Paul Sevigny & Nur Khan Talk About the Legendary Don Hill

A quiet man who made a great deal of noise slipped into eternity yesterday. Don Hill left us in the way he lived, quietly and without fuss or fanfare. His passing showed us all how to go. I rushed to Don Hill’s last night, where friends gathered to support each other, remember and honor. All around, rumors and tales percolated about the circumstances of his passing. It was left to others to figure out how he died, as we all agreed that how he lived was far more important.

I did some math and realized that I must have known him for 30-something years. In a business where a 60% approval or adoration rating is tremendous—and often a great exaggeration—I can honestly say that, in all the time I knew him, I never met a person who didn’t adore Don Hill. When he merged with Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny back in August 2010 I wrote this:

“Don Hill’s was born in April 1993 to much flag waving, fanfare and hoopla. The Smithereens set the tone that night and it has since become a virtual rock and roll hall of fame. Don has booked the joint, hired staff, run day to day and night to night operations, he’s answered the phones and I suspect that on some nights he swept out the joint. He will now be joined by superheroes Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny. They will come in with mad skills, new energy and cash to redux the place. They will merge with Don to create more of the same but even better.”

I had forgotten I wrote it until Brooklyn Vegan referred to it in their post last night. They do a great job. Last night, this piece of news was official, although so many didn’t want to believe it. It was, after all, April Fools Day, and there was the weird coincidence of another Don Hill dying in Kingsport, Tennessee. Was it just a bad rumor—a game? I and many others hit the internet hard to find out. Don Hill, of Kingsport, seemed like a great guy. Hardworking. Loved by all. Kingsport Tennessee is described by it’s Chamber of Commerce as “a beacon of hospitality in an increasingly impersonal world. “ Our Don Hill was also a beacon of hospitality in an increasingly impersonal world. Our Don, I think, would have liked that Don, and I’m sure he would have liked Kingsport too—provided they had a music scene. If they didn’t, he would have brought one there.

My calls to Paul Sevigny didn’t help. He was sure, but not 100%, and this is a 100% sort of thing. But then it was true. Paul called close friends when the hope that it was just an April 1st prank fully faded. Paul said he was “ageless” and asked me what records he should bring to the fast-forming tribute at the club? I told him anything rock. We talked about how loved he was, and how the new incarnation that Paul and Nur brought to Don Hills was a blessing for Don. “All of the wounds were healed all amends were made, he seemed healthier lately. He was getting it back.” We agreed that Don wouldn’t have wanted us crying, at least not alone, and we headed to the club. Paul was organizing a moment of silence at places all around the world.

Nur texted me: “Yes it is (true). I just found out 2 hours ago. Having a tough time processing it. He was a dear friend to all of us for so long. It’s late now, but we’re gonna have a toast and moment of silence tonight, and then I’m gonna figure out how to put the best motherfucking NYC rock ‘n roll tribute show together for him.” He continued: “He was a very dear friend for many years, as he was to any NYC rocker. A true sweetheart, and a gentleman who cared about everyone and everything rock and roll. Maybe this year happened for a reason. You can bet your ass I’ll fly the flag in his honor!“ We chatted some more, and he summed up the last year and its meaning: “I’m so glad we were able to carry on the legacy cuz I’m just as passionate about everything he was. It’s almost like it was supposed to be. I’ll make him proud. Gonna put a lot of heads together for this one and give him a good send off.

The accolades came in on my phone via text and Facebook. A bombardment of “The most nurturing of club owners” and “the best guy ever” and “tell me a Don Hill story.” Someone told me the original concept of Don Hills:

“The place was born from a thousand meetings at his pal Martin’s joint, the Ear Inn just up the road. In the 10 or 20 years they had known Don, that was the place they met. Don Hills was to be a lounge where artists could gather and possibly jam after their Madison Square Garden Show. Hip crowd, no press— a true rock mecca.”

The consensus was that, although his health was failing, the last year he was invigorated by the talent again hitting the stage and the “good crowd“ coming back. We all agreed that he died a man doing what he loved to do, loved and respected by all. That isn’t a bad way to go. Laughter and tears sprang from all of us. A funny story made us laugh, and then lose it. The room was filled with familiar faces—some that have shared air with me for 3-plus decades. Some were new and eager. Michael T, who was as sad as I have ever seen him, commented that it was great that a new generation had seen Don Hill’s as it was meant to be seen. I can’t name all the names, or repeat all the praises.

Nur was beyond tears, hunched. He hugged me and talked of his last moments with the man. “I knew he wasn’t feeling right. he was huddled by a space heater a couple days ago, then he didn’t’ show up yesterday. He wasn’t himself, maybe he knew.” Someone said: “He took a cab to the hospital where he died, he didn’t want to bother anybody and maybe somebody else needed that ambulance more.”

