This Strange Weekend Ahead

There is a consistent desperation in the voices of friends and promoter-types; the summer seems to be grasping for straws or gasping for air or fill-in-your-own-saying/proverb. Mark Ronson is at The Montauk Beach House tonight. I asked a honcho over there what the game plan was for rain on a big event at their big pool party, and was told "we don’t have one…it hasn’t happened yet.” I love that attitude. But what can be done short of enclosing the whole place in a retractable dome? At beach retreats, rain-outs are part of the landscape.

I’m staying in Brooklyn tonight…maybe. I might slip into the city for Frankie Sharp’s escapades at XL. He’s in the Lounge of this chic playpen with the amazing Lady Bunny. They have Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race and performances by Ebonee Ecxell and Epiphany Get Paid. Amanda Lepore and Marco Ovando are in the big room. As I keep saying: keep your eye on Frankie Sharp. He’s an up-and-comer.

I’ll probably stay near home in BBurg…maybe. I am totally psyched to attend the One Year Anniversary of Eight of Swords, 8pm to 11pm, 115 Grand Street, Brooklyn. There will be live performances by CornMo, Wi Hula Hoop Harlot Melissa-Anne, sword-swallowing and fire-eating by the fabulous Lady Aye, and my friends from The Love Show. The group art show entitled “Hitmen and Harlots” will feature work from "over 35 tattoo artists, photographers, graphic artists, and fine artists including: Diana Brozek, Diana More, Jess Versus, Karen Rockower Glass, Kati Vaughn, Linda Wulkan, Mike Suarez, Nalla Smith, Nyahzul, Sweety, Tasha Rubinow, Woodz, Wyatt Mills, Zoe Bean, Nash Hogan, Mia Graffam, Adam Korothy, D.C.Wallin, Dan Bones, Drew Linden, Fred Harper, Gerald Feliciano, Guy Ursitti, Jim Gentry, Joey Wilson, Liz Huston, Molly Crabapple, Sara Antoinette Martin, Sara Best, Sarah Rockower, Sophie C’est la Vie, and others."

I caught Top Gun at McCarren Park Wednesday night, which completely reaffirmed my love for the borough. We headed to Williams Candy in Coney Island to stock up on caramel apples and gooey cashew treats. Next week, it’s Empire Records. The week after: Raising Arizona.

Tuesdays Rock: See Two Bad Girls and Legendary Photographer Mick Rock’s Exhibit Tonight

Yesterday I told you guys that Tuesdays in this town are off the hook. I can never decide between Frankie Sharp’s Westgay party at Westway and Lyle Derek’s Dropout bash at W.i.P. Westgay is beyond, beyond for those who are in the know –  and I guess that now includes you. Tonight, resident DJ maniac Jon Jon Battles is joined by JD Samson. Amanda Lepore is there as well doing…well, Amanda Lepore things. Lyle Derek has Lady Starlight at W.i.P. in her first live show in …well…ever. There will be a DJ set by CREEP.  I just must be there or there but alas, I will be elsewhere.

