Matt De Matt’s Birthday Party, a Michael Jackson Remembrance, and a Far-Flung DJ

The birthday gala for man about town Matt DeMatt (pictured, with Eddie Murphy) will bring all the boys and girls to the bar. That bar is of course G2 Lounge, 39 Ninth Avenue at 14th Street. G2 is the extension of Gaslight right next door. I’ll host along with Village People cow poke Randy Jones, and Steven Zee, Peter Collins, Jay Sardo and Michael Feulner. I think G2/Gaslight are basically the best location in town. Matt is the owner/operator and has big plans.I’ll tell you all about it soon enough. The soiree is tomorrow night and I’ll be there early if you want to yell at me about something. I have to cut out to spin over at Hotel Chantelle‘s Thursday Rock ‘n’ Roll weekly.

Last night I missed the Fifth Annual Remember the Time Michael Jackson Tribute at 1OAK. 1OAK owner Richie Akiva hosted the event which featured the amazing DJ Cassidy. Of course I remember the time when Michael Jackson suddenly passed. I wound up at 1OAK in a state of shock and aww, gee wiz. DJ Cassidy played every MJ song imaginable and the crowd became fully aware of his legacy. The loss still haunts us.

Aaron James, a DJ of note and old friend, has returned to NYC. His Facebook page says he lives in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. I’ll buy that, although he seems to be everywhere. It’s a great bar rap anyway. He is being welcomed back by fellow DJ’s Kris Graham and Terry Casey at a party tomorrow night, Thursday, at Goldbar, 389 Broome Street. He’s been gone for 6 months. I asked him to tell me what he’s been up to and what he is doing and he sent me this.

I adore airports, train terminals, bus depots, hotels, and anything that embodies transition. I have longed for this nomadic wandering and endless adventure, all of my life. This last 6 months in India has been like all the rest of the time I’ve spent there over the years, eye-opening and intense, both challenging and rewarding … and always transformative. Every time I go and come back, I feel slightly larger in some way, more learned. Besides DJing in nearly every major Indian metro and breaking back into the Southeast Asia market, I did what I came to do, and that is to plant seeds and open up all the major markets in Asia.

In a few months when I go back I’ll be christening the next phase with events in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali, and hopefully Hong Kong and more, before settling back into India and all the momentum I have built there. I’ve also been able to get myself into a position there where I can start to bring over some DJ’s for one-offs and shows, which is an exciting new prospect.

Essentially I came now for a very short time and for a few very specific reasons. I am here to collaborate with my friend and one of my all time favorite musicians – Vanessa Daou – who is getting set to release her new album ‘Light Sweet Crude’ in the coming weeks. She asked me before I left the country if I would join her on tour and collaborate with her and the visual artist on the shows. I’ve been such a big fan of hers for at least the last 15 years, so I’m feeling like such a big dream is coming true.

I’m also here to assist my dear friends Robert LaForce and Bella Saona (of The Fire and Reason) on getting their new TV project called ‘Little Wicked’ off the ground. One of the most meaningful aspects of my life thus far has been bringing like-minded people together with a common purpose and goals, and to witness the magic that they can create. I just knew Bella and Robert would hit it off, and am in awe of how well this has worked out, and with what they’ve come up with.

We will be working together on the screening party in early July for the pilot episode, and I’m helping to rope in a co-host for the event, preferably an edgy magazine that combines music, film, and nightlife. Hmmmm, any come to mind?

Steve, you have been a amazingly supportive over the years … and I really appreciate the interest you have taken in my development as a performer. I’ve known you since my very first residency in New York City–and perhaps the very best one–the Sullivan Room at Life. It feels like lifetimes ago, but I will never forget or take for granted my roots. Here’s hoping you can stop by tomorrow night (Thursday) for my Welcome Back Party at Goldbar along with fellow friends and DJ heavyweights Kris Graham and Terry Casey. They’ve been heading up the Deep House Thursdays for the last few weeks and evidently it’s been off the damn chain. I’m very grateful to them for bringing me in and providing such a perfect backdrop for what is to me a very meaningful occasion.

