Ok so is this wacky or what http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=795&ncid=799&e=8&u=/eo/20040625/en_music_eo/14392
God help us on the LES if we get HIM in our ambulances!!
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WE HEAR.. . THAT Plaid nightclub is closing. Most staff already got fired without notice, and the rest are furious because the place was supposed to stay open until the end of the month. "Everyone is pretty sure they're getting axed unceremoniously any day now," said one worker.
RETURN OF THE 90'S
By MAUREEN CALLAHAN
LONG for the halcyon days when war with Iraq lasted less than a year, presidential scandals involved interns and the dot-com boom minted paper millionaires? Next week, you can relive those days at New York's first '90s-themed nightclub, complete with Monica cocktails, a "Basic Instinct" room and a VIP booth set inside a white Bronco - an homage to O.J.'s famous car chase.
"We're seeing so much of the '90s get regurgitated now," says owner Robert Wattman, who named his new space Nerveana, partly after grunge behemoth Nirvana (if you think Kurt Cobain's already spinning in his grave, read on), and partly because he had "the nerve" to bring the '90s back (whatever that means).
He's certainly not the first to do so. This week, VH1 is premiering "I Love the '90s, Part Deux" - a follow-up to its highly rated "I Love the '90s" specials. There are '90s nights at clubs from New York (the Cellar's "OK Cola" party) to D.C. (The Black Cat's "My So-Called '90s"), as well as best-selling '90s compilation CDs.
"The decade was all about scandals: Monica, O.J., Amy Fisher," Wattman continues. "But after things hit a 10-year anniversary, they start getting kitschy."
Robert Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University, says the '90s revival is premature, yet he understands the new club's appeal.
"The nostalgia cycle is already cannibalistic to the point where we're getting nostalgic for what happened this past Tuesday," he says.
"The '90s seem further away psychologically than chronologically," he adds.
"That decade's like a daydream - the fear of global destruction had gone away, and the economy was good. Even the most important stories - like the impeachment of a president - happened to be incredibly kitschy in nature."
Wattman - whose 5,000-square-foot space on Varick Street is like Madame Tussaud's with a cash bar - installed a Plexiglas-enclosed mannequin wearing a near replica of Monica's infamous blue Gap dress.
"We're having the stains installed," Wattman says casually, "and we're gonna add a couple of pounds to the mannequin."
But among the wall-size murals of Nirvana's Cobain and cardboard cut-outs of the "Beverly Hills, 90210" cast is Wattman's favorite attraction: a white Ford Bronco.
"O.J. was the biggest moment of the '90s for me," says Wattman.
Wattman - who was at a Knicks game during the now-mythic car chase - gutted the Bronco and fitted it with special seating.
It's the only space in the nightclub that requires a reservation, and is clearly a point of pride.
"When you walked in, did you recognize the Bronco?" he asks nervously. "One person didn't, and it bothered me."
Turning nostalgia into night life is something of a specialty for the Connecticut-bred Wattman and his partner, Tim Ouellette, who co-founded the '70s-themed club Polly Esther's (in a tiny space on West 26th Street) almost 20 years ago.
The '80s-themed Culture Club - where bridge-and-tunnelers dance to pop and new wave amid giant murals of Molly Ringwald and suspended DeLoreans - followed in 2000, and the two clubs have since become nationwide franchises.
"People have fun at our places," says Wattman, who nevertheless aspires to attract a sophisticated "industry crowd" at the new space.
That crowd might be difficult to cultivate, given such down-market cocktails as the John Wayne Bobbitt ("A Cut Above the Rest"), the Titanic ("It Will Take You Down") and, of course, the O.J. ("It's to Die for") - as well as his patrons' propensity for "singing in unison."
"We're gonna try and do something on Thursdays, where we're gonna be a little 'velvet rope,'" Wattman muses. "We'll see."
With little time left till the official opening on Jan. 27, Wattman has more pressing concerns: The wall-size mural of the Spice Girls - which faces Cobain's tortured visage - has to be completely redone. "I didn't like some of the likenesses," he says.
The small room devoted to hip-hop, decorated with murals of Tupac, Eazy-E, P. Diddy and the Notorious B.I.G., needs to be stocked with 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor.
"It's the only place in the club where you can drink 40s," Wattman says proudly. "We're calling this Tha Dawg Pound - yeah, that's spelled D-A-W-G, as in Snoop."
Snoop spelled it D-o-g-g, but that's a minor detail to Wattman, who is fixated on other missing pieces.
He still needs to get footage of the low-speed O.J. chase, which he wants to run on a loop. "I've got a buddy who works at a news agency," he says.
And he still needs to firm up Thursday's special guests.
"We're getting look-alikes of the Spice Girls," he says. "We're seeing if RuPaul will get in here and sing that one 'You Better Work' song. We have a drink for him." (It's the RuPaul: "You Better Drink!")
Wattman's dream opening-night VIP, however, is Kato - the houseguest and former O.J. cohort made famous by Simpson's murder trial.
"How great would that be?" asks Wattman.
While making a fetish of the O.J. Simpson trial shocks even Prof. Thompson - "I love the idea that O.J. can be perceived as innocence and fuzziness," he says sardonically - he thinks Wattman's nightclub, and '90s nostalgia in general, is serving a healthy purpose.
"People don't want to think about the war, or whether they're going to lose their jobs tomorrow. They just want an anaesthetic," he says. "The very fact that you're at a nightclub means you don't want to confront reality."