I’ll be DJing tonight at Avenue from 12:30 until 1:30 and I am pumped. Avenue is a great place to spin, from a DJ perspective. The professionalism of Tao/Strategic Group organization manifests itself on every level, including a user-friendly DJ booth and a staff that enjoys helping you feel comfy on every level. DJ Price will take my humble offerings to the next level. He will entertain me and everyone else in the always-packed-with-a fun-crowd room while I work the room after saying "hey" to not- seen-enough friends. I’ll buy a couple bottles of Beau Joie Champagne, as bubbles are always fun. I don’t drink very often but do adore that bubbles and sparklers combo. It makes me want to shout "Wheeee!" On the invite for tonight, I got a relatively huge billing over DJ Price, an apparent nod to age before talent.
Amanda Lepore
I will be in a seriously fabulous mood because, before all that mayhem, I will be at the wonderful The Bowery Electric (327 Bowery @ Joey Ramone Place, 2nd Street), at 8pm, to catch two bad girls I’ve never been cool enough to catch. It’s Zoe Hansen and Mary Raffaele presenting TWO BAD GIRLS (GOOD BAD), described as "A Night of Rock and Roll Attitude and Outlaw Hilarity" featuring readings and performances by REVEREND JEN,PAULINA PRINCESS OF POWER,MARY "RAFF" RAFFAELE, ZOE HANSEN, HEATHER LITTEER aka JESSICA RABBIT, FACEBOY, THE PRETTY BABIES (FEATURIING MONY FALCONE, LINDA PITMON, DEBBY SCHWARTZ, TAMMY FAYE STARLITE, JASON VICTOR), HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA with JP "Thunderbolt" PATTERSON, on percussion (Mr. Manitoba’s first ever, onstage, public "RANT!")"
Zoe says:
"This night has been a constant work in progress between Raff & myself. We wanted to not only have a reading, but a show. A tribute to the New York EV life, & years gone by, literature, comedy, burlesque with a splash of Rock N Roll all over it. We wanted real talent, which is most of our good friends, so it was hard deciding who we could scramble together to fit in on our bill. I am honored to say that we are truly proud of our all star line up. Raff & I promise you a real outlaw, loud, music inspired, hilarious bunch of performances, really entertaining, & all you have to do is just show up!"
I asked Raffaele a few questions:
Tell me about the event.
Zoe and I wanted to put together an event that would showcase our own talents as well as our friends’. We are writers primarily, but watching a series of people read off of pages can be dead-boring, so we decided to mix it up. We have a stellar line-up of very interesting, creative people who will be singing, performing spoken word, and doing plays, and we’ll have one really fun band. I am honestly excited about the people we’ve chosen and I’m glad I’m going on first so I can focus on really watching what they’re doing. I am really proud of all of the acts.
Tell me about our dear friend Zoe.
Zoe is my partner in crime: she calls me Patsy, I call her Eddy. She is whip-smart, super-creative, and very hard-working. She can do absolutely anything she puts her mind to. With her, anything is possible. I am very slow-moving in certain ways and Zoe is very good at lighting a fire under my ass. Plus, she’s easy on the eyes and no matter what kind of trouble we are in, she always makes the adventures seem classier with her accent.
I"ve always seen you as a rock star, always been a fan of Cycle Sluts From Hell. Tell me about that career and the other one with Patricia Fields.
I prefer being seen as a rock star! I got into daytime work after working in clubland for many years. Giuliani broke my heart – it was just too hard to continue trying to fight the good fight for decent nightlife. I was tired of getting screamed at at 2am by random task force fruit fly police, so I moved into day jobs. I have been with Pat for about 10 years; I take care of the money-end of things for her. But I am leaving in two months – I want more time to write a book and I burnt out on office work. It is an amicable parting and I’m helping them to find someone new and I will train the person, as my position is complicated. I am probably going to get back behind the bar. I’ve already started doing a Friday happy hour at Bowery Electric in preparation for my departure.
Mick RockAs if this evening were not already too packed with wonderment, legendary photographer of all things rocked and rolled Mick Rock will show for the first time ever his artwork, "based on his iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographs… The show is presented by CATM Chelsea with a private after-party to follow."  The "expected to attend" list includes Mick and friends " Lou Reed, Todd DiCiurcio (Artist), Scot Lipps (Owner, One Management), Amanda Ross, Chelsea Leyland (DJ), Ben Pundole, John & Joyce Varvatos, Timothy White (Photographer), Alberta Cross (Band), Gary Graham (Designer), Paul Johnson Calderon (Reality TV Star), Michael H., Nur Khan, Mazdack Rassi (Founder, Milk Studios), Rebecca Dayan (Model), Clem Burke (Blondie), Tennessee Thomas (Actress, Drummer for The Like), As Light Takes Over (Band), The Ravonettes, Cory Kennedy (Model), Jessica White, (Model, Actress), Jamie & Daisy Johnson (Daughters of Jets Owner)".
It’s a 7pm to 9pm thing at 500 West 22nd Street at 10th Avenue. If you don’t know who Mick Rock is, this is a good time to find out. Chances are you have seen his brilliant work on album covers and such for decades. Yeah, he was the guy who took that Bowie/Ziggy Stardust shot and that one of Iggy you thought brilliant, that Blondie photo, and thousands of others – one more iconic than the next.  It’s 40 years recording and making rock history. Look him up. He Googles well.

