At Lit Lounge: The Hottest Person to Ever Say Hi to Me & The Melvins

It started innocently enough; a Sunday night stroll through the hood and a look-what-we-found by the trash and the decision to give this sassy little painting to our friend Adam at his new tattoo shop Magic Cobra Tattoo Society (775 Driggs Ave., off South 3rd). The next thing you know I’m getting yet another pin-up tattoo. No worries, I’ll only have it for the rest of my life… and besides, I love it more than the dinner I was craving at Pies-n-Thighs. Adam Korothy did the honors on me while his partner-in-crime Kati Vaughn did my partner-in-crime Amanda’s tattoo. While I was there and half naked, we added a little to the "boxing babe" on the back of my arm who preaches my downfall with "I LIKE ‘EM SASSY.” Adam retraced the large damsel in distress on my bicep who proclaims…lest I forget … "DON’T BET ON DAMES.” We were looking forward to the Inked Magazine “Sex D.R.U.G.S. & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL” issue party Monday at Lit Lounge, my favorite hole-in-the-wall, and figured the new ink would set the right tone.

Monday night we gathered our regulars and BINGO’ed at Bowery Poetry Club as usual and, of course, the usual and unusual Linda Simpson and the returning Murray Hill kept us laughing and praying and begging for ultra-important things like  N31 or O67. B Bar barkeep and his lovely Katie won big, representing our tables large. After the last chance at Bingo glory was over, we kissed our friends goodbye and popped into the jammed Lit. We headed to the attached FUSE Gallery space which was the VIP holding pen.

There, it was decided that LIT/Fuse honcho Erik Foss, and A.R.E Weapons drummer Eric Rabin and I were going to get bro tattoos from Jes of Smoking Tattoos (18 St Marks Place). We three musketeers got cobwebs from the fabulous Jes. Mine says Lit. The cobwebs represent the many great years that the old club has given us and carries the hopes of many more.

Back at the Inked event, the Jagermeister and slamming DJs kept the usually incoherent rockers positively stoopified. Former Inked cover girl and quite possibly the hottest person who ever said "hello" to me, Alesandra Nicole, who I was told was a model / Internet celebrity kept me mesmerized and fearful of my life. 

Steve Lewis tattoo Amanda and I had our usual "that’s the kind of girl you should be dating" chat and I swore allegiance and pointed to our still-healing matching tattoos. I spied or was told these fab folk were there, Joshua Wildman (artist/photographer), Gen of Genatorturers, tattoo model Raquel Reed, chef Chris Santos, Steven Tyler’s daughter Mia, and artist Nikki Sneakers. We got to chat up the wonderful Zosia Mamet who we just love, love love in Girls.

Lit is banging all week with Natacha Sanchez and Just C presenting Worlds Collide 4 tonight with performances from Gswagga, AHGEDA, and Streight Angular and DJs El Rojo, OG Chino, and Sonido Confirmacion.

On Friday night Brent Barber and his Bicycle Film Festival has their 12-year opening anniversary party at Lit starting at 9pm. It figures to go real late.

The whole thing will culminate with a huge bang Saturday night when Melvins and Hammerhead play LIT in a very small intimate engagement Erik Foss told me is his "dream come true! Only next to Elliot Smith playing his last NY show here, nothing this monumental has happened at Lit before.” Save maybe the night I walked in with Ron Jeremy and a bunch of gals left with my number one.

Lit remains a reason to be cheerful. It is an old-school saloon-type joint that hits hard when it hits. The Melvins will be an incredible show and I will be there. 

 

Wake up to Good Night Mr. Lewis in your inbox. Find out first-thing about the latest parties, brawls, launches, and dominatrix appearances.

