Great Philosophers, Parties & Rock Stars

This has been a very crazy week for me, and Friday needs to be Saturday, so I’m going to keep this brief. It’s almost like a great cloud of volcanic ash is preventing thoughts from flying around my head. A great philosopher, inspector Harry Callahan, sometimes known as Dirty Harry, once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Six days in a row, getting up at 7am after attending the most important parties ever, has left me limp. I will muster enough strength to attend Danny Tenaglia’s birthday party at Pacha Saturday night. He’s one of the truly nice guys in the biz, and Danny’s DJ career is 30 years wonderful. Whenever some whippersnapper know-it-all proclaims the end of the mega-club era, I say go to an event like this. Only a Pacha and M2 (thankfully re-opened) or a Webster Hall have the systems, the sight lines and, of course, the space to host this type of party. The small clubs never experience the orgasmic frenzy that the super clubs are built for.

Speaking of super clubs — oh, I got that wrong — its’ Juliet Supper Club. I attended the BlackBook/Joonbug soiree there last night. My bestest blogger belle Brittany Mendenhall was harassing my Blackberry to attend. She is much larger than me and seemed determined, so I went. I shook hands with Scallywag and Vagabond’s Christopher Koulouris, who is way more pleasant than anyone says. I like him. Kristina Marino of Downtown Diaries reminded me of her party on May 6, and I swore I’d attend. I usually don’t know what I’m doing in the next hour, but I’ll try. I wanted to talk to Juliet owner Jon B about the design job over at Greenhouse. He has me and my partner Marc Dizon doing it, but I couldn’t find him in the crowd. Me and mine headed into the night to split a hot fudge sunday at the nearby Empire Diner. I knew there was a reason why I like Juliet.

Bobby Steele, the brilliant brash leader/singer/guitarist of hardcore innovators The Undead, is putting out another record, I Want You Dead. I met Bobby back in the day, right after he left the Misfits. I helped him with management for a minute. I was with him when he got signed to Stiff Records, which demised about a month later. His career has been like that: a claw to the next level and a fall back. Bobby Steele is a true hardcore/punk legend and clawing and scrapping and grasping for straws is the natural state. From it comes a purity that escapes those who have never known a squat or played rooms the size of an Oldsmobile. Even when they amputated a toe he wasn’t deterred. His next offering, 9 Toes Later, displayed the unstoppable grit and streetwise talent that have always defined him. Bobby Steele is a rock star. He may not have the castle or the platinum records, but he is the real deal. His unwavering loyalty to his genre insured a limited financial success, but undeniable street cred. Like Danny Tenaglia, Bobby is celebrating 30 years doing his thing. Catch him when he plays out and you might for a second understand the sound, the look, the visceral feeling that spawned a great deal of the rock scene of the last three decades.

Lastly, 100 years ago this week another great philosopher named Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) passed away. I constantly read his quotations to brighten dreary days or moods. Here are 10 of his quotations that may greatly help myself and my fraternity of bloggers.

1) “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” 2) “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” 3) “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” 4) “When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.” 5) “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” 6) “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 7) “Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very.” Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 8) “The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.” 9) “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” 10) “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

A Tale of Two Mikes: Prison and Provocateur

I was at dinner the other night with Eater’s Scott Solish and he asked me if I was tired of writing yet. My answer was no, though few realize what it takes to deliver something fresh five days a week. He writes three or four entries a day while I write six times a week, including the relationship advice column. What does get tiring is all the ruckus over seemingly innocuous statements or minor incidents in the nightlife world. Within a span of 20 minutes I got calls from Provocateur owner Mike Satsky and blogger/friend Brittany Mendenhall over little bits of gossip that seemed to be nothing. I was having a latte at a truck stop in upstate New York. Before your deviant little minds wander, I was at the truck stop with the gal pal. We had just visited Michael Alig. Yes, I did that again.

Michael had gotten into a little spat and was bruised, rocked and rolled–but surprisingly not shaken or stirred. We talked about his homecoming and how he was going to enter society again. He is obsessed with showing the world how rehabilitated he is and how he will use his creative energies to serve society. We talked about how close the light at the end of the tunnel seems. We talked about some of his old friends who have shunned him and how he hopes they will give him a chance to prove himself. Talk is cheap (you should see my paycheck for writing this) but it is a great first step. He has a job with a writer (not me, a real writer) and a choice of two nice places to live. The last time I visited him and wrote about the visit many commenters raised many questions. I addressed these with him. In remorse-filled answers he told me how events played out and how the drugs owned his mind. To some extent many will buy this explanation, but the dismemberment and cover up will always haunt him.

There were many times when anger and circumstances provoked me to act violently. I’ve driven cars too fast and, on a handful of circumstances, been out of my mind on alcohol or other substances. I have raised a hand with ill intent. Luck kept me from crossing that big line that Michael certainly crossed. Michael woke up unlucky that day 15 years ago and has been paying the price since. I’ll keep you posted.

