Is Racism at the Core of Greenhouse Harassment?

Very soon there will be a new Mayor and a new Police Commissioner and possibly a quantum change in the way the city and the Police Department conduct business. For many the change from Bloomberg to De Blasio can’t happen fast enough. From my point of view, the biggest issue with the NYPD is their wanton disregard for due process in regards to nightclubs and bars and such. If a local police captain has it in for a joint, then that joint will be targeted and harassed out of business or to the brink. The favorite tactic of the police was to shutter clubs like Pacha because drug dealers are busted inside. This culminated in a big case. I sat in a courtroom and heard how undercover cops set up buys with drug dealers in the club and then blamed the club for the transactions. Pacha won and is thriving, despite efforts to close it down. The police would go to court prior to this case and get an order to close it as a danger to the community. They would execute this order on a Friday after the courts were closed. The club couldn’t open until a judge rescinded the order on Monday. The club lost its weekend revenues. Hundreds of employees lost their pay. Talent – sometimes international – was cancelled. The cops had acted and penalized the club without due process, without the judgment of a court. The penalties amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. They did it during Gay Pride Weekend. The cops seem to think that they are above the law. This is the legacy of Bloomberg/Kelly gang. This is typical of the heavy-handed elitist administration that all worthy candidates tried to distance themselves from this past election. Bill de Blasio won because he said there is something fundamentally wrong with this administration. Racism is recognized by most to be at the core of the stop and frisk policies – policies that will soon be adjusted.

Racism by the police seems to be at the core of its actions towards the club Greenhouse. There are lots of pending court cases and litigations from citizens, so getting answers to questions proved difficult, but I snooped around and got this:

The club is under constant police harassment. On any given night there are a minimum of two police cars stationed outside of the clubs, and several officers as well. The club is told to notify the NYPD the moment any celebrity walks into the building. They are the most strictly managed nightclubs in NYC, no exceptions. Occupancy regulations commonly ignored throughout town are enforced, IDs are strictly checked – those under 24 require two forms of identification.

An employee told me there are “No people doing drugs, people smoking, people trying to steal items… these type of things never happen here, we are so strict it is like going into an airport and the general public knows how strict we are, and that they can not get away with things like that here.”

The police presence is so strong. They walk through the venue several time a week and do inspections to the point where patrons and customers and employees do not want to come to the club anymore. They also have lost countless nights and events and sales due to shut downs.

The problem was made worse by the famous fight between two famous hip hop artists – a front page brawl between Drake and Chris Brown brought more heat than I have ever seen. I asked Barry Mullineaux, co-owner of Greenhouse and W.I.P (the sister club within the club) to tell me about the results of that fights.

“It’s one thing to be strict which we do and do well, but then we have the matter of over-policing, which really scares off and deters people from ever coming back. We comply with all the NYPD and court requests and work diligently to abide by all rules and recommendations. However at certain times it becomes impossible to operate: for example last week I came from a dinner around 12 a.m., there were about 10 police officers stationed outside, they asked me for my ID and liquor license, they were writing me up for a ticket for over-crowding. I explained that I hadn’t even been inside yet, but I was put in handcuffs and arrested. They let me go after a few hours in the precinct and wrote a summons for over crowding. This arrest was in front of employees and large crowd in line, including several celebrities Nicole Murphy, Jermaine Dupri. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

We have had our share of tough roads, as any business would endure. Yes the fight between Drake and Chris Brown has affected our business tremendously. The city put incredible pressure on us when the bad news went worldwide, and we have had to battle numerous courts cases and legal matters. We have also had numerous lawsuits started against us from this night. We have had various stipulations placed upon us such as we do full searching of all patrons and employees. We have strict ID policies.

We have no problem working with the city and NYPD to be compliant and to follow any rules, but at the same time we want a fair chance to conduct business. We have over 100 employees depending on their jobs to pay their bills and feed their families. The constant problems we have gone through its not just about the ownership and investors and managers – it affects all the employees.”

