World Pride NYC Stonewall 50
Chris Sweet and the Northern Soul Rave Patrol visit New York for Gay Pride on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
On 28th June 1969 the customers of The Stonewall Inn, a small mafia-run gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, stood up and fought back against a police raid and the roots of gay liberation and the fight for freedom, equality and gay rights was kickstarted.
Fifty years later it was joyous to see over three million people (almost half the population of London) coming together to celebrate and remember the struggle and the fight for equality, and remember loved ones lost along the way for World Pride.
This half-century anniversary seemed all the more important because a transphobic bigot is in the White House.
During Gay Pride month, unlike President Obama who literally turned the White House Rainbow colours, Trump recently instructed US embassies around the world not to fly the rainbow flag. So the message was: definitely celebrate, but remember Stonewall was a riot and not a Party. Elsewhere around the world it is obvious despite some successes the fight for equal rights and freedom is not over; the same weekend Turkish police were tear-gassing Pride marches in Istanbul.
In this reactionary environment, size does matter. Visibility and unity is important. New York, like all the big cities, and London seemed forward-looking and inclusive despite the conservative right wing era of Trump and Brexit. So it was good to see that over 600 different groups participated in the march down Manhattan’s famous Fifth Avenue.
As well as community groups, there were also lots of large corporations and despite the complaints of commercialisation I think it’s better to have lots of ‘allies’ and a supportive atmosphere in an era when ‘enemies’ are trying to roll-back hard won freedoms.
The main pride march attracted hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets to watch and celebrate. Marchers, floats and groups came from all key services including the army, police, teachers, doctors and groups from all walks of life. International floats included our friends Stuart and Jan-Willem celebrating Stuart’s 50th birthday on the Amsterdam Pride float.
The parade was led by the three transgender amazing stars of FX’s Pose – Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson and Mj Rodriguez heading the parade as grand marshalls alongside Billy Porter who had been slaying people with his ‘camp’ fashion styles at Vogue’s Met Ball. Grace Jones and Madonna headlined huge Pride parties at the piers over the weekend. The support and love was in abundance in NYC and Pride was taking over.
New York and the Gay community is a broad and diverse church. It accommodates many voices; so as well as the main huge march there was a ‘Reclaim Pride March’. This was a smaller, less corporate , but louder, more radical ‘out and proud’ colourful march. It started earlier at 9.30am, and the route snaked from The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, location of the riot and designated a national monument by President Obama, then marched noisily almost three miles up Sixth Avenue to Central Park .
It was a life affirming rainbow mix of marchers, smaller scale and no large floats, but lots of effort and humour and intelligence in the banners, placards and chants of the people attending. There were every different cause and groups represented, headed by a group of original Stonewall marchers from June 28 1970, the first gay liberation march the year after the riots.
We Resist, Act Up, Gays Against Guns, and the Beloved and Proud group, displayed amazing banners remembering some of the LGBTQ communities gay icons, saints and heroes ranging from Stonewall rioters Marsha P Johnson & Sylvia Rivera, Alan Turing, Oscar Wilde, Frida Khalo, Divine, David Bowie and Keith Haring who died from AIDS so young at 31.
Our friend David was marching with one of the best groups organised by his friend Viva – who was dressed all in white, like a catholic archbishop, but with her mitre studded with the word ‘abortion’. The marcher’s flags and banners declared ‘Thank God For abortion’, ’Fuck ICE’ the anti-immigrant immigration service Dump was threatening would start seizing and evicting people across the country, ‘Black Lives Matter’ (one of the marchers took a knee with a black power salute) and a ‘Fuck White Supremacy’ sign.
Stonewall 50th Anniversary World Pride seemed to be a combination of activism, the need for political solidarity, awareness in the face of continued struggle, plus old and renewed challenges. But it also was about being out and proud, loud, and celebrating. The whole city seemed to have rainbow flags flying, posters displayed on the streets and supportive messages set in windows.
At 11am during the march there was a minute of silence when the marchers and chants fell silent for all the people lost, with banners warning against complacency that ‘AIDS is not over.’
SUSANNE BARTSCH'S LOVE BALL AFTER PARTY ON TOP OF THE STANDARD HOTEL
It was wonderful to see the energy and vibrant colour and excitement on display at Le Bain, the amazing two bars/clubs on the top of The Standard Hotel on the Highline in the Meatpacking district.
It normally has a great line up of DJs with Francois Kervorkian and David Morales playing that weekend. But on the Tuesday nightlife legend and Queen of the Club Kids Susanne Bartsch Hosts her ‘On Top’ Party. There were drag queens in their finest and fabulous outfits and some really creative looks. Many winners were dancing and one 6ft 6inches in stack heels was dancing on the bar with a trophy won from the Love Ball in each hand. With incredible 360 views over the NY skyline, and great music, this was a super special ‘only-in-New York’ party.
