Nightlife At Its Best: Westway’s Frankie Sharp On Tomorrow’s Soiree “Westgay at Westway”

Nightlife is as good as it ever was and it continues to expand in every direction. Like our universe, it started with a Big Bang just a couple of years ago, when bottle service got out of the way of having a good time, and clubs, bars, lounges and restaurants got over the depression – both economic and social – of the post 9/11 disaster. Some peeps talk of the good old days as if there once was a Camelot or nirvana. I’ve been around for a long time and I firmly believe that nightlife today is more vibrant than any time in the last 30 years. I’m sure this statement will be refuted by many, especially those who thought having a good time meant waking up on a floor, but I’m standing by it. The drugs aren’t as important a driving force as in "the day." High rents and aspirations mean that people must be functional when the sun is up. There are less or different types of after-hour opportunities. The 4am to noon spots have given way to parties at lofts and hotel suites. I have been saying for a couple years now that there are few great clubs but many great nights. This is changing as clubs refine their nightly programming and offer more than just one evening a week of nocturnal bliss. Westway is fabulous and getting more so as time goes on. It’s a bit under-the-radar and to the left of things – dirty, fun, and daring. A friend of mine, Frankie Sharp is offering up a new Tuesday soirèe, "Westgay at Westway," and it seems undeniably fun.

This Tuesday, it’s Lady Miss Kier of DeeLite fame and a veteran of a thousand and one club wars, Jon Jon Battles, DJing to the gays, the trendies, and the in-the-know. There is a live performance from buzz act House of Ladosha and delicious hosts and hussies MR. MICKEY BOARDMAN OF PAPER MAGAZINE, DAVID MASON OF WWW.SLICKITUP.COM, QUENTIN BELT , LADY PEACH  SPENCER ,MICHELLE SALEM, AMY CAKES, DANKY DANK, and SHIT THAT FASHION GIRLS SAY. I asked Westgay honcho Frankie Sharp, who describes  himself as a Promoter and DJ, why this is going to be so scorching hot.

 
Why Westway?
Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kleigman, the owners of Jane, The Smile, and other great venues are such great people and believe in FUN and having a good time! Plain and simple. They reached out to me after my recent feature in Paper Magazine and the other great press I got from my successful weekly night at Bedlam. So we had the mutual desire to work with one another even before meeting. Also, I wanted a space that was big enough to build a big gay dance party and playground for the downtown kids that these big westside clubs get all the time. Westway is huge! It’s perfect! So I’m going to rent bouncy castles.
 
Is nightlife experiencing an era of global warming?
Well, I think bottle service is killing the polar bears and ruining nightlife. It’s too segregated. Also, "cooler than cool" just really isn’t cool anymore. There’s nowhere that’s just FUN and boozy, to just nerd out and feel and look amazing. It’s been quite stuffy at the places I used to frequent. At Westway, I’m getting the right people from all the different pockets of New York City together to get the pot stirring again. Upper Manhattan to Lower Manhattan, East to West, Downtown to Uptown. Everyone’s welcome!!!
 
Lady Miss Kier…what does she mean to you…why the booking ?
She was the first album I bought with my own money as a kid. She was my first inspiration when it came to style, music, and had a great frivolous but polished thing about her that spoke to me. I think she’s a great exclamation point to this new fun baby of mine. I love working with my idols and when it comes to music, she’s all about FUN.
 
Is this a Fashion Week extravaganza special or what we should expect every week?
No, every week you should expect more great DJs, artists, and performers from Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters, Santigold, Lady Bunny, JD Samson, Casey Spooner… they’re all acheduled to play. I’m trying REALLY hard to get Kristen Wiig from SNL to "DJ"… fingers crossed!
 
There’s a buzz on House of Ladosha. Tell me who they are and what all the hype is about.
House of Ladosha are two great visual artists who have banded together to become this amazing gender-bending rap group. They’re songs are catchy, topical, fun, and they look incredible. They just look and sound like New York to me. They kinda look like the Fly Girls from In Living Color, but with facial hair. They’re quite the show. Theyve opened up for SSION and have performed everywhere from MoMA PS1 to Webster Hall.
 
