Tokya Opens and Red Lacquer Redux

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Every great invitation I open is for an Art Basel event, and I can’t figure out why I am here writing with the space heater on instead of having brunch by some pool in Miami. Oh yeah, I’d have to be in Miami and I do try to avoid that.

On the agenda for this evening is the opening of Tokya (40 East 58th Street). It’s all about ex Sushi Samba Chef Eiji Takase. It’s a raw bar, a sushi lounge and a nightclub. The chef has been manning the kitchen at Japonais and figures to know what he is doing. While I’m up there in the ‘50s I will check out Hayne Suthon’s new re-do of her 240 West 52nd Street space. Lucky Cheng’s gives way to Red Lacquer with addition a new spiffy décor, and hopes to reel in a large corporate event crowd. Lucky Cheng’s, with its dinner and a show, will still be part of “the umbrella” (a spokesperson informed me). Tonight they are hosting a viewing and I plan to go and view. The space was formerly Touch, and Float, and before that the final incarnation of the fabulous Max’s Kansas City. The Max’s brand was maxed out by the time it moved from Park Avenue South to Midtown, and never got my attention, nor did Touch, which became toast in no time… and Float never did anything to my boat. I think Hayne has it right embracing the Theatre District/Times Square scene. Club USA, a place that I had some involvement with, thrived in this area with a good crowd because the foot traffic is unbelievable. On any given night hundreds of passports supplemented the promoter friendly crowd. The rents are high but the rewards are great if you can strike a chord. This revamp seems intelligent, as it will attract a broader audience than the Lucky Cheng’s formula could. 

Last Night: Rosewood Was Slamming, Spotted Leo DiCaprio & Amanda Bynes

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So last night I had a blast. It was a bit of a pleasant surprise how great the opening of Rosewood, 5 E. 19th St., turned out to be. The space Rosewood occupied was once many clubs run by many operators. In my opinion, none of those joints were any good. Dorsia, some people said, had its moments, but none while I was there, which I admit was rare. The redux of the space into Rosewood seems to be on the cheap but that often doesn’t matter as long as it’s comfortable, the flow is good ,and the overall feeling is positive. I had heard that Leo…yeah “that” Leo, was there at the "friends and family" event a few days before, and that last night other boldface names were expected. From my perspective in the DJ booth, I saw beautiful people committed to a good time, and one semi-celeb: the much-talked-about Amanda Bynes. As far as I could tell, she was behaving marvelously. Noah Tepperberg once introduced me to her at Marquee many years ago, and she was all smiles and sweetness. I like to think of her that way and try to dispel reports of her "Lohanisms.”

The rock-themed den had Kelle Calco following me. His following is so hot that I was left shocked and awed and honored to make them sway. They seemed to enjoy my rock and roll tip. Upstairs, DJ Danny Rockz put the well-heeled crowd into a frenzy. He was like a rockstar with most of the crowd, dancing while facing the DJ booth as he put on a show. The room was illuminated by the requisite sparklers announcing the presence of the sweet set. Rosewood was slamming last night and I congratulate all involved.
 
After my DJ set, I headed to Hotel Chantelle to congratulate the wonderful Luc Carl at his birthday party. Luc is the real deal. He was humble about the event which also had a rock theme, with DJ Ian El Dorado offering rock anthems and crowd pleasers. Tommy London, one of the night’s hosts, handed me a flier for his Bowery Ballroom Dirty Pearls gig on January 4th, 2013. That is the first event in the next year that I have been invited to. It’s kind of eerie. The Pearls are heading off on their first-ever national tour and it couldn’t happen to nicer guys. We scooted off to The Famous Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger on Broadway off Astor for a late-night burger and coffee malted. OMG I shouldn’t have; it was amazing and I want more but must maintain my figure. Cozy was slammed with familiar faces and eclectic strangers. It reminds me of Kiev, back in the day. Great food and a New York downtown crowd winding down after all the bells and whistles of the infinite night.

