44 Years Since His Assassination: MLK’s Words Still Need to Be Heard By Nightlife World

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It was on this day in 1968 that Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered. His life is celebrated on the third Monday of January near the date of his birth, the 15th. This is a nightlife column and I will deal with that narrow window in regards to Dr. King’s legacy. Despite a black president and a supreme court justice and many milestones, black youth are still snuffed out in random acts of ignorance and/or hate, and black role models mostly play with some sort of ball. Again, I’m just a nightlife blogger so I will keep to what I know. I know Martin Luther King’s birthday falls on a Monday and so clubs usually make much-needed loot off the 3-day winter weekend. For most operators, rememberance stops there.

I see an industry where it seems that there are even less black people in power than, say, 10 years ago. Racism in upper management, the job market, and at the doors of top-notch clubs is still rampant. The answer from one player was that his joint is not racist at all – the motivation for entry isn’t really black or white or yellow, just green. If a person is buying bottles his money is, within reason, good. There is always the qualifier: those if’s, and if he is within reason to justify what really happens. The percentage of non-whites in the perceived best joints does not reflect reasonable racial policies.

Out in Bed. Stuy. this past weekend for the Awards Ball, my companion and I were two of possibly half a dozen "white" people among the thousands. Although those kind of ratios are rare, I have been in supposedly chic NYC spots and seen only a handful of non-whites amongst the crowd. Of these "lucky" few, most were models or well-known atheletes or musicians with very small entourages. As far as staff, a handful of non-security personnel keep it from being obvious. One dude told me that "they" aren’t turned away; "they" just don’t show up. I wondered if "they" knew not to show up because "they’ were denied entry when the place first opened. "They" probably talk.

It was refreshing to see a black doorman at Southside, a place I visited once a few years ago with a beautiful, 6-foot, educated black woman. On that night, it was just her and a couple of promoter-types that were non-white inside. She noticed and was taken aback. In a column around the holidays that year, when I was giving out gift ideas for club operators, I offered them "Brotherly Love." Brotherly Love is still mainly missing around town and It just isn’t cool. I think club operators should take a minute or three on a day like this to remind staff of their obligations to move off these disgusting norms. They may want to practice their speech in the mirror before…and after.

From Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech:

"All I’m saying is simply this: that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

DJ Manero on His Art Project at the New Museum and How He Got His Name

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We are always defending the ‘city that never sleeps.” The people who keep it awake, and the bedroom-community types who want it to turn in early and watch Leno, are always at odds. Nightlife supports hundreds of thousands of people, many of which are using their night careers to chase other dreams. There are the classic waitron types trying to be actors and the bartenders who paint up a storm when not swinging liquor. Roman Grandinetti, also known as DJ Manero, has deep club history and is now using all his skills to curate an art project described as Sound Graffiti.

"…the creator of CNNCTD+, Roman Grandinetti. In one month’s time he put together 100 influencers to create playbuttons for the New Museum store on May 1st, created a scavenger hunt series of SOUND GRAFFITI outlets around the city including the heart of the Fashion District and a wall on Kemare with Jason Woodside. This team has created a lot of content over the last month with connections to over 100 influencers including Pharrell Williams, Maria Cornejo, Cindy Sherman, Santigold and other icons like George Lois and other cool fun NY hits like Katz’s Deli and The Meatball Shop.”

On Tuesday, a private party at the New Museum will preview the public opening on the following day. They say the "goal of CNNCTD+100 is to showcase a cross-section of New York City culture that highlights the multidisciplinary connections of contemporary culture. Music inspires fashion, street art inspires fine art, youth inspires establishment."

It will be "Roman Grandinetti (a.k.a DJ Manero) and his team selected 100 heroes and creative leaders from various disciplines to participate in the project.

Participants: Mario Sorrenti, Maria Cornejo, Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Minkoff, Michael Pitt, Cindy Sherman, Pharrell Williams, Scott Campbell, Santigold and iconic NYC personalities and companies including Katz’s Deli, FourSquare, and Ricky Powell…. The complete list of participants won’t be revealed until the night of the event but includes dozens of big names and surprises…The public can buy tickets @ the new museum store online to come see  the show as well. There’s only 100 spots open to the public as well."

