Matt De Matt’s Birthday Party, a Michael Jackson Remembrance, and a Far-Flung DJ

The birthday gala for man about town Matt DeMatt (pictured, with Eddie Murphy) will bring all the boys and girls to the bar. That bar is of course G2 Lounge, 39 Ninth Avenue at 14th Street. G2 is the extension of Gaslight right next door. I’ll host along with Village People cow poke Randy Jones, and Steven Zee, Peter Collins, Jay Sardo and Michael Feulner. I think G2/Gaslight are basically the best location in town. Matt is the owner/operator and has big plans.I’ll tell you all about it soon enough. The soiree is tomorrow night and I’ll be there early if you want to yell at me about something. I have to cut out to spin over at Hotel Chantelle‘s Thursday Rock ‘n’ Roll weekly.

Last night I missed the Fifth Annual Remember the Time Michael Jackson Tribute at 1OAK. 1OAK owner Richie Akiva hosted the event which featured the amazing DJ Cassidy. Of course I remember the time when Michael Jackson suddenly passed. I wound up at 1OAK in a state of shock and aww, gee wiz. DJ Cassidy played every MJ song imaginable and the crowd became fully aware of his legacy. The loss still haunts us.

Aaron James, a DJ of note and old friend, has returned to NYC. His Facebook page says he lives in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. I’ll buy that, although he seems to be everywhere. It’s a great bar rap anyway. He is being welcomed back by fellow DJ’s Kris Graham and Terry Casey at a party tomorrow night, Thursday, at Goldbar, 389 Broome Street. He’s been gone for 6 months. I asked him to tell me what he’s been up to and what he is doing and he sent me this.

I adore airports, train terminals, bus depots, hotels, and anything that embodies transition. I have longed for this nomadic wandering and endless adventure, all of my life. This last 6 months in India has been like all the rest of the time I’ve spent there over the years, eye-opening and intense, both challenging and rewarding … and always transformative. Every time I go and come back, I feel slightly larger in some way, more learned. Besides DJing in nearly every major Indian metro and breaking back into the Southeast Asia market, I did what I came to do, and that is to plant seeds and open up all the major markets in Asia.

In a few months when I go back I’ll be christening the next phase with events in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali, and hopefully Hong Kong and more, before settling back into India and all the momentum I have built there. I’ve also been able to get myself into a position there where I can start to bring over some DJ’s for one-offs and shows, which is an exciting new prospect.

Essentially I came now for a very short time and for a few very specific reasons. I am here to collaborate with my friend and one of my all time favorite musicians – Vanessa Daou – who is getting set to release her new album ‘Light Sweet Crude’ in the coming weeks. She asked me before I left the country if I would join her on tour and collaborate with her and the visual artist on the shows. I’ve been such a big fan of hers for at least the last 15 years, so I’m feeling like such a big dream is coming true.

I’m also here to assist my dear friends Robert LaForce and Bella Saona (of The Fire and Reason) on getting their new TV project called ‘Little Wicked’ off the ground. One of the most meaningful aspects of my life thus far has been bringing like-minded people together with a common purpose and goals, and to witness the magic that they can create. I just knew Bella and Robert would hit it off, and am in awe of how well this has worked out, and with what they’ve come up with.

We will be working together on the screening party in early July for the pilot episode, and I’m helping to rope in a co-host for the event, preferably an edgy magazine that combines music, film, and nightlife. Hmmmm, any come to mind?

Steve, you have been a amazingly supportive over the years … and I really appreciate the interest you have taken in my development as a performer. I’ve known you since my very first residency in New York City–and perhaps the very best one–the Sullivan Room at Life. It feels like lifetimes ago, but I will never forget or take for granted my roots. Here’s hoping you can stop by tomorrow night (Thursday) for my Welcome Back Party at Goldbar along with fellow friends and DJ heavyweights Kris Graham and Terry Casey. They’ve been heading up the Deep House Thursdays for the last few weeks and evidently it’s been off the damn chain. I’m very grateful to them for bringing me in and providing such a perfect backdrop for what is to me a very meaningful occasion.

