The Legendary Debbie Harry Will Host Dropout’s Fashion Week Party

A smart, sharp, beautiful, successful friend asked me where she could entertain her out-of-towners. Not knowing anything about these tourists I sent her a list of the A-List places. This list included joints as diverse as The Darby, Avenue, Provocateur, Electric Room, Le Bain, Le Baron, and W.i.P. There are of course many other choices and places closer to the edge but as I said they are strangers in a strange land and these felt safe to recommend. After describing each place in a couple of sentences they opted for W.i.P. W.i.P. is satisfying the needs of a downtown art/fashion/mixed crowd that had been forsaken for so long. Their Tuesday night soiree’ Dropout continues to service the Post Jackie 60 scene. Tomorrow night in honor of Fashion Week they are offering up the amazing Debbie Harry. I caught up with Dropout honcho and man-about-town Lyle Derek and asked him all about it.

What does it mean to you/Dropout to have Debbie host this Fashion Week party?
Debbie is in a class all on her own by her doing this show for us. It confirms yet again how cool she is. Debbie is giving back to New York nightlife culture. With some of these pop stars that pretend to care about the NY scene and the underdogs, Debbie put her money where her mouth is and she doesn’t have to keep proving anything to anyone. We all know some of these girls can sell out the Garden, but what is really cool and a real feat in my book is doing small club gigs and keeping NY alive and exciting. Since we announced Debbie’s show we have gotten hundreds of emails from people saying how much this means to them to get a chance to see one of their heroes in an intimate setting like this. She is the real deal – not only one of the best pop song writers, but one of the sweetest people in show business.

Debbie is a rock icon/star. How do you interact with her? How hard is it to be a friend without the cloud of celebrity?
Debbie and I met when I was in film school, while I was producing the documentary about the legendary ’90s nightclub SqueezeBox, and we have remained friends. She makes me feel totally comfortable because she is so human and so real. Her beauty is the only thing [that’s] a little spooky. I mean that face! She is even more stunning in the flesh!

How did the Dropout concept begin?
Dropout was an idea that my pal from Texas – filmmaker Jonathan Caouette – and famed Dutch actor Noah Valentyn had. We wanted a new party that celebrated live performance and what New York City was when we started it almost a couple years ago. We did it at Don Hill’s, and there was nothing like that going on. Noah Valentyn came up with the name and we all created a night from the heart. Jonathan’s new movie took him to France and then sadly Don passed away and Don’s closed. We were shocked when we discovered our little art party had captured the imagination of the city and of the club worlds as we got calls from six club owners to move it to a new venue.

How did end up at W.i.P.?
We held off for a bit as most club owners do not support parties like these and don’t see the big picture of what this could grow into. The only owners in town in my book that get that are Barry M. and Noah Tepperberg, but none of Noah’s clubs have stages and we couldn’t do the party without a stage. Barry wanted the party and said he would put a stage for our nights and we started back up at W.i.P a few months ago and it was the best move we made. It was our first time working with Barry, and he cares about NY nightlife the way we do, and after our first meeting we were sold. His new venue W.i.P. was one of the best; Noah Valentyn and I discovered and it being new and fresh and letting us have a stage was the right fit. Stu [Braunstein] was also someone we worked with in the past and he gives W.i.P. a sick gallery of artwork and that helped make Dropout the perfect venue, ’cause Don Hill’s was a hard place to replace with its stage and feel. Barry also gives us the resources to bring on our hosts from Don Hill’s: the cool Darian Darling, Kiss, and Tommy Hottpants, and some new ones like recent PS1 curator Tim Goossens, upcoming designer John Renaud, and cutting edge art producer Michelle Tillou. And one of the best club DJs in New York ever: Miss Guy! Guy is one of our close friends and gave us the idea for a mannequin DJ back at Don Hills when we started because we couldn’t afford a real DJ! It was our way of downsizing. So having Guy on board to DJ was key and all that helped the night in blowing up. New York is very excited about this party cause we are giving artists an outlet they didn’t have otherwise ,and there is a real scene and community happening like many folks haven’t seen in a decade. We get calls from bands everyday – well known and new young artists that want the chance to play in front of an audience that celebrates new music and risk-takers. Artists feel safe coming to play Dropout and that why it works so well.

