Four Years Later: Remembering Michael Jackson Tonight and Forever

Yesterday, the streets were filled with people with pride and I was proud to live in a city that has traveled so far since I was a youth. Sure there’s a long road ahead, but yesterday the past I grew up in seemed as long ago as Howdy Doody. I was happy that W.i.P. got reopened for Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny’s Gay Pride party. It will be interesting to see if W.i.P. stays open. I wish I had made it to the Mermaid and Gay pride parades but, alas, I was torn to many other elsewhere’s and must do’s. I did manage to get to the roof of the Standard with interior design icon Karen Daroff and her son Robert. Although it was dead summer and "the" crowd wasn’t supposed to be around, we found wonder in this wonderful place. I texted the manager Emily Rieman after, thanking her for her and the entire staffs’ brilliant hospitality. I told her Le Bain was an "oasis of classy fun in a world of soccer-hooligan saloons.”

Earlier in the evening we caught Lady Rizo’s act over at The Darby. It was classic songs sung with intelligence and grace over coffee, dessert, and some Beau Joie Champagne. We glad-handed all the unusual suspects before hoofing it west to Andre Balaz’ anything-but-standard oasis, dodging desperate suburban youth being hustled by bottle hosts at the joints along the way.

Tonight, after BINGO at the Bowery Poetry Club and after the Inked Magazine soiree at Lit Lounge, me and mine will head over to The Darby for The Fourth Annual Remember The Time Michael Jackson Tribute.

On the night of the day Michael Jackson died, we all headed to the clubs for some sort of reconciliation and grasp on the situation. Some use the expression "it will all come clear with the light of day" and I guess for many things light works, but for some concepts only the dark will help. Many tried to find answers by looking at the bottom of newly-emptied shot glasses…others in the eyes or chatter of friends or strangers. I got an education from DJ Cassidy at 1OAK. Tonight he’ll do it again, offering a barrage of Michael and I won’t miss it.

The day after Michael Jackson died I wrote a piece. It may be a little short on the facts we later learned, as it was written in the confusion of the tabloid headlines and lingering grief of the next morning, but it describes my mood and the love of precious life I found at 1OAK the night before.

Blackbook Magazine Goodnight Mr Lewis, June 26, 2009:

Michael Jackson: The Best Club Songs Ever

An autopsy may reveal it was pills or something similar that shut Michael Jackson down, but the heart really gave out because it once was loved by the whole world and wasn’t anymore. My emotions roller-coastered through a day of death and rumor. A great sadness consumed me as allegations and innuendo, tributes and music bombarded me through open windows and closed doors. From beat box radios and every TV in the neighborhood, I was told to remember, condemn, forgive, or just listen. The complexity of understanding the meaning of Michael Jackson’s death personally and on that grander scale became harder by the hour. I was enlightened by Jesse Jackson, Quincy Jones, Cher, Paul McCartney, and even Celine Dion. Everybody except Elizabeth Taylor was getting into the act — it is an act we and they will find impossible to follow.

From the point of view that I write about – the never neverland of clubs – Michael Jackson’s passing immortalizes the best songs I’ve ever heard on a dance floor. The music will live on as pure and wondrous and as perfect as the man himself was confusing. I won’t dwell on the bawdy stuff; plenty of others will milk that cow. I’ll just say flat out that "Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough" or maybe "Billie Jean" are the best songs I’ve ever heard a DJ offer. To this day they still blow a dance floor up.  Years ago, there were Michael Jackson club rumors. Some claim that he visited from time to time, unrecognizable in prosthetic makeup or with a face wrapped in scarves. The only place I know he went for sure was Studio 54. I asked Carmen D’Alessio about Michael at Studio 54, and she told me, "I of course remember him coming to Studio, 33 years ago. He was a kid releasing his first album. As the VIP hostess, I met everyone my dear, and I do recall clearly a 17-year-old Michael Jackson. He was nice and friendly, and I remember thinking he was very good looking." A quick Wikipedia read finds Michael listed first in a list of Studio 54 attendees. He led over Nureyev, Mick and Bianca, Elton John, Truman Capote, Mae West, Gloria Swanson, Jackie Onassis, and Elizabeth Taylor. Ironically, fair Farrah Fawcett was also listed.

