Nightlife At Its Best: Westway’s Frankie Sharp On Tomorrow’s Soiree “Westgay at Westway”

Nightlife is as good as it ever was and it continues to expand in every direction. Like our universe, it started with a Big Bang just a couple of years ago, when bottle service got out of the way of having a good time, and clubs, bars, lounges and restaurants got over the depression – both economic and social – of the post 9/11 disaster. Some peeps talk of the good old days as if there once was a Camelot or nirvana. I’ve been around for a long time and I firmly believe that nightlife today is more vibrant than any time in the last 30 years. I’m sure this statement will be refuted by many, especially those who thought having a good time meant waking up on a floor, but I’m standing by it. The drugs aren’t as important a driving force as in "the day." High rents and aspirations mean that people must be functional when the sun is up. There are less or different types of after-hour opportunities. The 4am to noon spots have given way to parties at lofts and hotel suites. I have been saying for a couple years now that there are few great clubs but many great nights. This is changing as clubs refine their nightly programming and offer more than just one evening a week of nocturnal bliss. Westway is fabulous and getting more so as time goes on. It’s a bit under-the-radar and to the left of things – dirty, fun, and daring. A friend of mine, Frankie Sharp is offering up a new Tuesday soirèe, "Westgay at Westway," and it seems undeniably fun.

This Tuesday, it’s Lady Miss Kier of DeeLite fame and a veteran of a thousand and one club wars, Jon Jon Battles, DJing to the gays, the trendies, and the in-the-know. There is a live performance from buzz act House of Ladosha and delicious hosts and hussies MR. MICKEY BOARDMAN OF PAPER MAGAZINE, DAVID MASON OF WWW.SLICKITUP.COM, QUENTIN BELT , LADY PEACH  SPENCER ,MICHELLE SALEM, AMY CAKES, DANKY DANK, and SHIT THAT FASHION GIRLS SAY. I asked Westgay honcho Frankie Sharp, who describes  himself as a Promoter and DJ, why this is going to be so scorching hot.

 
Why Westway?
Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kleigman, the owners of Jane, The Smile, and other great venues are such great people and believe in FUN and having a good time! Plain and simple. They reached out to me after my recent feature in Paper Magazine and the other great press I got from my successful weekly night at Bedlam. So we had the mutual desire to work with one another even before meeting. Also, I wanted a space that was big enough to build a big gay dance party and playground for the downtown kids that these big westside clubs get all the time. Westway is huge! It’s perfect! So I’m going to rent bouncy castles.
 
Is nightlife experiencing an era of global warming?
Well, I think bottle service is killing the polar bears and ruining nightlife. It’s too segregated. Also, "cooler than cool" just really isn’t cool anymore. There’s nowhere that’s just FUN and boozy, to just nerd out and feel and look amazing. It’s been quite stuffy at the places I used to frequent. At Westway, I’m getting the right people from all the different pockets of New York City together to get the pot stirring again. Upper Manhattan to Lower Manhattan, East to West, Downtown to Uptown. Everyone’s welcome!!!
 
Lady Miss Kier…what does she mean to you…why the booking ?
She was the first album I bought with my own money as a kid. She was my first inspiration when it came to style, music, and had a great frivolous but polished thing about her that spoke to me. I think she’s a great exclamation point to this new fun baby of mine. I love working with my idols and when it comes to music, she’s all about FUN.
 
Is this a Fashion Week extravaganza special or what we should expect every week?
No, every week you should expect more great DJs, artists, and performers from Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters, Santigold, Lady Bunny, JD Samson, Casey Spooner… they’re all acheduled to play. I’m trying REALLY hard to get Kristen Wiig from SNL to "DJ"… fingers crossed!
 
There’s a buzz on House of Ladosha. Tell me who they are and what all the hype is about.
House of Ladosha are two great visual artists who have banded together to become this amazing gender-bending rap group. They’re songs are catchy, topical, fun, and they look incredible. They just look and sound like New York to me. They kinda look like the Fly Girls from In Living Color, but with facial hair. They’re quite the show. Theyve opened up for SSION and have performed everywhere from MoMA PS1 to Webster Hall.
 
Who are you and what else have you done? What’s your day job career? Tell me about DJing.
Im a full-time wardrobe stylist. I work in editorial and commercial and mainly work with musicians and recording artists to expand on their image and brand. I find great joy interpreting designers art and making a story out of them and pushing the fantasy even further. It’s literally getting paid to play dress-up and it’s constantly inspiring and exciting. As cheesy as it sounds, I love the work and I work hard at it.
As for DJing… I just like hearing the music I play when I’m drunk at home cause that’s what I want to hear when I’m drunk and out and about. I throw these weekly events mainly because I love a good time and I love getting my friends together and making fantastic memories that will last. There’s an odd joy I get out of curating a roster of people and building a dream team of performers, DJs, hosts, and personalities. It’s like hosting dinner parties with your favorite 300 people and it’s fueled by vodka, the night, and the energy of New York City. I get inspired by this in my styling and vice versa. Constantly. Seems like the perfect balance.