There seems to be an unequal share of policing and harassment happening here. Three nights a week Greenhouse brings in an urban crowd, and the neighborhood the club is in is strictly white bread. I believe that the problems the club has are as simple as that. Sure there was a big fight. Most clubs have them. There was big one down the road at another venue that very night involving a bunch of white folks, but it didn’t get the press or scare the neighborhood. I don’t go to Greenhouse events on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The “industry” events don’t interest me, but I believe they have a right to exist and the fact that they pack out proves that many others agree. Who is objecting? Obviously residents who don’t want that element in their backyard and the police who are obviously being pressured to do something about it. This stinks. Sure Greenhouse is an imperfect venue but the crime and punishment should be handled in a court with a judge, and not decided and acted upon by the police. There are no nearby neighbors this close to the Holland Tunnel club. Who are they hurting? What are the real reasons for this enforcement?

Stuart Braunstein’s Work in Progress Is Finally Not One

The opening tonight of W.i.P., otherwise known as Work in Progress, is a great relief. W.i.P will be a new space under Greenhouse with a separate entrance. It literally has been a work in progress for about a year longer than expected. I wrote about this joint and the collaboration between the Stuart Braunstein, Rony Rivellini, the Collective Hardware crew, the Greenhouse clan, and spearheaded by Barry Mullineaux, last October. At that time, I believed it would be the next big thing. I haven’t changed my mind. In fact, I believe the potential for greatness is even greater.

The reasons to be cheerful are many. Firstly, Jon B has departed as the spiritual guru of Greenhouse. Now, I get along with Mr. B, who has made more money than most cultivating his B, C, D, and beyond crowd. He shamelessly went where most wouldn’t go, and came out of it with bags of money. He is a happy camper and so are the people he left behind, who he often clashed with. His departure ends the infighting and power struggles that often plagued Greenhouse. Greenhouse just celebrated its third year, and the players who are filling Jon B’s shoes have walk-around money and a good attitude, not to mention a new space to revitalize the whole shebang.

Another reason W.i.P. might be better than expected, is Stuart Braunstein needs it to be. I love Stuart. He is my pal, buddy, and way more than a Facebook friend, but he just might be the most egotistical fellow in the club world, and that covers a lot of ground. He doesn’t try to hide it, apologize for it, or even adjust. He’s just drawn that way. Stuart knows it’s been a long time since Collective Hardware catered to and owned the ultra "in" art and downtown crowds. He’s not the type to rest on his laurels, or even rest at all, in his quest to prove himself once again. Although there were many players involved with the stellar achievement that was Collective Hardware, ultimately Stuart was the king. He took the place, the scene, and the concept to great heights, and then smashed it all on the rocks. He gave it all that he had and there was a feeling at the end that it had to end badly. If it hadn’t, it might have been defined as too mainstream. The failure to stay open insured its uncompromising legacy. Collective set a high bar, and as a semi-legal space, there was a looseness to it, a free spirit which will be hard to expand on in a licensed premise. The task to equal and improve on the past will be difficult, but Stuart is very hungry, and that’s a good thing. I asked him to talk about W.i.P.:

"After the closing of Collective Hardware I went on a journey to South America and partook in Shamanic ceremonies, and discovered a connection to the source and realized that the problem in the world today was “duality”. We are all connected to everything and everybody. Left against right, religion against religion, good vs evil. W.i.P. is a platform for those who have something to say. I was given the opportunity to art direct this room and I’ve opened up my doors to give back to the intellectual, cultured and spiritual communities. The space will be a constantly changing installation, a mad scientist lab podium for those with words and ideas, something I feel New York is lacking." 

Now that’s entertainment. Tonight’s opening will be amazing, because Stuart can do amazing. Sure there will be "surprise performances" and DJs, and the art installations will be wonderful. But in the end, Stuart’s ability to bring us closer to the long lost edge that nightlife used to feature is the reason to be there.

The Ghosts of Bowery Past: CBGB, Greenhouse, & W.i.P.

Yesterday I took one of my first days off since ’03 and it was grand. Me and mine went to the Bronx Zoo which was a zoo. Apparently, Wednesdays are donation day with no fixed admission fee, which means approximately 1 billion people descend upon the zoo to enjoy the nice day with the pretty animals at no cost. We had a blast, completely captivated by the captivated lions and tigers and bears. ..oh my! Amongst the zillions of people, we somehow found Hotel Chantelle go-go dancer Nicky Delmonico and assured her tonight’s hot “Generation Wild” Rock Party at Chantelle would be cool. The joint fixed its air conditioning.

