Paul Sevigny at Heathers, Yours Truly at EVR and DL, and a Rock ‘n’ Roll Designer Birthday

A call in the middle of the night from my dear pal Paul Sevigny always puts a smile on my gorgeous face. Paul said he was in Fort Lauderdale with his boat, but planned to jet up to New York to DJ at the newly re-duxed Heathers (506 East 13th Street) which, by all accounts, is catering to the sharp set. He asked me to DJ with him, which I always enjoy, but alas I am at EVR (54 West 39th Street) from 6pm to 10pm for their after-work soiree, and then off to DL (95 Delancey at Ludlow) for their hard rock/metal/sleaze rock party with Sam Valentine and David Katz. DL will be celebrating rock enthusiast and star Daniella Tyler’s birthday.

Another birthday shout-out to Natasha Adonzio, the designer of all things rock, who was the spandex queen of St. Marks at the boutique that bore her name. The first party I ever threw was Dee Dee Ramone’s birthday at Max’s Kansas City. I got the bug, and so my second party ever was a fashion show with over 20 East Village shops. Natasha was the first to say yes. Everyone else said "Well if Natasha is doing it then so will I." She legitimized me … not an easy task. She is still designing and still for the rockers.

I got to go … It’s 8am and I won’t get to sleep until 7am. Yes, still crazy after all these years.

[For info on the venues listed above, visit the BlackBook New York Guide]

Weekly Parties At Bowery Poetry Club, The DL, & EVR

I had to take a vacation from my vacation. The good thing about my career(s) is that I am my own boss (I hope Amanda doesn’t read this). I can take off when I want to as I don’t have hours – just responsibilities. The bad thing about it is when I return, the work has not diminished and I’m slammed with more responsibility. Things left for my return need to be addressed immediately. The good news is I am loving DJing at "Renegade," a new Wednesday night party at The DL, 95 Ludlow St. This week, the amazing David Katz will join Sam Valentine and I on the second floor while Prince Terrance, Miss Guy, Michael Cavadias, and Carol Shark DJ upstairs on the enclosed roof. James Coppola and his cohorts fill the room with his eclectic following. I am in the process of renovating the space and I am pleased that it is looking good.

Thursday night, Seva Granik will offer Gavin Russom (DFA Records, LCD Soundsystem, Delia Gonzalez. Black Meteoric Star, Crystal Ark) presents with Nancy Whang (DFA, LCD Soundsystem),Nomi Ruiz (Jessica 6) and Druzzi (The Rapture). Other participants are Davis, MessKid and Jason Scott. This is a big deal since it’s the opening night of the DL’s new Thursday and I will certainly attend.
 
Tonight I will be off to EVR, a place I DJ at every Wednesday, early in the night, for their cool after-work crowd. It’s Mikey Lights’  birthday party, and for me that’s a must. Mikey is…well, a lighting guy in NYC. That’s a field that is surely lacking in talent, even as lighting becomes even more important. He’s not the guy who hangs the chandeliers or skims the wallpaper. He is the guy that programs lighting arrays to enhance DJ shows. He also builds state-of-the-art lighting systems and installs them. He has worked everywhere and I expect club royalty to toast the young man with the funny hats. 
 
I am so excited to see the new Duane Park addition to the old Bowery Poetry Club space which opens this Friday. I will surely sneak a peek at Peekaboo Pointe and Medianoche and their gang . Tomorrow I’ll be back in line, back to normal, rarin’ to go. I promise.

Bowing Down To Stevie Nicks Tonight & Why I’ve Been M.I.A.

 

Hey all, sorry I’ve been M.I.A. (That’s Missing In Action, not Miami International Airport). I have been very busy completing the new Birch Coffee Shop on 96th and Columbus. I think it’s hot, and the coffee is beyond wonderful. Check it out. I’ve been completing the design over at The DL where I just added these wonderful glass lanterns I bought at Milly & Earl on Graham in Brooklyn. Everything in that place is to die for. I frequently go in and find myself saying I’ll take 10 of these and 12 of those. Me and mine are also completing the design of the front lounge of XL Nightclubwhich will be named "Rosebud" –  not a movie reference.

