4AM DJ Tour Diary: DJ Price Spends Halloween in Miami

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m constantly arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, I get reports back from my DJs filled with the kind of wild adventures I rarely get to be a part of as a desk – rather than a disk – jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this monthly column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this second 4AM DJ Tour Diary, you’ll read about DJ Price’s insane Halloween weekend in Miami. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

Miami has to be one of my favorite cities to play in. South Beach’s energy and excitement for music is among the best in the world. From the moment I walked off that plane and threw on my Ray Bans, I knew it was going to be a great weekend. I’ve been to Miami many times before, most recently this past year for the Winter Music Conference and the 4AM launch party at the Mondrian hotel. You can download our CD recorded live that night here. Also, I was excited to have just received my new indie house mix CD, Dynamics of Moving Bodies Volume 1, fresh of the press to bring with me to give out. I gave out over 500 copies in 4 nights. You can download it here.

This time around I had a full tour booked: 4 gigs in 4 nights. I landed Thursday, October 28th with my best friend and Reason business partner, Phil Bassis, and headed to our room at the Fontainebleau. I have nothing but good things to say about the Fontainebleau. My room was huge and the view was amazing. If you’re looking for a hotel in Miami that you won’t ever have to leave, this is the spot. I started the weekend off spinning at The Wall at the gorgeous W Hotel South Beach.

The club hasn’t even been open a year and they recently renovated it and re-arranged the layout. The new lay out is very conducive to dancing, and the new state-of-the-art DJ booth has been relocated front and center to have a great view of the room. One of my favorite design elements of the room was the custom designed crystal color changing disco ball in the center. That Thursday I was hired to DJ the after party for the launch of Lou La Vie’s Miami Premier Exotic cars. I played an open format set, ranging from hip-hop, rock, and house, and even sprinkled in some of my favorite indie, disco, and ‘80s tracks. The crowd was rocking way past 4am. Thanks to Navin Chatani for showing me a great time.

I headed back to the Fontainebleau for the next 24 hours. Spent the day by the beach, ran into the great hip-hop artist, Pitbull, went jet skiing, sorted through some new music, and had dinner at Chef Scott Conant’s Scarpetta inside the hotel. When we walked into LIV, we knew Halloween had officially started. They transformed the 30,000 square feet into an Alice in Wonderland-themed adult playground. Bartenders were dressed as Mad Hatters, and waitresses like Alice. Someone was running around in a giant rabbit costume. My manager/mentor DJ Jus-Ske had requested that I open and close for him, knowing that I would be in Miami.

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LIV is undoubtedly one of the largest rooms in the country, and was formally an ice skating rink in the Fontainebleau. It’s a nightclub that has the feeling of an arena. The DJ booth is massive, with two banquets on each side, and 2×4 turntables set up (2 mixers, 4 turntables). The club is busy by midnight and you’ve got to keep the energy up. I warmed the night up nicely with an assortment of hip-hop, rock, and house records. Some of my favorite’s of my set were Tinie Tempah’s “Pass Out,” Auburn’s “La La La,” “XXXO” from M.I.A., the new Ting Ting’s single “Hands,” Duck Sauce’s crossover hit “Barbara Streisand,” and I even threw in “Samba De Janeiro” and some Brazilian records to spice it up. The room was slammed, and dancers and performers were dressed in costumes, bouncing around throughout the night. I turned around at one point and Gumby & Pokey were jumping on the banquets behind me. Out in the middle of the room Marty McFly was holding a magnum bottle of Belvedere in the air.

Jus-Ske came on at around 1, and proceeded to tear it down flawlessly. Jus is one of my favorite DJs and crowds love him wherever he goes. In Miami, if you’re a good DJ, the clubs won’t close until 5 a.m. Jus let me finish them off with enough time to still play some high energy joints, check out this short video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OmoOj9LsLQ&feature=email

We woke up the next day and took it easy around the hotel. My manager, Adam Alpert from 4AM, arranged VIP tickets for us to go to the Miami Masquerade Motel featuring the Swedish House Mafia, billed as one of the largest Halloween parties in the country in a 55,000 square foot tent. The Masquerade Motel has been making waves over the summer at Pacha Ibiza as the go-to party every Monday night. They have been mixing talents with an assortment of costumed dancers and performers, and a mind-bending array of visual effects.

