Jellybean Benitez, Juan Maclean, Juliana Huxtable & more DJing “Let NYC Dance” benefit to help fight Cabaret Law
Juliana Huxtable, Juan Maclean, and dance music icon Jellybean Benitez (who produced Madonna’s early singles and more) will spin records at Brooklyn’s House of Yes on Thursday, May 11 which is a Boiler Room-presented benefit for the “Let NYC Dance” campaign that is trying to get NYC’s “Cabaret Law” (where clubs need an expensive license to allow dancing) repealed. Also on the bill are sets from Anané Vega, Jonathan Toubin, and Mobile Mondays DJs. The night will look at dance music in NYC through the decades::
Since 1926 it has been illegal to dance in New York without a Cabaret License – a nearly unobtainable license that is far out of reach for bars and clubs that cater to everyday New Yorkers. Originally deployed as a law to control black jazz clubs in Harlem, the Cabaret Law has gone through swells of enforcement, and at present, makes dance venues throughout the city extremely vulnerable to fines and even closure.
Let NYC Dance x Boiler Room wants to mobilize the community around repealing this law by bringing together some of NYC’s best homegrown DJs to take us on a journey through the city’s dance heritage, celebrating each decade from the 1960s to the 2010s.
We’ll be tracing NYC’s musical history with:
Jonathan Toubin (1960s)
Mobile Mondays DJs (1970s)
Jellybean Benitez (1980s)
Anané Vega (1990s)
Juan Maclean (2000s)
Juliana Huxtable (2010s)
Back in March, Market Hotel (which is still closed following a police raid in October 2016) hosted a town hall style meeting about repealing the Cabaret Law, and the movement has traction with some city council members like Rafael Espinal who Gothamist reports is currently drafting legislation to create an Office Of Nightlife that will be overseen by a “Night Mayor” who would look after not only clubs but DIY art spaces and more:
In Espinal’s proposal, the night mayor would also be focused on ensuring the survival of DIY spaces and smaller venues, which city has been cracking down on in recent years, according to the councilman. A March report from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office on the city’s music industry found that, due to a host of reasons that are “more acute and worrisome today,” these venues are at the greatest risk of closing. The day after the report was published, beloved punk venue Shea Stadium temporarily shut its doors in an effort to raise money for repairs amid “increasing pressure from the local authorities.” After nearly doubling their Kickstarter goal, the landlord backed out of the plan to keep the venue open.
Councilman Espinal, who represents parts of Bushwick, East New York, Brownsville and Cypress Hills, said Shea Stadium’s plight is a perfect illustration of why a night mayor is necessary. “I feel like these venues are facing a whole array of issues, getting up to code, and also dealing with pressures of real estate market here in New York,” the councilman said. “We’ve gotten to the point where the only venues who are able to survive in this city are the high end nightclubs in the Meatpacking district, or places with similar business models.”
The Cabaret Law has been an issue in the nightlife world ever since Mayor Giuliani dusted it off in the ’90s in his effort to “clean up” the city. (Muchmores fought it in 2014.) Listen to Chk Chk Chk’s response, their classic mid-’00s single “Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story),” below.
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