I am running back and forth to Huntington, Long Island doing a restaurant that’s to-be-named later. It’s a big gig and I love it. I am also finishing up a quaint little restaurant on Avenue C which I will brag about when it’s a little closer to opening, which I think looks like 4 weeks. And tonight I’m Djing atEVR, my favorite place to spin. It’s an afterwork crowd and I get to play stuff that just won’t go over in a club environment. There’s so much more, but enough about me. 

Tonight I’m bowing down at the feet of Chi Chi Valenti, Johnny Dynell, and Brian Butterick (Hattie Hathaway)  as the23rd Annual Night of a Thousand Stevies returns to the Highline Ballroom. This is, for me , the number 1 can’t-miss-for-nothing-no- how event of the year. A list of legendary characters will perform all thingsStevie Nicks. The crowd will dress the part and sing along. It is, of course, sold out – save for 100 tickets that will be offered at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors open at 9pm.

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Fashion Week Has Taken Over NYC

Fashion Week is all around us and I just love the way it conveniently ends at Valentine’s Day. I am a romantic and will concentrate on making next Thursday wonderful. This week, the most fabulous clubs, bars, and lounges are swelling with the most fabulous people. Fashion Week and that pesky Groundhog signify the near end of the cold, economically-incorrect winter. The top-tier patrons will jet off to exotic lands for a minute, chasing the fashion – but the thaw is coming. The spring, where every club cleans up both literally and in cash, looms. Starving stylists are flush this week and even the C-rated models that promoters exploit can be seen working.

As DJs are in high demand, even I have a busy schedule. I will be DJing tonight at Hotel Chantelle and Saturday at the Empire Hotel Fashion Week party, which I did last year as well. Tuesday I am at Toy for a fabulous Fashion Week event hosted by BlackBook, which I will detail on Monday. Wednesday I am at EVR early for an after-work soiree. Thursday I will paint the town red for Valentine’s, surely ending up at Marquee for the opening night of Susanne Bartsch’s and Patricia Fields Valentine’s Day Ball. This is the premiere of Susanne’s game-changing Catwalk Party.

Of note, long-time absent DJ/headliner Sister Dimension returns for this gala. All the unusual suspects will gather, including  that bon vivant Paul Alexander, Michael Fragoso, Marco Ovando, Jordon, Jessica Love, and all sorts of accessorized etceteras and other denizens of the night. Patricia Fields is busy. She will be celebrating her birthday at the launch of Christina Visca’s T@TOY this Sunday from 6pm to 10pm. DJ royalty Johnny Dynell, Louie Vega ,and Lady Bunny will do it up. Toy is at the Hotel Gansevoort on 9th Ave. and 13th St.

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The DL Begins Anew Tonight & Why You Should Never Call Me ‘A Legend’

Tonight marks a new beginning for The DL, a joint at 95 Delancey that was doing very well anyway…thank you very much. It’s luscious, sprawling, and enclosed rooftop brings the crowds – rain or shine, winter or summer. The launch of its Wednesday gala brings events on three floors, with notable DJs Prince Terrence, Carol Shark, Miss Guy, and Michael Cavadias on the top floor. Dirtyfinger and JLamar will be on the restaurant level as Sam Valentine and I recreate our rock and roll hootchie koo on floor two. I’m double dipping with an early gig at EVR, which attracts a totally adult fun crowd. My peers can pop by for a drink and still be asleep right after Letterman.

Seva Granik is behind this revival at The DL with partners Richie Romero and Bill Spector. I think this will a be back-in-the-day good time. Everywhere I go people pat me on the back and tell me how much fun they had in the "good ol’ days." They refer to me as "a legend," which always has me checking my pulse. To repeat some lyrics from my real "good ol’ days" …"These are the good ol’ days." Although I understand that I did some things back then that was all things to some people, I do very much like to be defined in the now. Now…tonight I will DJ 55 years of rock and roll from Carl Perkins to Rival Sons, and if you tell me I look good, I will smile but will be thinking less of you.

