October 1, 2005
As your "Media Goddess" glides into Crobar/Chicago, with pre-game crew scrambling to put those final touches on the club before it opens...I give a quick "hello" [...and wink] to the management staff (Colin & Phillip)...and strike a pose center dance floor to take-in all the décor of "EVOLVE"...Victor's very own, self-sponsored event.
Given that I've been around the club scene for a while...isn't it funny how after a few moments you intuitively know when you are in that "I don't know nothing, I just work here" employee-vortex of nobody knowing anything about what's going on? So, of course, being the "Media Goddess" that I am, I flick the switch to "diva mode", and go looking for my man.
Surveying the club from the mezzanine level high above...I spot my newest "Bumper Boy" for the evening, Victor Calderone...so, we point the cleavage in his direction, click my designer heels twice, and off I go. As you may expect, I just walked up to him, flip my blonde hair, and said ...
"Hello, I'm Jessika Sterling...come with me!" [twinkle..twinkle]
...and of course he does...haha
(...hey, if you had a hot, 7-foot blonde come up to you...you'd go too, right?)
WHAT?!!!...The King of the "dark-side" of House, the man with a Giger-inspired tattoo running down his arm..."Mr. Industry right-hook"(...industry "grease" there...sorry P.R....lol)...Victor Calderone listening to disco pop songs?!
Funny how we jump to conclusions about people, eh?
But, it's taking unlikely songs like that, along with others like Sting's "Desert Rose" & "Brand New Day"...or all of the Madonna songs he's remixed over the years and turning them into amazing dance chart topping hits.
...that's a true "Master of his craft".
After becoming the "rising-star" in the late 80's/early 90's NYC club scene and making a name for himself as the resident DJ at the club "Boy's Life" ("Life's" gay night)...things started to cloud-up for him. Soon to come was his breaking up with his music partner, all the pressures and growing lack of passion that come with finally being "known", and basically having the industry "leave a real bad taste in his mouth". Finally, it all took its toll and he knew it was time for him to "escape the drama" for a while.
...so, he entered the restaurant business!!!! (...what?!)
Again, being a restaurant/club designer myself, we found some real common ground chatting about what it's really like being in the restaurant business... and the enormous amounts of drama and crap you have to go through to finally be able to sit down, enjoy having dinner & cocktails with your friends...and act like the "Mr. Big Shot NYC Restaurant Owner" we all dream of...haha
Hmmm, wondering what kind of music he played in the restaurant??? How about "chill, down-tempo, and ambient!" Believe it or not, there was a time where he was very much into those styles...and it has influenced him today with his current style.
We chatted a little further on if he ever got the urge to "spin a few" during a night in his restaurant? Through all the drama and chaos surrounding him during this time, unfortunately, he never really had the time to play "his music", but he did eventually come to one very important conclusion
..."Music is where his heart is!"
So, in 1996, Victor Calderone sold his shares in the restaurant business and re-emerged back into the scene.
...and just let all those bitches have it!!!
Very soon, Victor became the resident DJ at the Roxy in NYC, and also "Liquid" in Miami (Ingrid and Madonna's club)...and was flying back and forth weekly. Again, we talked about how grueling it is to be constantly on the move from club to airport, then back again. Your life consists of basically riding in cabs, memorizing the locations of the Cinnebon & restroom in every major airport, mastering the use of the hotel "mini soap", and never seeing daylight. On the good side, from his amazing reputation created at these clubs, came his introduction into "The World of Madonna!" (...kind of sounds like a gay-themed park doesn't it???...hehe)...but, that is a story we've all heard before, haven't we?!...and, both Victor and I were just a little tired of hearing that story again ...and again...and again...
(...but, we still love ya, girlfriend!...smooches)
[blonde segue-moment #1]
I did however tell Victor that I am dying to have a picture taken with Madonna. And, the twist is...since we are both from Michigan, I want to have the both of us pointing at where we grew up on our right hands!
(...sorry, that's a big Michigan inside-joke)
Now...I bet you are all wondering about the "big grease" on what is currently happening with Victor????
