. (NOTS)
Jazmin Flowers in a shot from past years, returned to celebrate the Night of a Thousand Stevies. (NOTS)

By Winnie McCroy / EDGE on the Net
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thousands of gays, lesbians, drag queens, downtown luminaries and Fleetwood Mac fans of every ilk gathered at the Highline Ballroom on May 3 for the 23rd Annual Night of a Thousand Stevies. Now going into its third decade of opulence, this annual tribute to all things Fleetwood Mac has grown from a novelty act to a full-fledged nightlife touchstone.

“Night of a Thousand Stevies started at Jackie 60, our underground club in the Meat Market, when that area was still fun and underground,” said founder Chi Chi Valenti. “It was meant to be only a one-night event, but we had a big response of Stevie Nicks fans that we didn’t realize were amongst us. It became one of our first shows that went annual, and we thought then that calling it the night of ‘a thousand Stevies’ was hilarious, because we only had five or six Stevies then, and 200 people in the audience. It was an ironic title that actually came true.”

NOTS grew over the years, moving from Jackie 60 to The Knitting Factory, Don Hill’s, and the Hiro Ballroom before landing at the Highline Ballroom. The show now has upwards of 25 performances spread over three acts, with a first-rate technical crew that is accustomed to doing large, long and complex shows. This year’s event packed the Highline nearly to capacity.

“A lot of people don’t think it’s quite big enough, but the feeling in the room is right,” said Valenti. “It’s not one of those places concerned with pushing bottle service on people, and so we’re very happy to be in a venue of that size and still maintain the good feeling of a live event.”

Valenti’s partner in crime, Johnny Dynell, can be found manning the soundboard while she and her co-hosts — often Hattie Hathaway or drag queen legend Sherry Vine — announce the acts and take breaks to throw scores of tiny, beribboned tambourines to the audience.

New York’s glitterati clamor to perform at NOTS, among them Butoh artists Vangeline Theater, Justin Bond, Amber Martin, Sweetie, Divine Grace, Machine Dazzle and Darrell Thorne, Dirty Martini, Poison Eve, Darlinda Just Darlinda and the Ho-Hos, one of both Valenti’s and Dynell’s perennial favorites.

“Every year people anxiously await to see what craziness they will deliver,” said Dynell, who told EDGE that another of his favorites was Belladonna from Santa Barbara. “Not only do I love her shows, but she is always such a big help setting up for the party. We leave the sacred job of testing the mike stands to Bella.”

Dynell is also partial to the legendary Joey Arias, who traditionally ‘sings’ “Stand Back.” “I say ‘sings’ because after 23 years, he still doesn’t know the words,” said Dynell. “One year I played a little trick on him and switched to an instrumental track. We were all howling as a panic-stricken Joey tried to remember the words — and actually made up a few new verses of his own!”

Chi Chi Valenti tosses tambourines to the crowd.  (Source:Winnie McCroy)
Chi Chi Valenti tosses tambourines to the crowd. (Winnie McCroy)

Making the Annual Pilgrimage to NOTS

Part of the strength of NOTS is its longevity. Throughout the years, the event has gained momentum, bolstered by the advent of the Internet as well as the cult classic film “Gypsy 83,” which follows the trek of a misfit goth and her gay boy friend from Sandusky, Ohio, to New York for NOTS.

One such ‘gypsy’ who was drawn in by the pageantry is transwoman Jazmin Flowers, who said she heard about NOTS after the film came out in 2001, and spent hours on the NOTS website fantasizing about being able to attend the event. She never dreamed she’d actually be performing in one of the shows.

“It took me four more years to decide to audition,” Flowers told EDGE. “As the tech age rolled in, I emailed Chi Chi with my audition snippet, an a cappella version of ‘Rooms on Fire.’ She emailed me back and invited me to join. That was such a magical moment!”

Every year since 2006, Flowers has trekked from Jackson, Mississippi to Manhattan to perform; this year, she brought the house down just by taking the stage in her fringed shawl and singing “Gold Dust Woman.” It is the spectacle and the people that keep her coming back.

