The Best Ever: Lady Gaga & The Dirty Pearls, Twinkies, & EVR

It’s that time of year again. The judging for the 2013 Nightclub & Bar Awards have arrived and I am humbled to be part of it all once again. The award winners will be honored at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show on March 19-21 in Las Vegas. I will be there. I write four columns a month for Nightclub & Bar Magazine and therefore get to judge categories that are relevant to my expertise. I will be a judge for Small Nightclub of the Year, New Club/Lounge of the Year, and Mega-Club of the Year. I cannot discuss the process with any of the nominees and they should not discuss this with me. I take this very seriously and will spend a great deal of time analyzing and agonizing about my choices.

In the "it couldn’t happen to nicer guys" competition (not part of the above mentioned awards, but should be), I vote for the band The Dirty Pearls who are currently on tour with Lady Gaga. Tommy London, Marty Concussion, and the fellows are providing the entertainment at her after parties. Tommy and Marty are fixtures at the Thursday night Wild Generation parties at Hotel Chantelle where I DJ with Samuel Valentine and Luc Carl, who’s famous for being Gaga’s ex.

Luc, for his credit, has a show on Sirius Radio and a book and tons of things going on. He is a wonderful human being and I enjoy DJing with him. He wins the "DJ I am most likely to Shazam " award (also a non-category at above, but should be). Anyway, The Dirty Pearls ended up on Page Six of the New York Post last Friday. The Post put up a wonderful, candid picture of The Pearls and a half-naked Gaga taken by my "photographer of the decade" Terry Richardson.

First prize in the "if you don’t RSVP to my birthday party or I will keep bugging you" competition goes to Jezebel owner and bon vivant Henry Stimler. Henry will celebrate tonight at Jezebel, 323 W. Broadway. Alex Bilu will be having a solo art show tonight at the "best-named gallery on Houston Street" winner White Rabbit Gallery. I love the place and love the curation. White Rabbit is at 145 E. Houston at Forsyth and Eldridge.

I am so happy to hear that the "greatest non-baked snack ever" Twinkies may have a buyer and I’ll be able to buy them again. For those old enough to remember, I served thousands of Twinkies at my wedding back in the last century at the Palladium. Twinkies are my favorites. 

On the subject of "ever," I will DJ tonight from 6pm to 10pm at EVR54 W. 39th St. off 6th Ave. That early slot allows you old timers, maybe some who even attended my wedding, to get off your old rumps and catch my wave. I’m never, ever going to win any awards for DJing, but I am true to my rock roots and enthusiastic, WhatEVR.

Get my column in your inbox before anyone else by signing up for the biweekly Good Night Mr. Lewis email blast. 

Jezebel’s Henry Stimler Reveals His Casino Royale-Themed Gala & Favorite Bond Girl

The previews of The Great Gatsby have me totally psyched up. Leo as Gatsby is a big ZOWIE! for me. Baz will understand. I’ve read Gatsby a zillion times. I relish the eternal optimism of the lead, his romance, his insane quest. The parties in Fitzgerald’s great tome – which attract all types, and devolve into the impure-ist bedlam – are the model for my events. The rich hobnobbing with the dressed-up peasants, the debaucherous under-classes worked well for me. Nowadays, nightlife is more segregated. Slumming isn’t the norm for the well-heeled, as most opt for mingling within the same class. The top spots thrive on big bucks and exclusivity as opposed to inclusivity. There are exceptions to this rule: usually the fun night at the usually boring joint. The hoi polloi have been banished to Brooklyn and they thank you very much. 

At Capitale’s Casino Royale-themed gala January 26th with Henry Stimler (Jezebel) and Seth Greenberg (Capitale) at the helm, the price of admission is $125, separating the men from the moochers. Capitale,130 Bowery at Grand, is the perfect setting for such an affair. The building was designed by Stanford White who was murdered by a millionaire who learned of an affair between the architect and his model wife which predated the marriage. Stanford White designed the house where Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald attended those lavish parties that inspired him. Stanford also designed the Arch in Washington Square Park, The Players Club Mansion on Gramercy Park. The old post office on 31st and 8th and tons of other places. He was the epitome of the American renaissance of architecture. His murder at the hand of Harry Kendall Thaw was the "trial of the century.” Capitale is there to behold. Its beauty, timeless. Its ability to host great events, legendary. I think this is an event of Gatsby-esque proportions. J. Bond and J. Gatsby are great icons. 

