Who’s Better at Night: Paper Nightlife Awards

Last night Paper magazine held their sixth annual Paper Nightlife Awards. It’s been touted as “our version of the nightlife Oscars” by Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Hershkovits, and we’ve been stumbling through the parties right along with them, as they nominate the best new and noteworthy names and places. A few years ago, we emerged ill and inked, “sweating vodka with bright red hearts, swastikas, and the name ‘Audrina’ scrawled across a back in paint and permanent marker.” We’re older now, and though we’re none the wiser, we’ve decided not to post about the curious relics we woke up with this morning. Instead, we’ll simply recap who/what won, and what we’re looking forward to trying out in the near future.

BEST PARTY The Winner: Flashing Lights at 88 Palace Presented by: Byrdie Bell, Peter Davis, and Luigi Tadini

BEST RESTAURANT WITH A NIGHTLIFE SCENE The Winner: Kenmare Presented by: Jared Eng and Rachelle J. Hruska

BEST HOTEL WITH A NIGHTLIFE SCENE The Winner: The Ace Hotel Presented by: Amanda Lepore and Cazwell (Editor’s Note: Was up against the Standard Hotel and won!)

BEST DESIGNER WITH A NIGHTLIFE INFLUENCE The Winner: Charlotte Ronson Presented by: Andrew Mukamal and Becka Diamond

BEST BAR/LOUNGE The Winner: Coco 66 Presented by: Hannah Bronfman and Apache Beat (Where Brooklyn at?)

BEST CLUB The Winner: Le Bain Presented by: Diane Birch and Andy Shaw

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS Presented by: Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman

BEST PARTY The Winner: Freedom at Le Poisson Rouge

BEST CLUB The Winner: Webster Hall

AMERICA’S BEST PARTY The Winner: School Night at Bardot, Los Angeles

(More Winners @ Paper)

Mark Zuckerberg Needs Your Help: What To Do This Weekend

Tonight my itinerary is as follows: grab an after-work cocktail somewhere near the L train (I’m going to guess Crocodile Lounge) and head over to Williamsburg to indulge in my dark side, the side that lusts for tacos and sour cream at La Superior. The restaurant rape and pillaging will be followed by the Ra Ra Riot show at The Music Hall of Williamsburg. A simple Friday night, but you can have a rager, if you so please. In fact, I would advise you to crash The Social Network afterparty at the Harvard Club, because lord knows they’ll need you. Or make a reservation at The Hurricane Club and sip from a coconut before you set out to harass David Chang at Le Grand Fooding tonight. The night is yours. But if it were mine, all mine, and I didn’t care about things like calories, or money, or sleep, and if I had the great power to manipulate time, here are all of the things I’d hit up this weekend.

New Openings to Try

The Hurricane Club For the Kitsch of It You may only glimpse snippets of it between deskside cocktail hour (every hour), but the Mad Men era was also the golden age of tiki cocktails, with Trader Vic-style bars in every city and town. This tiki joint from the Quality Meats peeps revels in a similar brand of inauthenticity. AvroKO did the design. Slurp booze from a coconut while nibbling ribs off a pu-pu platter.

Lincoln Bar Food Pair a splashy hypar (hyperbolic paraboloid, but you knew that) lawn in Lincoln Center with an ambitious pan-Italian resto under the command of Jonathan Benno (Per Se) and you get one hot rezzy. Hit up the bar for a quick drive by, and be the first to say you’ve already been. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Alphabet City New Bar Crawl image Bedlam The folks of Eastern Bloc bring forth stylish retro cocktailing amid stuffed bears and assorted Victoriana. Try the Bedlam Cup, with Pimm’s, cucumber, lemon, and elderflower liqueur while lounging in the ginormous main space, complete with dance floor, top notch sound, and Anderson Cooper (his BF is a partner).

Billy Hurricane’s Another hurricane trope, this bar happens to be the Mardi Gras–themed Avenue B answer to Hooters. Hooters in the East Village—it’s blasphemous! But the kitschy décor—Bourbon Street mural, porch swings, and beading—feels Disney-enough to have a gander.

Idle Hands Basement spot keeps it simple: Bourbon. Beer. Rock. Latter represented in entryway with music-flyer collage. An equally bustling spot, Idle Hands shares the space with Billy Hurricane’s, boasting more than 70 bourbons, whiskeys, and ryes.