I truly miss all my family and friends in the Big Apple in a big way, and am eager to see all their friendly and familiar faces. For me, this return trip is like a refueling, a grand pitstop. New York has always been that way. It keeps me grounded, centered, focused, and fills me with all of its vibrating, bountiful, kaleidoscopic, and phantasmagorical energy for me to go out and see the world. New York, I truly love you.

Related: Steve Lewis on Twitter; BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for G2, Gaslight, Hotel Chantelle, 1 Oak, GoldBar

Gay Club Nights, Dani Baum in The Seagull, and Matt DeMatt’s Birthday Party

Is it a game of musical chairs or a natural expansion of the market? Gay Pride has arrived and will put the question of whether NYC nightlife can devote so many club nights to the gay crowd as major promotional figures bounce from venue to venue. XL has recently stepped away from Brandon Voss, or did he step away first? John Blair, who stepped away from XL for Brandon, is now enjoying major success with Beto Sutter at Stage 48. Brandon has, of course, landed on his feet. His Cher thing at Marquee last night was the hottest ticket in town. It will be interesting to see how Brandon’s crew mixes with the incredible Susanne Bartsch’s Catwalk crowd. When Pride is passed, will there be casualties? Can the city support so many gay club nights? I think something will have to give.

I’m very proud of club fixture Dani Baum, who is starring in The Seagull, a play she produced. It opens tonight at THEATRELAB, 357 West 36th Street, with 5 performances tonight through Tuesday. Click here for tickets and info.

I was proud of Matt DeMatt, who is keeping himself together as he navigates the always murky waters of nightlife. His birthday party last night had me rubbing shoulders with Tom Green and Playboy playmate Cathy St. George and Randy Jones of the Village People and celebrity photog Patrick McMullan. An old school crowd of hot people had a blast. There are big things happening over at Gaslight/G2 where the bash was held. It is the best location in town, but has been catering to the foot traffic of the Meatpacking.

Matt is prepared to focus his energies on upgrading to an upscale crowd. Location, location, location, location … location. He has the best location, and without distractions from previous management I expect great things.

[BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for XL, Stage 48, Marquee, Gaslight, G2; Follow Steve Lewis on Twitter]

Life After the Hurricane & the Marathon Conspiracy

We were better than most in our 4th floor loft atop a hill in Williamsburg. Our new apartment didn’t have cable yet or heat for that matter as those companies were busy elsewhere. We had bins filled with water, flashlights, food, everything we needed to weather the storm. Many of our friends were less fortunate. We took in a couple of strays, fed them, and thus beat the boredom of the silent night. On Tuesday night we went on a safari to Manhattan. The car loaded up with stir crazy women heading into a dark unknown place reminded me of the opening scene of a monster movie. I could hear a voice from the audience saying “don’t go there, you idiot!” but onward we sped. When we got to the center of the Williamsburg Bridge, the light went out and we plunged into the surreal. A candle in a window here, a flashlight off to the side told us the zombies hadn’t eaten everyone. The cops were serious, their flashing lights creating surreal shadows and illuminating thevoids. There were hundreds of thousands in those dark monoliths but there was little sign of them.

Wednesday night was Halloween and we went to Manhattan again. More was lit up but not that much. We went to the Tribeca Grand in search of a couple of friends who worked there. The bar at Tribeca was lit with candles but had no humans so we headed to the Soho Grand, where a party was happening. We embraced our pal Dean Winters who plays Mayhem in those insurance commercials and avoided making a bad joke about his role in all this. Matt Green was holding court over a fast crowd that was slowed down just a little by the crisis. The hotel’s generators kept one soda gun going and a few lights. The trademark under-illuminated stairs were dark. We had a blast as everyone was happy to have something, although we were all aware of so many who had nothing. Our smartphones told us about Lit Lounge, Erik Foss’s joint, which I love more than any other. Eric, of course, got Lit, lit and we all gathered into our clown car and navigated the polite streets. With no traffic lights, everyone gave everyone right of way. It was grand.