Don’s death is a large rock thrown into a pond. We see the splash, and maybe the first ripples, but there will be more ripples, and some may prove to be difficult. With Don gone, how will neighbors and enforcement view the place? Even they loved and embraced the man. What other neighborhood embraces a popular club? Other ripples might come from the liquor authorities, and maybe even a landlord. Lyle Derek, a longtime Don Hill worker bee, understood how Don would support the scene, even though it didn’t make as much money as other promotions might. The biggest ripple might bring change. In an age where bottle service pays the bills, greed might win out. Paul and Nur will do their best, no doubt, but death brings vulture—types who feed on despair and confusion. They may have other less fabulous ideas about the property. We must support the legacy of Don Hill, and maintain one of the few places in town where guys like him and I could actually hang out. Don Hill was a gentleman, and that’s the greatest compliment I have about a fellow.

Don Hill, Rest in Peace

We hear that New York nightlife legend Don Hill has passed away. We’ll verify as soon as we can, and with a much more extensive eulogy, but the source assures us the sad news is “100% accurate.” Hill presided over both incarnations of eponymous superdive Don Hill’s, the first of which opened in 1993 and helped define the last two decades of rockin’ NYC nightlife.

My DJ Gig at Pacha Will Make You Green

You deserve a break today, possibly a big green one. I am here to accommodate. In bad decision making that has to rank up there with “General Custer, I think there’s only a few Indians up there,” or “Captain, that iceberg is probably too small to hurt us,” I have been booked to DJ at Pacha tonight. This has to be the grand club’s lowest moment. When I told Pacha stalwart DJ Victor Calderone about my gig the other night, he started laughing. I don’t think he has stopped. I’m bringing my boy MSB to help me. He’s pretty good and will save the day—er night, I’m sure. Liam McMullan will start the night, and I’m sure to end it, so get there early.

It’s Liam’s dad’s soiree. Photographer and bon-vivant Patrick McMullan is hosting his annual St. Patrick’s Day affair. I’ve know Liam since his dad brought him along to clubs when he was just a wee lad.

Saint Patty’s Day is a weird one. For me, it was always a night to stay in and watch an old movie. Like New Year’s Eve, it is often a night of too much excess from too many amateurs. It can turn out real bad. Contrary to popular belief, the Irish do not have a monopoly on professional drinkers. I have found that most clans and creeds have their moments. St. Patrick’s Day seems to belong to everyone these days. I have some green ties and sweaters, and will fit in fine, but alas, for non-drinkers, the holiday does lack some luster. So if you need a laugh, or a distraction, or a drink or 5, I’ll see you later tonight at Pacha.

This week things have been a bit too apocalyptic, and escapism might be a good plan. I tried to distract myself from my CNN/Fox good times with a “bang-zoom” movie, so I went to see Battle: Los Angeles. Now, normally I wouldn’t feature a flick like this, but I needed mind-numbingly bad, and Roger Ebert said it was “noisy, violent, ugly and stupid” and that seemed perfect. Roger is so out of it, so completely uncool. It was amazingly, awfully fabulous. Not Starship Troopers, and not even close to Cloverfield, but with decent popcorn, it did the trick.

Brooklyn Star hit the ground running, and it’s a hit. It’s the kind of place where you can order things you normally don’t feature and still enjoy the meal. It’s American comfort food, Williamsburg’s most popular choice, and it’s amazing. A fire closed the too-small Havemeyer street location, but the new joint on Lorimer and Conselyea is extra roomy, and just as fun. Brunch will come—what, in May? And I’ll be found there most weekend afternoons, if you’re looking for me.

Lyle Derick, who has returned that Squeezebox vibe to Don Hill’s with his Sunday party Dropout, hits the brand new Mondrian SoHo with Miss Guy and Noah Valentyn. It’s a weekly and I will be a regular. I’ll stop plugging the Mondrian when they stop booking interesting events.

Haculla, Harif Guzman, & His Gallery Show

I see Haculla all over town. It peeks at me from plastered walls. It is irreverent street art, the type of thing that has me walking the streets of NYC. When the iconic images popped up last September in that club that I adore, Don Hills, a certain tone was set. Something new was going to happen.Harif Guzman was tasked to set that tone at this too-cool joint where Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny held court. Gone was the Sailor Jerry tattoo motif art that had adorned the walls of the first incarnation of Don Hill’s—a legendary spot where every act had played. A new generation of rockers are now hitting the stage, alongside many of the old ones, as well. Harif’s collages assured the new generation of creatures-of-the-night that they were in the right place.

Harif has an opening this week, and the in-the-knows will know all about it, and attend. They’ll experience the old and new. I caught up with him at the gallery and chatted.

Tell me about the show. How have you come to this new work style? You use moving lights and an animatronic horse? The whole light concept came about when I wanted to have one painting with hidden color, and three or five different emotions. By programming the intensity of light it lets the same image convert into an intense or soothing image. Adding black light to it reavealsl different shades of white on top of white, and texture that would not be seen by regular light. So one simple drawing has many scenarios.The animatronic horse sculpture is an installation I created called “Wild Horses” which is a raged-out, drunk, drugged-out horse inspired by the Trojan Horse. I plan to build 15 of them, all 13 feet high and in certain order, making wild movement and noises set off by motion sensors.Their fur will also be colored, and special lighting will be added as well.


