Is This Banksy, Caught in the Act?

Here’s an interesting thing. A very good friend of mine, who is always reliable (except when she isn’t—she’d be the first to agree) took this photo of what she says is Banksy, the invisible man caught in the act. I’ve been sitting on it, debating it’s validity and the idea of busting out the superhero. She was black car-ing it to her abode during Oscar week and stopped to take this photo. It’s a slow news day—so here it is. You draw your own conclusions. My gal swears it’s him. She thinks.

Tonight Big Audio Dynamite will rock Roseland. The super-secret afterparty will be held at the Library at the Hudson Hotel. BlackBook is the hosting this event, and yours truly will DJ until the band cleans up and arrives to take over the turntables. It’s a private affair, so don’t look at me for guest list help. After my set I’m going to take an elevator to Jonny Lennon’s monthly soiree at Good Units. There it’s DJ Cassidy and ?uestlove — it’s a “must attend” affair. Great crowd, great music, and a number of adjustments made after moi, your humble servant, suggested some. They work hard over at the Hudson to make it right. I find myself writing so often about the happenings at Morgans Group properties that I think I might have to move into one of their joints.

image

How to Best to Bribe NYC’s Wintertime Doormen

Matt Duckor has some “Pro Tips” over at The Feast today. “The Seven Coldest Doormen in New York” asks the town’s busiest club gatekeepers to offer their take on surviving a frigid night outside. Everyone from Wass Stevens at Avenue to Eddie Bilowich at Bunker discusses the warm and cozy details of their layering habits this time of year, as standing outside all winter certainly makes them experts on the subject. But this fun and breezy article might also serve a double-purpose: As the guys weigh in on their personal warming habits, they’re actually exposing a collective Achilles Tendon, a weakness for preferred hand-warmers and cashmere under-pinnings that could, if you’re slick enough, be exchanged for entree into the clubs. Here are your best bets for winter-time bribes.

Simonez Wolf Door: Le Bain Method of Comfort: Huge parka, not having to stay outside all night. Bring Him: A pack of Little Hotties Hand Warmers.

Rich Thomas & Cristian Achirill Door: Lavo Method of Comfort: Layers and Fur Bring Them: Uniqlo’s Lab Heattech Long Underwear. Makes gifting underwear less creepy.

Aalex Julian Door: SL Comfort: Mental and physical vacations to warm places. Bring Him: A Lei from Hawaii or a Pineapple

Jonny Lennon Door: Goldbar Comfort: Roughing it by pretending he’s in the great outdoors. “On nights when there’s a full on blizzard, I make a point of it to be outside all night, to survive it.” Bring Him: Bear Grylls. If these can’t be rustled up, maybe a pair of snowshoes or something from Carhartt.

Herman Solomon Door: The Mulberry Project Comfort: Drinking a lot of water and having style. Bring Him: A stylish water bottle! See what he thinks of the Bobble—a cute water bottle that filters water as you drink it.

Wass Stevens Door: Avenue Comfort: Cashmere, fur, and his own personal heat lamp. Bring Him: Unless you are planning on swinging by Burberry to pick up a fur trapper for the doorman of all doors, don’t bother with a bribe. It’s luxury for this man, all the way down to his cashmere undies.

Eddie Bilowich Door: The Bunker Club Comfort: Heat packs and hats. Bring Him: Something vegan. Sure you can bring him an extra pack of glove warmers, but the man used to run a website called “The Hot Vegan,” so a nod to his foodie past would be more appreciated than an extra skull cap.

Bingo, The Box, Jon Lennon, & the Peanut Gallery

My internet is finally working and none too soon. Not only am I stranger in a strange land in Williamsburg, but I was cut off from my 5,000 Facebook friends and all the other hoopla on the worldwide web during my move. My Droid helped, but it’s still just a souped-up phone. Recently, I received a call from my pal, the actress Dani Baum, who tried to keep talking through a mouth full of laughter after asking me if I was in Manhattan. (I guess I’ll have to get used to that.) I was having tea and crumpets at a coffee joint, and was hard pressed to understand her inane babbling. She begged me to go to The Bowery Poetry Club for Bingo, and my Amanda said, “Why not?” Dani got us two seats up front, and I was warmly greeted by my old friends Murray Hill and Linda Simpson. It was a full-circle, gender-bending spectacle, which had the downtown-cool audience thoroughly engaged. The bingo leaders relentlessly amused, abused, and used every old one-liner ever to keep the crowd in stitches. Murray told me it’s this way every week, and that they are also doing Le Poisson Rouge on Saturdays at 7:30pm. They had gag prizes like nun candles and mud shark inflatable sledge hammers, but they also had a very swanky $204 cash prize and an I Heart Brooklyn pin-up calendar for the final round.

