My heart shattered in pieces this week and those pieces sunk into the pit of my stomach and I can hardly come up for air because of the shards of heart in my lungs. I feel like the world crashed into a head on collision with the sun and burned into ash. This sounds odd saying; yet I’m also not myself so it’s completely normal, but I feel like I am not a strong woman; I’m just a sensitive bunny that cuddles and cries. I’ve been so good at protecting my neck from 18+ years in NYC and about 12 professional years in nightlife that my real feelings will never show. I’ve become a master at putting on a smile, dealing with an endless plate of nonsense that becoming someone else is so natural.
Until… Monday when my entire body was frozen in paralyzing fear. My friend Alain called to tell me that our friend Duster had died. But Duster wasn’t just a friend; he was a partner, a confidant, a motivator, a unique individual, a creative genius and a master artist. There is usually only so much talent one person can possess in life but this dude overflowed with it. His art was intoxicating, magnetic and seemed so cut and dry to me, in the most twisted of ways (naturally) that if u didn’t understand the hidden messages in his work it didn’t really matter because it was that beautiful. I had the incredible gift of collaborating with him on so many occasions thanks to my good friend Marion who introduced us because she thought we would be great together. “Great” was an under statement. More like legendary together.
Duster’s ideas and work ethic would push me to make better events with fun, creative lineups so he could make better art to carry on the creativity hand in hand. There were SOOO MANY PARTIES, Sooo many party invites..…but then he did my business card and then he designed my website. He just gripped up my aesthetic and took my fairy tale bunny life into another universe. My site was getting the most traffic at one point, Greg Naw who designed the back end had to add more bandwidth. The hits were immense. I had Duster on my team and we were unstoppable. He always wanted to push the envelope. This fool made pills that rattled and broke open up when you would scroll over parts of my website. I was even getting hate mail from rando moms in the Midwest for my website’s gravesite and pills, oh, and not to mention my twisted name. We always went there. He was ALWAYS talking about how he wanted to art direct my brand; that we needed to make Tshirts. I was always on the fence about a clothing line cuz it seemed so saturated, I was after all the “Heidi Fleiss of Retail Mafia” – coined by Aron in ‘05 or so. I had also just started DJing then and didn’t want to spread myself thin and make something I didn’t want to do 100.
I introduced Dust to my friend Nick Catchdubs (who had designed my logo in 2003) and was a creative genius on the web and beyond. Nick I felt was my male parallel. We were ususally together in our likes and dislikes when it came to music; we put each other onto anything and everything – he helped me create the visual foundation of my events. Then I started to watch Nick & Dust work side-by-side in SF when we all took a trip out there in Sept ‘05 to play Milk Bar. Marion came to celebrate her Birthday, we rented an awesome house and she was our cook (yum!). We traveled together like the amazing pack we were. I just found the album of pictures on a hard drive and the joy on our faces is so immense and pure. It is the way I will forever remember our Duster. But then years later, dear God, who could forget his missing tooth, teeth, whatever. LOL …Oh man. “Character” he was. He had creativity on a headstand and he just blazed the fucking world with his art the entire way. It felt incredible to work with such a passionate and perverse fucker. Which was my style squared. (I got a twisted sense of humor from watching too much Andrew Dice Clay with my dad when I was supposed to be an innocent child. Welp.)
A few months before meeting Marion & Duster, I booked one of Chromeo’s first NYC shows at the Knitting Factory and Hollertronix (Diplo & Low Beezy) opened for them. There was a huge blizzard that night and my god I was crushed, only die hard music fans came out for this event – maybe 101 people in attendance. I had put my blood, sweat, money and tears into this night. And then there was Alain, who Dave 1 of Chromeo introduces me to as his brother at sound check. A-trak was a ripe 21 years old at the time I think. I had seen him on stage a month before at MSG at one of the most amazing concerts I’ve attended. My dear friend and “Club Dad” Bugsy took me to it. It was the show where Jay-Z kicked R. Kelly off tour but then brought out every single friend he had in the industry. (Mary J, Snoop, Usher, Kanye, Ja Rule, Foxy, T.I. etc, etc.), it was like watching the MTV video awards: Hip Hop edition. I watched a cute young man DJing for Kanye West who I didn’t know was to become my dear friend A-trak. Kanye had him do one of his impressive routines. So, I remembered him vividly. Also normal people just don’t DJ like THAT. . So I was hype! I don’t know if anyone else really knew who he was that night but me, Nick, Wes P-Thugg and his own brother.
I went on throw more parties; parties on infinity actually. Sway was a well oiled weekly Monday money making machine at this point and Alain came to a few of my events as he was planning to move from Montreal to NYC and staying with big brother Dave (who was teaching at Columbia). So then Alain meets Duster and my entire extended group of creative individuals. Fireworks probably went off. Trizzy asked if he could DJ one of my “hip” parties…. What? Really? I told him I couldn’t afford him but he didn’t care, he wanted to do it for the vibes, the love, and just cause it was that hype…and he did it for the normal rate I paid everyone. I was actually nervous that all the scratching would derail the vibes but I quickly let that slide. He had won like a zillion DMC championships when he was like 5 years old so I just said go for it. I had no idea what he would do but of course he crushed it. I got to be a gatekeeper in such a beautiful fun filled time. Keys open doors and I guess I was always the key, cause the portals to creativity I had.
Around this time, Duster met Atrak, so they along with Dave1 and Nick decided to start a record label. I was a little jealous to lose my talented Duster and cause damnnnnn, look at that Gold… but, at the end of everyday, I was very happy for them. Dust graduated from party flyers! Lol. Then, did a ton of work for all my friends and colleagues. It was the platform he truly needed and boy did he perform. Fool’s Gold took off like a beast. They did and still are cold crushing it. “It” meaning – the world. Brings me immeasurable pride and joy to know that my most favorite, creative and talented dudes got together and created this empire. If you can imagine it, it can be yours. There is fate, there is destiny and then there was Fool’s Gold; which I’m the architect of & I designed the foyer.
It’s so weird but on Friday on my way to work I had this weird panic attack walking through Chelsea that someone I love is going to die soon. It was a strange feeling cause I never have dark thoughts like that so I just told my brain “shut up friend”. Now I know what it was and it’s too late to say bye to my Duster. I feel like, as I’m sure how we all feel that maybe we could’ve said or done something differently to derail this train. I have no idea why life gets so confusing and why creative people are so fucking sensitive and bizarre but I’m happy I can cry and mourn the loss of a real motherfucker. I think it’s probably pretty rare for anyone to come in contact with greatness but I have on a heightened level of creativity. I know that Josh is at peace now and that he loved me just as much as I loved him. My favorite thing to do was say some wise-ass shit to him and he would say “this Girl”. I feel like he called me “this girl” more than my own damn name. I’ll always be this girl and he will forever be my Dusty. I love you Prince Josh.
Roxy Oxy “This Girl” Cottontail