I truly miss all my family and friends in the Big Apple in a big way, and am eager to see all their friendly and familiar faces. For me, this return trip is like a refueling, a grand pitstop. New York has always been that way. It keeps me grounded, centered, focused, and fills me with all of its vibrating, bountiful, kaleidoscopic, and phantasmagorical energy for me to go out and see the world. New York, I truly love you.

Related: Steve Lewis on Twitter; BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for G2, Gaslight, Hotel Chantelle, 1 Oak, GoldBar

New Year’s Eve Parties for All, and Management’s Response to the Christmas Incident at Le Souk

First of all, Happy New Year. Today will be short and sweet as BlackBook staff is cutting out to get ready for the big night. Yesterday’s article about Sam Valentine allegedly getting beat up by Le Souk management did get a response, which you will find below. As for New Year’s Eve, I, of course, will be DJing at the Dream Downtown and will be there when 2013 is rung in. Afterwards I probably will pop into Lit to say hey to that gang.

I am sending people to parties that suit them. There isn’t a be-all event for everyone. Many will love the Dream, many 1 OAK. Many will just be in heaven at The Darby while others will love Toy. For people with my view of things I’m recommending the Box and Bow.

I am heading out to 305 Ten Eyck, Brooklyn for Seva Granik’s party, BRCDBR and THV ENT. present Shanghai. Seva and Thunderhorse are producing this event and the installation, which "is going to focus around the fear, or the premonition, of China and Chinese culture taking over the U.S. So lots of  futuristic stuff like screens, lasers, smoke, etc." The DJ’s are Gavin Russom, a "legendary DFA label guy who built their synths for them and played in the now-seminal act LCD Soundsystem" and Venus X, a big deal. The New York Times just did a profile on her. The music is going to be very dancey and very unexpected. Admission is $10 and it starts at 1am. They have my vote.

On New Years Eve the biggest problem, except for the people you are surrounded by, is getting around. If you are not a public transportation kind of guy or gal I suggest hiring a local car service for some hours. Rates range from $25 to $50 an hour . Traditionally I have hired them from 1 to 7 am, sometimes splitting the cost with another. It’s great to have a driver to whisk you around safely while you party like it’s 1999. New Year’s Eve is amateur night for the club industry. Take it from a pro and prepare for all contingencies.

In life they say there are two sides to every story. In nightlife, when you add in booze , dark lights, loud music, and other factors, some stories can have multiple sides. Yesterday I ran a story about a beaten up and down story, Sam Valentine. Others who were at Le Souk on Christmas night verified that indeed owner Marcus Jacob had kicked and punched Sam. Today Le Souk responded to the allegations that Sam was attacked, bruised, and hurt to the point of hospitalization by Marcus Jacob with the help of security. Yesterday I referred to Sam as hobbit-sized, and that description is fairly accurate. He told me he was 5 foot 7 and I’ll believe him as long as he believes I’m 6’3". Sam is 5’7" standing on a phone book. He has heart but is no match for the forces that hospitalized him. 

The response from partner Lamia Funti is below. She is a partner at Le Souk and wife of Marcus Jacob. I have always respected and enjoyed her, but having read her response I cannot help but think that excessive force was brought to bear. Her version only tells of a late night argument, with promoter Sam Valentine reacting badly to not getting paid on Christmas. The amount was $200. All accounts agree that he was loud and demanding, but Sam is a lover and a promoter/DJ, not much of a physical threat to anyone.

The response attempts to justify the physical altercation. It does not explain the injuries inflicted by bonded security and an owner. Anytime a person is beaten badly and in need of hospitalization somebody screwed up. Unless weapons of mass destruction come into play security must contain the situation, and kicking and punching are not allowed.

Here is the response from Lamia:

Unfortunately, it was a small situation that escalated over nothing. Our accountant took the day off since it was Christmas so there was no one to make the checks. We let our staff know so that they do not wait for the checks in vain. Everyone was fine with it, since we never have problems with the checks.

At the end of the night, Sam Valentine comes storming downstairs, asking Marcus to give him "his fucking check now." Marcus was actually very calm, he’s really not the guy that likes to fight, he was trying to calm him down, but he was cursing out, and making a scene at the bar downstairs.

I called the security to calm him down because now he was pushing people around when they are trying to talk to him and we didn’t need a scene in front of our friends and family, while Marcus only asked him to wait til tomorrow for his check. Since it was Christmas, our friends were all there and two of my aunts that are much older in the fifties were there as well, which was embarrassing.

