Admiring Nick Jonas at Yesterday’s Nightclub Disrupt Panel, Lit’s 10th Anniversary Next Wednesday

When I used to spend my time in woodsy places like Yellowstone or Yosemite, I learned that when confronted by a large toothy, clawed animal, the last thing you do is try to run away, as that animal can surely out-run you; the running triggers a hunter/prey response and they instinctively attack. This is my excuse –  the only one I have –  for being very Steve Lewis at the Nightclub Disrupt Panel at the Dominion Theatre yesterday. The other panelists Michael Gogel, Steven Rojas, and Mick Boogie triggered my predator instincts when they started using terms like VIP to describe a bozo with a black card. Mick Boogie, to a lesser degree – he was just being charming. My canines came out and, well, the rest will soon be posted online and I’ll let you see it then. Moderator Vikas Sapra said I was fine but he smiles too much to be trusted with this sort of question.

One of the things I was putting out there is that computers are a two-dimensional view of people, often with only the information offered by those people or spending patterns or financial history. This rarely gets to the heart of things and lacks…heart. To the geek world, people are reduced to a much more two-dimensional profile than the one-on-one relationship a potential patron has with a good door person or with an owner or promoter. Their jobs are all about knowing their clientele. No, people: a doorman is not just looking for a pretty face, although that never hurts. A VIP is often a person willing to spend money, but that is not the criteria for any place worth this ink.

Another point I put out there was a VIP at Lavo is not necessarily a VIP at W.i.P. or Lit and vice versa. I feel the internet is only as good as the people feeding it and the people feeding it don’t necessarily understand the dynamics or requirements of each venue. Anyway, a lot was said – probably too much by me – and I’ll post it when I get it.

The previous panel of this Social Media Week gathering consisted of Nick Jonas and a moderator. I listened to him, completely enamored. He is charismatic, bright, handsome, and articulate. He is currently on Broadway. He eeks of stardom. Outside for air during the break, a handful of geeky fans waited with cameras. He posed with them all… experience telling him that running would only trigger a predator/prey response. He made them feel special and won me over.

Last night at Hotel Chantelle, I DJed the opening for one of my favorites: Kelle Calco. When we switched over, I told him I had played "Parachute Woman" by the Rolling Stones as I remember his set being very Stones heavy and didn’t want to subject the crowd to the same song twice. This wasn’t an issue; Kelle has changed. His set went everywhere from electro to hip-hop to rock. He offered up some very commercial pop and made it all work. I was impressed and surprised. I asked him about it and he said he now embraces all types of music and totally gets into it. He told me about all the places he DJs and hosts. He is a busy dude.

I hear that White Noise has only a few Fridays left, which means Sam Valentine’s rock fest will end. Sam says he wont throw a real rock party again till he finds a place with stripper poles. Rock is retreating. Nur Khan lamented the Hiro Ballroom reinvention a couple of days ago and the need for a new rock spot. His The Electric Room is setting the standard for rock purity. Lit remains a bastion of rock chops. It will celebrate its 10th anniversary Wednesday with a list of DJs including Justine D, Leo Fitzpatrick, and me. We’ll each get about a half-hour to showcase our rock and roll Hootchie Koo. The Kelle thing threw me off. Maybe he is right: he public wants a mixed format and so maybe that’s what they get. For me, I’ll stick to my roots. Those other genres of music just trigger my yawn response.

The Last Act: Model and Singer Bebe Buell On Closing Down Hiro Ballroom

Hiro Ballroom will close its doors after Saturday evening’s bash, and with it goes yet another venue where rock, as we know it, could strut its stuff. The clubs, for the most part, feature hip hop, electronic, and house because those formats are featured by the bottle-buying public. Rockers drink bottles of beer, not bottles of Goose. Rock will be relegated to the cracks where it does better anyway. The closing of Hiro will not dampen the talented forces of rock and roll, but may force them into the creative cauldrons of Brooklyn. Marky Ramone’s band Blitzkrieg is headlining the perfectly imperfect venue The Bellhouse this Sunday, and so it will be. Rock won’t retreat or hide under a rock; it will simply wiggle to where it is wanted. It will survive where NY’s culture thrives …off the L train or the J or the F or someplace just a hop, skip, and a jump away via a Northside Car. The last hurrah of Hiro will be headlined by rock icon Bebe Buell. Known more for who she has famously slept with, sire Bebe offers rock purity from rock royalty as the Hiro doors ache to be shuttered. To get you to a place of understanding Bebe is Liv Tyler’s mom and has been linked over the decades with stars like Steven TylerTodd Rundgren, and Stiv Bators. Bebe is too often the subject of gossip because of her association with so many boldfaced names, but she is very much her own person and has her own talent. I once told her that she wasn’t cool because the rock stars dated her…they were seen as much cooler because she dated them. She liked me for that. She’s a busy Bebe but we squeezed in time between rehearsals to chat at the BlackBook office.