Tell me about the sculpture with all the objects. The sculpture with all the found objects on the table is called “20 Years of Apartments.” It’s basically a recollection of all the stuff my mom picked up at garage sales and flea markets, and put up around house. I encompassed them all into one, gluing them down on a table with candle holders, to create a shrine-like feel

Tell me how your work at Don Hills came to be, and what feeling were you trying to create? My work at Don Hills came to be by Nur Khan asking me to create something with “downtown feeling,” which he felt I could do after visiting my studio several times. The feeling I was trying to create was an early ’90’s feeling, staying away from the over-priced super luxury feel that most clubs/bars that were opening up where doing. I wanted a downtown punk rock, rock n’ roll, hip hop vibe that would take in all sorts of street culture and accommodate them at the same time. I dosed them with sex, and a series of mixed-collage work of iconic photographs that I blended into an erotic/scary fantasy world.

I see you out everywhere. Why? What are you seeing in nightlife? I see a big change in nightlife. The days of Bungalow 8 and clubs like that have passed. It’s a new generation of fast information, cell phones, and texting. These things have changed the way we communicate, as well the the way we access places. I think people are smarter now than before, and more aware that it can’t ever be a private party every night! They won’t try to get into a place to be turned away.

What is Haculla? Haculla came about because of one simple reason: I have no fucking idea why people couldn’t say Harif. My best friend, Harold Hunter would call me HA, and everyone started calling me HA. It stuck. Then I was watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and started obsessing over it, and talking too much about it. My friend, once again, started calling me Haculla, and I was homeless at the time, so I started writing it everywhere on the streets, and the rest is history.

Are you over the starving artist phase? Is that cool anymore? AN ARTIST IS ALWAYS STARVING. IF YOU GOTTA ASK YOU DONT KNOW!

How do you objectively analyze your work? I either like it, or I don’t. Different moods, different styles, different stages of life my life. I have relationships with my paintings and works. Like old lovers you look at them, and either smile or you don’t. That’s how I analyze my work.

Are you Banksy?

Michael Houghton’s ‘Smoking Series’ Shows Rockers Having a Puff

After lording over the Don Hill’s scene as the frontman for the late, lamented Bender, sharing a stage with everyone from Andy Hilfiger to Earl Slick, and clothing the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Jane’s Addiction, and Duran Duran with his deHoghton and Rock Punk Couture clothing lines, it’s hardly a wonder to find Michael Houghton (known to Downtown’s denizens as Michael H) paying homage on canvas to some of rock & roll’s most magnificent bad boys.

Houghton’s “Smoking Series,” now on display at Nolita hipster magnet Bread, is a collection of stunningly painted photo images of the likes of Bowie, Hendrix, Keith Richards, The Clash, and — best of all — Motorhead’s Lemmy, all caught in the act of taking a drag on a fag. Of course, the very idea of celebrating smoking in a city now militantly against it seems an act of glorious defiance. All that aside, the pictures just, well, rock. For those without art-collecting budgets, t-shirts of the images are also available.

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.

Bah! Humbug! Real Reasons to Be Merry

Tonight the party of the century, or at least one of the last good ones of this decade, is happening. Gosh, is anyone aware that the decade is done, kaput, finito? The DGI Management Holiday Party has been unbelievable the last couple of years, and everything says tonight’s event will rock, roll, hip-hop, mash-up, and mix-up all the formats. DGI, among other things, is a DJ management company, so tonight’s music will come from Paul Sevigny, Rev Run, The Misshapes, DJ Ruckus, Jesse Marco, DJ Kiss, Corey Enemy, David Berrie, DJ M.O.S., Mel DeBarge, and DJ Rashida. There are always surprises. Don Hill’s is the place, and getting in will be a trip, so start texting, faxing, calling, and bribing now.

The distractions of the seasons have rendered many of us mindless, oblivious to the troubled world that continues to spin out of control around us. Dinner conversation is mostly about parties, gift ideas, and travel plans—with a few recipes thrown in. There is little talk of war, people in harm’s way, or even the unfortunate. Yet these things, and so many more, continue to exist and plague all of us—even those who think that not finding a cab is a disaster. I have a friend desperate to find jobs and another desperate to find celebrities to save the tigers, while others work tirelessly at soup kitchens and other charities. Take a deep breath and see what you can do, is all I’m saying. Yesterday I watched as a newbie restaurant interviewed prospective staff. Amongst the expected dieting artists and actors justthisclose to breaking out were a few owners and restaurant management-types who lost their gigs. It was sobering to hear tales of failures and banks and bad breaks. I was told that an ad on Craigslist had 900 responses: too many to properly review. Was it only a year ago when the king had fallen and a new king was going to change the world?