Well, for the rest of the year he's booked solid with DJ gigs all over the world. As soon as he was finished with Chicago, it's back to NYC to pack, spend a little time with his "Diva Wife", Athena....then it's off to Greece, Portugal, and then Tel Aviv, Israel.
[blonde segue-moment #2]
One little side note here regarding Victor's wife, he and I had quite a laugh as I told him how every guy, and a few "lesbitarians", that I've chatted with about him would inevitably say, "...and his wife is HOTTT!!!" He took great pride in that ...and even more pride in their 2 1/2 year old son "Jivan" (...hope I spelled that right???)...which means "Life" in Hindi. I could really see a huge glimmer in his eye when we chatted about his wife and son...what a true sign of character. Having a 2 1/2-year-old niece myself ("Jessica", named after me by the way) I think we both connected on "that" is really what is important in life!
Speaking of his wife...one of my favorite parts to our little chat was when he got a call from Athena while on his way home from a DJ gig at the Roxy/NYC one night.
"You need to get fucking home, now...Sting just called, and he's calling back in 10 minutes!!!!", Athena exuberantly yells over the phone.
Well...with the speed and reckless abandon of a NYC cab driver on crack... he made it home just in time for..."Hello Victor?...this is Sting... Madonna suggested I call you to remix my first single....are you interested?"
And to quote Victor:...."uuuhhh, YESSSS!!!!"
With a big smile on his face, Victor said it later turned out to be "His most memorable experience as a producer", Victor goes on to say, "Sting was so down-to-earth and easy to work with...what a blast it was. I did not expect that from him!"
(...by the way..."Desert Rose" stayed on the dance chart for about 18 weeks!)
And so....what else has Victor Calderone been up to???
He has just had a "grueling summer"...which includes a few, let's say, "less than inspiring" gigs in Europe. For those of you who have had the opportunity to go to Europe...let me tell you, from my experience, there are definite goods and bads. The people are very friendly, most love to party with Americans...and the scenery is amazing (...especially with their shirt's off!...hehe)...but, when it comes to the club scene...both Victor and I agreed, some of the production values are in the "dinosaur days!!!"
"Some of them just don't get it!", stated Victor..."They don't realize how you need to really have your shit together to put on a good show...it's a real struggle sometimes to try to be at the top of your game when the term "production value" isn't in their vocabulary"
(....for all you performers out there, can't we all relate to that one?!)
For the last six months, Victor has taken a more active role in his club appearances with the creation of his very own night called "EVOLVE". Which is certainly inspired by his own philosophy of being in constant evolution with his work.
I was very intrigued to find out why someone at his level would take on more responsibility...was it for the money...was it for the control....why?
"EVOLVE was a way to give the promoters and owners something more to attach to and promote...with me giving my input and creativity, it seemed to provide more energy to the event. I‘ve been doing it for the last 6 months....and it's all about the production value...I'm very down on people just in it for the money." Victor stated with one of his more serious looks.
(Oooo, but it was kind of sexy...hehe)
We further chatted about what the overall scene has been like lately...and how he has seen "changes" happening in the clubs. Currently, NYC (..and a lot of other cities) have been suffering from the crackdowns on the nightlife. Not only with the politically-driven (republican) "witch hunts" spreading thru the gay communities, but also with the straight clubs. With "Crystal Meth" being the popular scape-goat to use amongst the other moral and community issues, clubs seem to be struggling more than in the past. Hopefully, as we see the scene slowly coming back, this will (hopefully) "thin the herd" and weed out those "less than inspiring people" and get back to the important things...the music!
Speaking of which...I asked Victor, "Who is your favorite artist???"
Well, I'm sure all of you will not be too surprised to hear it is...Madonna! "For her drive to always push the envelope...and constant evolution."
(...by the way, that last comment is from me, not Victor...I don't want him to be on Madonna's shit-list now...lol)
"So...what's next???", I seductively leaned forward and asked.
"I love you more than my luggage!"
See photos from Jessika's adventures with Vic here!
"The Adventures of Jessika Sterling and the Bumper Boyz"