The party was amazing. I’ve never seen so many people in unison, jumping around and enjoying the music simultaneously. Some of the highlights of the night was when the trio played their hit “One,” and without a doubt Steve Angello’s “Knas.” After the show, I ran to my gig at Opium Group’s Louis nightclub inside the Gansevoort South hotel. We headed there around 12:30 a.m., as club-goers in costume were pilling in. Halloween in New York is always impressive, but I have to say the costumes in Miami were well-thought out and fun. Louis is a great nightclub experience. Designed like a royal Parisian palace on an acid trip, it’s one of the most exciting backdrops for a Halloween party I could imagine. One of the highlights of the night was when a little person dressed as Napoleon started dancing around on top of the bar and sprayed the crowd with a fire extinguisher. I couldn’t have asked for a better Halloween crowd.

Sunday’s weather was a bit overcast, so we headed to South Beach to check out some shops. We had lunch at La Sandwicherie, one of my favorite lunch spots in South Beach. I recommend the Pate sandwich on a croissant. We checked out the Versace mansion and even some retail, which has gotten better recently with shops including Barney’s and Polo Ralph Lauren within walking distance of each other. A trip to Miami wouldn’t be complete without paella, so we had to get that for dinner. Sunday was October 31st, and I was going to DJ at Coco de Ville, also at the Gansevoort South hotel. The crew at the Coco DeVille is great. Roy Alpert, Tatanka Guerrero, Paulo Cardoso, and Sebastian Puga run the best intimate, dance lounge in the city. I have to say Tatanka and friends had the best costumes I’d seen all weekend as Chilean Miners, including someone dressed as the actual mine hatch and a Spanish speaking reporter.

My set at Coco DeVille was great and included a lot of New York flare: ‘90s hip-hop, reggae, baile funk, rock, and house. Highlights of the night include Kanye West’s new hit “Runaway,” “Fancy” from Drake and Swizz Beatz, and one of my all time favorites, “Juicy,” by Notorious BIG. We crawled out of there around 5, which concluded a very successful Halloween 2010 Miami tour. We headed back to NYC the next day ready for another great week in the greatest city in the world.

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For more info on DJ Price go here.

The Revival of Miami’s Shelborne Hotel

In the past two years alone, there were more than 30 hotel openings in Miami, which meant 30 more scene-y rooftops to choose from in a city of plein air quaffing. The hotel boom saw the rebirth of some major hotel landmarks, like the Betsy and the Fountainbleau. Coming this December, Miami will welcome the highly-anticipated, multi-million dollar restoration of the Shelborne Hotel. And nobody knows the Shelborne better than managing partner Keith Menin, who actually worked there as a bellhop when he was a teen. We caught up with him to get the 411 (or 305, rather) on the mega hotel, his thoughts on the Kardashians, and where to get the best meatballs in town.

Obviously, you’re attached to the Shelborne considering you worked there as a teenager. Will we be seeing old-school Shelborne or something entirely modernized? The Shelborne is one of the last original landmarks in Miami, so I felt it was time for a comeback. I believe that if you have an old art deco building from the 30s you should keep it and just update parts of it. We are actually bringing a lot of what used to be in the hotel and transforming it for today.

What do you see lacking in other Miami hotels?  
I see a lot of these new hotels taking away from the art deco movement. Either they knock a building down, or they transform the building into Asian, newly modern, or Starkified design. What I am doing is keeping all the old looks of the art deco building and pretty much bringing back everything that was there and updating it for today while keeping its vintage authentic feel.


What will make Shelborne unique?  
Most new hotels in South Beach went way too modern and minimal, when people now really want the comfort of the past. We are really restoring the Shelborne to its Art Deco glory while interjecting all of the modern high-tech bells and whistles guests expect. We are also going to make the Shelborne accessible with great public spaces and a red-hot restaurant and lounges, all at great prices so that locals can become regulars and we can attract the young crowd.  


You also helped launch the Sanctuary hotel and Mondrian South Beach. Super scenester hotels, huh? 

I strive to create the right mix at my parties and have my “Go to” people in all the major industries down here, like fashion, models, music, and film.  These people know everyone worth knowing and they like to have a great time. I make sure that they have a great hotel to party in and are well taken care of and they make sure that the party is packed with the Miami A List. I also involve all my closets friends and family and I invite the right group of people that know how to bring a great following.