“I love to just sit back and look at all the creative outfits that people work on for months, and the performances created on stage are unlike anything else,” said Flowers. “The outpouring of love for the woman and music that has meant so much to so many people and shaped so many lives is extraordinary.”

Flowers also cherishes the friendships she has forged throughout the years, noting that many of the performers have experienced bumps along the road of life, and Nicks’ music is the common bond that has helped them all move forward. For her, NOTS is akin to an annual family reunion, “a time to sing and dance, to talk about what’s gone on in the past year, to share hugs and well wishes and to put life on hold for one night.”

Machine Dazzle, in the pirate ship headdress, with a glittery Darrell Thorne in front, provided entr’acte entertainment.  (Source:Winnie McCroy)

Inspiration Flows Back to the Source

Valenti will never forget the fourth annual NOTS, when she and Dynell arrived at 8 p.m. to discover a line of “Enchanted Gypsies” stretching down Washington Street in all their Stevie finery. That’s the night she knew that everything had clicked, and NOTS had taken on a life of its own.

Newbies often wonder if Stevie Nicks herself will show up, and although seasoned NOTS veterans realize the pandemonium that her appearance would cause, hope (and rumor) flows eternal.

According to urban folklore, Nicks did appear incognito one year (what better place to blend in to a sea of flowing capes and ruched boots?) and NOTS conspiracy theorists believe she has sent photographers to shoot the event for her to enjoy.

Nicks sent a videotaped greeting several years ago, and Valenti said she has been lucky enough to talk to the woman herself.

“Thankfully, I have gotten to speak to Stevie several times, and she is always so supportive of the event,” Valenti told EDGE. “But like the song goes, Stevie is always surrounded by ‘too much love.’ Can you imagine going through life as a huge star; it’s a blessing and also a curse. Grown people start crying when they see her, because she just represents so much for so many people. But she understands that the event is really done from the absolute best place.”

Nicks also supports her fans. Valenti said that after 9/11, Nicks sent some amazing memorabilia to be auctioned off to benefit the service dogs at Ground Zero, and has done other generous things for NOTS.

“People are sometimes miffed over whether she will come to the event, but if it were me, I would just slip in,” said Valenti. “And she has always credited us with helping to make her aware of how enormous her gay and transgender audience is, and we are proud to be part of that bridge.”

For more information on NOTS, visit mothernyc.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/1000stevies

Winnie McCroy is the National News Editor, HIV/AIDS Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog,http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

NOTS: You Make Loving Stevie Fun

(NOTS)
(Big Art Group at Night of a Thousand Stevies in 2012) (NOTS)

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.

Look, don’t stop, Stevie fans

By Tony Gervino
New York Times
Sunday, May 29, 2011

NUMBER OF attendees in 2011: 1,200; Price of admission: $25; consecutive years event has been sold out: 5; U.S. Sales of Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours: more than 19 million; U.S. sales of Stevie Nicks’s solo albums: more than 16 million

Stevie Nicks, the Fleetwood Mac vocalist, has always attracted blatant imitators and fervent admirers. For 21 years, the two camps have converged annually in New York City at the Night of 1,000 Stevies. With singers, dancers and other performers at the multimedia celebration at the Highline Ballroom earlier this month, Nicks (otherwise unaffiliated with the event) appeared in a video, promising to attend a future show and sing “Edge of Seventeen.” “Should Stevie ever attend and perform,” says Chi-Chi Valenti, the show’s founding producer, “it would be a mass of fans weeping, twirling, reaching out to touch her hand, singing along and making a mighty clatter of tambourines.” Future attendees, be prepared: the Web site says it’s strictly B.Y.O.B.T. — Bring Your Own Bedecked Tambourine.

Stevie Nicks talks gays, ‘Glee’ controversy, losing weight…with her own music?

By Chris Azzopardi
Pride Source (Issue 1918 – Between The Lines News)
May 5, 2011

Ten years have passed since Stevie Nicks released her last solo album, but she’s still the same gay-loved goddess of earthy rock she built her legend on. The new release, In Your Dreams, is exactly how the gypsy queen left us — with that uniform sense of mystical otherworldliness that’s made Nicks a go-her-own-way virtuoso since her days with Fleetwood Mac. White horses, vampire tales and ethereal love parables all seep into this set, Nick’s first all-new studio project after reuniting with Fleetwood Mac for 2003’s Say You Will.

