“Cool,” a hybrid party-performance, debuts tonight at 54 Below in Manattan’s Theater District. Ex-theater performer Richard Kennedy (Wicked, Fosse) conceived of “Cool” as a way to celebrate two seemingly disparate scenes: downtown nightlife and Broadway musicals. The inspiration for “Cool” harks back to the decadent days of Studio 54, exploring how the spirit of revelry suffuses creative culture.
Juliana Huxtable is set to DJ the event, sharing the stage with La’fem Ladosha, Neil Haskell (SYTYCD, 9 TO 5, Bring it On), CUNTMAFIA, Brian Charles Johnson (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), Jessica Hershberg ( Little Women, Cinderella), Lesley McKinnell (Wicked), Rahel, Preston Boyd (Bullets over Broadway, Big Fish), A N M L, VIOLENCE, and Kennedy. With that lineup like that, who knows… maybe the theater kids were cool all along.
“Cool” premiers at 54 Below on 54th Street in Manhattan at 11 p.m. tonight (June 19).
The smoking bans are all just so boring, aren’t they? Which is why the opening of this unapologetic homage to that glorious stick of rolled tobacco known as the cigar resounds with such…cultural gravitas, shall we say? The swank new Cigar Room at The May Fair Hotel has rebellion in its soul. And far from some old-masters-and-Chesterfields interiors, Graham Cox’s design is classy but cheeky, with swing chairs, suggestive day beds and–would we kid you?–chainmail mesh walls.
A variety of forty cigars are on offer, from the viral Cuban Behike 52 to the more elegant Hoyo de Monterrey. A bottle of the Voyage de Delamain Grande Champagne Cognac will set you back the price of a late-model Jag. But when enjoying a good puff, who thinks about the prices? For as Thomas Mann so eloquently put it, "With a good cigar in his mouth a man is perfectly safe, nothing can touch him, literally." An exaggeration, perhaps, but we’re willing to go with it.