Where are your favorite hang-outs in Miami? 
 Mondrian Sunset Lounge is the best place for happy hour, as we have one of the best places to watch the sunset in all of Miami. When the sun goes down its all about the fantasy. And for food, Macaluso’s has the best meatballs. It’s a great place for a quiet get-together or date, Joe Allen has a great vibe. I like to go here for my lunch meetings. Pizza Bar for the best pizza in Miami!


What are your thoughts on the Kardashian’s Miami reality show? Are you glad they’re moving to NYC? 
I actually love their show and I think they’re great. I know them very well, and although I think they will be missed in Miami, I think it will shake up New York in a great and positive way. 



Thieves Like Us: Eric Hilton Makes Miami Bounce

The cat’s co-head of one of the coolest – and coolest named – collectives in the music biz. He co-owns one of the hippest joints in our nation’s capital, the Eighteenth Street Lounge, where his band and label were birthed. He’s mined some of the most sublime strains in the history of sound, and he’s done so accompanied by some of the most sublime singers and soundslingers ever to make a racket. His name is Eric Hilton, and along with Rob Garza, he is Thievery Corporation. And he just made Miami stir.

It all began on Monday night when Hilton and his merry band of music-makers occupied the lobby of the fabled Eden Roc Renaissance. The Roc has undergone a bit of a resurgence of late, what with the new 1500º eatery and Peter Tunney‘s image-racked entranceway. There may be no inn more deserving of the uptick in uproariousness. After all, when Lapidus first built the place back in 1956, it caused a bit of a scandal with its ‘bleau neighbor to the south, so it’s only fitting the venue continue the tradition. Besides, this is where Lucy and Ricky stayed when they made their way to Miami Beach, and you don’t get more fabled than that.

Coming along to fast-forward us to the present was Thievery Corporation, who shook the opulent lobby from proverbial floor to ceiling. Was it a little odd to see hula-hooping chicks spiral out of self-control in a place better known for swank and circumstance? You betcha. But odd is what we do best.

Adjourning to the patio where the beat became but a throb, Hilton and I charged into a chat befitting his status as world-wide ambassador to groove. We spoke of Thievery’s current tour supporting Massive Attack (“there’s a big crowd and they’re loving it”) and the band’s latest LP, It Takes a Thief. And though Hilton didn’t yet know about the old same-named television show starring Robert Wagner, after I told him about the series, he was “intrigued” and vowed “to check it out.”

Hilton and I also touched upon some of the storied figures he and Thievery have encountered over the years, such as Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso (“He took us through the favelas in Rio;” where he’s like a “total God.” “He has that je ne sais quoi“), as well as former Beatle Paul McCartney, for whom Thievery opened a few years ago.

“That got blown a little outta proportion,” said Hilton. “Basically, McCartney makes electronic music, he knew about Thievery, and he said ‘I want them to be the DC DJ opener,’ which was awesome. He paid us a decent amount of money, and we got to hang out with him a few hours during soundcheck, which was the coolest. He’s a gent, and a really impressive musician.”

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Then there’s French singer (and one-time label-mate of mine) Isabelle Antena, whose track “Nothing to Lose” appeared on Thievery’s 2006 remix album, Versions.

“I’ve been a fan of Isabelle since her first record, Camino del Sol. I love her so much. And actually we have a new record coming up that has two songs with her on it. She’s a close personal friend of mine — a lovely woman.”

That “next record is called Saudade,” he continued, “which is a Brazilian saying that means ‘contented melancholy.’ It’s super easy listening, a mix of Brazilian and French — more of a jazz record really.”

We spoke of Thievery’s history (“we’re closing in on 15 years now”), and their road-worthiness (“we do about 40-50 dates a year, and they’re definitely far-flung”), and, noting the beautiful disparity in his the music he makes, I suggest that Thievery could be the official soundtrack for Madagascar, since that African island nation reportedly has the most diverse plant and animal life on the planet. (“I love it!”)

To close I asked Hilton about his movie, Babylon Central, which came out in July and which I, sad to say, had only just learned about.

“I wrote, directed, wardrobed, everything,” he tells me. “It was insane. We did it in 2006, with all amateur actors from our neighborhood, and it was a blast.”

What’s the big idea behind it anyway?