Nicks recently spoke with us about taking a trip to “the magical world of fairies and angels,” the dress drag queens love, and how her own music motivated her to lose a dozen pounds.

Why did it take so long to release another solo album?

Even though I haven’t made another solo record in 10 years, I’ve been making music solid since Trouble in Shangri-La. I came off the road from 135 shows in 2005 with Fleetwood Mac and was going to make a record, and the business people around me said, “We don’t think you should do it because the music business is in chaos” — you know, with Internet piracy, which was really hitting us in the face in 2005 — “and it’s just going to be a really emotional pull on you. We don’t think you should do it. Tour while you can, do big shows and sell lots of tickets, that’s what you can do.” And I just was stupid enough to kind of go, “OK.”

When did you wise up?

At the end of the Fleetwood Mac tour in 2009. We were in Australia, and I wrote the “Moonlight” song (from “In Your Dreams”) there, and when I got done with that song — I started it in Melbourne and I finished it in Brisbane — there was a piano. I stood up and I said to my assistant, “I’m ready to make a record now.”

What was it like recording “In Your Dreams”?

The whole year of recording this record was like this magical mystery tour that we did at my house. We recorded the whole thing at my house and (the Eurythmics’) Dave Stewart, and his entourage were there every day, and my girls and everybody were there every day. It was just a fantastic experience. We started in February and ended in December, and when it was over I was heartbroken. I didn’t want it to ever end.

The concept of the video for the first single, “Secret Love,” is intriguing — it merges your older self with your younger self. How do you feel now versus then?

That’s why the little girl that’s in the video, Kelly, is wearing the green outfit that was my first colored outfit made in 1976, 1977 — that’s when my designer, Margi Kent, started making my clothes. But my outfits were black, and that’s one of the only colored ones she made; it’s a kind of tie-dyed green outfit. The little girl that’s playing me, she’s 15 and she’s one of my goddaughters, she, like, fits into this and we’re looking at her going, “Oh my god, we were that tiny!”

But anyway, that’s what I wanted. I wanted Kelly to be the 25-year-old Stevie, and then there’s the older Stevie. That song was written in 1975, so I wanted the spirits to blend. That’s why you see her leaving the white horse and then you see me leaving the white horse and then we’re both together, because in my dreams as a little girl that white horse was very important.

That horse was so beautiful. (While shooting the video) we looked down out of my bedroom window and saw this horse — and there was a fog machine on and the actual sun was coming through all the evergreens in my backyard — and I was like, “That can’t possibly be real.” If that horse had a horn you would’ve thought, “OK, I’ve died and gone to fairyland,” because it was so, so mystical and so real in its magicness. This horse was like Guinevere.

Let’s talk about those fairies, because you know a lot of gays adore you.

I know. I’m glad. All these visions that I see, I love when people get them. Sometimes people don’t get it, you know, and I love when people do, because I think that everybody needs to move into that magical world sometimes. A lot of people do not ever move into the magical land of fairies and angels and they just live in the hardcore miserable world that this world is right now. It’s chaotic, horrible, there’s nothing we can do — it’s such a bummer.

I can do benefits and go to Africa, but the reason I make music — the reason I’ve always made music — was to try to just make a record of songs that makes everybody, for an hour a day, feel better. We can all stay friends and we can all be in this world and we can rise above everything else for a minute. And that’s really the only reason I wanted to make music.

When did you know you were a gay icon?

When “Night of a Thousand Stevies” (a New York City-based salute to Stevie Nicks featuring impersonators) started happening 20 years ago, it was a clue. And you know, I always felt it was because I was not a fashion statement like Madonna was. I’m very different than her; she’s very chameleon-esque. That little outfit that Kelly is wearing is exactly the same as the black outfit I have on in the video. The eye makeup she has on is the makeup that I’ve been wearing since high school. I don’t change much.