Larry Tee On His Favorite Project Yet: New Single ‘Charlie’

You can’t talk about the "good ol’ days" of nightlife without homage to Larry Tee. However, Larry, like myself, likes to be remembered for what he has done and acknowledged for what he is doing in the "now.” Larry and I have worked together many times. Sometimes the relationship has been testy, but it is always respectful. He has constantly redefined nightlife and our culture. I was around when he coined the term “Electroclash” for a genre of music that few knew about then. He helped push artists like RuPaul, Peaches, Fischerspooner, and Scissor Sisters into our vocabulary. He talked about Williamsburg while we were still paying Manhattan rents and listening to boring disc jockeys.

His Love Machine party with his Atlanta clan RuPaul, Lahomma Van Zandt, and Lady Bunny was the precursor to so much of our fabulously forward nightlife. He was pushing Amanda Lepore when she was still sporting a push-up bra. I remember hearing him talk about Princess Superstar when she was Princess "I wanna be a” Star. Larry has always been in front of the action. He has always gone where no man has gone before. So when he says that something’s going to be the next thing… we better listen. He and I were partners in crime at Le Palace de Beaute with Michael Alig before the famous crime(s). He has made a rock star out of Perez Hilton and created W.I.T. This can go on and on but as I said up top, Larry is still making it happen in a huge way and we chatted with him about it.

We met many years ago and worked together often. I have always looked at you as an innovator. Electronic music, RuPaul… talk to me about the things and people you helped push into the public view.
I have always been lucky to befriend people who have big talents, from my friends in Georgia like Michael Stipe and RuPaul, to the Scissor Sisters and Afrojack more recently. I have always loved other peoples’ big ideas and have tried to push them into the spotlight too since it’s exciting to watch. My whole Electroclash period of festivals and touring groups like Peaches, Chicks on Speed, Fischerpooner, etc., was all based around my love of outrageous and often political shows. And lately my work has been hi-jacked by more mainstream stars like Santigold, Shontelle, Steve Aoki, and Princess Superstar with my song "Licky" and Afrojack, MDPC and Roxy Cottontail with my "Let’s Make Nasty" track. As ‘crazy’ gets more mainstream with Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga, my brand has been dragged into the mainstream too, thankfully.

Your single comes out today! Tell me about it and how it started.
The song is called “Charlie” and features 15 dogs in wigs dressed as contemporary artists like Chihuahua Del Rey and Stinky Minaj, designed by Lady Gaga’s hair couture genius, Charlie Le Mindu.

How do you get 100 million views on YouTube? That was the question when I decided to make a video with Charlie Le Mindu. Google-image him for sure. After some research, we realized that if you didn’t have Justin Bieber, Rihanna, or Eminem in your video, you better have children or animals. The song “Charlie” is a collage of sound effects, mad pianos, electro-synth riffs, a 60-year-old subway singer, and hyper-percussion bongo breaks, and so we needed something equally madcap to make the video pop.

So we got Charlie to make wigs for 15 dogs. When we were finished shooting, people kept saying that this dog looked like Lana Del Rey or this one looked like Amy Winehouse so we took the idea further and gave the dogs fake celebrity names like “Chihuahua Del Rey” and “Madogga.” It was one of the most satisfying projects in my life, I tell you.

Do you still DJ? What else do you do with your time now spent in London? Why did you abandon us?
Since I have had so many breakouts on the dance floor and in movies these last couple years, it’s led to a DJ residency at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas which is amazing. I was arm wrestling with Pete Wendt from Fall Out Boy at the pool party I did there last week. In London, Super Techno Party Machine at East Bloc is my residency every Friday/ I have guests like Rolf from the 2 Bears, Severino from Horse Meat Disco, Rueben Wu from Ladytron, Chicks on Speed, supermodel Luke Worrall, Richard Mortimer from Ponystep Magzine, and Carmen Xtravaganza from the house of Xtravagnza. What do these guys have in common? Nothing except if I wanted to put on an amazing party, I would want to have lots of diverse guests and sounds! And some fabulousness! And I still consider New York to be my spiritual home, but it was becoming like Groundhog Day where every day seemed like the one before…London has inspired me to make new things and experiment with new sounds, so I’m super happy.