“The movie is about many things, but it’s mostly about trying to survive in your own independent way, and not lose yourself to culture, to corporatism, to what’s expected of you. It’s about people trying to carve out their own path in life and do something that’s true to their hearts.”

The next night, at the foot of Bayfront Park’s stage, with thousands upon thousands of thieving souls behind me, I again got to witness just what Hilton meant about carving one’s own path. It’s a path that has kept him and Thievery Corporation in good stead for a good long time. And it’s a cinch it’ll continue to do so for many a year to come.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Delannoy

Industry Insiders: Lee Schrager, Foodie Network

Lee Schrager, the man behind the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, as well as its recent New York incarnation is prepping for his big event in South Florida from February 25th to February 28th. For the upscale foodie celebration, the vice president of corporate communications and national events for Southern Wine & Spirits has recruited kitchen all-stars such as Paula Deen, Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse, Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay to cook, attend events and lead demonstrations for guests. The former Miami club owner gives us the inside view on the festivals, celebrity chefs and his love/hate relationship with food bloggers after the jump.

On the New York vs South Beach event: The biggest difference is that we have so much more space available in Florida to do something. We have three city blocks to do our big grand tasting that the city of Miami Beach gives us complimentary. In New York, we have a pier which is probably 15% of our Miami space. It’s just the limitations of doing work in New York City, and wanting to be outdoors in a great location in a great time of year. I never wanted to be in a ballroom, I didn’t want to be in a convention center. I really wanted to be in a neighborhood. And that’s what Chelsea offered us this past year.

On feedback from attendees: When I started this nine years ago, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but I’m never insulted by feedback. A lot of times it’s bullshit, but 50% of the time you get something out of it. I think when you listen to people and you listen to the comments and what bothers them, whether it’s that the restrooms are too far away, or the welcome center isn’t running as smoothly as it should, you can make a positive impact. On planning for the unexpected: In South Beach, you can’t control the rain. I never used to look at weather reports. But about four years ago, at a major event called the Bubble Q. which is big champagne and BBQ event on South Beach with Bobby Flay hosting we had a disaster. It was gorgeous weather all day, and I was getting dressed in the hotel and watching the weather on the six o’ clock news. There was a chance of light showers later in the night. This party started around 7 or 7:30, and when I was heading over to the sight, there were clouds coming, but I wasn’t overly concerned. Around 8:30 p.m., the skies opened up and it was absolute rain. In my 30 years of living in Miami I’d never seen a typhoon like this. Guests had been at the party for about an hour to two hours. It’s an outdoor party under the sky, so was the party a wash out? Absolutely. I can tell you we’ve had tents ever since. You learn your lesson. On dealing with rock star/celebrity chefs: Listen, these are the talent. You’re dealing with talent that’s pulled in every direction. These are people that make big dollars to attend events, or be at events or headline events, and they all donate their time to support the hunger cause. There are very few things that we find as cons. It’s like anything; we’re dealing with people who have people and it’s normally the people’s people who, if there are issues it’s them, not the people. Anyone who does the festival or hosts one of our headline events are people who I’ve had relationships with over the years, who’ve been very loyal and supportive of anything I’ve asked. The few times I’ve had issues it’s never with my people, it’s their people. What he misses about nightlife: Not a thing. The cash. Definitely not the lifestyle. On being known as the “attention to detail” man: I live by the rule of thumb: a pound of ice per person and good lighting. On food bloggers: They’ve helped us get our message out quicker and to a larger base in a more timely fashion. I read some of them, whether their writing is good or bad and some days you like them and some days you don’t like them. But in the end, we wouldn’t have the success that we’ve had at our festivals, certainly in New York, nowadays without the attention of the bloggers. I think almost any press is good press. Almost.

On getting shit done: Listen, we’re raising money to fight hunger. We’re not doing brain surgery; we’re not planning your daughter’s wedding. We want to produce a good event at good value, fairly priced and we want it to be fun and that’s always been our goal. We didn’t want to be the biggest, we hopefully wanted to be one of the best, but that’s what we really strive for. We really want to put on a great event. Go-to spots in Miami: I obviously don’t have a favorite, I have many favorites. I mean I love Michael Psilakis’ restaurant at the Viceroy called Eos. I love Michelle Bernstein’s themed restaurant Michy’s, I love an Italian restaurant on Miami beach called Macaluso. I happen to love Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau and Scarpetta.