I caught up with Roman and asked him all about it:

What will people be seeing/hearing?
I think what people will see in the show is a wide range of talent and the vastness of our creative vision – we have chefs, models, DJs, producers, curators, photographers, fashion designers, creative geniuses, and we hand- selected a few people who we think are next.

Tell me about yourself. Include your journey through clubland.
I’m 25 years old and I’m a Brooklyn-born Italian. I started out promoting and selling tickets at around 13 for every teen night. Later, when I turned 18, I worked for Rob T and later Uriel – who I believe introduced us for the first time years ago. He let me pretty much run my own nights and put me at the door. My family decided it was not a good idea for me to go to school in Brooklyn anymore -and I got into High School of Art & Design. Going there changed my life. It opened my eyes to not only a whole new world, but it introduced me to a whole another world. I stopped promoting, got into the whole downtown thing – graffiti and sneakers.

I was one of the first employees at A Bathing Ape. I met every rapper you could imagine in the place. While I was there I started a sneaker event called Soledout NYC. I put three of them together from what I learned from promoting. The events did around 2,500 guests per event. The money gave me leverage to fully stop  promoting and kinda enjoy nightlife for myself. I started going to PM, Butter, Cain, Lotus all of them while being underage – haha. At that time I started to look into the DJ stuff but didn’t take the leap yet. At A Bathing Ape, Steve Rifkind walked in and changed everything. I started interning at Universal music, servicing records to DJs – which really got my gears turning to become a DJ. I was hired a month later. I worked in the marketing department with Akon, Wu-Tang, Asher Roth and had an opportunity to work with Marc Ecko and Swizz Beatz.

While I was there, Steve was a huge supporter of mine and helped me out a lot. I published my first magazine’ it was this 6×8 FREE pocket-sized magazine, dubbed connected – it had Swizz Beatz, 50 Cent, Pharoahe Monch, and Mark Ronson on the cover. I soon left Universal and worked on connected, which is now "cnnctd+”. I became very close to DJ Vitale and Sal Morale, who opened the door to the DJ world to me. They introduced me to the model promoting world. Vitale and Tommy Virtue taught me pretty much everything I know and made sure I knew what I was doing before I even played in a club. I worked with childhood friend Gezim for booking help and Uriel gave me the name "Manero” because everyone used to call me “Young Travolta” since I looked like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Also, I grew up in Bensonhurst/Bay Ridge and walked the same blocks he did in the movie.

So your DJ career took off…
DJing became my main source of income. Vitale continued to push me to get better at DJing. I truly feel he’s one of the most talented DJs in this city, and I would spend hours watching him and Sal. I’d listen to all of DJ Riz’s mixtapes, trying to develop my own style, which Vitale and another big help in my career (Mel Debarge) told me would come in time. I had the opportunity to play every venue in the city, was handed money to play a record, and played for countless celebs. Some of the celebs I was allowed to talk about and some I was never allowed to.

I tried the traveling thing and, for a short period of time, really was a career DJ. I was traveling weekly and ending up in rooms I would NEVER step foot in and it kinda made me see a clear vision of what I want to do and what the life of a traveling DJ is. So I started to save a bit, get a bit more into music production, and really focused on creating a career. I fine-tuned the gigs, did what is a right fit for me as a DJ / trying to mold myself. I bought an office/studio space in Chinatown. I started out just doing remixes and slowly looked for some interesting work to work on during the day to stay creative. Got cnnctd+ rolling again and my girl’s father introduced me to the owners of playbutton to maybe help out with some marketing stuff.

Since the day we met, I have done a collaboration with HBO and How to Make it in America, created one of the first interactive street murals on Kenmare between Bowery and Elizabeth (across from the recently-opened Ken & Cook), and now I’m producing a show of 100 influencers at the New Museum on May 1st. Thus far, I have Cindy Sherman, owners of The Meatball Shop, Mark Borthwick, The Fader, Mario Sorenti, Illesteva, Andre Sariva, Katz Deli, and Scott Campbell – all showcasing works alongside myself. My girlfriend Bibi Cornejo who is a major help and supporter of cnnctd and Sal Morale.