We are here because it is a sad day in the rock and roll world; Saturday is the last night of the Hiro Ballroom, which is one of the venues where cool bands have been playing for the last number of years. It’s going to be changed. The last act, the last night, is this coming Saturday and Bebe Buell is performing. Tell me about the band and tell me about what it means to you to close down the Hiro Ballroom.

Well, when I put my last album out before "Hard Love," which was "Sugar," it was Hiro Ballroom who gave me a platform to get back on stage again. I hadn’t been on stage in a while and so they are like family to me. It is one of my favorite rooms. I’ve done three sold-out shows there, and this one that I’m doing Saturday will be the last one. And there were quite a few bands in the city that wanted to close it down and I just stayed out of the entire thing, but they asked me if I wanted to do it. So I was really—a great honor.

So who is in the band?

Well I have Pete Marshall and he played with Iggy Pop and Glenn Danzig. He played with Iggy for years. He started as my bass player and now he is my second guitar player. I have Jimmy Walls, who was in D Generation for their last tour. He is the other guitar player. On bass I have Keith Roth. I had Enzo Penizzotto for my album; he played with Joan Jett for eight years and came back to me. I just lost him because he got the Memphis tour, you know that Broadway musical Memphis? He just got the whole touring thing. He is going to be going on the road with that so now I’ve got Keith Roth in my band, which is a real plus. He is also a radio guy. He does the Electric Ballroom and he also does Sirius. And I have Louisa Bradshaw on backing vocals; I have Sarah Tomek, a young girl from Asbury Park, on drums. And then I have on keyboards, my baby, I love him. He’s the baby of the bunch. Well he and Sarah are both the babies—Zac Lasher—and I found him

from a jam band, believe it or not, called U-Melt. I really saw his talent and I knew I had to get him in my band for obvious reasons. Juilliard protégé; he’s a genius.

How long have you been playing rock and roll?

That’s funny! What a question. My first band I started in 1980 and I made my first record in 1979/1980 with Ric Ocasek from The Cars. The Cars played on my first album “Cover Girl” on Rhino. And Rick Derringer, remember Rick Derringer? Yeah, he produced a couple of tracks. It was actually an EP.

At one point I was gonna say you are a rock and roll coochie-coo. You’ve got rock roots.

I do. I have absolute rock roots. I actually came to New York City because my mother sent my high school graduation picture to Eileen Ford, and the next thing you know I was on an airplane. And I would have gotten to New York any way I could. So if I was going to get here through modeling, I was going to get here through modeling. But as soon as I got here, I got into lots of trouble. I wouldn’t really call it trouble.

Well some of that trouble is what made you famous!

I discovered Max’s Kansas City. I started a very long-term relationship with Todd Rundgren. We weren’t married so we lived a very crazy Bob-and-Ted-and-Carol-and- Alice lifestyle, which I wouldn’t recommend for anybody because it is emotionally draining. It took me about six years to actually get a band together and really get down to business.

The other day you told me something that was very funny. You said that most people think that Steven Tyler gave birth to Liv – that Liv actually came out of his penis.

Which is funny because for a lot of my career, you know, people have always called me the girlfriend of, the mother of, etc. And it has just become, almost, a giggle at this point. I don’t get upset about it; I don’t take it personally. I find it very one-dimensional. First of all, it takes two people to date. It takes two people to make a child. And the way the media works in our country, the person who has the bigger name is the one that gets the credit for everything, including giving birth. In Europe, it’s a whole different story. I love America; I live here. But I have always gotten more respect in the UK and foreign countries.