When Saints Celebrate Super Bowls with Douchebags

Right now, the New Orleans Saints are knights in shining helmets—they can do no wrong. The whole country (save the state of Indiana) is in love with the fifty men who rescued an entire city’s spirit from the brink. But they’d better be careful, because squandering all that goodwill is easier than they might think. Take Saints wide receiver Lance Moore for example, who was caught Sunday night at the Fontainebleau hotel celebrating the big win with a dude that makes the cast of Jersey Shore look like Rhodes scholars. The incident was caught by TMZ cameras, and upon seeing this overgrown gremlin, we couldn’t help but wish the Colts had won, so that he wouldn’t have had what was probably the best night of life.

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Industry Insiders: Sandra Novas, Event Engineer

Sandra Novas is the co-owner and chief creative director of the events firm the Siinc Agency in Miami. Novas handles clients such as Discovery Networks (Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel International and Discovery US Hispanic), Nokia Latin American and HSBC. For Art Basel, Siinc partnered with Audi to conceptualize and construct the 42,000 square foot Audi Art Pavillion in honor of the world premiere of the new Audi A8. Novas fills BlackBook in on the exciting project and tells us what she loves most about Art Basel.

How did you pair up with Audi? I founded Siinc Agency with my partner Isabel Chattas about a year and a half ago, but before that, I had my own agency called SGA Consulting. For six years I was working with Audi in different capacities: as a consultant, media buying sponsorships and later doing events.

How did you decide on the location of the Pavillion? The Audi Art Pavillion came forth because Audi wanted to find a unique venue and location to host the world premiere of the A8, so we started the process of scouting potential locations in Miami in late May of this year. We found the best location on a lot of sand north of the Eden Roc and the Fontainebleau on 46th and Collins. No existing structures in Miami were the right fit for the sort of presentation that Audi wanted, so we suggested that they build a temporary structure.

What’s inside? A selection from the Rubell Family Collection is displayed inside, called “Beg, Borrow and Steal”. They split the exhibit in two parts, which is one of the first times that they’ve done this. To see the entire collection, you’d need to come to our pavilion. The designer Tom Dixon created an installation called “Light Light” which is really stunning and beautiful.

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How long will the structure stay up? Nothing inside would lead you to believe that it’s a temporary structure. It looks permanent and very solid, but it’ll be torn down in about a week. Audi donated the space and they’re going to build a children’s playground there to thank the community for letting us ravage their sand lot for awhile.

What events have taken place inside? It’s been open since November 30th, when they hosted the Audi premiere and the next night, the Audi of America premiere. Last night, they had a South Florida Audi presentation and art school students came to visit the pavilion to speak with members of the Rubell Family Collection and some of the designers of the structure. The next planned event is for December 5th and the local band Suenalo is performing. This will be open to the public. It’s also open to the public from 12-8pm daily and there’s beer and wine bar service with light appetizers.

How is Art Basel different this year from years past? The way that people have scaled back this year is by putting exhibits inside. Almost everything this year is inside the Convention Center. Many of the containers that have housed art in years past are now moved to the Convention Center. The Cartier Dome that was once in the botanical garden is now indoors as well as Scope. A lot of the shows have been consolidated. Creating your own space has a significant additional cost. But, the fairs seem to be very well attended. At the pavillion, we’ve been over capacity.

How about the mood in nightlife? The big, splashy parties and events have been toned down and now there are much smaller after parties, but the atmosphere this year is really, really charged. People who are here are here for the art shows. I was at the W Hotel South Beach last night and there was no standing room. Even if the funding isn’t there, the interest in the art shows and interest in coming down here for them is still at peak.

And the crowd? There are a lot of younger people and young exhibitors. Newer galleries are taking advantage of the fact that it may be more expensive for the bigger, more established galleries to come down here and transport their art. The younger crowd is filling in the gaps. This is my fourth year working with Art Basel and year after year, I think more people are aware. At the beginning, it was very exclusive and a lot of local people didn’t attend the fairs. This year, I see more local people and I think it’s expanding. The art experience is really meant to be shared. I haven’t seen a somber mood this year.

