NY’s Top Properties For Sale: Former Lucky Cheng’s & District 36

There’s lots going on behind the scenes as various parties "negotiate" for the old Lucky Cheng’s space; a deal is a deal only when it is a deal. At District 36, closed for a few months, other various parties are trying to obtain what probably is the best room that’s come available in quite a while. Owner/operator Damien Distasio told me that “it will take a real player with real money and a real vision to make the deal.” The bottom line is that District 36 is a recent multimillion dollar build-out, with all newish fixtures. Plumbing and electrical and permitting are all intact. A "real player" can do a relatively inexpensive redux and have a brand new space on the cheap. All the heavy lifting has already been done. The District 36 folks are aware of this and are looking to get paid. Interested parties hope the price will come down as creditors, including the landlord, gripe. But spaces this size in neighborhoods where neighbors are rare don’t come along often. Someone’s going to snatch it up. My sources tell me Mike Satsky has looked, and other players have as well. I was told the operators at the shuttered Mars 2112 were interested, but Damien says that’s news to him. I know of one other serious group, but they are bargain hunting content to wait for their price.

Over at Ken & Cook/ Lil Charlie’s, Karim Amatullah, who is a man who can always talk the talk, told me he is going to walk the walk. He’s out, and here’s what he had to say: "Let’s just say it wasn’t the right fit."

On the must to-do list is tonight’s birthday bash for the ever lovely Justine Delaney at the Electric Room. It’s part of her weekly Tuesday night affair there where, with partner Nick Mark, she spins under her DJ moniker Justine D. Justine is a winner.  She has always been a bellweather of what’s hip, and I won’t miss her celebration.  She taught me everything I know about being a DJ, but obviously she didn’t teach me everything she knows.  A big happy birthday shout-out to Justine.

Can EVR ForEVR Change Midtown?

EVR, pronounced EVER, a new gastro-lounge on 39th St. between 5th and 6th Ave., is set to go with owners who are relatively newbies to the club world. Coming from a legal background, co-owner Alex Likhtenstein has thrown the dice and is nearly ready to go. My pal Carlos Narcisse provides a veteran nightlife presence to affair. The "seam" hood above Herald Square and south of Bryant Park has few residencies and buildings made to order for nightlife. Spaces with high ceilings and solid walls and floors are abundant. EVR has three levels, including a mezzanine and a basement art gallery. Its two bars are built for speed, and there is ample seating for the bottle set. A performance platform dominates the wall opposite the main bar and promises to stir things up. I visited a week ago and was impressed with the flow, spacing, and operational set-up.

District 36 has caused little harm to this neighborhood of offices, wholesale, and retail stores which is basically devoid of people on the big pay-day: Saturday night. Hotel groups are moving in as the area is easy to get to with main drags 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue defining the zone. Public transportation and parking make this an operator’s dream. While all these points are attractive, it is the dearth of other nearby venues and a tradition of nightlife that makes EVR a destination club. Destination clubs must always perform. If you travel outside of your normal path for entertainment, it just has to be good enough to justify the cab fare. Great clubs have existed and thrived off the beaten path. Bungalow 8 was the place to be long before it got surrounded by clubs and lounges. Lotus was a monster hit when the smell of meat still defined the Meatpacking District and the hoes and street folk ran the night. EVR seems to have a built-in fan base who will call it home.

Will strangers come to this strange land? Alex Likhtenstein explains why he will be there… 4EVR.

Why EVR?
I actually didn’t come up with that name myself, but it fits. My good friend Anthony, who’s very involved with the project, said jokingly a couple of months ago, “So you basically want an ever-changing place that everyone will want to go to forever.” His partner Max then said that we might as well call it Ever, and it stuck. EVR looks a lot sexier.

Tell me about your background. How did a nice guy like you fall into this business?
Funny that you should phrase it that way since neither myself nor my principal partner had ever planned on pursuing careers in hospitality. I was a philosophy major in college and planned on pursuing a career in law, while he was a finance major in NYU Stern. We both got into nightclub promoting pretty early on in our college careers, and initially I think that fun was the key motivation. At first we were both hosting separately at nightclubs on 27th street in its heyday, and then one night we were both slow and had to share a table at Cain Luxe. We instantly hit it off as friends, and once we both understood that we were catering to the similar demographic, we started teaming up on projects. It was that next school year we decided to look at things from more than a “let’s go out and get wasted with our hundred closest friends,” perspective and realized we could make some serious money.

We started expanding, building a team, and ended up taking full bar deals at venues on the weekends. Mind you, at this point, while the money was great, we were still doing it more as a side gig while pursuing our respective career goals. It was not until last year, when Ian Magid started hating his finance job and I started to get very disillusioned about the current law market that we began to think of the realistic possibility of a more long-term stay in the industry. In January we were approached by an operator about a new project in Midtown that needed someone to head the marketing and promotions. We fell in love with the potential of space (it was a vacant office space at the time) and of the area. So rather than taking a job, we countered by offering to buy the place.

Do you think that the hood’s experience with District 36 helped or hurt your chances of obtaining a license?
I don’t think District 36 affected us very much in terms of licensing because we’re a completely different animal. District 36 is a huge venue that, from what I understand, was created primarily for large-scale EDM shows. We’re an intimate gastro-lounge with an interactive concept.

What do you mean by "interactive concept?”
One thing that has consistently bothered me about New York nightlife is that while one might assume that the most exclusive and high-end venues and parties are also the most fun, the opposite is often the case. And that’s not to say that many of these high-end places can’t be fun, or are never fun. Many of them have perfected an amazing formula and those people who aren’t really in the scene are consistently wow’d by the sparklers and the bottle parades and the celebrities. But the people in the scene – the models, the consistent clients, the promoter groupies (male and female) – are often the ones you see bored on their cell phones. And why shouldn’t they be? They’ve seen it all before.

What we’ve always wanted to do was create an atmosphere where a high-end crowd can feel comfortable, really letting loose on a consistent basis; in other words, a place where everyone will be part of the party rather than just watching it. To do this, we’ve been working on programming that includes constant interactive performances and acts to engage the entire crowd, not just whoever spent the most on a table. This interactive focus, coupled with our delicious mixology, unique décor, and dynamic music, will create an all-encompassing and unique experience for our customers. You are surrounded by offices. How much does the after-work crowd figure into your bottom line?
The after-work crowd is the backbone of our business model. We’re not under any illusions about the area we’re in; it’s not Meatpacking, and all the special programming and branding that we’re putting in to make us a real destination place won’t be cheap. Our strong after-work programming will be essential in both our long and short-term success. We’re in a perfect area for after-work, and I really believe that by bringing a little downtown to Midtown, we’ll have an amazing after-work following. Moreover, we’ll be one of very few places in the Garment District catering to the fashion crowd, which will be a huge draw.