Friday Picks Music

Ra Ra Riot Music Hall of Williamsburg $20

Hundred in the Hands Coco 66 $8

Avey Tare (of Animal Collective, DJ Set), Crocodiles, Kria Brekkan, Headless Horseman Glasslands $10

Events

Park Slope 3rd Annual Craft Beer Week 7:00PM Official Kick-off to NYCBW: Freaktoberfest $55 The Rock Shop Presented by Shmaltz Brewing Company at the Rock Shop in Park Slope, over 35 brewery owners will pour specialty beers at an open bar, while members of the Coney Island Sideshow offer special performances alongside local indie-rock bands, burlesque dancers, and DJs.

Dumbo Dumbo Art Festival Free With new Leadership and exciting venues, the multi-disciplinary festival will include visual, literary, and performing arts. The Dumbo Art Festival kicks off today, and will run until the 26th, highlighting 200 participating studios, galleries, venues, and arts organizations, countless artists, musicians, and performers with the Brooklyn waterfront as their backdrop. Check out: Bubby’s 7th Annual Pie Social, a giant bake sale that pairs well with art.

Long Island City Le Grand Fooding 7:00PM “Le Grand Yummy” $50 MoMA PS1 Entrance fee to the foodie face-off includes one flute of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, one Rhône Valley wine & pizza pairing, and one Belvedere cocktail, not to mention chefs like David Chang whooping up on San Fran chefs in this weekend’s NY VS SF competition. Proceeds from all ticket sales go to support Action Against Hunger. Through Saturday. Check out: David Chang’s Beet, Goat Cheese, and Walnut plate.

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Saturday

Music

Eels, Jesca Hoop Terminal 5 $27.50

The Boxer Rebellion, Amusement Parks on Fire, Augustines (ex-Pela) The Bell House $15

Titus Andronicus, Free Energy Webster Hall $16

Events

Nolita The Dumpling Festival Free Sara D Roosevelt Park Cookbook signings and dumpling sampling presented by Tang’s Natural. Benefiting Foodbank.

Williamsburg 3rd Ward/ The Danger Party 195 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, NY Weird, as in cool. “Explore a candle-lit loft while performers let loose. Complete with stunning music, cheap liquor, and a moment at midnight that is abjectly NSFW. There will be djs, there will be bands, there will be free/live tattooing. Arrive early to take a dip in our fire-heated hot-tub and sip free chilled champagne.” Um, sign me up.

Sunday

Music

Merzbow, Xiu Xiu Le Poisson Rouge $20

Margot and The Nuclear So & So’s, The Lonely Forest, Cameron McGill & What Army Bowery Ballroom $15

Events

Upper East Side Soul Food Festival Free Lexington Avenue between 94th and 95th Streets Soul Food Festival will celebrate local Japanese dishes—or “soul food”—unique to specific regions of Japan, showcasing the rich diversity of Japanese cuisine beyond commonly known regulars like sushi. This festival will focus on the regional specialties of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island.

Greenwich Village Oyster Sundays at Hotel Griffou $1 As a nod to the historical romance between New York City and the oyster, Hotel Griffou on West 9th Street will be offering its guests an opportunity to renew their love affair with the bivalve on Sunday evenings. From 6pm to 11pm guests can enjoy local Long Island oysters for $1 each. Chef Jason Giordano has teamed up with several oyster farmers and harvesters from Out East to highlight some of the tastiest and freshest fruits of the renaissance of the historic Long Island oyster industry.

Seva Granik on PS1, Klaus Biesenbach and Booking New York’s Hottest Summer Event

“The DFA line-up of August 7th is crazy,” says Seva Granik as small dishes of mac ‘n cheese, sliders, and guacamole are placed on our table courtesy of Coco 66. We’re sitting window-side at a private event for the Australian group Tame Impala, and Granik is talking about one of the events for Warm Up—MoMA PS1’s highly acclaimed summer concert series. Granik is part of the illustrious team of New York music industry insiders brought together by MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach to produce this year’s series. “Jump in,” Granik says, pushing the mac ‘n cheese lightly in my direction as he continues his run-down of some of the acts he’s looking forward to. “The Crystal Ark is a new band by Gavin Russom that no one has heard. It’s their first show ever. And, just from looking at their stage plot and input lists, I can already tell that they will blow people away. It’s the most complicated, technically well-put together plot I’ve seen in all of my short career.” Warm Up started years ago, but more recently it’s evolved into a premiere summer concert series, and this year’s line-up is “the biggest ever” according to Granik. “This has never gone down at MoMA PS1.” When offered beer, Granik puts his hand up in polite demurral. “I’ve got a long night ahead of me.”