Lit had a party. They wrangled up a generator and had the DJ booth going and a few soft lights. Nick Gazin of Vice was DJing, spotted by Ben Rayner and Dj Mell (Cerebral Ballzy).The brilliant artist Chris (Spam) Martin and Foss threw this shindig. It was a super hip and beautiful crowd, happy to be anywhere, and ecstatic to find themselves at such a fantastic gathering. Foss got boxes of pizza from God knows where and fed the masses. When he offered one dude a slice, he replied, "No thanks, I’m good, I live uptown .We headed into the dark for little trips and met no monsters but helpful friendly people everywhere. Intrepid bodega owners watched their shops and sold warm beers and snacks. We popped into strange bars illuminated by melting wax and were greeted with cheers for just showing up. It was mad fun.” Back at Lit, I told Erik that this is why I say his is the best joint in town. My DJ gigs at Hotel Chantelle and Griffin were cancelled as the plans of millions took a break. Old friends Facebooked and called from all over the world to make sure I and mine were OK.

The Marathon debate raged on Facebook and I used that medium to scratch my writing itch. I ripped Bloomberg for his audacity and wondered if he canceled so very late in order to ensure the runners came and their money boosted our economy. I got a Sandy tattoo when my artist managed to fly back from New Orleans. My pal Matt De Matt who owns Gaslight and some other joints hooked my refugee tattoing pals up down in Louisiana where he is totally connected. It was and is a time for friends to help friends. As the city sputtered back to light, the clubs threw "stir crazy" parties and Sandy parties. Nothing too clever, sad to say. This week promises to be more "normal," but problems for nightlife still remain. The subways are not quite right and gas is so rare that few can venture in from suburbia. The loss of Halloween revenues is staggering. Clubs and staff won’t recover quickly, but the busy season of nightlife has begun, and in a week or two, cash should be flowing. The local bars and coffee shops are collecting necessities for our neighbors in places that still are under the thumb of destruction. Do what you can to help.

Tonight I should be hopping around town as the election that never came has actually arrived. Tomorrow will be a day off for most, a day to take a deep breath and get ready to return to the routine. Voting and watching the results will dominate Tuesday. I, of course, endorse Obama. I think the other guy represents the Dark Ages, and I am fearful of a return to the religious and greed-fueled policies of Bush. I urge all my readers to contact friends in swing states and get them out there voting and motivating.

Uncle Mike’s Closes, McCarren Park Pool Opens…

Matt De Matt’s birthday bash at his Gaslight annex G2 Lounge kept me away from Danny A’s latest screening as, once again, I couldn’t clone myself. Danny Abeckaser used to be best known for the company he keeps which includes boldface names like Leonardo DiCaprio and scores of models and beautiful people. Now more and more he is becoming a celebrity in his own right, having been a promoter and owner and club personality for decades. He works as both an actor and producer and has recently completed Freelancers and The Iceman. His role as drug dealer Jackie Solomon in Holy Rollers, a film he also produced, has me salivating for his next project. There will be other screenings, goes the logic, but I’ll have to wait until next year for Matt De Matt’s birthday.

At the party I was pleased to get a chance to chat up my friend Mason Reese who followed a childhood commercial acting career with a club/restaurant career. He may be small but he has big ideas and it was wonderful to catch up. Dina Regine and I exchanged war stories about DJing (she still does it) and people and places. It was an age-appropriate crowd for me and I’ll just leave you with that straight line. Yeah, I’m not getting any younger and neither was anyone in that room except maybe Matt who looked great and was certainly full of less BS than I hear from most people of his stature in the biz.

I like the concept of the “F**K the Hamptons” bikini and champagne brunches at Lavo on Saturday afternoons. I like that all the people in this town that I don’t enjoy as much as they think I do leave town each weekend for that never never land (as in I will never go there unless paid well). I am hearing raves about McCarren Park’s newly-opened pool and recreation facility for all the scruffy hipsters in Williamsburg. I had a blast last night at Hotel Chantelle which got its air conditioning together. The crowds – those that didn’t melt last Thursday – returned to enjoy the show and especially the roof. Debbie Harry came by to visit her pal DJ Miss Guy and I had a few minutes to chat with her. Last night I hung with regulars Tommy London and Marty Concussion of the Dirty Pearls. They were busy being boys-to-men…and back to boys-at-the-bar with Luc Carl. Before next Thursday’s DJ gig at Chantelle, I will see them perform at the Highline Ballroom with Bebe Buell, The Killing Floor, The Noise, and Ingrid and The Defectors.