What’s the New Museum event going to be like?
The point of the show is built off of what NYC nightlife used to be – a collective group of influential people all in the same room at the same time, all looking for an interesting time/conversation. Hopefully everyone leaves inspired, creates an idea for something new, and everyone gets to meet some interesting people

Fourth of July Nightlife: Behind the Scenes

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The Fourth of July weekend looms, ready to empty Manhattan of its denizens of the night. Quite a few people have cut out already, leaving club operators in a quandary. With so many of their regulars away in exotic lands, how do they generate income to pay their bills, and how do they make staffing decisions? In an age of instant awareness, clubs that are crowded will become known to people who find themselves in empty rooms. A text, a tweet, or a call has them scurrying to find the crowds, and a well-run and established club has a leg-up on competitors.

The smart clubs employ PR companies that get the name and image of their clients to the masses both locally and throughout the world. While Manhattanites are off to vacation hovels, New York City becomes a destination for millions who want to see the fireworks and enjoy the hot town. These tourists with no job to wake up to want to go out to party. They almost always have only a name from a celebrity sighting, a synopsis in a city guide, or the word of their hotel concierge to steer them to the right nightclub. These concierges are heavily swayed by what they read in Page Six and New York Magazine.

PR companies worth their salt keep the name of their clients out there. Nightlife sections of lifestyle magazines and blogs are constantly updated with images and blurbs to attract those not normally looped in. Concierge outreach programs are used by the smart venues. A rep from the club visits chic hotels regularly and establishes relationships.

During the normal course of business throughout the year, the guests of these concierges are given preferred treatment for entrance and often other incentive-filled deals, like discounts on bottles. These concierges are sometimes tipped back by clubs for sending spenders their way but get much of their loot from satisfied customers. On weeks like this, when tourist dollars are the salvation, these concierge programs can save the day. Tourists don’t have work for days to come and are raring to go, eager to spend beaucoup bucks in places they have been convinced are ultra exclusive.

The best joints in town will lower their standards to fill their rooms. It is an opportunity for those allergic to the Hamptons and other cricket-heavy lands to get into places that normally exclude them. It can set the tone for a relationship with a doorman and club staff and ease entry going forward. Door people welcome familiar faces who have proven themselves to behave "correctly.” A borderline "no" can become a consistent "yes" if an effort to impress is made. Operators have a hard time staffing long weekends. Their employees, like most people, have other places they’d rather be. Staff are told in advance to not even think about being MIA, as operators can’t predict how busy or not they will be.

I will see the fireworks from the roof of the Tribeca Grand Hotel where there are stirrings of a rebirth of its traditionally vibrant nightlife culture. I have attended a couple of swell events there recently and I hear word of more to come. It has always worked for me. Multiple rooms, great sound, delicious drinks and even food, and the sexiness of the atrium and rooms up above have made me a regular over many years.

On another note, I was completely captivated by the new Wes Anderson flick, Moonrise Kingdom. I advise you stop reading this right this second, leave your house, and head over to your nearest cinema and see this film. Hell, quit your job…go now. Yes, I am that age. Yes, I had one of those Davy Crockett hats and I was the nerdiest, bespeckled scout. The world of my New England summer youth is there to be seen. I even had an eternal love that lasted an entire summer. I camped out, was bullied and fought back, and thought I knew everything about the trees and the winds and the animals of my wooded universe by the infinite lake of our seasonal retreat.

I’ve gotta go…I’m gonna see it again.