I went to 1OAK, as a tribute was hastily put together with superstar DJ Cassidy only playing M.J. hits to a packed house of the beautiful. O’Neal McKnight danced and lip-synched to tunes, and Robin Thicke sang "Human Nature" in tribute. Cassidy asked over the mic, "Michael, why did we lose you this night?" When I arrived I was skeptical, thinking the idea of this tribute was almost cheesy — and it might have been if not for the sincere efforts by the 1OAK family. We were swept up in Michael’s massive talent as every single impeccably-produced tune held the packed house and dance floor. What other artist could have a catalog of songs that would hold a floor for hours?

I stood with Scott Sartiano and Ronnie Madra surrounded by a stunning and smart crowd. Sparklers announced bottles, and Cassidy offered, "We are here to celebrate the music and the life of Michael." The crowd roared and the waitrons poured, and I became a corny mush. I thought of the immense sadness that must have been consuming him at his end. I wondered if he indeed had just ended it, if he indeed had stopped cause he had enough. I thought of that traffic song, "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" — the lyrics, "If you just had one minute to breathe and they granted you one final wish, would you ask for something like another chance? Or something similar as this, don’t worry so much it will happen to you as sure as your sorrows or joys."

I wondered what Michael would have done with another chance. What would he have changed? What did he want that he, with all the fame and riches, never got? "We Wanna Be Starting Something" whipped the beautiful crowd into a frenzy, and the scope of our loss drove me to leave and find some summer air. It’s impossible to measure the wattage of the light that went out yesterday.

I remember watching James Brown’s funeral on TV and seeing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton manipulate a frail Michael to the mic for a speech that was brilliant and eye-opening. He eloquently spoke of the soul icon’s love, contributions, and forgiveness as the Brown estate vultures loomed all around. The world that seemed to be tearing him apart will now fight for his bones, and it won’t be short or pretty. None of them will stop until they get enough, yet Michael Jackson’s life and much-talked about excesses leave us with a great lesson.

Is there ever enough? Can you ever stop? Is it human nature not to be happy with what you have and to keep pushing and fighting till the heart eventually bursts? If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that all you have can be torn from you in an instant.

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

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.

Co-Owner Noel Ashman On The Elsinore’s Fashion Week Pre-Opening

I wear multiple nightlife hats. I, of course, write here daily; I design joints; I DJ; and I help in the marketing of that delicious Beau Joie Champagne. There are often conflicts, especially in the writing. I follow the rule of disclosing what I can about the new projects I am designing, but I do comply with the rules publicists and management lay out. I often do not get the first photos of places I’m designing or often even the first substantive story. In the case of the The Elsinore at 17 Stanton Street, my latest creation, publications like Crains and Thrillist got the scoops. I also will not write about a place differently because I am involved. This has upset a few clients, but others like the added dimension of this column.

The Elsinore will preview tonight with a Fashion Week soirèe for Buckler. This is a private preview event and there will be some other such events in the space in the two or three weeks before it actually opens. The Elsinore is nearing completion with more wallpapers and moldings and finishing touches going up daily. It is not quite ready for primetime players but the folks attending tonights bash and the ones to come will see something new and I think very different. Having a party at a virginal space seems to thrill party planners. The Steve Lewis designer hat wishes people would see it for the first time when it is done. I caught up with The Elsinore honcho Noel Ashman late last night/early this morning for some thoughts.
 
You must be excited. Although The Elsinore is incomplete, with a scheduled opening in two or three weeks, it is previewing for Fashion Week. What are the upsides and downsides of pre-openings?
Well the upside is that we keep our word to the designers and other fashion peeps we promised the space for their Fashion Week events. The downside is the space is still very raw and unfinished which is why we are calling it construction preview parties.
 
Who is involved with you on this latest project (and for the youngins reading my column) who are you and what have you done?
I am nobody they should not know who I am lol. I have been very blessed to have a great team working with me on this project. We have a bunch of partners in The Elsinore… actors Norman Reedus and Damon Dash have come out in the press so far but we have some other interesting creative entertainment peeps involved as well, which I am sure will come out in the near future. Richie Rich is designing the waitress uniforms and is hosting a weekly night as well. A guy named Amit Zamen is a co-owner with me and is great at handling lots of the back-of-the-house details that usually go underappreciated (except by me). I also brought in some other operational partners who have been incredible in helping me get the space together and who we would not be here without. Seamus Regan is our very capable GM and a partner as well. Scott Hockens is helping with internal marketing and is also a partner. Clarence Fuller is also doing in-house marketing and is one of our creative directors.
 