Sunday is Funday again at the re-tooled GoldbarJonny Lennon, a rocker from Queens, is at the helm of this weekly must-visit. Jonny and I are getting bro tattoos soon. It’s like that.

Jaguars 3’s Opening Bash Tonight, What Makes DJ Jennifly Green So Fly

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I’m very late today because I went to Long Island to pick up slate for the fireplace at The Elsinore, which is quickly approaching completion. I think it will be done the end of next week. On the way back, with literally a ton of stone in the truck, the truck konked out. Luckily, we were on a steep hill and spotted a gas station at the bottom. We just rolled into the place and they went to work right away to fix what was broke. Next door to the gas station was a Dunkin’ Donuts so it wasn’t a complete disaster.

One of the prime directives of nightlife and maybe life itself is, "if it ain’t broke don’t fix it." The converse of this is, "if it is broke, fix it… and fast." My DJ gig at Hotel Chantelle got a little broke as mainstay Scott Hockins and his merry band of rockers left, anticipating the imminent opening of The Elsinore, where he has a piece. Tim Spuches of Chantelle added Michael Tee as a DJ, added fabulous new promoters, and gave Sam Valentine the tools he needs to reinvigorate his Thursday night. Yes, Sam got a couple of stripper poles to excite his crowd. Oh, and he hired a couple of girls to do what they do with those. Sam had his last bash at White Noise this past Friday. This new party is called Generation Wild and it blasts off tonight.
 
I will DJ off and on with only one regret: missing the opening of Jaguars 3, a new nightclub in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, (225 47th Street). They’re doing a dinner and serving complimentary cocktails tonight and all of Brooklyn’s finest will be on hand – maybe Staten Island as well. They offered to send me a car, but alas I’m otherwise engaged. I’d cross-commute for this one because old-school Brooklyn clubs are amazingly amazing when they are. As part of the festivities, Chuck Zito will be celebrating his birthday there tonight, surely setting a tone. Chuck will be the regular VIP host of Jaguars 3. Manhattan joints are what they ar,e and maybe Brooklyn clubs are what they aren’t, but sometimes that’s just more fun.
 
Tomorrow night is the monthly party Hot Music and my pal DJ Jennifly Green is expecting me. I will surely come, as her parties are that rare mix of cultures and music populated by exciting, dancing adults. I asked her all about it:
 
Tell me about the party…the wheres, the whens, the whos but more importantly the whys, as in why should people go.
Hot Music is simply Hot Music! Basically, Hot Music is a monthly party where the vibe, music, and having fun are king, and image and attitude are irrelevant. Musically, there’s no particular mission statement, but expect to hear a lot of funk, 80s & 90s, R & B, house, & perhaps a little classic hip-hop… Where in the city can nightlife dwellers go to hear real dance music from all genres that’s not exactly radio-friendly, top 40 music? Your choices are very limited. Hot Music happens every first Friday of the month at subMercer.  Resident DJs include: South London’s Jennifly, DJ MOma, and ROK ONE, all bringing elements of their varied styles into the mix. If you are looking for a great, sophisticated party, you should go to Hot Music at the subMercer, where all you need are your dancing shoes. Our one goal is to stay connected to the people on the dance floor and keep them there.
 
Why a monthly? What are the advantages of doing a monthly as opposed to a weekly?
The idea is to give something for people to look forward to once a month. They know if they miss it, they will have to wait a whole month, and that is long! So we do it once a month to make it a special event to look forward to. And people get upset if they do miss it; we have gained a loyal following –  it’s the the usual Friday night affair for many. We started the party a year ago, and it’s still hot! Hot Music brings the feel of what basement-style parties were like in New York 10 years ago, before bottle service ruined the easy-going vibe. Why should you go to Hot Music? The dance floor is always packed, with a transatlantic hip crowd that’s a microcosm of New York City. Black, white, gay, straight, and the fabulous!
 
We play danceable music from all genres: 80s, nu- disco, deep house, 90s dance, new wave and electronica; whatever mood we are in we go with it. Sometimes we have themes, like a tribute to a recently-passed artist.
 