Terry Casey: “There Are Big Changes Happening in Montauk”

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I don’t do The Hamptons. Although I have great friends that love the prospect of driving hours in a car through the cultural desert of Long Island to hang with people I strive to avoid in Manhattan while eating $50-a-pound potato salad, the idea has never appealed to me. I have done it and done it right, but I do remember spending a year there one night . I did design Dune at one point but never actually graced it with my divine presence. During the winter months, my clan treks out to Montauk to huddle around fireplaces and beachcomb. The water, the light, and the lack of crowds made me a believer years ago. I’ll be there come the cold. Apparently they have built this wondrous place called The Montauk Beach House and I have been told it’s a game-changer. My pal Paul Sevigny DJd there recently. When I was considering a story about Bastille Day and looking through my online emails and evites, I saw a big name pop out at me: Paul Oakenfold, one of the top DJs in the world. He’s doing a gig at The Montauk Beach House this Saturday, July 14th at 3pm. Take a look at the pics – it’s gorgeous. My pal Terry Casey is booking the joint and DJing as well. He called me about playing there come August so I asked him what the heck is going on.

What the heck are you doing out there? Who have you had already and who’s coming up and who’s coming to this place and …tell me all about it!
I GOT ASKED BY EVENT SOCIETY (RENE AND FRANCOIS) TO BOOK AND PRODUCE A MUSIC SERIES AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE WITH A GOOD FRIEND: MATT THOMAS. HE’S A BRIT AND WANTS GOOD MUSIC AND IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE. OWNER CHRIS JONES ALSO DESIGNED NIKKI BEACH, AND MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE FEELS LIKE A MIAMI HOTEL SO IT’S A NEW CONCEPT IN MONTAUK…RENE MANAGES OPERATIONS AND DOES IT WELL AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE; HE’S  THE OWNER OF EVENT SOCIETY. IT EXCITED ME TO DO AS I’VE BEEN GOING OUT TO MONTAUK FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS – I FEEL MORE AT HOME THERE THEN IN THE HAMPTONS. I USED TO DJ IN HAMPTONS CLUBS AND FEEL LIKE I SOLD MY SOUL. I STILL DO A FEW WILD HOUSE PARTIES IN THE HAMPTONS, BUT THAT’S VERY DIFFERENT TO THE CLUBS…THE CLUBS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE NOT MY THING. MONTAUK IS MORE LAID-BACK AND LOT OF SURFER CULTURE …THERE ARE  BIG CHANGES HAPPENING IN MONTAUK; PLACES LIKE SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S HAVE SET THE PACE…LOTS OF FRIEND HAVE MOVED TO MONTAUK AS THEY PREFER IT.

WE DID A SOFT OPENING WITH PAUL SEVIGNY LAST WEEK AND HE PLAYED A LOT OF GOOD ROCK, SOUL, FUNK ..HE ROCKED THE PLACE….A GREAT DJ AND REAL RECORD COLLECTOR PLAYS VINYL AND LOTS OF IT. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HIM OFF THE DECKS. I GAVE UP AT 4AM, HAHA. I PLAY ROCK AND ELECTRONIC SO IT’S NOT ALL ONE STYLE …AND THE MUSIC SERIES WILL MIX UP BANDS AND DJS…ALL SUMMER…

FOR THE DAYTIME BY THE POOLS, WE HAVE DJS LIKE BRIDGET MARIE AND SARAH RUA. THEY PLAY MORE HOUSE, AFROBEAT, SOULFUL VIBES.I’ve rarely enjoyed the music out east during the summer.. you told me Montauk is different… tell me why that is.
MONTAUK IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU FEEL AWAY FROM NYC. THE HAMPTONS FEELS LIKE AN EXTENSION OF PEOPLE’S BAD BEHAVIOUR IN NYC…PEOPLE ARE STILL RUSHING AROUND…YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE CHILLING OUT…ON VACATION.

I GO TO PLACES LIKE BANZAI BURGER AND FEEL LIKE I’M AT THE BEACH OR IN THE CARRIBEAN.  BANZAI IS ALEX DUFFY AND STEVE KASUBA’S NEW PLACE OUT EAST. THE FOOD THERE ROCKS…I GOTO SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S. THEY’RE ALL GREAT PLACES AND ALL VERY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.

Are the townies coming or is it a hipper visitor, vacationer, weekender?
ALEX DUFFY LIVES IN MIAMI AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM MIAMI, NEW YORK, AND OUTSIDE THE US COMING IN. AND, OF COURSE, THERE ARE LOCALS.  ON WEEKENDS A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SICK OF THE EVENTS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE COMING TO MONTAUK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT…IT’S THE SAME REASON PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN GO TO WBURG …THEY’RE OVER MANHATTAN AND ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LESS CHEESEY.