With that being said, the neighborhood is quiet on Saturday nights, no after-work scene. What will your programming be like?
We hope that our interactive concept and client relations will set us apart and create the destination. But while the neighborhood can be quiet right now, I think there’s a lot of untapped potential in the area. There are some great high- end hotels in the area, like The Setai and Bryant Park Hotel, there’s a beautiful boutique hotel being built just three storefronts down from us, and I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about other hip places opening up in the neighborhood in the coming year. So while it may not be Meatpacking, we will make sure to make the EVR experience one that’s worth a trip to Midtown. I think we’re very much pioneering what has the potential to be the next ‘it” area.

What does the place look like? What is the seating like? I hear you have a zillion TVs and a small stage.
When you walk in, you see the main dance floor and the mezzanine level, with a unique performance platform on your upper left side – the bar is on your right. Past the bar is the DJ booth, the banquettes, and the couches on the main floor, with modernist eclectic furniture in the mezzanine. We designed the place to best facilitate what we are trying to accomplish. Comfort level is important, and that’s why we opted for larger, more comfortable tables rather than just squeezing in as many as possible.

For the décor, we wanted to keep a lot of the raw elements of the space intact, which resulted in a high-end industrial style that our designer dubbed “rough-luxe.” Majestic 20-foot tall columns, bold architectural beams, and texturized walls are grazed with indirect lighting. Blackened steel, copper metal mesh, and ebonized, reclaimed-wood are used as the primary finishes, resolving many of the new architectural elements, such as the facade and the bars. The existing concrete floors have been sandblasted and coated in a highly polished epoxy resin. Metallic-embossed leather covers the banquettes, and industrial copper barstools surround the bar. A dramatic wall is clad in a geometric composition of copper, amber, and smoked mirror panels, and the main lounge features a cubist- inspired mural depicting the female form in the "EVR”-changing movement.

As far as TVs, we only have them behind the one-way mirrors that are behind the bar; this allows us to turn them on when it’s appropriate, and hide them when it’s not. The only other TV-like things that we have are our projection screens, but those are strictly for corporate events.

The Hurricane That Wasn’t: Williamsburg Responds

I’m taking a break from cleaning up the mess I made preparing to prevent a mess that never happened. For me and mine, Irene seemed to be just a come-on, as it never quite delivered the promised apocalypse. I’ve been told of tragic deaths and power outages and floods, but little hit near my home in Williamsburg. I spent my hurricane night taking walks to delis to pick up even more food that I didn’t end up needing. The walks through the wind and rain were beautiful and not too treacherous. A group of shirtless hipsters screamed to the rain gods and offered us boisterous “Hell Yeah’s.” A car with a concerned citizen offered us a ride, deli owners offered fair deals, and smokers in rain gear in doorways offered us smiles and good lucks.

We were soaked to the bone in seconds. We were loving it, and at least we weren’t home watching those fools on NY 1. They were so wrong. The shots of their crews running around to find a tree limb that had fallen became tragically comical. We should all sue them for their hysterical incompetence. CNN and the Weather Channel added to the misinformation. The only service that had it right was my Droid Weather Bug application, which forecast the more manageable storm we actually had. Next time I’ll believe them, and it will be eons before I turn on NY1. The crowds at local pubs were celebrating the storm. Union Pool was a blast.

On Sunday we were told of the felling of the famed Vagina Tree in McCarren Park. A candlelight vigil became an unlit candlelight vigil as high winds blew firesticks out. The air was fresh, the sidewalks and gutters washed clean, every dog was looking for butts to sniff, and all the hipsters were looking for brunch. Every place was jammed. War conditions were in effect. We ate at Lodge, weathering the hour wait at their General Store outlet. Some of their staff walked three hours from Jamaica, Queens to serve us eggs.That’s the spirit.

Everybody in the hood was friendly and helpful. Retailers and restaurateurs were doing their best to understand the needs of their flock, who had gone stir crazy watching old movies, staying in for a whole Saturday night. The only exception to the helping-thy-neighbor rule was at Acqua Santa on Driggs, which denied one of my crew bathroom access with a cliche “bathrooms are for customers only.” It was no small wonder that they had two tables working while the rest of the hood was standing room only. They should be arrested.

Just before she scurried to safety Friday, my editor noted that this Saturday’s Junior Vasquez Birthday bash was postponed until October 8th at District 36. Webster Hall tried to open, but thought better of it. The Nightlife: The Art Exhibition opening at the Keeley Gallery on Bowery did not happen this Saturday, and has been rescheduled for this Wednesday. I’ll be out and about again tonight unless it takes me too long to get the duct tape off my windows.

DJ Junior Vasquez Celebrates 62 Years on Earth, 4 Decades Behind the Tables

[Editor’s Note: Due to the impending hurricane and concerns about the safety of their staff and clients, District 36 has decided to close this Saturday. Junior Vasquez’s belated birthday will be celebrated there on Saturday, October 8.]

Junior Vasquez doesn’t do anything easy. Celebrating his birthday at District 36 this Saturday night as Hurricane Irene approaches seems perfect. He never did feature the ladies. The last time I interviewed Junior I asked him about a time I heard him say from the DJ booth at, I think, Twilo, that he wasn’t going to play another record until the “fish” got off the dance floor. I asked him if he actually had said that. “No,” he replied. “I said ’I’m not going to play another record until those fucking fish get off the dance floor!'”

Once there was one greatest DJ in the world, and he was Larry Levan. When Larry passed there was one clear bearer of the torch, and that was Junior Vasquez. For eons he was the man, the reason to be cheerful, the reason to go out. I was often among the thousands at 5am asking about his mood, waiting to see where he would lead us. Now there are a thousand “greatest DJ’s in the world,” most playing an electro set to their millions of adoring fans. They are rock stars with entourages, groupies, and huge tech riders. Junior is still here. He is by all accounts a gentler king. There are many who say Junior can still bring it, but he is often fragile and needs things to fit just right to be as great as he can be. The mating of District 36 with his brand and abilities seems perfect. The room is built for Junior. I caught up with District 36 owner Damien Distasio, an old school house head, about the event. He was honored and excited to host Junior’s birthday party, but wary of the storm. If it rains out he will reschedule it. Damien has booked Samantha Ronson to open and bring in an early club crowd who will then stay to hear a legend stoked to be all that he can be. I will be there unless I am swept away by wind or currents.