The crowd roared “0-69” with glee, as if it were the very first time they had heard the world’s oldest Bingo joke. Linda and Murray spent half the time making us guffaw, and the rest hawking Magic Hat Beer, which sponsored the party. The absolute highlight of the evening was the four-corner Bingo garbage bag challenge. Three lucky winners who got all four corners of their cards completed were whisked to the backroom, where they were given used garbage bags and black tape to contrive an outfit.

They were whisked back onstage with a mic in their faces, and were totally adored and humiliated. Dani was a participant, and wouldn’t give up the mic. Her swanky friend Rick wore his white garbage bag as a jockstrap, with only his tattoos obscuring his birthday suit. Despite his protestations, he didn’t look fat at all. The third contestant, who was from Paris—or the East Village, it was hard to hear—made good, if not a little unfortunate, use of the provided black tape. Linda proclaimed “those Parisians make anything look chic.” And so it went. It was fab, it was chic, it was a packed, downtown good time. I was kind of perturbed that the last time I played the old B.I.N.G.O. my age was squarely in the “N” row, but now I’m an absolute “G.” I will be there next week—it’s a blast.

The Bowery Poetry Club attracts my attention every couple of weeks. Whether its my pal Zoe Hanson doing her Sex Worker Literati thing or a friend’s band or a reading, there’s always something cool happening. The location just keeps getting better, as the neighborhood is growing and attracting hordes of nightlifers. Nightlife is not just a bottle service joint or dance club or swanky lounge. Nightlife is a thousand joints making a living by providing us an escape from our different realities. It is a joint thinking and doing things outside the traditional box of nightlife, and it needs our support and recognition.

Speaking of outside the box, a usually very reliable source claims to have heard that The Box, that Christie Street marketplace of performance-art mayhem, is taking its schtick to London. I’m heading over there tonight and will dig deep.

Tomorrow, I will join my friend Jon Lennon for a DJ set at White Noise. Many people I know really don’t like the place. They say it’s seedy and inconsistent and filled with sketchy people. Sometimes. That’s how great it is. It isn’t for everyone, and the complainers have joints built just for them and their ilk. Give me sketchy folk. Give me unpredictable. Give me seedy. White Noise is fun, and I can’t wait to spin there with my pal Jon. Every time I write about Jon, I get two cents from the peanut gallery about his character. Well, there is no doubt about it, Mr. Jon Lennon is a character. He definitely broke a few eggs to make a few omelets, and has been known to be a rolling stone gathering little, if any, moss. I’ll say this about that: his word is good. He isn’t a fool and he will stand-up for a friend. The way peeps like Jon and myself figure it: Within 10 miles of where I am writing this, there are 10 million people. We can afford to lose a few losers, piss off some people who lack honor or understanding of the codes and rules, and those who promise to never talk to us again. Hopefully, they will keep their word, as we can always find as many new friends as we can possibly engage. I’ll stand by Jon anytime, and tomorrow I will DJ with him.

Uncle Steve to Father Steve: Club Dads Over the Years

I spent yesterday in Queens with my family celebrating Father’s Day. It was real nice, underscoring what is important in this world, at least for me. Dad is my reality star, having fought in World War 2 and survived a Great Depression that makes our own woes seem trivial, and raising us kids with his old school and honest values. Mom and him have been together for over 60 years. When I got back to Manhattan, it was off to Goldbar to say goodbye to Natalie Glanzman, who has been my assistant for a bit. There was a birthday party for a friend as well, and everyone was to wear lingerie or bed clothes. Seemed like a good idea on paper, but looked quite odd in reality. Goldbar honcho Jon Lennon told me that he always considered me one of his club fathers, me and Mark Baker both. We’re his co-dads. I got a lot of that yesterday on Facebook, and in texts from people who see me in this light. Uncle Steve might graduate to Father Steve if I stick around long enough. After 2 marriages and no kids, I just assumed I had been shooting blanks.