Who are you and what else have you done? What’s your day job career? Tell me about DJing.
Im a full-time wardrobe stylist. I work in editorial and commercial and mainly work with musicians and recording artists to expand on their image and brand. I find great joy interpreting designers art and making a story out of them and pushing the fantasy even further. It’s literally getting paid to play dress-up and it’s constantly inspiring and exciting. As cheesy as it sounds, I love the work and I work hard at it.
As for DJing… I just like hearing the music I play when I’m drunk at home cause that’s what I want to hear when I’m drunk and out and about. I throw these weekly events mainly because I love a good time and I love getting my friends together and making fantastic memories that will last. There’s an odd joy I get out of curating a roster of people and building a dream team of performers, DJs, hosts, and personalities. It’s like hosting dinner parties with your favorite 300 people and it’s fueled by vodka, the night, and the energy of New York City. I get inspired by this in my styling and vice versa. Constantly. Seems like the perfect balance.

The Hidden Treasures of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure

For the month of January, Apartment Therapy—the self-help guru of home design websites—has coached its readers through what it dubbed The January Cure, a 30-day clean-up diet. The project involved a daily assignment, given via blog and email. Along the way, one of the participants, Maria Pinkelton, unearthed a treasure trove of old Sassy magazines, and shared her discovery on Twitter. I am a great lover of cleaning and also of Sassy, which I grew up fetishizing, as did so many girls (and guys!) of my age; so when I saw Maria’s tweet I fell to the ground keening and rending my garments from sheer burning jealousy.

Then I picked myself up and emailed her to ask a few questions.

What made you decide to take on the January Cure?
I am a huge fan of Apartment Therapy and thought it would be great to begin 2013 with a relatively clean slate. I have a two-year-old son and a husband who really isn’t into the whole organization thing. Needless to say I had my challenges but I thought that by following the steps and taking smaller bites it would not be such a daunting task. Also, I looked at it as a group exercise class — there would be others motivating me along and I would not be alone.

Did you know the collection of Sassys were there, or were they a total discovery?
They had been in my mother’s house for ages in a plastic storage bin. I had completely forgotten about them and then got so excited when I remembered they were there. They went from her house to storage because at that time we lived in a one bedroom condo with no room for them. When we moved everything from the storage unit they landed on the shelves in the garage of our new townhouse. We had so much other stuff going on they stayed there until this month. I was so excited to thumb through them and give them a home on the shelves in our new place.

What’s your favorite issue?
The Johnny Depp cover of course. I remember losing my mind when that thing came in the mail. I dug through the bin crazy-style to make sure it was in there when I opened it up here.

Did you have a favorite Sassy staffer and feature?
I loved Kim France. I also liked Christina Kelly, but Kim had this really quirky style thing working. I wore "Kim France Pants" a lot during high school. It was nice that there was a cool name to put with the look my mother called very "hobo."

"Make It" was great. They would teach you to completely deconstruct and then reconstruct clothing. One time I remember they made a skirt from men’s neckties [JK: OMG I TOTALLY REMEMBER THAT AHHH!!]. It was awesome and in the magazine Mayim Bialik wore it. They were the opposite of the horrible Butterick patterns my mom would pull out.

Have you unearthed any other treasures during your clean-up?
I found my remote hard drive, clown nose and my hand carved wooden handle pocket knife. I know that is a random combination but I had wondered where all of them had gone. The funny thing is they were all in the same place in my closet. I guess they were hanging out waiting for me to find them.

Follow Jolie Kerr on Twitter.

Aaron Tveit of ‘Catch Me If You Can’ Takes Us Around Soho

From a table inside Manhattan’s Jane restaurant, Aaron Tveit—part Disney prince, part Abercrombie & Fitch model—throws on his Ray-Ban Wayfarers and starts singing. “I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can,” he croons to the venue’s waitstaff and a few early birds. Song comes easily and often to Tveit, and lucky for all of us, he’s got a golden set of pipes. A true triple threat, the 27-year-old, New York-based actor has already successfully crossed over from Broadway (Next to Normal, Rent) to television (Ugly Betty) and film (Ghost Town), and back to the Great White Way, where his turn as the notorious Frank Abagnale in the Broadway debut of Catch Me If You Can will probably make him a star.

“I am there so much for work that I try to escape as much as possible,” Tveit says of New York’s Theater District while trudging through the snow-covered streets of Soho en route to his next favorite hang. When he’s not shuttling between Astoria, Queens—where he lives with a roommate—and Times Square, Tveit ventures downtown to catch his breath. Still, he’s not complaining about his busy schedule. “There’s nothing like being on the stage,” he says. “It’s different every time, and the immediate response from the audience is like nothing else.” It’s been over a year since Tveit was last seen on Broadway, but this month he’ll take the stage for the first previews of Catch Me If You Can, reprising a role he’s been perfecting for the past five years.