Steve Lewis: Happy birthday, first of all. Are we talking about how old we are? Junior Vasquez: I am 62

So you’re my senior by about 4 years now. I’m like the grandma of DJs. I guess I am blessed. I am still still doing it. Wonders never cease.

You’re right, that’s how I feel, I feel vibrant, I feel young, and it’s my craft, whatever it is that day, whatever keeps me up. It keeps us in touch, playing for the younger crowd, you know. I’ll stop when I stop, but it’s hard because its something I love. And I’m lucky. Every year when I think it’s not gonna happen, something big comes along. This party on Saturday is going to be huge.

Let’s talk about that in a second. What do you think the young generation thinks of you? It’s coming around the time when people talk about the old days, and I can still perform that, and show that, so they are curious. But the younger ones are different because there are so many fucking DJs that the music is different. What I do, as long as I don’t change anything, it’s like, I still get new crowds because it’s interesting. But when things like this happen, parties like this, they all come out and they want to experience it. But the younger younger ones, they are into, you know, dubstep DJs.

Last time I heard you was two years ago on your birthday.  I am actually coming out on Saturday to hear you and say hi.  I remember when I saw you two years ago. You were playing a much happier house set than you did back in the Sound Factory. Back then, you were really a puncher, hard, really angry. Two years ago you were very very happy and you sound like you are in a good mood today. Yeah, very good mood today. I’m not very worried about Saturday at all, it’s like I can do it in my sleep. The playlist for this Saturday is very eclectic, I’m going to play a lot of stuff from Twilo, but classics that I haven’t played in a while, not the new stuff I play. These are things I found on my old computer hard drive. These are things I have lost for a while. But they sound relevant today, a lot of mash-ups and stuff. It’s going to be a little bit more of a message. I know they are going to want to hear them. They are going to want to hear some of the top classics that I have made. I won’t be able to avoid those, because you know, I want to hear the sound system in that room.

When they were building District 36 I was being considered as the designer.  I didn’t get the gig but I remember the owners repeating over and over again that this room was a no-nonsense room, no thrills, all about the sounds. It seemed to me at the time that this room was built for you. When I walked into the room, it was like  déjà vu. They treat me with reverence. You know, they sought me out to do promotions. They just want me to get on by 1:00 and bang it out. And I know, from the people that work there, people who have been working with me at different clubs, they definitely want to hear Junior Vasquez. Its not like I have to tell them anything. I will come in more confident, going into a place where I know the crowd. By the way, today is my actual birthday, but Saturday is my birthday for sharing with my fans.

What are you using these days? Are you still using CDs? No, Flash drive. They have a CDJ-2000, which is the greatest thing. I don’t use a laptop. Times have really changed. The way I do it, I just need to put in the Flash drive with the folders. I don’t know if you know how it works, but they are linked together, so you can select different folders on the CD. The thing with computers is that you don’t have enough time to perform and be dramatic in front of the crowd. What I do is back everything up on a CD in case I change what I want to play. I cover my ass both ways.

Now I was told the other day when I contacted you and tried to reach you that you were working on something for the Rolling Stones.  How does Junior Vasquez mesh with the Stones? They are the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll band, dirty street rockers. It happened because I always loved their song – Larry used to play it – “Sympathy For The Devil,” and I was on YouTube, and Dale’s friends with the Rolling Stones, so I was able to get the opportunity. So when I was watching the live version, which is incredible – they’re on  stage performing it in the ’60s – I looked at this on YouTube so I could feed off of the live performance. But the words just seem to fit. Now I houseafied it, in the opening it’s going to be this huge long dramatic intro, then the congos will come in for three minutes. So, I am building that now. So that’s going to be my opening stuff, but the words of the song, you know “I’ve been around for a long long time”…I’ve always wanted to use it. And the live version attracted me so I contacted them and was able to get the vocals, the guitar, and drums.

What other rock and roll songs have you included in your set. Is there ever a hip hop song remade, remodeled for your purposes? It’s mostly rock. I did something by Heart. Hopefully I will get something done by Tears for Fears like “Rule the World.” Those kinds of things. Pretty much, songs are tailored. I like the rock things if the words are right. Once you hear the vocals in a rock song. I did I Superman, Lady Gaga, but I try to stay away from that because it becomes too pop. Even the early stuff, like I have real mixes of Madonna, at the same time I’m gonna keep it deep for the music to kind of be celebratory in a way, that kind of message. Of the new DJs, the superstar DJs, these worldwide, touring, sold-out-arena DJs, which ones do you feel are impressive? I know they are doing tech-house, they are more driven by that kind of thing, ravers. There’s a whole culture, there’s one guy, I forget his name, but like he’s huge now.

DJ Tiesto? Yeah part of that group. But things were sent by him for me to listen to. Believe it or not, the stuff I play is a go-around with what I have done with the old school guys, and they twist it on the computer. It’s just more… it’s not predominatly for a gay crowd, that stuff is for ravers.

Electro? Their stuff, most of their stuff is electro. I’ve never given names to anything, but it is more of that, a lot of build ups and a lot of drops, but they really rely on the internet and overseas, and UK DJs, and ones from Ibiza, those guys. That’s a corporate zone. I clearly like that, but I am the one who kind of stands alone in what I do. Well, if what I do becomes obsolete then its time to stop. I can probably spend two years, then retire, and then do classic parties. That’s a lot of money.

You’re thinking that in two years you are going to retire? Well, I would of liked to be semi-retired as of now, which I kind of am, because I’m going more into, I’m interviewing people to do merchandising, marketing, website, get my songs out there – a lot of songs I have written that have never seen the light of day – and forming them with vocals. So that’s my short-term goal. These guys become famous because they have their podcasts and its all about the internet. So I am joining that bandwagon, my site is being designed, so I can sell a lot of my memorabilia on there. There’s old timers that don’t go out but like to have memorabilia. Especially we’re going to have a blog on there. This will allow me to have a live blog thing, whatever it is, I can rant or do my comments of the day. I just want them to see a different side of me and get their opinion of me. I’m deeper than just a DJ. There is more to me than just that. So I think the internet is the way to kind of show that. And I’ve been looking into teaching these young kids how things are composed. I’ve been looking into a couple of things. I’ve been trying to do more than just sitting around and doing gigs. From week to week for 40 years, I’m about ready to go nuts, but I can not say no. If this works out, fine, I like doing the big room but the hours do not fit me.  I don’t need to be doing the $10,000 shows, but I will do a few of those. I am going to Japan on the 3rd. And I’ll go to a few places, but I need to have an alternative.

