Admiring Nick Jonas at Yesterday’s Nightclub Disrupt Panel, Lit’s 10th Anniversary Next Wednesday

When I used to spend my time in woodsy places like Yellowstone or Yosemite, I learned that when confronted by a large toothy, clawed animal, the last thing you do is try to run away, as that animal can surely out-run you; the running triggers a hunter/prey response and they instinctively attack. This is my excuse –  the only one I have –  for being very Steve Lewis at the Nightclub Disrupt Panel at the Dominion Theatre yesterday. The other panelists Michael Gogel, Steven Rojas, and Mick Boogie triggered my predator instincts when they started using terms like VIP to describe a bozo with a black card. Mick Boogie, to a lesser degree – he was just being charming. My canines came out and, well, the rest will soon be posted online and I’ll let you see it then. Moderator Vikas Sapra said I was fine but he smiles too much to be trusted with this sort of question.

One of the things I was putting out there is that computers are a two-dimensional view of people, often with only the information offered by those people or spending patterns or financial history. This rarely gets to the heart of things and lacks…heart. To the geek world, people are reduced to a much more two-dimensional profile than the one-on-one relationship a potential patron has with a good door person or with an owner or promoter. Their jobs are all about knowing their clientele. No, people: a doorman is not just looking for a pretty face, although that never hurts. A VIP is often a person willing to spend money, but that is not the criteria for any place worth this ink.

Another point I put out there was a VIP at Lavo is not necessarily a VIP at W.i.P. or Lit and vice versa. I feel the internet is only as good as the people feeding it and the people feeding it don’t necessarily understand the dynamics or requirements of each venue. Anyway, a lot was said – probably too much by me – and I’ll post it when I get it.

The previous panel of this Social Media Week gathering consisted of Nick Jonas and a moderator. I listened to him, completely enamored. He is charismatic, bright, handsome, and articulate. He is currently on Broadway. He eeks of stardom. Outside for air during the break, a handful of geeky fans waited with cameras. He posed with them all… experience telling him that running would only trigger a predator/prey response. He made them feel special and won me over.

Last night at Hotel Chantelle, I DJed the opening for one of my favorites: Kelle Calco. When we switched over, I told him I had played "Parachute Woman" by the Rolling Stones as I remember his set being very Stones heavy and didn’t want to subject the crowd to the same song twice. This wasn’t an issue; Kelle has changed. His set went everywhere from electro to hip-hop to rock. He offered up some very commercial pop and made it all work. I was impressed and surprised. I asked him about it and he said he now embraces all types of music and totally gets into it. He told me about all the places he DJs and hosts. He is a busy dude.

I hear that White Noise has only a few Fridays left, which means Sam Valentine’s rock fest will end. Sam says he wont throw a real rock party again till he finds a place with stripper poles. Rock is retreating. Nur Khan lamented the Hiro Ballroom reinvention a couple of days ago and the need for a new rock spot. His The Electric Room is setting the standard for rock purity. Lit remains a bastion of rock chops. It will celebrate its 10th anniversary Wednesday with a list of DJs including Justine D, Leo Fitzpatrick, and me. We’ll each get about a half-hour to showcase our rock and roll Hootchie Koo. The Kelle thing threw me off. Maybe he is right: he public wants a mixed format and so maybe that’s what they get. For me, I’ll stick to my roots. Those other genres of music just trigger my yawn response.

DJs A-Trak, Kool Herc, & More at Scratch DJ Academy 10th-Anniversary Party

Chateau Cherbuliez officially opened in that old church on 6th Ave. known affectionately by all, well many as Limelight. A much better idea than that mall that shares the space and doesn’t seem to have many good ideas, Chateau will class up the building that once was a very classy place. I’m not talking about the Gatien-nightclub incarnation, but more so the time when it was a real church with parishioners that included names like Astor and other NYC-society types. Chateau, with marketing geniuses Derek and Daniel Koch, figures to be a winner. Famous chef Todd English will consult while executive chef Peter Larsen will do the cooking. Managing partner Olivier Bondon of St. Barts lore will preside over a main dining room, a private secret dining room, and when weather permits, a garden. Photos of the Limelight heyday by Patrick McMullan will adorn the walls.

At the official opening Wednesday, that champagne that I proudly affiliate with, Beau Joie, was the official sponsor. It was opened as Daniel and Derek opened Toy just a few weeks ago. The place has operated, and when the time was right and the kinks all un-kinked, they make it official. Good idea. The old building has been a place to gather since the 1840s, and I for one am happy that good people will be returning to have a good time.

Next Tuesday the 30th, Scratch DJ Academy celebrates its 10th year with over 100,000 students from all 50 states and 35 different countries. It’s a major force in developing young talent. Tuesday’s anniversary party honors some not-so-young talent; DJ Kool Herc, DJ QBert, and A-Trak will be the focus of attention while various young studs strut their stuff. It’s an RSVP thing so if you wanna go, do some hustling. I caught up with Rob Principe, CEO and co-founder of Scratch DJ Academy, and he told me all about it.

 In the past 10 years, what have been the major changes in DJ culture? The biggest change has come from technology and the democratization of the art form. Technology has now empowered the broader culture to not only become a DJ, but to do so with a very low barrier to entry in terms of cost and equipment.

What do you predict the next 10 years will be like? Technology will continue to fuel change, and the art form will continue to evolve accordingly. Music will also continue to become more personalized in its delivery and consumption, and the experience will continue to become more social. 

Tell us about the 10-year anniversary event. The ten-year anniversary event will celebrate the Scratch DJ Academy’s amazing milestone, and the legacy of Jam Master Jay and the broader DJ community who have impacted, affected, and shaped the art form over the years. 

What can we expect? What will happen? There will be some great performances, and we’ll also be honoring some awesome DJs like A-Trak, Kool Herc, and QBert. DMC from Run DMC will also be performing along with DJ Dasmatic (Jam Master Jay’s son).

Do you think the public is actually becoming more educated with the art of DJing or are clubs just programming pop? I do believe that the public’s music IQ is definitely increasing. Clubs will always program what they need to drive their revenue, but overall, people are much smarter about music than ever before.