I went quickly to tell him to stop and he pushed me with his hands and called me a bitch, the security saw that and they tried to contain him but he wouldn’t stop fighting, we just asked him to leave, he did not want to leave, and started throwing things around and fighting with the security who was trying to escort him out. I also have several witnesses that saw that and saw him wrestling with the security.

We actually called the police, before it got out of hand, which is really unfortunate. When the police got to Le Souk, he started cursing the officers out which I’m guessing that’s why they told him they would arrest him. And the rest is history. We have been in the business long enough to be mistreating our staff or customers in any way, and we always pay on time, for someone to be acting that way after we ask him to come back the next day because its Christmas and nobody came to the office to work, but we can not tolerate having people storming at us like that while there was no wrong doing.

I guess this is the way he’s planning on getting back at us. And by the way, Ariel was at no point near the scene, he didn’t see anything at all and witnessed anything, and did not talk to the security at any time, he was upstairs the whole time.

As Certain As Death & Taxes: These Top 10 NYC Guarantees

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and while I do quite admire the man (where would we be without bifocals?) – he’s wrong. In NYC, there are many other things we can be 100 percent certain of. I’ve gathered a list of this city’s top 10 occurrences that are bound to happen. And if they don’t happen, then you know the world is ending and you don’t need to buy a new laptop and summer clothes.

The Top 10 NYC Guarantees

1.    During a torrential downpour, you will wait for a cab for 15 minutes on a street corner, and the first cab driver you hail down will tell you he’s miraculously “not going” where you are.

2.    On a weekday evening, you will somehow find yourself in Times Square, and will be suddenly struck with intense feelings of despair about your life and disgust for plaid, knee-high, “tourist” socks.

3.     On every day of the week, there will be a line of pancake-craving, agitated NYers furiously texting, awaiting tables at Clinton St. Baking Company.

4.     You will wear all black.

5.     When you really need to get to where you’re going, when it’s really important that you make it on time, you will be on the subway that’s “delayed because of train traffic ahead of us.”

6.     When you’ve spent weekends inside watching movies on Netflix, you will vow to become “more cultured,” buy a ticket to a Broadway musical that’s based on a movie or band, think it’s awful, and go home and watch Netflix.

7.     You will end up sitting next to and talking to someone who is incredibly influential and successful, exchange emails, think your life has changed forever, and never hear back from them again.

8.     You will trip and fall in your heels on the cobblestone Meatpacking streets outside 1 Oak and Le Bain, and panic that people think you’re from New Jersey.

9.     For three months starting June 1st, the city will smell like hot piss.

10.   On a sunny Saturday while strolling Chelsea Piers, you will have a moment of blissful clarity and gratitude that you live here – until a guy/tranny on a bike  runs into you and yells “watch out, asshole.”

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

The Top NYE Parties In NYC

Look, don’t stress. Who cares that your trip to Miami fell through, your sister announced she’s visiting, or your best friend you were going to eat Chinese food with bailed on you for a guy she met on the F train. It’s okay. You can still reclaim an unstoppable NYE night and New Year at one of these top New Year’s Eve parties in NYC. From rock anthems, to tarot cards, to monkeys, to lavish five-hour open bars – we’ve got you covered, and you will be okay. Tipsy and making as many poor decisions before your resolutions as possible, but okay.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Industry Insiders: Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva, Two Of A Kind

While opening a successful nightclub in New York City is no easy task, maintaining a nightclub’s status as one of the city’s hottest spots for nearly five years is close to impossible. Yet that’s precisely what Scott Sartiano (left) and Richie Akiva (right) have done with 1 OAK, which first cracked open its doors to a stylish sliver of Manhattan society in 2008. Its reputation has only grown since, with 1 OAK pop-ups in places like Brazil and St. Tropez making it a truly international phenomenon. But it was only this year that the duo decided to open a permanent outpost outside the Chelsea original. Enter 1 OAK Las Vegas, which began welcoming celebrities like Kanye West and Fergie in January. 

What led to the new 1 OAK Las Vegas?