While we are on the subject…what’s great in London club-wise, for people with…er… different perspectives?
London always has new hot spots popping up that are worth a try. Destroy Cluture raves are amazing featuring the Boy London DJ Team, Alis Pelleschi, the post-rave fashion goddess, and Sean Bass, the graphics genius behind the DISNEY bastardizations. Hot Boy Dancing Spot is just what you would expect: BUTT magazine come to life.


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Why Don’t You Go As A Louis Vuitton Bag?

In case you didn’t get your fill of Halloween festivities this past weekend, since the ghoulish night falls on a Thursday the costumes and candies last almost two weeks this year. If you’re still searching for dress-up inspiration or need another transformational persona to add to your roster, look to the sittings and parties that are more fantasy than fashion. Photographers like Miles Aldridge, Steven Klein, and David LaChapelle have your back.


Why don’t you go as a Louis Vuitton bag? Grab a stencil and some body confidence and get to work. Lil’ Kim photographed by David LaChapelle.

image-3You could always go as the creepy, pure girl. Steven Klein photographs Kate Moss as Good Kate for W.


Bad Kate is an option as well. Here, Moss plays the demon. Pearlescent teeth, mounds of accessories, and horns should do the trick.

image-5Toss the conical bras and lace gloves and try for a different Madonna. Alana Zimmer photographed by Miles Aldridge. For her sickly look, grab the Moroccan oil and some lavender blush.

image-3Always an option: grab a couture Margiela mask and go as Kanye West.

image-4 If pretty is more your thing, go as Natalie Vodianova’s Alice as shot by Annie Leibovitz. A blue dress, some maryjanes, a headband, and a smattering of small furniture should call the adventure to mind.

image-5Reference more than a few historical figures by going as David LaChapelle’s rendering of Amanda Lepore as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe.

image-6…Or as David LaChapelle’s Amanda Lepore as Andy Warhol’s Liz Taylor.

image-7The ultimate surrealist costume inspiration, courtesy of Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Baron Alexis de Redé at their Surrealist Ball in 1972.

Amanda Lepore, David LaChapelle, Jake Shears… It’s Getting Pretty Gay at Skylark Palms Springs

How gay is the new Skylark Hotel in Palm Springs? Let us count the ways…

1) The owners are gay, one of whom "werks" the web site homepage with his catwalk pose.
2) Staff is gay, most of whom don’t have much hotel experience but, hey, they look good!
3) Skylark was formerly Camp Palm Springs, a clothing optional resort. Repeat guests are still coming, but now wearing briefs.
4) Skylark served as the film set of many gay porn flicks. Don’t you recognize that pool?
5) It’s an LGBT hotel but "hetero" friendly, which means you probably won’t run into straight people.
6) Amanda Lepore, David LaChapelle, Jake Shears, Rose McGowan and Kelly Osbourne are invading this weekend for a crazy-ass grand opening that coincides with socialite Reggie Cameron’s birthday.

While Skylark has taken over Camp Palm Springs whose history is basically that sex resort, the bareback reputation will soon poof, thanks to the image Skylark wants. It’s going to be more of a chill, cosmopolitan, social hot spot. Sure, gay sex is going to happen but behind closed doors now that that sling is gone. Skylark is super boutique with only 28 rooms, a large, deep pool and shamrock-shaped hot tub to boot. The Crazy Coconut Bar & Grill is doing all their dining (YUM) and the bar in the back will be busy for both locals and visitors alike. And let’s stress the "social" aspect here. All rooms look out into the central pool area, so whether you’re voyeuristic or egotistic, everyone wins. And if you end up crashing the all-day, Saturday pool party (it’s free!), do a shot for us. It will probably be gay-flavored. 

A Brief History of David LaChapelle’s Music Videos

Famed fashion photographer David LaChapelle does more than snap pictures for advertising campaigns and pal around with the world’s most glamorous trans woman. LaChapelle has a very solid resume as a music video director.

The latest example of LaChapelle’s work is the just-released video for Florence and the Machine’s “Spectrum,” a sexy, dramatic, sparkly take on the powerful song.