Back to Mike Satsky and Brittany. So I’m in this truck stop and Mike is complaining to me that Brittany had written this story about how he and his partner Brian Gefter were opening a lobby bar and outdoor area despite the fact that they were incredibly behind on the rent. He explained to me about how that is impossible because they’re partnered with the Gansevoort Hotel. I heard the story too, but elected not to write on it even though I confirmed the rent issue with a source who is half-right some of the time. I remembered that when I interviewed Satsky way back when and he told me that they weren’t partners with the hotel. I hadn’t told this to Brittany when she called me to check her story, I told her that getting a little behind on rent is natural when a place is opening past its predicted date, and Provocateur opened later in the year than they hoped. It is very common for a new venue to be in arrears in rent and most landlords give a grace period of maybe 5 or 6 months for the build out. Provocateur’s agreement with their landlord included a grace period, according to Mike, that was more like 2 years. I told her it was no big thing and the place was slamming and slammed.

She went through with publishing the article and later told me that the Provocateur camp at first discredited the entire article as false. But she pressed them and under her intense first-year law student cross-examination they admitted that part of her article (that they were opening a lobby bar) was indeed true. One small lie is enough to give credibility to the whole tamale, in her mind. Lies are like that, they are remembered.

I read her article and her tone was indeed a bit snarky. I told Mr Satsky that this sort of thing is going to happen when you don’t let her in to your joint. Although she usually attends Provocateur with no door problems she was denied the other evening. Mike says it was 3am and she didn’t call ahead. That whole call-ahead policy thing isn’t going to work as an excuse with me and many people scoff at that concept . It would be fine if that was the policy for everyone who stands at the ropes of Provocateur, but many are admitted without calling. The door, as I predicted after my first visit, is a problem. Since it has only been open for about a year, it may not be that big a deal for them yet—they’re still drawing a crowd—but let’s see how this plays out over time.

Here’s a great example on their half-baked door policy. A very well-known wife of a well-loved owner was throwing a birthday bash at Provocateur the other night. It was planned and arranged as important birthdays are, and went well until, well I’ll let the birthday girl do the talking. Here’s some of the venting I got about the incident.

“I’m sure you have no interest in my new petty “Hate Campaign” against Provocateur but little Geffie cancelled my birthday there while I was standing at the door in front of him b/c he didn’t like the “short fat one in my group.” We’ve known each other for 10 years and I was very supportive of him and Romer back in the day. I then found out he has pissed off almost everyone in nightlife in NY, so much so that almost every industry person I invited to come by for a birthday cocktail declined saying they won’t go there b/c they’ve been disrespected by him or his staff at the door.

I guess I just miss the respect we used to have, even if we didn’t like each other we never forbade staff to go other places, we let each other in, we showed some love, it made this industry unique I thought. I guess part of it just makes me wonder what will the next generation of the industry be like? Whose responsibility is it to remind them of the rules–old school or not. I will say this, it made me respect my husband for always extending hospitality and respect to those in the industry and it made me miss Gilbert for really knowing how to do it so well. Those two blond heads on sticks at that door were scurrying about in and out all flurry, no action, no panache. I guess I miss the idea that a night and a crowd could be curated out of more than models, investment bankers and promoters.

Anyway most of all I wanted to vent and vent big by venting to you, maybe hoping just a little that maybe more had done the same and that there would be a call to action and Geffie and Satsky would forever mend their little ways.”

I’m sure I’ll get a call about this. I think Mike and Brian “Geffie” Gefter need to talk about this. They are bright people and must realize they need bright people at their door. I think Provocateur is a major player but it wasn’t built for 1 year. The people they are turning away harshly now will not forget this when they are needed to fill the room or provide a needed service. All the great clubs turn most people away. How it is done and by whom is very important. In an age of Twitter and camera phones, Brittany and others like her don’t need to be in the club to know the dirt.

On a much lighter note, I could not attend the birthday bash for Justin Ross Lee the other night at 49 Grove. I was ultra busy rearranging my sock drawer that very night. Happy birthday Mr. Justin Ross Lee! Now grow up, my friend.

Talk Is Cheap: Rachel Uchitel & Bottle Girls

Talk is cheap. Silence can get expensive. The New York Magazine article ‘Rachel Uchitel is Not a Madam‘ by Lisa Taddeo is the talk of the town and spot on. For an outsider to gain such access and insight is amazing. As the story developed, club moguls called me to get the story on Lisa. I made it clear I was talking to her and I felt in my bones she could be trusted. Most opted not to chat with her but there were many who did. The result is a story that, in my opinion, properly describes the conditions in bottle service clubs that led to the Tiger Woods scandal. It was great to hear Rachel’s side of things. When Lisa told me she was talking to her, I realized that this piece was going to be real. Whether Ms. Uchitel was paid to be quiet is subject to much speculation. I actually don’t care. Consenting adults can do what they want, say or not say what they want, as long as they let the slobbering public have a peek once in awhile. The Uchi-Woods scandal is the tip of an iceberg that could take down the Titanic, the 6th Fleet and half of Clubdom, if it exposed all the other gents doing the exact same thing. The most unforgivable thing Tiger did was to make me feel sorry for him.