We got home, washed the day away, and headed to DBGB Kitchen & Bar for dinner with Marky Ramone and his Marion. We were joined by chef Daniel Boulud who bombarded us with funny tales and scrumptious deserts. Marky and I told and retold tales of yore. We talked of Dee Dee, Joey, CBGB, and Max’s Kansas City. I don’t desire to dwell too long in the past, preferring to keep looking forward, but sitting with an old war horse like Marky leads to inevitable digression. Eventually I’ll tell you all about it. 

As he posed for photographs with giddy patrons – suburban people who now live in nearby condos and chic apartments where there once stood burnt-out buildings that punks, bums, dealers, and scum squatted in – we talked about the ghosts of Bowery past. It was inconceivable to us that such folk are now frolicking and enjoying such fine fare where we youthfully played amongst the ruins. Back then, a container topped with aluminum foil filled with chicken vindaloo and eaten with a plastic fork was fine dining.

Marky is still touring, still banging his drums not so slowly, and doing lots of other things I will, as I said, eventually talk about. At DBGB, his gravy… er sauce, is for sale and prominently on display up front. Marky Ramone’s Brooklyn’s Own Marinara Sauce is featured in delicious pasta dishes that we all shared prior to our entrees. We headed to Bantam, side-stepping homeless folks who haven’t quite heard the good news about how fabulous the neighborhood has become.

I saw a petition on Petitionbuzz that was under the banner "ALLOW WIP & GREENHOUSE to reopen.” When I clicked through, I read this:

"As many of you already know W.I.P & Greenhouse are still closed pending a scheduled hearing on Friday. I know that I can speak for many people when I say that this is a big blow to the people employed by the club, the nightlife community, as well as to the party goers themselves. We all loved hanging out and partying at W.I.P and are sad to see that the actions of 2 world renown hip hop artist acting like thugs shut down a place we all love and leave 300 people (including Greenhouse) out of jobs in this depressed economic state.  I Emailed @NYNightlife asking him whether or not he thought this petition would even be worth while / effective. He replied saying that he would contact someone at WIP/Greenhouse and see what they think. 10 minutes later he Emailed me back saying that he was told "it would go a long way", which means that every "signature" counts. The hearing is scheduled for Friday, so until then lets all make it a point to get as many people  to sign this petition as possible and to share it with everyone we know, thank you."

I have been pretty harsh on the players-to-be-named-later over there at W.i.P./Greenhouse, but anytime a club is closed because of the illegal actions of its patrons, I get confused. It’s like closing Kennedy Airport because the TSA caught some joker smuggling some blow or because a couple of schmoes duked it out on a long line. There were a lot of people making a living over there at those joints. I’m hoping that "were" gets changed to “are.”


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How The Club Handled The Chris Brown-Drake Brawl

Everyone is asking me about the Chris Brown/Drake thing at W.i.P. I’ve taken enough pot shots at the changing scene over there. I won’t further the gossip about how the seating was done, despite warnings to management not to do it like that. The ensuing brawl, I am told, was "inevitable.” Multiple sources told of the seating "roped off the way it was resembled a boxing ring.” I won’t talk about the report of a young gal needing and getting multiple stitches but reportedly not being helped by club security. My source said "she got 16 of them.” A couple of people talked of art by photog Scott Alger valued at 10K+ being destroyed. One employee texted me that "it was late on a good night and that Mary J. had left and it was all good"…until it wasn’t. They added: "it isn’t nearly as rough as Sunday". Since the NY Post and the big news organizations are all talking about this, and me and those W.i.P./Greenhouse guys are getting along after a bit of a rough spell… there is no need for me to even mention it.

Man-about-town Terry Casey will be celebrating his gazillionth birthday at La Zarza, that wonderful little spot on First Avenue and 10th Street. This is turning out to be a big deal, not because it’s Terry’s birthday – God knows he’s had lots of those – but because of the talented DJs who will be on hand. Stephen Luke the LIV Miami resident will join Xander Phoenix and innovative DJ Kris Graham. Kris was one of the originators of the now-everywhere House Music brunches. Back in 2002 Kris was doing Diva on West Broadway and joined forces with Roberto Burchielli who helped bring the European programming to Provocateur

Christmas Greetings From Junior Vasquez

The other night, we watched a movie adaptation of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece,  A Christmas Carol. It was the 1938 version, all black and white and fuzzy and wonderful. Recent correspondences with infamous DJ Junior Vasquez had me comparing him to Dickens’ main character Ebenezer Scrooge. Not because Junior is cheap or anything, but because of his transformation.