Where does the name The Elsinore come from? Who came up with it?
I wish I could take credit for it but actually a very close friend of mine suggested the name and I loved it right away. The Elsinore is actually the castle from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
 
What is The Elsinore doing to fill a void in nightlife or push the envelope of nightlife?
I think many clubs/lounges in NYC have gotten very commercial and seem to be almost copying a Las Vegas formula, which can be profitable but I find very stale. They have lost a lot of the NYC authenticity and artistic flavor that, in the past, had made NYC the envy of nightlife all over the world. I think we are trying to bring an updated version of some old-school, more selective NY clubs/lounges like my old club Veruka, Spy Bar, Bungelow 8, etc. but with some new twists. We are designing the space for many of the creative high-profile people that do not feel protected in current venues, to give them a more private place to hang.
 
The location seems to be getting hotter by the minute. Why did you choose to be in this area?
I spent a lot of time looking at venues and areas of town and I felt the Meatpacking area was way too over-saturated and commercial. The Bowery, to me, is the next great nightlife destination and The Elsinore was just perfect for what I wanted to do. It is small (holding approx imately 175 peeps at a time), but has a feeling of being very spacious because of the high ceilings and has a great backyard, outdoor area so I just fell in love with it.

A First Glimpse At What’s Opening and What Never Should Have Closed

A very fat – or is it phat – quiet cat is out of the bag. I am sworn to secrecy about Toy, the new Tony Theodore/Koch brothers-driven spot in the Ganesvoort Meatpacking. I was graciously and quietly given a tour the other day while workman readied the Jeffrey Beers-designed space. I promised to keep it all on the low but once a PR firm sends out invites… it’s time to talk. Toy looks like it will be fun to play with. My goodness that was corny but expected I guess. Daniel, Derek, and Tony gave me the $2-tour and I was impressed. There is a wonderful outdoor space, an oyster bar and multi-levels and faceted mirrors all over the ceiling, fabulous blue booths and ebonized tables, and the whole place is better suited than previous incarnations to embrace those seeking the good life down in the Meatpacking District.

The event the PR peeps are hawking is this Monster Diesel party Thursday night. No, that’s not a truck and an energy drink soiree rather it is the clothing company announcing the launch of its "Noise Division" and a headphone company. Noise at the event is offered up by Theophilus London, Solange Knowles, and Brendan Fallis. I promised everyone I would attend and will do so.

On Saturday night I was hobnobbing at Snap and Stash where bon vivants gathered to watch that wonderful fight where Tim Bradley whipped Manny Pacquiao. After the fight, the models, promoters, and owners poured into the street and then over to Darby Downstairs. I heard Ryan Gosling and a slew of others like that attended. I didn’t see them in the crowd. I did get to chat up a bearded Leonardo DiCaprio who I hadn’t seen in a minute. He used to hang with us at Life and other joints we ran. He’s as cool and down- to-earth as ever and it was great to small-talk with the big star. I don’t much like to talk about celebs in clubs, but when they’re on the sidewalk talking to me I figure it’s OK.

After all the hoopla, I joined my party downstairs at Snap for a bottle of Beau Joie Champagne. My group included Jenny Oz Leroy of Tavern on the Green and Russian Tea Room fame. It’s amazing to me that this city pushed her out of Tavern, the joint her dad created from nothing and now, years later, the building is rotting. It’s a testament to bureaucracy gone bad and it’s complete and utter bullshit from the pencil-pushers involved.

Tavern was part of the fabric of this town. It was weddings and galas and lights and magic. It was visited and revisited by generations. It was memories. It was jobs and tax revenues from one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country, until Vegas exploded the undisputed truth in restaurant revenues. It lays empty, and every warm summer day underscores the huge mistake made by this administration. Admit it fellows…admit that you royally fucked up, dropped the ball, blew it, and beg Jenny to take it back.

If you want this and more in your inbox first-thing, sign up for my twice-a-week email blast. It’s gonna be good.

Doing Good: Auction Date With Editor Tonight & Sandy Fundraiser Next Week

Back in September, I posted about an auction of some lovely ladies to benefit the National MS Society. People were encouraged to bid on a date with these gals. My editor, Bonnie Gleicher, one of the great women who stand behind this humble servant, was put up for sale…or at least rent. I agreed to write about it and help curate this date .Well, that date is tonight. A gallant young man named Craig Clemens (who everyone believes is not an ax murderer) will take the brilliant and beautiful Bonnie out on the town. Craig paid $500 for the honor. The young couple will look for love in all the right places starting with a couple of tickets to Rock of Ages, that Broadway musical full of ’80s hits. Bonnie, associate editor of Blackbook, will be mixing business with pleasure as she is reviewing this show for an article due next week. I must weigh in: 

Craig, Bonnie is a career girl with promises to keep and no time to waste. You must be on top of your game. Dress for success and for heaven’s sake don’t come smelling like the first floor of Macy’s. Open doors and smile a lot. Have a couple of little jokes scribbled on a little piece of paper or inside your wrist. Be a good listener; Bonnie has a lot to say.