Riff Raff’s 1 Year Anniversary, and Commune Hotels and Resorts’ Newest Addition

The three-day weekend that seems so long ago has me confused about what day it is. I can’t decide if it feels like Wednesday or Friday, but it can’t be Thursday…can it? The beautiful weather has me itching and scratching to go out. It has lurched my cabin fever into spring fever. My 30-minute DJ stint at Lit Lounge’s 10-year anniversary also confused my schedule. Of course I’m on tonight at Hotel ChantelleJustine "D" Delaney was scheduled to go on after me, and we caught up before in a big way as dude after dude played impossible tracks to a spectacular crowd of downtown denizens of the deep art/rock world. Justine told me of her recent engagement and showed me the ring and introduced me to the doctor she snagged. Nice guy. We reminisced about working together at Life and then Spa. She would come in during the day to chat or pick up a check and I’d turn on the sound system and we would put on records (remember those?) and annoy the staff as we explored the old sounds. After our sets, I retreated into the Fuse Gallery to hang with Erik Foss and his crew. I met amazing folks including artist Joe Heaps Nelson, whose show "This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things" opens at Fuse on February 25th. Lit lives and thrives, entering its second decade because it feels like home to so many of us. Foss joked that he was going to try to go another 10 without renovating and I agreed. You don’t fix things that are perfectly imperfect.

The weather allowed me to don my old leather jacket which, like Lit and maybe Foss and myself, is becoming more perfectly imperfect as time goes by. Amanda and I talked of Oscars and where we might go to watch it. The Darby has a big dinner/viewing thing going on and there are always friends’ house parties. I haven’t seen The Artist and will tomorrow, for sure. I loved The Descendents, and Hugo was a masterpiece, but for me The Tree of Life is just gorgeous.

I wanted to check out Riff Raff’s celebrating its year anniversary. I have never been and really want to. Riff Raff’s is part of Fourth Wall Restaurants and owned by Michael Stillman. Fourth Wall owns and operates The Hurricane ClubQuality MeatsMaloney & PorcelliSmith & WollenskyThe Post HousePark Avenue Seasons, as well as nightlife venue Riff Raff’s. Those are great joints and I am interested in meeting Michael who, at a very young age, has built this impressive empire.

Last but certainly not least for today’s spew… Salvatore Imposimato my dear friend who did such an amazing job at Morgans Hotel Group has a new and very exciting gig. Light Group moved into Morgans, and Sal has moved on to be the executive director of entertainment for Commune Hotels and Resorts. Sal sent me this:

"Commune Hotels and Resorts is a collective, uniting two different hotel brands, Thompson Hotels and Joie de Vivre, into a truly independent, multi-platform company. Our mission is to offer our guests a wide range of eclectic, local and inventive experiences in authentic settings, without the bureaucracy that a big brand imposes. Nothing short of revolutionary, our ethos is about individuality, community, locations that are authentic to their environment, and the kind of exceptional service that makes travel unforgettable."

He starts April 1st as he has another baby due, any second. I dined at The Darby last week with my Amanda and his lovely wife Andrea. We asked for a table for four and 8/9th’s but of course that seemed cleverer before it was said. Andrea was the door girl at the Boom Boom Room before she blew up (with baby). She worked with me at my doors for years. She is beautiful, bright, and amazing and I am curious if this second child will finally get her out of nightlife.

Thompson Hotels, with Sal programming entertainment, will be wonderful and a fixture in this column’s must-attend events listings. The company has 40 plus properties in its portfolio. Congratulations Sal and Commune!

Erik Foss’ Fuse Gallery Presents the ‘Paths of Rhythm’ Exhibition

Since I happen to be in the middle of Tropical Storm Emily with little access to electronics, this is going to be brief. As many of you know, I worship at the altar of Erik Foss, and his upcoming art event “Paths of Rhythm”
will be brilliant, and the after party will be the kind of soiree that gets us all in trouble. When the Fuse Gallery and its sidekick Lit get serious, anything can happen and I must attend. The airline says my jet is still scheduled to whisk me back to civilization, not a minute too soon.