Dropout is really growing and has already garnished a great reputation. There is a lot going on these days – mostly good in nightlife. Have we turned a corner? Is nightlife back?
I think we have for sure turned a corner for the better and this show with Debbie Harry on Tuesday, which will also feature guest DJ Nick Zinner and a debut music video for the Miss Guy album, out next month. It will go down in the books as a night that helped spark a true happening – the kind you only have in New York City!

A Birthday, an Anniversary, and a Date With my Editor

I have decided to no longer call my dear friend Nur Khan. From now on he is NUR KHAN. Last night, Nur…er NUR, delivered big time…again. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) put on a wonderful, intimate, driving rock and roll show at NUR’s Electric Room, which I suspect is the size of many of the dressing rooms this act has gotten used to. I last saw them a couple of Fashion Week’s ago when NUR showcased them at the now-defunct Don Hill’s. At the time, NUR insisted that BRMC was never again going to be seen in a room that small. He was wrong, but in such a good way.

The invite-only crowd was full of the beautiful and cool and all the usual and unusual suspects. There was enough sound in the small Electric Room to power a stadium and a big-time light show as well. Every time I write one of these, fans of the band chime in and get all upset that I don’t talk about what they sang or wore or said. This isn’t a review of the show, but merely a testimonial to NUR and BRMC and the effort put in to enlighten a select few. Electric Room’s Tuesday night DJs Justine Delaney and Nick Marc were on before and after the act. We chatted while Justine offered up sounds that unfortunately cannot be heard in most places. Tonight at Wass’ birthday bash at Avenue, I will be true to my school until they pry me from the booth. I want to say thank you, NUR KHAN.

After my DJ gig, I will be heading to Cielo, another little club that delivers big with a devotion to a purity in music. They are a house venue, and although I definitely rock and roll, I do love house when it isn’t being offered as a mindless medium to jug heads. Tonight is the eighth anniversary of Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge’s Roots NYC. Louie, just in from a seven-week tour of Europe, will spin from 10pm till 4am. He is so "one and only" that I have decided to no longer refer to him as Louie Vega. From now on he is LOUIE VEGA. One of the nicest guys in the biz and easily one of the most talented DJs to come from here. I look forward to his set.

Lastly, my editor Bonnie Gleicher, O.K. BONNIE GLEICHER, has put herself up for sale – or at least rent – in a silent auction win-a-date bidding thing. She will go out for a night on the town that I will arrange with the person who bids the most for her charming company. The loot will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. As of this writing she is up to $300 but I assure you she’s worth much more. I would walk a million miles for one of her smiles. I’ll write about this adventure and give you 15 minutes of fame (if you like) if you are the winning bidder. Find out more about this date with destiny here.

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.

Rocking Out With The Dirty Pearls

The great rocker/poet Neil Young once offered "Hey hey, my my, rock and roll can never die.” And he’s right. Rock hasn’t died after 50 years of rolling around and mayhem and scandal and death and reinvention. It still sells out stadiums with this year’s Rolling Stones and Aerosmith tours leading the way. There might be dozens of rock acts that can sell out a stadium, yet in the most financially successful nightclubs in town, rock is a not the go-to genre. House in the form of electronic dance music, and hip-hop often housed in open format or mash-up DJ sets, are far more common. Pop is king with Rihanna and Adele et. all getting requested more often than a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous. The DJs invariably comply.

A good friend who knows way more than I do about this sort of stuff says there are only two, maybe three, hip-hop artists that can sell out a stadium. Electronic dance music (EDM) has its superstars like Tiesto and Avicii and others who can sell out small European countries, but can just-now attract tens of thousands in the US of A to warm weather festivals and such. EDM is growing exponentially and is heard in all the ginormous Vegas clubs and big-buck NYC joints.

Rock – which is heard everywhere in movies, commercials, and hip boutiques, and fashion events – has few clubs that embrace it because the bottle- buying public is thought to reject it. The DJs say that rock is in their mixes, but it’s offered with a new beat a new remix that doesn’t scratch my itch. It is recognizable beneath the bells and whistles but often just as a sample played by someone who really doesn’t understand it. My rock is sleazier, harder, and meaningful. I find it at Electric Room, The Bowery Electric, Hotel Chantelle, and Lit Lounge whenever I can. Rock scenes sometimes seethe just under the surface of a city. Then all of a sudden there is a sound or a movement, and there’s suddenly a dozen or more great bands getting all sorts of attention. It has happened in Seattle, Portland, Austin, and Athens, Georgia, and in NYC a dozen times.