But it’s been a long road getting there. From early ‘90s videos for artists like Penny Ford (we didn’t know either) through long-lasting collaborations with icons like Elton John and Christina Aguilera, LaChapelle has spent years making music videos—and some of them are pretty great. Here’s a look back at five favorites.

Amy Winehouse – "Tears Dry On Their Own"

Gwen Stefani feat. Eve – "Rich Girl"

Macy Gray – "She Ain’t Right For You"

The Vines – "Outtathaway"

The Dandy Warhols – "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth"

A Chat with the Fabulous Amanda Lepore

This coming Tuesday is the first day of summer and the beginning of a fabulous new weekly, Amanda Lepore’s Penthouse. The gala will be at the ever adaptable Ganesvoort Park. Joey Israel and Kenny Kenny will add to the magic, and Marco Ovando will host. The rooftop pool deck and penthouse will be the scene of the action for a crowd that loves nothing more than to dress up and be seen. The amazing Joey Arias will perform. This is a can’t miss event for the fashionista, gay, and fabulous crowd, which is finding a renewed resurgence in the new hotels we talk so much about.

Susanne Bartsch, the grand dame of this world, is of course doing her “On Top” thing over at the Standard on Tuesdays, so everyone will be all dressed up with at least two places to go. For a while, this crowd was pushed to the fringes as bottle service bucks pushed these fabulous ones to off-nights in irrelevant clubs. Now, the new world of nightlife is embracing this clan again, as they want their guests to have a true New York experience to tell all their friends back home about. Today’s interview is with Amanda Lepore, a true NY experience. She has an album coming out and a huge soiree slated at the Highline Ballroom to support it. She seems ready to expand her brand and re-re-re-invent herself.

I’m sitting with an old friend of mine, Amanda Lepore, who has worked with me many times. I don’t wanna say ‘worked for me,’ because in nightlife everyone has their roles, and my role might have been a director or whatever, and Amanda certainly was part of the entire circus that we tried to create. She’s a brilliant persona and has created an international brand with her appearance, performances, and parties. I’ve learned so much from her. Talk to me about your gender and how you became what you are today. Well, I started out in life thinking I was a girl, and my parents and stuff and everything would cut my hair and not buy dresses for me. And I didn’t even understand what they were doing. I just thought they were punishing me for something. And then, you know, slowly when you like get older, you realize, oh well, I’m stuck with this guy’s body. I did everything I could to change it, because I was really disturbed by it. I definitely have a female mind, I took hormones when I was 15, and I started getting breasts, and I saw talk shows, and people getting sex changes, and heard that it was possible, so I did it as soon as I can. I met a boyfriend that was supportive, and his father paid for my sex change, and I became a girl and didn’t really have any ambitions, I just wanted to be a pretty girl and maybe work in a mall doing makeup or something.

Your look is iconic. It’s a Marilyn Monroe caricature. What are you trying to say with your look, and when people you don’t know see you, what is their reaction? Well, I think at first I actually didn’t even have breast implants, I had little hormone breasts. And it was a wave. I’d always watched movies and stuff, and I really liked the Hollywood bombshells. I always liked like hips and breasts and all that, and I always thought it was the most feminine body type. So I wanted to look sexier, and I would buy clothes, and try on a top and I wouldn’t fill it out, so I could only wear certain things. I got more fascinated with girls in Playboy, so I got my breasts done, and I got lips.

You also have a persona. You always are classy. You are always on. You are always performing, if you will. Is there a time when you go home at night and turn it off? Is Amanda Lepore a 24-hour thing? It’s a 24-hour thing. I mean of course, I do errands and everything and I’m not made up. I’d like to think that people don’t recognize me, but people recognize me and say hi and treat me exactly the same. I’ll be insecure about it, but sometimes I’ll meet guys I went out with and they’ll say, “Oh, you look pretty and don’t worry about it.” But I feel better made up.