Where else can you hear Holy Ghost alongside Prince, Talking Heads, D-Train, and Cut Copy? People come to our party because they know what they are going to get and hear. It’s very rare that you hear all these types of music under one roof in one night; that’s what makes our party unique. Then there’s the talent of the three DJs that make Hot Music its namesake.
 
We DJ’d together at that getting-to-know-you-party for staffers when Blackbook merged with Vibe. Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from London. I have DJ’d at some of the most exclusive lounges in New York, such as subMercer, The Mulberry Project, Peninsula Hotel Roof Deck, and Apothèke. I like to DJ at the cool spots with a sophisticated clientele who enjoy good music – not the annoying type that doen’t know who David Bowie is. My DJ sets are an eclectic mix of dance music of all genres, from music that were popular on the radio in the UK when I was growing up, like Britpop and new wave, to 80s, pop/R & B, disco, electronica, lounge, post punk, nu-disco, indie, and house.

The Secret Underground Acres of The LES: What’s Next For The Lowline Project

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was being chased by some people with ill-intent and I ended up on what is today known as The High Line. It was dawn, and there was grass and flowers and I dodged the bird nests at my feet. Dogs were barking to their humans that I was there, in apartments lining the route. I had no idea that one day tourists and New Yorkers would enjoy the decaying old train tracks as a park. People who think outside of the box made a crazy dream come true. Tonight at The Box nightclub,189 Chrystie St. – where dreams come true by thinking “outside” the box – a benefit will bring another crazy idea closer to fruition.

An old friend, Steven Lau of Laudable Events, has invited me to the Lowline Benefit Concert. Performances by Mike Snow, Au Revoir Simone, Kurima, MGMT etc. will bring a superb crowd. The $200 ticket price will ensure greatness.

The Lowline is a concept that needs to become a reality. Underground in the L.E.S. are acres of beautiful vaulted abandoned train tracks and stations and such. For 60 years they have been home only to those that dwell in the dark (not talking about Bushwick hipsters). The geniuses pushing for this have figured out a way to gather sunlight elsewhere and, through fiber optics and ingenuity, collect that light and bring it underground. They’ll grow plants and grass and trees and a culture. This is why we live in New York. Someday this will exist, and tonight is your chance to contribute to that day.

Steven Lau answered a few questions and Lowline guru Daniel Barasch also weighed in.

What is your connection to the Lowline and how did you get involved?
Steven Lau:I had a group of friends to my house in Bucks County for the weekend a couple years ago and Dan Barasche, one of the founders of the Lowline was a guest of a mutual friend. In the kitchen over a few bottles of wine one night, he explained his and his partner James Ramsey’s vision of building an underground park in an acre-wide, abandoned trolley station on the Lower East Side. I was completely captivated by the idea as well as Dan’s passion for the project and wanted to be involved in any way I could. I was honored to be asked to join the team as a founding board member. Since the Lowline is hyper-focused on art, music, innovation, and culture, my role has been to help out on these fronts, which is where my strengths lie and what we are doing with Laudable Artists, our consulting company.

There will always be a dialogue and comparisons to The High Line. What are the differences? What is your role?
Lau: There are obvious comparisons to The High Line, and the name is even a nod, but the Lower East Side is a very different place then the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.

We’re not your average charity and, from a cultural standpoint, we are trying to do things that are, well, a little bit more…I’m not going to say the grossly over- abused P word… but in this case we are talking about the Lower East Side, the actual birthplace of CBGB’s, The Beastie Boys, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Robert Mapplethorpe, The Ramones, Keith Harring, as well a myriad of other artistic icons. We’re trying to keep this real, doing cool things like hosting anti-galas in abandoned warehouses, mash-up musical events that feature artists from different bands, and throwing parties at The Box.

We do need to raise a significant amount of money, but this isn’t just about outreach to high-end donors. It’s about engaging everyone in the community that wants to be involved in whatever way possible.

