In the end, I end up at subMercer because it is reliable, well-run, intelligent, classy, unpretentious, and adult. My goodness, I could go on forever, but of course goodness has nothing to do with it — subMercer is sexy. Doormaster Richard Alvarez and I exchanged a dozen “oh my gods” and “you look greats” and we both said “fierce” and “fabulous” and “work” a few times before I went subterranean. A sea of familiar faces greeted me and mine. Gabby Mejia, who rules this gem, got me my usual — a glass of water — and stunned me with conversation and a slinky black cocktail dress. Greg Brier of Brier Group’s Aspen, Aspen Social, Highbar, Amalia, and D’or fame was celebrating his birthday, and he didn’t look nearly as old as people said he was. DJs Justin Strauss and Tommy James were hanging out to support by being even a bit older than Greg. One of mine said Greg was “charismatic and handsome and fun and it was amazing that he was as old as he was.” I reminded her that I have shoes as old as him. She asked, “How long have you guys known each other?” and I said, “I can’t tell you how we met or where or how long ago, or I would be dating myself,” and then looked her up and down and realized I already was.
DJ Jennifly was there as usual, and the place was wonderfully distracting me from my obligations. Gabby introduced me to André Balazs. It was a nice meet. We spoke of Boom Boom Room and one of my posse from San Francisco explained how famous the Boom Boom Room out there really was. André lamented the hopelessness of ever calling it that. We all agreed we loved the name — everybody loves it — but alas, André said it had to go. He told me the new name, but I wont tell you what the new name is because he told me on the QT, which he says it won’t be called anymore. When André and his crew and publicist Nadine Johnson decide to tell you, you will know. Of course, it doesn’t matter what they call it as it is spectacular no matter what … shoot, I once went out with a girl named Barbara who insisted I call her Trixie. She was fun either way. Some will probably keep calling it Boom Boom Room forever.
I congratulated André on his vision and then stopped with the shop talk and enjoyed the evening. One of the girls in my party hadn’t stopped wondering out loud how old I really was. I reached into my George Burns library and told her, “Let’s just put it this way baby — I’m so old that having sex is like playing pool with a rope.” She asked me, “Why would you even do that?” and I thought of Dexter. I was saved by my pal Leslie Lewis, who owns that super sleek and hip rarechic.com. She’s brilliant and fun and chatted up André with large rather than the small talk . André was all smiles, and so it was infectious. It was a blast.
I had saved Leslie earlier at “Purgatorio,” the Halloween spectacular presented by The Box. It’s in the old China Club space in Times Square, and it’s the talk of the town — as in adult wink-wink it’s-going-to-be-sexy fun. The “interactive Halloween experience” started with me being separated from my party as part of the routine. We reunited and were insulted poorly by a man who had a disheveled Barbie doll hanging out where his misspent youth should have been. Maybe this shocks the tourists from Kansas who wander in, but for me and mine it was old hat.
There was a nice but small crowd being equally and poorly insulted. Actually “crowd” is a poor choice of words, as it was more like a confused gathering. The gathering certainly was cooler and better-dressed than any that inhabited the China Club in many a year, but the performers lost me right off the bat with the sing-along “Bringing in the Sheaves.” There were some things that piqued my interest … there were some interesting performance artists … but I kept on thinking of those really scary Halloween presentations done around town and even out in Kansas. I kept on waiting for something to happen, and it never did. Yeah, one floor was brilliantly purged of its China Club aesthetics and was black and sexy and even a bit S&M-y with super-hot go-go girls, which entertained me for a moment. But it was for only a moment.
A trip to the top floor was rewarded with a cute operetta by a woman singer who “shockingly” turned out to be a man. I kept on wondering whether the whole thing had been dumbed down for the locals and the Kansas crowd. I heard a woman say to her man, “Maybe if someone would fuck a pumpkin, it would be all right.” She then offered, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in Williamsburg! I’d rather be in Williamsburg, Virginia, than Williamsburg, Brooklyn!” Sadly she was the high point of my experience. The DJ offered “Point of No Return,” so we heeded the omen and headed out to New York City again. Outside, Constantine Margolis of American Idol was signing autographs for the tourists waiting for him at the stage door of Rock of Ages. He was having his 15 minutes of fame just as I was exiting my 15 minutes of lame.
I usually am very impressed with the Box’s goings-on and think it’s one of the most important joints in many years … maybe I just missed it, maybe I came on the wrong night or the wrong time. I think some wise man once said, “It’s not for everyone”. Maybe I am just that one in everyone.
Also, I heard that New York funnyman Soupy Sales has died. My own misspent youth was in front of a black-and-white TV watching Soupy and his gang of trainwrecks do anything for a laugh. He was around forever, and his passing reminds me of an age of innocence where a slip on a banana peel or pie in the face were good for a belly laugh. It truly is the end of an era. I won’t tell you which era, or I would be dating myself yet again.