There is a scene bubbling up now and The Dirty Pearls are poising to break out. They have songs that sound like hits and work tirelessly to break out. Photographer Lela Edgar, who I tasked to shoot this image, spent a day rockin’ and rollin’ with them.  I caught up with Tommy London and Marty E of The Dirty Pearls.

The Dirty Pearls are making a mark. How do you get from where you are now …call it point A to point C, as in “C the money?”
Tommy London: When we started out, we hit the streets passing out flyers, CDs, and preaching the gospel of The Dirty Pearls. Of course we utilized the social networks like everyone else, but we felt that one-on-one meeting with people out and about was most important. The shows got bigger and bigger, from Arlene’s Grocery to Bowery Ballroom to Gramercy to Irving Plaza! It’s been an amazing climb. We then went for the ripple effect, playing everywhere we could outside the perimeter of NYC. Philly, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston, etc…all making our mark with our show and songs. We even took a few trips to the West Coast to show them some NYC rock ‘n’ roll. I knew the buzz was getting really strong when national acts started asking us to open for them in and outside of NYC. Artists such as KISS, Jet, Filter, Bret Michaels, Third Eye Blind, New York Dolls, Andrew WK, and many others have requested The ‘Pearls to open the show!

But now our focus is to take this even bigger! We have been concentrating on playing a lot more regular shows outside of NYC, making high-profile venues, like The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, a new regular home base for The ‘Pearls. We’ve received a lot of great press on our new album "Whether You Like It Or Not" from a ton of major music magazine/blog sites, as well as airplay on local, satellite, and internet radio. Most recently we received an email from a radio station in Italy that has us on regular rotation and asked us to do giveaways since the fans kept calling in and requesting The Dirty Pearls. Last year, the now-defunct WRXP 101.9 here in NYC had us in rotation. They even broadcasted our live concert from Webster Hall during primetime radio hours. DMC (of Run-DMC) came and jammed "Walk This Way" with us on stage. We were the first unsigned band EVER in history to get a commercial-free half-hour to broadcast a live concert on the radio. It was truly a magical night.

And of course all these things lead to point C or as you put it "Point C The Money.” Most recently we’ve had our music featured in various television programs and on the new "Tap Tap" video game for the iPhone/Droid that is due to come out this October. We’ve also received a lot of major interest in our new album "Whether You Like It Or Not,” that we recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer David Kahne.  I’m looking forward to seeing where that leads and what heights it will take us to next.

What should people who don’t know you listen to first, and where is your sound going?
TL: You can hear a few of our songs on our website. But for first listen, I’d say check out "New York City Is A Drug". It represents everything we stand for, feel, and our #1 inspiration for music/lifestyle: New York City.

Marty E: I’d say to look no further than our album "Whether You Like It Or Not,” which you can get via our website…if you want a good sample of what you’ll get from that, check out our video for "Who’s Coming Back To Who" on YouTube.

As for where our sound is going, I’d say that we always strive for bigger hooks, bigger melodies, and bigger beats, while still keeping everything rocking and rolling.

Tell me about the NYC rock scene. Where do people find it…any secret spots?
ME: Well, if it’s a secret, why should we tell?

TL: We actually did this interview in a secret location! Shhhh!

ME: Seriously, there are very few places for rock ‘n’ rollers to hang out. We always go to St. Jerome’s, Three of Cups, Motor City Bar, Welcome to the Johnson’s, Manitoba’s, The Trash Bar in Brooklyn, and of course the big rock party on Thursdays at Hotel Chantelle.

TL: I always say you don’t find the NYC rock scene…it finds you! But all the places Marty mentioned are the places to go to really connect with the right people you can vibe with. The rock scene in NYC is alive and well, more than ever actually. All the bands have come together and have their own sound/style but yet still blend together. It’s really a strong tight-knit community and we are really proud to be a part of it.  But when I say community I don’t just mean musicians; I mean just rock music lovers in general who love to talk, sing, dance, and party to good rock ‘n’ roll.