This Saturday, the Casino Royale Gala will attract the best. There will be gaming tables and a live symphony orchestra and sexy singers who will perform every Bond song. There will be a late DJ set by Antonio de Angelis of Pacha Ibiza. Aston Martins will be parked outside. Shaken not stirred martinis will be  served by gold painted ladies. It’s a costume party and attendees are encouraged to come as their favorite Bond character. They have provided this link for all info and costume concepts. A full 20 percent of ticket sales will go to the Tunnel to the Towers Foundation in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. A VIP table for five people goes for $2,000, for 10 people $4,000. There is a $50 ticket after 12:30p.m. as well. Their last event, “Midnight in Paris,” was all the rage and this looks like tons of fun.

I asked Henry Stimler a few questions.

What will guests see when they attend?
We are going to create a world of all things Bond, from being greeted by Miss Moneypenny, to tarot card readers, gold-painted ladies, Bond ice sculptures, full band, different singers performing all 22 Bond-themed songs, and of course a casino with amazing prizes.

What will they hear?
Well, the band will play during the gambling etc., then for the after party we are flying in Italian DJ Antonio De Angelis with DJ V to spin from 1am to 4am.

The reason for the Bond theme: is it just because it’s plain sexy?
It’s more than sexy, it’s iconic. I love Bond, and think everyone has that fantasy, the opening scene of Dr. No sitting at the table, lighting a smoke, and saying that immortal line, “Well, here you can embrace it, grab your best tux, strap on a Walter PPK (fake on please), and pull off your best ‘Bond, James Bond’ to a beautiful women, and the place will be full of beautiful Bond girls.

Why January 26th?
It’s my birthday on the 28th, so I kinda rolled with that weekend.

What have you learned from your previous event, Midnight in Paris?
Midnight in Paris was a smashing success. Everywhere people went that night, they ran into flapper girls. I ended up at 6am in a top hat and tails and the door guy asking me "what the hell’s with all the 1920s outfits tonight?” New Yorkers embrace themed parties it seems. We put on a big production –  but this one is bigger.

It’s you, Seth Greenberg, and who else?
We always have a team of people, such as Yana Tara, Michael Heller, Gary Quirk, Vito, Matt Esstes, and Vanessa Gil, but it’s just me and Seth for promotion.

Your restaurant Jezebel is providing "bites." Tell me about bites and, while you’re here, Jezebel. Who goes there? Has the kosher cuisine crossed over, and been embraced by non-Jewish patrons?
Jezebel has been a trip. We are seven months in and it’s going great. I think it’s really been embraced by people. You get such a huge mix of people, it really is the melting pot that is NYC. On any given night, you can have your table of 5 Chabad dudes sitting next to two football players with their girlfriends, next to a table of models, then a rabbi and his wife on a date, next to some huge financiers next to Russell Simmons. We have a great new chef, Chris Mitchell, formerly of The Breslin. He is just great.

For Bond, we are going to do a mix of Goldfinger food and Bond-inspired snacks. It’s gonna be very cool and super delicious.

Ok, ok, ok, who’s your favorite Bond? Who’s your favorite Bond villain and your favorite Bond girl?
Sean Connery, hands down, for favorite Bond, the girl in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Goldfinger as my fav Bond villain: "I don’t expect you to talk, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die." Classic stuff.

Get my column in your inbox before anyone else by signing up for the biweekly Good Night Mr. Lewis email blast. 

Tomorrow Night: It’s Midnight in Paris at Capitale

It’s early morning as I write this. I am sitting in a comfy chair surrounded by my puppy and Buster, my cat. The patio door is open. Our eye contact is easily understood as we wink and smile at each other in delight. The air reeks of spring, which has been elusive so far. A hint here and there has left us unsatisfied. We want to toss the cold weather gear into that closet where the cat will sleep on it till late September. There is romance in the air today and romance is all that I will speak about.