Well I said to you that, you know, some people think they are cool because you dated all these rock stars. And I said maybe they were cool because they dated Bebe Buell.

I don’t look at it either way. I think people date who they date. You meet somebody…it’s chemistry! I can honestly say that I have never dated somebody as a social or a political move. I have always followed my heart and have only dated people that I loved and that I really had feelings for. I’ve turned down some pretty big dates, trust me. Warren Beatty! When I met Shirley MacLaine –  a lot of people don’t realize they are brother and sister – I went to one of her spiritual things; you know, she talks a lot about metaphysics and past lifetimes and things. She used to do these wonder seminars. And I met her afterward and I looked at her and I said, “You know you and I have something in common." And she looked at me and said, “What’s that?” I said, “Both of us have never slept with Warren Beatty!”

Well, there is a funny story with that. Shirley was on the Johnny Carson Show and Johnny asked her, “ As you are Warren’s sister, you are aware he is famous for sleeping with all these starlets. Is his reputation warranted?” And she said, “Well Johnny, I think that Warren has slept with every starlet in Hollywood except me, and I’m not so sure about that."

Oh, that is hilarious. She’s funny and, of course, she has never slept with him. I have to say: Warren has very good taste. I met a couple of his girlfriends and now his wife, and he never went there. He never went with any riff-raff. He is not a bottom feeder.

Bebe Buell

I met you at a Stiv Bators show, a The Dead Boys show, at my father’s place in Long Island a long time ago. I was sitting with a beautiful girl and you were actually sitting at the same table as us and we didn’t watch the show. We were just watching you. You were the most amazing person we had ever seen and you were very, very sweet. I have always told everybody that you were the sweetest person to us. You made us feel like we were friends of yours.

Well I think it is important to make people feel comfortable and at ease when you are sort of the hostess at an event. 

You told me then and you told again recently, that the thing about Stiv… he was this firecracker, an incredible performer, but also – as well as being incredibly talented – he was very intelligent.

Very smart. What people don’t realize is that he was just a small-town boy from Ohio. He was just a kid that went to see Iggy Pop. He handed him a jar of peanut butter and the rest is history. You know, but in some ways, he was even a more agile performer than Iggy Pop. Some of the things Stiv could do, I don’t think Iggy could do. Stiv could wrap himself up like a pretzel; he could hang himself. He could do all kinds of things. More like Alice Cooper. 

But Stiv was probably one of the sweetest, nicest boyfriends I ever had. We drifted apart. Stiv and I were like—my visual—we were sort of like a rock and roll, punk rock Sonny and Cher. I was a good three heads taller than him. He was extremely funny and when we were together we sort of had a banter like Sunny and Cher did. We would just tease each other and we had this crazy banter. In the end, we ended up becoming really good friends. Our romance peetered out and our friendship expounded, if that makes any sense. 

We used to have a house up in Maine and he would come and stay with me there. He would play on the monkey bars with the kids. The kids loved him. He was a pretzel; he could do any death-defying feat there is. All the kids loved to play with him because he could contort and do all these things to make them laugh, like push his thumbs back and all that kind of stuff. He was great with kids and he was great with animals. I mean, there are just sides to people that people don’t know about. They think its just like a girl goes “Ooh! I want that one!” and then they go and have sex in a dressing room. That’s just not real life. I have never had sex in a dressing room. I’ve never picked up one boyfriend I have ever had backstage.

You’ve dated very famous people. How did these people meet you? What kind of occasions?

It’s New York City! Models and rock stars have been pollinating for how long? This is nothing new. Rock stars who were making an iota of success – the first thing they want to do is upgrade the girls they date. That’s the first thing they want to do, and they want a model. Now it’s that they want a Playboy centerfold, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit girl. It is something they seek out.

So you prefer the word “model." Some people used to call you a groupie and I think that is a terrible name. I don’t think you were a groupie. Some people say you were one of the most famous groupies of all time.

No, I don’t think I was. I don’t think so. I think that title goes to that girl Pamela Des Barres. Pamela Miller, or whatever.

So you were not a groupie at all but you dated rock stars.

I think that’s the part about lazy journalism. The first thing they think of is “Oh! She is dating a rock star. She must be a groupie. Oh my goodness!”