In A Christmas Carol, divine intervention restores the good in old Ebenezer, which by the end makes him a wonderful chap to be around. These days, Junior has also been transformed. He was Atilla the Hun, Junior, and now he’s Junior Mint. I don’t know if divine intervention played a hand, or a new prescription or the abandonment of an old one did it, or if it’s just a maturity that comes with age. I do know that I had a very few good friends that always vouched for him. When he was at his worst—a brooding, temperamental bully—they told me that he really had a heart of gold and was just acting out. We all forgave his sins and episodes because he was the greatest DJ on Earth.

These days, there are a great many Greatest DJs on Earth. Whether it is the internet (it’s always easy to blame the internet), or the global house music movement, DJs have become rockstars. Junior was a rock star before most of the others were out of diapers. Yet he wasn’t the first. He grew up in the shadow of Larry Levan, who to many was a deity. When Larry passed, Junior became the new deity.

He sent me an email the other day, and as I said, the comparison to the Dickens character struck me. I asked him if I could share it with you, as it is sort of a Christmas card. Junior is still troubled, but in his process he has found a road to happiness. We reveled in the past, in his moods as it meant good music. Nowadays, his set is less violent, less angry, and some might not embrace it as much as before. He has a new management team spearheaded by another greatest DJ, Timmy Regisford. He is playing around town now, and wants his old fans to come and dance. But more importantly, he wants a new crowd to express himself to. He plays monthly gigs at D36, weekly at Greenhouse, and approximately once a month at OPM in Brooklyn. Recently, he has played at Guilt Nightclub in Boston, 4Sixty6 Club in NJ, and is working on gigs in NYC, Miami, London, and Japan for the early months of next year. He told me he was busy in the studio working on new projects that he is "very excited about." He promised to keep me posted about his DJ and studio work, and send me some of his latest work as well. I asked him if I could publish the e-mail he sent me, as I thought it was really a wonderful insight into this enigmatic, very human, man. He told me it was okay to post, so here it is unedited:

"Hello Steve,

I’m reaching out to you this day because I feel that your one of the only writers that I have actually read that speaks the truth. So we just had another great weekend when I played District 36 , its my second time playing there and I love the room it suits me well (brief interruption from the FDNY for 45 min ) but I understand everyone has a job to do so no one gets hurt. Obviously I used to hate it but I understand and it adds to drama of the room anyway. Which I always turn into my favor!

The last interview we did with Timmy Regisford and myself was amazing I thought his team of people have been a big help to this day filling in gaps which I needed and were getting Shelter/Factory on the way we did a test run and was a full house. Also my good friend Fabrizio has helped me so much along with my catologs and collecting all my materials also our mutual friend Dale who has massive reach with many of his music contacts and other contacts for great events and gigs for me to do as well and help brand me again. Everyone made me shave this time around and can send you my clean cut look as well know you like an image.

Well with all this being said the biggest part of my life now is to reach out to people like you or artists and industry people like Hosh Gurelli ,David Waxman of Ultra Records,Victor Calderone, Danny Tenaglia and many others I have not spoken to in a long time and I’m mending my bridges these days and I know it will take a bit but at least in my heart I can see the positive outcome.

With me reaching out I have got new remixes already to work on like Benny Bennassi and Kelly Clarkson, my biggest hope would be able to work with Madonna again and its my biggest passion . Sometimes you must see the light and I have. It’s an honor that I had the career that I did and also people have there ups and downs , these days I feel like I’m back on the upswing and I’m NOT looking back!! Would love to play in London,Miami, Tokyo and of course Amsterdam. I’m continuing my art which I love .

Well Steve Thank you for listening again and hope your well . I wish all well and please thank all my friends and fans staying with me and I WILL NOT FAIL THEM!