Another difference from The High Line is that we don’t just want a passive park. We want a vibrant community arts space with a deep connection to local residents, along with compelling cultural draws for visitors from NYC and around the world. 

And of course we have a green tech solution, which offers a more resilient future cityscape.

Who will the Lowline serve and how?
Lau:The Lowline is being built to support multiple communities. The local neighborhood, the artists, musicians, and performers, young people, and people from outside the neighborhood as a destination, a community center/ art cultural attraction/ beautiful public space…

Tell me about Absolut’s role in this.
Lau:We’re working with Absolut Vodka to create an Absolut Lowline drink in bars throughout the Lower East Side. Their sponsorship of the Lowline reflects a long-term commitment to downtown creative culture.

Daniel Barasch weighed in:

“We’re trying to build a community-driven movement while celebrating Lower East Side history. The Lowline site could easily become a soulless parking lot, a bland storage facility, or a bargain basement for a TJ Maxx.  In the absence of activism, it probably was destined for such a fate.

But in New York, where we’ve always had to fight for public space, we also know it’s always worth the effort. The Lowline will truly makes its mark."

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

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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]

Talking New Year’s Eve at the Dream Downtown With Jonathan Schwartz

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With Christmas finally behind us, the club world races towards its biggest payday and biggest headache: New Year’s Eve. I always looked at New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to make a statement. I always booked a big act and great DJ’s with the philosophy that I would get everyone left in town to come down and have a great party, while those who had shipped off to exotic lands would be aware of our greatness from afar. With that in mind I booked Grace Jones (often), Isaac Hayes, Eartha Kitt, Sandra Bernhardt, Debby Harry, Psychedelic Furs, Cab Calloway, and many other great acts to extend our cachet to the next year. The cold hard winter looms and revenue streams dry up. Money made during December and on the Eve will help venues get by. Most joints opt out and let a company like Joonbug handle New Year’s Eve. Joonbug and other event companies pay flat fees and sell tickets to their fan base. The worry and work of promoting the night is farmed out and a guarantee replaces the anxiety. This year I was booked early as a DJ for Marble Lane at the Dream Downtown. Jonathan Schwartz has taken over the entire joint and is hard at work filling multiple rooms. Besides little ol’ me he has the DJ duo The Chainsmokers, DJ M.O.S., Francis Mercier, and Joey Greiner. I just got word that Nas will be hosting. This sounds like fun. I caught up with Jonathan and asked him all about it.

Taking over the Dream Downtown for New Year’s Eve is ambitious. How did you come to the decision to do this?

Last year, I took over part of the Dream Downtown (the Gallery Event space and Marble Lane) and we sold it out easily and ended general admissions prices at an NYC all-time high of $1k per ticket. So we thought this year OFFER MORE, make New Year’s Eve an entire property event including: The Gallery & Marble Lane (pictured) hosted by Nas with DJ’s Steve Lewis, MOS, The Chainsmokers and more… PH-D with DJ Phresh overlooking the Manhattan skyline, and "Below the Dream," our most intimate space for 125 guests, featuring music by DJ Cameron Smalls. I figured now we have something for everybody.

Each of the rooms has an established year-round identity. Did this identity affect programming? What is going on in each venue?

Gallery is an awesome raw event space. It screams "cool" and "big room fun experience" to me. Past events here have included the Victoria’s Secret show after-party and Marc Jacobs after-party, so this was the perfect room for me to have Nas host later in the evening and let The Chainsmokers play their big room house to bring in the new year. Marble Lane is a restaurant by trade, but when transformed into a lounge for New Year’s Eve makes for an amazing set up. Marble Lane became the "it" place to hang last year at the Dream Downtown first annual New Year’s Eve event with music by Questlove and DJ Reach. This year we keep the cool with Steve Lewis, and the amazing mash-up set of MOS. PH-D is New York’s top rooftop space, boasting everyone’s favorite weekly Saturday party, "Sunset Saturdays." PH-D is one of the best rooms you could ever spend a New Year’s Eve in, with the view of New York City and the amazing hospitality they provide. Below the Dream will be for those who want to go out on New Year’s, but keep it super sexy and intimate without the big room hassle. DJ Cameron Smalls will be there with a mash-up set of hip-hop, rock, electronic music, and more, keeping this room the most private cozy spot in the building. By embracing what each room has to offer, the Dream Downtown is the #1 destination for its versatility, and this was the vision from day one. Party, sleek, intimate, rooftop views, great music, great service, is what the Dream Downtown will offer.