Over a pint of Stella Artois at his preferred Gramercy bar, Plug Uglies, Tveit reveals that, three years ago, he was asked to do a screen test for the role of Finn on TV’s Glee (a part that eventually went to Cory Monteith). He removed himself from contention, however, opting instead to follow his passion for the theater and continue working in Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can. “I think that show’s great and I’m glad it’s gone on to be a huge success,” he says, “but it wasn’t right for me at the time.”

Between playing Gossip Girl’s congressional candidate Trip van der Bilt (which had him making clandestine moves on Blake Lively’s Serena), nerd-hunk playwright Zachary Boule on Ugly Betty, and Allen Ginsberg’s lover Peter Orlovsky in Howl, Tveit has locked lips with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars. “Everyone asked me at the Howl opening about kissing James Franco, but in that department, Blake definitely takes the cake,” he says, donning a crinkled smile that could make just about anyone blush.

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Plug Uglies , 257 3rd Avenue 212-780-1944 I’ve never really been to a club in New York. I usually just stick to bars when I go out. I like it here because it’s an unpretentious, genuine dive bar. Plus you get to play shuffle-puck. This is where my friends and I always seem to end our nights. We actually came here after my buddy’s wedding reception. Everyone was still in their suits, and the bride was in her gown. I’m not a big cocktail guy, but I like my beer. There’s a great jukebox, so when there’s room I’ll throw on some old ’90s hip-hop and get down. I listened almost exclusively to hip-hop in high school and still love me some old Nas and Jay-Z songs.

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Flying A, 169 Spring Street 212-965-9090 I always come here and follow the same pattern: I walk in, wander through the racks of clothing, and then I get to the end and walk out. They have really great boots and vintage T-shirts that I love. I really like the experience of shopping, which is crazy because I hated it as a kid. But working so much and being in New York, shopping is a great way to clear your head. I like this place because it’s not like Topshop—there are always only a few people in the store. I think clothes are really helpful when trying to get into character for a show. When I was in Rent I got all tatted up to be Roger and put on those iconic plaid pants and giant boots. Catch Me If You Can has also influenced me fashion-wise. Since doing the show, I’ve started to get really into ’60s-style suits, and I finally bought myself a pair of quality sunglasses. Being on the set of Gossip Girl, I’d have to say that Ed Westwick definitely had the best on- and off-screen style. That guy really knows how to put things together.

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Spring Street Natural, 62 Spring Street 212-966-0290 I don’t eat strictly organic stuff, but I am working out five days a week and trying to get my body in shape to run this marathon of a show, so I try to eat really healthy. They have a great yellowfin tuna salad and an amazing organic stir-fry. I like to convince myself it’s healthier here. I’m a big fan of this neighborhood and they’ve got a great bar, so sometimes I’ll also come down here and grab a beer.

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Jane, 100 West Houston Street 212-254-7000 This is definitely a special occasion type of place, and it’s really cozy at night. I like the vibe, and they support local farmers so it’s all clean, local grub. They have this dessert here—it’s essentially cookies and milk—and you have to order it in advance because they bake the cookies fresh and they come out half-cooked. Then they bring you a giant glass of milk with a scoop of fresh gelato. It makes you feel like you’re 10 years old again. I’ve been raving about these cookies forever, so I finally took my brother here on New Year’s Eve. There was a prix-fixe menu, and they didn’t have them. I have to say, I was legitimately angry.

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La Colombe, 270 Lafayette Street 212-625-1717 I’ve been coming here ever since I moved to the city, which was about four-and-a-half years ago. I just stumbled in here one day after an audition. It’s probably my favorite spot to get coffee. The coffee is just so good, and I try not to go to places like Starbucks whenever I can. The space is designed really well, open but still intimate. I don’t do lattes or any of that kind of stuff, so I usually just grab an iced coffee in the summer or an espresso when it’s cold.

The Dish: Jane’s Grilled Hanger Steak

What: Grilled hanger steak with sunny side up eggs and home fries. Where: Jane, the West Village casual bistro staple with an affordable yet incredible brunch. Ideal meal: Saturday or Sunday morning/afternoon hangover cure. Plenty of protein, a touch of starch, and you’ll be ready to function as a human again. Because: Plates here are made for healthy appetites. Homefries are crispy and mixed with onions and red peppers for a zing. Steak cooked to your liking, lightly marinated and grilled for a smoky bite. Tastes like: Better version of what your mom cooked before the first big day of a new school year, and much better than what you’d whip up in your own kitchen. Especially when you’re hung over. Bottom line: $17 — the brunch menu tops out at $19. Like I said, affordable.