I think the Limelight movie is coming out September 23rd. I was at the premiere with you, and at the end you got up and shouted something. I couldn’t hear it. What were you saying. I don’t even remember what I shouted. It was pretty much about the way it was portrayed. I spoke to Peter (Gatien) and them after that. It just wasn’t done right I don’t think. Jen (Gatien) was here the other day, and I just had my opinion. I don’t know the back stories of anything. I just know the way I was treated by them. It really, really bothered me to see flashes of Peter then seeing him in the paper with his face all kinda, he seems stressed to me.

So there was a lot going on, and the movie only shows the bad and nothing good? People want to see the retrospective of what Peter has done. Because he became a big shot in a lot of clubs of course he was a target. That’s what happened, he was the king and he knew nightlife since before Studio 54. That was it, and they are going to do a newer version, I am probably going to have to do a dance party there in the District 36, a hardcore dance after-party for the movie. That should be interesting.

Right now, you and I have a good relationship, but it wasn’t always that way. What did you and I fight about back in the day? You know what it is, it comes from other people, and their perceptions, and it’s passed on, then you don’t know what to believe. Me of course, and my diva drama bitch, I am untrusting of people.  There are a lot of people that have the wrong impression of me. I focus on what I do, I might be a bitch at times. I don’t like promoters too much, and I don’t like people cluttering around my booth. That just comes from concentrating. When people come around and you see people in a different light. Your last interview was great, so then I thought, well this is wrong, you have to make friends.

Well, I am glad we’re friends, and I don’t think there was any beef. We just got a little territorial. Anyway, I will see you at your party. Thank you.

FV Events’ Tony Fornabaio & Brandon Voss Talk Gay Nightlife in NYC

The club world is always evolving. One year it’s bottle service, then it’s quality cocktails, mixologists, and drink menus, then it’s table service. It’s horseshoe-shaped banquettes, then it’s straight benches, then comfy couches. Flyers, then telemarketing, then Twitter and Facebook. The promoters and operators change as well. Some evolve, while other types of promoters fit for the times pop up, becoming major players. The gay market has also evolved. The community is larger, more organized, and easier to reach via electronic media.

In my past, a “gay night” might have filled up an “off night” or early week night. In my early years, Sundays were the “gay night” because—and I kid you not—the hairdressers were off on Mondays. A lot has changed since then, and the events of Gay Pride underline the social progress we have experienced in nightlife. Back in the day, names like Bruce Mailman, Steven Cohen, Jeffrey Sanker, Mark Berkeley, and John Blair dominated the boy toy invite era. There was much more of a mixed crowd—straights and gays and a blend of economic classes and races—in a time when 30,000 square foot nightclubs dominated the scene. As these super clubs fragmented into lounges and smaller joints, neighborhoods became one big nightlife entity, and places became specialized. Alas, the result was people hanging with people similar to themselves, and some say being less accepting of others. Tony Fornabaio and Brandon Voss take pride in embracing the mix. They had just finished with their Pride production and promotion when I caught up with them.

You guys must be incredibly tired after what turned out to be probably one of the most important Pride celebrations ever. Tony Fornabaio: There’s definitely exhaustion, but the jubilation of it all is still flowing. I woke up this morning and thought about the whole gay marriage equality thing being part of gay pride—it’s such an emotional moment. It was a great thing to be on the streets of Chelsea when the announcement was made and on our way to the “Rock It” party at District 36. And the whole, just the energy of it was so, so intense. It was such a total moment for gay rights, and so yeah, you wake up and you still feel surreal. You don’t really feel like it all happened.

Tell me about the Governor’s Island Bondi Beach gig, and the energy of that concert and party. Brandon Voss: We were really happy with the turnout. In the scope of events, it was so much work. We did a New Year’s Eve party with Josh Wood and we literally started on this right afterwards, just to give you an idea of how long we’ve been working on that event. It came out great, everybody loved it. I guess it was worth the work.

When I ran nightclubs, I’d have famous promoters in the gay community like Marc Berkley, Steve Cohen and Jeffrey Sanker doing nights with me. How has promotion changed in the gay community over the last five years? BV: I think it’s changed a lot. We actually work with John, so it’s funny because we joke about this stuff a lot. In the last five years, the advent of social media has really changed the landscape for promoters. It’s a double-edged sword. One on hand, you can get the message out to everyone pretty easily, but it also gives anybody with a Facebook account the opportunity to go online and say, “Hey, I’m a promoter. I’m throwing a party,” and blast it out to the world. So you really have to differentiate your products.

I see a lot of production in gay events as opposed to the so-called straight parties. Production certainly was important this weekend. Is there more competition? BV: There’s so much competition right now, even from two years ago, when we started but I’d like to think that we had a ton to do with that. I think a lot of people see what we do—right now I can name six “new” promotions or events companies that have just popped up and tried to load off at the events, if you will. So yea, our competition is steep. We deliver our role, we have more events in three days, and we have productions and performances at every single one of them.

What is the state of gay nightlife? It used to be the Roxy and now Splash has been there for a couple of centuries. Is the scene more lounge-y? Are Saturday nights at megaclubs for gay crowds still possible? BV: We’ve had an event every Saturday for two years at Providence on 57th Street. It’s a street-level dance floor and we have a lot of DJs, like the Roxy. It’s not as big as Roxy or Tunnel because that’s changing up today. To fill a venue like that every week would be difficult; the giant club scene has changed a little bit. There are so many options out there now and in terms of a big club night, Club 57 is about as big as it gets.

