Stevie Nicks remains the key inspiration of her largest fan event, but the diversity of its talent and turnout proves you can be her disciple and still go your own way.
Photography by Ricardo Nelson
Tambourines were tossed from the stage into a decadent crowd of hundreds, and ample black shawls were available for sale, but Stevie Nicks’s trademark accessories were hardly a requirement at last Friday’s Night of 1,000 Stevies, the 24th incarnation of the largest Nicks fan event in the world. Held at New York’s Irving Plaza, its sixth—and grandest—venue, the mystical affair attracted fans and performers who each found a way to uniquely channel Fleetwood Mac’s witchy woman.
“At some point, with certain stars, the fans take over and are a bigger entity than the stars themselves,” said Abby Ehmann, one of the evening’s mistresses of ceremonies, and a close friend of event co-founders Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti (the latter of whom was still recovering from pneumonia, her absence repeatedly lamented).
Among the night’s performers were dancers from Vangeline Theater, whose interpretation of “Rhiannon” involved a ballet dancer evoking “a bird in flight,” and a back-up crew of haunting beauties rocking Kabuki makeup. Also present was Xavier, a four-person group offering a Lenny Kravitz-esque take on “Dreams.”
And then there were epic costumer Machine Dazzle and show-stealer Darrell Thorne, both of whom used Stevie as a launchpad to flaunt their latest fantastical creations. Machine Dazzle donned a pentagram headpiece and a mile-high, scissor-cut wig, while Thorne came fully painted in purple and glitter, with blue dreadlocks and stag horns to match.
“I’m not actually a Stevie superfan,” said Thorne, who’s attended the event 11 times, six as a performer. “But I’d always heard it was this magical celebration, and I’ve come to love her music because of it. This is always a love fest, and it’s one of the most fun events of the year.”
Of course, not everyone took such outré approaches to their Stevie-inspired attire. Drag star Divine Grace sported what he called a “1990s Klonopin” Nicks look, which equaled a lot of blonde and black. “This is the most avant garde year I’ve ever seen,” Grace said. “And I’ve seen a lot. One time there was this giant drag queen with white powder all over her face. She looked like she ate Stevie and then did an eight ball.”
Friday’s no-holds-barred festivities rolled on into the wee hours of 3 a.m., with appearances from the likes of Michael Musto, nightlife honcho Taylor Mac (who came donned in his best Machine Dazzle couture), and drag legend Sherry Vine, who was joined by a quartet of go-go boys for a sexy rendition of “Gold Dust Woman.”
As Musto observed when introducing one of the night’s performers, Nicks is “hotter than ever” thanks to such things as her recent appearance on American Horror Story: Coven, which, according to Ehmann, partly inspired the night’s “Spellbound” theme.
“Stevie always finds a way to stay relevant,” Ehmann said, before observing that, despite the event’s motley crew of attendees, the songstress herself isn’t one to switch it up. “She’s got an extreme staying power and she’s managed to do it without striving to reinvent herself, like Madonna. You know, not to slam Madonna.”
For more info, visit MotherNYC.com/stevie
R. Kurt Osenlund / Out / Tuesday, May 13, 2014