Who else did you date besides rock stars?

The way you say all that! You act like I…

I just want the readers to know!

I can count my lovers on two hands. Can you?

Oh, absolutely not.

Ok. See! So, I always want to say to everybody else, “Tell me about all the people that you have dated. You’ve dated a lot more people than I have!”

What I’m asking you though is, in between all the rock stars, were there other people? Lawyers, doctors, etc.?

No, I never dated a lawyer. I never dated a doctor. I did date one photographer and his name was Clive Arrowsmith, which was really funny. I dated him when I was in London and he shot me for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and I did a lot of my best work, my biggest work, with him…he and David Bailey were the biggest photographers in the UK in the 1970s, in that early part of the ‘70s when I came up. Right before I started seeing Steven and before I got pregnant with Liv, I dated Clive Arrowsmith a little bit, which I think is hilarious because I went on to have a child with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. Life is very interesting. If I had all the answers, if I could put together the puzzle for you, I would. But I can’t even explain to you—I have had this wonderful, serendipitous life. I have just had these synchronistic moments…I am like Forrest Gump. I tell everybody that. I just fall into these wonderful situations.

Bebe Buell

You are looking for this sort of energy that rockers give you.

I think we all look for the energy that we emanate. I have to be around the people that think like I do and that understand how I think. If I am asleep in the bed and get a song idea, I leap up out of the bed and get a pen and paper. When I lived with Elvis Costello, he did the same thing. When I lived with Todd (Rundgren), he did the same thing. I think like-minded people find each other.

What is the same about Steven, Elvis, and Todd? Where is the similarity?

Brilliant, multifaceted human beings. People don’t realize what a brilliant drummer Steven Tyler is. He started as a drummer.

When did the companion aspect end in the relationship? Hmmm, let me word this right: did you at times move off being a companion, like at a gig, and become just a fan like everyone else? Did that happen?

I think, to have that consciousness when you are in a relationship, you have to think that way. And I just never thought that way. I don’t judge people and I don’t hero- worship. People ask me frequently who my heroes are and I hate to sound like an old punk rocker, but I am. I don’t have any heroes. I have people that I admire and respect and want to learn from. I can’t say that I have any heroes, but I can say that I worship some people: Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde. The people that I really admire, they are all dead. You know…John Lennon. They are all human, too. People that I tend to admire are not perfect. They are fallible. I think that is why we all love John Lennon so much – because he wasn’t perfect. He was a man that made many mistakes.

You actually had a conversation with him, didn’t you? Tell me about that.

Well I did. I had many really in-depth amazing conversations with him. I met John through Mick (Jagger). It was my birthday and Todd was in the studio and I was a little sad that I didn’t have my boyfriend to spend my birthday with me. But Todd was a workaholic before it was even fashionable to be a workaholic. I think he even had the first computer in the ‘70s, probably even before Bill Gates had one. But Mick felt a little bad for me and said that we should go out to dinner. We went down to the Lower East Side to this Japanese place called Me; its not there anymore. He said that he had a surprise for me. And earlier in our relationship he had asked me, “If you could meet three people, who would you want to meet?” And I said Edgar Allen Poe, Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde, my usual, and John Lennon. And he said, “Oh, well that is the only one alive out of that whole group." And then we went on to the next subject and I guess that stuck with him.

So after we got done eating we got in a cab and I said “Where are we going?” and he said, “Oh, you’ll see in a minute!” And it was during John’s time with May Pang and we got out of the cab. We arrived at this apartment uptown and we had to walk up some stairs. We came in and knocked on the door. The door opens and we had to go up a set of stairs and at the top of the staircase, taking a Polaroid of us as we ascended the stairs, was John Lennon. And that picture, that very photo that he took of us, is in May Pang’s book, the one filled with all the Polaroids. I think I could say that may have been the first time in my life that I may have been a little star-struck.

The second time was when I met Salvador Dali at The Ritz, at the magazine store. I adored him as a child. I thought he was just fascinating. He invited me to tea when I was eighteen at The Ritz-Carlton. So I went and had tea with Dali and Amanda Lear, and some other very unusual person who I cant remember anymore. Maybe it was Varushka? And I feel that it was one of those magical moments. He (John Lennon) said he had just seen a UFO, so we spent the entire time talking about aliens because May had heard it all before. I believed him and was very fascinated so I wanted to hear everything he had to say about aliens. And then we went down to Chinatown at four in the morning and ate in one of the all-night restaurants. These were the kind of stories…these are the most sacred memories to me because it is all about cutting your teeth and learning. I was really lucky to learn so much from so many exquisite human beings.