When I walk through a serious club and I see the Arab business types or the real estate heirs or the celebrities, I don’t write about it. First of all I don’t do gossip…much. Secondly, if I did, I wouldn’t be considered a ‘friend to the club’ when I came through. It’s not that I’m gagged, but there is an understanding that the thing that real clubs are selling is more than booze, music and accessibility to fine looking loose women. The most cherished commodity is confidentiality. The big spenders must believe that their free spending on not so free women and seriously expensive booze will not be all over the gossip rags tomorrow. That’s the reason a Brittany Mendenhall or a Justin Ross Lee get into broohaha’s every so often. They’re often considered loose cannons and therefore a danger to a system which supports a global network of nightclubs.

Nightclubs are no longer the sole domain of guys like Rick from Casablanca or dudes like me. The lone wolf with a dubious past, a quick one-liner and access to the important guys and dolls, now works within a corporate structure which precludes them (and me). The high price of bottled booze pays for impossibly high rents, insurance, legal teams and the salaries of door people, promoters and bottle hosts who bring in the money guys. In Casablanca, the Peter Lorre character gives Bogie the important papers even though he knows Bogie despises him. What Bogart has is his word. The word of the proprietor today is one of the fundamental things that still apply as time goes by. The married baller, broker or lawyer must leave the club knowing that what has transpired will not be revealed. What happens in New York nightclubs must stay in New York nightclubs.

Lisa Taddeo got it right. The part about trusting the girls… the proven temptress, the ones who will not talk was so well put:

“To be a girl who is trusted, you need a track record of having slept with famous men and not talked about it. It’s an unwritten résumé. Talking about anything that goes on at the clubs is called “burning the athlete” or “burning the celebrity.” Privacy is prized invaluably in an age when the National Enquirer performs police-quality stakeouts and the video capabilities of cell phones have turned every banquette kiss into a YouTube trailer. It’s a wonder celebrities think they can get away with cheating, but if they do, it’s because of people like Uchitel. People who understand the value of future returns”

Right up front in her title block she says:

And the bottle girls who work at clubs are not prostitutes. As Tiger Woods’s very public escapades through the 21st-century courtesan economy suggest, it’s all much more complicated than that.

There are plenty of hot girls you can pay for. These women advertise quite openly in magazines and online. Every so often, someone’s locked up with a big show in the papers to let you know it’s still illegal. Society’s shocked when a powerful man is caught with his pants down and socks still on, but we all know it’s happening every day. Tiger just got tanked. It could have been a lot of people. The hookers have their charms, and the more you pay, the more considerable they are. Former pimp to the scene Jason Itzler (who also contributed to the article) was the genius who realized that most men figure they’re always paying for the sex in some way or another. He advertised the girlfriend experience (GFE),. This meant his girls made their ‘Johns’ feel like they weren’t hookers but their fantasy girlfriends. Jason made a killing.

There’s an old joke about the difference between sex in NY and LA. In NY, you ‘get some’ after dinner and a movie. In LA, you skip the movie. This is funny because, like most jokes it has some truth in it. Buying a hooker is simple and easy. The Johns who buy the booty nowadays often want it to seem more like a natural relationship. The club bottle experience is direct competition to the pimps and madams. The spender sees his love, talks to her, whispers in her ear and it’s done. He can actually leave the experience feeling in his very small heart that she likes him…a little. In a sense, it’s a new form of romanticism. The John gets the illusion of being loved for being himself and success makes him the stud attracting the babe. His triumphant mind is always working, and figures it costs him the same money as the call girl. The added value is that his ego (that ever present commodity with successful men) is satisfied that he didn’t have to pay for it. As for the girls, they’re just connecting or having fun doing what you do when you live in New York and, “John is so nice”. In a few years they’ll grow too old to be relevant to these fellas, but the hope is by that by then, they’ll finish school and get a great job with a connection they’ve made, or marry rich or move back home with loot and the hot ex-model boyfriend. Lisa had it right, it’s as complicated as any machine with thousands of moving parts and dreams can be .

I caught up with Lisa and asked her what she came away with. She answered, “It’s easy to denigrate the bottle waitresses. It’s easy to be high-horsed about anything that’s less 9 to 5 than what many of us think ‘normal’ is, but the truth is that nightlife is its own microcosm with its own set of rules and morals and good times or bad times. Like PR or fashion design or any other, I came away from my research intrigued by the world, but no less respectful of its moving parts.” Great job, Lisa.

Controversy at Chichi212 and Merkato 55

To most women I am a Good Night Mr. Lewis, don’t call me, I’ll call you. Others know me as a knight in shining armor. Chivalry still lives on Prince street, where I reside. Brittany Mendenhall, who writes the blog Chichi212 doesn’t need me to defend her honor, as she is extremely capable of handling herself. The 6”1’ law student with a big smile, which fits nicely with her infamous big mouth, is not adverse to a good fight. It seems she has found one. Yesterday Britt wrote about all sorts of goings on over at Merkato 55 (which underwent a rebranding as Le 55 some time ago).

Kyky, an owner/promoter type has moved his shtick from Merkato 55 over to Provocateur. Brittany wondered out loud if problems at his previous gig might be contagious. Her accusations, which are mind boggling, included the fact that Merkato 55 might have been purchasing large quantities of alcohol from retail establishments like liquor stores, instead of buying from distributors, which is a very big no-no. According to her, the legal distributors had cut off the place for not paying their bills. This link will take you to her article, which details tax problems, bad checks and more annoying stuff.