At the end of the summer, will you try to continue this series in a NY venue? How would you describe the state of NYC clubland?
I’VE BEEN APPROACHED TO DO MORE EVENTS IN NYC AND MIAMI AND I HAVE PROJECTS IN MUSIC IN THE WORKS. I LIKE THAT THERE’S MORE CLUBS BOOKING MUSIC ACTS AND LESS MODEL PROMOTERS …BUT NYC NEEDS MORE BALANCED MUSIC AND SOCIAL CLUBS. I WISH THE FESTIVALS WOULD BOOK MORE LOCAL DJS…WE ARE BOOKING TALENTED LOCALS LIKE JESSE MARCO ,CHAINSMOKERS, DJ VIKAS, JULIO SANTO DOMINGO, KRIS GRAHAM, LIQUID TODD, SHORTY, AND MANY MORE..THESE GUYS ARE LOCALS AND TRAVEL THE WORLD.

Paul Oakenfold. Like …how do you swing a name like that?
PAUL OAKENFOLD AND YOUNG EMPIRES (LIVE) …YES, ME AND MATT HAVE CALLED A LOT OF FRIENDS TO GET PEOPLE TO PLAY ALL SUMMER FOR SMALL FEES IN A 200-400 PEOPLE VENUE BY THE POOL….WE HAVE A LOT OF ACTS COMING LIVE AND DJING….I DONT WANNA SAY WHO, AS EVENTS ARE INVITE- ONLY..  BUT EXPECT MORE HUGE ACTS. 

Would Miss America Nina Davuluri Be Turned Away at an NYC Club?

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Walking up to such a beautiful woman with such a commanding presence as the newly crowned Miss America Nina Davuluri is wonderful. But thinking about all the negative comments on Twitter from people who were upset that a woman of Indian heritage won the crown, it made me wonder if she and her friends could—without the help of her publicist—get into a NYC nightclub.

There was a time when I would say definitely be problematic. Now, it’s a probably maybe. Racism at the door of nightclubs is rarely talked about except by the people turned away because of the color of their skin. Most clubs are extremely whitebread. Nightclubs which are sometimes thought to be so forward seem, in this regard, stuck in Selma in 1966. Simply put, it’s much easier to be white and get into a whitebread club. Am I being to subtle? Or too obvious?

In the mid-1990s, people of Indian descent began to visit clubs in earnest. They usually came in large groups with the girls negotiating with the door staff. Most clubs refused based on purely racist grounds. Clubs that embraced the well dressed and monied clientele were rewarded with loyalty. Today, there are Indian owners and employees but still, there’s inequality at the door.

Man about town Terry Casey is hitting me about action at the National Underground on the LES. On Thursday, I’m supposed to attend Undergroove hosted by Kontraband and KB Jones. Terry told me the place is refreshingly hot. I hope I don’t ruin things by telling you about it.

Tonight, I will attend the 10-year anniversary gala at Canal Room. My boy Eric Presti has his cover band Jessie’s Girl performing. Word comes from Bali that Mark Baker, who used to be the man about town here in NYC, is getting really really close to opening his Townhouse night spot. The teaser flier says September 2013 and I’m a believer. I’ve always believed in all things Mark Baker and I just won’t stop. He was the best I ever met here and I’m sure it will be magical.

Tomorrow night is Alon Jibli‘s long-running Tuesday.Baby.Tuesday party which thrives at Finale at 199 Bowery will have some notable and wonderful guest DJ’s. Run DMC’s Rev Run will be joined by the incredible Ruckus. Residents Reach and Shortkutz will also be on hand. If you haven’t seen this, I advise you to motivate.

