"Sometimes, the most beautiful thing, the most innocent thing — and many of those dreams — pass us by." Well, my friend Bennett Madison and I were determined not to let the 18th Annual "Night of A Thousand Stevies" (NOTS) pass us by, and if you recognize the quote above as a line from the (best) Stevie Nicks song (ever), "Angel," then you already understand why we were motivated to attend an event that brings Stevie Nicks impersonators from around the country to perform in front of an audience full of...Stevie Nicks impersonators. If you don't understand, read on: you just might learn something about one of the greatest artists of all time, and the bizarre, semi-sad, hilariously gay and nerdy and over-the-top cult that has sprung up around the singer.
For starters, it's pretty easy to put together a Stevie Nicks costume in five minutes at any Salvation Army. It's sort of like the adage about what you're supposed to wear for your wedding, except instead of "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue," it's more like "Something old, something black, something fringey, and some kind of a shawl or cape or corset or top hat or sparkly beret." The theme of NOTS 18 was "Nightbirds," and in the song "Nightbirds" Stevie actually gives specific instructions for how to replicate her signature look:
"And then the summer became the fall/ I was not ready for the winter/it makes no difference at all/Cause I wear boots all summer long ... Eye makeup dark and it's careless ..."
Keeping this in mind, I applied Bennett's makeup very carelessly.
After a beer, we headed out to the Hammerstein Ballroom.
My costume was a little bit less dramatic than Bennett's, partly because I had decided to wear my real hair instead of a wig and partly because I was born female.
Once inside, we encountered a few setbacks. The entertainment was not, at first, as awesome as we had hoped. One too many drag queens had elected to lip synch "Stand Back," which has never been a favorite song of mine. (Note from Bennett: "I LOVE STAND BACK!!!") It's from Stevie's second, more disco-y solo album, and I'm more of a fan of her work with Fleetwood Mac and her first solo album, Bella Donna, which was made when she was dating that guy from the Eagles. The great thing about being a fan of Stevie Nicks, though, is that Stevieism is a big tent. Here is my theory about the demographics represented at NOTS:
1) Theater nerd girls who just enjoy wearing capes and corsets and crushed velvet. See also: Renaissance Faire Laydies. Their favorite song is Rhiannon, of course, because it's about a witch from Welsh mythology.
2)The male equivalent of these girls. These dudes would have grown up playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading Lord of the Rings if they were straight, but instead they had to like Stevie Nicks.
3)Gays who are into the coke-addled era of Stevie. Their favorite song is "Stand Back."
4) Heterosexual couples who are into the romance of Fleetwood Mac — the idea of being in a band with someone you're in love with, and then breaking up with them in a messy, druggy, cheating-related way, but always sort of carrying a torch — and singing about it! That is hot. We saw a lot of these couples, including a few who were dressed as Stevie and Lindsay Buckingham. If I ever find a guy who is willing to accompany me to this kind of event dressed as Lindsay Buckingham, or Mick Fleetwood, or even Don Henley, I will have found my soulmate, I think. Extra bonus points if he also wants to learn the harmony to "Leather and Lace."
This couple wasn't dressed up, but they were getting really amorous in a cute way.
Outside, we caught performance artist Julie Atlas-Muz and took a picture of her as though we were the paparazzi, and she gamely played along:
The second setback we encountered was that someone stole Bennett's wig! They just came up behind him and yanked it off his head and disappeared back into the crowd!
In a moment of true STEVIE REALNESS, Bennett chased after the thief, felled him with a fierce karate kick, and bit him in the face, leaving a puddle of blood and sparkles in the dance floor. Just kidding! Actually, a frightened and humiliated Bennett just made a pathetic face and turned his cape into a headdress, making him look more like Little Edie than Stevie, but whatever. Later someone complimented the headdress as being "very Timespace" and he was happy again.
Night Of A Thousand Stevies [Mother NYC]