Yesterday, lawyers representing Merkato 55 demanded she take down her blog post. She has not. Instead, she has contacted a lawyer of her own and forwarded to me tons of backup documentation to back up her story. I am getting phone calls now from ex-employees with other tales to tell. Stay tuned. I am always one to disclose conflicts of interest, so I must proudly note that I dated Brittany for a wee bit until sensibilities drove us to be fast friends. I adore the girl and would gladly lay down my cloak for her to pass over a puddle if she asked. She hasn’t asked me to defend her honor. I’m just an old school guy doing my thing.

Weighing in on Tinsley and Guest of a Guest

OMG. Oscar Wilde once said “I am not young enough to know everything.” When you get down to it, I’m an internet dinosaur. Although I’m fairly aware of some things, I’m absolutely unaware of others. The gossip stuff always confuses me. I have no idea who anyone is. Take Tinsley Mortimer. Please. That’s an old Henny Youngman joke (but you youngins don’t know who that is). When I want to know who a Tinsley Mortimer is–or an Ed Westwick or a Devorah Rose– I call up my BFF (that’s an abbreviation, right?) Brittany Mendenhall to find out. She knows all that stuff and writes about it in her blog Chichi212. Sometimes Rachelle Hruska will invite me to have cocktails with dozens of people who I’ve never heard of, but must be very important because she writes about them in her blog, Guest of a Guest. I love Rachelle and have always supported her. Christopher Koulouris has his blog, which I guess deals with Scallywags (Brittany told me all about it). His Facebook profile describes him as Chief Editor and Cultural Correspondent for the eponymous “Scallywag & Vagabond.” He has a great mustache and sent me this Facebook message:

Steve, I don’t know if you have seen this story or the one below, but I’m very very curious to get your thoughts. After all, you champion this girl. Title: Rachelle Hruska – Media whore/manipulator for Hire. In the face of the recent scandal that we uncovered pertaining to the CW’s (the producers of High Society) arrangement with Rachelle Hruska’s Guest of a Guest

I responded as follows:

I’d like to talk to her before commenting, which I’ll do on my blog. I personally take great pains to separate the people I do business with and try to disclose any conflicts, I find this stunning and want to hear more.

I called Brittany and asked her what it all meant, and after a half hour of OMG’s and dropping names I’d heard of, I came to the conclusion that Christopher was saying that the whole Tinsley Mortimer reality show was phony and that Rachelle was somehow involved with helping to create this phoniness. I may live under a rock sometimes and I may be very old, but doesn’t everybody know that all reality TV shows are phony? I called Rachelle for a reaction and she told me it’s all a bunch of junk and asked me to join her for cocktails at a fabulous place I’d never heard of with a list of fabulous people who sounded familiar. I’m going to go–if not to get to the bottom of this, at least to get to the bottom of a bottle of Jameson.

Being the “Professional Journalist” I am, I decided to read all the articles that Christopher Koulouris was forwarding to me. I wanted to get to the truth. I came upon this segment:“Consider the case of media giants like the NY Post building up Rachelle Hruska, who basically arrived in New York 5 minutes ago (within the last 4 years) and is promoted by Nightlife Industry folks like Steve Lewis and backed by affluent internet social networking guru’s (Cameron Winklevoss).” It seems that I was getting part of the credit for creating the Rachelle Hruska “monster.” I’m flattered, but can’t take credit for her success. She’s worked very hard and has created a highly successful blog against all detractors and in a rough economy. The fact that the New York Post and so many others get along with her is easy to understand: She’s fun, smart, down to earth and always a good friend. The implication that Cameron Winklevoss and other connected players helped her get in and fed her stories is a “So what?” I have my sources, as does anyone getting stories. We all lean on others for deep information from undisclosed sources. If I had a dollar for every New York Times or New York Post or New York Press or unknown reporter who wanted to get the “skinny” about some nightlife figure or nightlife situation, I could buy me a Toyota.

I admit that I’m old and out of it and may not see this giant elephant in the room, but I just don’t understand. So I read more Skallywag stuff. In the third thing, I read a name that rings my bell. The primary source of all of this hullabaloo is this kid who is no longer working as a Guest of a Guest photographer Dylan Armajani. Him, I know. It was a little after this past New Year’s Eve when I shacked up with a blue-blooded blonde. We got along nicely, she needed a place to stay and I needed the comfort of an enthusiastic friend. As Sinatra once said, “It was just one of those crazy things.” Although our mad love affair fizzled as the last Christmas trees were carted away, we’ve remained good friends. I won’t mention her name here, though I’m sure she wouldn’t care. A couple of days into the affair, she complained to me about a guy who was bothering her. She had endless Facebook and text messages from this fellow, some of which were incredibly graphic and disturbing. Being the old school gentleman I am, I asked if I might intervene. I was sure I could reason with him, so I called the fellow. We had a pleasant chat where I informed him that I was indeed dating the young lady and his advances, innuendos and pleas for physical contact should properly end. He apologized and agreed and all was well. Or so I thought. I was then subjected to a bombardment of threats and insane ramblings from the young gent that were so childish and full of insane lies, that I became concerned for my young lady friend.