Although the very nice people who flew me to paradise for a “possibility” did everything to court me, I shall pass on their plan. Nightlife where I am now consists of beers and tropical fruit drinks, on a veranda surrounded by metal gates and large—most of the time, friendly—dogs. Our banter is occasionally interrupted by not too distant gunfire and the youngest among us can identify the type of weapon and its proximity. It was much like listening to a thunderstorm and counting the seconds between the lightning and bang to guess how far away it was. Some of the shots came from that neighborhood over there, while some were quite nearby. After awhile, you barely notice the rat-a-tat-tats. The subsequent police sirens and helicopter prove more difficult to talk over. I look forward to home and those real tough guys at Lit who weigh a buck twenty when wet and show off their machismo with killer tattoos.

So, Fuse Gallery and 2Feet 12 Inches presents: Paths of Rhythm”
Curated by Rob Aloia, Brent Bartley, Frankie Cedeno, Erik Foss and Ricky Powell. The exhibition will run from August 3 through August 17. The Opening Reception tomorrow, Wednesday, August 3, will run from 7-10pm and I will be one of the DJs.

Mr. Erik Foss says: “As artists coming up in New York City, the three elements that inspired and defined our crew’s wild youthful years are represented in our logo: 2’ (kicks-street style) + 12” (vinyl-music) = 212 (NYC as muse). In the streets, on the courts and at the clubs all three elements were with us in some form. “Paths of Rhythm” is a show about being a creative person in NYC. Be as literal or esoteric as you desire just express what propelled you on this journey.” A portion of all proceeds from this show will go to Art for Progress, a non-profit arts organization. Art For Progress’ Arts Education Community “provides underserved youth with dynamic artistic programming that promotes reflection and self-expression.”

During the opening reception there will be The World Famous Ricky Powell Slide Show and all-vinyl DJ sets by: myself, Shorty, Stretch Armstrong, Gatto and DJ Small Change. Participating Artists will include Aiko, BAST, Marcus Burrowes, Tony Chan, Chino, Daze, Harry Druzd, Cheryl Dunn, Tristan Eaton, Shauna Figueroa, Leo Fitzpatrick, Donald Gajadhar, Hugh Gran, Giannina Gutierrez, Charles Hardwick, Eric Haze, Todd James, Kinjal Mitra, John Perry, Ricky Powell, Dr. Revolt, Michelle Reyes, Christophe Roberts, Judi Rosen, Senz, Meryl Smith, Spam, Judith Supine, Joshua Wildman and Nick Zinner.

I asked co-curator Rob Aloia a few questions about the event. What’s the meaning of 2feet 12 inches? That’s our logo and it’s comprised of three elements: 2 feet-(sneakers/street style), 12 inches-(vinyl/music), 212-NYC(muse). I came up with this sometime in the late ‘90s when I noticed my room was being overrun with sneakers and vinyl. But it was more than that, it was the culture behind them like digging for records, going to the new sneaker boutiques, playing ball, going to art openings and going to see DJs and bands. That’s why we say, “From the street, to the court, to the club.” That’s how NYC constantly inspires us.

What are your goals with the event? Our immediate goals are to pull off a great opening and raise money for art programs for city kids. We have a TV pilot we shot with Ricky Powell that is being pitched and we’re planning for more shows here in NYC. Hopefully we get to hit the road as well.

Tell me about “kicks,” sneakers, and shoes. I remember being taken to Buster Brown’s and this was the first time I was going to get to pick my own pair of sneakers, with my older brother’s guidance. Back then there wasn’t much to choose from but whatever you chose you were stuck with for at least a year ‘till your toes pushed through the front. I was leaning towards Adidas Shelltoes but he reminded me of Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier (the Knicks had just won their second championship) and that clinched it, I opted for the Puma suedes in blue.

I haven’t fooled around with vinyl since my second date with Jeannie Luvullo. Why are you asking me and the rest of the DJs to play vinyl? Vinyl always make me feel warm and at home because my dad would pull out a gatefold LP, put on the record and use the jacket to separate the seeds and stems from his stash. The sounds and smells were very comforting.

What’s your fondest club memory? One of favorite early moments of hanging out in NYC was going to Nell’s in ‘86. We were underage, we walked there dressed in sneakers, jeans and baseball caps with no money in our pockets and got right in (a friend was working the door) while limos and people lined the street. As we’re entering, he tells us that they just turned away Cher. Inside there was Run-DMC and—well, I don’t have to tell you who hung out there, but that really says a lot about what NYC is/was about.

