In honor of our 9th annual Nightlife Awards taking place next Thursday, October 17 -- go vote for your favorite nominees HERE! -- we're looking back at some of the folks who took home awards in past ceremonies. From now until the 17th, we'll post a new story each day that tracks down the winners' exploits, closures and rebirths so you can find out what's been going on with your favorite DJ, door person or nightclub since they last witnessed you downing tequila shots and belting out Maximo Park lyrics at 4 a.m at Luke and Leroy's.
Next up: the Six Six Sick girls, made up, at different stages, of Tiffany Gong, Christina Rodriguez, Feng-Feng Yeh and Nicollette Santos, who won the award for Best Party in 2007. The 66Sick girls brought unabashed fun, matching handmade outfits and gallons of cheap champagne to the downtown scene with their Tuesday night parties at Chinatown mid-aughts hot spot Happy Ending (which also won Best Bar that year). We chatted with Tiffany, Feng-Feng and Nicollette about wearing Cyndi Lauper's dresses, having a huge cake fight in the Happy Endings bathroom, and not realizing that Ryan Gosling attended one of their shindigs.
What are you guys up to these days?
Nicollette Santos: I work for Screaming Mimi's -- I've always been part of the family -- and right now we're working on the 35th anniversary. Nightlife-wise, I'm always at the Jane -- they always reel me back. I host there. And I also work with Travis Bass, doing Bottoms Up at Tribeca Grand. Now I mainly run the room -- I have a grown-up position!
Feng-Feng Yeh: When I stopped doing [Six Six Sick], I started doing my own clothing line. I did that and it was pretty successful; I'm still doing it. The clothing line is called Savant and it showed for Fashion Week. I've been in Women's Wear Daily and Vogue.
Tiffany Gong: We still do special events and DJ one-offs, but we no longer have weekly parties. [Christina and I] are both jewelry designers, and have a line of jewelry called Trisakaidekaphobia.
How did you originally get into hosting parties?
Feng-Feng Yeh: I was going to parties all the time. I was friends with the Misshapes and just fell into it -- I just knew all those kids from before. We were either going to school together or meeting when going out. And my really good friends who were DJing at Happy Endings were like, "Oh hey, do you want to host the party? And the other girls that were in Six Six Sick with me -- mainly Christina -- were my best friends and we started inviting all our friends to go and it kind of took off from there.
Tiffany Gong: We used to go out six nights a week, and we would go to Happy Endings every Tuesday night. When we heard that our favorite Tuesday party was ending, we decided we would take the night over. It felt natural since Tuesdays at Happy Endings were a nightlife staple.
Nicollette Santos: It was around eight years ago [for me]. One of the managers at Screaming Mimi's adored my cousin, Christina Rodriguez, and I. He was the owner of Royal Oak in Williamsburg at the time. He gave us our first night that we hosted and DJ'd. That was our first gig. Since then nightlife has always been a part of my income!
What was the vibe like at Six Six Sick?
Tiffany Gong: Anything goes. We would have all our best friends, plus all of the freaks and geeks. One night Chloë Sevigny was at one table, and on the other side of the club was a guy with an asphyxiation fetish, wrapped in a rug, tucked in under the bar, begging to be stepped on. We always had an open door policy rather than a velvet rope policy, which meant that there was usually something weird going on, but which also made it very easy to drop your inhibitions.
Feng-Feng Yeh: Six Six Sick was more about people really letting loose and not giving a shit about anything and having the best night of your life -- living like it was the last night of your life. Me and the other girls that hosted would make different themed costume for ourselves every week. And all of the kids were just our friends. You would come and we would scream and jump on you. Then we'd pour champagne down your mouth. It was all about not having any worries about whether you're cool or not. If you come to our party you're there to sweat and dance and get wasted. And everybody made out with everybody -- if you were ever lonely you were never lonely there!
Nicollette Santos: It was complete recklessness.
Do you think that "anything goes" vibe helped set you apart from the more conceptualized parties of the time?
Tiffany Gong: Our attitude was different from most other great parties because we were always very inclusive. Anyone with an ID could get in. People didn't feel special because they were on an exclusive guest list or could get past a tough door guy. What made people feel special is that we welcomed everyone equally, with open arms, and usually with a glass of champagne.
Feng-Feng Yeh: I think it was the time, really. We were hosting a whole bunch of parties; we were hosting it as "Six Six Sick girls at your party." And those were also amazing -- so fun and debaucherous and carefree.
Nicollette Santos, Tiffany Gong and Christina Rodriguez, via Six Six SickWhat are the favorite outfits you created for hosting parties?
Feng-Feng Yeh: I feel like I can't remember any of them! One of my favorite outfits that we did were these techno-Indian outfits.
Tiffany Gong: Hard to say. But for my going away party -- when I moved to Stockholm temporarily -- we made bustiers from cut up plastic display mannequins, modeled after Alexander McQueen's Fall 2007 collection. I keep all my old Six Six Sick outfits. The bustier is on permanent display on one of my shelves.