I sent him a message that clearly informed him that I was her boyfriend and he must stop bothering both of us. Here is the Facebook correspondence between myself and the Scallywag star witness, Dylan Armajani:

DA: Lovely. No hard feelings. Had no clue you were with her. I respect that and we have tons of mutual friends, so I respect that as well. Had I known I was intruding on you I wouldn’t have. Sorry. Have a good night, and I’m sure I’ll bump into you someday, with all the friends we have in common! But don’t throw the threats. Threats don’t get anywhere. No need for them. We are respectful people.

SL:You have been told. Take that any way you want, but do not contact her again.

DA: No worries. My lawyer has this message, should you try anything. But have a good night

SL: You’re so adorable

DA: Hey, I don’t know you! No plans to piss you off, but would rather cover my bases 🙂

The harassing of my friend didn’t stop and I called Rachelle to tell her that there was a genuine nut working for her. She asked that my gal send her an email. At this time my gal went to the police to get an order of protection. I do miss the old days, but this seemed like an intelligent path. Yes, I’m a genuine gentleman, but in revealing all this, I must also be a Scallywag. Here is the letter my gal sent to Rachelle:

I hope the New Year finds you well. I also hope that I am neither interfering nor awkwardly blunt by addressing the rather consistent, terribly crude contact I have incurred on the part of one of your alleged staff (?) members, Dylan Armajani. Though it is certainly not my intent to be invasive, nor inflammatory, Dylan’s one-sided, increasingly crass (I simply cant bring myself to recite the slew of texts and emails I get verbatim – and I wouldn’t want to subject you to them!!) attempts at interaction have both frightened and shocked me.

I had contact with him per a potential website design job for a client of mine months ago, and since then I can expect endless texts and other daily forms of communication which have alarmed many of my peers so much that they have feared for my welfare. Please bear in mind I wish no ill will towards him; I don’t know him. That said, the fact that I don’t know him and he is writing things that have only warranted responses requesting he never, ever contact me again, is room for concern. I’m not sure why he does this, and I have tried to evade it for quite a while.

Recently, Steve Lewis was present when I received a very random, very forward text, followed by an online “proposal,” if you will. Steven found this disconcerting, and quite politely asked him to stop. He did not. Again, Steven asked him to stop, and was bothered by the realization that this character worked for your company, as Steven is quite fond of you. As he was explaining how shocked he was at Dylan’s erratic behavior, Steve became the “victim.” He began to receive a multitude of emails that didn’t seem to end. They ran the gamut from threats of law suits, apologies, ignorance of the situation, anger. I am not sure anyone could keep track of the erratic emotions. While I’m not sure what Dylan has in his head (this is not someone I know beyond a brief interaction ages ago,) I do know that Steve was merely trying to help, and was subjected to the sort of manic, inappropriate slander that I get and have gotten on a regular basis for quite some time. This, of course, makes me feel terrible, as Steve was nothing short of polite, though presumably shocked, that he was being berated in such a way.

Per further threats I have received from Dylan that now include Steve, I have filed a no-contact order, as I now have not only put myself in a position where I’m not sure what this stranger is up to, but I have subjected Steve to it as well. Steve, while probably shocked that Dylan has been bringing up lawyers and such (ironic indeed: most know that both spoken and written harassment, which seems an understatement, is viable evidence and certainly grounds for trouble….) strikes me as most concerned that he works for you, as, again, he speaks very highly of you and Guest of a Guest.

Perhaps (and I don’t know) Dylan is young and volatile or drinks too much or the like. However, while I have hindered in addressing a very uncomfortable situation, Steve’s witnessing of just a bit of foul language, followed by his own character attack, and finally followed by his concern that perhaps such strange and irrational behavior may be detramental to someone he cares for and her company, has clearly left him very concerned.

I apologize if I appear meddlesome, as this is not something you should have to hear about – although Steve is now being threatened and is concerned for the situation in its entirety.

Again, I hope you have a wonderful New Year, and this information yields as little trouble for anyone as possible. I feel awful for Steve becoming involved, and thus you.

Please feel free to contact me if need be. Pardon this strange, hopefully fleeting situation.

I have often been attacked by informed and uninformed agents of the truth. Broke ass assholes can always dig deep into their pockets for two cents worth of vile ranting. Rachelle has expanded into LA and is living in a world far above the mud that others and I are wrestling in. I respect the work of Christopher Koulouris and any watchdog that will keep media on the straight and narrow, but until a person of character is actually brought forth to disparage the good name of my good friend Rahelle Hruska, I am not a believer. Christopher join us for cocktails tonight and we will get to the truth, or at least to the bottom of that bottle of Jameson.

UPDATE: See Dylan Armajani’s rebuttal.

Weekend Recap: Pole Dancing, Parties & Blogs

Oscar Wilde said, “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” This describes my lifelong attraction to the underworld and all the creatures of the night. An old promoter pal of mine, Adam Sands, invited me to Pole Superstar Dreams and Fantasies party at Imperial. As I am a dreamer, but not the only one, I figured a party featuring the best in competitive pole dancing might be a happening time, and I gathered the troops to see if my fantasies would be addressed. The crowd was that very rare nightlife combination of adult and sexy. I had never been to the Imperial but had been to a bunch of awful clubs that occupied the West 19th space before. Cornelis Crane, whom I had worked with at 4D and some other joints that have slipped my mind, is the owner. There were a lot of club superstars present to eye the pole superstars.