Granik’s role as Bookings and Stage Manager entails managing bookings, contracting, finances, tech liaison and day-of stage-managing. The team of curators he supports are Dean Bein (head of True Panther Records under Matador), Kris Chen, (head of A&R at XL Recordings), Robin Carolan (head of Tri Angle Records), Jonathan Galkin (co-founder of DFA Records), Ronen Givony (founder of Wordless Music), and Brandon Stosuy (senior writer for Stereogum). The curatorial committee also included the support of Eliza Ryan, MoMA PS1’s new Curatorial Assistant for Performance and Contemporary Practice, as external adviser.

“They’re playing,” Granik nods to the black concert space next door, where Tame Impala has just taken the stage. At 35, Granik is tall and lanky in dark skinny jeans, Keds, and a sleeveless angular jacket that tapers at the waist. His hair is shaved at the sides. Back at the table I ask if he likes the band. He’s not sold yet. He has to listen to their music for a while to understand it before he can come to a decision. Tom, a friend of Granik’s, joins us, as do the members of The Luyas, a Montreal-based band. They order burgers. Tom says there’s a rumor that MGMT will be going on. He leaves and comes back. “Yeah, it’s just one of them. He’s jamming with [Tame Impala] on bass.”

Qualitatively, Granik’s position at MoMA PS1 is not very different from work he’s been doing over the past ten years. Beginning in 2007 with a show for Yo Majesty at Studio B, his mainstay has been producing DIY shows at completely raw locations. “A lot of curating, a lot of booking, a lot of stage managing, dealing with tech stuff, like stage plots and input lists, guest lists.” But by that point Granik had already had years of experience dealing with booking and carrying most of the workload, while touring with bands he was in (he played guitar, wrote songs, and sang back-up), one of which toured stadiums. “It was all very fun,” he says. “But it always ended up collapsing for me. Bands are fickle creatures. They are born, live, and die so very fast. Soon I figured out that I was on the wrong side of the musical fence. Bands come and go…. But the curator perseveres.” Granik is also part-owner of myopenbar.com, a site that informs boozehounds about parties with open bars in cities around the U.S.

Sarah Hooper, a good friend of Granik’s, walks in with two friends, one with an arm covered in tattoos. She owns JellyNYC, a marketing outfit that produced the well-known waterfront Pool Parties in Brooklyn. Sarah sits down and asks Granik how it’s going. They fall into easy shoptalk. Granik says he’s had a lot of work to do for Warm Up and looks down at the table. “Why don’t you get an intern, a kid,” Sarah says. “I know a kid. Carlos. He’s great.” Granik lifts his head in a swift but gentle snap. “Because a kid can’t send emails to clients,” he says. “A kid can’t talk to agents.” Granik orders a crepe with dulce de leche. Cutting it up, he tells me to try some and that it’s delicious. He looks around the table. “Looks like we’re deficient in forks,” he says, and hands me his. A woman walks through the door and stretches her hand out to Granik. “We met at SXSW,” she says and smiles. “We slept on the same floor.”

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We get into Granik’s blue minivan. He had planned on us going to a goth party, but instead he drives us to the Manhattan Inn in Greenpoint, where he lives. He drives calmly and looks up over the steering wheel with a steady gaze. I ask about the curatorial meetings. “It’s a very, very scary room to open your mouth in,” he says. “I literally took notes as Jon Galkin and Kris Chen were speaking. Those guys are legends. Those two, and Ronen Givony, of LPR; those guys know pretty much everything that anyone in this town knows about the music business.” I ask if Klaus Biesenbach attends the curatorial meetings. “He showed up at the first two, just to make sure everything was running smoothly. He doesn’t come anymore. He doesn’t need to.” Biesenbach left for Europe almost immediately after the initial round of meetings and his assistant Jocelyn Miller served as liaison between Biesenbach and the group, handling permissions and out-of-the ordinary contracting. Granik says Biesenbach was mostly involved in creating the team. He “curated the curators,” and made some very serious decisions regarding the direction of the series and its scope. From that point, the committee acted with relative independence.