Sandy Hook Memories, Brunch at Yotel, and Everything at Bedlam

I had a lot to write about today. People have holiday events they want to tell people about and I have a zillion e-mails to sift through. The news of the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut has put most of this on the back burner. I spent the summers of my youth in Sandy Hook. When school started the Lewis clan would return to the city and we’d only go up on weekends. Eventually the winter snows and extreme cold had us close the house up until the thaw. On warm summer days my younger brother and I would hike the 2 miles to town without fear, without much thought except for the grass and wind and trees and birds. There were farms back then, and deep woods.

Some days were spent doing archeological digs in ancient stone foundations. We’d find pottery shards and rusted tools and such and these treasures mixed with the natural treasures all around made for an idyllic childhood. We’d steal some corn, we’d harass a bull, pet cows, identify the names of the birds and trees. We’d get in trouble with bees. We’d get lost and somehow always find our way home. Our cat often came with us on our ventures. Sometimes we’d swing on vines into the great Lake Zoar.

The town itself was a couple hundred feet long. There was a small stable back then and a hardware store and places to buy household things. Not much else. A small fast stream with a little bridge over it split the burg. We’d sit on rocks in the middle and try to catch fish with aquarium nets. We never did. Once a copperhead came up next to me and my cousin Ron chased it away.

Sandy Hook is a little town next to Newtown another mile or so up the road. In Newtown the main drag is lined with beautiful ancient home s and centuries-old trees. The police station, the mayor, and all the municipality offices are in a big building called Town Hall. They still show movies there. In my youth it was a quarter or 35 cents and offered up family fare. One kid might pay the ticket price and open up a side door to let the gang in. The whole town would show up on a Saturday night for a picture of note and there would be shorts and previews and lots of small and big talk before and after.

Sandy Hook/Newtown is a place that can’t make the news. It’s designed not to. I go back every year to have a look. I’ll stop by the old house and smell the forest and have a pizza at Lorenzo’s, where buckets still collect the drips from a leaky roof . It’s right by the big lake and smells of rotting leaves and the creatures that live in them. The food isn’t too great and the service a little slow but it’s just perfect. We’d hike down there most evenings to get a Slim Jim or Sugar Daddy. Bad things, bad people never reached our neck of the woods. But here we are with lots of dead people and the tranquility gone forever. Anyway, just rambling on as I try to wrap myself around this. My thoughts and prayers to those in harm’s way.

I promised a few mentions. Tomrrow brunch at Yotel (570 10th Avenue) which is celebrating Hollardazed with music by AndrewAndrew, performances by The Glamazons with hosts Epiphany and Chris Torres. The shindig is brought to you by the dapper Errickson Wilcox and the seductive Roxy Cottontail. There’s going to be balloon art and a blind contour artist. Tonight Frankie Sharp that man about town is bringing back for one night only Everything at Bedlam (40 Avenue C). There will be live shows by the House of Ladosha. The soiree is hosted by Patricia Fields and Jordan Fox. I highly recommend checking out Murray Hill’s A MURRAY LITTLE CHRISTMAS tomorrow night December 15th at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street). Murray is the real deal and this is a can’t-miss event.

I must note that tomorrow marks the birthday of my dearly departed friend Arthur Weinstein. Arthur was a club owner, a lighting designer, a photographer, an artist, a father, a husband, and a friend. He was a rogue warrior of a glorious downtown era. He taught me everything I know but not everything he knew. He was a mentor and a mensch. I miss him every day.

Top 10 Nightlife Openings of 2010, From the Internets

I’m a big fan of the end-of-the-year round-ups that pop up during this in-between week of internet trolling. Sam Sifton, my crush at The New York Times put out his toplist, “A Critic’s Choice of Restaurant Newcomers,” which included Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Park gem Maialino, and The Breslin, a place that seems like it has been part of the fabric of NYC restaurant culture forever. One of my favorite no nonsense city blogs, Grade “A” Fancy, elected to round-up some of the greatest New York City bar and restaurants losses of 2010 in an intriguing video format. We already had our own formulated opinions on the best places we’d gotten drunk at in 2010, but were curious to see what venues garnered the most interest from readers based on end of the year web traffic results for BlackBook’s New York guide. Here we present our overall snapshot of interest in NYC nightlife venues—the Top 10 that opened in 2010.

Top 10 New Openings Based on Reader Interest

Provocateur Originally garnering backlash for having an untrained door staff and odd new door policy, Provocateur won over people looking for a more clubby, Euro scene in 2010.

Le Bain Naked photos surfaced from their opening night in June, and who doesn’t like a little NSFW nudity?

Bedlam Add Anderson Cooper relations and non-crazy celebrity sightings (SJP, for example) to a cozy Alphabet bar and you’ve got the new star-slumming spot.