On stage you are rock stars… I saw you guys at the Gramercy…sold out, adoring fans. Is it 24/7 365, and when you make it will you change?
TL: Yeah, I have to admit we have the best fans. They come to the shows dressed in their Dirty Pearls swag and singing along to every song. It’s such an amazing feeling. Honestly, it’s the fans who make us feel/look like a rock star when we are up on stage. It’s such an amazing high when you give the energy and receive it right back from them. It’s the reason why we do it. As for us changing, I can’t see that ever happening. Our heads are in the clouds but our feet are always on the ground.

ME: I give rock ‘n’ roll 100 percent all the time… whether that makes me a "rock star,” I’m not sure, but I always hope to shine one way or another. I hope that I never change, unless it involves getting better.

You are a top NYC band…who else is likely to break out?
TL: There are so many bands on this scene who have the potential of breaking out. I don’t want to name any names because if I leave one out by mistake I’ll look like an asshole! But I truly believe that as soon as one band breaks through, the rest will funnel through as well. I think the whole scene kind of believes in that philosophy too. There’s a lot of support and love in the NYC rock scene. Friendly competition too, but that’s healthy and keeps you on your toes to always play your "A" game.

ME: What’s great about NYC rock ‘n’ roll is that everyone is doing their own thing and growing in their own ways. The whole point is perseverance and consistency. I’m proud of everything our band and our friends’ bands have accomplished.

How do you market yourselves?
ME: We pounded the pavement from day one, when we handed out fliers on the street, and it really worked. Lately, it’s been more about social networks, I think. Twitter has to be the best marketing tool I’ve ever seen yet. We’re always looking for new ways. Half the battle is getting the word out!

TL: Yeah, we would hit everywhere and just talk with people, give them info on the band and any gig we were playing. We put our stickers anywhere they would stick, and hang posters all around too. When we first started we felt that everyone relied on the internet to just plug, which we did too. But no one was really giving out flyers anymore because it was just easier to post online. We wanted people to go home and wake up the next day with a DP flyer in their pocket or on their dresser. That’s how we originally built the band. Marty and I would go out and pick spots in the scene and spots outside the scene to hit and preach about The ‘Pearls. It worked!

Unlike many bands, you guys have some really great songwriting. Tell me about the process.
TL: Thanks so much for the compliment. I always feel a band is only as good as their songs. I always said to the band, we aren’t the stars of the show…the songs are! As for the process, one of our guitar players (Tommy Mokas & Sunny Climbs) and I will get together, build a strong chorus, work melodies, hooks, and structure.

ME: Then we all roll it and pole it and kick the shit out of it and mark it with a D-P!

TL:‘Nuff Said!

Your new album, "Whether You Like It Or Not" was produced by Grammy Award- winning Producer David Kahne. How did that come about and tell us about the experience.
TL: Our manager had worked with David in the past and sent him our music. He heard the songs and loved them! He reached out and asked if we’d be interested in him producing our album and we were like uhhh…..YEA! I mean David has produced everyone from Sublime to The Strokes to Paul McCartney and more! It was an honor and privilege to work with him and be part of the roster of talent he has worked with. He really brought our songs to life, as well as made us better musicians and songwriters.

ME: Absolutely. Not only did David make us improve ourselves as musicians, but he also made us look at songs and music very differently, especially in terms of arrangements, hooks, melodies, and the way each component of the band contributes to the big machine. It is a very meticulous process, to say the least. I came out of the recording process a much more knowledgeable, well-rounded, and believe it or not, humbled musician.

What’s next for The Dirty Pearls?
ME: The Dirty Pearls are going to save rock n roll and take over the world! So keep checking our website for updates on shows and the latest news on The ‘Pearls!

Ludlow Manor & Electric Room Revitalize the Rock Scene

I took a tour of Ludlow Manor, a quite large restaurant/club/lounge on the south side of Delancey and Ludlow. It’s right across the street from Hotel Chantelle. The joint will open this Friday, with owners Georgie Seville and Luc Carl doing the inviting. It is the sister club to The Delancey, that wildly famous joint just east. The owner of that joint, Robert, is hanging out behind the scenes letting the rock studs run with it. I worked with Georgie back in the day, and he is pure Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo. This makes me happy. I am a rocker to my core, and am pleased to have another joint where I can hang.