It’s going to be a busy day on construction sites where the heat isn’t turned on yet. It will be improvised with heaters and hot (for a minute) coffees. I look at these new restaurants and bars-to-be as places where people will work as well as play. My work provides work. The construction workers are feeding themselves, their families, and their local economies. Soon there will be gigs for creatives chasing other gigs, but for every 30 jobs, there are a thousand people looking. Today, more than yesterday, that saddens me. The weather, I guess, is to blame, as I’m a lucky guy and, for the most part, happy with my place in the universe. The applicants came from everywhere: San Diego, France, the Bronx, and Staten Island, too. All were putting their best face on, all were enthusiastic about working there. I couldn’t have made the decisions; there were so many qualified people. While we celebrate our small successes at holiday soirees, lets try to remember those who need work, and the ones who, for real, would say all they want for Christmas is their their front teeth.

I read in the news about a lucky man who ran into a bullet 30 years ago today. My melancholy morning has me trying to imagine a world with John Lennon. I can never forget his line, “But you’re all fucking peasants as far as I can see.” I think all club owners, management types, and promoters should be required to write this on some blackboard, somewhere, a zillion times. Hmmm, they’ll probably just think that it refers to everyone else. Although his life was cut short on this very day, John Lennon somehow saw further than almost anyone. Yeah, if you see me today, say hey, wave, and keep moving.

I loved Hotel Chantelle last night. I’m a regular after going only once. The crowd was chock full of friends, there was a hot party for a hot publicist in one section, and the strangers were just strange enough, and ultra friendly. While I was chatting up owner Benjamin Shih, my darling Amanda was getting a tour of potential new rooms by my pal of 20 years, Tim Spuches. Benjamin and I talked mostly of wallpapers and building things right and such, but also about making a difference in the community. You’ll meet him here next week. His story and the story of Hotel Chantelle needs more space than I have today and it needs to be told when I’m not so crabby. Ericcson was at the door. We told war stories and had a few laughs before the Ludlow street wind drove Amanda and I to other exotic places. It was great to see the door controlled by someone who knows their stuff. Ericson was the man, or something like that, at places like Marquee, and Kiss and Fly, and Bungalow 8, and Pink Elephant, and a slew of others when those places were not featuring B-listers. I must say, he has aged well.

Kirsten Dunst’s Triumphant Return to the Spotlight

Kirsten Dunst didn’t really know her All Good Things co-star Ryan Gosling when, three years ago, they took a walk up the east side of Manhattan, starting at 66th Street. The film’s director, Oscar nominee Andrew Jarecki, trailed behind Dunst and Gosling, observing the chemistry between his two leads. Whether by design or coincidence, he watched them walk 22 blocks to Gracie Mansion, New York’s mayoral estate since 1942. This is where Gosling’s character, not-too-loosely based on real estate heir Robert Durst, takes Dunst’s character, inspired by Kathleen McCormack, his future wife and a missing person to this day, on their first date. That was before Durst is alleged to have killed McCormack, and before he moved to Galveston, Texas, where he disguised himself as an old lady and befriended his neighbor, Morris Black, whose body parts were found floating in Galveston Bay in 2001.

Dunst and Gosling, like Durst and McCormack before them, wandered the grounds, taking in the flowerbeds and footbridges. Then the strangest thing happened. A freight truck loaded with shipping boxes came barreling up First Avenue. One of the boxes fell off the truck and onto the street, split open, and released hundreds of sheets of bubble wrap that were then propelled into the sky by the day’s breeze. As they landed, they were run over by passing cars at different angles, setting off a symphony of tiny sonic explosions. “I remember thinking,” Jarecki says, “That’s the kind of thing that would happen on the greatest first date of your life.”

My first encounter with Dunst isn’t taken straight from a Douglas Sirk movie—if anything, we’re in an episode of Blind Date. It’s five o’clock on a warm afternoon in October when the 28-year-old actor arrives at a casual Mexican restaurant on the second floor of a strip mall in Studio City, Los Angeles. The place is empty save for a few early-bird eaters and some ladies who look like they belong to an intramural fake-tanning league. Dunst, dressed in dark jeans, a faded denim shirt, and black Converse sneakers, is a bit breathless. She has come straight from the airport, where she said goodbye to her boyfriend, Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel, who’ll be touring Europe for the next month. “I’m going to miss him,” she says soberly before taking off her sunglasses to reveal kind, if weary eyes.

Despite the nearby no-smoking signs, she lights a cigarette and, grinning, says, “I’ll just keep smoking them until they tell me not to.” (She does, by the way, and they don’t.) Without warning, Dunst then bolts from her chair and walks the perimeter of the patio, putting her ear up to, among other things, a brick column, a metallic outdoor heater, and a nearby table. Looking back at me, she says, “Do you hear that?” I don’t. “It’s like this really awful electric guitar noise, like a constant drone. Oh, god, now you’re going to think I’m this crazy person.”