How do you guys approach promotions? TF: We’ve been doing the “Rock It” party for over two years now and we promote it with social media but we’re also very hands on. Promotions for our top events are verbal—you have to be out there, you have to be proactive, you have to be a part of the community and the party. It’s important to keep yourself socially active to see what’s going on out there. You’re meeting new people consistently and you need to be talking up your parties. You can’t just send out a Facebook blast, you have to build your name up. You have to have gotten to a point where people come into a party of yours because they know it’s successful, fun and worth their time. The build up to it all is work that allows you to go out and execute the party like we do. How much attention do you dedicate to setting up each event? TF: We’ll book entertainers—anything from a drag queen show to a top billboard artist, to international DJs. We pay detailed attention to who’s at the front door, and to what security personnel is going to work for us. We deal with the flow of the gay crowd versus the straight crowd. It’s a very big detail. Down to people who are gonna work the VIP room. Every aspect of a party is something that Brandon and I have to constantly think about. Who’s coming in, who’s working where, who are the go-go boys, are any celebrities coming in? Club 57 is a different aspect of Rock It because it’s more house-oriented and the main floor is the main attraction. A different crowd comes in, it’s because we have a different set of music there. Our international DJs all know that there are no big parties on Friday nights except ours, so we can’t just have pop music on Saturday night and have pop music on Friday night. …it won’t work. So we differentiate the two parties. And then the third parties that we have are very different because they become more of a mesh of everything into one than those other parties are. The preparation is weekly and a lot of work.

Do you do parties out of town? BV: We’ve done Fire Island before and we’re doing another party there at end of the summer for Labor Day. We’re working on other events to do stuff outside of the city soon.

Now, let me just get something straight here. It was Rock It that was Amalia? BV:Yes, it was at Amalia on 55th Street and then we outgrew that. They were selling the building anyway, so we moved on to Quo. Then we sort of outgrew Quo to, well actually it closed down and we moved over to District 36.

I designed Amalia and it was meant to be a restaurant, but it was converted to a nightclub. I like the fact that you were there, maybe I would’ve designed it more as a club knowing that. BV:That’s beautiful. Still to this day, one of my favorite spaces and by the end of it, we had turned it totally into a nightclub.

I was told that one of your best traits is creating a safe family environment for your patrons. TF: I think that’s one of the things that we’ve really been known for. It was very clear when we had Candis Cayne perform at the Dream Hotel’s rooftop party recently. When we had our event there, you could see the mesh of the muscle boys, the drag queens, the twinks, you have everybody and there’s this very harmonious thing that takes place. Throughout the whole weekend, but especially after Bondi Beach at Governor’s Island, if I had a dime for every time I heard it, I’d be a very wealthy person because every person said, “That party was the most fun party, whatever you guys seem to touch, it’s always a different atmosphere. It’s so much fun.”

It was very different than the party on Governor’s Island last year. Everybody just felt so together and the words ‘fun’ and ‘easy’ were all I kept hearing. Brandon and I both pay great attention to who we’re inviting, why they’re coming and to a lot of problems in the gay community as well. Unfortunately that exists in straight and gay worlds. Peoples prejudice against each other, no matter whether you’re gay or straight.

There has been a mixing of the communities. TF: Hands down, we’ve definitely got the biggest mix in New York City of any promoters. I’m from New York City, I’ve worked with Mark Berkley, I’ve worked with all the boys way back in the day—this is not new for me. I’ve been in this club scene since I was 13-years-old. We have drag queens, fashion people, the muscle boys, the twinks, the out of towners, the new 21-year-olds coming into New York City going, “Oh my god I totally wanna go downstairs and…” No one can say we’re prejudiced, no one can say we have a problem, no one can say that we have an attitude. It’s just one big, you know, gay family and people recognize it. They walk away feeling at home. It’s so comfortable. Is that another promoter’s dream, or another promoter’s idea? Probably not. They’d probably just choose one specific type of crowd and that’s good for them, but that doesn’t work for us. We want to reach everyone and we want everyone to have a great time.

Mint&Serf to Unveil Installation with Club Kid Pals

Street artists Mint&Serf, also known as The Mirf, are set to unveil yet another art installation at Garment District house club District 36. The duo will be joined by BrooklynStreetArt to celebrate The Mirf Room’s unveiling at the 14,000-square-foot dance club. Mind you, Mirf has already taken over the walls, the entryways, and the stairwells here, and now their original work will adorn The Mirf Lounge, a separate room dedicated to the Moscow- and Brooklyn-born talents. It’s been said that The Mirf is so dedicated to District 36 because it hearkens back to their old-school party days spent in the city’s quivering mega-clubs of the 80’s. It’s no wonder they’ve tapped a slew of club kids—new and veteran—to help them celebrate on February 4th.

image The Mirf Room

Return to the roots of electronic music and join Mint&Serf and BrooklynStreetArt as we celebrate the unveiling of the Mirf Room at District 36.

Music By: Larry Tee: A New York City-based DJ, club promoter, and music producer who coined the term Electroclash, helped to launch the careers of such artists as RuPaul, Scissor Sisters, Fischerspooner, Peaches, W.I.T., and Avenue D, and who’s collaborated with club kids Amanda Lepore and Princess Superstar. Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner: Artist, musician, and cofounder of the Electroclash band Fischerspooner back in 1998. Dances With White Girls: Notorious bi-coastal party animals that make incredible dance music.

When: Friday, February 4th Details: Open bar 10—12AM. Invite only.


Pacha Celebrates 5 Years

Five years of life in club years is like seven dog years, so Pacha is arguably almost as old as me. The absolutely ancient Pacha has been celebrating its five years by showcasing some of the DJs that have helped define it. There was David Guetta last Friday, Kaskade last Saturday, and Luciano will be there tonight. I will try to get there this evening, but I will for sure attend the Erick Morillo/Fedde Le Grand DJ extravaganza Saturday night. It hasn’t been an easy five, as economic downturns and over-zealous city agencies have been a constant threat to survival. Few clubs have survived, and those that have aren’t what they used to be, with, of course, the Don Hill’s exception. That joint is now way better. Marquee was around five years ago and is still going strong, although its core crowd has moved on to Avenue and Lavo. Webster Hall has been around for more than a century and still thrives as a live music and big DJ mecca. Cielo was there over seven years ago, and still is.

Pacha, Webster, and Cielo all have a large following of house music heads. Clubs that feature house music seem to remain relevant to their crowds long after the swanky hip-hop, rap, mixed, or open format joints. Those clubs designed around the table and its particular 21st century sociology lose their chic factor over time. Chic is as important as the music. Although the types of DJs that play at those slick spots are often brilliant, it is possible to bounce from club to club and hear one particular track at all of them.