Joining Georgie as a partner is former St. Jerome honcho Luc Carl. Yeah, that guy. I asked the publicist if he was still dating Gaga, and then withdrew the question. Sorry I brought it up. He’ll be making things run right on the second floor Casino room. This has a separate entrance on Ludlow street. If he’s not there, you can catch him on Sirius/XM Channel 39,

 Hair Nation. He has a book coming out in March called The Drunk Diet (St. Martins), about losing weight without giving up booze. His Drunk Diet blog has garnered over a million hits.

Ludlow Manor has a roof to die for, with 20-foot ceilings and a retractable roof for warm weather, and a very bubbly wading pool in the center. Like The Delancey, large tropical trees and lush foliage add to its charms. I didn’t notice when I was there, but was told later that the requisite lounging beds in this case are water beds. There are miles of stairs so be prepared. The first floor boasts a long bar and familiar talent behind it. They’re serving food along with the booze. This Friday’s DJ lineup includes Alexandra Richards, Nick Cohen, and of course, Luc Carl.

Another rock and roll joint that always gets my attention is Nur Khan’s Electric Room under the Dream Downtown. To enter, patrons must travel down the parking garage ramp which is adorned by paintings by art player Harif Guzman. I caught Harif the other night as I was heading down to the club. He was holding court, er, ramp, with a bevy of beauties including Margot Bowman, who DJs in Paris and London, and threw a long-running party there. Her painted jacket had me drooling. They are rock and roll hootchie koo. Margot Bowman is an artist, illustrator, designer, as well as a DJ. She is the creative director of The Estethetica Review, a publication focused on ethical fashion published biannually in conjunction with the British Fashion Council. Other ongoing projects include the Painted Truths series for Notion magazine, and Another Fashion Cartoon for Another magazine, and everythingissoamazing.com.

Rock is coming back stronger than ever, and the Electric Room  provides an outlet for the set that doesn’t feel comfortable anymore in the grungier joints (where I live).This crowd just can’t get into the R&B, hip-hop offerings found at most clubs, and considers the mash up or mixed format DJ scene unacceptable. House doesn’t do it for them at all. Electric Room is a playground for rockers with a little success in their pockets.

When you talk of rock, hootchie koo, and all that, purists will mention the Bush Tetras. They never quite made it out of the scene to stardom, but carved out a reputation as a real-deal band in the ’80s no wave scene. What separates bands from arenas and big paychecks can often be lack of a great song, but the Tetras had a few including "Too Many Creeps"(1981) and "Can’t Be Funky"(1982). Too many creeps and wannabes often cash in, while some great talent never breaks out. The original bassist for the Tetras, Laura Kennedy, passed Monday after a long battle with liver disease. We offer condolences.

4 Out of 5: Baker on New York

Baker is a pop singer from New York. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Top of the Standard – "A.k.a. the Boom Boom Room. A classic. Beautiful people, beautiful space, and a great vibe."

Electric Room – "This place is beneath the Dream Downtown. It’s very different than other places because even though it’s in the super-clubby Meatpacking District, they often play alternative or punk music and make great drinks. If fist-pumping isn’t for you, this is the place to be."

Simyone Lounge – "A.k.a. SL. This club can get a little intense sometimes with security and lists, but once you’re inside, it’s a lot of fun."

The Westway – "My favorite spot. There’s always a great mix of people there, and they play the best music. I’ve never had a bad night there."

NOT SO MUCH

Cielo – "A club in the Meatpacking District. You’ll never see someone who lives in Manhattan inside those doors."

Saturday Night in the City, Plus a Chat About Hotel Chantelle

Health is wealth, says my mother. My recent bouts with flu have left me “anorexic,” says she. Well, I took my much thinner self on a romp this Saturday night and got the feel of things. I stopped by APL, which is changing its name, game, and menu to get back to a good place. These are nice people and it’s the last place I designed with Mr. Dizon. I wish them well. Then I scooted by Highlands Restaurant and Mary Queen of Scots, which celebrated their one year anniversary on Sunday.

I walked for a while with Matt Levine, who told me his new place previewed and will soon be ready for prime-time players. He was heading home, so I popped into Hotel Chantelle to see how the roof was holding up with the weather advancing toward winter. The enclosed roof deck’s foliage was as vibrant as ever and the crowds were still there enjoying the illusion of being outdoors. I’m DJing there Thursday, so I checked out the booth to see what I was getting into.