Industry Insiders: Michael Capponi, Club Kid on a Goodwill Mission

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Like the city he hails from, Michael Capponi’s life is a story of triumph over adversity. Credited as the man who helped land Miami’s South Beach on the jet-set party map by promotiing such influential nightclubs as Warsaw and B.E.D. Miami, Capponi battled addiction and health problems until a successful stint in rehab gave him a new lease on life. His career has taken off from there, with his development company, Capponi Group, and club ventures like The Wall at W South Beach, and pool parties at the Mondrian. But after spending months in Haiti assisting with the 2010 earthquake recovery effort, Capponi decided to build a hotel there, creating a world-class destination for vacationers, while giving locals opportunities to rebuild their lives as he himself has done. 

What has turned your attention to humanitarian work?
In the mid-nineties I dealt with a lot of personal and life-altering things, ranging from major drug addiction to brain surgery and ending up in the streets for a stint. Since my recovery in 1999, I have really tried to contribute to good causes and have lived with a motto of " duty first."
 
Has your career in nightlife helped you with your efforts in Haiti?
While nightlife remains a somewhat controversial topic, it has opened more doors for me than anything I have ever done. In over 20 years in nightlife, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of people, presidents, dignitaries, celebrities, moguls, developers, publishers etc. When you start looking and connecting all the dots, you realize that all those relationships can really serve Haiti in a big way.
 
How are you putting those skills acquired during your club days to work? 
I think my main skill set is that I’m hands-on. Also, I understand development as a developer but, most importantly, I understand the art of rebranding, PR, and promotions. It’s all these key factors that are needed to help recreate a positive image for the new Haiti.
 
Are you worried that our attention on Haiti is waning?
No, I don’t see Haiti being forgotten. There was too much money donated and too much media and celebrity attention devoted to it. People like Donna Karan and Sean Penn continue being in the headlines, reminding people how important it is to stay focused on that island.
 
What is your plan of action there?
After 18 aid trips, I realized that Haiti needs to be fixed in a completely different manner. I’m developing a hotel on the southern coastline of Haiti, in Jacmel, where my focus will lay on creating tourism there, while preserving the local culture. Really, I thought about a hotel to create jobs there, and give tourists a nice place to stay when visiting. It maybe a small model, but with it I hope to lead the country into the world of self-sustainability.

Buenos Aires Dispatch: Down and Dirty at Dengue Dancing

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Lorenzo “Lolo,” Anzoátegui, Ani Castoldi, and Luciano Lasca have that very elusive, very covetable of qualities: a truly authentic style. That’s the force that transformed their Buenos Aires-based night, Dengue Dancing, from a delightfully sloppy downtown happening to the only acceptable place to be on Thursdays. The trio was lucky enough to snap up Gong, an 80 year-old disco den, while it was in between junkie and cheto crowds. Everyone from Che Guevara to Jackie Onassis has set foot in this downtown mainstay, and some of the waiters, clad in baby-blue tuxedos and bowties, look like they’ve been down there as long as the Soviet-issue light machine from 1955.

So far, Dengue is that rare and delicate thing: a club night run by friends who don’t hate each other, where a bevy of DJs come out to dance to each other’s sets while they aren’t in the booth themselves. With magazines from Europe and the States singing Dengue’s praises, it’s a wonder that things are as calm as they remain. What follows, on the eve of their hundredth party, is a relaxed conversation about being weird in Buenos Aires and the future of Dengue Dancing beyond the dance floor.image

From top to bottom: Ani Castoldi, Luciano Lasca, and Lorenzo “Lolo,” Anzoátegui.

How did you guys decide to throw a party?

Ani: One day, I was coming back from work and and a guy I knew said, ‘I’m going to a reggae bar, you have to go.’ And so I went to the owner like, ‘Hi, I want to do a party.’ And he is all, ‘okay, you have to come to me next Monday.’ You know situations where you don’t know if someone is going to kill you or if it is going to be alright? I was like, ‘what can I do to win them over?’ So I wore a really short skirt, with heels, and went alone and there are these two seven feet tall Nigerian guys. I said, ‘I want to do a party with DJs and with bands on Thursdays.’ They said, ‘let’s try it, but you have to do this every Thursday.’ So I said ‘sure, sure,’ and then ran home to Lolo and said ‘Lolo! Oh my god! I have to do a party every Thursday night.’