It wouldn’t be the first time she was wrongly pegged as a loose cannon. Perhaps it all started in 1994, when Dunst, then a precocious 12-year-old child star, threw back pints of blood in her Golden Globe-nominated turn as an immortal opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Or maybe it was her portrayal of a reckless and free-spirited teenager in Crazy/Beautiful, which had her getting wasted and parading around in her panties for much of the film. In truth, Dunst is closest in temperament to Lux Lisbon, her character in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides: giggly, effervescent, and blonde, but with a dark side that, for the past few years, has captivated the interest of gossip rags. image

Dunst has been a subject of media fascination for almost two decades now, but the tabloid circus really came to town in 2008 when she checked herself into Cirque Lodge, a rehab facility in Sundance, Utah, to deal with depression. (According to Dunst, her treatment program had nothing to do with alcohol or drugs, an assertion that’s been met with general incredulity.) All Good Things, her first post-Cirque film, was meant to be a comeback of sorts, or at least a reminder that Dunst—best known for her starring roles in Bring It On and the Spider-Man franchise—could carry a serious movie without the help of pom-poms, powdered wigs, or superheroes.

Owing to financial troubles, the Weinstein Company shelved the film it was meant to distribute, and with it Dunst’s first real bid for adult credibility. “Although it’s probably been dramatized, I knew All Good Things would change people’s perceptions of me,” she says between sips of tequila mixed with lime and agave nectar. “I was excited for people to see me in a different light and so, yeah, it was a bummer when I thought it wasn’t going to get released.” Jarecki was bummed, too, so he bought back the rights to his film and then sold them to Magnolia Pictures, who rescued All Good Things from post-production purgatory.

But it was the making of the film, and the opportunities it afforded her to mine the shadowy corridors of her psyche, that really freed Dunst. “There was an atmosphere around Kirsten on set,” Gosling says, “like she was treating this as an opportunity to prove to herself what she was capable of.” Dunst admits that the experience was a turning point for her. “I used to assume that I’d do this forever, and then there came a point in my life when I was like, Why am I doing this at all?” she says. “With All Good Things, I realized that acting is what I’m meant to be doing, and not for the money or to make a hit, but because I love it. For the first time, acting became more about me than everybody else, and that was amazingly cathartic.”

In the role of Katie McCarthy, Dunst first appears onscreen as an 18-year-old girl who falls for Durst after they cross paths in her apartment building. Before Katie goes missing closer to the end of All Good Things, she is a 28-year-old woman who, having endured all varieties of abuse at the hands of her husband, seems to anticipate her own demise. The last thing she says before her disappearance is, “If anything happens to me, don’t let him get away.” Dunst, delivering her most seasoned performance to date, alternates between fragility, fear, and the desperate strength of a scorned woman. She understood the character. “Katie had been torn down, and I know what it’s like to lose yourself, to no longer know the difference between right and wrong,” she says. “I was ready to play something like that. I had been living life on the surface, emotionally, and I was feeling really vulnerable, so I was prepared to do anything at that point.”

“Anything,” as luck would have it, came to Dunst in the form of cinematic provocateur Lars von Trier. Earlier this year, Dunst traveled to Sweden to film von Trier’s upcoming apocalypse drama, Melancholia. She was thrilled to be cast in the film, even though the Danish auteur is notorious for putting his female stars through the wringer. (Björk, pushed to the edge on the set of Dancer in the Dark, famously threatened to eat her sweater in protest.) “I was literally jumping up and down when I got the call,” she says. “I wasn’t at all apprehensive about working with him, but I can definitely understand why he and Björk, two geniuses who came together to make something, wouldn’t exactly get along. There was bound to be some friction.” image

Melancholia, like all of von Trier’s projects, has been shrouded in secrecy, but Dunst, who next stars as Eve opposite Jim Sturgess’ Adam in the gravity-defying sci-fi romance Upsidedown, will say this: “Basically, it’s the end of world, although not on too grand a scale. I inflict most of the film’s pain on everyone else, but not in a physical way. Emotionally and mentally, I’m the one who puts everyone through it. I think the apocalypse is a metaphor for what’s happening in my character’s life, but if Lars ever heard me say that he’d be like, ‘Metaphor?’ He’ll probably laugh at whatever I say about it.” She won’t go into further detail about the film for fear of angering von Trier, but, alluding to his crippling phobia of air travel, she says, “He can’t get over here, so I should be fine.” Dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of salsa, she adds, “He said he’d consider taking a ship with a helicopter on it, just in case it sinks. It would be so hilarious if I were the one who somehow got him to come to America. I keep telling him he has to visit Big Sur.”

The words barely out of her mouth, Dunst smiles, realizing that she has accidentally segued into another highly anticipated film in which she’s set to star: an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, directed by Walter Salles. The film stars Sam Riley as Sal Paradise and Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, in addition to Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard, Steve Buscemi, and Elisabeth Moss. Dunst rounds out the cast as Camille, a character inspired by Beat writer Carolyn Cassady. “I haven’t met her, but I know she lives in a trailer park in London,” Dunst says of Cassady. “I read On the Road when I was, like, 16, because it was a favorite of the boy I was in love with at the time. This past summer, I bought the audiotape so that my dad and I could listen to it when we went to Germany to visit my grandpa. My dad was like, ‘All these people do is drink!’ He wasn’t impressed.”