An extremely romantical soiree is near. A night for those who believe they are the upper crust, the better half, the enlightened, the enfranchised will be held at the extremely romantic Capitale this Saturday. French Cabaret Dinners is inviting the jet set to a 1920s-themed dinner party called Midnight in Paris, inspired by the movie. Capitale was designed by the infamous architect, bon vivant Stanford White who was shot on the roof of the second Madison Square Garden, a building he designed about a hundred and five years ago. The murder was over a model – Evelyn Nesbit – and the jealous rage her millionaire hubby, Harry Kendall Thaw – couldn’t control any longer. Sanford was a playboy. He built a circular room in his home with mirrors all around and a single swing in the middle. He lured pretty young things to this den and had them swing naked and then did manly things to them. Legend has it that the popular, romantic song "I Could Love a Million Girls" was playing at the time. Stanford designed the legendary mansion, Lands End, on the Long Island Sound which is said to have inspired the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Daisy…Gatsby, F,Scott …It doesn’t get ,more romantic than that. Stanford’s work lives on. He did the arch in Washington Square Park which should be more romantic than it currently is.

I read the following:

"He designed and decorated Fifth Avenue mansions for the Astors, the Vanderbilts (in 1905), and other high society families. His Washington Square Arch still stands in Washington Square Park, and so do many of his clubs, which were focal points of New York society: the Century, Metropolitan, Players, Lambs, Colony and Harmonie clubs. His clubhouse for the Atlantic Yacht Club, built in 1894 overlooking Gravesend Bay, burned down in 1934. Sons of society families also resided in White’s St. Anthony Hall Chapter House at Williams College, now occupied by college offices."

Capitale is wonderful and the perfect setting for this spring fling. There will be a three-course dinner and dancing, and even a late-night smash for those who have other dinner plans. It will have a 1920s feel, and I have been told to leave my Mets hat at home – I’m thinking Brooklyn Dodgers. They were so romantic. I rarely attend such parties, but my friend Henry Stimler is that kind of guy and he is hosting along with Roberto Buchelli, Seth Greenberg, Yana Tara, and that Alacran guy, Arty Dozortsev.

I caught up with Henry and asked him all about it.

Besides dressing like David Niven, what do you do?
I was a private equity chap for nine years, but after the banking crisis I decided to devote myself full-time to the world of nightlife. So besides building my restaurant Jezebel – which should be open in June – I host a weekly live-music night at Winston’s Champagne Bar on a Wednesday night, Yiddish Cabaret at The Box once a month, French Cabaret Dinners at La Petite Maison bi-monthly, and now concept parties at Capitale, our first being a 1920s-themed party called Midnight in Paris.

I’m getting lots of notices about this Saturday’s event at Capitale. What’s this event about ? Who are the players?

It’s getting to that point that people are somewhat bored of the same thing over and over again, sitting and sipping vodka and tonic and making polite conversations – they want to be entertained, Midnight in Paris is a production; it’s going to take you back to that glorious age of live music, singers, dancers, burlesque, flapper girls, jazz, etc. It’s an entire production, and you get to dress like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda – what could be better than that? I have the amazing Seth Greenberg, owner of Capitale, the elegant Roberto Buchelli, Arty of San Anturo, and Alacran as our sponsor and, of course my girl Yana Tara; a rather formidable team, wouldn’t you say, sir?

Capitale is a wondrous building designed by the infamous Stanford White. He also designed the house that The Great Gatsby centered around. Is there a Gatsby-esque era going on now or is it always going on for some, but at times it expands and retreats? Is Stanford White’s Capitale providing the romance needed for a gala event?
I can’t think of a better space then Capitale for this sort of party; from the minute you walk up, its special, and we have added so many things to evoke the 1920s, from the Rolls Royce parked outside, to scenes of Paris – it’s going to be wonderful. As for the Gatsby-esque period, I think it comes and goes and movies bring it back to the forefront; Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris for me and the new Baz Luhrmann-directed Gatsby movie brings it again.

On a broader note: when I see you, I see a bon vivant. Where do you go? And when you "slum," what amuses you?
I go everywhere. Seriously, there is no place that I won’t go check out at least once. But I have my regular haunts; I love the posh lounges like Rose Bar, Provocateur, and Boom Boom Room. I love the rock & roll places like The Bowery Electric and Sons of Essex, when Madame Wong’s was around, that was my home, prior to the now-shuttered Beatrice. I haven’t had a "home" since – Provocateur being my most regular. Hopefully, when Jezebels is open, that will be everyone’s new home. When I slum, it’s home with the GF watching movies. I think tonight we have Chariots of Fire and Casino Jack on the agenda.