Lolo: From the beginning, it was just super-right. With the post-punk and with everything, it got really new wavey. And then all these people started showing up that we didn’t know, that we’d never seen! That’s what I like, people meeting. Not just sexually, just meeting and doing shit together. I’m really, really happy about this.

Luciano: It’s really important to have a space like that, where people actually like the music.

Ani: When we were meeting we were dreaming about Xanadu. And it really happened!

Lolo: Also, it’s something that is affordable to do, too. Something cheap. Not that Dengue is cheap as it used to be, but still. And all the cool kids drink for free.

And it’s good enough that, when people are attracted to it, they’ll come and pay 10 pesos for a beer.

Lolo: We’ve had shouting arguments about alcohol prices, but Gong sets those. They charge a lot of money on weekends, since old men go there with bimbos and shit.

Ani: We really have a good relationship with the owner, but we cannot fight all the time because of the prices. I’m always saying, ‘you don’t understand, everyone is poor! all the people just come to dance.’ And they’re like, ‘for every three people, only one drinks something.’ And we’re like, ‘we don’t care, we just want them there.’

And now, there are plans for a label. When you launch the label, what will you be doing? Remixing the bands, putting out their records, making sure they have more options?

Lolo: All of the above. First, we want to record and produce the albums. We’ve finished the Blue Cherrys album, that’s going to be our first one. There’s Yilet, Domingo. We want to give everyone a wider audience and really make it possible to travel, to tour.

Ani: Also, the people who are now turning 18 were born in the 90s, and they’re starting to make their own bands. And we want to be there to listen to those bands, because the ideas not might be the most sellable ideas, so we just want them to be able to record. And then, people can listen to them, and then maybe it becomes something bigger.

Lolo: 10 years ago, I was living in Barcelona, working for Rough Trade and Moshi Moshi and XL. The year 2000 was really transitional. Rock sucked, electronic music was progressive or really complicated. And what happened in 2001? The Strokes’ first record came out. And the electroclash thing happened as well; that really changed the disco landscape. So this is the year that it’s going to happen internationally, and locally. So we’re looking for those bands born in 1990.

You know that when people see Dengue, they’re often impressed because it seems quite effortlessly cool, right?

Lolo: Yes, we get told that a lot. It’s like, with the BUTT [Magazine] piece, that guy posted on our Facebook and was really over the top and said “there hasn’t been anything like this in Berlin or Paris or New York for YEARS!” And that was the third Dengue. We didn’t quite know what to do. And again, that’s because of something sincere. People come, they’re cool people. Maybe in the future they won’t come, or more will come.

Ani: We have no idea how it happens. Every Dengue, every Thursday, when it’s early and no one is there yet, we think “oh nobody’s coming.”

Lolo: If we went to Dengue and we weren’t doing the party ourselves, we’d be impressed. And have fun. And that was the whole intention! The first thing at Dengue, people went nuts, and we were like, we just wanted to play what we wanted to play. And we didn’t know if people would dance to that, but we knew we would. And that’s the good thing, to find out that you’re not a single raindrop. You’re not alone! It’s about coming back to the community feel of the scene; you need help to concentrate it.

Photos by Kasandra Lunar and Whiskii

Buenos Aires Dispatch: Down and Dirty at Dengue Dancing

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Lorenzo “Lolo,” Anzoátegui, Ani Castoldi, and Luciano Lasca have that very elusive, very covetable of qualities: a truly authentic aesthetic. That’s the force that transformed their Buenos Aires-based night, Dengue Dancing, from a delightfully sloppy downtown happening to the only acceptable place to be on Thursdays. The trio was lucky enough to snap up Gong, an 80 year-old disco den, while it was in between junkie and cheto crowds. Everyone from Che Guevara to Jackie Onassis has set foot in this downtown mainstay, and some of the waiters, clad in baby-blue tuxedos and bowties, look like they’ve been down there as long as the Soviet-issue light machine from 1955.

So far, Dengue is that rare and delicate thing: a club night run by friends who don’t hate each other where a bevy of DJs come out to dance to each other’s sets while they aren’t in the booth themselves. With magazines from Europe and the States singing Dengue’s praises, it’s a wonder that things are as calm as they remain. What follows, on the eve of their 100th party, is a relaxed conversation about being weird in Buenos Aires and the future of Dengue beyond the dance floor.

