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.

What’s Behind NYC’s Hottest Restaurant Clientele?

Eater’s‘s recent post, “The 12 New York Restaurants With the Hottest Clientele,” was pretty spot on. I, too, have noticed the overflow of pretties as I patiently tried to nurse my hangover at Peels; I’ve checked out the front table at The Smile; and I’ve unsuccessfully tried to keep my date’s attention at La Esquina. (Which is crazy, because who can even see in that dark cavern?) In any case, there are reasons—good, plausible reasons, I tell ya!—why gorgeous cats congregate at these locales. Check it.

Peels Anything this closely related to anal warts means people are getting it on. Also: people who stick together like some kind of secret society are usually pretty—just ask cheerleaders—and the people who vie for their attention usually have low self-esteem but fancy themselves pretty, too. I mean to reference Adam Platt’s take on the kind of tight-knit crowd that frequents restaurateurs William Tigertt and Taavo Somer’s Freemans and Peels: “And although I never had a really bad dinner at Peels, I never enjoyed anything close to that clubby, clannish sense of occasion that makes Freemans such a unique place to eat,” Platt wrote. Sort of like saying he doesn’t want to hang out with Peels because she’s the Prom queen, right?

Rubirosa Leave it to Angelo Bianchi, former gatekeeper of the Beatrice Inn, to attract his attractive friends and former Bea clientele to his (delish, truly yummy) Nolita pizza spot. Even Eater admits Bianchi is curating Rubirosa’s cool, without actually admitting it: “Think Chloe Sevigny/Paul Sevigny types.” Those “types” happen to be proprieter/proprieter’s sister of the Beatrice Inn.

The Smile Eater says “The real hotties can be found between 1:30pm-3:00pm, Monday-Thursday.” That’s when owners/rugged cowboy babes Matt Kliegman & Carlos Quirarte drop by. Coincidence?

The Lion “In this super-VIP lounge, you might see Gwyneth and Chris, Matthew and Sarah Jessica, and maybe a Ronson or two.” No kidding, Eater. Those special-people types can also afford to pay for their $105 steak. You know who else can? Pretty, young women on the arms of Amex-wielding men. Oh, and trust-funders—who can also pay to pretty up. So, yeah. Also, in the vein of “birds of a feather flock together,” the art that adorns The Lion’s walls comes from the personal collection of this woman: image

First Look: Jane Hotel & Ballroom

I entered the historic Jane Hotel (see gallery) and was hit by a wave of nostalgia. It was here that I tried my first attempt to make money at clubbing. It was at that time a decrepit hotel with a balcony all around. Hotelier/proprietor Sean MacPherson showed me where this upper level was. “It was kind of silly, as it blocked the windows.” I told him that my deal was revenue-sensitive and that I actually jumped behind the bar to replace a rather slow (in many ways) bartender. Even then, I wouldn’t tolerate incompetence. It was a rough punk crowd with mohawks, torn jeans, and stomping boots. I think the Undead, a band I managed, were on stage, or was it “Khmer Rouge”? Time and impatience burn brain cells. The party was tattooed in my cerebrum when a leather-clad hardcore menace leaped from the balcony onto the bar as I served up a couple of brews. It was bedlam, and lots of fun.

I caught up with Matt Kliegman, who, along with Carlos Quirarte, will run this spot for Sean and Eric Goode. Matt and Carlos are coming off the mega-successful The Smile on Bond Street. They are to the north-of-Houston creative set what Gitane is to the south . That’s good food and a meaningful hang among neighbors and friends who think that art, beauty, and style are important, especially at a meal. The Smile is doing breakfast and lunch right now, but they’re waiting on a beer and wine license before they delve into dinner. A private dinner party last week had all the eating blogs buzzing. Matt said he liked the way it felt but will patiently wait for the license to get it right. Meanwhile, the Jane Ballroom is opening next Tuesday, and it’s the real deal.

Coincidentally, Matt had a year-and-a-half stint as a party promoter in his youth, and it was here that he ruled the roost. My dear friend Pavan suggested the remote SRO-type hotel as a venue option. Now, Matt and Carlos cater to what I describe as a post-hipster crowd — that’s peeps who lived the tragically hip lifestyle, but their careers and social and even economic circles now ask for a different type of nighttime boite. It’s a creative crowd, or those who are drawn to that crowd.

The Jane is stunning. It is brilliantly functional. It is fun. I love every inch of it. It is comfort taken to a new level. It is to me a cross between the old Spy Bar and Rose Bar. Wass Stevens said to me the other day, when describing the magnificent Avenue, where he hosts the door: “If you don t remember Spy Bar, maybe you don’t belong.” I think the Jane Ballroom will appeal to a broader crowd, and that analogy really won’t apply here — but I just wanted to quote Wass. There are lots of hiding places at Jane. I was surprised there wasn’t an outdoor space, but then Sean showed me one under development. Jane Ballroom is a lounge with the feel of a grand hotel lobby. It’s the kind of place where I would order a sidecar even though I’ve never tried one. There will be a Monday movie night from “up the river,” and maybe something live on Tuesday. The place will open at 6pm ’cause it’s got those chops — and it will go late because the public will not want to go home, ever.
The Tragically Hip Tickets

Carlos Quirarte Opens The Smile

There is so much chatter about The Smile at 26 Bond Street. The blogosphere is abuzz about this concept of general store/cafe/tattoo parlor, and when I took a tour back in February, I felt then that this was going to be a special shop. So this morning at 12:30 a.m., co-owner Carlos Quirarte and I had a chat. I asked him what he felt like less than 10 hours from the opening, and he told me that after 9 months of trying to make things perfect he had “only a little anxiety. … I’m psyched to be opening, and I feel at ease because the place has an amazing crew.” The Smile will open only for lunch (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) for the first few weeks, with a limited menu.

There are a series of interesting coincidences and stories that make you feel like the karma gods are on Carlos and his partner Matt Kliegman’s side. For example, when they approached Melia Marden to run the cafe, they didn’t realize that her parents had lived in the building in the 70s before she was born. In addition, the coffee maker is a rare 1963 Faema e61 that previously belonged to Jeff Johnson, who ran a 70s-style motorcycle shop in Los Angeles that served coffee on the side. He was this amazing barista, and the story is that his coffee began to sell so well that the lines of people overwhelmed the motorcycle/scooter/moped business — which is the business that Jeff really wanted to be in — so he loaded up a very old Toyota truck and chugged the machine cross-country for his lucky pal Carlos. He didn’t trust shipping. Anyway, Carlos hired barista Jill Cuticello to run the coffee program, and John Freeman of Lovely Day will run the front of the house. Carlos feels that he’s someone who “really gets the small cafe vibe.”

One of the things Carlos is very enthusiastic about is the fireplace mantle. Different artists will hang art over the mantle and display DVDs, CDs, books, and other such items that inspire them, and these items will be for sale. This month, New York “scene” artist Nate Lowman has a painting hanging, and next up will be photographer Stephen Shore. Carlos says that he “has been connecting people for years, ” and hopes that “it will happen organically every day, and that The Smile will become a gathering place for creative people.” Well, he’s up at 12:30 a.m. the night before the place opens talking to me. He is unstoppable, and The Smile seems destined to be a winner.

Photo: Patrick McMullan