Survival in club-land isn’t all that easy, and it’s arguable that I didn’t actually survive my club career as I was put out to pasture by the powers that be a bit earlier than I wanted. Still, I had a good run and am proud of much of what I have done. So many of our city’s owner/operators worked with me over the years. I hope I was a positive influence. It is nice to have bright, successful people give me props. I, myself, have many fathers besides dad to thank.

My first club father was Rudolf. Under him I learned the value of “fabulous” at Danceteria, and later, the Palladium. His partner at Danceteria, John Argento, taught me to temper the “fabulous” with a common sense, bottom line focus. I learned from them that almost anyone can actually make money in this business—just look around at the fools doing it today. Also, almost anyone can make the place fun, exciting and well, fabulous—but to do both, to make it fabulous and make money, is an art. I approached all my club endeavors with this attitude. Rudolf is in Brazil having opened over 75 joints, and John has a place in New Jersey making money, selling booze.

The greatest club dad I ever had was Steve Rubell. I was the director of the Palladium under Steve and Ian Schrager. Steve’s Rolodex of bold face names was unparalleled. He new everyone. He was always the brightest, most charismatic guy in the room. He taught me how to spend money to make money. He taught me the importance of detail. He personally hired every single employee. They represent you and your brand. I could write for hours about what I learned form Steve and Ian. Steve passed years ago and Ian has a hotel empire.

Maurice Brahms and his partner Angelo were pure grit. They taught me to watch every dollar, and the importance of people you can trust. Maurice had Infinity, the Underground, Redzone, and eventually the Palace de Beaute. He is largely forgotten, even though his joints were often the best in town. He rarely stepped on my toes. He wanted to know why, but let me and mine run it, recognizing that is what we were good at. He was the most honest man I ever met in the world of clubs, and I learned that honesty with staff and in business has rewards far beyond the bottom line. He works with a national health club chain and we remain friends

Peter Gatien built an empire with Michael Alig, myself, and a cast of characters that books and movies rarely describe correctly. At our peak we had Palladium, Tunnel, Limelight, and USA—four clubs that should figure in everyone’s top twenty. Unfortunately, Peter was the greediest of them all. His drive took him to the top of the heap, but his need to have it all left him empty. I learned how to delegate and the importance of the door under Peter. He valued sound, lights and a great DJ in coordination with the social/promoter scene I had mastered. He made me better at my job. Peter is living in Canada. An exile, not on main street, with his club Circa taken from him. I hear he is not well, and I wish him happiness and peace of mind.

Frank Roccio, Arthur Weinstein, and Peter Frank were also some of my dads. The World on East 2nd street was one of the top 5 joints there ever was. I was its director. Frank Roccio pushed me out front, where I dealt with guns, creeps, wannabe’s and real be’s. It was violence waiting to happen, and deals were made with the devil just to open the doors. Frank helped me grow my balls. There was no backing down for me, I stood up and fought the good fight and learned from him that the street is where it all comes from. The music, the fashion, and the ideas all come from the gutter. Arthur took nothing for himself that he wasn’t going to give back to the crowd immediately. He taught me about the lights, and the importance of the show. He was always comfortable with the little people and made the rich, talented, and powerful prove themselves everyday. Phrases like “What have you done lately?” or “So what?” dressed blustering swells and pseudo celebs down. Peter Frank was aware he was swimming with sharks, but managed to keep the unmanageable afloat. In the end, intellect will get you through when experience and balls aren’t enough. His thought process, honed at Harvard, defined my future. Arthur passed and everyone assumes Frank has as well. Peter’s fate is almost as bad. He’s a lawyer in upstate New York.