 I’ve never met Craig but he has been described as "good looking" and "pretty young.” I have been told he is a "worldly traveler" and a "lover of nightlife.” I can’t wait to meet him as we have so much in common  (except maybe the good looking..ok, and the pretty young  and I guess worldly traveler part). After Rock of Ages, the young couple will come to Hotel Chantelle to hear me spin rock anthems and cool, cool new stuff. I DJ with the always-debonair Luc Carl and bad boy Sam Valentine. Our weekly rock party will celebrate them, their newfound love, and love in general with a bottle of Beau Joie Champagne and a table right in the middle of the action. I will pose for pictures with the couple on their first, maybe of many, date. At one point, I will say, "Goodnight Mr. Clemens, and make sure Bonnie gets home safe and not tooooo late. She does have to make me sound good for you guys tomorrow.”

All over town the story of the haves and the have-nots is playing out. Even more so than normal. It’s easy to forget that many of our neighbors have lost everything and some just a little less than that. I’m still without heat and am writing this in long underwear and a space heater way too close. Sorry, no pictures. In places all over town, a roof or clean clothes is a luxury. People are hurting, and New Yorkers, as they tend to do in a crisis, are stepping up. Some are stepping up by stepping out. There are events all over town making contributions to people who are desperate. Yesterday’s snow and the frigid weather that came with it didn’t help. One of the haves helping out is the wonderful Jenny Oz Leroy (ex-Tavern On The Green, ex-Russian Tea Room) who is poised to do something to write about but it’s a little too early to write about. One thing I can mention is a fundraiser she is hosting at the Leroy residence, 65 W.13th St., next Thursday, Nov. 15th. It’s called “Shove Off, Sandy” and there will be food  and cocktails sponsored by her LeRoy Redux company. Contributing to the event are the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, other restaurants, and Baked By Melissa. I asked Jenny about it:

"So the fundraiser idea started last week when I was frustrated with how to help more.  After doing the standard donation to the Red Cross and packing up supplies from the house, I wanted to dig deeper.  I decided at the very least I could try to raise money in the building. The Greenwich has many successful and seemingly kind tenants.  We are opening our home to invite people to drop by to donate or stay for some delicious food and cocktails.  

When: Thursday, Nov. 15th, 5pm-10pm

Where: The LeRoy’s home, 65 W. 13th St. apt 8B

Email info is LeRoyreduxinfo@gmail.com.  

No donation is too big or too small. We will also have a sign-up available for people who want supplies picked up from their house/apt. Contributing sponsors so far are: Knickerbocker Bar and Grill, Baked By Melissa, and my new company LeRoy Redux consulting & private events. We’ll be providing the food, cocktails, flowers etc.”

The Poor & Rich: the NYC Homeless, Champagne at Winston’s, Mark Baker’s Birthday

The night started at Winston’s, where champagne flowed and bon vivants were on their best behavior. I was then caught in that time trap that we Williamsburgers sometimes find ourselves in. It was too early for anything else, but going back to Brooklyn might end up being it for the night. That wouldn’t do: I had places to be. So I decided to take in the glorious night and walk down 14th Street to The Darby and Snap to await Amanda. I would meet my better half there before heading to Meatpacking. The swells and damsels in fine dresses of Winston’s were replaced by desperate men and damsels in distress pleading for anything I had and they didn’t. The $1,000 bottle of champagne set, $1000 shoe sets’ banter echoed in my ear as I ran out of change fast and decided I couldn’t feed the world. Who can.

Maybe a billionare like Mayor Bloomberg could make a dent on this tragedy under our feet. Maybe the city could do more. It got less insane as I moved off Union Square – but still, the hands were stretched for hand-outs.There was a party of some sorts by the Salvation Army Headquarters: dogs and sleeping bags and lots of young homeless drinking inexpensive bottles of swill. I read on my expensive phone earlier that our Mayor had banned food donations to homeless shelters because "the city can’t assess their salt, fat, and fiber content." The people I passed didn’t have calorie counters on their phones. Billionaire Mayor is worried about the nutritional needs of people who are rummaging through garbage and afraid of the places the city provides for them. I needed a drink and some thicker skin. I hated that my eyes avoided them, that I had moves with my hand and arms and head that could tell them I wasn’t going to be helping them.