About that. From time to time, Dunst likes to let loose, and she offers no apologies for her lifestyle. “When you’re a single girl in your twenties, yeah, you go out with your friends,” she says. “And sometimes you drink too much. I don’t know anybody else, with any type of job, who doesn’t do that.” She’s right, of course, although enough photos of a red-eyed, wobbly Dunst have appeared online to brand her with a party-girl reputation. “She’s had some difficult times in her life, but she is not somebody who’s out of control,” Jarecki says. “And, frankly, the gossip has never been that bad for Kirsten. Even at her most challenged, she was never seen as one of those burlesque tabloid types.”

Burlesque, no, but there was a time when her nocturnal misadventures gave the impression of a train on the verge of derailing. That she didn’t derail—at least not irrevocably—makes her all the more relatable to fans who understand the lessons inherent in stumbling down the road to adulthood. Still, for every loyal fan (one woman even approached her on the street to show Dunst her chest-covering Lux Lisbon tattoo), there are critics who refuse to forgive Dunst for her wilder phase. She was recently at Manhattan’s Jane hotel when a stranger walked past and whispered, “She’s so over.” Dunst leans forward and, readying her claws, says, “I was with my friend who was like, ‘What did you just say?’ I wasn’t sure if she was going to cry or punch that bitch in the face.” image

Those closest to Dunst became considerably more protective of their Kiki during her time at Cirque Lodge, one period in her life she’d rather not discuss. “My friends and family were put in a position where they had to defend me, and it was an awful time,” she says. For someone whose career has been so inextricably linked to the spotlight, Dunst is in the uncommon position of being able to help people by being honest about her own personal struggles—were she not so circumspect. “I totally agree with you,” she says. “And on a personal level, I would talk to anybody about it, but not on a public level. If I do that, then the next person feels like they can ask me about it, and the person after that, until everyone then feels entitled to ask me about it, and that’s not coming from a good place.”

Dunst now owns a one-bedroom apartment in the “no-man’s land by Don Hill’s,” which is to say New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, but for the past month she has been staying with her mother, Inez, in LA. Inez, the co-owner of Belle Visage Spa in Studio City, began taking her daughter to model casting calls when she was 3, but Dunst insists, “She was never my manager, and she wasn’t like, ‘Oh, my famous little girl!’” Similarly, photos of her father Klaus, who retired from his sales position at Siemens One in 2008, show a man who would rather play ball with his dog than mug for photographers. Since she moved to Manhattan, the attention has died down a little—not that she really minds the odd intrusion. “I just don’t want to look bad in those pictures,” she says. “Paparazzi don’t have as much interest in you when you’re not wearing big sunglasses and carrying a $5,000 bag. I have no interest in wearing a tracksuit every day like Madonna does, but I understand why she does it.”

She wore black during her two courtroom appearances—in September 2009, and again in May 2010—where she testified against mechanic Jimmy Jimenez, who stole, among other items belonging to the cast of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, her Balenciaga handbag. “It became such a spectacle,” she says. “It should have been so simple—put the guys who jacked our stuff in jail. But then I had to go to court, where I was made to look like a stupid actress.” Sure enough, the New York Post nicknamed her “Kirsten Dunce” based on her “ditzy testimony,” and said she was “apparently at sea when it comes to speaking in public without the help of a Hollywood script.” At her second court appearance, however, a wiser Dunst “barely betrayed a smile,” according to The New York Times. Jimenez was convicted of burglary and sentenced to four years in prison.

Dunst, often considered a muse to Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, has now shifted her attention from Balenciaga to Bulgari, in whose ad campaign she will next appear. Of his star’s all-American yet unconventional looks, Jarecki says, “She doesn’t come off as a manicured Hollywood beauty. Twenty agents in a row would have told any aspiring Hollywood actor, ‘Kid, you’ve got to fix those teeth.’ And yet, that’s obviously one of the most distinctive things about her, that she doesn’t look like a machine put her together.”

Jarecki is right, but at this table, on this patio, in this strip mall, a machine won’t stop tearing her apart. “This buzzing noise is really unbelievable,” she says, by now endearingly exasperated. Her annoyance manifests in a tight, manic smile, and it’s clear that Dunst isn’t so sure the drone even exists anymore. If it does, though, she’d better get used to it. At the rate she’s going, the buzz will only get louder.

Photography by Simon Lekias. Styling by Christopher Campbell.

Meeting Nightlife’s Scott Lipps of One Management

On the Cool Jobs list, Scott Lipps nears the top – somewhere between shortstop for the New York Yankees and President of the U.S. of A. As president of One Management, he guides the careers of some of the most beautiful and interesting people in the world, while still finding the time to be a rock-and-roll drummer and go out most nights. He’s sought-after by every party promoter and club owner in town. Every joint wants him (or at least the people he manages) to show up. We’ve been nodding hellos to each other across rooms for years, so it was nice to finally sit down and get to know him.