Then I passed by Noel Ashman’s new joint, where fresh paint was debated. Also the name of the place. I can’t much talk about it except to say the joint is going to be sweet. Noel and his uber secret partners are excited. I walked over to subMercer for my second visit in two days. Gabby Meija’s birthday bash the night before was a costume affair with a Roman flair. It was a great party. I didn’t go downstairs Saturday, opting to hang out at the door with Richard Alvsarez and the chain smokers, which could be the name of his band if the door/art thing doesn’t pan out.

I zoomed over to Snap to see how the basement spot I’m designing has progressed. Although the name is secret here as well, I’ve been hearing it in the street. If one more person mentions it, I’ll consider it public knowledge and tell you. Geez, when I had joints I wanted people to have the name on their lips. This secret sauce confuses me. I peeked into The Darby and was amazed by the vibrancy of the place. The upstairs was winding down its dinner/show with a solid adult crowd and bon vivants were sliding into the downstairs lounge. Everybody was beautiful and well dressed. Matt Issacs and I walked over to this 42 Below Underground Rebel Bingo event on 16th street. It was just ending and the crowd was shuffling off to Buffalo and other such places.

There were nice new cars parked everywhere, and I was told the Cold War Kids had performed. It was time to get real, so I headed to the Dream Downtown. I went to the roof where everyone was having a good time in the low lit room. How dim was it… girls were picking me up. It was that dim or they were. I called ahead to Provocateur to announce myself, as is their practice, and was whisked inside. Lately, the snarkiest amongst my readers and friends have suggested that two years in the place has lost a step. It had been a couple of months, so I wanted to see for myself. Those naysayers are crazy or just mean spirited. The place was off the hook with every table a story with a fairy tale ending. Every time I go to Provocateur I see the most wonderous crowd. I zipped over to Electric Room, where Nur Khan was hosting Crystal Castles after their show. I asked the door heroes about the black carpet that guided you through the steep Hacula garage entrance. “So, if a person is rejected they have to skulk all the way uphill to the street? How embarrassing that must be!” They replied with something eloquent, like “Yep.” Inside it was wonderful. Every thing was clicking. The staff is brilliant, the music fun, and the crowd was having a great time instead of just pretending or looking like they were having one. I love it there. In my spare time I asked Victor Medina-San Andrés about his Thursday night soiree’ over at Hotel Chantelle.

SL) Thursday you are hosting the 5th Annual Masquerade Ball. Tell me how you got into this and the charity it benefits.

VMSA) The first Masquerade Ball was in Paris in 2007, I brought out about 700+ people on a Tuesday night and it was a huge success. Healing the Children Northeast is a small organization which is based in Connecticut and they’re great, their sole purpose is to heal children with burn injuries, cleft palates and other deformities whose families don’t have access to or cannot afford treatment in developing countries. I have decided to help them to raise money with their missions. I know the money goes to the right people since I traveled with them to Thailand right after the Tsunami.

SL) You’re having it at Hotel Chantelle and the invite says black tie. Talk to this why Chantelle and why black tie?

VMSA) Terry Casey was the person who suggested Hotel Chantelle and he told Tim Spuches and Kyle O’Brien about the event and they said “Definitely!”. I love Hotel Chantelle, it has a great vibe, 3 floors an amazing roof deck and it’s just perfect for the event. I call it black tie because I want to give people a second chance to look like a rockstar at their prom. If you think about it, we were all a bit awkward in High School so this way you get to basically be whoever you want behind the mask and have fun at the same time. In addition, this party is dedicated to all women. Yes, women who have amazing beauty and within and can show it with their attire that evening.

SL) Tell me about what you do.

VMSA) I’m a photographer and filmmaker. I have worked in about 24 films and I’m developing a few ideas about directing 2 short films I want to shoot. One of them is about suicide and how painful it is to families and I want to present it to suicide organizations to try and prevent it. I’m still developing the idea but we will see what happens with it. The film industry is very “up in the air” sort of business. At times, you can shoot for months and then is quiet. Also, I became partner and curator of the After-Set Independent Film Screenings and we do screenings with Tribeca Grand Hotel & GrandLife. Tony Fant & Tommy Saleh are amazing when it comes to support with the arts and we allow indy filmmakers to screen and showcase their work for free, we screen weekly and we give a percentage of the money collected at the door to Healing the Children Northeast on a weekly basis and it works. After-Set.com is a social media site for filmmakers only and we do the screenings not only in NYC but Paris and Rome. As a photographer, first it was a hobby which turned into a business, I have been shooting for a long time and I recently joined The Cooper Union to take lessons and it’s funny how the professor asked me: “what are you doing here?” since he found out what I have done as a shooter. Lastly, at the party I’m also showcasing The Masquerade Show – Part Deux, 20 nude images I photographed, I’m selling the prints and giving half the money to the charity as well. This way everyone at the party can feel good about helping children.