Richie Akiva: With 1 OAK, we are building a brand, and we’ve branded ourselves a lot among the jet-setting, world-traveling crowd. When we have events in Brazil, or in Europe, people come in and they’re like “1 OAK is amazing.” When I go to Paris or Milan, everyone asks me about 1 OAK. Wherever you are, when you say to someone, “Do you know this club, 1 OAK?” they’re like, “Yes, I do.” So we decided to take it to Vegas. 
 
Scott Sartiano: 1 OAK New York has been open a long time, and I think that longevity has proved that the brand is strong and stands for something bigger than a nightclub.
 
Akiva: We do events in St. Tropez, Ibiza, LA, Coachella. You name it, we’ve done 1 OAK pop-ups everywhere. 
 
Sartiano: Even before we did those events, our clients were from all over the world, so that helped get the name out there. But 1 OAK as a club stands for something. It stands for class, exclusivity, good energy, and a good time. It’s not about some DJ that you saw on a flyer or anything like that.
 
Akiva: It’s a lifestyle brand.
 
Sartiano: And I think that’s given it longevity and is going to help make it different in Las Vegas.
 
Akiva: The name speaks for itself. It’s one of a kind.
 
What’s the secret to your success when so many other nightclubs have come and gone? 
 
Akiva: We’re always expanding, we’re always staying relevant. We pay attention to what people want and what people are asking for. We don’t just open a club and say, Here’s the club, it is the way it is, and then forget about it. We’re always changing things and we pay attention to every detail. But at the end of the day it comes down to our relationships, and our relationships are very loyal.
 
Sartiano: It’s about consistency, but also staying current. A lot of the time you have clubs that say, This is what we’re going to be, and then they stay that way. But then the times change, tastes change, people change, music changes, and they don’t change. We’ve stayed current from being all over the place and staying on top of what’s happening. We love 1 OAK, we think it’s something special and important to us, and we want to make it the best nightclub in New York, if not the world. I feel like it’s just getting going.
 
Are there any particular adjustments you’ve made for operating in Vegas?
 
Akiva: There are a lot of adjustments you have to make, it’s a whole different of mindset of going out in Vegas compared to New York or anywhere else. You’re there for only one reason and that’s to let loose and party.
 
Sartiano: It’s four times the size of the New York location, and there’s a tremendous light show. It has all the same features of New York in design elements but it’s on a bigger scale. And people in Vegas are there for a fun weekend with their friends, whereas in New York they live and work here and go out on their nights off or weekends, so it seems the crowd is going to be different.
 
Akiva: When you look at Vegas, you’re always seeing bigger brighter better, so that’s what we had to adjust to. New York is more cool and collected. With Vegas we had to adjust it to where we were going to keep the New York style of coolness, but we had to make it bigger and brighter and better and give it more pizzazz.
 
How has it been received so far?
 
Akiva: The feedback has been incredible. People are loving the space, they’re saying it’s one of the nicest places they’ve ever been to in Vegas. It’s a Vegas-style club but it feels more New York than any club in Vegas because all the other clubs are really big and our club is not quite as big, so we get to keep it exclusive.
 
So there’s a sense of intimacy to it?
 
Sartiano: Well, it’s definitely a bigger version of 1 OAK New York, but we wanted to keep the style the same. 1 OAK is really unique in Vegas because it’s warmer and cozier than the other clubs.
 
Akiva: But it still has a big feeling to it.
 
Sartiano: A lot of the other clubs copy each other. If you walked into the top clubs here, they’re almost carbon copies of each other in their layout and their design. 1 OAK is unique and does things differently.

Las Vegas Opening: 1 Oak

It’s hard to ignore the delicious irony of opening a second outpost of a nightclub whose acronym stands for “ONE OF A KIND”. But all that is forgotten upon entering 1 Oak Las Vegas, a spectacular, 16,000 square foot stunner in the Mirage Resort & Casino.

Venerable Butter Group nightlife impresarios Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano, and Ronnie Madra have teamed with Vegas’ premier purveyor of high-style clubbing The Light Group for the Strip’s most extravagant new surefire celeb magnet (Kanye and Fergie have already dropped by). With interiors by Toronto design superstars Munge Leung (massive projection screens, brightly-hued sofas, surreal lighting) and original art by Roy Nachum, it’s as pretty to look at as the people. Another of a One Of A Kind.