How do you get the right people into the right venue?

PH-D has its own ticket type, allowing tickets buyers for PH-D access only for the rooftop. Gallery and Marble Lane have their own ticket types for general admission and tables. Below the Dream has its own ticket type as well. But of course, we do have limited all-access passes available which will get you into any room on the property.

What is your role at Strategic Group?

My role has evolved over the years, handling our headlining DJ’s, promoters, VIP guests, marketing, really anything to improve the business while working with the team (Noah, Judy, Andrew, Rich, and many more) on the latest focus: gearing up as a partner for Marquee NY, coming in 2013!

Are you learning the back-of-the-house stuff, or is marketing/promotion your ambition?

My goal is to become a "360 operator" and learn more each day. Very few people in our business are 360 degrees in their understanding of both front and back-of-the-house hospitality. I’ve learned a ton about back of the house the past two years but will continue to learn more until I’m a complete 360 guy. I think I’m getting close.

What is the vibe this New Year’s Eve? Is it is escapist, celebratory, reflective, bonkers?

The vibe this year is cool and celebratory. Be in the cool NYC party with the best DJ’s, best crowd that’s in NYC on New Year’s, and hosted by Nas. New Year’s is celebratory and our lineup, promotions, and Nas is just very cool, I don’t see anyone else doing what we have created here. Seems to me its either go to a cool hotel party, or an EDM concert like Armin Van Buuren at Pier 36.

Why the hell did you hire me for New Year’s Eve except for this article?

Had to hire Steve Lewis when it got presented to me as an option by Adam Alpert of 4am DJ’s. I actually think Steve that you were The first DJ I confirmed on the event. An article is great of course, but when you have a guy like yourself who has been to about 30 New Year’s Eve events, I entrust the music in Marble Lane to you and DJ MOS.

Witness to ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ Scandal: Celebrity DJ Teal (Photo Inside)

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This week was a return to the normal insanity of my routine. I went out to play, took meetings, and continued to get back on track after a holiday season that seems like months ago mentally, but only yesterday physically. My DJ gig at the opening of the Outlaw Group Art Show at White Box Gallery got severly raided by NYPD who must of thought there were real outlaws in there instead of the art and downtown-chic set. I was entertaining them with old and new-school swill while they were enjoying the visuals, when the boys in blue took exception to the good time. They did have some reasons to be un-cheerful as it was a little crowded and there were hundreds of people clamoring to get inside, but they seemed a little heavy-handed. Well, the art is still up, and there’s all sorts of new things going on over there everyday so check it out.

My friend DJ Teal is enjoying yet another 15 minutes of fame being the DJ in the booth when 5-year-old "Toddlers and Tiaras" sensation Isabella Barrett got up and sang LMFAO’s "I’m Sexy and I Know It" over at Libation the other night. All sorts of news organizations, ranging from CNN through Huffington and down to TMZ, jumped all over this scandalous story. Some feel it inappropriate that a 5-year-old was at a club singing a sexy song. Isabella made the news recently when she called out fellow "Toddlers" star Paisley Dickey for dressing "like a hooker." I usually don’t pay attention to this stuff, but since it took place at an NYC club and my DJ friend Ms. Teal has been all over the news, I asked her about it. I figured some of you might want to know what the "H" was going on. I’m cleaning up my language in case Isabella is reading her own  "F-ing" press.
 
