Two Reasons You Have to Go To Webster Hall Tonight

The 8th Annual Paper Nightlife Awards will be held tonight at Webster Hall and everybody is going. These are the Oscars of nightlife, and so watching what the nominees and guests are wearing is everything. The categories are divided into two parts that People’s Choice and Paper Magazine have chosen. The People’s Choice part was infamous for ballot-stuffing, but they seem to have made it harder to just keep clicking that button for yourself or your favorite employer. The public gets to vote on: 
I’d like to give an award to the person who came up with those categories.

The Paper chosen winners will come from a heavily skewed "new" list because that’s the way they want to roll. The categories here are:

I don’t believe in "the best" in nightlife. Besides, if there was a best it would probably be over and on to the next by the time you are done reading this. The best of anything in nightlife – and don’t let anyone tell you differently – is what you like. To many, Lit Lounge is nirvana, and to others it’s a pigsty, a hole in the wall that smells bad and plays music nobody has ever heard of. But those are the same reasons why it’s nirvana to so many. These days, a joint could be the greatest show on Earth one night and a nightmare on any other. Clubs are no longer all things to all people as they have become very specific.

DJs, on the other hand, tend to trend, and it is common to hear the same tracks as you bop from one joint to another. Paper’s DJ category does seem to reward those less likely to play predictably. In that category, my favorite DJ not named Paul Sevigny or Jonathan Toubin is nominated. That’s Elle Dee. I love the "BEST PART-TIME DJ" category as it recognizes the "everybody is a DJ” era that I have become so involved in. Paper has been around for a long time, and some of the players who made it great are still around and as credible as anyone to give these awards. One of those venerable Paper players is the sparkling Mickey Boardman, who is celebrating his birthday today and tonight.

While I am out and about and at Webster Hall, I will certainly stop by Riot Avenue, my Thursday DJ partner Sam Valentine’s weekly Wednesday event there. Sam will be joined by Avi Miller. Among the hosts is the absolutely fantastic Bless Fantastic.

This Friday there’s a party across the pond that I wish I could attend. Old friend, DJ, producer, composer, innovator Larry Thom better known as Larry Tee will celebrate his birthday at Larry Tee’s Super Electric Party Machine at East Bloc, 217 City Road, London, England. I don’t even like to travel uptown so I send best wishes to one of the best.

Nublu Celebrates 10 Years in Clubland

Ten years in clubland is 15 in dog years and around 105 in human years. It is a magnificent achievement, and the folks at Nublu – which include one of my favorite people on this planet, Daisy Payero – are celebrating in spades, in hearts, in diamonds, and their club, which is back where it belongs. That was a run-on sentence because Nublu was forced to run on over to Hayne Southern’s Lucky Cheng’s basement space for six months while licensing issues were resolved. After nine years, somebody discovered that there was a nearby church, and that’s a no-no because we all know that churches and alcohol don’t mix. Anyway, they are back in their original abode but, alas, with only a beer, wine, and sake license. But according to everyone I speak to, they haven’t lost a beat. That beat is grounded in the unique and eclectic music they offer and, as Daisy has told me, "it’s all about the music.”

Owner Ilhan Ersahin has decided the celebration should be a month-long shebang:

"Nublu has become a cultural haven for musicians from around the world known to blend different styles from electronic, jazz, dub, to indie, Brazilian, and global beats. From small clubhouse to music powerhouse, Nublu has undoubtedly stayed humble to its roots, and there is no better way to put it than in Ilhan’s own words: "We are just playing music."

Nublu’s 10th anniversary features an incredible lineup from June 1-30, including Sun Ra Arkestra, Brazilian Girls, Wax Poetic, Jojo Mayer’s Nerve, Taylor McFerrin, and Jetlag feat. Andy Rourke from The Smiths. World0renowned DJs will also join the festivities, featuring Moby, In Flagranti, DJ Logic, Tim Sweeney, and many more."

I asked Ilhan all about it.