I chatted with David Sarner, a promoter who helped pioneer the bottle service trend, about his new project, which I will talk about in a couple of weeks. I glad-handed pretty girls who had morphed into beautiful women since the last time I flirted with them. A gentleman in the front row was identified as Marty Bregman, who produced Pacino classics like Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and Scarface.

The pole dance thing is one of Diane Passage’s concepts. She brought her considerable talent out last night to showcase what she and her friends can do on the pole, in anticipation of a move to Vegas. The crowds went wild as the gorgeous gals contorted themselves around slippery silver poles to rock anthems. I admit I couldn’t perform half the moves these gals did.

I made my move into the rainy night seeking the ever elusive perfect party. La Esquina served me well. Still super hot, super cool, super relevant and super close to my house, and this other place that I’m not allowed to talk about or a certain Sevigny will be angry with me.

The rains became biblical, and we considered taking an ark instead of the Land Rover to an event that my friend Carlos was hosting in a place called West Orange, New Jersey. Nothing there was orange at all. Everything was just as gray and wet as Manhattan as we made our way to Mainland, USA. Owners around town know Carlos as the go-to guy for club banquettes. Basically, your ass is in his seats about half the time you go out. Carlos, whose real name is Juan (I don’t know why he has elected Carlos as his name and I never ask) and his beautiful wife Jessenia were hosting a birthday party for their friend Mariah at the 4Sixty6 club, which is known as the Vegas of New Jersey. The joint is operated by Mario Lavecchia, Jack Fiorenza and George Smith and is simply amazing. I know a $5 million build-out when I see one. Sound, lights, sushi bar and, as the club claims, the “biggest disco ball in the western hemisphere” are the realio dealio.

People in Manhattan tend to think their club world is the only club world, with only a few recent nods to Las Vegas. People who used to commute to New York to be abused by door gods or charged and arm and a gold chain for bottle service are finding club homes near their own homes. 4Sixty6 delivers a world-class product in their own back yard. OPM in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, does the same. I’m coming back next Saturday for real, but I’ll have to dress better.

In other news, my pal Brittany Mendenhall is now officially the New York editor of Societe Perrier. I jumped the gun on this story a couple of weeks back. Now all the i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed, and she is as bubbly as a $1000 bottle of champagne from some of the clubs that used to bar her entry. Britt tells it like she sees it, and some in the club scene believe she needs to wear a blindfold once in a while or become conveniently myopic at times. Her unbiased reporting has gotten her a position to report even more stuff. Chichi212, her improved nightlife/club blog will continue, of course.

Lastly, check out this little bit I wrote on the Chelsea Hotel for The Rumpus.

Good Cause in New York; Good Fun in Miami

People in the nightlife biz meet thousands of people. Sometimes that’s in one night. Most of these folks are highly forgettable. Many you remember, but not in a good way. Some are just outstanding. These are the ones that make it all worthwhile. Macdella Cooper is a needle in a haystack type person. She is beautiful, classy, brilliant and gives more of herself than anyone I know. Tomorrow night she is hosting an event to benefit the Macdella Cooper Foundation.

Other hosts include television personality Nolé Marin, Steve Eichner of Fairchild Publications, Devorah Rose of Social Life, Irina Shabeyeva of Project Runway, Brooke Alpert from B Nutritious and Lauren Brody from Glamour . Proceeds go to the MCF Academy for orphans and abandoned children. This is billed as a fashion week finale and features a runway show by designer Melani Von Alexandria. Tyger Lilly will DJ. It’s at Nikki Beach Midtown from 6 to 10 pm. I will not make it and I am sincerely sad as I know it will be a great event. Fun and for a great cause. Alas, I’m stuck in Miami on business.

Miami is just the way I left it a couple years ago. With fun, sun and money on everyone’s agenda. The temperature is in the mid to high 60s during the day and plummets to mid 40s at night. The Floridians are in a panic. They wear huge overcoats or stay home and are constantly complaining. For me it’s positively balmy compared to New York City.

After our 20 person dinner meeting we divided into smallish groups. Mine went to my favorite South Beach haunt Mac’s Club Deuce. It’s a very fine establishment that I have been visiting for many, many years. A place that would make Erik Foss of Lit very proud. Images of Bogie stared approvingly at my rock glass, which was constantly emptied and then immediately reoccupied with Jameson. Rock n’ roll neon and a paired jukebox kept me interested while we watched Shaun White snatch Olympic gold.

My dearest friend Brittany Mendenhall of chichi212 has just been made New York editor for Societe Perrier. Between juggling law books, writing her 1000% improved blog and attending every social event in time, she is gaining more and more respect from me every day. Chichi212 is very hot and I congratulate Brit for her success.