The house DJs are offering a more complex set, with unique remixes and more variation. Yet to many, house just doesn’t float their boat. Except for the spectacle of it all, I rarely get excited – I can’t usually tolerate this format. I’m an old-school rocker. Rock clubs fare poorly with few exceptions, as rockers just don’t spend very much. The few great places in the borough of Manhattan – Lit, White Noise, and Bowery Electric – have a devoted following who often buy nothing more than a couple of beers. Hard to make ends meet like that. House heads are sort of a religious cult with temples all over the world. They are trained to pay admissions, a rarity in other scenes, and some embrace table service, providing a much needed revenue stream.

The US of A, for a long time, was a leader in the house world, but now we follow the Brits and the Dutch and most everyone else. Pacha is the center of New York’s house scene. I do not discount the contribution of Cielo, but it’s small and house was meant to be played in grand rooms or stadiums. Webster often books great events, but as a concert more than a weekly scene. The jury is still out on District 36 (ask me again in 5 years). Pacha, warts and all, makes us relevant in the eyes of the international dance community. The relevance there is that it attracts gobs of tourists who recognize and respect the brand from its 20-something other international locations. House heads are a loyal bunch who return for good product. They come to dance, and as long as the sound system remains sweet, and the joint brings in DJ talent, the people will come. DJs like Danny Tenaglia will close their birthday week on Sunday with their “classics.” Congrats to Eddie Dean, Rob, and all the rest of the Pacha crew who have beaten the odds and still do it so well.

Paul Oakenfold Talks Music, Plays Webster Hall On Wednesday

Walking in stride with Paul Oakenfold to Eminem’s Shade 45 studio isn’t my typical, run-of-the-mill Monday afternoon activity. But yesterday, the Sirius Satellite Radio office was buzzing with action. There were live bands, artists, and DJs everywhere. En route to the studio I was quickly introduced to former Hot 97 DJ Whoo Kid, who now hosts the Saturday time slot on Eminem’s satellite station. Then Paul and I sat down to chat about where our paths had crossed previously. I told him that in any healthy debate about the world’s greatest DJs, his name would inevitably come up. I also explained that while there might be heated debates about the top tier DJs, there is little debate about the worst DJ in the world – I’ve got that one locked up. Out of this interview came Paul’s confident proclamation that Las Vegas, long considered a cultural wasteland, is now the electronic music capital of the U.S. of A. He described it as America’s Ibiza. We talked about his upcoming album – tentatively titled Pop Killer – and the Facelift tour, which will hit Webster Hall on Thanksgiving Eve. He will spin with superstar DJ Roger Sanchez and three young artists – Chuckie, Sidney Sampson, and Nervo – who he describes as the next big things in electronic music.

You are playing the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday the 24th, in New York at Webster Hall. That’s a big club. In New York there’s Pacha, Terminal 5, and very few other large places to spin, while the rest of the world embraces house music in far bigger, and more numerous venues. Why is that? I’m asking you. When you’re DJing, what are the differences you see in New York and the rest of the planet? If you want me to answer the question I think it’s because hip-hop is far more popular here, the mixing of cultures here is far more profound than it is in Europe, and the dollars aren’t there for house clubs. Yeah. And I think that we embrace rock and roll here very strongly. It’s strange ’cause, as you said, we’ll be self-starting house music. There have been some absolutely amazing clubs over the years in New York City and, as an Englishman, I always used to look at New York and kind of put it up there. That was the kind of pinnacle of music—electronic music. But over the last few years I think it has lost its way. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault necessarily, but there are no big clubs. There are in LA, there are in Vegas, there are in Miami. It seems in terms of what’s coming out in New York—electronic music—it doesn’t seem like there’s much coming out of New York that there used to be. I don’t think it is one of the major club destinations now, apart from I suppose Pacha, which is in our scene, and everyone knows Pacha, but apart from Pacha there doesn’t really seem to be another club. Now if you go to LA, I mean you have three massive clubs all competing on a Saturday night – and these clubs hold two, two and a half thousand. And the club I do in Las Vegas, we put five thousand in there. Rain Night Club in Vegas. Yeah. Speaking to friends of mine, they’ve said its got a lot to do with people wanting to shut clubs down in New York City and not allowing people to go out and have a good time and dance all night long. It seems to be, I don’t know, is it the mayor? Well it’s many people, its real estate interests and community boards. New York, it’s an island, and people are now living in every nook and cranny and neighborhood– nobody wants to live next to a club. Even Pacha was very close to getting closed down last year by what seemed to me to be trumped-up charges. I went to the trial and it was really unbelievable what they were saying. The evidence was minimal and charges ludicrous, and yet Pacha was almost closed. You are playing Webster hall tomorrow night, which is a big club and has been there since the 1800’s. And it’s very hard hard to do a club although a venue like Terminal 5— What’s Terminal 5?

Terminal 5 is where Exit used to be. It’s a concert venue, but they occasionally do large dance events, it’s not a club. And yes, there is a difference between a venue and a club. Webster Hall is not a club though is it?

Webster hall is a club, it is run as a club. They do have a lot of concerts, but they run it as a club on Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, every day of the week they’re open with something going on. You’re right, in 1987 and 1988 and ‘89, when I was running clubs, house music was the main floor, and it was the big DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Dave Morales It’s hard to find something like that. The music has been constantly evolving Danny Tenaglia, Junior Vasquez. God, I mean you know music, it’s pitiful. Well they just opened District 36, which is a thousand person venue dedicated to house music, with big sound system. Where is that? It’s on 36 street near 6th Avenue. It also has to do a lot with the fees. DJs like yourself are now six-figure DJs—you’re getting a lot of money. The international circuit DJs are getting paid a lot of money, and at the clubs in New York, the crowd—the house music crowd— doesn’t spend a lot of money like they do at the open format joints, where bottle service and that kind of revenue stream pay the bills. A smaller club like Avenue or Provocateur, those kinds of clubs where they’re getting $8,000 dollars for a table actually book big name DJ’s now. I played Provocateur. They can afford to pay you some money, because it’s a promotional one off for them, a big DJ, playing the little room. It tells their elite clientele that they are serious about their music. They have more of a capability to generate money, or turn a profit than a big club, by selling tables. People don’t want to pay $40 or $50 to get in to the large joints, but they must, as that’s what it takes to pay for you guys. The cost of doing business, say for a Pacha, makes it difficult to support multiple places. Anyway, Your upcoming album called Pop Killer, is that it? Yeah it’s a working title. It’s just like to me, I feel its kind of a sexy name. How about the other name, the name of your tour is Facelift? The Facelift Tour, yes. I hadn’t toured for four years on my own. I mean, I’ve toured with Madonna as a support artist, and I’ve done a couple of spot gigs, but I took a residency in Vegas and I’m mainly working films. So it’s the first time in four years I’ve been on a bus and I’ve been touring. The idea behind Facelift was to bring something fresh, new and different. There’s a lot of money spent on production, it’s a visual experience, and in terms of the screens, the front of the booth the background and the big backdrop of LED screens—a massive LED wall—and we have these new fresh talents from the Dirty Dutch Boys, which is the new sound of house at the moment coming out of Holland. So there’s Chuckie, Sidney Sampson. Roger Sanchez mentioned them when I interviewed him last week. Roger was speaking very highly of them. They’re like the hottest kids at the moment: everyone’s on their case. And then there are the two girls, Nervo, who wrote and produced one of David Guetta’s big songs. They’re now also DJing and they’re from Australia. And there’s a big buzz on them. So, the idea for me is to support young and fresh DJs from around the world. There’s Kenneth Thomas from Detroit, who is an important guy in America, a young American DJ. Then there are the established names like Roger.