Nublu is back to its roots and celebrating 10 years, albeit with some slight changes including a wine/beer/sake-only bar and some menu offerings. Is it truly all about the music and can you remain profitable without a full bar?
Yes, I hope we keep the same vibe going. Great music is still always here and it’s getting better and better everyday! Many of the resident bands who have played here for years continue to rise and draw more fans, so yes, I guess you CAN say it is all about the music or rather all about art. Alcohol-wise, our bartenders have concocted a nice drink menu with sake so there is still a “cocktail” vibe at the bar, and we do have good wine and food to offer now as well.

How do you feel Nublu has impacted the New York music scene over the past 10 years?
I think Nublu has grown into something unique. It has developed into a space where the criteria is about good musicianship and personal expression, meaning that we never have cover bands or jazz acts that play standards etc. It’s all about making your own music on a high level. Over the past 10 years lots of great bands have been born here and many bands and DJs have played here and developed. Nublu has never been about being yet another place where you just do a "gig.” It’s more about developing a sound and developing a band or an idea or compositions.

I do think Nublu has had a very important role in NYC, but the interesting side of Nublu is that it has become global. You will find people from Tokyo, Paris, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, etc. that know and follow Nublu now. That following has developed a bit because of Nublu records, a bit because of the club, from our jazz festivals that we now host in some of those cities yearly, and from traveling the world playing with various Nublu bands.

You have started taking Nublu global with a club in Istanbul and jazz festivals in Sao Paulo and Paris. Tell us what the response to Nublu and its sound has been overseas. Is this the next phase for Nublu?
It has been very good and always a growing movement which is the most inspiring thing. This past February we sold 5,200 tickets for a 5-day Nublu Jazzfest in Sao Paulo where we booked some US acts and some Brazilian acts. Pretty amazing for a second-year festival in Brazil, so the interest is there for sure. More and more radio stations around the globe are also adding our tracks.

Can you share your favorite Nublu moments from the past 10 years?
There are too many! I never know where to start, and my philosophy is always that the latest is the best…. so this past Friday night was an amazing night. The vibe was so great, people looked really happy, and the bands and DJ sounded fantastic. Of course we have had our star moments, like when Gilberto Gil came in and jammed, or when Kevin Spacey or Keanu Reeves most recently came in. Flea have stopped by and hung out at the bar, and soccer star Ronaldino shows up to our Wednesday night Brazil parties.  But in general we have many, many amazing nights at Nublu and I think the main reason is that Nublu is a "destination" type of place. We don’t get too many passersby who happen to stop by; we get an audience who plan on coming to Nublu for the night to have a good time and enjoy good music.

You had to relocate Nublu to a temporary space back in fall 2011… Did the six months in a strange place result in losing an audience or have you gained new faces?
Nublu has always been upside down and turned around. I think being on Avenue C and basically being in Manhattan and having live music and DJs every single night, and basically not advertising anywhere, has always made nights very random. There are always new faces mixed with old faces around here so that hasn’t changed a bit.

On the things to list for all you party people, I can’t recommend a soiree more strongly than New York Night Train’s bash at Home Sweet Home  tonight called “Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down.” Jonathan Toubin spins 45s and bringing you tracks you can’t hear anyplace else. It is the rarest of rare music. We’re not talking B-sides; we’re talking e,d,g- sides. A cool, cool crowd gets down and dirty and totally sexy in this basement that I absolutely love.

Also on the check-it-out front is Bantam, 17 Stanton, which has opened its backyard in time to catch the outdoor craze, which has revelers on roofs, by pools, and on curbs. I DJd there last night with Kelle Calco and these great guys Sonic Relief. It was splendid.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Mystery Parties, Jonathan Toubin at Brooklyn Bowl, and Freely Be

Am I supposed to tell you bright people what to do? I’m not even sure I even know you. I mean what’s a poor boy to do but to write for BlackBook magazine? I sometimes feel like I’m swimming upstream, but I truly feel that my glass is 1/4 full rather than 3/4 empty and I’m optimistic that nightlife as I love it and define it is all around us. I sometimes feel like Yoda instructing you to use the force, find the love. Look in the corners, side streets, and alleys. Find the beat off the beaten path. Breath the air and find that nightlife you always knew was there, still there, will always be there. Yeah I had one of those no sleep till Brooklyn nights and what’s left of my mind is still reeling from the residuals of yet another improbable adventure I probably shouldn’t and wouldn’t have if I couldn’t have, but there I was and I did it. One day I may tell you about. It’s amazing that I’m moving at all so I might as well just move forward. What am I talking about??? I’m talking about talented people doing wonderful things.