Well now you have a record coming out and you are doing an event, which coincides with this record. This is really important to you. Tell me about the production of that record, which has involvement from some of my old friends: Roxy Cottontail, Larry Tee, Cazwell. Your life is a performance art piece, but now you’re actually performing as an artist, a different step altogether. Now you have put out records before, but this album is different. A lot of people are talking about the legitimization of Amanda Lepore as a music artist. Well, it was a slow kind of a thing. Around the time we worked together at Life and Spa is where it all started. I would have those birthday parties once a year, and I always admired the scene, like there was the electro scene with Larry Tee and Cazwell—he was one of the best, we really liked his music. We would hire him for my birthday parties every year and he would perform. And then one day, he saw me partying with champagne. And he said, “I wrote this song ‘Champagne’ for you, would you do it?” And I said, “Sure, that would be great.” It took me a long time to learn it and do it well, but it was a success.

Tell me about the songs on the new record. “Turn Me On, Turn Me Over,” is I guess a sequel to “My Pussy.” There’s “Convertible” and “All I Wanna Do Is Get My Nails Done.” Roxy Cottontail does a rap on it with Cazwell.

Sounds like so much fun. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

So, the Highline Ballroom. We were just there for the Night of a Thousand Stevies, the Jackie Factory tribute to everything Stevie Nicks. It’s becoming this very legitimate venue for the fashion and gay set. Yea, Lady Gaga had her record release party and me and Cazwell performed at it, so it was really cool.

Did you talk to Lady Gaga that night? Yea, she knows who I am.

What does Lady Gaga talk to Amanda Lepore about? She just said, “Hi Amanda.” She was busy.

You didn’t talk about hair. Well actually, one time, when David LaChapelle was photographing her for Rolling Stone, and we went to her house and she cooked dinner for her boyfriend— it was at her boyfriend’s house at the time—she just talked a bit about getting up in the morning, she seemed like just a girl from Queens, kind of, she had her Jersey Shore kind of friends, you know, they were calling her Stefani, and you could really tell that it was Lady Gaga in the making.

Your relationship with David LaChapelle has been famous. You’ve been called his muse. We know David from the beginning, he was hanging out at the clubs when he was younger. He was this great up and coming photographer who became this mega photographer. Has your relationship changed with David over time? We’ve been friends all along. I didn’t see him as much when he moved to LA and then to Hawaii. He wanted me to come to LA but I don’t drive or anything, I’m just used to being in New York. We’ve been really close friends over the years, he’s great.

Where is the connection between you and him? Where do the minds meet? I think that we see things that other people don’t see. We’re kind of perfectionists, we’re both narcissistic, you know, he was attracted to me. He’d seen me in a club and was attracted to me because he actually used to draw girls that looked like me when he was like 15. They were always naked with big boobs, big lips and cheeks, and always had different hair. He actually showed me the pictures at his mother’s house once. It was really wild. They looked identical to me.

Why are you shy? I think from being harassed in school. I wasn’t an outgoing person, you know, when I first left my husband. I worked as a dominatrix, and they would really tell me not to tell guys that I was a transsexual. But in nightclubs, we were sort of celebrated for being a transsexual. I really related to these kids, they came from other cities and grew up being harassed and had the same kind of thing.

I’ve talked to the Mother of the House of Xtravaganza, Carmen Xtravaganza, a dear friend of mine about how difficult it was for her to find her true self, make the change, and to move forward with her life and have a productive life. You are, in a sense, a leader, an icon, and you are an example to a younger generation. It must be easier nowadays, but still impossibly difficult. The surgeries are easier, more accessible. And certainly, your gender, or your definition of gender, is more acceptable than it was 20 years ago or 10 years ago. Talk about how you feel about that responsibility to people and how young people approach you and talk to you. I think it’s a great responsibility, you know, it’s really hard for them. It’s a struggle to come up with the money, it’s very expensive, and the main problem is the bullying.

What do you have to say to that? The key to overcoming that is to feel proud of who you are.

Partying for the Fabulous Larissa @ The Big Top

Tomorrow night, Patricia Field, Mao PR, Roxanne Lowit, Susanne Bartsch, Kenny Kenny, and Joey Israel will host a benefit at Amanda Lapore’s Big Top for Larissa. Joey Arias and Amanda will perform. I am leaning heavily on Patricia Field’s website for my background, as Larissa, although very familiar to me, always remained a mysterious denizen of so many fashionable days and clamorous nights. I never asked questions about her, I just accepted her rank as one of the most important people in downtown culture. I would book her birthday at a club back in the day, or she might grace an invite, but as was my way, I kept my distance. It’s a combination of my skewed sense of chivalry and a shyness that most, except those who know me well, don’t believe exists.