Well, I listened to the album and I have to say there were a lot of things on there that I feel were great, I mean, really great. Tell me more.

I’m just really excited to be playing the final Hiro. I am very touched. The album is "Hard Love." I think it is my best work. I think it is the best thing I have ever done. You know, I have made a lot of records. I’m New York’s best-kept secret. I am a cult artist and I always have been. I have never been Madonna or Lady Gaga. I have always been a little under the radar, a little underground. I think that I have never always gotten my shots because people are so occupied with the glamorous boyfriends that I had and the Playboy or whatever they are distracted by. But I don’t do this because I am trying to win any brownie points. I do this because it is who I am. I am a songwriter and a singer and I have been my whole life. I was a contra-alto in the sixth grade. I was the only contra-alto of my age group in four states. I have a background in singing and when you listen to my material, you can sing this. I’m not just some kid who picked up a microphone and said, “I think I am going to sing this week!”

So Saturday night at Hiro. I will be there and I guess a lot of the people who read this are going to run out.

Oh yeah, it is going to be a good night. A lot of people love Hiro, and one thing about New York City is that when we say goodbye to something or someone, everybody comes out to pay their respects. And it is also the one-year anniversary of the departure of Don Hill, so the timing of it is kind of auspicious. It is the end of a great room and the end of one of the greatest men…we made a slideshow for him. A beautiful Don Hill slideshow.

Exclusive: Nur Khan on Guns N’ Roses Show at Hiro Ballroom, Burlesque King Ivan Kane On Revel Resort

I wouldn’t recognize Fashion Week if Nur Khan wasn’t presenting one or more serious Rock and Roll shows. Fresh off The Kills‘ 10 Year Anniversary party hosted by Lovecat Magazine the other night, Nur throws Guns N’ Roses into the Hiro Ballroom. Talk around town has Mark Packer soon converting the space into a Tao Downtown, gobbling up Hiro and Matsuri in the process. Nur was the hero at Hiro when it was what it was. He is seriously happy about sending his old turf off with a bang. I caught up with him and gave my regrets.I cannot attend, as I will be DJing with Kelle Calco at Hotel Chantelle while all the hoopla is hooplaing. I asked Nur all about it.

The rumor was that the show was going to be at The Electric Room but it got too big a thing and now it’s at Hiro. In the future, you plan on doing a lot of shows at The Electric Room. How do you shows there….logistically?
I just did my first show there the other night. I remove furniture in front of a fireplace and half of the room. Set the PA and backline up in front of the fireplace – very similar to what I created with the Rose Bar sessions. You get the idea. You were at some of them. I see The Electric Room as a better fit for emerging bands. I’m doing this at Hiro; it’s sort of my two cents into the goodbye. The town is losing another rock and roll room. I’m going to have to build another. We’d still be at Don Hill’s if he hadn’t died. This show at Hiro is all out …confetti canons, arealists. It’s the last hurrah before Mark Packer takes Hiro and Matsuri over and does what he does to it.  
 
I know why you, me, and everyone and their brothers want these shows …how about the bands…what’s in it for them? Why do they want it?
For the most part, the bands are friends, so relationships are important when it comes to these…  everyone loves these intimate shows. It feels very special and inclusive, like the band is playing in my loft. It’s also a slightly different PR angle for the bands; there’s different press attached to these shows than, say, perhaps a Madison Square Garden show. They get reviewed differently from a different demographic that they don’t get from just a regular concert.  Because the shows are so small and private, they generate a lot of interest. I have gotten bands a lot of editorial work and exposure/campaigns sometimes etc., so the bands benefit from it being a very special show. A lot of VIPs and NYC tastemakers, and just an overall different experience that’s fun to do once in a while. I’m sure at one point all these bands were playing in a garage or something in their early days. They like the fact that these shows are a little "out of the norm" and, like i said, it’s usually friends and family so everyone’s happy to do the shows regardless….
 