Where are your go-to places? I’m really loving Mr. Chow. The food’s outstanding, and they never let you down. I also like The Standard. It’s one of the few places where you can really sit on the water and have a Bellini or a coffee. It’s much less of a South Beach vibe. I like Bardot, a lounge that opened in the design district a few months ago. I also love the Poplife parties.

What’s your favorite thing about Art Basel week? My favorite thing is being surrounded by so many people that have come from all walks of life and all spots on the planet to experience and share art. You feel that energy. You walk into conversations that are not typical in the other 51 weeks of the year in Miami. It’s very, very unique in that sense. The energy is completely different. It’s more international than the rest of the year, and I love being surrounded by that creative energy. It’s inspiring. A lot of the things that I see this week stay with me throughout the year and help inspire other events, programs and campaigns that we do.

Industry Insiders: Roman Milisic & MJ Diehl, Style Warriors

They are not your average married couple. The dynamic and outspoken duo that call themselves House of Diehl has a daughter, a party-filled life in New York City, and an avant-garde fashion company. Roman and Mary Jo have redefined the American dream and cultivated their own cutting-edge vision of what life and fashion mean. To them, life is fashion, especially when it’s deconstructed and made into something revolutionary. Roman and MJ have taken their high-energy, one-of-a-kind show, Style Wars, on the road, dazzling fashionistas, style mavens, celebs and plain old party people across four continents. Style Wars kicks off with a whole new season of Scotch Tape binding, safety pin fastening, and jewel bedazzling this November. After watching the duo give a lecture on “how to cheapen your couture” at an event they call Glambulance at 92YTribeca in downtown Manhattan, they sat down with me for a vibrantly colorful chat.

Tell us about Glambulance. Roman Milisic: The Glambulance is about taking thrift-store clothes and turning them into high fashion. Some of the stuff we see on the road during Style Wars because people are doing this around the world in their bedrooms and basements. MJ Diehl: Some people think to shop at thrifts is a problem. No, it’s power.

What is Style Wars? RM: Style Wars is style battle championship tour. It’s a fashion competition. MJ: It’s a live competition. Designers go head-to-head MC-style to create amazing, off-the-hook high fashion in what used to be five minutes, but now it’s four.

How did you guys conceive of the idea for the show? RM: Mary came up with the new process for creating fashion that was called “Instant Couture.” Instant Couture was born out of the deconstructionist idea that there is more than one way to make fashion. This is to make it live and make it reflective of the time and the place where you’re at. And you can pull people up onstage and take off their hat, pull it upside down or inside out and make it something brand new and cool. Style Wars was us saying, “We’ve done this and we’ve done it well. Let’s throw down the gauntlet and see who else can do this.” MJ: Everything has been done, overdone. You want to see another little black dress? Fuck it! The only thing you can do that’s interesting is how we create art, how we create fashion and what the materials we reuse are.

Where are you taking Style Wars this season? RM: We’re starting in Miami on November 4 at LIV at the Fontainebleau. Then on November 7, we’ll be at Don Hill’s in New York. On November 13, you can find us at Opera in Atlanta. On November 18 we’re at Cinespace in Los Angeles followed by Mezzanine in San Francisco on November 21.

What does the winner receive? MJ: Each battle has a different prize. Typically their prizes are better than what we get paid to do the event. We always feel like we should be competing. RM: For the last show we did in London, the winner got a Vespa. We barely broke even. Also, Surface magazine is offering a spread to the winner.

Who have you designed/styled for? MJ: While we’re known for Instant Couture, we rose to fame quickly because of our couture collections that were nominated for awards and won for the Triumph International Fashion award. Our designs have been pulled by Madonna and Gwen Stefani. RM: We’ve done editorials with David LaChapelle. MJ: I think the main thing is, you can’t do fast fashion without doing real hard, long-form couture. We’d already quickly created a reputation for that that was very well respected, but the problem was that it’s expensive to produce your work and get it out there. A lot of my motivation as a designer, even an award-winning one, was create opportunity for great talent and get it out there.

What else does House of Diehl do? MJ: Besides Style Wars, we do buy-order couture, ready-to-wear, and also special events. RM: I’d say that we do events and we do fashion. Let’s not spread ourselves any thinner than that. MJ: We could. You can never be too thin, right?

