Yesterday’s New York Times featured a front-page story on Tom Finn, a DJ to the upper crust who spins mostly for fancy-shmancy high-society events (he also was a member of the ’60s rock group the Left Banke, and served as one of Studio 54′s in-house DJs). For years, Finn’s been appearing at big-money Manhattan parties like the New York Botanical Garden’s fund-raising Winter Wonderland Ball, where no doubt rakes in some of that blue-blood green. So surely, if he’s in such high demand, he must be playing some of the most groundbreaking, daring, unexpected sets in the city, right?
At the Wonderland ball, he kicked off the dessert hour with Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You,” then, halfway through it, segued into “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Baby” by Barry White. Three couples took to the dance floor and did a few modest twirls.
Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” prompted a few more women to drag their husbands and dates onto the checkerboard, and they held the trains of their dresses and swung their elbows. Mr. Finn played “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer — “Paris Hilton’s mother loves when I play this, and I always play it with the vocals low, because she likes to take the microphone and sing over it,” he said — and then Madonna’s “Vogue,” “Dancing Queen” by Abba and “Bust a Move” by Young MC.
By the time he got to “What I Like About You” by the Romantics, just about everybody who was still in the tent — perhaps 175 of the original 250 guests — was cutting a rug….
“I learned at Studio that yuppies really like to dance to the music of their adolescence,” Mr. Finn said, as if to apologize for the lack of originality in his selections. “It’s not my job to educate them.”
Granted, no one wants to go to a holiday party and be treated to a 40-minute Philip Glass suite. But “What I Like About You”? “Bad Girls”? Why not just nix the DJ, and instead put Jock Jams Vol. 2 and the mix tape Jenny’s Awesome Farewell to ’82 on a continuous loop for three hours?
The D.J. Who Moves the Movers and Shakers [NY Times]