What are you up to?
I am so busy just focusing on Fashion Week right now. I’m swamped with events this week. Task #1 is trying to keep up with an email every 30 seconds this week !!
 
Another Fashion Week frenzy….what’s driving you these days, besides money…besides being surrounded by fast woman and gallant men?
Haha. That’s funny!!!  What’s driving me?? I enjoy what I do and as you know, I am super passionate about music (and design, like yourself)… I really am thrilled with the way The Electric Room came out…  I just finished having another custom- designed mirror today – big clockwork orange eyes, back painted on glass behind the whole DJ area. What drives me is to create something new, designing the clubs, and I like to shake things up when I can and go in different directions when there is a trend happening in town. If everyone is going right,  I like to go left!!!  But always stay consistent with my music programs, which are geared for a musically literate clientele!!! Please!!!!  Come to the Guns N’ Roses show I’m doing tonight. It’s gonna be a full-on electric three-hour set!!!
 
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Ivan Kane headshot
 
I am a regular visitor to Atlantic City and it makes me happy that the resort Revel, for so long an empty monolith on the beach, is getting geared up to open. Previews begin April 2nd, and the opening is on May 25th, kicking-off Memorial Day weekend.  One of the entertainment editions to speak of is Burlesque Maestro Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Nightclub. I asked Ivan to tell me all about it:
 
This isnt my dad’s AC and the Revel figures to take it to another level. What is AC 2012? Where is it going and what does the Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Nightclub do to the AC game?
I have always been known for expanding the genre of burlesque and creating a unique, sexy, and sensual vibe.  It’s a bigger experience than one usually finds in a nightclub environment.
 
Royal Jelly sounds sticky and sweet. Where does the name come from?
Queen bees are made, not born, and Royal Jelly is the key ingredient to the burlesque royalty found only at Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub.  
 
Burlesque in NYC has become a staple, yet only a couple of years ago it was relegated to off-nights in out of the way places. Now, it’s a boom town with serious shows almost nightly. NYC is enjoying a burlesque renaissance. Will this renaissance translate to South Jersey and Vegas by the beach?
Burlesque entered the pop culture lexicon with the phenomenal success of Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce in Hollywood and at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Now I am bringing my burlesque to the east coast with an unparalleled nightclub experience that I created exclusively for Revel Atlantic City.
 
Revel has been a long time coming. When did the idea of your joint form and what will it look like?  
I am very excited to be a part of Revel; it has been a long time coming. Royal Jelly is a nightclub-in-the-round, where the DJs and dancing are complemented by the drama and excitement of the burlesque shows. Royal Jelly was designed to be exciting no matter where you turn, with multiple stages and flying catwalks that drop from the sky, animating the entire space.
 
How do you clone yourself? Will you always be around or sometimes in LA or NYC or Vegas? What capable person or persons will spot you when you’re afar?  
I touch everything Royal Jelly, but I surround myself with incredibly talented, able, and creative people. Because we are producing highly produced shows every night, I am never too far away for too long a period.  

Tonight: Go Green with Models, LED Activism

Walter Durkacz is one of the few guys in town that I always remember. He’s a character for sure, and he’s been around as long as I have been around, and pretty much in the same places. There are few of us left. Walter is a part of La Esquina, my favorite place, and has been a DJ since back when you had vinyl and needles to make them sing. His talent for booking talent led the way at places like Wetlands and Joe’s Pub. He has discovered stadium-level acts. I’d tell you all about it, but I won’t have to, as Walter does it so much better. He pitched me about this green event at Hiro Ballroom tonight, and I told him I’d tell you about it.

Tell me about the back story of the Wetland’s green initiatives, and how it’s connected to what’s happening at the Hiro Ballroom tonight. Well Steve, you remember the nightclub Wetlands in TriBeCa, where I worked as music director? Besides being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the jam bands that played there, and being—to this day—misunderstood about what really went down there, Wetlands had an environmental activism center. In the beginning, Remy Chevalier, an amusing and eclectic character, and an activist from the Connecticut Center, set it up and ran the activism portion of the club. He basically organized all the environmental activities, and networked environmental organizations from around the country. The club became a hang out for folks from Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, Earth First!, Earth Island Institute, and dozens of so-called activist groups.

