Giant Step’s Resident 30: Detroit, Home Sweet Home, Sarah Palin, Maxwell

Photo of Jazmine Sullivan at STEVEN (c) Donna Ward

By Mawuse Ziegbe

When I’m not camping out in craptastic bars in the LES or at a concert furiously scratching notes like a geekazoid, I daydream about the most fantastical situations. Maybe one day I’m making Smores with Amy Winehouse. Maybe I’m taking a magic carpet ride with Diddy. Maybe I’m shaving Common’s head. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m in the Midwest having the bestest time in a truly underrated city. Last week, I went to Detroit on business which is like Narnia for cheap beer-swilling, early ’90s dance addicts like myself. God bless the Motor City Casino Hotel where the driveway is lit up with a maze of rainbow lights like so many glittering Quaaludes. Ce Ce Peniston and Crystal Waters jams are pumped throughout the lobby and the rooms look like the set of a J. Lo video. I partied with some friends at an “apartment” (which, after living in “cozy” NYC apartments, looked like an airport hangar) that held a boutique, a DJ booth and a mess of bedrooms. People were cheery, the music was good and when it wasn’t good, it didn’t matter because alcohol in the Midwest basically costs a hug and a kiss.

But New York is the only place you will find buxom soul singers sweatin’ out a shoe store full of beautiful people. Our precious Giant Step orchestrated another throwdown at Steve Madden’s LES outpost which was swarmed by rapturous Jazmine Sullivan acolytes who knocked over precarious stiletto displays. It was a short 3-song set which she ended with her balmy reggae single, “Need U Bad.” Music heads who have been waiting for her time in the sun and newly enchanted well-wishers were all pouting for more. But children, she is going on tour which, by the by, is fronted by MAXWELL!! I mean, THE Maxwell – in all his singing-naked-in-the-bathtub, Afro-and-sideburns-before-it-was-cool, making-songs-for-sex-scenes-of-every-Sanaa Lathan-movie-since -1995 glory, – is actually coming to your city! You can pay to watch him gyrate for a few hours and maybe touch his head or something if you camp outside the tour bus. With Maxwell, John Legend and Raphael Saadiq on the road, 2008 is officially the year of the intellectual groupie.

2008 is also the two-year anniversary of one my favorite bars, Home Sweet Home. It’s basically an unmarked, unfinished basement packed with taxidermy and a broken disco ball. But its appeal is the reckless, sensual and, if I may, crackity sensibility that makes downtown NYC so legendary. I’ve had nights where one minute I’m teaching some hipsters the Soulja Boy and the next I’m vomiting onto a stuffed weasel. So, of course the anniversary party had to reflect that psycho glamour with complimentary Patrón and a giant moose ice sculpture which doubled as a shot luge. Resident performers Sweatshop Labor and Young Lords held court and even smiley trip-hop vocalist Sia came out for a drink and a dance. And yes, I got a little reckless, sensual and crackity.

However, more than taxidermy and making up adjectives, the hottest thing in the streets right now is the election debates. When they plucked that Sarah Palin woman from Baby Siberia, I thought she must have been a brainy, ambitious, innovative politician who could really shake up the stodgy and grim Republican ticket. Instead, we have this aging beauty queen with prom hair and a foreign policy perspective that’s seemingly informed by Rainbow Brite. I wish I could skip through the most important test of my life winking and giving shout-outs to 8 year-olds. Maybe, just maybe…if I keep dreaming.

Free Show: Nikka Costa

One of the things I love about being in this business is getting the opportunity to work with and help promote great artists. You know the ones that can move your soul and give you goose bumps? Well, Nikka Costa is someone I put in that category and we are proud at Giant Step to be involved in promoting her new release.

This Monday in Miami, we are continuing our monthly music series at The Florida Room in The Delano Hotel. We started the series in May with the goal to present great artists in a city that is known to be high on style and low on substance (no diss intended). So far the series has presented Jose James, Alice Russell, Janelle Monae, Little Jackie and last month we had the pleasure of Jazmine Sullivan.

So on Monday, October 13th, if you happen to be in Miami and want someone to rock your world come down and see Nikka live and say hello to me as I will be there too

More Info and RSVP here

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcyMOnHDWSs[/youtube]

Giant Step’s Hudson Parties: 18 Going On 19

Photo (c) Bartek Radwan

We’re fast approaching the 20th party at Hudson and showing no signs of slowing down – quite the opposite actually.  Big thanks to everyone who made it uptown for Pete Rock last night.  It was incredible.

Next up is Jellybean Benitez, a disco king back in the eighties and recent inductee into the  2005 Dance Music Hall of Fame.  He’s remixed Whitney Houston, Jocelyn Brown, Patti Austin, George Benson, Shalamar, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, Pointer Sisters, Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson’s hit “Say, Say, Say,” Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” and Freeez’s “I.O.U.”  Jellybean helped his once-girlfriend to remix her songs, starting out with “Everybody,” followed by “Physical Attraction,” “Borderline,” “Lucky Star” and her radio breakthrough “Holiday.” “Holiday” was the first song Jellybean ever produced from scratch and the girl was of course… Madonna!

RSVP for Jellybean Benitez at Hudson on 10/20 here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdF2zqs1bxQ[/youtube]
(For those who partied at Hudson last night, you might remember this one setting it off)

Revenge of The Bookeaters: A benefit for Dave Egger’s 826NYC

On October 7, 2008, Dave Eggers, founder of 826NYC (and author of “A Heartbreaking Work By A Staggering Genius” and “What is The What,” both must-reads) will host the annual Revenge of The Bookeaters, a benefit for his organization which helps students, ages 6-18, develop their writing skills. If the line-up doesn’t temp you, the good cause will. Buy Tickets.

More info here: bookeaters.org/