Right. You stay very true to yourself, and I think a lot of gay people can admire that because we strive for that, too.

I do, and I think that brings a little bit of comfort to my audience. I still have the two girls singing with me, because I love them and they’re my dear friends. But I could’ve been changing background singers every year, and I chose to stay with Sharon (Celani) and Lori (Nicks) because the sound of the three of us is comforting to my audience. And those clothes are comforting to my audience.

Any impersonators stand out to you?

Well, I just think it’s very fun to see. When I was wearing my beautiful white Morgane Le Fay dress and my black velvet jacket, that dress just took off. I noticed how popular that dress was from the impersonators. (Laughs) I was laughing, and Morgane Le Fay was just tickled pink. So every time I’d do a little change, like in the “Secret Love” video with the long floor-length, we’re laughing — Lori and Sharon and I are laughing going, “We’re single-handedly going to bring back the Victorian ball gown.” There’s a whole new fashion statement coming out of the three or four or more videos that will come from this record, where we really stayed very Victorian.

Drag queens will be all about that, you know.

Yeah — I love it!

“Glee” recently dedicated an entire episode to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album. How do you feel about having your work on a show that’s been so controversial regarding using other artists’ songs?

You know, I went down there when they were doing “Landslide” and I stayed there for six hours and watched them film the whole thing. I watched Gwyneth (Paltrow) and Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera) sing the song 50 times, and I had such a good time. What I was very touched by was that Lea Michele, who plays Rachel, said to me, “You know, in all the big songs that we’ve done, which is many, nobody’s ever called us or come down or even written a note thanking us for doing ‘Jessie’s Girl’ or a Journey song.” They do such great versions of all these songs; the original writers cannot fault them. They’re magnificent — every one of them. And she goes, “Nobody except you has ever come down and told us that they thought we were doing a good job.” And I thought that was so sad. Very, very disrespectful.

As someone whose music has spanned many generations, how does it feel working with a new generation of performers like the “Glee” cast or, for instance, Taylor Swift at the Grammys?

I love that. A lot of the songs they love are songs that I wrote when I was really young. “Landslide” was written in 1973; I was 27. I may sing it now at 62, but I was 27 when I wrote that song. It’s not like they love a song that was written by a 62-year-old woman. They love a song that was written by a 27-year-old girl.

So I’m thrilled, and I don’t write any differently now than I did when I was 27. I just go to the piano — inspired by something that happens to me — with a cup of tea, incense burning and the fire in the fireplace.

Was your muse for “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream),” which was “Twilight”-inspired, Taylor Lautner’s abs?

No. It’s nothing about him at all. The first and third verses were written about me and Lindsey (Buckingham, of Fleetwood Mac) in 1976; the second verse and the chorus were written about Bella and Edward. It really is an amazing blend — an ancient story blending Lindsey, Stevie, Bella and Edward, and everything in between. It’s my favorite. And by the way, I have listened to “Secret Love” and “A Vampire’s Dream” for the last two-and-a-half months and I’ve lost 12-and-a-half pounds just from treadmilling to “Secret Love” and “A Vampire’s Dream.”

No way. You treadmill to your own music?

Way! And I have never gotten tired of either of those songs. I’ve just been listening to those two songs for two-and-a-half solid months, and I am thinner than I’ve been since 1989. I really attribute it all to those two songs.

Dear Superstar: Stevie Nicks

1977-stevieTuesday, May 1, 2007
Blender
www.blender.com

A pineapple scent wafts through Stevie Nicks’s Maui house. Outside, the Pacific Ocean laps at volcanic rocks, and inside, New Age music fills the air. Just when you get the feeling a unicorn is about to saunter into view, Nicks opens her mouth and starts talking about menopause. “It drives people crazy when I bring it up, but I think it’s important,” she says.