Nicollette Santos: When we were hosting the Ruff Club [party] New Year's Eve -- oh God -- in 2008 or 2009, we wore black sequined tube tops and panties and then we got battery-powered Christmas lights and poked the tube tops through so we had blinking lights on our tits all night and big pouf balls on our heads. We even had matching YSL heels. There was another moment when we hosted Misshapes on Bastille Day -- we drew on mustaches and had on bathing suits. At that point we were just like giant balls of fishnet and Lycra and glitter.
Tiffany Gong and Christina Rodriguez in PAPER's November 2008 Issue
Most of the parties were at Happy Ending, which had those sauna stalls off to the side. What was the craziest thing that happened in them?
Feng-Feng Yeh: Actually they were just supposed to be chill-out areas for people. And sometimes when we were in there we'd dance. Later on we'd do more involved parties where people would do professionally-shot Polaroids and they'd bring lights and equipment. One time I think we did a photo shoot for Fred Perry or something -- we did a cake fight and there was champagne and everybody got really nasty in there. I think they shot it for their ad campaign. I never saw it and then my friends were like "Feng-Feng, you're on the wall of Fred Perry." It was some brand like that.
Tiffany Gong: People would use them to make out, but they weren't exactly the most private or hidden area of the bar...One night there were about fifteen of us squeezed into the stall going crazy when an unknown stranger joined in. He was not a drag queen -- he was a middle-aged, five foot tall, chubby, pot-bellied man who happened to be wearing a bad wig, red lipstick, and a tight, ill-fitting skirt. (Through which you could see he was visibly aroused. That was definitely one of the more disturbing moments that sticks out in my memory.) Needless to say we cleared out of that stall pretty quickly!
Christina Rodriguez and Feng-Feng Yeh in PAPER's November 2007 Issue
What were your favorite memories from Six Six Sick?
Feng-Feng Yeh: I don't remember a lot of specifics, but there was some crazy stuff. Memories of getting in trouble and doing really awful things! But when I talk to people now they always tell me that they have really specific, fond memories of it. I heard that Ryan Gosling used to be there. That was before he was a big actor.
Tiffany Gong: Way too many to list. They are all immortalized on various nightlife websites. I think Christina's been going through Nicky Digital recently, archiving all of her favorite moments.
Nicollette Santos: I had my 23rd birthday there and Laura Wills, the owner of Screaming Mimi's, used to style Cyndi Lauper for the first fifteen years of her career. She let me borrow one of Cyndi's old dresses (and I think if Cyndi Lauper ever heard this, she might murder me). It was like this amazing cheetah print dress with a zig-zag hem, pearls, bedazzling. I got huge animal decorations and a face painter. It was a crazy night that we had -- naturally I don't remember it.
Is there anyone now who's doing a similar thing to Six Six Sick?
Tiffany Gong: Not that I know of, but if there is, please tell me! I would love to go. We were talking about it. We are all a bit crushed though now that Happy Endings shuttered. RIP.
Feng-Feng Yeh: We were actually talking about doing a reunion special. Not a weekly -- just a one-off [party]. I don't know if we'll actually do that, but I would like to. I feel like a lot of people my age want to go out and have the same kind of fun, but feel like they're too old and they have jobs where they can't get buck-wild crazy.
Nicollette Santos: I think it's possible, but the right people just aren't doing the parties! Fun people with the right venue -- it could happen again. I will never give up on New York as the forerunner of well-executed parties with fun people. Either the opportunity isn't there or the wrong people are doing parties..
What do you think of New York nightlife in its current state?
Feng-Feng Yeh: I don't know what happened. The next generation of kids happened and they didn't have to go through the kind of struggle that we did. When I first came to New York I had to really struggle to find where the cool people were and where the fun parties were. The Internet wasn't as much of a thing like it is today -- you couldn't Google and find out all these cool things. You had to find out through friends or word-of-mouth. The ease takes away from the fun of things. And people take going out too seriously now. I think after Misshapes finished their whole thing, people thought that going out was dressing up and acting like a snob and spending the whole time at a party against a wall and looking cool. But it's not about that. Or our generation was not about that.
Nicollette Santos: I know that people are down on New York nightlife but I'm always having fun. This is my thing: if you're with your friends under the same roof with fun music playing, you should always be having fun. If you're waiting for someone to give you something to do, you're doing it all wrong. I also think with smartphones and the iPhones and Instagram -- we didn't have that then. We weren't looking on our phones the entire time.
Tiffany Gong: I think the most fun and exciting parties [right now] are the ones that are hardest to get to -- but not get into.
Where do you go out now?
Feng-Feng Yeh: I go out quite a bit, but the places are all pretty different. I mostly go out with my friends. I'm really into hip-hop and electronic music and go to a whole bunch of weird raves in Bushwick where I don't know any of the kids. I like going to Ghe20g0th1k, 11:11, and then everything else I go to mostly depends on who's playing. I'll go to places like Cameo Gallery, Glasslands, 285 Kent, Le Bain, and random secret parties where they email you the location hours before.
Tiffany Gong: I love the vibe at Spectrum, which goes late, and has that same irreverent, anything-goes, dance-all-night feel to it.
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