Who are your favorite designers? MJ: Other than ourselves? Alexander McQueen. There are only a few people out there that do anything worth looking at or worth reproducing. RM:You know I’m always disappointed by? Martin Margiela. He plays the part of “I’m a deconstructionist,” but we throw away every idea he has. MJ: It’s this bullshit game that conceptual, intelligent fashion has to be ugly fashion.

How did you two meet, fall in love, get married, and start a company together? RM: We used to go to events first and foremost. If there was an open bar anywhere in New York City, we fucking knew about it. I was working with David LaChapelle as his editor, and Mary was one of his muses. I was talking to Mary at one of his parties. MJ: We would be at the same events, same parties. RM: Mary thought there was something more to be got from a group of people coming together, and that was the notion of “let’s create something meaningful from a community.” That’s where the community of couture events came about. MJ: I think a lot of House of Diehl is about loving fashion but being bored to shit with culture.

How is being married and working together? RM: It’s interesting. MJ: Working for yourself means you can never quit. You can’t really tell yourself to fuck off. The same thing goes with your partner or your better half. RM: We are our own posse. MJ: The fact that we’re always doing the same things at the same time allows our relationship to continue. RM: Sometimes I wonder how couples can actually do it the other way.

What are your go-to places in New York? RM: We always go back to Don Hill’s because it’s so down-and-dirty. It’s a gritty place where you are just going to have a lot of fun. MJ: Dirty, filthy. I don’t like pretension. I do like the old, classic Balthazar. We got secretly married there. Oh and of course, Blue Ribbon Sushi.

Industry Insiders: Poplife, Miami Nightlife Kingpins

For a decade now, Miami’s citizens have flocked en masse to a party called Poplife. Initially created as an antidote to all that’s tried-and-trite in nightlife, the weekly throwdown blew up into a bona fide event-hosting group. The Poplife principals are Barbara Basti, Jake Jefferson and Aramis Lorie. Basti and Lorie are two of the original four founders; Jefferson came on board after he’d been sneaking into Poplife parties for so long that the other members decided to induct him into the crew. Together, the current threesome have devised some of the most incredible evenings in Miami, from bringing in record labels Fool’s Gold and Ghostly International during the town’s much-heralded Winter Music Conference to one-offs with everyone from Calvin Harris to Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Why Poplife? Aramis Lorie: We originally wanted a party that reflected our life, and so we just called it “Life.” When we went to incorporate, of course, the name “Life” was taken so we thought about pop music and its relation to the underground, and about carrying on from Prince’s 80s song. Mostly we just thought it was a cool name.

Where was the first event? Barbara Basti: It was at Mezza Fine Art in Coral Gables. It was really small, held around 200 people. We had bands perform, DJs. And it was packed. We did it for a year. With the constantly changing artwork and the personable size, it helped us subconsciously form what it was that we wanted to do.

And then you outgrew the venue? BB: Yeah, and we moved to Piccadilly Garden in the Design District.

How’d you choose that neighborhood? AL: It was in an area that was unexplored, and our party was out of the mainstream. Why go to South Beach with everybody else? We wanted something that we could develop on our own in an area that we thought fit with what we wanted to do. It made perfect sense. It had a whole Northeastern feel in the center of Miami. Jake Jefferson: That’s the year I started going to the party. It was 21 and up, so I used to sneak in with one of the resident DJs. I wouldn’t go anywhere on South Beach back then, and neither would my friends.

After two years, you decided to open up your own spot, called I/O. How’d you end up in NoDo (North of Downtown)? BB: We were looking for something in the downtown area; we felt we needed to move on from the Design District. I wouldn’t say it was ideal — if you’ve seen to this neighborhood you know what I mean — but we were still approaching business from an idealistic standpoint, and making do with what we had. We were very do-it-yourself, and this is what we could afford.

How long before you took over the place next door for PS14? BB: It was only a year.

Was that because you needed a separate outlet? AL: People would get hungry, so we thought we’d open a little pizzeria and feed their appetite. JJ: Before it was PS14, it was a late night pizza shop. For awhile, we had a window out back that opened right to I/O next door. People could grab a slice and they didn’t even have to leave the club. You’ve left White Room after a 20-some month stand, and you’re moving Poplife to Electric Pickle this Saturday. What’s behind the move? AL: The reason for our success as Poplife, I think, is we’ve always evolved. We’ve been good at keeping our hand on the pulse of things and just going with that. As opposed to trying to resist change; we walk with change. We had a great run at White Room, but we were due for a move, a different sort of space. BB: Plus we do so many larger events now during the week. Electric Pickle was the perfect way for us to scale back a bit and return to some of the idealism we had when Poplife first began, especially towards the music.