Can Small Clubs Make Real Bank?

On my trip to Vegas the power of the strategic group machine was evident. Tao Vegas and Lavo, on back to back nights, packed a formidable wallop. The same one felt every night in associated New York venues. Avenue is still there and so is doing it, doing it and doing it well Marquee. The ability to service clients, especially those that spend big bucks in both New York and sin city, sets strategic groups above the rest. Tao New York as well as Stanton Social Club and other properties provide multiple cross promotion possibilities. It is difficult to see how any stand-alone nightlife entity can compete in New York without this outside revenue and marketing boost.

The Andre Balazs properties operate differently, but it can be argued provide similar opportunities. As I mentioned the other day, while attending a party in my honor at the Chateau Marmont, I noticed Leonardo Dicaprio playing backgammon at a nearby table. I heard that he had recently been spotted at Andre’s ever booming 18th floor at the Standard. The ability to service a celebrity as they jet set between cities like New York and LA or Miami is an advantage the real players feel they must have. In the summer, the clubs will create Hamptons outposts to ensure that when the season is over VIPs return to the fold. You basically have 16 days to pay for a year’s rent, insurance, wear and tear and financing, not to mention day to day operating costs. That’s 16 real days out of 365 and that reality doesn’t consider cold spells or rain. You can’t really make money, but you can stay real close to those who butter your bread year round.

Going forward can a stand-alone club generate enough money or publicity or marketing momentum to compete with clubs located in hotels where rent, security and publicity? Electricity and other expenses are absorbed by the large chains. It’s becoming more and more important for food and beverage to drive hotels. Wouldn’t the Standard be just standard if not for the publicity and beautiful folk its restaurants and clubs attract?

Eric Goode and Sean Macpherson seem to understand and succeed in letting the f and b drive their properties. Would the Maritime be worth a mention if not for Hiro and Matsuri? Would the Bowery Hotel be more than a flop house without Gemma and the Lobby Bar? Would the Jane be anything but a youth hostel without the major hype of the Jane Ballroom? Would Ian Schrager’s Grammercy Park raise an eyebrow if not for Rose Bar? The small hipster lounges will somehow pay rent, salaries and other expenses by being “off the beaten path” or non-corporate alternatives, but will these operators actually make loot without the hotel connection or a viable franchise in sister markets? How will they pay their bills, let alone thrive?

Places like Lit or Beatrice will always bring home some bacon and will generate volumes of press, but the big clubs with Vegas, Miami and LA partners will have much larger revenue streams. My home will always be in the smaller, hipper places where advanced forms of music and alternative ideas can flourish outside the mentality of the hotel chain, but I spend about 11 dollars a year going out. The pools, outdoor terraces and decks of the hotels turn summer, which traditionally melted club’s bottom lines, into a season of prosperity. Rumor has it that the roof of the Ganesvoort grossed close to 200k on weekend afternoons during the hot months. With the publicity generating Provocateur now open on the lower level, the hotel is a home run.

The future of clubs will be in hotels. Hotels receive an almost automatic liquor license. This has been challenged of late, as seen in the problem Todd English ran into at his community board hearing for the new hotel on Bond street. In most cases, obtaining licensing will be easier at hotel properties. Their political lobby is stronger than the nightclub industry and the tradition is to grant them permits. Police and government inspections will surely be more lax. Considerations to hotel guests will ensure soundproofing and controlled sound systems. As a by-product, this will lessen the impact of the joints on the lives of neighbors. Hip little bars in hip little inns may become all the rage. Boutique bars will excite boutique hotels. My trip to Vegas showed me XS. It is the deathstar of all nightclubs. It is a place where a million dollar night may well be feasible. Some may find it a bit cheesy, but that’s a lot of cheddar being generated. XS is setting the bar for the new decade.

[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article reported inaccurate information about Thompson Hotels. BlackBook apologizes for any misrepresentation or inconveniences caused as a result.]

New York: Top 5 Brunches for Your Last Summer Sunday

imageEnd of season, East Coast style.

1. Dos Caminos Wash down your guacamole with tumblers of tequila. 2. Jane Martini’s and benedicts … Jane makes everything plain good. 3. Turkish Kitchen Baklava and Turkish coffee; huge buffet brunches on Sunday.

4. Paradou Cozy back garden with crepes on the menu. 5. Café Habana Corn. Margaritas. Huevos rancheros. For updated party information, check out this weekly curated list on where to go and what to do all week long.