So you woke up this morning and you are famous. What happened?
What do you mean? I have been famous for years! The question is: what am I famous for THIS time (wink).  When I am not DJing for the public, I do a lot of high-profile events, I also volunteer to DJ/promote for non-profits I believe in, especially for kids or animals. Sometimes my dog even DJs with his nose at animal charity events! This week, I did a huge celebrity fundraiser for an animal non-profit. Isabella Barrett from "Toddlers and Tiaras" was there with her mom, taking pictures and enjoying the party; they are big dog supporters. While we were on the red carpet, I asked her if she wanted to come hang with me in the DJ Booth & learn to DJ (kids always love that). She was psyched! I put my headphones on her and gave her my mic. The song "Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO was playing at the time, she said it was one of her faves, and was singing in the mic with me. She didn’t know all the words, and we switched to Rihanna’s "We Found Love."  Somebody at the party sent a clip to TMZ of the two of us in the DJ booth, just a clip of us singing LMFAO. That sparked the fire! It was shown all over the news and internet: CNN, GMA, Fox, The Daily News, Huffington Post. The video, pictures, and stories are as far away as The Nigerian Daily News! The world was talking about it. The press inaccurately reported the story; some people were outraged, some thought it was cute — TMZ thought both. They questioned, “What mom would bring her child to perform at a late-night club?” (Hello? she was NOT booked to perform, she was there as a guest, not forced, and it was an early PRIVATE even… by the way, have you SEEN Willow Smith perform?) And they also questioned, “How could she let her daughter sing and know about SEXY?” (Hello? this is not gangster rap, she didn’t know what it is…I listened to "Sex Machine," "You Sexy Thing," "Do you think I’m Sexy?," and "I’m Too Sexy" when I was young…is my mom a bad mom?) In addition, they reported that in the video, the "mom" was actually dancing and having a great time "wiggling it" in the DJ booth with her child.  I am flattered; she IS cute….and I DO see the resemblance…and we DO like the same music, love dogs, and think we are FABULOUS! However, This was not the mother of the child, this was DJ TEAL CAMNER!
DJ Teal and Isabella Barrett
 
Do you think this is blown way out of proportion?              
INSANE. I have had trillions of calls by friends and fans seeing me all over the TV and internet and they were so excited! But the controversy got out of control; people were so angry, stemming from reality TV and “Toddlers and Tiaras."These are the same people watching every episode! Sad but, I think that society, although they hate these shows, have become so bored with their own lives that they can’t stop watching them! And everyone wants to be a star these days — not to mention, a DJ!
 
What did CNN refer to you as? A "celebrity DJ?" That’s for sure true now.
Yeah, thanks for the press…hahaha. Jane-Velez Mitchell showed the video on Issues/CNN and said “Wow, look at the mom in the video shakin’ it and havin’ a good time in the DJ booth with her daughter!” Afterward, the mother of Isabella Barrett got interviewed by Jane and corrected her by saying, "Clearly, that is not me, that is celebrity DJ Teal." Woo hoo!
 
Will you raise your rates or lower them?
It’s a lot of work sometimes, but I love it. I have been in the music biz for years, so I love that I am getting paid for my extreme knowledge, experience, and my fun personality! Ok, maybe it’s a also a little bit of cleavage sometimes too, LOL. I love to give back, and I will still donate my time to charities. That’s the payoff.  
 
So where do you work and what’s your set like?  
I work all over the city and Europe. I am known for not being afraid to throw in those songs you haven’t heard in a while, or the ones that will get the crowd to say, "OMG, I love this song!" I love to get people either screaming, singing, or dancing. I have worked in the past with artists ranging from Blur, to Brian Setzer, to The Cure, to Diddy, to the Gipsy Kings. And also tons of dance, pop, rock, R&B, jazz, and world artists. I love them all.  
 
What do you have to say to your … judges?
Any sort of judging in life stinks. We all are guilty of judging without knowing a person and being too quick to judge. I have long blond hair, blue eyes, boobs, love to drink whiskey, wear dresses and red lipstick. BUT…I graduated college with a double major by the time I turned 19. I am a firm believer that you really can never judge or know anyone’s situation unless you are in that person’s shoes. For me, they just happen to be some thigh-high, 5-inch heel boots! 