You’ve been doing larger events on the Beach, especially at LIV on Wednesdays. How’d that come about? JJ: Basically, they came to us. The marketing company that handles the club approached us when they were only open Fridays and Saturdays. Both of those nights were doing amazing, so they said they wanted to do something like what we do but with a bigger budget. Jimmy Vargas, the Marketing Director at LIV, reached out to us. We had a meeting, and it was pretty much full steam ahead from there.

But Poplife always seemed to be anti-Beach. Why the switch? JJ: There’s been a shift. South Beach used to only be about tourism; now they’ve realized that they’ve also got to incorporate the local market. Since we’ve got a corner on the local market, they called us.

Poplife also throws “Just Add Water” on Sunday afternoons at Blade at the Fontainebleau. What’s that about? BB: I’ve always really wanted to do a pool party. A fun alternative to going out at night; a place where we could get some sun, see some friends and still hear good music. After we’d been doing Dirty Hairy at LIV for awhile we approached Jimmy, and he said, “Go for it.”

Of all the shows Poplife has presented, you must have some favorites … BB, JJ, AL: Super hard to choose. Mylo at The District, Calvin Harris at White Room, seven year anniversary with Jamie Lidell at The District, Fools Gold at Poplife WMC 2009, and any time Of Montreal or Ratatat have played with us.

Where do you hang out in Miami? BB: Lemoni Cafe. Sandwiches, salads, soups. The food is great, it’s personable, it’s comfortable. And it’s conveniently located. JJ: PS14. Believe it or not, I really do go there on my nights off. Even on the nights I say I’m going to stay home, I come to PS. It feels like home. It’s my Cheers. AL: The Room. It’s a good thinking room. It’s intimate. It’s a place I can run into people I know, have a glass of Prosseco and not be bothered.

Miami: Top 10 South Beach Hotel Pools

imageSure, you could pay to stay and play, but why limit yourself to just one aquatic experience?

1. Delano – Getting past security may be harder than scoring a table at Casa Tua on a Saturday night, but it’s well worth it. If waving to a pretend friend on the other side of the velvet rope fails, head to the bar; chances are, spenders will be welcomed. Plan your wardrobe around lounging; no one comes here for dipping. 2. The Shore Club – More modern than tropical, getting into this pool is fairly simple. No special trickery required. Put away your camera; shooting celebrities will get you kicked out. 3. The Setai – Access to this sought-after pool is doable from the outdoor restaurant by the boardwalk. Favorite among the Parisians and hip-hop moguls, Setai is “ze bomb.”

4. Mondrian Miami – Either the management is desperate or lost or both, but getting in is as easy as spotting fake boobage. Mondrian faces the bay, so be ready for jetskiers and their tranquil ways. 5. Flamingo – Technically not a hotel, but with the well-documented shenanigans, who know who pays for what at this notorious residential building. Pool area hosts frequent weekend parties rivaling the beach clubs. 6. The Raleigh – Pool is more Etro than Dolce, more Aston Martin than Lamborghini. As with its sister hotel The Standard, $20 gets you in front and center. Even if local bus is your mode of transportation. 7. Gansevoort South – Thing is, the pool is 18 stories off the ground. That plus lax security makes Gansevoort perfection for those brutal, sunny days. Vertigo victims, check out ground level’s infinity-edge oceanview pool, courtesy of beach club guru Stephane Dupoux. 8. Fontainebleau Miami Beach Vegas does Miami. What happens here stays here, only because by the time you reach the distant front gates you’ll have forgotten all about what went down. Don’t worry about the security, as they will never find you. 9. The Standard – It takes close to an eternity to get your car back from the valet; still, this kid-free pool environment wins hands down. Standard is cool without trying, but chillin’ here will set you back $20. Cool is hot but it ain’t free. http://bbook.com/guides/details/the-palms 10. Sanctuary South Beach – For more intimate experience, this tiny boutique hotel has a soaking tub on the rooftop that few know about. No security to manhandle you, so you can play king of this castle. Chances are no one is watching.