Diplo Headlines Huge Hush-Hush Event Tonight

Last night I bartended the Help Heal New York benefit at Pacha. I had not bartended since before you were born; the game has since changed. Here I am writing everyday about how to do this and how to do that, and my afternoons are spent designing bars so it was good to have this hands-on experience. I didn’t actually make a drink; I had minions to do that. I better correct: the love of my recent life, Amanda, made the drinks while I interacted with the patrons. It all went to charity – the price of admission, the drink revenues, and even the tips. The real Pacha bartender assigned to me, Megan, was amazing. Her smile and demeanor while slinging drinks for the cause and putting up with my antics was above and beyond. She is a great bartender and a wonderful new friend. Twenty-dollar bills and even some Benjamins flew over the bar to the tip bucket, which also benefits the cause. At one point I was squatted down picking up loot that slipped down from the bucket.

The DJs were just grand. I particularly loved Afrojack. I left before Erick Morillo went on, as I have to be up early for you…and looking good at that. At one point, Pacha owner Eddie Dean came by to hug and heckle me . He was accompanied by his sidekick, partner in crime, his "Tonto"… Rob Fernandez and DJ Sunnery. These guys threw money at us for the bucket as well-wishers gathered to shake hands and take pictures. All around us, thousands rose with the music… the love was apparent. DJ Sunnery , a big deal, was waiting to go on. He seemed as calm as a thoroughbred at the gate on derby day, ready to get this party started. I was told he is the nicest of persons and is married to the most beautiful girl in the world… Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes. I looked her up and, for sure, she is real, but alas I only have eyes for Amanda.  

Pacha is a monster. On every level, from the door to the staff to management, they are pros. Everybody talks a good game, but Pacha walks the walk. As those who know me know I am a rocker, and house or  EDM or whatever label is put on it in whatever decade doesn’t sooth this savage beast . That being said, being in a big room with a big DJ, big lights, effects and a big crowd is an experience unlike any other.

Before the bartending gig I was at 1OAK, tasked to DJ for Richie Romero at his birthday. I was to open for ?uestlove and Jesse Marco, and I had M.Ortiz opening for me. M.Ortiz was so great that I didn’t bounce him off, content to hear what he was offering. Amanda told me if I kicked him off, as some told me to do, she would "moida me.” Mr. M. Ortiz is getting ready for a British tour, and I expect we will be hearing his name often. He is really great. 1OAK was starting to fill up when the birthday boy finally showed. Richie Romero was zonkered as I wished him well. He has dodged almost as many bullets as your humble servant and it was good to see him surrounded by hundreds of friends and tacky balloons and such.

Tonight I will be at a big event in a big location…off the beaten path and super hush-hush as it’s sold out. Dos Equis is behind this shindig. Diplo will headline. There are six or so rooms of music and other distractions. I’m going to DJ for a short set along with Cobra Krames, Sam Valentine, David Katz, Justine D. Daniel Leyva, Fatherhood (Michael Magnan and Physical Therapy), Hayley Pisaturo, Shayne (Hood By Air), and 7aywana. There will be a lot going on at this happening and I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. If you see me today, ask me nicely. I think there are three tickets left.

If I wasn’t obligated elsewhere, the place I would surely be is the Ava Lounge at the Dream Hotel up on 55th Street. A photo installation by Marko Kalfa will bring the sharp set. Liquid Lab, which I have to tell you about in depth on a later day, will provide fall cocktails. Fannie Chan wil DJ.

Another party worth checking out is the five-year anniversary of the Thursday Punk Rock Happy Hour at Otto’s Shrunken Head. My pals Traci Danielle and Joy Rider are doing the inviting.

This Just In: DJs Erick Morillo & Afrojack Join Pacha Benefit

This old guy once wrote: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…." The quote begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.  He continued  "…in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." Mr. Dickens offered this tome in 1859, but was referring back to the French Revolution days. He might as well have been talking about now, for New York is a tale of two cities. While many of us are sipping lattes and talking football and going to parties, others are struggling in the cold, displaced and in despair.  It is the worst of times for so many of our neighbors while most of us are busy as bees, forgetting the destruction and "inconvenience" the storm brought, and readying for the holidays.

Last night at BINGO at Hotel Chantelle, a packed house laughed and squealed with joy as regular hosts Murray Hill and Linda Simpson returned to the stage after a two-week Sandy-induced hiatus. They were joined by Michael Musto who proved to be a joy. Like almost every event worth mentioning these days, this night was dedicated to raising money for victims of Sandy. Specifically, BINGO raised much-needed funds for the Ali Forney Center which was flooded by the imperfect storm. Homeless LGBTQ homeless youth can drop in when they need a place. 

Tonight I will party like nothing ever happened at The Electric Room where the dapper Nick Marc will celebrate yet another birthday. Partner-in-crime Justine D. will DJ. Kodi Najm of Hypernova will host. There are rumors of a proper English celebration with everyone involved partaking in heavy drinking and partying. This is rock and roll, followed by some rock and roll and then quite a bit more rock and roll. I’ll be there.

Tomorrow night, Richie Romero will celebrate his birthday and has tasked me to open up for real DJs Jesse Marco and ?uestlove. This affair is at 1OAK and I am very excited about it. I love the staff of OAK and, of course, Mr. Romero. As is his way, Richie was complaining about his age and other trivialities. I’m going to play tracks older than him to cheer him up. I reminded him that I have shoes that are older than he.