Susanne Bartsch has an incredible history, and entourage of fabulous club kids and DJs Amanda Lapore looked fierce with big hair, and didn’t need hardly any clothes, just had some strategically placed red lip kisses almost covering key parts of her body.
It was a great turnout of NY nightlife and we could pose by the life-sized Bianca Jagger-style white horse in the entrance, with Severino from Horse Meat Disco. He was chatting with Honey Dijon carrying her ‘SHADE or REALNESS’ banner from the Love Ball and discussing their joint travels and gigs over Pride weekend. There were performances from Dick van Dick, the Sterling Sisters and Sharon Needles. The music was classic New York with great House and disco in both rooms. In the darker club room, with a jacuzzi next to the DJ booth, Amber Valentine played Hannah Holland’s batty bass NY tribute Paris’s Acid Ball, with other NY house classics sounding great and the Empire state Building plus new World Trade Centre in your eye line – very H.O.U.S.E, and the New York scene felt buzzing.
SUSANNE BARTSCH'S LOVE BALL AFTERPARTY TOP 10 TUNES
PARIS'S ACID BALL - HANNAH HOLLAND
WALK FOR ME - TRONCO TRAX
FOLLOW ME - ALY-US
IT'S YOURS - JON CUTLER
LET'S DO COCAINE & FUCK - SHARON NEEDLES - LIVE PERFORMANCE !
THE CURE & THE CAUSE ( DENNIS FERRER REMIX) - FISH GO DEEP
HUNGRY FOR THE POWER - AZARI & III
LOVE SENSATION - LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY
SITUATION (12" US DUB) - YAZZ
LOVE THANG - FIRST CHOICE
HORSE MEAT DISCO NYC PRIDE PARTY
Friday 28th – the actual anniversary of the Stonewall Riot – the always amazing Horse Meat Disco performed at their own well organised, sold-out warehouse party in Brooklyn at the Knockdown Centre.
It held over 4,000 people in a huge venue, with outdoor food and smoking garden space that was like a bigger version of London’s Printworks. There was even a ‘techno basement’ with Steffi from Berghain.
HMD’s residencey in New York is always good, and got a big following in a fabulous ‘coals-to-Newcastle-Disco-in-NYC-turnout’. It had been sold out for months and the crowd was there to party.
We went to NY for that, plus Jill’s birthday happily coincides with their party and Gay pride weekend. HMD were in the the huge main room with three massive glitter-balls . Severino and Jim Stanton were DJing alongside a great Live PA from Brooklyn DFA Homegirl Amy Douglas singing the apt Horse Meat Disco anthem ‘Let’s Go Dancing’.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper was hanging out along with lots of NY’s DJs, plus promoters like Eric Bloom who had his own party, Harder, the next day. HMD fave & NY Legend Justin Strauss DJ’d, playing Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasure Dome and ending with his own unreleased remix made with Todd Terry of Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy. Severino & Jim rocked the place, with glitter bombs going off to 4,000 people dancing and singing along to Sylvester’s Mighty Real, there was a lot of Menergy in the room and the NY Disco legacy was in fine shape.
HORSE MEAT DISCO NY PRIDE PARTY TOP 10 TUNES
LETS GO DANCING – HORSE MEAT DISCO WITH AMY DOUGLAS SINGING LIVE
START THE WEEKEND (TONIGHT ITS PARTY TIME) - BIRDEE
DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY(12” EXTENDED EDIT) – THELMA HOUSTON
LETS START THE DANCE III – HAMILTON BOHANNON
PARADISE ( HOUSE BOOTLEG MIX) – SADE
BODY FUNK (PURPLE DISCO MACHINE) – BODY MUSIC
MENERGY – PATRICK COWLEY & SYLVESTER
YOU MAKE ME FEEL MIGHT REAL – SYLVESTER
AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH (LARRY LEVAN MIX) – INNER LIFE
STAND ON THE WORD – JOURBERT SINGERS
DANNY KRIVIT'S 718 SESSION 15TH ANNUAL PRIDE BOAT PARTY
On Sunday, after the parade and marches, we wanted to go to one more special party which had sold out in minutes apparently months ago. It was Danny Krivit’s 718 sessions Boat Party. We had been a couple of times to venues on dry land but not the boat.
So we got to Pier 85 on 42nd Street at about 6.30pm, two hours before the boat left. There were about 40 people also waiting, hoping some no shows would mean we could get on. It was a nerve wracking wait but so worth it – people watching as people arrived , swapped Pride stories and chatted to friends – so we were warmly welcomed aboard by a rainbow flag fan flicking drag queen and then we could relax and met up with Severino and New York friends Rita, Sarah, Eric and David, hearing about everyone's day or Pride marching and celebrations
The boat party was so amazing because of literally some of the best views in the world. We set off at 8.30 and docked at half past midnight so immediately had this amazing vista across the Hudson River of Midtown and then Downtown Manhattan and the sun setting the city.
