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. 

Buying Bottle Service for the First Time, at Avenue

Last night I became a consumer, customer, and bottle buyer for possibly the first time. Recently, I grabbed a gig working for the marketing company promoting Beau Joie champagne; it’s pretty good stuff and I’m proud to be of service. I felt it only fair to disclose the relationship here. Last night I sashayed around town with some clients of mine and ended up at Avenue for the SKAM Artist event. I told Andrew Goldberg, who puts people at the proper tables, that I was going to purchase a bunch of bottles and when he stopped laughing at me, he made a big show and put me by Avenue honchos Noah Tepperberg and Danny A.

With his success for producing and starring in Holy Rollers, I’m inclined to call Danny by his full/real name Danny Abeckaser. He’s earned it. We chatted about his new film project about the biz we live in, and I told him how much I loved Holy Rollers. Avenue was packed and the crowd was getting better and better as the evening progressed. Russian Rob and his very significant other Trinity joined my table as did Greg Coyle from Borgata and Kristina Marino from Downtown Diaries.

So I popped out the credit card and we ordered bottles. It felt very strange. I had gone through the looking glass and didn’t really know what to do. Like a newbie actor, I didn’t know where to put my hands, what the courtesies and etiquette of the table were. I had thought so much about bottle service, on the logistics, the flow, about the delivery of the bottle, of the table that housed it, about the things necessary to service the customer. I had studied the role of the waitrons and their support staff, and I’d advised, reinvented and rethought bottle service, but I’d never actually bought a bottle.

For future reference, Avenue is a good place to start. The teamwork of the staff and the professionalism was apparent from the moment we rolled up to the door, until we stumbled out the door. Security guards informed me of a bathroom without a line available to me. I have designed those into joints I’ve built, but hadn’t considered how to inform the client. I heard that a stadium-act celeb was at this table, and a huge pop star was over at that table, and another superstar was hanging nearby. But the real stars where the sparkly bottles and the girls delivering them.

Next to me, they were buying magnums of champagne and giant bottles of high-end vodka. I hoped more people were coming for them because nobody could consume that much booze. But then I remembered the mantra that I have recited so many times: It isn’t the booze you are paying for but the real estate, right in the middle of the action. You will also always be considered a VIP, an in-crowder if your plastic can handle it. The value of an important table at an important club cannot be underestimated by people needing to impress people. As the sparklers sparkled, almost as brightly as the waitrons smiles and DJ Reach took the party to higher ground, a frenzy swept through the attendees. Soon more sparklers and more smiles announced more bottles. We were all sharks feeding on, or at least trying to impress, the meat. It was a very carnivorous affair. Testosterone levels need to be surveyed. If they rought 3 bottles over, then those dudes over there bought 4 and so on. When it was over and the Beau had taken me to another place, we walked from one Artichoke Pizza to the other and then home to sleep, perhaps to dream. This morning I feel like a million pesos, not hungover, as Beau doesn’t do that. I just never thought of myself as one of the guys, or at least one of those guys. But there I was last night at Avenue being one of them, being good at it and enjoying it. Tonight, I’m gonna get myself over to Lit to regroup.