How did you guys decide to throw a party?

Ani: One day, I was coming back from work and and a guy I knew said, ‘I’m going to a reggae bar, you have to go.’ And so I went to the owner like, ‘Hi, I want to do a party.’ And he is all, ‘okay, you have to come to me next Monday.’ You know situations where you don’t know if someone is going to kill you or if it is going to be alright? I was like, ‘what can I do to win them over?’ So I wore a really short skirt, with heels, and went alone and there are these two seven feet tall Nigerian guys. I said, ‘I want to do a party with DJs and with bands on Thursdays.’ They said, ‘let’s try it, but you have to do this every Thursday.’ So I said ‘sure, sure,’ and then ran home to Lolo and said ‘Lolo! Oh my god! I have to do a party every Thursday night.’

Lolo: From the beginning, it was just super-right. With the post-punk and with everything, it got really new-wavey. And then all these people started showing up that we didn’t know, that we’d never seen! That’s what I like, people meeting. Not just sexually, just meeting and doing shit together. I’m really, really happy about this.

Luciano: It’s really important to have a space like that, where people actually like the music.

Ani: When we were meeting we were dreaming about Xanadu. And it really happened!

Lolo: Also, it’s something that is affordable to do, too. Something cheap. Not that Dengue is cheap as it used to be, but still. And all the cool kids drink for free.

And it’s good enough that, when people are attracted to it, they’ll come and pay 10 pesos for a beer.

Lolo: We’ve had shouting arguments about alcohol prices, but Gong sets those. They charge a lot of money on weekends, since old men go there with bimbos and shit.

Ani: We really have a good relationship with the owner, but we cannot fight all the time because of the prices. I’m always saying, ‘you don’t understand, everyone is poor! all the people just come to dance.’ And they’re like, ‘for every three people, only one drinks something.’ And we’re like, ‘we don’t care, we just want them there.’

And now, there are plans for a label. When you launch the label, what will you be doing? Remixing the bands, putting out their records, making sure they have more options?

Lolo: All of the above. First, we want to record and produce the albums. We’ve finished the Blue Cherrys album, that’s going to be our first one. There’s Yilet, Domingo. We want to give everyone a wider audience and really make it possible to travel, to tour.

Ani: Also, the people who are now turning 18 were born in the 90s, and they’re starting to make their own bands. And we want to be there to listen to those bands, because the ideas not might be the most sellable ideas, so we just want them to be able to record. And then, people can listen to them, and then maybe it becomes something bigger.

Lolo: 10 years ago, I was living in Barcelona, working for Rough Trade and Moshi Moshi and XL. The year 2000 was really transitional. Rock sucked, electronic music was progressive or really complicated. And what happened in 2001? The Strokes’ first record came out, and they were like 20, 21, born in the 80s. And the electroclash thing happened as well; that really changed the disco landscape. So this is the year that it’s going to happen internationally, and locally. So we’re looking for those bands born in 1990.

You know that when people see Dengue, they’re often impressed because it seems quite effortlessly cool, right?

Lolo: Yes, we get told that a lot. It’s like, with the BUTT [Magazine] piece, that guy posted on our Facebook and was really over the top and said “there hasn’t been anything like this in Berlin or Paris or New York for YEARS!” And that was the third Dengue. We didn’t quite know what to do. And again, that’s because of something sincere. People come, they’re cool people. Maybe in the future they won’t come, or more will come.

Ani: We have no idea how it happens. Every Dengue, every Thursday, when it’s early and no one is there yet, we think “oh nobody’s coming.”

Lolo: If we went to Dengue and we weren’t doing the party ourselves, we’d be impressed. And have fun. And that was the whole intention! The first thing at Dengue, people went nuts, and we were like, we just wanted to play what we wanted to play. And we didn’t know if people would dance to that, but we knew we would. And that’s the good thing, to find out that you’re not a single raindrop. You’re not alone! It’s about coming back to the community feel of the scene; you need help to concentrate it.

Photos by Kasandra Lunar and Whiskii