I saw in your biography that you worked with Red Hot Chili Peppers, you worked with Madonna, you worked with Cee-Lo. These are hip-hop artists, rock artists, pop artists. Is there going to be a time when house music encompasses all of this, to a point where the house heads say, recognize other forms of music? House-heads, at least in NYC, only recognize house. They discount every other genre of music. Although you guys borrow licks and beats and sounds from all these genres, is there a time when your set will include a Nirvana song? It already does. I’ve never really put boundaries. I think its something just, generally in life, you shouldn’t put in front of you. You can do really what you want to do. And in terms of music, I’ve always incorporated different genres of music. I mean, I’ve worked with Ice Cube, I’ve worked with Hunter S. Thompson, who was a writer, I’ve worked with U2, Chili Peppers, they’re a rock band, I’ve worked with Madonna and Nelly Furtado, in pop. Do it all as long as you’ve got integrity there, and you retain who you are, and what you do. On my New Artist album I’ve got a lot of collaborations and some of the big names. I wanted to take that element of great, great singers, with great songs, and put it on cutting edge house beats. Which is what I’ve been doing.

Are you sharing your music with the other DJs on the tour, are you getting feedback with them, is it a evolving album, is it changing as you go on tour? Are you producing on the road? Good question. I am road testing a lot of it, I’m getting feedback from the crowd, and the DJ’s. We all get on very well, which is really refreshing because right now we’re talking about all doing a track together, and putting it out there. There’s feedback from whenever, And good constructive criticism if it needs to be there. I think that’s important. I mean the Nervo girls are singer/songwriters, and producers before they’re DJs. Jackie you know he did a collaboration with “I’m In Miami Bitch,” which is now a worldwide phrase. I was in Miami last weekend, and everyone’s got these T-shirts. He’s very fresh. Point-being, he comes from a completely different action than a lot of the old school DJs, which I kind of find really refreshing, because he keeps you on your toes. He’s very out there, and he’s got a lot of energy, and I liked his ideas in terms of how he sees whats going on. Steve: What do you use? Do you use records still? I use CD because I don’t want to lose the art of DJing. I don’t personally want to be staring in to my laptop while I’m DJing. I like the connection with the crowd, I like the movement of touching and playing which comes from that old school approach. Nervo is great looking at the laptop, doing what they do. Chuckie just turns up with two sticks, puts them in scrolls down the CD player, turns up— I mean he’s even further down the road. He just brings his headphones and these two USB sticks, and puts them in and you can scroll through—have you seen that? You just scroll down and he’s got it all there. I like that idea, and I actually may go that fa,r but then you lose the whole essence of what it’s all about.

I think that leads to the question: you don’t know the first song or track you want to put on on Wednesday, night do you? I do. See most guys tell me no, they feel the room. But with the CD thing…I know when I DJ, I don’t always know the first song, I may have an idea, but after that, I’m looking at the crowd, I like the feel of searching through the records. I mean, I understand that, but my set is a little bit more arranged than that. There are parts of the set that are big movers in terms of key changes, so I would say I know the first records, I know the second record, and I probably know two others towards the end. The rest of it I don’t know. I totally agree in some respects. You’re looking at the crowd, but someone has to lead. If you suddenly let the crowd lead, then it’s like anything, someone’s got to be in charge otherwise it all falls apart. I believed in my choice of records, I believe not every record I play everyone is going to like, of course, but I think they come to hear your sound so they want you to play your music. Not dictate, not be dictated by what they want to hear. They may want to hear their favorite song. If it’s one of mine, then I play a lot of my own music. There is always new music. I’m always about playing new songs, always want to, and always will. I think people come to hear new music. For the first time they hear it, rather than expecting the same stuff all the time. When I used to book DJs, back in the old days, back in the Fred Flintstone days, there was a thing when DJs graduated or moved to producing, there was a time when they actually became less good as DJs because they pigeon-holed themselves towards a certain sound. They played records that sounded like their music, if not just their own music. How much does Paul Oakenfold have to step aside and look at music from a different angle, from a different view point, and see what the other guy is doing, and say ‘I want to go in that direction too’? In England, we’re very aware of change. We embrace new sounds and new scenes every six months. In the last year, we’ve had Dub Step and Dirty Dutch—that’s two completely different scenes that are established now, and are big sounds. You have to move, you have to develop, otherwise you get left behind. You know, there’s some big old school American—New York—DJs that you mentioned earlier on, who have been left behind. It’s because they wouldn’t embrace change. If you want to stay on top of anything, you have to embrace change. Don’t be scared of it. You don’t have to necessarily follow it, but you should embrace it, you should be aware of it, and you should understand it. You know, if certain production lends itself that way, then don’t be scared to do it. Because, you as a producer, it’s different from you as a DJ, or me as a remixer. I’ve just finished remixing Chris Brown, Usher, and Take That. Now I’ve done them strong house, keeping the integrity of the song, but would they fit in my set? Probably, maybe in the early part of the set, but no, I mean I play a lot of trance. You wouldn’t want to do an Usher track that’s trance, it just wouldn’t work, so you keep the integrity because you’re being hired to do a remix, and you’re looking at the bigger picture rather, than just this small, “I’ll do it for me.” Brian Ferry once sang these lyrics something like “With every idol a letdown, it brings you down.” In other words, you and I, probably you more than me these days, meet lots of famous people. And sometimes, they’re not as dynamic, or as wonderful as the papers say, or as you expect. I don’t want to talk about the negatives – but who has been a surprisingly wonderful person? You meet them and you’re like, Oh my God, this is a God? Bono. He was that. He’s just a great guy. Nadeska Alexis: You do play a lot of trance, is it going to be like that, or is it more up tempo? It’s all up tempo. I have a residency in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino, so what’s really great about that is I get a chance to do a mix in the studio during the week, and play at the club on the weekend. That way I can see what’s working and what’s not. Then I’ll go back, change it up. So I’m really testing all my music before it comes out to see what works and what doesn’t. Nadeska: Do you think Vegas is a good representation of the general population? Because you are also on tour right now. So are the people in Vegas receiving it differently than in cities across the US or is it kind of the same? No, I think that Las Vegas is the capitol of Electronic music in America. There are more nightclubs in Vegas than in any other city. There are five major DJs next year who all have residencies. It’s a 24-hour party, have you been to Vegas lately? People get there and they go straight to the pool, and they hang out by the pool and they’ve got Kaskade DJing. Then they’ll go to a club, and they’ll have one of the big DJs playing, and then you’ll go to the after hours where there’s another big name DJ playing. It literally just goes and goes. It’s the only place that reminds me of is Ibiza—it’s America’s Ibiza. Not just domestically but internationally; a lot of people come for Vegas. And at the moment, it’s a real healthy scene. It’s certainly somewhere if you’re in to electronic music, and you live in America, you should go and see, because it’s the only place where every night, you’re hearing all the best DJs. The only other time in America that that happens is for one week during the Winter Music Conference, where by the pools there are DJs, and in the evening: all the DJs playing. Steve: That was the single most profound endorsement of Vegas culture that has ever happened, and I think you’re right. You just said something that I don’t think has ever been said. Vegas is no longer the tacky, silly place in the desert, the place where you hide your love away. It’s really become an important music town. Nobody has said what you just said. Its refreshing. I mean Vegas really wasn’t the place I thought it would happen. Look at New York, look at Miami, look at Los Angeles. The west coast has an incredibly healthy electronic scene. I don’t know if you are familiar with Electric Daisy? It is a two day festival: only electronic music, only DJs. It’s held at the Colosseum, which is a huge venue, and they have 75,000 people per day.