Actors Playhouse Nightclub Opens & Disappoints

I was invited to the Saturday night opening of Actors Playhouse, a club in what used to be the Actors Playhouse Theatre, 100 7th Ave. South right off of Christopher St. I had first seen the space  a couple of years ago when James Huddleston was considering it. James was hot off being the doorman of hotspot The Jane Hotel when the hip crowd couldn’t get enough of that space. For all the usual reasons, things didn’t pan out, and James found his gold over at Pravda. The Actors space he showed me was ancient wood, and had antique mirrors and a dressing room maze where people could easily get lost and then deliciously  found. At the time I thought it might be a winner. But a new crew has taken over the joint and they’ve paid no mind to the natural beauty of the room, opting to gut it and slick it out. It doesn’t work on any level.

I was told by attendee Joe "Viagra" Vicari that it was designed by Bluarch, which did Greenhouse and Juliet Supper Club. I didn’t much like either of those, but Greenhouse was affective. Juliet looked worn out way too soon. Anyway, design-wise Actors Playhouse looks like a cheap version of those. The biggest design crime was not embracing the assets the space offered; now it’s cold and lit up like a Coney Island attraction, and the flow is just awful. I could go on and on but my mother told me at dinner last night while we were discussing an entirely different matter that if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything. So I’m not going to say anything.

I will say that Joe Vicari and I have buried the hatchet after many years of wanting to hit each other with one.

Word comes that Matt Levine has grabbed the old Florent space in the Meatpacking. Florent was the in-place for the in-crowd, when they were still butchering cows where high-end clubs, restaurants, and boutiques now flourish.  Back before all that, it was the scenes last stop or – gasp – if you were real in and desperate you might get a bit of vodka in your coffee at 6am. Every ho, bro, and club employee would head there after all the chores were done for a good meal. Tables  werethisclose, and spying on the celeb and his date –  who were almost in your lap – became an art form. It was grand.

Nothing has worked in the space since Florent closed. Matt will come up with something. I have been told by a guy who should know that Matt snatched up the failed Merkato 55 space as well. Everyone in town is pushing and shoving to get an inch in the Meatpacking, and Matt lands two. He either is the wiliest of operators or paid too much. A combination of both is probably close to the truth, but then again what is too much for the area which has more foot traffic than anywhere, save Times, Herald, or Union Square. The Meatpacking District might soon be named the Cheesepacking District, but there still are outposts of elegance to entertain even a jaded old codger like me.

It’s Been Said Before: Greenhouse & W.i.P. Have Reopened

The news that Greenhouse/W.i.P. has reopened for booziness is welcomed. Although there will be future legal back and forths, for now it can serve its adoring public which includes the fabulous Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny’s Sunday night soiree. Last Sunday it was emails and Facebook messages and texts proclaiming it "on" and "off"… "on" and "off" until that game of musical chairs ended with…"off." I’m not a big fan of Greenhouse; I never go there, but I firmly believe that a club should not be held responsible for the bad behavior of its patrons unless management is either ignoring or complacent. Humans often behave badly… drunk humans more so. Bad behavior is to be expected on occasion. Accountability is important, but it is impossible to expect multi-million dollar investments in tax-generating, job-creating enterprises if a sword of closure hangs over operators’ heads for actions they may not reasonably be able to control. As much as I don’t listen to hip-hop or enjoy hip-hop-heavy parties, I surely recognize its impact on club culture and life in America in general. It is enjoyed by all demographics. The 800-pound gorilla that isn’t really spoken about is whether or not Greenhouse is being persecuted because this is an “urban thing.” A prince gets into a brawl at a chic meatpacking joint and closure isn’t an issue. Hey, this has been said before.

The city is scheduled to rule on a controversial plan to expand NYU’s village campus. According to many residents, this expansion will destroy the character of the neighborhood which has, of course, been a creative cauldron for NYC life as we know it for eons. We’re talking two million square feet in tall buildings with apparent loss of green areas and such. Worse than all that will be the expansion of the population of frat boys and frat girls and the changes their needs will bring. Mom and pop restaurants and quaint coffee shops will be gentrified out to accommodate student-friendly shops like 16 Handles and chain stores.

NYU is a dark force that should be pushed to areas like Wall Street or Brooklyn or Queens. The city has lost so much of its core character and can’t afford to be further compromised. Why do I care? Every few days I walk past the NYU Palladium Housing on 14th Street which once was this incredible theatre that I attended and then operated during my club years. I knew it as The Academy of Music where I saw The Clash, U2, The Cramps, and a long list of etceteras. I hung out there when it was the Palladium – the club – and saw early rock and dance. I operated it for Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager and came back to fill it a few other times for other moguls.