Michael Alig would always drag me from whatever I was doing to chat with her. I was to reward him with a handful of drink tickets for the introduction. I was always shocked she knew my name. She was glamorous, bitingly witty, and catty as well. She was always a lady, except sometimes, maybe when she drank, and that was, well, often. Even then in a pickled state she was charming and mannered. She was easily recognizable to the hoi polloi with her trademark eyebrows, and cheekbones sharp enough to cut through bread, and a coif of the darkest, manicured black hair. She was impeccably dressed at first, with her own creations, and then with Mugler. She was known as his muse. She could size up a person, and discount them, or elevate them with a breath. She was always surrounded by the bestest of the best, the most down of any of the downtown set. At Max’s Kansas City she might be at a table with Nico, or Andy Warhol, or any of the bold faced names of that era—or of any era. Once, when I was clamoring with the masses to get into Thierry Muglers Fashion Show in Paris, she grabbed me from the crowd and walked me in. Doors parted like the Red Sea from Moses, as Larissa defined chic and everybody needed her around. When we were doing Club USA, it was Larissa who captured Thierry’s talents for the design of the Mugler Room. To say she was the candle of the aspirations of so many moths, and other creatures of the night, would be an understatement.

She was part of the Andy Warhol Factory crowd. She once said, “I studied Salvador Dali in art school, and there I found myself standing in a room with him while he paid me compliments. It was something.” According to the Patricia Fields website, her customers included “Miles Davis, Margot Fontaine, Egon Von Furstenberg, Jimi Hendrix, Gloria Steinham, Lauren Bacall, Dustin Hoffman, Betsy Johnson, Cicely Tyson, Lina Wertmuller, and Giancarlo Giannini, just to name a few. Her coats were sold at top stores like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Ultimo in Chicago. They will be feting Larissa at a benefit tomorrow night at 13th and University. Those who never pay will gladly contribute 10 bucks for a lady who gave us all so much.

On another note that so often wanted and discarded space on the corner of Essex and Houston may be changing hands once again. According to my source, a deal has been made and is pending community board approval. It has been home to the seminal club Chaos, a strip joint, a goth club, and so many other things. It has never really been on my radar of fabulousness but has always been around surviving, mostly I feel, because of it’s location, rather than good programming. I read that it was, at one time the studio and home belonging to Jasper Johns. Now it will be something else.

The Darby Gets a Name, Carnival is a Hit

Sometimes, wearing two hats doesn’t stop the rain. I was kept late at job sites yesterday evening, as my designer hat kept me deep in sheetrock, dust, and paint fumes. My firm is currently finishing four venues that will open between now and Labor Day, and I don’t have enough hours in the day, or showers, or clothes, stashed around town. The Richie Akiva/Scott Sartiano restaurant on 14th and 8th has been named The Darby. I’ve known this for a while, but needed it to break in The Times, first. That’s where the two hats get into arguments with each other. I am so excited about this project, as each day the place looks more like the vision my partner, Marc Dizon, and I developed months ago. I’ll talk about this more in the coming weeks. Next door, at the old Country Club/ Dirty Disco space, now known as Snap, a woman and celebrity-friendly sports bar/restaurant is shaping up. The restaurant at 146 Orchard Street is in its final stages of construction, and looking like a winner. Stand Up New York, our first comedy club, is open to the public, while final finishes make it sweeter every day. Needless to say, my schedule is hectic, and I missed two events that I swore I’d attend last night.