Briefly, tell me what you do. We’re a really high-end luxury brand fashion agency, where we represent a lot of supermodels. I have arms in music – one’s called One Music – and I represent some actors, too. The idea was really to do branding for a lot of the supermodels, really become one of the first management companies in fashion that also had arms in entertainment, because ultimately, I think everything is sort of merging into one right now. So we have musicians we rep, we rep some actors, and we obviously rep a lot of the supermodels, from Claudia Schiffer to Bar Rafaeli to Helena Christensen to Iman.

Advertisers are often looking for something a little offbeat. Rather than a pretty face, they want a hard personality. Tell me about some of the Rock or other types of people that you represent. We’ve done deals for a lot of different artists, and if you look at our site, it lists a lot of them. We’ve done a lot of covers for, let’s say, L’uomo Vogue, for bands like the Horrors and the Living Things, which are really off the beaten path in terms of the mainstream music that’s going on today. The Horrors was a great band out of London that was happening like two years ago, but they never really broke in the States. We’ve done stuff with everybody from Anthony Kiedis to P. Diddy to MGMT. Some are endorsements, like The Virgins doing the Tommy Hilfiger campaign, and some are editorials like the New York Dolls in a magazine called Cover. We worked on something called the Rose Sessions, which was something I did with Nur Khan. It was basically a series of concerts at the Rose Bar that was taking really big acts and putting them into really great, intimate spaces. We’ve had everyone from Guns N’ Roses to the Black Key to Velvet Revolver, and Nur has carried on the tradition. We manage a few acts, so we manage Matt Sorum’s (from Guns N’ Roses) new band, called Darling Stilettos. All girls. It’s like a rock and roll Pussycat Dolls kind of band. In fact, Ace, the singer, used to be in the Pussycat Dolls. I think the idea was to bring advertisers a niche. In the way that Steve Stoute has always done really well in the Hip Hop branding world, we wanted to be a sort of rock n roll/pop version of what that is and service a lot of the rock bands in this fashion space.

You’re a drummer, which makes me wonder: Is the agency play? Is it fun? Is everything you do fun? I wouldn’t say everything’s fun. I think that I’m still very, very much inspired by music, but I think fashion’s been an incredible means, as a conductor, to so many different mediums. So when you represent supermodels and some of the most beautiful and interesting people in the world (interesting sometimes, not always), you can parlay this into a lot of different businesses. So now, thankfully, I’ve been able to sit with the heads of all of the record companies and movie studios, brands, and what not, and all of these worlds kind of mesh. That’s interesting to me, to be creative. The spreadsheets and the excel sheets aren’t really my thing, but I do it.

How do you deal with the different personalities? You have to be like Switzerland – it’s really about not taking sides, and it’s hard. Sometimes we’re dealing with kids, and then we’re dealing with moms and dads. There’s a lot of dynamics there and not everyone is really on the same page, but you really have to learn to try to relate on every level. When people have corporations and they’re a full blown business, and there are a lot of players involved in their own business, you really do have to become like Switzerland in the sense that you have to just try and appease everyone and try to make it work. I can’t be too strong-willed; I have to find ways to mesh.

PUBLICIST ALAN RISH: To interject, Scott doesn’t lose his temper or anything. He’s very even-tempered. Scott: And that is because I’m very protective of my talent. So much so that I will go to great lengths to make sure that they are well-insulated and nothing gets let out that shouldn’t be. I’m not interested in getting them press about something that doesn’t benefit them just to get press. There are a lot of celebrities these days that just want to get in the media because they think that it will further their careers, but I think that if you protect people’s careers, there’s a lot of longevity there.

You seem to have more celebrities than other management companies, why do you think that is? Steven, I wasn’t coming from fashion when I first started this business. I was a drummer, I was managing my bands, and I tried to give it a bit of a fresh approach in the sense that I wanted to be honest, I wanted to have some integrity there. Not everyone in this business has tons of integrity. I was trying to do something a little bit different. Honesty is a big part of what I do. I really do like protecting the people I work with, and not over-exposing them or cheapening what they do. We get a lot of jobs. It’s not about taking every job that comes in just so you can make a quick dollar. I think a lot of girls came over because we were also interested in managing brands and hopefully with them maybe doing a fragrance deal, or a clothing deal, licensing deal, and building up their brands to become more so than only modeling.

Is nightlife a business for you? Should it be? Yes, because I’ve done a lot of things in the space, and ultimately I feel like I do help people build their brands. It’s about relationships for me. So a lot of the guys that you probably know that I’m friendly with, we’ve looked into bigger picture things, and maybe we will. Maybe a hotel one day or a restaurant.