My newest friend was telling me right before my DJ gig about her favorite bar: Uncle Mike’s. Less than 10 minutes later she received a message that announced its immediate closing. I’m rethinking my friendship… this girl is dangerous. The message said:

"tomorrow, Friday, is closing day for mike’s. we are throwing an ‘end of the world’ party. I expect everyone to make the bar as much money as possible if we want guaranteed jobs at the other company bars. the $ Friday needs to be huge. I couldn’t tell anyone until now, ring as much as possible. sell decor sell chalkboards, hats, glasses etc. starting at $10 the money will be very closely watched. drop text and Facebook bombs NOW. twitter, call, etc. put it on the sign in the am. sell every drop of liquor in here at full price. I need $6000+ tomorrow."

Uncle Steve is heading to Uncle Mike’s tonight with cash in his pocket. Yesterday I told Mason that the business is booming and that everyone is making loot. I might have misspoken. Come join me at Uncle Mike’s and I’ll buy you a beer…or maybe a barstool.

Party Reunions and Backwards Gossip

“Up is down and down is up,” is Eddie Dane’s cryptic observation from Miller’s Crossing, an early Coen brothers flick. The two sensational clubland cases I written about involving anti-heroes Justin Ross Lee and Tarale Wulff may not be what they seem, as the two are not what they seem to be on the surface. I have had extensive conversations with all parties involved regarding Ross Lee’s big bang-up and Wulff’s class acts. Things don’t seem to be as they appeared in the initial reports. These stories have more legs than a 1Oak cocktail waitress and I’m just dying to tell you, but I can’t say much more as of yet. Except maybe up is down and down is up. I am told things in confidence and being a man of my word, I must wait until I am unleashed to blab.

But I can talk about the weather. As Spring is about to be sprung, the old fogies of my era and those before me are dusting off the pointed boots, ripped jeans and the well-worn leather jacket as reunion parties of long dead clubs are the order of the night. This Thursday we’ll find the legendary Tommy Gunn hosting “a one night stand, 20 years later.” The one night stand will be held at one of the only venues that still holds old-school values, Bowery Electric, the Joey Ramone place on the bowery. Tommy has lined up 10 bands, including New Zealand rockers Electric Mary and local vocals Wild Street. Project Runway’s Stella Zoltis will toss in a fashion show for good measure and go-go dancers are promised. Let’s just hope the dancers are not from the old days. The host committee made up of 24 folks, including myself, Gaslight owner Matt de Matt, Rock photog Bob Gruen, 80’s rocker Sally Cato (Smashed Gladys and The Conchords) and Danceteria’s John Argento. I asked Tommy why he decided to throw a party two decades after his last shindig. His reply: “I wanted to find out if New York City was ready to rock again! I wanted to bring back the magic one more time.”

It might take more than magic to bring back the old days. A crowd that will have to look for their dentures when they’re getting dressed or be literally resurrected might be in order. Luckily young stud promoters like Sam Valentine will ensure a current crop of revelers will join in the throw-back.

A reunion of sorts is now scheduled for Sunday, May 9th for the Danceteria crowd. This unofficial gathering will take place at Aspen Social at 8pm- a starting time that obviously takes into consideration the age of those who will be reuniting. The gathering marks the 30th anniversary of the legendary club, which means most attendees will be in their late 40’s, at best. I did the math.

There are other reunions for Club57 and the Mudd Club. I also I heard of a Cat Club reunion as well. When put into this context, I don’t think I can picture a future where any of today’s clubs would be remembered with such nostalgia and that any of today’s staff and patrons would maintain relationships strong enough to have a reunion 30 years from today. Personally, I never thought I’d survive Tunnel. Maybe I really didn’t?