As I wrote the other day, I will then whisk myself up to Pacha for their Help Heal New York Sandy benefit where they have me bartending. Since I will have my CDs and headphones with me, I stand ready to pitch in if one of the following DJs fail to deliver: DANNY TENAGLIA, FRANCOIS K, SUNNERY JAMES & RYAN MARCIANO,  Chainsmoker, SHERMANOLOGY, DANNY AVILA, D BERRIE, AUDIEN HARRY, CHOO CHOO ROMERO, SHAWNEE TAYLOR (live), CARL KENNEDY, HECTOR ROMERO ,DAVID WAXMAN, CEVIN FISHER ,THEO, HEX HECTOR, PAUL RAFFAELE, CODES, ROXY COTTONTAIL ,SAZON BOOYA, DALTON, SIK DUO, CARL LOUIS & MARTIN DANIELLE, PAIGE, BAMBI and THAT KID CHRIS. 

Just added as we go to press are superstar DJs Erick Morillo and Afrojack. This is a serious not to be missed event. There are some fabulous surprises that, because of conflicts and dotted i’s and such, can’t be listed here but will be appreciated there. Among that illustrious crew are DJs from my management company 4AM. Chainsmokers are whisking in from Singapore and are off on tour but are stopping by for this fundraiser. Dalton has been debuting his new house tracks along the Northeast corridor, making stops in D.C., Boston, and Philly. 4AM just booked me for New Year’s Eve … yeah, it’s coming up fast.

Please help those still without, and as the holidays approach, be aware of those unable to have a normal celebration. Help where you can.

Deck Out: Top 25 Most Stylin’ DJs

In need of some fashion ideas that are outside the crate this holiday season? Take a cue from these DJs from across the globe, of all ages, who know how to both drop the needle and select unique threads.

A sneak peek:
Audrey Napoleon’s signature jet black hair, smokey eyes and tough noir leather jacket is goth chic.
Maya Jane Coles has pixie punk appeal with a fly vintage blazer and music that blazes.
Israeli DJ Guy Gerber is always lookin’ fly in a cool pair of shades.
Afrojack rocks ruff n’ stuff with his collection of designer hoodies.

For the full list, head over to our buddies at VIBE and see the spread in all its glory.  

Calling On a Kingpin Named Afrojack

Dutch DJ/Producer Afrojack was undoubtedly meant for big things. Born in the small town of Spijkenisse in Holland, he was raised with some of the core values a big-city kid might not get. Considering that small town lies just outside the largest port in Europe (Rotterdam), it makes sense that he came up thinking about the vastness of the whole wild world. Furthermore, there’s the revolutionary legacy of Erasmus, de Kooning, and Koolhaas to consider. A legacy that now lives on in the beat of the deep, dark night. Add the fact that Afrojack himself is a full six-foot, nine-inches of unmitigated talent and, well, you get the idea.

But big things only come to those who grab them, and for the past year and change Afrojack has been out grabbing with all the gusto a go-getter can manage. TTen singe-ful singles in 2010, and another rage-crazed eight this year alone, not including Pitbull’s #1 “Give Me Everything” (along with Ne-Yo and Nayer). Then there’s his hectic DJ schedule. When Afrojack last hit Miami, he boothed up at LIV, and on Saturday he was back in town at Mansion for a sold out show. I caught up with the man born Nick van de Wall at the W South Beach, where he was ensconced in a sky-high penthouse duplex perfectly befitting his position as a DJ kingpin.

Like all kingpins, Afrojack traveled with a rather large entourage. It consisted of a childhood pal, a Vegas club owner, and another half-dozen or so swells of various notoriety. Despite being about to face thousands upon thousands of rabid dance fans at Mansion, the Dutch DJ was completely cool, calm and collected. Almost too cool. Then again, he’s already faced enough rabid dance fans to fill a few stadiums, and we’re just talking about this month.

Out under the stars of South Beach on that exquisitely-appointed W balcony, Afrojack chatted about getting with Pitbull (“His manager reached out to me… I went into the studio and did my thing”), learning their track had topped the pop charts (“I was on a plane to Miami and my manager emailed me the news”), the rapid-fire mouthpiece’s way and wile (“I’m pretty sure that Pitbull knows just what he’s doing at all times”), and how the song they did together gets spun “everywhere” he goes, even Lollapalooza (which Afrojack played on Friday), Tomorrowland, and Electric Daisy in Vegas.

We chatted about other powerhouse DJs such as David Guetta (“he’s like my best friend”) and Pete Tong (“he’s like a role model”), and how the latter continues to kickoff each and every weekend “not just in the UK,” but across the entire continent. “Everyone who listens to dance music in Europe listens to [Tong’s] Radio One show.”

We chatted about mixing it up (“I ask them what kind of remix they need, whether it’s a radio remix, club remix or whatever; then I listen to the track to see how it feels, see if I even want to do it), and what’s coming up (“I’m actually working on a track with Cee Lo Green“), and how Afrojack was really keen on getting back into the studio this September in order to record his first proper LP, which will be released on his own Wall Recordings. Also slated to appear will be Pitbull (“we’ve got to do a followup”), Leona Lewis (“I really like her voice”) and DJ R3hab (“he’s like my protege of sorts, and he’s killing every remix right now”). Among those remixes R3hab is killing is “Judas” by Lady Gaga, who just so happens to be on Afrojack’s wish list. The way things are kicking for the DJ kingpin though, one may as well switch that wish list to one that simply says “to do.”

Photo by dhArma.