At first, Remy held the job of environmental director, which he then passed on to others. Wetlands went on to set the booths for the Hordes tour with Kathy Kane, who is now Bonnie Raitt’s manager, and founded Green Highways, now known as Reverb. All of his initiatives basically gave birth to a whole new generation of eco-warriors and eco-wannabes. Wetlands was open from 1989 until 2001, but Remy left in 1991, admitting that his job at the Wetlands club was finished, and announcing that he wanted to take the movement to the next level. I left some years later, but when Remy left he also left with a promise: he was going to shut down Indian Point. And here we are, 10 or so years later, with Remy seeking out a place in NYC to complete his goal, and push his green initiatives. I wanted to help him, based on his noble ideals, and perhaps also because he makes the coolest eco fliers I’ve ever seen. Pure genius, I swear.

Nuclear Energy is considered by some to be the cleanest alternative to oil or coal, but it comes with another type of price tag. Tell me about that. Remy, and others in-the-know, say that we’ve forgotten our history. The environmental movement started with grassroots organizations, creating solar and wind to stop nuclear power. The entire rock and roll community in 1979 rallied against nuclear power, with the “No Nukes” concert series in New York. After the accident at Three Mile Island, and the disaster at Chernobyl, we stopped building new nuclear power plants, but we also forgot about the old ones. Now, 30 years later, these old plants are being rubber stamped new licenses by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And they’re way past their due date. The majority of them are leaking from porous cooling pools, and corroded pipes. The people of Vermont voted to shut down their nuclear power plant a few months ago. The entire legislature voted, 26-4, but the company who owns the plant, Entergy, refuses to abide by that order, and the plant is still operating. Their cooling tower collapsed from old age last year. Vermont Yankee is leaking radioactive isotopes into the ground water, and the river. The same thing is happening at Indian Point, which by the way, is only 25 miles North of Manhattan.

So if we shut down Indian Point, then what? Where will the electricity come from? Well that’s the beauty of it, Remy waited to push the issue until he knew there was a viable alternative that would solve that problem. He founded Rock The Reactors in 2006, when Elliot Spitzer was on the campaign trail promising he would shut down Indian Point if we could provide the replacement power. But once he got to Albany, Spitzer basically never started the countdown clock. NY Commissioner Spano told Remy last year that since Spitzer had been in office, NY state had made up 4000Mw with Light Emitting Diodes and other energy efficiency measures, twice the amount of electricity that Indian Point produces. Also, every year California reduces its electrical consumption, in a great part because of increased lighting efficiency. LEDs are making dangerous nuclear reactors, especially Indian Point, located in the middle of the most densely populated area in the country, an unnecessary risk.

So what’s the plan? While something that has to do with monkeys comes to mind, the plant is up for re-licensing. Sherwood Martinelli, a member of Riverkeeper, won a court case a few months ago using a contention drawn up by Rock The Reactors. The NY Department of Environmental Conservation finally revoked Indian Point’s water permit, because they are killing one billion fish a year. That means Entergy, the owner of the plant, now has to build two gigantic cooling towers, to the tune of $5 billion dollars. That’s like putting $500 tires on a $500 junk car! Simply foolish. Remy suggests that instead, if we put $5 billion dollars into a massive LED retrofit program for New York’s 19th District, which is where most of the power Indian Point generates goes to, we’ll make up the power ten times over, at a fraction of the cost. And, as it turns out, the Congressman of the 19th District, is none other than John Hall, who was an organizer of the “No Nukes” concert series with Harvey Wasserman, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. Many don’t know this, but Mayor Bloomberg already started to install LEDs on tunnels and bridges, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza, and the New Year’s Ball in Times Square. These are Philips LEDs by the way. What’s the connection to Philips? To their credit, they came up with a great bulb. Seth Leitman and Brian Howard, also of Rock the Reactors, have recently written a book called Green Lighting for the McGraw-Hill Green Guru Guide series. To illustrate my point, they’ve asked Next model May Lindstrom, who has been the face of the Rock The Reactors campaign since it was created in 2006, to hold the new Philips Endura LED 60 bulb for the cover of their book. She’s holding in her hands the solution to a lot of our energy problems, a bulb which can replace all the incandescent lights in America, potentially reducing electrical consumption in this country by 10% or more.