Striking Up Friendships

A working weekend kept me hot, bothered, and a little short on steam. But I was able to attend the Carrera Sunglasses party on the fabulous roof at 505 West 37th Street. The roof—some 40 stories over the Javits Center, train yards, and the Port Authority Bus complex—is so high that it made those places seem romantic. A pal asked me what that place across the Hudson River was, and I replied “America.” New York did seem far away from America this week, with the World Cup bringing so many accented tourists to the haunts I hang in. The Carrera event had a slew of downtown types who followed GoldBar honcho John Lennon and downtown PR flack Dana Dynamite uptown. I chatted up a very nice Whitney Port, who I was told is in that show The City. Watermelon, cold cans of Café Bustelo, and clear views of places I rarely want to see up close kept me happy for hours. I visited an apartment downstairs where they hid the swag, and I was told that the one bedroom with those views goes for $2200 a month. Almost cheap enough to forget the $15 cab fare to anyplace I’d like to be. Still, I think there will lots of fabulous events at this sweet spot.

An expensive yellow limo returned me to downtown where I belong, at the behest of Fuse Gallery/Lit bigwig Erik Foss. I attended the art opening The Hole Presents Not Quite Open for Business, “A conceptual group show of unfinished art, unfinished poems and unfinished symphonies.” When Jeffrey Deitch split to be the director of MOCA in L.A., it left the presenters confused as to what to do next. Some funding problems and an artist not quite ready to show was turned into a positive thing, as artists were asked to show their work in the stage it was in, a caught-with-your-pant-down approach to curating. The result is a fun, thought provoking, and unpretentious good time. I joined Erik Foss over at Lucky Strike and watched him have a snack. Erik is just back from Mexico City where he brought his Draw show. I hadn’t been to Lucky Strike in a long time. A friend of mine who used to work there was killed in his apartment many years ago, and it stirred up bad memories.

Mike “Seal” used to be my head of security over at Life, and his untimely death under mysterious circumstances made me wonder. When you go out to eat or play, you don’t necessarily need to be reminded of sad things. Lucky Strike wowed them back in 1989 when it first opened. Like all Keith McNally joints, it has an energizer bunny type of energy and the basic bones to last forever. The service, the staff, the design, and the fare are timeless and I felt good to be back. I still visit Pravda, Odeon, Pastis, and Balthazar from time to time, and his other entries Minetta Tavern, Morandi, and Schillers are magnificent machines. I am currently building in his old Nells space, trying to create something worthy of its lore. Pulino’s opened in my hood a little bit ago and although it wasn’t reviewed well by one prominent critic, the crowds have voted it a winner.

I will be DJing at the other Lucky Strike, the bowling alley and lounge on far West 42nd Street. The occasion is the birthday bash for Noel Ashman, who was at one point the operator of the Nells space when it was Plumm and NA. The invite reads “National Academy of Television, Arts and Scienes… Emmy Awards along with…” And it goes on to list Chris Noth, Patrick McMullan, Damon Dash, and a slew of others. Grandmaster Flash, Jamie Biden, Ethan Browne, and DJ Reach will join me on the wheels of steel. In the left corner is the logo for adult entertainment company Wicked. There’s hosts like Richie Romero, Brandon Marcel and Matt de Matt listed as well. Every time I write about Noel, a slew of haters come out of their holes and hovels to spew dirt. I am always asked why do I write about him. Noel has made a ton of omelets over the years and I guess in the process has broken his share of eggs. I personally have never had a bad experience with him and the naysayers are always of the suspicious variety. The diversity of the people on this invite and the crowds that will attend speak well of him. I am always asked why do I write about him. The answer is short and sweet. He’s my friend.

Industry Insiders: Erik Foss, Lord of Lit

Lit co-owner Erik Foss talks about his art, his new bar in Philly with the best name ever, and why the city needs less yuppie cocksuckers.