As I pointed out, The DL was doing fine before all this. Their restaurant serves serious food and they fill the place with great crowds who keep coming back for more. They will expand into more vigorously programmed weeknight soirees, timed to hit a warm weather season that sees them attracting throngs. I have been thinking about the first song for the new soiree and it will be "You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ by Johnny Thunders, a childhood friend. Yeah, I’ve been rolling and rocking for a minute.

Oh, lest I forget: Happy Birthday to Prince Terrence… Oh, and I’m back from that wedding in Puerto Rico, tanned from the hot sun and plump from mofongo. There may be a time, ladies and gentlemen, when you can truly say "Goodnight Mr. Lewis" as a future of quiet walks on endless beaches with puppies and my gal and friends on warm sunny days seems an inevitable conclusion to so many nights spent in so many loud rooms. I may end up swimming with the fishes after all, and the guy serving me Limber De Coco popsicles won’t think of calling me a legend.

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When I Lived In Hotel Chelsea’s Penthouse & My Birthday On Saturday

OMG! FYI, EVR – pronounced ever which is soooo clever or is it clvr – is wonderful. It’s that lounge on 39th street between 5th and 6th Ave. I DJd there last night for the early-evening sexy time. It was well-dressed adults mixing with the wonderful staff as I mixed my rock into disco and soul and funk and other fun genres. Everything is new and clean and state-of-the-art. It looks great. There are bold design decisions keeping the travel areas and service areas raw while the rest of the  place is completely done up. There is cool art everywhere – or is it evrywhr? Lots of my pals came and will again as they’re having me back. I hung out with industry stalwart Mikey Lights who showed me what all the bells and whistles do on the mixing board and CD players I use. OMG! I have a whole lot of new knobs to play with. After the gig, me and mine went to see Zero Dark Thirty in not-too-far-away Times Square. I think it should be renamed "Zero Dark Three," as the movie – except for the wonderful, obviously no-surprise ending – was a colossal bore. 

Everybody wants to know where I’m going to watch the Super Bowl and well…I’m not. I have never seen an entire football game and I’m not going to start now. I hear the major sports bars are sold out. I’m going to do something a little more my speed, like catch Joey Arias, the performer, diva… the legend at Joe’s Pub. This is week two of three, so get your act together and catch this act. Joey ruled at the now-shuttered Bar d’O for a decade. He performed with Bowie. He cavorted with Klaus Nomi. This week, he will be joined by Flotilla DeBarge. If all this doesn’t make any sense to you, then by all means pop some brews and watch the game.

Just wanted to mention the 130th birthday of the Hotel Chelsea. I spent my social Wonder Bread years at the old hotel. At one time I lived in the big penthouse, which was actually a house sitting on top of the hotel with a magnificent giant garden around it. I was told that Arthur C. Clark wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey in my joint, and that John Garfield and John Wayne and a hundred others passed through. I don’t have enough space to mention the celebrities and bright lights that called it home. Friends lived and died there. For me, it was like a town that I could leave but was always welcome back to. Now, it’s all tangled up in real estate legalities and it isn’t the same and we…all New Yorkers, are a lot poorer and less fabulous for it.

Saturday is my 100th birthday or something like that. I will be celebrating…or something like that at the Mercury Lounge, where I will be amazed and amused and maybe even aroused by Guns N’ Hoses – which I am told is an all-female G N’ R tribute band. Afterward, I will paint the town red or just head straight to bed, after all, I’m old—er, or something like that.

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What Nemo Did For NYC Nightlife

Stage 48, 605 W. 48th St., is currently being used as a live music venue until, according to a source, "it gets all its licensing together" sometime in mid-March. An insider told me that John Blair, now an outsider at XL nightclub will bring his thing to Stage 48 on Saturday nights. I am currently involved with a cosmetic redux of the lounge at XL, so conflict of interest plays a part here. It does happen. I know about the planned Friday at Stage 48 as well, but will keep things tight until the time is right to blab about it. I hear the place has three floors and a sick rooftop.