“I think that the driving reasoning, the logic behind the curating was diversity,” says Granik. “It’s important to the institution, this year anyway, to be as wide-ranging and far-reaching in its decisions on music.” I’ve seen pictures of Klaus Biesenbach and he looks austere. I ask Granik if he finds Biesenbach intimidating. “No!” he says. “He’s very friendly. And funny. And he’s good at putting people at ease. I’ve met him before and it was always very light-hearted conversation, mostly about my clothes. What’s great about Klaus is that he knows how to socialize on every level. I’ve realized that the most successful people are those who are able to socialize with anyone. That’s a skill I’d like to be able to perfect.” After we park, Granik pauses by the car. “I only wish,” he says, “that I had started this sooner.” Four pale salt-rimmed margaritas are placed on our table at Manhattan Inn. No one has ordered margaritas. Granik clinks glasses with Sarah and her friends. “There’s a lot of music industry people here,” Granik says. “That’s Dean [Bein], the founder of True Panther Sounds.” He points to a young man in a red t-shirt with wavy brown hair. “He’s one of the curators for Warm Up; one of the most talented young music executives around. He was behind Girls, Delorean, Tanlines. His label was bought out by Matador. He blew up overnight.” He smiles and takes a sip of his margarita. He crosses the room to sit down next to a woman with long hair and dark-rimmed glasses. “He’s going to hit on that girl,” Sarah says.

Each of the ten days of Warm Up is curated by one individual or is a collaborative process among two curators, though all curators weighed in on contacts. Granik worked very closely with all of the curators. In terms of strategy and approaching managers and booking agents, Granik learned a lot from Jon Galkin and Kris Chen. “It’s sort of incredible. I have had so much responsibility thrust upon me. To act as a conduit for the world’s most important modern arts institution’s musical series, it gives you a lot of power in dealing with people. But it’s also frightful. What if you miss? The pressure can be overwhelming.” The transition to MoMA PS1 had its glitches and Granik is cognizant of mistakes and bad moves he made initially. “I moved on some contracts when I should not have, took liberties when I should not have. The institution is a very tightly controlled collective, and it was unusual for me at first to work in such a controlled environment. But I caught up very quickly and learned a lot.” He also owes a lot to his adviser, Eliza. “With Eliza advising Klaus on who’s who in this town’s Music business, there could have been no misfires.”

A few days later I meet Granik at Home Sweet Home, “the best bar in the city” according to Granik, where he bartends on Sundays. In a black cut-up t-shirt that shows more skin than it covers, he welcomes me and tenders a frozen margarita, from a machine. “The secret,” he says, “is top shelf tequila—Sauza.” Sitting on a stool next to me, near a taxidermy bird hanging from the ceiling, Granik talks in his composed and pensive tone about what his work entails now that the booking is done. “It’s just getting more hands-on. We’re getting into the payment process, and it’s difficult since MoMA PS1 is a non-profit.” I ask how it is to work for MoMA PS1. He sits up straight, pauses, and says as if the idea just startled him, “Overnight every agent in the States knows who I am. You have no idea what it’s like to have MoMA behind you.” He sits back and smiles almost imperceptibly and regains his calm demeanor. “But it’s about the music. I’m able to do what I love. Yes, it’s priceless for someone like me. I feel very pompous right now, very self-important. I hardly deserve the honor. But hell—I’ll take it.”

Photography by Shoko Takayasu.

Industry Insiders: Cheryl’s Nick Schiarizzi as New Party Monster

What are four twentysomethings who want to dress in extravagant costumes and dance all night to do? Start their own party and wait for the masses to follow. That’s what Nick Schiarizzi, Destiny Pierce, Sarah Van Buren and Stina Puotinen did when they conceived of Cheryl (a.k.a. The Party That Will Ruin Your Life), a monthly bash hosted at Brooklyn’s The Bell House. The foursome comes up with a theme each time (Nausea, Cherylympix, Sasquatch on Broadway and Cherylween are recent examples), posts a performance-art video that serves as an announcement for the upcoming festivity and, when the time comes, throws down in a serious way. Their last event, Fright of Spring (on May 8) was based on the Stravinsky ballet Rite of Spring. More on how fake blood and a Miley Cyrus song get tangled up in the mix from the group’s sole male member, after the jump.

How they got the party started: It was beginning of the summer of 2008. Sara and Destiny were working together that day on a few projects. They wanted to go dancing, but didn’t want to go to Williamsburg, so they thought to themselves, “Why don’t we start our own party?” They sent out an e-mail to a bunch of friends. When it came time to have a party, there were four of us who were really into it. We got an offer from this little dive bar in Park Slope, the Royale, that had a back room with a DJ booth. We told them we wanted to do a Thursday night, and they were like, “Whatever.” Right from the beginning, it was way bigger than expected. We just filled up the space immediately, and everybody was blown away. It’s been almost two years. Our last party was about 500 people.