The long legs of the gorgeous were supporting expensive smiles outside The Darby. The gays going into Stash’s gay night soiree were ear-to-ear as well. A couple of dozen Snap sports bar patrons were watching millionaires run around with balls. The spring is just born and the warm weather will soon bring the desperate hordes from everywhere. It’s beginning to feel like a Steinbeck tome out there. The tourists who support our economy will soon be here in herds, taking serpentine routes around the indigent to get to a place to spend $500 on a bottle of booze. I was swept up by my Amanda, and we politely passed on the cheap flowers from the more tycoon-ish poor. I remembered another article I had read earlier in the day which said that the Bloomberg administration was going to implement a policy where single adults would have to prove that they had no place else to stay but in a shelter. The people I passed could barely prove they were alive. How could they prove anything. Are their clothes smelly or torn enough, their demeanor below the civilized line the Mayor and his set have carved in the concrete? Can they sell their desperation enough to get in. Who are the doormen at these shelters? Will it be "Sorry, you’re dressed too nicely to get in?" I guess the flower peddlers wouldn’t qualify and the old lady with the old coffee cup with change in it wouldn’t either; they’re way too prosperous. That cup and it’s contents prove she can pay for a cot in a flophouse where she will surely meet some great people who will entertain her with threats and possibly worse. Maybe this isn’t the forum. Maybe my nightlife column should ignore what my eyes couldn’t ignore as I traveled from one heaven to the next.

The Double Seven opened up its doors for me and mine. Their door policies being the polar opposite of the Mayor’s. You had to have loot or be someone who can drive their brand to get in here. Single adults are encouraged. Money gets you in, not out. I was there for my dear friend Mark Baker’s 50th birthday bash. Mark will forgive me for using his article to air out my sudden conscious. He has a heart of gold and I’m sure feels the same sadness at the madness all around us.

Six bottles of Beau Joie Champagne were delivered to his tables; beautiful girls and sparklers and all the fluff that goes with a good time. The crowd was known to me, veterans of nightlife and the upwardly mobile, partying like it’s no longer 1999. All around the Goose and the champagne was helping the gathering affirm their good life. DJ Elle was playing a superb set – music that most of clubland has given up for pop mediocrity, offerings spewed by bad boys with laptops. Elle can go. She has the taste, the style, the guts, and more importantly the backing of the club to play the good stuff. I’m sure some of the crowd was soon rushing off to somewhere after for their Rihanna fixes, but while they were at The Double Seven, their ears were to be enlightened.

Mark Baker turning 50 is unbelievable. The energizer bunny of nightlife, Mr. Baker had an earlier go of it at the Liberty Theater for the launch of Malibu Red, with Ne-Yo performing. He’s off to Miami now to continue his celebration. There he will hold court at the Raleigh Hotel for this Music Loves Fashion thing. I have known Mark a long time. Our old dogs played with each other on Hamptons beaches a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when they were alive and young, when we were also younger. He is a young man compared to me. I told him I have shoes that are 50 and, sadly or wonderfully, it’s almost true. He is a gentleman who deserves all that the world has to offer. Seeing him smile as all the love, affection, and attention came to him last night put a smile on my face. Cameras jumped up to catch THAT event.

I asked Mark about hitting the half-century mark.

"First I never even thought I’d live past 40 so making a half century is just a bonus to me lol, I feel better than ever (and cutting some bad things out of my life have made things WAY better) …..no more sweating the small stuff as everything WILL be ok, we’ve made it this far so stressing over bs just isn’t necessary, I cherish and value the LONGTERM friends I’ve made over the years and even laugh harder with a couple that I’ve scrapped with, life is good, business is great and gf relationships .. Well you know how they go in this business lol.its always a work in progress (isn’t there a club called that ? Lol….I’m blessed to have the life I have and I work hard at keeping things as simple and drama free as possible and  happy day to day…Just have to rememember …"LIFE…IS GOOD"…:-).
Ps ! I’m celebrating with a four day marathon party starting on wednesday at the liberty theater and the double seven and ending in miami on saturday with a pool party at the RALEIGH..your welcome to join….if you can keep up….lol"

My $500 Blind Date For Charity

Last night I went on a blind date that Steve Lewis put together. By put together, I mean he came up with the awesome idea of entering me, his editor, into an auction benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and plotting and writing about the date and highest bidder in his column. The moment he declared this to the world in a post, my stock instantly went up 500 points which, in the high-stakes bidding world means $500.