The Empire State Building and the new World Trade Tower both were lit up in rainbow colours. New York looked magical; the sparkling lights came on and the sky gradually turned inky black.
This transition was soundtracked by Danny Krivit with a masterclass in great music covering the many decades he’s been such a pivotal DJ, producer, re-edit and remixer. People were dancing before the boat left. The music started off with soul and funk disco classics. All the crowd were getting on down, belting along to all the songs, and as Luther Vandross sang you could feel the Glow Of Love.
The crowd and music reflected New York’s rich dance dance history including a really friendly older mixed crowd of black and white, gay and straight, male and female. The celebration of Pride gave a real carnival atmosphere and the large dance floor was packed from the very beginning with other people relaxing and snapping the view from the top deck. Even below deck the friendly staff were serving up real special rice and chicken. Danny Krivit played a great mix of classics. The crowd lapped it all up with great atmosphere and dancers. Eery inch of the boats dance floor outside under the stars was taken.
At 10pm the fireworks over Manhattan for World Pride started going off; the most glamorous and expensive back drop for the boat party looked perfectly staged for our benefit. Danny worked Dan Hartman’s Vertigo/ Relight My Fire perfectly timed to send people into wild abandon, then working the mixer with C&C Music Factory’s A Deeper Love anthem that felt so right.
Strictly Rhythm’s classic House is a Feeling played as the boat moved around to the eastside of Manhattan and up close and personal to the statue of Liberty and we danced in the cool breeze to deep tribal afro-house style like Pride by Osunlade, Armonica’s Ngeke and Julie McKnight singing Still Here which sounded and raised peoples arms and smiles on faces.
As Danny reached the homeward section he played some other classics including Paul Simpson and Adeva’s Respect and the MK mix of M-People’s Moving On Up, causing happy uproar and ensuring Jill and I dig out the vinyl when we got home to revisit the track that will always remind us of that boat trip.
While we sailed under Brooklyn Bridge there was a super special NY moment when Danny played the Patrick Cowley extended mix of Giorgio Moroder & Donna Sumer’s I Feel Love.
For the finale farewell, as the boat gradually headed back to the pier, Danny played and extended and extended and looped up his extended remix of Let No Man Put Asunder for ages and ages as no one wanted to accept it was over. With promoter Benny Soto by his side Danny Krivit thanked everyone for coming to their 15th Pride boat party and promising “It’s not over!” They would be back from more next year.
An absolutely perfect end to an amazing extended weekend in New York, celebrating all that was good and special the people, the atmosphere, the attitude, gay pride and the intertwined dance music culture and history that makes the city so unique and special – We love New York, New York!
DANNY KRIVIT'S 718 SESSIONS PRIDE BOAT PARTY - SUNDAY 30TH JUNE 2019 TOP 20 TUNES
LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY - DONNA SUMMER
ITS GONNA BE A LOVELY DAY - BILL WITHERS
YOU KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME - PHYLLIS HYMAN
GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS - LAMONT DOZIER
THE GLOW OF LOVE - CHANGE
I SPECIALISE IN LOVE - SHARON BROWN
I'M COMIMG OUT (CHIC 12" MIX) - DIANA ROSS
OOH! WHAT A LIFE (ORIGINAL 12" MIX) - THE GIBSON BROTHERS
FREE - ULTRA NATE
HOUSE IS A FEELING (ORIGINAL STRICTLY RHYTHM HARDTRAX MIX) - SUNDAY SCHOOL
NGEKE (ANDHIM REMIX) - ARMONICA
STILL HERE ( DAVIS MORALES GROOVE MIX & DUB) KINGS OF HOUSE DAVID MORALES & LOUISE VEGA FEATURING JULIE MCKNIGHT
PRIDE - OSUNLADE & NADIRAH SHAKOOR
RELIGHT MY FIRE/ VERTIGO - DAN HARTMAN ( +NY FIREWORK DISPLAY)
PRIDE A DEEPER LOVE - C&C MUSIC FACTORY ( + NY FIREWORK DISPLAY)
DIRTY CASH ( TODD TERRY REMIX) - STEVIE V
ADEVA - RESPECT
MOVING ON UP ( MK REMIX) - M.PEOPLE
I FEEL LOVE ( PATRICK COWLEY REMIX) - DONNA SUMMER
LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER ( DANNY KRIVIT EDIT AND LIVE ‘IT’S NOT OVER’ MIX - FIRST CHOICE)