With the whole bottle-model era, how do you protect your talent when they go out? The bottle-model thing that you’re referring to, that’s not what I do in the sense that I don’t even hang out in that dynamic. You can only spend so much time with your clients. I have a life, I’d like to go home and sleep occasionally—the few hours that I get. And I play drums, I play music, I write music – you can police it as much as you can, but ultimately you can’t be with people 24/7. I think that our girls are smart; we are very particular in who we take on. We try to take on girls that have personality. You don’t see tons of our girls at that kind of really tacky nightspots. The girls that are in those clubs until late at night, those really dance-y places, those are not the girls that are working every day. If those girls were working, they wouldn’t be out until 5 in the morning every night.


Do you get harassed by promoters? I wouldn’t say harassed. They know that I’m a different sort breed than a lot of the guys in this business, so I’m cool with all of them. There are some guys like Scott [Sartiano] that I’m very friendly with, so they’ve always been cool with me. I know what the relationship is about, but it’s not really my thing in a lot of cases. People know that I hang out at Kenmare and Don Hills and the Rose Bar when it’s open, and that’s more my scene. I do have good friends like Scott who are in the business of yours, but it’s not his approach with me. He’s like, “Do you want to bring someone to dinner? If not, we’re happy to have you by yourself.” He doesn’t care.

We were talking earlier about The Social Network movie… I think it was the best movie I’ve seen this year. That and probably Kick Ass, which is weird. I’m interested in this whole social media thing and where it’s going in fashion: building brands in fashion through social media and things like that. We represent Birdie Bell for instance, and Birdie Bell is someone that’s obviously building a great name through social media. So she’s a girl that’s blogging, she’s tweeting, she’s using Facebook. The girls that want to become brands these days, they really have to understand how to utilize that.

Isn’t what you’re doing threatened by social media? I’ll give you a great example. There is a reality star that came to me not so long ago and it didn’t fit our brand so we didn’t end up going forward with everything. But that person, who shall remain nameless, went on to make quite a lot of money. I think for us it’s about keeping the credibility, and I’ve always wanted to work with actors and musicians, so it’s just about finding the right fit. But you’re right, when you look at the current state of advertising, it’s all 60% actors now, and 30% models, and maybe 5% pop stars.The whole idea of One, when I started, was I wanted to represent celebrities, albeit supermodels or actors or rock stars.

Drummers are the most insane people in the world—how did you do it? How did you end up owning a modeling agency? Well, I was born in a car, so when I hit my head I think that’s where it all started.

You were actually born in a car? I was born in a car in Gibson, New York, and that’s my middle name. It’s a weird, strange, but true fact. Long story short: I moved to LA when I was 17, I told my dad I was going to PIT and he said, “That’s amazing, you’re going to the Pittsburgh Institute of Technology to be a scientist!” He already knew I was a drummer at that point, I was playing in bands since I was 12, and in nightclubs since I was 14. I started playing at L’amour when I was 14 – L’amour in Brooklyn. They had to sneak me in. I opened up for Steve Marriott’s Humble Pie. Steve Marriott from the Small Faces. I mean, he was in a band with Rod Stewart, he’s a legend. I played with Robbie, who is actually still in my music division now. So when I told my dad I was going to PIT, it was actually the Percussion Institute of Technology, a drumming school in LA where my classmates were the guys from the Black Crowes and from Metallica and wherever. I joined this band and we did really well in Hollywood, we were probably one of the top 15 bands in Hollywood for a bunch of years. We were one of the top bands out there in that Guns N’ Roses/Faster Pussycat/LA Guns scene. But all of the guys in my band were unfortunately caught up in the wrong substances and it scared the label. They had already been dealing with Guns N Roses, and I don’t think they wanted to deal with that on top of everything else. I was playing with a band that’s now called Steel Panther, that’s actually a very pretty popular band on Universal. They’re like the real life Spinal Tap, like a parody of being in a heavy metal band, and they were really popular. I think they just got nominated for a Grammy actually. We were called the Boogie Nights at the time. It was like a disco-70’s show which then became a heavy metal show. And that was on tour. I hurt my arm playing drums, and my mom said to me, “Call your second cousin, he owns a modeling agency, maybe you could do something there for a few months until your arm gets better. “ And I was managing my bands, and also working at record labels, and managing companies when I wasn’t on tour. I wanted to own a label, but being a 25-year-old guy, all the labels looked at me as like this musician-punk-kid. They probably never let me progress as much as I should have at record labels, so I was doing very low level assisting and tape-listening and whatnot. And I got a job interning at another agency that my cousin owned in LA which is a big agency, and I was driving girls around and all of a sudden, all of the models, we became friendly because I was a musician and they weren’t petrified of me. And a lot of models switched to the agency I was working at and things happened very rapidly.

One last question: Who was the first model that you signed and what is she doing now? Well, a couple of the models I worked with years ago are people like Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef, and I don’t know if it’s okay to say it, but I did work with January Jones back in the day. Those were my clients back then because it was in LA and they weren’t really like model-models, they were like models transitioning to acting. Lauren Santo Domingo – I actually discovered her years ago.

Photo Taken by Terry Richardson