There were many others that I worked with who taught me so much. Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen in Philly, Suzanne Bartsch, Steven Greenberg, and many more showed me better ways to operate. But these were my club dads. They taught me more than I taught them, and I am always thankful. I had a good run in clubs. I saw a list the other day of the top 10 joints of all time, and I ran 5 of them. It’s nice now, looking back and being called Uncle Steve and such, and the Fathers Day greetings were cute. Any success I may have had was owed to the people I’ve learned from, because of the opportunities I had working for so many brilliant men. Isaac Newton said about the physicists who preceded him: “If I have seen further than other men, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

DJ Jus Ske Shapes the Music of the Club Age

As we told you yesterday, a new DJ management company called 4AM is set to take legions of talented NYC “social” DJs national—even international (maybe even interplanetary, these guys are that good). Jon Lennon, Adam Alpert and DJ Jus Ske have the abilities, the connections and, most importantly, the respect to manage these people. The New York DJ with his Serrato, skills and charisma is sought after in LA, Vegas and all major metropolises. With a few notable exceptions, the DJs coming in from out-of-town to play here are not getting anyone’s panties wet. NY DJs are the go-to guys at store openings, festivals and events on the national party circuit. Yoni Goldberg has a roster over at DGI that includes DJ Cassidy, Paul Sevigny and Berrie. Up until now, he’s had a stronghold on the industry, catering to the smart set, the jet set, the bottle/model crowd. 4AM steps up and handles a roster that includes Ani Quinn, DJ Vitale, DJ Price, DJ Phresh, DJ Sal Marole, DJ Orazio Rispo, Jus-Ske, Suss One, DJ Theory among others. Jus_Ske is a partner at the firm along with long time friend Richie Akiva.

I met Jus Ske when I was running LIFE. Richie and Jus along with Mark Rose were the young, brash, in-the-know kids that I needed to have around to stay relevant and to be credible. That element, street credibility, is what separates 1Oak and some other clubs with the wannabe joints that don’t understand that edge. At LIFE, I had the high end, the euros, much of the promoter-driven crowd and wealthy men and model crowd. I added in the gays and trendoids and we had it all mixing up and had a great party. But it was the edgier crowd, the cool hip-hop crews these three dudes brought that gave that club the realness I needed. The “hip-hop” room at LIFE was always where the party was and I believe it is the model for the all the great (non house-head) places since. DJs like Mark Ronson, Funkmaster Flex, Grandmaster Flash, Kid Capri, Riz— and I’m sure many others I cant think of now—paved the way for this new generation of talent who find a market that craves their “street cred” sets.

“Mash-up” or “open format” is the musical genre of our club age. The organization of these talented DJs by 4AM and DGI will ensure career growth and fair pay. To me Jus Ske has always been there, trying to push the music forward. I have great respect for him as a DJ, but more importantly, as a person. Nobody is perfect, especially in the world of clubs where most take 2 steps forward but then 3 steps back and think they’re making it. I have always felt that Jus was in it for the art of it, while so many others around him were motivated by other things. Whether its his clothing line or his collaboration with Pharrell or his foray into club ownership, the underlying truth to DJ Jus Ske is his true-to-his-school mentality. Any beef I ever had with the man (and it was always short-lived beef) ended with his trade mark “its all good” and it surely was always a little better than that. I caught up with Jus Ske and asked him a few questions.

What’s your musical style? Open format. Good music is good music

Where are the trends in music going? Electro, retro, yet organic. Fast, yet slow—meaning 140bpm and 70bpm in between on the break down.

What are your favorite tracks? Jus Ske and Junior Sanchez electro dance remix of Drake’s “Over” called “Far From Over.” “Broken” from Gorillaz, “Flashing Room” by 2AM Club (Yacht remix), “Elevator” by Junior Sanchez featuring Good Charlotte and Maino, and “Animal” by Miike Snow (Fake Blood remix).

How did u start in the business? Steve Lewis.

How did you decide to be a DJ? What year? Probably around 1997 when I started promoting. I felt it was more fulfilling for the soul to dabble in the music aspect of the night and became a DJ.

(Editor’s Note: Yeah, you’re gonna want to download these tracks now.)