Top of the Strand Any new rooftop boite is enough for people to take notice in the throes of spring. Add in set designer Lydia Marks of Sex and the City fame to the back story and you’ve got every Carrie wannabe in town popping in for a Cosmo.

The Bunker Club Excavate an old civil war bunker underneath 9th Avenue with the help of the Beatrice’s Matt Abramcyk and you’ve got buzz.

Good Units A thriving event space with emphasis on art, under-the-radar DJs and bands was the perfect edition to the Hudson Hotel’s interesting family.

Panda Beloved bar Passerby was replaced and supported by former regulars and ex employees who stayed committed to making the night jump off. Even master Joe Latimore came back from his hiatus in SF to open this two-room joint off Delancey.

Kastel People were excited for this sleek lounge in the back of Trump SoHo, and our Steve Lewis noted its quiet confidence and subtle sexiness backed by Trump money.

Bar Above Cabin AKA Black Market Cabins are everywhere these days and this untitled neighbor to the Cabin Down Below, with oysters and burgers and drinks, piqued interest in parties looking to get peaked in 2010. And then confused them on the internets by having trouble settling on a name.

Penthouse 808 Nightlife in Long Island City! This terrace lounge sprawling atop the Ravel Hotel got locals excited with jazz nights and DJs on the weekends, and got City residents amped for an alternate view of the skyline.

Bedlam Bar + Dances With White Girls Top 5 New Years Eve Songs

This year’s most talked about bar and most talked about New York City DJ will throw one of the most talked about New Year’s Eve events. How’s that for a big statement? Anyway, Dances With White Girls—who has collaborated with the Rapture, Felix Da Housecat and Mstrkrft—brings his signature house and electro beats to the buzzing Bedlam Bar for NYE 2011, along with Gunnie, DJ Mux Mool and handsome host Thomas Meggs ($20 cover, midnight champagne pour). If you don’t have a chance to see him live (and experience some celeb sightings, bathroom brawls, and other only in NYC moments), take note of the songs you should be hearing at the stroke of midnight.

“Runaway” – Kanye West This to me is 12:00 am music when it’s time to kiss that special someone. I hope everybody is doing it while giving a toast to the douchebags. And there’s a long enough intro so people can still be stoked that they are alive for one more year, God willing.

“Sex Sax” – Drop the Lime I’ve been playing this song since last February and to me this is definitely a New Year’s anthem for this year. Who doesn’t like horns, extra sub bass, and mamis on the track saying “aye caramba?”

“Is That Your Girl (feat. Telli from Ninjasonik)” – Mattie Safer I produced this with Mattie (formerly of the Rapture)  and we keep it Brooklyn with Telli. I feel the hook explains the mindset of anybody when going into a NYE party: “Is that your Girl? I think I like her.” This is the move for how I like to foresee everybody’s new anthem for 2011 and what gets dropped all the time for New Year’s Eve 2012. And seriously … what is that girls name?

“Blowin’ Money Fast” – Rick Ross It’s a representation of how I like to look at the New Year every year, blowin’ money as quickly as possible.

“One (Congorock Rmx)” – Swedish House Mafia Its really easy to just pick a variety of “cool” tracks but at the end of the day when you’re going from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. New Years Day you need something to put your hands in the air to. It’s dirty pop music not bad at all.

Expect Bedlam, Sarah Jessica Parker Sightings in Alphabet City

The Alphabet City space that once housed the notorious 40C has undergone a complete metamorphosis. What used to be a dingy, run-down bar in a relatively dingy, run-down neighborhood has transformed into a posh lounge destined to draw crowds to Avenue C. Bedlam, named after the first insane asylum in London, opened its doors this past week, offering a new hang-out spot for those who like to feel old-world in a modern way. Non-crazies Sara Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Anderson Cooper, Solange Knowles, and Alan Cumming made it to the opening fete earlier this week. The new bar and lounge captures the mood of late 19th-century parlor life—think Edith Wharton or Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s obvious that owners Benjamin Maisani (Anderson Cooper’s rumored squeeze) and Pablo Raimondi, along with bar manager Sam Chiera, put a little heart into the new space: the walls are papered page-by-page with Victorian-era novels and dictionaries, and an eclectic array of carefully selected taxidermy adorns the walls and shelving units, including a glass case filled with birds, a large moose head, and a baby black bear still baring its teeth. There’s also a weird obsession with anatomy, so expect some things you once experimented with in science class.

Thankfully Bedlam isn’t a showy, out-of-place jewel box of smartness; the flavor of the neighborhood and the former space is retained with the exposed brick wall and original, red vinyl benches. The back room—slated to host private events—still features 40C’s generous-sized bathroom and skylight (in addition to—surprise!—more animal heads).

Creative cocktails like the Sagamore House—named after Teddy Roosevelt’s country house—will be available for whoever’s feeling fancy, but the average hipster can still order their Bud. The new bar has also plucked some top DJs from well-known establishments like Santos, Heathers, Le Bain at the Standard, and the former Mister Black, so expect—dare I say it—bedlam.