I have already confessed my love for Stevie Nicks, revealing to you my journey from sheltered young woman to only slightly more experienced adult thanks to listening to Stevie’s music and approximating her style. After reading that post, a friend said to me, “Basically, you were a virgin in high school.” That’s why she is my most succinct friend.
Not long after I discovered Stevie as a teenager in a small state south of here, I learned of an event held in her honor every year in New York City, called Night of a Thousand Stevies (NOTS). Started in 1991, NOTS is the biggest fan event in the world, a venue for singers, dancers, performance artists, and fans to twirl around with tambourines in hand and revel in all things Stevie. The crowd spans gay and straight, old and young, trans- and cisgendered. Talent levels vary, but enthusiasm never wanes. At nineteen, I was too young to get into a New York club, and too obedient to try. I dreamed of the day I could attend the Bacchanalia, don every sheer shawl I owned, and wear my moon necklace in a place where others would understand it. So I waited. Though NOTS isn’t the reason I moved here, it was definitely one of the advantages.
This past Friday night, I went to the 22nd Night of a Thousand Stevies – my second since moving to New York. I dragged my husband with me, even though he is a Stevie Nicks fan only by proxy. (He’s awesome, yes, but just so you know: I’ve seen Van Halen – twice – for him.) While waiting in line to get in, we met two men who had flown in from California, another who came by train from Washington, D.C., and I knew another young woman traveling up from D.C. for the event, as well (hi, A!). Everyone had stars in their eyes and a smile on their lips; many were involved in deep discussions about particular Stevie outfits, favorite songs, and fond memories of shows. One fan had been to three Stevie shows in the last year alone. Stevie fans are just one more reason to love Stevie: they’re dedicated, they’re into sharing the love, and they’re just nice people.
But inside is where the fun really starts. After an hour of a DJ spinning Stevie music to videos on a giant projector, performers took to the stage. They danced to techno versions of Rooms on Fire and Gypsy, sang hard rock versions of Rhiannon, and put on a particularly hipstery rendition of Tusk, complete with synthesizers. Drag queens were everywhere. A DJ changed the tempo on many of Steve’s best hits, and people danced, and then danced some more. At NOTS, off-stage is just as interesting as on: people dress as Stevie from every era – sheer black/white dresses, top hats, ribbons, tambourines, prairie skirts, Victorian corsets, blonde wigs. People carried fake cockatiels around, others fake owls, and many shook ribboned tambourines. Some treat NOTS as a second Halloween – wearing pirate outfits, pretending to be vampires. Last year, someone came as Liberace with sequins glued to his face. One gets the sense that even if Stevie never dressed this way, she would love the efforts all the same. I myself am a particular fan of the 1975-1978 Stevie, when she wore lots of black, top hats, bell sleeves, platform boots, and layered jewelry. Thus:
To be as concise as my friend: it’s crazy fun.
Last year, Stevie sent everyone at NOTS a message promising that one day, she would show up at the festivities. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I’m ever in the same room as the Queen herself. I might never recover. But I will be going to NOTS every year for as long as I can, regardless, because sharing in the Stevie love is a close second on the happiness scale.
Now it’s time to shut up and share some photos. (Excuse the blurriness in a few – some are cell phone photos.)
* All images c. Erin KLG and KB Photography.