For NYC’s Most Talented DJs, It’s Always 4AM

4 AM is a way of life for thousands of people in nightlife. It is the traditional time that liquor-hawking establishments in NY state must stop selling the booze. Some places have been restricted lately to 2 AM licenses. I wonder if a place that has a 2 AM license could ring up sales on a customer’s card and his liquor could be served and enjoyed until 4:30? I’m going to find out. Although nothing can be sold after 4 AM in our clubs, bottle service has allowed the party to go on for at least another half hour. This means the service employees who make everything possible still need to hang around. One person who can’t go home is the DJ. At this time of the night it’s his job to wind things down so that the patrons can leave quietly. Adam Alpert, Jon Lennon and Jus-Ske have formed a DJ management company, the aptly titled “4am.” I met up with Adam and Jon while we connected with the touring DJ Jus-Ske via the wonders of modern technology. I’ll continue with Jus tomorrow, today Alpert and Lennon have the floor.

Give me and overview. Adam Alpert: 4AM is “4 Artist Management”. That’s what time NYC closes, as opposed to Philly, DC, Boston, LA which close at 2. The partners are myself, Jon Lennon, and Jus-Ske. DJ management is a recent trend.

But Judy Weinstein and tons of others have been doing DJ management since back in the day. AA: Back in the days of Spa and Life, Steve, you usually called a DJ directly.

This is true it was only the large floor or really famous guys who had a manager. Social/Mashup DJs generally don’t have management—outside of Yoni Goldberg’s stable. He handles a number of the best DJ’s around. AA: there are VERY talented people working the best events/clubs in NYC but are not getting marketed on a national/international level. Jon Lennon: Adam and I have been building the careers of DJ simply based on need, bringing them to events in Philly, LA, SF and thus making them irreplaceable to us.

Jon, you are the face of GoldBar and Adam you are the promotional director of 1Oak. You have been hiring many DJ’s in these high profile places, sometimes breaking their careers in NY and then you have booking them in other cities as well. Am I right that, up until now, there hasn’t been a cohesive plan in terms of their careers. AA: Yes, that’s our company’s purpose. This talented family of DJs are all friends, even though they are competitors they like working together. We wanted to take the help we’ve been giving them and organize it, turn it into a movement. We are a family.

So there is a group of DJs without management who have reached premium level, like DJ Sinatra who has paid his dues, but isn’t getting his due. AA: Young DJs have to be out there grinding for themselves, promoting themselves, calling owners. With our friends and relations around the world it was a win-win situation. It makes sense to secure our best DJs with gigs and fame. JL: I was working for Deckstar and Adam and Jus wanted to start an agency. I was the NY exec of Deckstar, a company that also wanted to open a NY agency. The two would’ve been in direct competition, but now we have a bridge to LA and they have one to NY.

So you are partners with NY Deckstar? AA: I like to say we have a strategic alliance.

image

Tell me the names of some of the DJ’s in 4am’s roster. JL: Ani Quinn, DJ Vitale, DJ Price, DJ Phresh, DJ Sal Marole, DJ Orazio Rispo, Jus-Ske, Suss One, DJ Theory. They are all of the ‘open format’ style, except Orazio, he’s House. AA: In NY there have grown to be a lot of DJ—based nights Sunday at Goldbar, Tuesday at 1Oak—where you’ll have 5 DJs in the booth and 25 more in the crowd. Its’ a culture of camaraderie, and we wanted to organize these guys together.

When does an agency become a union? Because right now a DJ has to pay you a percentage. Your stated goal is to make DJs money, raising fees. Why wouldn’t a club go out, like I did, to find the next young stud? AA: Cause they aren’t good enough and don’t bring people.

Many DJs, basically all of them— Frankie Knuckles, David Morales—all started out as no-names at clubs that were known as venues with good music. Everyone gets there first gig. I started countless DJs, developed them, gave them higher profile spots, until the whole world clamored for them. JL: I’m from that school. My two biggest DJs were Jesse Marco and Cassidy, who I took a risk on when they had no name.

If the prices become too high, the owner will go back to the old way. However, this current crop of owners are more administrative, not from the streets and wouldn’t necessarily recognize a good new DJ. AA: Any kid can get a laptop and Serrato can call themself a DJ. It’s not like the old days where you had to buy vinyl. Being the new young kid DJ is like being a starving artist. You have to grind, call owners, promote. So every young DJ in NYC has emailed me saying “Will you rep me?” Because we have those connections. JL: On my Facebook, all day its DJs from around the world.

