I was very much an indie rock kid in college, definitely a child of Myspace who loved white belts and any band that started with “The” and ended with a random noun. Dance music never has a season though and one of my favorite songs before I moved to New York was “Flawless” by The Ones. It was already about five years old before I stumbled across it, but I put it on so many mix CDs — Music to Drive to, Light Chair Twerk, Sunday Cleaning — because the bassline was unmatched.
Fast forward some years, and I was at the Cock (the old location they turned into a pet store or some apartments) and I was butt naked talking to the DJ about random stuff. See, back in the DAY day, if I was out with the Twinklets (this group of skinny fashion gays who went to FIT) and we got too drunk on $2.50 well drinks at Boiler Room and a couple of demonic Long Island iced teas at Urge, we would roll into The Cock feeling our oats and I would strip down to nothing, hide my gear behind a speaker, and give my keys-wallet-phone-underwear to Justin so he could hold on to them in case someone stole my clothes (no one ever did!).
On one particular evening, I was lit but not super lit, and I was carrying on a conversation about music with the DJ, trading “obscure” songs back and forth. I brought up “Flawless” and I don’t remember the conversation word for word, but I — a country bumpkin from nowhere SC — thought no one would remember this minor dance hit from ten years ago.
DJ: Oh, I know that song.
Me: Really? No one ever knows that song. How do you know it?
DJ: It’s my song.
DJ: It’s my song.
And that’s how I met Nashom Wooden, trying to expose him to a song he already knew because he was 1/3rd of the group who made it, while I was taking a break from exposing myself to everyone in this dark bar on 2nd Avenue.
Fast forward a couple more years to a random Wednesday night at The Cock (still the old location) and it was Diva Night. I don’t remember what the exact name of the night was, but there were t-shirts for sale that had different divas on them and all of the drag queens would perform songs by the same artist. That night I had my hair down and slightly teased a la Janet from the Control era and the bartender liked it so much he gave me one of the Janet t-shirts that matched my hair. Jay Roth was gogo dancing in what basically amounted to string and Justin was being hit on by a guy who was twice our age but probably twenty times our net worth, so we let him buy us a few drinks.
The night was Cher and it was Mona Foot’s turn. I didn’t really know Cher like that so I’d never actually heard “Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves” before…and I wasn’t sure Mona had either! She only mimed one part: gyppsiiiiesss tramps and thieeeves. That’s it. She covered her face with her hands, she took sips of people’s drinks, and she hid behind columns and stuck a leg out to do choreography, but she did NOT lip sync that song. And we LIVED! OMG we talked about that performance for years. It became one of the top ten references Justin and I would toss out when we randomly wanted to ((dramatic voice)) relive the youth of our early days in the big city ((/end dramatic voice)).
Yesterday Justin sent me this text:
I looked it up just to confirm and the top search result was from Billboard. It’s the first COVID-19 passing of someone I’ve ever been acquainted with. Not that I really knew Mona Foot or Nashom. That Cher lip sync was the only time I’d ever seen her perform, and I’d only had maybe 20 conversations with Nashom over the past decade (almost all of them about music — debating Kelly Rowland remixes is my favorite memory with any DJ), but three of my favorite musical memories and three of my favorite memories living in NYC were thanks to Nashom: the artist, the drag queen, and the DJ.
In the words of The Ones, “Just like perfection. Like no other, flawless. Absolutely flawless.”