Saturday, April 27, 2002
Remote Lounge, 327 Bowery, New York, NY
~reviewed by Kevin Filan

New York's Goth scene has always been as much about dress as music. It is a place of vampires in velvet Edwardian jackets and vinyl-clad refugees from an Aeon Flux video, complete with stage contacts, Kabuki makeup and fishnet body stockings.  New York may not have the best Goths in the world ... but it's certainly got some of the best-dressed.  Tonight's party, Womb, is the brainchild of two promoters with extensive experience in that shadowy place where fetish meets fashion meets music.  Abby Ehmann was one of the driving forces behind the legendary Click & Drag, and currently hosts Kitsch Inn and Gomorrah while Shane Savant runs Zenwarp, a Friday night event at Webster Hall.  This may be Womb's opening night, but Abby and Shane are old hands at throwing a party.

As we enter the club, I see they've found an exceptional space.  Remote Lounge is located on the Bowery, a seedy East Village street.  Once the Bowery was most famous for its street gangs.  Later it became notorious for its winos, or "Bowery bums."  Still later came CBGBs, whose clientele combined the best of both worlds.  Located just up the street from CBGBs, Remote Lounge is part of the New East Village -- a land of prosperous techgeeks and hipster yuppies.  Its clean white walls and banks of video monitors are simultaneously foreboding and comforting, a nurturing environment for the Jetsons generation. 

Random images from the bar downstairs flicker on the screens.  A transvestite checks her lipstick in a mirror; a tattooed slender man fingers his partner's nipple ring; two busty Spanish women lean forward to give the upstairs lounge a cleavage shot.  This event, like most events thrown by Abby and Shane, has attracted a libidinous, polysexual, and stunningly beautiful crowd, dressed in the latest and most creative fashions.  As Shane passes, I see he's no exception.  While tonight's outfit is a bit more subdued than some of his Samurai/Anime creations, his makeup is flawless as always and his hat a dead ringer for my own, only in basic black. 

New York's Gothic fashion sense may be impeccable; its Gothic music sense could use some work.  Far too many New York DJs are content to spin the Same Old Synthpop for the Same Old Crowds.  The mix here is faster and edgier, more influenced by New York's nascent Electroclash movement.  DJs Jeffo and Lo-Fi Lee spin a mix which owes as much to Techno as Industrial (not surprising, given the debt that both genres owe to Kraftwerk and Giorgio Morodor).  Before yet another bank of video screens a woman dances.  She is wearing a G-string, a couple of shoelaces, elaborate eye makeup, and two pieces of duct tape.  Her makeup is very impressive; so is her boyfriend's.  They look over at us and smile, then return to gyrating with the music. 

Kathy returns from the bar with two Red Bulls.  A full-figured woman with fluorescent orange dreads moves aside to let her pass.  We thank her, then strike up a conversation.  Behind us a slender woman in a vinyl bikini leads her boyfriend around on a leash; behind her a public spanking is in progress.  It reminds me of some of New York's BDSM establishments, with (marginally) less nudity and no sleazy middle-aged men masturbating in public.  It isn't quite the widespread rutting decadence which characterized the best nights at Click & Drag, but it's a good start: the people are both pretty and approachable, a rarity in New York. 

A drag king in a pinstripe suit dances alongside hir butch femme partner.  A skinny boy with a faint goatee dances alongside them.  On the screen overhead a man in a black rubber bodysuit watches the crowd.   The DJ puts on Fischerspooner's "Emerge."  The crowd cheers at this now-beloved New York anthem, one of the first Electroclash songs to get a national audience.  The drag king and butch femme make a sandwich with the skinny boy in the middle, grinding their bodies against his as the bass line undulates across the floor like a fat sparkling snake.  The man in the black rubber suit exposes his fangs in a smile.

Womb Official Website

Remote Lounge


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