Flxx Performs At XL: “Don’t Be Fooled By The Hair. It’s My Mind That Leads Me”

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Flx Chaparro-Pitre, usually known as or referred to as just Flxx, has been a nightclub constant or quite a few years. A benevolent manager at hot spots around town, he is known for his look, which includes a lion-like mane. He is soft spoken but stern, and knows everybody and everybody knows him. In the category of "where is he now?" we report that after two and a half years of self-imposed exile, Flxx is back with an album. On April 6th, he will perform at XL nightclub. His new production, "FLXX’s Journey To You," will include the single and video off his new album Valentine’s Romeo, entitled "You". It will be the world premier at the hot 42nd street club and everyone – the old and new – will attend. FLXX is one of the good guys in the business. Read ahead and see why that definition may not be accurate.

You have an ancestry, a lineage that would lead you to entertain. Tell me about that it.
There has always been song and dance in my family for generations, and it’s an epicenter to my life. Every family gathering would lead to instruments playing, people singing and dancing, and the showstoppers were always my mother and father. I would wake to my mother’s singing voice every day. Growing up in Chelsea, my father would frequently perform in clubs and lounges in NYC and invite my Mother to do so as well.

You were always a look… a big look, a powerful look, a recognizable look.. tell me about how you came to it.
There is a picture of me when from when I was seven years old that I have begun to share when asked this same question so terribly often. It was taken during the wrap party for a production of Swan Lake that I was the lead in, and when I look at it, it is still me. I am just now adult version. In the picture I have long hair, a top hat, and tails and an ascot! Yep. Still me. I am all real. But sweet, awkward, comical men and women have dressed themselves as me. Men and women have followed the charcoal lines around my eyes as me. Sounds like a narcissist’s dream. But I believe it’s disconcerting to be reminded so blatantly of oneself. The fact that people want to impress upon you their perception of you is disturbing to say the least. 

You managed, worked in clubs, clubs, clubs.. tell me about that life.
In late 1998, my opportunity to enter the never-ending part of nightlife arose. It is no secret that at the time, Peter and Alessandra Gatien, who infamously owned Limelight, were going through extreme legal issues. They needed someone with a good, clean record to run their Limelight. I hadn’t even received a parking ticket. I was the perfect candidate. Luckily, Father always taught me "one foot in, the other one out to have proper footing," and mother taught me that "no one is better than I, and I am no better than anyone else." I went there to work, make money, and go home peacefully. 

I became the co-general manager of their jewel in the crown, the most infamous nightclub in the world to date. It was by no means a walk in the park. But that is the business. If you can’t handle it, don’t play in it. 

Eventually, their reign as NYC nightlife royalty came to an end and I left and re-positioned myself elsewhere. I opened Arena @ Palladium, XL-Chelsea, Avalon NYC, Mr. Black, Ultra, to name a few. Oddly enough, right after leaving these aforementioned venues, they were shuttered. Once I leave, it’s done. Look at me all you want, but don’t be fooled by the hair; it’s my mind that leads me.

Were you always looking to get out of the nightclub biz?
I always knew that I was leaving the clubs. It was just a matter of when. I like to move forward. I want every day to be new from yesterday in all. From the very beginning I realized that the "beautiful people" were actually quite ugly and untruthful. But it’s no different in nightlife now, I see it. I can smell it when I walk to the door of any club: the aggrandizing. I can only number on one hand the true friendships that I have kept from my NYC nightlife experience thus far, and those people remain dear because they live in truth. 

Is nightlife the same, has it changed drastically, or has it just matured?
I believe that nightlife is the same. The music is there. The people are there. The venues are there. The laughter is there. It is just redesigned. That’s not a bad thing. People often speak of the "good ol’ days."  What’s wrong with progression, with change, with today’s nightlife? Why must one stay in the memory of something they once had as opposed to living in what they have in front of them. I go out looking forward to what will be as opposed to longing for what was once available. 