In the old days it was harder, Record Pool, Judy Weinstein’s management company, would distribute new tracks to 200 DJs nationally. Those DJs would have the latest greatest version. So other DJs who didn’t have the latest greatest, newest mix were considered second class. Now, with the internet, you can’t control who gets that kind of access as easily. Everybody gets everything. AA: Correct

You two work at specific clubs. Why would a rival club use you guys? AA: Because we have 12 DJs and we’re friendly with everyone in this industry. Outside of OAK, I work with Satsky in the Hamptons, Noah in Miami on New Years. These guys at other clubs are some of my best friends, who would’ve booked these DJs anyway. This has got nothing to do with 1Oak. We’re friends with everybody, every owner, every promoter. Mark Birnbaum and Eugene as well. Everyone has a different clientele. There are enough clubs and gigs and nights to go around.

How about out of state gigs? AA: Another thing I’d like to mention are the secondary, or nontraditional markets. Butter in North Carolina has the “I Heart NY DJ” series. Every Thurs a 4AM DJ flies down to Charlotte to DJ there. Now people are going out on Thursday nights there.The people in Charlotte haven’t heard anything like this before, its like night and day. Charlotte is the 25th biggest city in the US. JL: 10 of 12 of the 4AM Djs work at 1Oak and 8 of 12 work at Goldbar. We’ve sent DJs to Miami and they stop in Charlotte. Bring an LA DJ to New York City and he flops, but bring a NY DJ to LA and they’re calling him back for double.

Aspiring 4AM DJs and clubs can find out more about the talent pool at 4am.tv.

Fresh Start: New CV, Opium Group Redux @ Nina

A weekend of springlike weather brought optimism and a few mosquitoes to my downtown abode. It was a weekend of new construction — a fresh start for so many things. The trickle of growth in clubdom has become a torrent, with my design firm getting an inquiry a day about our services. Gossip down below in subMercer was that Serge Becker’s new subterranean versian of Chinatown Brasserie will make dim sum available for Thanksgiving. Lovely Day has recovered from its fire and is slowly returning to the neighborhood mainstay it was before. Also in the hood, Jon Lennon celebrated the second anniversary of his GoldBar on Ssunday. By the end of the day today, I should be signing a couple of more contracts — maybe even three more, as the recession is officially over in nightlife.

However, New York City is not enjoying an unemployment rate around 10%, with no relief in sight. New bar, restaurant, and club construction provides much-needed jobs for building trades. The spaces will provide thousands of service jobs. Cab drivers, delis, and local business will get a boost as well. The state seems to have recognized this opportunity to get people off the welfare rolls and onto the taxpayer rolls. The “new” SLA has been tasked to streamline the licensing process. Community boards have eased up on their mindless rejection of all things nightlife, and thumbs-up have become commonplace.

The closed 105 Rivington space — a splinter off of the Rivington Hotel — is getting a redux. It will be called CV, as in the roman numeral for 105, the address. My company has been tasked to make the place a warm, comfy space to hang with a “Meatpacking” aesthetic. Partners Jed Stiller, Alex Masnyk, Jordan Harris, Matt Isaacs, and Matt Levine will have no problem filling the small lounge, which has a capacity smaller than its address. Gerald Bunsen and Zev Norotsky join as in-house events staff. They have brought some of the management and staff from Spring Street boite Upstairs, including door dude Wayne. Jed Stiller told me, “This brings the trend towards hotel-driven lounges to the LES. The Rivington is a celebrity-driven hotel, and we expect to service the high-end guests of the hotel as well as our friends.” The place will be open seven nights from 10pm, and small food will be served. Partner Matt Levine has had success over at the Eldridge and working with the Rivington as of late. If my wallpaper guy gets motivated, the place will debut in the next few days.

Word comes that the Opium Group will take another bite from the Big Apple. Their last bite was a bit wormy, with Mansion falling way short of expectations. They seem to be thinking small and will take a version of Miami success story Louis bar-lounge to Soho. This Avenue-style spot might (according to my source) be called Nina. The hospitality dynamic in Miami has always been a bit different from NYC; vacationing Europeans and northerners seeking heat spend cash differently in Miami than they do in New York. It will be interesting to see if the Opium Group has learned from its failure at Mansion and will adjust to the New York state of mind, or if they will try to shove nightlife as they know it down our throats once again. Will they recognize that they must assume some of the blame for Mansion’s demise, or will egos continue to point fingers at everyone else? It is true that they emerged as the recession melted black cards, and this time the economy seems to be going the other way. They and dozens of new joints are speculating that a bottom has been reached and that they will catch this new wave of cash and not crash back into the beach.