Favorite Hangs: Max Fish! Max Fish! Max Fish! I also like Beatrice Inn because my bro’s Paul Sevigny and Andre [Saraiva] own it. It’s the first place I DJed. I dig Motor City because they are real there. Otherwise I don’t drink anymore, so my bar days are kinda over. Santos’ Party House is sick too. I love Spencer Sweeney, and he’s a dope-as- fuck artist!

Point of Origin: I graduated from Chandler High School in Arizona in 1991. I never went to college. I was accepted to Cooper Union, Stanford, and Art Center in Pasadena, but I was too concerned with skateboarding, making my own art, and running my T-shirt company (Dope Cloze). I made up my mind to sell the clothing line and leave. I moved to New York on Halloween of 1996. I came to New York because this is where all the artists came to be seen and make the best work of their lives. Once I got here, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.

My first job here was at the French Roast in the West Village. I got fired from there immediately. Bartending jobs are impossible to get. One of the bartenders who worked at Odessa became my friend … or so I thought. I was dating this crazy woman from San Francisco at the time, and we would go there to drink. She was very sexy and had a flavor for the dark side of things. My bartender friend ended up sleeping with her and felt so bad about it he got me my first bartending job there. I worked the slowest shifts until one of the bartenders quit and I got Saturdays. Boy, shit changed then. I had that place fuckin’ raging! I’ve always been able to get people goin’ — it’s kinda my specialty.

Occupations: I co-own Lit and the attached Fuse Gallery. One day I stumbled across this hole in the wall called Sub Culture Gallery, which became my home. David Schwartz was the grump behind the desk and owner of this wonderful place. David made emerging artist’s dreams come true. He provided us with a space to work and show. He had the gallery till about 2001 before the lease ran out and they doubled his rent. At that point, he looked at me and said, “Do you want to open a gallery?” So we went out and found Lit and Fuse Gallery. We had to raise a retarded sum of cash to do this. So we got partners, and that was a whole other issue. What a nightmare. Oh yeah, we also signed the lease one month before 9/11. Imagine that one.

We worked construction building the bar for six months with the help of our friends. I bartended seven days a week while also building seven days a week. I thought I was going to die. We opened on 02/22/02 and have been killing it ever since. Do-it-yourself is the way we did this: No benefactors, no grants, no nothing. This bar was built by artist, for artists. Call it a throwback, but when we did this, I never heard of anyone else doing this in New York City. I also just opened a bar with David Schwartz and Chicken Head in Philadelphia called Kung Fu Necktie.

Side Hustle: I am an artist. When I came here I wasn’t of a pedigreed art background, nor did I come from money. So I showed my work in bars like a href=”http://bbook.com/guides/details/max-fish/” title=”Max Fish”>Max Fish, Luna Lounge, and Life. I work 7 days a week and have since I was 15 years old. I paint and make art in my studio, which my bar pays for. I curate and show artists I like, and that’s it. I buy art I like. In fact, I spend all the extra money I make on other peoples’ art. I do have a solo show in San Francisco in November this year at Gallery 3. My website is erikfoss.org. I know it’s a nonprofit URL, but hell, I never sell my work anyways!

Industry Icons: Steve Lewis is one of my heroes. For a while I had a job at the Bowery Ballroom. They hired me with no résumé. I put the first dollar in that register and worked for the Bowery family for almost five years. They run the best-run venues in New York City. I learned most of my club knowledge through them. Michael Winsch [owner of the Bowery Ballroom] is kinda my surrogate dad in New York.

Known Associates: I am very protective of the celebs that frequent my place. I believe in protecting them because they want to hang with us and come up to our level. That’s rad! I say let ’em and leave ’em be. My whole staff rules! They are all artists and musicians; creative people.

What are you doing tonight? Hangin’ out with my boys Carlo McCormick and Daze then going to the studio to paint a cop arresting a clown. I think the city is going through a transition, and it’s going to get real fun now that the economy is shit. Bye-bye yuppie cocksuckers. I just want our neighborhood back. Oh yeah, my favorite band is Slayer!

Photo: Leo Fitzpatrick