I will be DJing at Toy tommorrow night for a Blackbook Fashion Week gala. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow. I guess I don’t feel like talking to you much today.. I saw Beasts of the Southern Wild last night at the wonderful Williamsburg Cinema. I think it’s the best picture of the year, maybe of the last five years…like that. Then again, I also loved Warm Bodies which I also saw this weekend. OMG loved it!. The snow destroyed Friday around town but left most stir crazy, and Saturday boomed everywhere. The winter can kill nights and owners must be prepared to accept losses due to weather.

I DJd Saturday at the Empire Rooftop to a packed house who wanted to hear house, hip hop and EDM mostly, and not my rock offerings. Great room with a great, long bar, ample seating for the masses, good food, and professional and friendly service are what keep this place hopping. It has a solid, well-dressed crowd every time I go.

I have stopped doing my Thursday night Generation Wild party on Thursdays at Hotel Chantelle. They recently cancelled the basement pogo party, and I felt it was time to leave as a sign of solidarity to that. I’m busy enough with a new Wednesday after work residency at EVR, and will soon announce a new rock and roll adventure. I’m going to sip my Yerbe tea and head to a job site. I’ll be better tomorrow.. Go see Beasts …now!

A Love Letter to Lit & The Box

I was weak from Fashion Week events when Lit Lounge owner Erik Foss texted me late last night to head to The Box, which was celebrating its anniversary. Erik told me it was their sixth. Six years in nightlife and remaining relevant is no small task. I cannot think of a more vibrant place than this. I often say that NYC is devoid of great clubs, but not lacking in great nights. Spaces are so consistent with their programming and crowds as to flirt with boredom. Sure, the pretties might be here or there, and the bon-vivants may flock to this or that joint, but few do more than sell booze and spin the same music as the next place…few push the culture forward.

The Box has its ups and downs, but it is one of the few places I will go to without knowing what’s going on. I know the crowd will be mixed and often daring, I know that the experience will entertain me, push my buttons and occasionally my limits. I heard it was packed with a great crowd. Congrats.
 
Erik Foss and Lit are also nearing an anniversary. On February 22nd they will turn 11. Now that’s an impossible number. Lit is my go-to spot. My favorite place. It too can fluctuate but, then again, who doesn’t. I know when I tell the cabby 2nd Ave. and 5th St. that I will find fast friends in a great room, and the music will not be the same ol’ same ol’. There might be an art event in the Fuse or a band downstairs, and Erik will be there or Dave or bartenders that I know and respect. For me, it’s a family affair. I will not be in town on the 22nd or I would help DJ at the celebration.

I DJ at EVR on Wednesdays, and it is refreshing to see the place grow. Nice people, nice place. Its 39th Street location brings in a crowd that is well-heeled but  non-yuppie. They are the hipper side of the working set. Club types gather, and models and hipsters pop in too. I highly recommend it. They have been running mostly afterwork hours, but now they are opening for late night and getting a solid base. 

On Tuesday I was privileged to DJ at BlackBook‘s Fashion Week soiree. It was soooo much fun. I got to hang out with the reigning Miss New York USA , Joanne Nosuchinsky, who visited me in the booth. Joanne is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met …and that’s a statement. She is energetic, sharp, beautiful, fun, and way cool. Her in-it-to-win-it attitude will take her far, and I’ll be rooting for her to win it all at the big pageant  The event was held at Toy, which always puts me in a playful mood. 

The staff is amazing. You start with door icon Fabrizio Brienza, who is so fashionable and fabulous that you can easily forget he has a heart of gold. I described him to a single girl on her way to Toy as about 6-foot-3, extremely handsome, intelligent, polite, and with a heart of gold. When asked if he was single, I said I didn’t really know, and she said "it doesn’t matter; he was probably too busy saving babies or the earth itself." It’s like that. Inside every manager, owner, waitron, maitre d’ is someone outdoing themselves to make the experience wonderful. 

It’s been an exhausting week and I better run off to get a fabulous present to complement the bodega flowers I’ve already offered. If I’m not here tomorrow, you will know that I succeeded in getting the perfect Valentines gift…or didn’t.

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.