Nights of Columbus

Columbus Day creates a sort of/almost three-day weekend and a Sunday night where more people are out than usual. I received more calls last night from people ‘looking for a good time’ than my self-soliciting ex-girlfriend did on a weekend night. I didn’t really have answers for these party-seekers. I offered up Cielo and Vandam at Greenhouse, but for some…not their scene. I rattled off the usual places, but few of my suggestions were well-received. Sundays at GoldBar are good (to dot all my i’s) but some members of my crowd are less visually stimulating than some doors allow, so, I didn’t send them to see Jon Lennon. I sent a couple friends to the 5th Anniversary of Pink Elephant the other night, and they brought in a third wheel of misfortune. The door correctly taxed the crew, and I called to apologize. The same thing happened over at Simyone where a gal pal who isn’t hard to look at brought a couple of friends who were 4 or 5 sheets to the wind and, of course, not door-worthy. So…don’t call me for guest list help for a couple weeks, children.

My crew parked next door at Son Cubano where I met them. It was a blast. There were three people in the place—including staff—that had a chance of getting past Alex Julian at Simyone’s door, but it was a party and I know one when I see one. You could sit anywhere you wanted, and I bought four drinks and got decent change from two twenties. It took ten minutes and then I went to Simyone’s with my friend and was treated like Mick Jagger. I was escorted to owner Eugene Remm’s table where I was introduced to Mickey Rourke. I couldn’t see Eugene and asked Pavan Pardasani where I could find him. Pavan has found a home at EMM group and I wish him well. He’s a good, hardworking guy, and he’ll thrive under the golden umbrella that Eugene and partner, Mark Birnbaum, have created. Eugene was DJing and really doing a decent job. He had it all together: hands, body posture, even the headphone tilt was right. Everybody was having fun, but there were very few unusual suspects. It was packed and all the girls were tall and pretty and all the guys were dressed well and the place looked nice. It was Tenjune déjà vu. It certainly seems like heaven to the bottley/modely crowd that was swaying to the sounds but I, of course, like a dirtier (or at least grittier) kinda joint.

I was back in Son Cubano in a jiffy enjoying a $7 beer and deflecting drunken revelers from the women folk. It felt nice to pay for a drink. The old school clubs were different—sort of a cross between the two places. Old heads said hello at Cubano and I felt comfy there. Saturday night took me to Lit, a grungy oasis that’s still vibrant and relevant after seven years. Leo Fitzpatrick and Justine Delaney got my attention. My Blackberry was vibrating so often by those lost souls looking for a good time that I almost had a sexual experience. Lit was wonderful. Sure there were trust fund kids in gaggles, slumming and funning, but there were enough core downtown types to keep it real. Leo and Justine attract enough trendoids and the bartenders have great tattoos. So I stayed for hours.

The next day was spent watching HBO and Showtime reruns and debuts. We also caught the Columbus Day Sopranos episode. That’s the one where Tony’s crew gets all worked up as Native Americans are protesting Columbus because of the genocide he might’ve begun. The Italians in this TV comedy/drama see old Chris C. as a hero, a symbol of Italian heritage and pride. The Native Americans see only thugs and a lost world. There was a time when each club had a Paulie Walnuts type hanging around. The good ol’ days were a blast for those dancing to legendary DJ’s, at legendary hot spots. But, things behind the scenes were not always so gentile. That seems to be long-gone now, as the demise of the Teflon Don seems to have relegated such characters to TV screens and Pulp Fiction.