The Jersey Shore soiree at Marquee was my biggest loss. I was promised access to the “talent,” and I was preparing questions all week. Most started with “YO!” In what had to be the biggest cultural ying-yang in quite some time, the Paul Kasmin Gallery next store opened David Lachapelle’s “American Jesus” exhibit. No press flack had the gumption to drag The Situation next door to the gallery, nor did David go to Marquee. Combining these two crowds would have been a snap. The images at David’s show, available online, feature an angelic Michael Jackson—with wings and all. They looked insanely hot. My Blackberry screamed to me that Julian Schanbel and Lenny Kravitz were there, and everyone who was everyone, as well. Afterward, the swells took their boom boom to the Boom Boom Room, which I hear will go private in a snap of Andre Balaz’s well manicured fingers. To almost everyone, that means very little access granted, and while people are always denied, it will discourage the mediocres from even trying to get in. I’m sure the fabulous aren’t affected much.

I was motivated by midnight, and headed to Amanda Lepore and Kenny Kenny’s Big Top party at Carnival, held at Bowlmor Lanes. Now, that’s a mouthful of candy corn for sure. I wanted to say hey to David Lachapelle, who I haven’t seen in a few years. It was advertised he would be there, and everyone knew he would. He has been mussing around with Amanda forever. I found David surrounded by a sea of paparazzi and iPhone photographers by a throne in the big room. He was wearing a gray Shepard Fairey T shirt, and a red baseball cap. Drag queens and flash dancers vied for his attention with big—real and store-bought—grins. Everyone was smiling, as “good nature” is considered classy with this fashion gay crowd. David posed with everyone. I saw photographer Roxanne Lowitt grab a few minutes while adoring fans jockeyed to be next. This scene latches onto its home grown celebrities like David and Richie Rich and Ru Paul and others who, for so long, have sipped cocktails in the same places and have now achieved international celebrity. The dress, style, and sensibility of this crowd loves to be validated with these success stories. Dressing up in fantastic costumes is high fashion, and high style, when one of these ambassadors “sells” it to the larger culture. The way of life has its own rewards, for sure, but it’s nice to be recognized. David is the real deal and it was nice to have him home again. I said hi, and we exchanged the “how good you looks” and all. He was always there for me over the years. He provided beautiful floral images for use on invites when I opened the Palace de Beaute with Larry Tee and Michael Alig. That was where the PetCo in Union Square now lives. Andy Warhol had his Factory upstairs. When my ex wife was putting out a record on Next Plateau Records, David shot it. He was always around to lend his brand to fabulous events, or have his after-events with my crew. He was always a wonderful, fun, and intelligent person—great to be around.

The crowd swarmed, posing, selling their fabulousness to him and each other, swarming his candle light. It was nice to be in a club where the idols were artists instead of moguls. Nearby, muscle queens took exaggerated hammers and rocketed energy up a 14 foot shaft to ring a bell. Others stood by with admiration while sipping vodka through straws. A successful slam had a huge LED sign begging, “HIT ME AGAIN.” All were delighted by this spectacle. Delicious cotton candy was being hawked by delicious young men, as a gymnast-type hoola-hooped in short shorts. 7-foot drag artists, with air-brushed makeup, air kissed each other and exchanged pleasantries. Gym-built bodies hawked games of skill and luck and distributed stuffed purple prizes, and sexy smiles to winners. The carni-shtick made wallflowers into entertainers. It was smiles all around, and forward music for a forward thinking crowd, who remain years ahead of it all while, doing much of the same as 10 years ago.

Kenny Kenny was pleased as he surveyed the room with me. He knows that he, Amanda, and Joey have created something that can be built on. “It’s good,” he humbly proclaimed. The crowd is fresh, unjaded, and uber friendly. They dress the part, and are aware that something is happening here that borrows only the best parts of the bawdy past. It is respectful of the legacy, and embraces the success of what came out of that era that broke it all out, but they don’t relate to the pitfalls of that time. David and Amanda, Kenny, and so many others from long ago bathe in the new light. I love Wednesday’s at Carnival.

Paul Alexander, who has always been an oracle—a person to ask when you want to know the story, the scoop, and what’s really happening—is hosting a Sunday night shindig at the Pearl lounge on 17th and 8th avenue. It’s an early gig, meant to fill those hours between dinner and Suzanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny’s late night affair at Greenhouse. It’s cocktails and flirtations, 10 to 1am at Pearl, and then everyone heads downtown. Paul’s parties at Jackie 60/Mother, Caine, and so many other places, have been reliable fun for the sometimes, somewhat unreliable set.