Will she be at the Hiro Ballroom? I don’t know. Remy won’t say. They tell me she’s angry at Remy about something, and she won’t talk to him! Guess it shows there’s drama even in activism. But its all good, as she’s still doing it for the cause, and that’s what counts, so we’ll see. But Remy has a lot of other things planned. Martin Ear, a fantastic electronic musician, is creating a sonic soundscape for the evening. Speakers, performers, and poets will take the stage. Remy is giving each of them 3 minutes to tell the audience what they’re doing to shut down Indian Point. I can guarantee you, there is going to be some interesting moments—I just hope not too interesting, if you know what I mean. Anyway, there will also be LED dealers on hand. It’s the new high, didnt you know? And so be it, this is really a national movement, with deep connections even into the fashion industry. Remy’s dad was ELLE’s founding photographer. Remy mentored the green careers of many top fashion models, not a bad gig. Last year he hosted Project Green Search, a green model competition with Aysia Wright of the Greenloop. Watch out Tyra Banks! He also helped bring together all the professional green makeup artists with GreenMUA. He says it’s because they’re the emissaries of green chemistry. Green makeup means better batteries, because the cosmetic industry is funding green chemistry labs at Universities. It’s all related. I read on his Facebook page that he’s saving the planet with fashion! Yeah, pretty much. Sounds like him. However, I will say one thing about Remy: He has always pitched the idea, passionately, of getting fashion to help save the planet. In New York, fashion trumps politics. If we want to shut down Indian Point, we can’t do it without the support of the fashion industry, and obviously, the nightclub and music industry too. But that’s what he wants to do, and sees where his strength to communicate is, to try to bring the fashion industry together in order to put pressure the NRC to deny Indian Point’s new license. I say, for every green thing the fashion industry does in New York, it won’t amount to a hill of beans if anything happens at Indian Point. Just a few miles away from the plant, is Camp Hill Farm, a project funded by super model Angela Lindvall. They support the Rockland Farm Alliance, which supports the work of Rock The Reactors too. Why is Indian Point still open? That’s a good question. In 2001, when one of the planes that hit theTwin Towers flew down the river just a hundred feet from Indian Point, all the environmental groups in the Hudson Valley created the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC). But Remy feels groups like Riverkeeper and Clearwater can never coordinate and work together. So he set out to create Rock The Reactors to bring everyone together around something different—a higher calling, a representation of Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth in Greek Mythology. A living Goddess so to speak. He wanted to create an iconic image everyone could rally around, inspired by Marianne on the barricades, which became the symbol of revolutionary France.

That’s why the benefit is being held on July 14? Yes. He’s a real Chevalier, and he wants to start a revolution, a LED revolution. And he’s got the friends in the fashion industry to do it. And who knows through his important cause, I may even make a friend or two.

ROCK THE REACTORS GREEN LIGHTING CELEBRATION Hiro Ballroom, NYC 8:00PM, Wednesday, July 14th

Albert Hammond Jr. Gets a Hiro’s Welcome

New York’s samurai den Hiro Ballroom at the Maritime Hotel held a party that Spin publisher Malcolm Campbell described as being the first official party for the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. The only indication of that were the sluggers flashing on a big screen, plus two dudes in the corner trading long balls on a Nintendo Wii home-run derby. People were there for one reason: to see Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. play songs from his new solo album, ¿Cómo Te Llama?. However, when Hammond finished his accomplished (if not Strokes-ish) set, the crowd didn’t seem all that into the idea of an encore.

After he left the stage, the lights remained dim (it was a party, after all) but the DJ stayed silent, giving the audience an opportunity to coax Hammond back on stage. What I heard were scattered claps — maybe twenty out of the several hundred people there — and a few awkward chants of “One more song! One more song!” Despite several attempts to get the crowd in the mood, each such attempt eventually faded to general, disinterested chatter. After about five minutes of nail-biting suspense — will he or won’t he! — the answer came with the sudden sound of John Lennon screaming “Twist and Shout.” The crowd, ever so jaded, did neither. So did Hammond’s plans for an encore dissipate due to lukewarm audience response? Or was the DJ just slow to the decks? Check back next week when we interview the man in question.
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