So, on this Columbus Day weekend, while watching Eugene Remm DJing with Mickey Rourke (who isn’t really a bad boy but often plays one on the big screen), I thought back to that different world. Today’s owner is a businessman and has little street in him. With a few exceptions, most wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes in a day when you had to watch what you said and who you said it to. There really isn’t any true grit left in Clubdom. Sure there’s some grunge and a little edge but the romanticism of the nights of Columbus Days is long gone. I’m glad for that and see it clearly now for what it was: a great big lie like Columbus discovering America or the cover up of the genocide or the faux exclusiveness of most joints in town. The current crop of clubs have—for the most part—become mere escapes from mundane realities. The old joints were hotbeds of culture, fashion and ideas. Envelopes were opened, limits pushed and you could really get hurt if you crossed the line. There’s a feeling of rebirth in club life lately. The recession has gotten some juices flowing and a return of creative types to the scene. Still, without the Paulie Walnuts types lurking in the shadows, it lacks a little edge. Not such a bad thing, trust me.

Stevie’s Ark: Who to Save in NYC Nightlife

And the lord said to Noah, come with all your household into the ark, for I have seen you to be righteous (upright and in right standing) before me in this generation.” Genesis 8

Have you noticed the rain? We watched the lightning from the lobby entrance to the Rivington Hotel and counted 1 alligators, 2 alligators, 3 alligators, 4 in a super-scientific attempt to determine how far away the magnificent bolts were from my merry band of Sunday travelers. Then it was upon us, and I said to my flock, let us flee unto Spitzer’s and partake in friendly fare. So we went to Spitzer’s. I had the PBLT and the rest had salad. My arteries must be getting hard. The downpour came at us hard, and we huddled with the masses and drank and ate and waited and watched in wonder. Mother nature ain’t happy. The busboys tried to lower the windows, but it was a slow go, and the windswept rain wiped out the first two rows of diners. We got a little wet, but we were an intrepid band, and it washed away the sweat of shopping and strolling. I bought a cool hat at Still Life. The rain was traveling sideways in torrential sheets, thunder and lightning were right above us, and we didn’t have to count critters to understand that. It was a rain of biblical proportion, then it ended in sunlight — and then it happened again yesterday.

It’s been a seriously rainy last couple of months. It’s been cool too. I know, I know, I guess if my writing/designing career doesn’t work out, I could try to be a weatherman, but one has to seriously wonder if those scientists Al Gore’s using didn’t get their educations from that guy on TV who teaches you how to make money selling stuff on eBay. We joked of building a great ark and plotted to take two of every job in clubdom. Who would I save? I’m not taking into account breeders and non-breeders … doesn’t seem like Noah did either.

Owners? Well for sure I’d grab Eric Foss (Lit) and Paul Sevigny, who will, I’m sure, open something biblically amazing soon. I’d consider Eddie Dean if the wise judge rules favorably this week and the Pacha owner is still in business. I’m sure there would be considerable pressure to bring Noah Tepperberg because of he’s name-appropriate, and maybe the ship needs to actually make money. I’d ask Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano, but it’s a boat and they’re jet-setters.

The door would be my boys Wass and Jon Lennon. No way they would have let mosquitoes and roaches in the first time around. For DJs, I’d go with Cassidy because who else would throw in a Dolly Parton tune; and I’d sacrifice a lamb to get Junior Vasquez because he makes me happy and will do the 40-day-and-40-night gig easy — he’s done gigs like that before. For bottle hosts, I’d grab Denise Robinson and Jayma Cordoso. I know, Jayma — you’re an owner now — but if you don’t want to get on the boat, let me know. You’re the best bottle host in town, and that owner slot is crowded.

For events, I’d ask Francis X. McHugh and Kevin Crawford. I’d bring Patrick Robinson and Julie Park to manage the whole thing — somebody’s got to get the bussers to sweep up. On security, it’s Luke Petit and Jeff Craig because I trust them. Waitrons: Lelanea Fulton and Ayana Frazier. It’s gonna be a 40-night excursion, and I’m gonna need a bunch of bottles with lots of smiles. These gals have great … smiles. The bartenders for real sure are Seamus Regan and Blaze. For promoter, hmmm, maybe we only need to bring one promoter. OK, if we have to bring two, it will be Kenny Kenny and Emma Cleary. I know, Emma, you’re an owner, but I really liked your Monday-night Femme Fatale party at Katra, and these days almost anyone can call themselves an owner. Nightlife blogger? Well since it’s obvious to anyone who knows me I have never had much interest in self-preservation, I’d opt for Rachelle of Guest of a Guest and Brittney of ChiChi212. I’d ask Scott Solis of Down by the Hipster, but I think he would be thrown overboard before we left port.