So last night, the moment finally arrived when I would meet my generous suitor: Craig Clemens, a worldly, smart, modest guy who, quite shockingly, was not a serial killer. I was thrilled. The place: the Helen Hayes Theatre to see Rock of Ages, the ‘80s rock Broadway musical full of sex and yelling and beer and amazingly toned abs. We had a ball, talked during intermission about our life’s pursuits, and hopped in a Uber ride that arrived the moment the grand finale of “Don’t Stop Believing” came to its end.

Our next destination: Hotel Chantelle, where Craig finally met Steve Lewis. Despite my deep love for and closeness to Steve, I will forever refer to him as the full “Steve Lewis,” because he is a man deserving of a grand title and everything good in the world. Craig and Steve hit it off over a bottle of delicious Beau Joie Champagne which only I drank because 1. Craig is on his annual 30-day cleanse, God help him and 2. Steve gets drunk from three sips and this is a fact. So I got tipsy pretty quickly, which happened at the perfect time for a female knife swallower – one of the acts at Hotel Chantelle’s beloved The Love Show, a variety/burlesque show full of over-talented performers – to take to the stage and ask for an assistant. But being the business-savvy, considerate NY woman she is, she’d only hand over the position to the person who would hand over the most amount of money to donate toward the Hurricane Sandy relief. So Steve and Craig pitched in, Craig walked up to the woman, handed her the money, and pointed directly at me, the alleged “benefactor.”

So she lead me up on stage and did the requisite “What’s your name? Say it into the mic” routine, all while Steve Lewis yelled from the black, “THEY’RE ON A BLIND DATE THEY’RE ON A BLIND DATE.” Within three minutes, she had an entire 12-inch knife down her throat and me pulling it out of her. I credit Beau Joie for this hyperventilation-free moment.

After this, Steve Lewis started DJing some tunes that made the crowd go absolutely nuts, and Craig and I looked on with pride, like a mother with her child, or maybe that was just me. Craig suggested we get some food, so we left and headed to our next destination: Blue Ribbon. By 2am, we were devouring their best dishes – the bone marrow and fried chicken – alongside some spicy fish soup. The conversation very easily continued, but I can’t tell you what it was because my brain shut down after my first bite of chicken wing dipped in truffle honey sauce. Now I have lost my place.

Anyway, we walked out, I hailed a cab, and we talked about going to a party Steve Lewis is hosting at an undisclosed location next Thursday night. It involves six ballrooms. Craig and I hugged, and I was in bed by 3am, thanking Beau Joie for having no added sugar so I have a guaranteed no-headache situation today.

Yes, I did text him today and thanked him for bidding and being such a cool guy and not a serial killer. He said that while he had a blast, even Ted Bundy probably came across as cool at first, which is a good point. So the jury is still out on this one. To be decided at a later date.

Miss Guy’s New Music Video Debut Tonight, Scott Hocken’s Bantam Birthday Bash Tomorrow

Tonight, Guy Furrow AKA Miss Guy will unleash her new music video of her new CD "Sometimes" at Tammany Hall. I’ve known Miss Guy since I was a misguided youth. She is a constant inspiration, amusement, and distraction – and what can be better than that? Tammany Hall remains a go-to spot for the eclectic downtown scene.

Tomorrow I will attend and even DJ a bit at Scott Hocken’s birthday bash at Bantam, which he has a piece of. Every joint has a defining night and Tuesdays at Bantam are just that. David Katz brings his show to the small-lish 17 Stanton Street spot and attracts a beautiful and hip crowd. They will come anyway – in spite of Scott’s birthday. Someone asked me how old he was and I replied that it was really a two-part question and then left it at that. Anyway, he is old enough to know better. I love listening to David Katz at his Electric Room gigs but haven’t caught his Skull Tuesday’s thingy at Bantam. He DJs, hosts, and lets guest DJs fill in. Elle Dee, one of my personal favorites, did 2 weeks ago.

Starting this Sunday and every Sunday, Lee Chappell will bring Cafe Panache: La Nouvelle Revue to the stage at The Darby. Performers like Shequida, Amber Ray, Dandy Wellington, David F. Slone, Gin Minsky, Topher, and Lady Circus will mix things up under the musical direction of Benjamin Ickies at this slamming restaurant. Lee is personally responsible for exploiting more mylar than any human in "herstory.”  The whole shebang has that champagne I adore and is hawking Beau Joie as its sponsor. It starts at 8:30 and I will be there, front and center.