You wrote, "I am not man, I am not woman, I am not black, I am not white, I am not gay, I am not straight." Define yourself. 
 I live in as close to my truth and present as possible. I reflect upon yesterday, look forward to tomorrow, but most of all, I live today.

You are performing at XL on April 6th. What can we expect?
It’s my first time conceiving, writing, producing, and directing an entire production within one emotionally-charged theme. It’s entitled, "FLXX’s Journey To YOU," with the worldwide premiere and release of the first single and video off my album, Valentino’s Romeo, entitled “YOU." I have combined the theatrical with the club in me. A DJ will play music during the opening reception, muralists have created live images of me to backdrop the songs, and I will sing, accompanied by musicians, a choir, and my mother. Curtain up!

Tell me about your album Valentino’s Romeo.
It’s a gathering of many different moments in my life within my journey of love. At times I felt great and at times I had a 103-degree fever! I lived every moment of this album in real time. And I live each song as they still affect me both emotionally and physically. At times we are loved, but not enough. Not too good. And sometimes these moments in love happen simultaneously  Serious mind-fuck. A psychiatric rubber room of emotions is this album. 

Tell me a club story nobody knows…
I met the person with whom I have shared a greater part of my life thus far in Limelight. A person that will forever be one of my greatest loves. I am lucky and thankful. I can extricate myself from the clubs at my choosing, but I will never erase the clubs from my heart.

Get the inside-info on XL nightclub here

Why Michael Alig Is Still In Jail

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Friday evening was spent going back in time as yet another camera crew sat me comfortably and asked me about the Club Kid era and specifically the murder of Angel Melendez by Michael Alig in 1996. An hour turned into three as the story of that very bad thing that happened back in the good old days continues to be a hot topic. One thing that I tried to get across was that although Michael and his cohorts were indeed a colorful cult that jumped in front of every lens and went out of their way to be seen and heard, there were many other players succeeding in creating wondrous nights at all the Gatien venues outside of Michael’s scope. Disco 2000, the insane Wednesday party that everyone refers to and remembers, was only one night a week at the Limelight.

Michael’s influence on the other nights at Limelight was limited. There were four clubs running simultaneously in that empire: Limelight, Palladium, Tunnel, and USA. And although Michael deserves a great deal of credit for mucking things up at the end, he certainly had a run of brilliance that could have and should have been remembered for creativity and fashion and a good time had by all. His Times Square design executed by Eric Goode at Club USA was iconic. The mixing of his club kids with the ravers, the model crowd, the art crowd, and the hipsters at Tunnel and Palladium looked easy at the time, but is rarely duplicated today.

Michael remains locked up. He continues to fuck up in jail and continues to delay his inevitable return to the street. I think he is afraid to join the living. I haven’t seen him in a while. His constant antics, which have resulted in more and more time behind bars, have pushed me away from his drama. I have decided to visit him soon now that he has been moved closer to home. Friends who have seen him recently say he is in good shape both mentally and physically. He is in solitary again but should be out in December.

Anyway, this afternoon these good folks are looking for club kids, people who were there then to talk on camera. It’s just today so hurry up. Dig out the clown nose and put on the polka-dot makeup. They want to go back… again. Here is their story:

Calling all Club Kids

Date: Monday November 19, 2012
Afternoon: 2:30PM – 4:30PM
Discovery ID is revisiting the Club Kid era that lead up to the Angel Melendez murder of 1996. The show will include an interview with Michael Alig and other fabulous people from the era. Producer Steph Watts is looking for Club Kids to come down to Secret Lounge (525 W. 29th St.) from 2:30pm to 4:30pm on Monday, November 19 to reminisce on the time. Feel free to email Libby Segal for more details and to schedule a time:  libby.segal@liontv.us

To contact Michael Alig:

Elmira Correctional Facility
Michael Alig #97A6595
P.O. Box 500
Elmira, New York 14901-0500