SL) Terry Casey is involved with this event… tell me more.

VMSA) Terry loves masquerades as much as I do, he’s not only a good friend but very talented when it comes to music and DJ’s. He has been in the nightlife scene for a long time and he approached me last year about doing the Masquerade Ball and he actually introduced me to GrandLife and Tribeca Grand where I did the Masquerade Ball last year, I know this business can be cut-throat but you do actually build good relationships at the end. We are in the business of entertaining people and make their nights memorable and The Masquerade Ball is going to do just that.

SL)How do people get in?

VMSA) Get there early and $20 gives you access to get in. Masks can be purchased at door for $30. Starts at 7pm until 4am on October 27th at Hotel Chantelle. I didn’t want to sell the tickets online because I want to see a line of people dressed in black tie outside the venue. if you come with no mask, jeans, caps or any wrong attire or shoes, no problem, then your entrance fee is $1,000.

A Private Tour of the Electric Room With Nur Khan

It was my first real adventure at the Dream Downtown complex. It began with a stroll down Marble Lane, the lobby restaurant. It was all serious steaks, with a staff that makes few mistakes. I was joined by young interior designer and old friend Christian Zavala, who marveled at the well-heeled crowd. The lobby was unlike any hotel lobby I had ever seen. It was a scene. Everybody was mingling with cocktails and intentions.

We scooted up to the roof in an elevator with one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen and, of course, all we could talk about was her beautiful and architecturally amazing Alexander McQueen shoes. (Christian had a legitimate excuse and I guess I’m developing into a gentleman as I move farther away from puberty.) The roof was slammed and noticeably more intimate, with new curtains making the skyline a peek-a-boo affair. The DJ and the big-brained and well-mannered Matt Strauss, the hotel’s F & B guy, wanted to show us Nur Khan’s dream come true, Electric Room.

We hop, skipped, and jumped down the Haculla (artist Harif Guzman)-imprinted garage ramp to the hidden gem. There we hung with new friends Adam and Adam as we waited for Nur to give us the tour. He was texting me to stay where he was as he cabbed it from Kenmare. As we waited, I noticed some familiar sights like the Sante D’Orazio photo hiding sweetly behind the DJ booth. His neon from Don Hill’s was there as well. Nur came, he saw us, and showed us what he had conquered. He was particularly proud of his own art decorating the main wall. He has a right too. The beautiful and successful poured in as if some gilded spigot was whooshing them from some fabulous event over there, somewhere. The bold face names that have reportedly splayed themselves on the sumptuous chesterfields are mind boggling. Mick Jagger was mentioned—It’s like that. The intimate room is everything Nur could ask for. It’s a perfect combination of Don Hill’s and Wax and Rose Bar; a place to hang his hat and hang with his rock star friends after Kenmare. If he can give us a show in some ballroom somewhere he will surely reach “Nurvana.”

We rushed back into the night. The streets were jammed with the hoi polloi all pumped up after the big fight. Apparently Floyd Mayweather sucker punched Victor Ortiz and then picked a macho argument with 0ctogenarian announcer Larry Merchant. I gathered bits and pieces as wannabe tough guys relived the affair in both pantomime and loud voices. I dodged more lefts than Mr. Ortiz. The story was relived a thousand times as we wandered the city streets and would be relived again at Kellogg’s Diner when the day beat down the night. I was exhausted after three weeks of non-stop action. Hurricanes, Labor Days and nights and then NYFW left me looking for an early knock out. We hit The Darby, Snap and a few others but I was supposed to be at a thousand can’t-miss events, but, but, but…Brooklyn and its relative calm was tugging at me. I missed the set by that lover not fighter DJ MC Slutbag. It was at Volstead yet another new, hot spot on my nightlife bucket list. I’ll catch them both next time when I’ve had time to recover. I feel like Mr. Ortiz and a little like Mr. Merchant.