Loose Ends as the World Ends: Xtravaganza to Brittany Mendenhall & Back

Last week I dwelt on last Saturday’s Xtravaganza Ball at Irving Plaza; the Xtravaganzas honored me by making me a judge. Of all the loot I made, celebrities I’ve met, and openings and redoings — all the things I have done or accomplished in nightlife — this was one of my most memorable moments. I was described as a legend to the packed house, and the reception from the crowd gave me goosebumps. Usually when someone describes me as a legend, I check my pulse to see if I’m still alive, but here it thrilled me to my core. I looked impeccable in an Yves St. Laurent ensemble styled by Laurean Ossorio. The “voguing” houses and their balls are one of the best things nightlife has to offer. I told my friends to bring throat lozenges because they would be screaming so much. They thanked me for the advice. The night was a scream, with a love reserved for a Woodstock as real legends from the houses of La Beija, Ebony, Milan, Ninja, Legacy, and many more competed in 26 difficult categories. While most of you were up to the same ol’ same ol’ and complaining about it, Irving Plaza was packed and rocking.

My date for the evening was Brittany Mendenhall. She writes the wonderful blog ChiChi212 while attending law school. Last week a polite call from Shadow PR honcho Brad Zeifman to Brittany implied that she couldn’t write about his clients without his prior consent “or else.” Brittany called me, and I got angry. The nature of the blog beast is that you got to put it up as it comes, or the next guy will. If you heard something, chances are others did as well, and it will be appear somewhere soon. I kill stories sometimes because the content may hurt the innocent, but this self-imposed censorship is my choice and my column is less time-sensitive than Brittany’s or Guest of a Guest. I objected to the concept of censorship or screening of content. Brittany was very upset, and I made a phone call to Brad to complain.

Brad handles PR for the Tenjune, Simyone, Abe & Arthur’s crew as well as Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva’s properties. We have known each other positively for years. I lost my legendary temper during that call. For this I apologize. Brad was just doing his job, and he is one of the good guys out there. I was being protective of Brit, who I adore. Brittany is no angel and had gotten in trouble in the past. At that time, I also got involved, as she and I share interest and other things. You see, I see Brittany once in awhile and have for awhile now. It’s been a secret or not much to talk about, as we both are too busy for anything more. Someone at Brad’s office decided to broadcast this news to some other blogs as if it’s some sort of scandal. I got a little heated about this but am quite sure Brad didn’t have anything to do with the gossip girl in his office’s idea of news.

I felt angry that Shadow PR reacted to my complaint by planting this “secret.” I’m sending him flowers today, as rumor has it he is dealing with this internal leak — or is “leek” a better word . I understand that for the most part the story has been killed, but I wanted you to read the truth out loud and proud. I love Brittany Mendenhall. I love her blog. She works really hard in the moments she has between law classes to give you her view. She generates her own stories and usually doesn’t need help from me or anyone. She’s a tough cookie, and it upset me to hear she was threatened. The people who write blogs about nightlife can’t be threatened to not do their jobs. This is an era when much information is gleamed from the online “journalists” and our blogs by mainstream media who are trying to cut costs by chopping reporters. “Nightlife blogging,” according to one highly successful owner, “is a new phenomenon … working relationships with these often acerbic columnists is part of the new terrain.” In an age of Twitter, Facebook, cellphones and their cameras, guys and gals like me don’t ever need to go out. If it’s happening in your club, there are people telling us about it seconds later. We often play nice but really don’t have to.

Last night after the wedding of former man about town John Aksoy and his beautiful bride Juliya, I was lured to the Stay bar on Houston and Avenue A for Lorenza’s birthday and karaoke. At the wedding I was joined by my bestest friend Patty Doria, who now lives in Los Angeles. It seems that Venice Beach is the new Nolita, and my old crew lives and plays there. Patty was one of the best promoters around this town for many years. She would bring all the model boys to the bar, and they attracted lots of pretty young girls and other boys cause she rolled like that. Her fashion/gay model crew were put front and center and given free booze by the top joints around town. She was the sugar that attracted the bottle-buying crowds to hot clubs. Alas, as the recession strengthened, her work got scarce, and she and Robert Escalera and company relocated to LA where they are loving it. Stay bar was a blast, and the karaoke infectious. “Betty Davis Eyes” brought us all to tears.

I went to Richie Romero’s birthday party at the Gates, a place I haven’t ever enjoyed. It has done well finding a niche with a crowd not quite 1Oak but not Quo either. Pretty young things and recognizable club figures glad-handed me, and it felt like one of those old-school places where everyone knew everyone. I had fun … I’m glad I wasn’t that right in panning it. As I headed out, I was confronted by Gary Maholtra, co-owner of Quo. I have said some terrible but true things about him. He actually got in my face, and it got close to being bad. He objected to what I had said, and I told him that he had done something terrible to me and deserved the rebuke in this column. He denied it, and I told him it was a fact and he was a liar. A long moment and a face-to-face glaredown thrilled my nubile date. But then he looked me in the eye and admitted he was wrong, he apologized, and so now it’s in the past. He actually is a good person but has in the past succumbed to the distractions of nightlife. He says that’s all done now, and he was genuinely apologetic. That’s all you can do sometimes, and it’s good to have the crap behind us. Quo is doing well, filling a midsize club niche, and I wish them well.