Nadeska: Is this like Electric Zoo which happened recently in New York? Yeah, but bigger. And it’s people from all over the world who travel to that event. Electronic music, in America, is very healthy and you’re going to see a lot of changes in the next five years.

Owner Comments on District 36 Opening, Underground Boxing Magic

Two things I’m pretty annoyed with today: reports that District 36 might be another scummy bottle-centered joint, judging from their Saturday opening, and the fact that bloggers are blowing up those awesome underground boxing matches. I’m reminded of a quote by author/philosopher Eli Khamarov: “The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations.” District 36 had been highly anticipated and hotly pursued by househeads and the technorati since the summer. So it’s only natural that some with high expectations—especially since the warehouse-esque space occupies such a niche space in the grand scheme of nightlife—might be disappointed. Reports and Tweets from Saturday’s opening pointed to bad door policy, which shaped the key first impression. Luckily owner Damien Distasio was kind enough to comment on the snafu.

Actually, i am very unhappy and absolutely furious at how the door was run. It was a complete fucking disaster. I had built this place with the vision that it is and always will be a dance club. The door was an absolute disgrace, and the doorman has been fired, the bottle service girl has been fired, and the security personnel will be completely restructured with all new personnel. Inside the venue, where I expected the issues, seemed to go very nicely. People were dancing, drinking, and enjoying themselves, which is what is supposed to happen! The complaints, I am fully aware of and have been addressed. I myself am completely distraught at how people were treated, and what that incompetent fucking idiot of a door person did and said to people is completely UNACCEPTABLE. I even fired the fucking idiot who recommended him to me!!! I assure this will not happen again and i look forward to people having and making some memorable experiences on this dancefloor .

JohnNovaNYC tweeted live from the line. “District 36. Bottle Service ONLY. 200 people kicked off line. There is hope for NYC nightclub scene.” He also had a positive note that was more substance than procedure, “I have to admit that the light system at district 36 is insane.” jeffgrosse, mind you at 4:59AM tweeted “@District36 u r a joke,” with good reason, noting at 11:33PM that the club confiscated his camera, sharing “@district36 just took my camera away!!” ryanhinkis tattled on the dumb door, announcing: “@District36 your door people need to learn how to work a door. Randomly pulling couples out of line and telling them to leave not cool.” Eater investigated the opening and asked some anons to share their thoughts. One patron wrote: “Ticketed patrons began being turned away 1 hour after opening and the staff looks like the understudies for the cast of the Sopranos. The sound is great, but anyone who bought the bullshit press releases of ‘bringing back the old vibe’ and ‘all about the house music’ and ‘no bottle service’ is a sucker. In short this club makes Pacha look underground.” Yikes.

On the bright side, the lighting and sound system received rave reviews. RichieCuts live tweeted “@leeburridge is dropin some real dirty fukn shit @district36 right now,” and “@district36 your fuckn room knocks wow!!!! #realtalk.” mpAkinheAt agreed, stating: “WOW. The system @District36 is knockin heads offfff.” JohnNovaNYC, despite his previously mentioned negative impression of the event twittered, “I have to admit that the light system at district 36 is insane.”

I seriously hope that the folks behind the new house venue reassess their protocols, and adjust staff if they need to. We have plenty of mediocre clubs around town, and it would be a shame for a place that had already accumulated so much buzz to drop the ball.

In the other corner, we have the intranet’s grand reveal of those underground boxing matches around town. Can we not preserve anything truly good and holy in this town—regardless of our occupation? I mean, we’re all bloggers these days, but do we need to ruin every secret of New York’s sparse underground and have it accompanied by quotes from Fight Club? Now that I’ve finished the rant, I have to admit that these fight clubs are truly cool, and can be found in different locations, run by different groups, all around Manhattan. Though the report recalls a “hipster” atmosphere, others have a predominantly old school scene, filled with fedora-clad old Italians, and blue and white collar fans. It has recently garnered a lot of attention from the youngins around town, which is no doubt the reason why it’s all over the web today. Hopefully, whichever group runs the Lower East Side’s outpost will wisen up and move their location before we read about a police raid, and before their presence ruins it for the rest of the locations. And maybe they should edit their email invite list, paying close attention to those packing heat in BlackBerry form while they’re at it. Okay, fine. I’m just super jellies I didn’t report on this first. You’re good, Billy Gray.