The 58-year-old Fleetwood Mac star has always been more candid than your average witchy woman. The singer of such stone classics as “Dreams,” “Rhiannon” and “Edge of Seventeen,” she doesn’t mind answering questions about her past vices (coke: yes; heroin: hell no) and her past consorts (including bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, who owns the house across the street). During rock’s golden age of excess, she was a top-ranking diva, demanding the presidential suites at hotels and traveling by private train. She’s even been the star of two episodes of Behind the Music, but curled up on the sofa today, the ethereal one seems more or less at peace.

“This is my vacation time,” she says with a laugh. Some vacation — she’s been assembling Crystal Visions … The Very Best of Stevie Nicks, a CD/DVD solo-career retrospective. In May, she’ll head out on tour. Perhaps, we ask hopefully, there’s one last Fleetwood Mac reunion in the works? “I can’t tell you that,” she demurs. “But the doors are never closed … ”

It’s July 1977. Describe your average day.
Russian.Bear, Lexington, VA

We would have been working on Rumours in Los Angeles. An average day would have been getting up and going to the studio, pretty much six days a week. It was fun. I enjoy the process of recording. I’d have my special chair, my special coffee cup — I’m very at home there. And every day somebody brings something: Somebody brings fishnets and puts them over the lamps, somebody brings pillows, and then Mick Fleetwood brings a statue and pretty soon there’s a pair of giant African elephant tusks bracketing the soundboard.

What is “Gold Dust Woman” really about?
Aronowizz, Kingston, NY

The “Gold Dust” thing came from a street in Phoenix, where I grew up, which is called Gold Dust Lane or Avenue or something. “Gold Dust Woman” was kind of a premonition of the beginning of the drug world. When I say, “take your silver spoon and dig your grave” it sounds like I was right in the middle of the drugs, but I really wasn’t; there weren’t any drugs around Fleetwood Mac for quite a while. But it was a premonition of getting famous really fast and being thrown into a whole culture. “Gold Dust Woman” was just me looking around and going, This is a pretty scary society down here, and boy, I hope we make it.

Have you ever watched the Fleetwood Mac Behind the Music? Is there any part of it that just makes you cringe?
VanMan1969, Reading, MA

I think both of the Behind the Musics — the Stevie Nicks and the Fleetwood Mac one — are really good. I’m proud of those shows. And today, if they’re on, I’ll watch them and I’ll cry! They should be shown to all the girls going into rehab — just watch my Behind the Music episodes and learn what not to do!

Was Lindsey Buckingham the great love of your life?
Epress3x, Amarillo, TX

“Great love” connotes a lot of things. He was the great musical love of my life. I can compare it to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in that movie — they loved each other for two reasons. You can love somebody because you fall in love with them, but you also love what they do. And that’s a double whammy.

Do you have any tips on conducting an office romance?
Illisimo5673, Altamonte Springs, FL

Your office is my road; it’s all the same thing. And I think that it never works and will always, always backfire. Those relationships are over once the intensity of the moment is over. And then somebody gets hurt. It never works.

Which lyric are you most proud of?
Lbubbrs, Los Angeles

That’s hard. Any song of mine that goes out into the world I’m pretty proud of. Hmmm … I’m thinking about a song called “Storms,” off Tusk. “Every night that goes between/I feel a little less/As you slowly go away from me/This is only another test/Every hour of fear I spend/My body tries to cry/Living through each empty night/A deadly call inside.” Those lyrics came out when I was really hurting.

Is it true that Lindsay Lohan is going to play you in a movie?
Empier81, Lompoc, CA

Lindsay Lohan thinks she is going to play me! But what the hell movie does she think she’s talking about? There is no book, there is no screenplay, there is no movie. There is never going to be a movie made without me, because it’s never going to be the story of me. Even though a lot has been written about me, the fact is nobody actually has a clue to what my life was really like. So good luck, Lindsay.

What’s the worst rumor you’ve ever heard about yourself?
Julian.George, Madison, WI

Probably it would be from the drug years, when people thought I was doing heroin. I never did. You can do a lot simpler drugs than heroin and still get in trouble.

What was the high point of Fleetwood Mac on-the-road excess?
Ayteemit, Manchester, NH

The way we traveled. We had a big 737 commuter jet done up beautifully on the inside — it’s what professional basketball players rent. We had that for a year and a half. I still fly on a jet, but my jet is way littler these days. With Fleetwood Mac everything was huge, and it still is today. We always stay in the best hotels. I get the presidential suite over everybody, because I demand it.