The disaster flick 2012 is by all accounts a disaster except for the fact that it did like $67 million the first week out. I thought if the world was going to end what club would see my final breath. Well, if apocalypse came by flood, I would seek the great heights of the Boom Boom Room or Highbar to drown my sorrows and fears with Jack and Cokes. If it was a meteorite shower, I might take shelter down below in subMercer to laugh it all away with Gabby and Richard,. But if it was insects, I guess I’d go to Griffin, as they seem to have great experience with bugs — they haven’t quite gotten them out yet. Despite financial success, the bugs that run Griffin still (according to my inside sources) elect not to pay their staff … “Everyone is owed money, the waitstaff walked off until they got some of it. But they still owe them some.” Another friend says, “They have been using the waitress tip money to pay bills.” What a disaster.

Greenhouse: Master of Provocateur’s Domain

I woke up, had my cup, and I dragged a comb across my head, and I read the news today (and yesterday) — oh boy,about a lucky man who made the grade, and though the news was rather sad, well I just had to laugh … The Jon B-Mike Satsky URL story had heads shaking and tongues wagging as the blogs took pleasure in what appears to be a lowlife clubland grift. Jon B is by all accounts a very successful club operator with a number of properties and a lot more coming in the near future. He is absolutely dedicated to defining himself as an honest, intelligent, and gifted club/restaurant operator. But the blogosphere is buzzing with negative reports of a below-the-belt hit on Iron Mike Satsky. According to the reads, the Greenhouse gang took the domain and had it direct people to the Greenhouse website. Provocateur is the new spot my designer pal Lionel Ohayon is producing for Mike and partner Brian Gefter. Mike and Brian had a winner over at Stereo before it was shuttered. After my successful mediation last week between queen Brittany Mendenhall and Unik Ernest, who she called the “MC hammer of nightlife.” I was feeling very Bill Clintonesque. I called Jon B and said, “You have your new restaurant, Juliet, named after your mom, with top chef Todd English, and it just seems ridiculous to have this petty game play out online.” He agreed and told me to come meet him at Juliet.

When I arrived at Juliet, Jon had already spoken to Mike Satsky, and peace was made. Mike told Jon he never compared the Greenhouse crew to “Payless” in relation to his future boîte. Jon explained how an ambitious “intern” had grabbed the URL as a joke. Jon told me, “There’s no point in playing childish games … I’ll give it to them as a gift.” We were sitting in Juliet, co-owned by my friend turned enemy turned friend again Todd English. Todd and I had a “childish” fight in the blogs a bit back, but now he has expressed genuine interest in rekindling our friendship, and I am feeling peaceful myself. Jon is taking a conciliatory approach as well, and Todd and I will be having dinner real soon. I’ve been in Juliet a lot lately. It is a very ambitious design with a great deal of reflective surfaces. The columns, low walls, banquette backs, bar … even the floor is mirrored tile. It’s not my thing as it feels a bit cold to me, but Jon told me “it looks great with the lights down low.” Sounds like my last girlfriend.

A couple hours later, Mike Satsky responded to a call for comment. Mike usually shies away from talking to bloggers, and I was honored that he felt I was to be trusted. He explained how “Jon’s Greenhouse and what I do is very different, like apples and oranges.” I said some clubs might be heaven for some folks and a nightmare for others. Patrons at Pacha or Cielo wouldn’t see the value of a Jane or Avenue, and for the most part vice versa. They all are great clubs. Mike says “there’s plenty of room for everybody,” and his door at Provocateur will be like Fort Knox”; it will be “a place like no one has seen before … I will not disappoint.” Rumors of a just under $5 million build-out and acoustical treatments to protect hotel guests from noise being done by a former NASA engineer were not addressed in my conversation. Mike said they will open “in around four weeks, maybe as much as six.” “There’s room in this town for everyone, every type of club … Jon is doing something completely different, and I wish him well.” Provocateur is already proving to be provocative.

Remi Laba and Aymeric Clemente have gotten the go-over at the Merkato 55 space and will make a go of it without Kiss & Fly and Bagatelle partners David Graziano and Corey Lane, who are themselves making a go of it without them over at Gansevoort 69. This sounds like an incident waiting to happen, but all are really great people — and as long as Jon B’s “intern” doesn’t get into the mix things, will remain civilized.

The Mark Packer acquisition of the Au Bar space, across from his totally successful Tao, seems to be complete. Sources say that old Park Avenue South brand Canastel’s will be the restaurant entity, while the rest of the space may be a lounge or corporate event space. It’s a can’t-miss, as it could easily survive on the overflow from Tao.

GoldBar had a little facelift, with a couple of well-placed disco balls, a tweak of the mesh curtains, and an overall dimming of the lights making the space a bit more frenetic. I hung out with door king Jon Lennon while a beautiful crowd of fun-loving and well-heeled patrons partied hardy inside. GoldBar remains one of my favorite places, and Jon Lennon has really stepped up and made the place his home. Here is a hotspot which handles its door in a way that the Jane Hotel should take note of. Avenue and 1Oak as well are uber-desirable places to get into, as much so if not more than the Jane. They control their door, have few patrons outside, and control the uncontrollable cab honking outside. The Jane’s problems outside are solvable, and I understand that they are taking big steps to do just that. I’ll be there later to check it out.

Lastly, Paul Sevigny finally returned from his Rome concert in partnership with Deitch Gallery. In response to rumors I reported that he would be joining the crew at the Standard, he says, “I wouldn’t be caught dead walking through the Meatpacking District.”