Home » Night of a Thousand Stevies brings Crystal Visions to life

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)

NOTS enters its 23rd year with enduring camp, pageantry, and Stevie magic.

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 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/

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


LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
London, England

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton