Last night I watched the Academy Awards over at Aspen Social and Amalia event coordinator Kevin Crawford’s house with the last of my Life-era friends. I was scheduled to DJ over at Southside, but I only found out about the gig through a Facebook flier so I opted out when I realized I had to see the Oscars with the old gang. Everybody had a Mickey Rourke story, but I had a Marisa Tomei story. When I started that Monday-night bowling thing over at Bowlmor Lanes back in the day, Marisa always came by, being friendly, enthusiastic, and real. One day she was hanging out and chatting with me as I was buying my bowling ball in the old pro shop that used to be there. As the guy was engraving my ball “Steve,” he realized that my companion was the Academy Award-winning actress, and he slipped up; the engraving came out as “Sneve” instead. That became my nickname for quite awhile. She’s as fun and cool and genuine as she seems, and it was wonderful to see her honored once again.
Our little Oscars party had lots of club types from the old days and the present, like Octavia, Robert Escalera, Teagan, and my good friend Dean Winters, who was once a bartender and now is doing great as an actor. We all squealed when Wass, Marquee’s door king, appeared in a commercial. For many, clubs are a means of support while developing a career. At cocktail parties, when you hear people say “I’m an actor,” someone invariably quips, “What restaurant do you work at?” This economic downturn can have a secondary affect — if talented and aspiring art types can’t find employment in hospitality, then they may not flock here. The old lyric “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere” may become too difficult to challenge. Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Willis, Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, and so many more paid the bills with nightclubs before they made it.
Anyway, after a brief “hello I’m alive but I’m too late to DJ” appearance at that wonderful Southside Sunday party, I went over to Lit for their 7th anniversary soiree. Here I was actually scheduled to DJ. My boy Eric Foss who owns the joint asked me to spin, not having ever heard me — he’s a brave man. In his invitation he mentioned some of my past “heroics” but threw in a stint at Studio 54 that wasn’t me (that was Steve Rubell). I’m only half the man he was (although I am taller). Eric was also amused by a New Yorker piece that showed a single patron at his bar with a storyline about the bad economy’s affect on such places. The story implied that Lit wasn’t Lit anymore, but that’s junk. Lit is vibrant, packed, and relevant. It is my favorite joint, and the 7th anniversary was off the hook.
I entered the DJ booth as the last of about 10 DJs, and Carlo McCormick of Paper Magazine was to ping-pong with me. I put on one record and he the next in a sort of sparring match. I was ready to rumble. But, alas, Carlo was off doing Carlo things, so Leo Fitzpatrick, an extraordinary DJ talent, showed me how to use all the knobs and hi-tech things. With the onset of the Serato computer era, I am finding that each joint I spin in has a different setup for the CDs as fewer guys use them. Last week, at Southside, the setup was on the floor, so I had to do a squat every time I changed a disc. It’s better than going to the gym. I offered up punk, punk, and more punk, and the tattooed gals on the dance floor seemed to love every minute, although it was late and I’m sure they were quite drunk. How drunk? One of them told me I was cute.