Once, when I was remodeling this beautiful 108,000-square-foot facility, I was prevented from nailing things into most walls or ceilings. I can’t find any official landmark references, but I was told at the time that it was one. It was protected because of its ancient and significant beauty…its recognized importance in design and architecture. I got married to my first wife there. I think it was its only wedding.

NYU came along…needed it …tore it down. The ultimate indignity is that when they built the Palladium Housing, they used the same logo or similar font as the legendary club. It’s fucking Mordor. This too has been said before.

Tonight I’ll be at White Rabbit DJing with a host of wonderful folks at the Tattoos & Art show at White Rabbit around 9 or 10pm or 10 to 11pm…you know how these things go… and, of course, this has been said before.

13 Questions for Friday the 13th

It is Friday the 13th and, yes, I am getting a "13 ball" tattooed on my arm from Magic Cobra Tattoo Society.  The line on Driggs and South 1st was long and totally fun for the inexpensive permanents. They ink for 24 hours starting at midnight and I gave them mixed CDs for the occasion …some biker/tattoo music to ease the pain.

It may be Triskaidekaphobia that has me not willing to write today, to commit to a story, say anything I might regret later. I was up until 8am at Magic Cobra haven and woken at 7am Thursday morning. That question from Dirty Harry keeps banging around in my head "…But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?’” Well I feel anything but lucky today and the entire world away from my pillow feels like a .44 Magnum; I am absolutely feeling like a punk, so forgive me if I keep this to 13 possibly dumb questions with uneven answers.

Q1) Was it the luck of the Irish that got that fabulous Ballinger crew open almost immediately at Webster Hall after a stabbing at a hardcore show, while  Greenhouse/W.i.P. got shuttered harder and longer for a bottle-throwing incident?
A1) I think it’s a matter of a long history of working well with the community that has Webster doing its thing, while Greenhouse has been way more annoying to some. The fact that the Webster stabber and stabbees were white and the bottle throwers and brawlers at Greenhouse were black never crossed my mind.

Q2) Are the rumors that Pink Elephant may close for August true, and was it bad luck or bad planning to open a Euro-based club in the beginning of the summer or was it planned like this all along?
A2) I’m too tired to ask them the question today and you know what will be said anyway.

Q3) Is The Double Seven just being unlucky or is it the weather, or is it just fabulous and not as confused as my personal confusion perceives it?  A source who made me swear to say nothing about what he told me about The Double Seven will be happy that I respect his wishes.
A3) Mark Baker and crew will tell me how wonderful it is over there if I had the strength to pick up the phone so why should I bother to call?

Q4) So why can’t they call it Bungalow 8 and what did Amy Sacco ever do to be the focus of such silliness?
A4) She is so fabulous and smart and fun and if they want to call it "8"…wink, wink, I’m going to go anyway. Hey, they can call it 13 and I’m there.

Q5) Is the Xtravaganza Ball really going to happen next Sunday, July 22, and have they really asked me to be a judge?
A5) OMG ! Yes ! What to wear? I must look …legendary.

Q6) Have those wonderful and erotic Domi Dollz fallen into a pile of good luck now that every skirt on the planet has read Fifty Shades of Grey?
A6) I missed their monthly soiree/seminar this past Thursday at the Museum of Sex but predict they may soon need to get a bigger room to whip those novices into shape.

[Editor’s Note: I went, and it was amazing. Those Dollz know how to whip you and their leather-collared, half-naked boys into shape.]

Q7) Am I really going to do 13 of these?
A7) No, seven is more than half of 13, I think… and considering the condition my tattoo is in, it’s all you can expect. I’m going to crash…get my tattoo from Adam Korothy at Magic Cobra, rinse, and repeat.

You Heard It Here First: Microsoft is Cool

As discussed yesterday, I will attend the Domi Dollz event tonight, at 7pm, at the Museum of Sex. Yes, this is an obvious ploy to be black and blue and read all over. I will then dash over to Stash, a place that is trying hard to be under the radar. I designed the joint with more wow factor than a Kardashian wedding/split/reconciliation (rinse, repeat). Its location right next to The Darby is fortuitous. It is small with 10 tables and a lot of design moves. Like all my relationships, there were times I didn’t believe in it, but as it turns out, I am very pleased. It’s in that soft opening phase. I don’t think the name is out there, but seeing as I have now heard it from the lips of at least a dozen people, half of which they shouldn’t ever let in, I think it’s fair game. I put a little stash drawer in the table for your cell phones, and am planning on adding a phone charger at each booth. Yes, we learn as we go.