Dressing the theme: Anybody can go. It depends on the theme how many people dress up. Obviously at the Halloween party, the majority of the crowd is going to be dressed in costume. At the Olympics party, I’d say, half of the people were in costume. The last party was ’70s themed and a lot of people dressed up for that. There’s no pressure to dress up, but it’s an okay environment to do that in. We encourage it, but it’s not like you have to do anything.

What/who is Cheryl? It’s hard to explain. Not to dissect what we do or make it seem that there’s this post-modern, academic thought process that goes into everything, but it was just something that made us laugh. It’s one of those names that is so commonplace. Everybody knows somebody who’s named that, but when you sit back and think about the name itself, it’s kind of funny. Part of it is that a bunch of us are from Boston. We’d make fun of Boston accents like the way that our parents talk. We’d say Cheryl in that accent and thought it was funny. We came up with a dance that we called the Cheryl. The party’s called Cheryl. Then, the four of us are called Cheryl. The word encompasses a huge aspect of what we’re doing. At this point, it’s not really about anything specific.

On choosing party themes: There’s a Cheryl cycle that begins right after the last party. That’s where we’re coming up with the video idea. Then, we shoot the video. Then, I edit it. Then, the video comes out and introduces the theme of each party. There’s a week or two between the video coming out and the party when people are preparing their costumes and getting inspired to dress up. Then, the party happens and it all starts over again. We compare it to the menstrual cycle. When we started doing the party, I don’t think anyone was doing video promos for parties that were self-standing. Our first video was just an instructional dance video on how to do the Cheryl. Then, we just kept doing them because they’re really fun. Now, we’ve done 18 videos. We did a video shoot at MoMA with a bunch of teenagers and made a video out of that. Then, we were invited to PS1. We did a video shoot there. We had a video installation in The Bruce High Quality Organization show. It’s this group of artists who were chosen to be in the Whitney Biennial this year.

On the night of the event: We arrive at The Bell House a little early. We set up a crafts table that has to do with the theme. Sometimes we have to explain the theme to people, because it doesn’t make much sense. For example, the Nausea party. We associate nausea with ’70s yellow, orange and brown colors and remembering when you were a kid and your mother would drag you to the bank where everything was wood paneling. You’d be sitting in the back seat of a station wagon. That all just tied in together for us. At that party, we had a craft table that with bronzer make-up that anybody could put on, and frosted lipstick. We had this big photo station. At the peak of the party around 12:30 or 1am, we do a little performance with the four of us, recreating something from the video. It usually involves us puking blood out of our mouths or falling on the floor and having a seizure or something. Towards the end of the night around 3am, there are anywhere from 50 to 100 people left. It’s just the most concentrated craziness out of all the party. We end each party with this Miley Cyrus song. Everybody runs around the dance floor screaming. Then, it’s over.

On the smaller party series: In Greenpoint, we use a place called Coco 66. They have a pretty big back area for dancing and DJ booths. The whole place is probably at capacity with 200. We were offered the opportunity to have a monthly party series there every first Saturday. One issue with Cheryl is that people get so into it and have so much fun and it’s so euphoric that when it’s over people get really depressed and they want another one immediately. We’re trying to bridge the gap between parties by having one in the middle. It’s in no way competing with the big Cheryl at Bell House because it’s half the size. We encourage people to dress up because the whole party’s about doing whatever you want and looking insane. We’re calling it New Movement Workshop. It’s just for people to come and show off dance moves.

On the indescribable qualities of Cheryl: We’ve gotten a lot of great press lately, but I still feel like it’s really hard to describe what the party is like. The main thing with the party is that it’s scrappy. It’s not about going to a dance party to meet somebody to grind with on the dance floor. It’s not about listening to a DJ who shows off his esoteric music collection. It’s not about looking hot. It’s not about feeling confident because of how sexy you look. It’s this really delicate balance between total insanity and totally silly that people can buy into. People just come to this party and they’re immediately dancing. We’re all in awe of how great things are going and how things have ended up this way. We have gay guys working in fashion. We have lesbian baristas. We have straight architects. All these people are really into the party and always come and dance together. I think the common thread connecting everybody at the party isn’t really orientation or being a hipster. It’s just about a group of people who are nice and who aren’t afraid to dance. I do play a lot of disco. I think some people might say that a lot of the music is traditionally gay because of that, but I don’t think that’s true. I think music that’s been labeled as traditionally gay in the past is just really dancey. Not to generalize, but gay guys know how to dance.

Photo: Joshua Herman