Is it true your performance of “Don’t Stop” made Bill Clinton cry at the 1993 presidential inauguration?
Nilespine, Tripp, SD

Well, if it did, I don’t know about it, because I’m as blind as a bat and he was far enough away from me that I doubt I could have seen it. However, I do know that he loved “Don’t Stop,” and he dreamed of using it in a campaign long before he ran for president. He was riding in a cab somewhere — this is the story that we got — and he heard that song and he said, “If I ever run for something big I’m going to use that as my song.”

Do you still have a ballet studio in your house? When was the last time you did the splits?
Perry.Gold, Tucson, AZ

In my house in Phoenix, I do maintain the ballet room that I’ve had since 1981. I can still do a split, not a problem, because I’m limber. People who can do the splits can always do the splits.

Have you ever attended the drag tribute Night of a Thousand Stevies? and When did you realize you had become a drag icon?
Nandoor1, Jackson, OH

I was on a plane coming from the Super Bowl, and one of the stewards was telling me that he was a big fan and that he went to Night of a Thousand Stevies every year. He was six-foot-five and telling me all about his dress and his fantastic boots. Whoa! I still haven’t gone, but I’ve seen footage, and I have to say, I couldn’t be more flattered!

Have you ever been tempted by Scientology?
Lenhub88, Bucks County, PA

I have never been approached. I don’t really get it. I think it’s a little weird.

You recorded 1994’s Street Angel when you were addicted to Klonopin. What did you think when you first heard it after you got out of rehab?
Pillowpop4, Gaithersburg, MD

I went back in and tried to fix it! It wasn’t that it wasn’t good, it was just, if you’re taking a lot of tranquilizers everyday, it only makes sense that the music will be verrry tranquil. So I tried to fix it, which is kind of like trying to redo a house: You end up spending way more money than if you had just burned it to the ground and started over. It wasn’t fixable.

What advice would you offer to Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan as they go through rehab?
Starz431, Providence, RI

I’m more worried about Britney than Lindsay, because I think Lindsay is a serious actress, and that is going to be her saving grace. The only thing I could ever say is — I look over film footage and interviews for the Crystal Visions DVD, and I can totally tell when I’m high. There are a couple of videos that are really good — except that I was high. I’m sorry I let that happen. I ask myself, “Stevie, could you have just, while you were filming that video, not done any cocaine and not drank and not smoked pot? For those three days, could you have laid off of it so you could have looked great?” But I didn’t, and now I’m very sorry. If I could have gotten it together a little more I would have had a better career. I would have made a couple more great albums, I would have painted more pictures. You are sorry later … that’s what I would tell them.

What happens to us when we die?
Ulee43, Port St. Lucie, FL

I absolutely believe that there is an afterlife. I’ve had one afterlife experience where I did go to that other place. I fell off a horse. I was riding with a bunch of people — I didn’t even hit the ground, really; my brother jumped off his horse and caught me mid-flight but it scared me so bad that I lost consciousness. And I felt myself go up into this really light place. I could see the horses around me and hear the riders’ voices. I felt like I was rolling down a mountain, starting to go really fast … Then I opened my eyes. But for a minute I felt like I really had a choice to make, to come back. So I think there is an afterlife, and it’s a good place.

Do you have any vices these days?
Alex.neric, Lincoln, NE

Since I got out of rehab in 1994, I’ve stopped doing serious drugs. And then as menopause touched my life, I stopped even having a glass of wine. I don’t drink at all. I find that I’m spacey enough on my own that I don’t need to be drinking or smoking; it just doesn’t fit into my life anymore. I’m very glad, because it’s not like I’m fighting every day to not do drugs. They’re just gone.

Is it true you keep your feathers and lace in a climate-controlled facility?
Stagehanddan, Fenton, MS

I keep all my stage clothes in cases, and they go into storage in temperature-controlled rooms. Chiffon lasts forever if you take good care of it!