After Stash, I will zoom to Open House on Houston and Avenue A. I’m designing this as well. It too is having a soft opening tonight. It’s not quite complete, not quite ready for primetime players, but is fully functional, even if I’m not after a strenuous couple of weeks of readying it and Stash. Now, writing about things I am designing can be considered a conflict of interest to some. I feel that if I would write about it anyway if I wasn’t involved, then it’s cool that I do so. I certainly write about things that I have no direct involvement with, but I do get around and am entangled in many ways. I’ll try my best to always disclose. Open House is where Stay was. We think it’s turning out great and I am psyched to see it with people in it.

This past Monday, I attended The Microsoft Holiday Reception at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It was a grand affair. Lots of gizmos, not too many geeks. I was invited by my old friend Henry Eshelman, who blushed when I said he was wearing the same corduroy sports jacket from the last time I saw him 10 years ago. It was a quip, but now I think it was true. I asked him what a guy who has trouble turning on his cellphone was doing there. He said that "Microsoft is cool again and is busting out with cool technology. They launched Windows phone 7.5 with a performance by Matt & Kim, not a safe choice at all. They created the Microsoft home Holiday showcase to show off their latest gadgets to interesting and influential people from hospitality, technology, nightlife, design and academia. These folks will become brand evangelists and advocates when they take the time to check us out.  Microsoft’s shit kicks ass. People love the phones, new laptops, and Kinect is
 the best gaming platform out there."

I said "whew," and I worked the room and found it all to be true. There were squealing models jumping up and down and gyrating and twisting as they played this uber, super, duper ski game. They wouldn’t let anyone else play and they were amazing at it. They must have been from one of those places that have snow all the time, like Holland or Denmark or Norway or Buffalo. I didn’t want anyone else to play either, and some of the other guys and I decided to smack anyone who dared get in the way of their (and our) fun. The car racing games with animation that looked completely real grabbed me, as did all the cool phones which just launched. I saw friends that were actually older than me, as well as Mark Baker and Ivy Bernhardt, who owns my favorite art spot, the Ivy Brown Gallery. Anita Sarko, Chris Rabish, David Rabin, David Rubin, Alexa Von Tobel. Phillip Bloch, Montgomery Frazer, Robin Bronk (head of the Creative Coalition), Jonathan Segal, CEO of One Group, Rose Kuo, and Eugene Hernandez from Film Scoiety of Lincoln Center and tons of others were on hand munching on bites by John Delucie. I hung in the DJ booth for a bit with pals Jus Ske and Ani Quinn. Everywhere people were toying with gadgets that had transcended the label of toy. More people were playing with the new cellphones than a typical night at a bottle service club. I had fun and that was a big surprise. Microsoft just might be cool again.

Tuesday marked the 19th anniversary of Larry Levan’s passing. For those who were there at the Paradise garage, they can still hear the music and still carry the love that this great human instilled in us. There is little debate on his greatness as a DJ. He led so many on a path of self-discovery. To label him a DJ doesn’t quite tell the story, for he was so much more. He was a spirit that enlightened thousands who gathered in a religious fervor to hear and witness his weekly sermons. He transcended the music as well as his own human weakness. I had the honor to know him and work with him.

Greenhouse celebrates its 3rd anniversary and first without the enigmatic Jon B at the rudder. DJ Cassidy will do the honors along with birthday girl Taryn Manning. In the lounge they have the Chainsmokers and DJ Rashad Hayes. "There will also be a special live performance by one of the top pop and R&B artists of this decade. Not to mention a 5 Ton Elephant" I rarely do. I rarely go to Greenhouse but might tonight. The Sunday party with Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny is still undeniable. Tonight’s shindig is "Benefiting the Earth Organization."

I’m staying in Friday night as I will need all my strength for Saturday. Saturday night I will attend that Smirnoff Vodka, Madonna gala at Roseland, then scoot over to The Highline Ballroom to catch Locksley. That is all.