The outstanding talents of Eric L. Schmalenberger and Amy Van Doran are inviting their seriously fun crowd of talented and special friends to another night of enlightenment. This Friday’s Secret Society for Lovers of Beautiful and Lofty Things is described by those in the know as … "possibly be the greatest event that has happened to anyone ever." They ain’t lying but alas, I cannot help you attend. It’s by invite only, which means you must seek out Eric or Amy and ply them with gifts or drinks or fabulousness prior to the next one of these. Then why am I telling you about it if you can’t get in? Because it’s important for you to know that nightlife is soaring to new heights in secret spots and nooks and crannies and that you must stop accepting the common as an answer to your not-so-wet dreams. The bottom of the invite rants "We accept you one of us, We accept you one of us, We accept you one of us, We accept you one of us, We accept you one of us, We accept you one of us, We accept you one of us". That’s a big Gabba, Gabba Hey moment. Demand better nightlife and someone might provide it. It’s tomorrow night night so you still have time to network yourself in if you haven’t strayed too far from the light.

So that event may be a bit out of reach but I’ll tell you about another. This one you can go to no sweat…except for the sweat from all the dancing you will be doing. My favorite DJ (not named Paul Sevigny) is coming to the fabulous Brooklyn Bowl tomorrow night and I’m just going to Tivo everything, plan on eating there, and dress for success. It’s New York Night Train!: Soul Clap & Dance Off with DJ Jonathan Toubin (pictured). Some publicist sent me this and it describes it so well that I’m just going to copy and paste it for you. Yeah I know how to do that now. 

"Soul Clap & Dance Off with DJ Jonathan Toubin: New York Night Train’s Soul Clap and Dance-Off is North America’s most popular soul party – by far playing to more people in more places and generating more capital than any of its contemporaries. The concept is simple-all night dancing to the wild soul 45s of subterranean superstar DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin and, in the middle, a $100 dance contest judged by a community panel. Recession-friendly mass entertainment with a universally cheap door price, the dance party/spectacle not only sells beyond capacity at home, but has brought its excitement to domestic markets all the way from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine and internationally from Tel Aviv to Mexico City-including monthly residencies in New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Oakland, and PDX. The Dance-Off portion features judges from every edge of music and culture from classic subcultural icons like Mike Watt and Jello Biafra, to rock stars Andrew Van Wyngarden (MGMT) and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), to interesting cultural figures like Karla LaVey (Satanic Priestess) and Matt Gonzalez (Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate) to your favorite neighborhood heroes. Catch The Soul Clap!"

I usually catch Jonathan at Home, Sweet Home on Fridays and am excited he’s coming to the hood. If you don’t trust me then why are you reading me. It’s tomorrow night 11:30 pm Brooklyn Bowl. This is going to be wonderful.

My friend Jessi Marquez is working with a Christian charity called Mercy 29 which seems to go where most men, and women, have not gone before. They help local orphans and widows and families in villages in Mozambique, Africa and Andhra Pradesh, India. They build schools and homes and yes, churches. They generally try to make life better for those who have virtually nothing. Now I’m always wary of these missionary type charities but Jessi is alright by me. I see the word Christianity thrown around a lot by haters who use the term for what I perceive to be very un-Christian-like agendas. Feeding and helping those in need is a great place for Christianity as opposed to my bedroom, womb or government. Thus I’m here to tell you about an event tomorrow night . The Freely Be Launch Party sponsored by Ultimat Vodka, Patron and Budweiser 55 Select. It’s 9pm at Midtown Loft & Terrace, 267 5th Avenue, 11th floor. They are raising funds and awareness for Mercy29.

Get Excited for DJ Jonathan Toubin to Play With Jack White by Listening to Him

It’s been almost five months since New York-based soul DJ Jonathan Toubin, who works under the name DJ New York Night Train, was involved in a devastating accident in a Portland, Oregon hotel room. If the outpouring of support for Toubin, which came in the form of fundraisers from Los Angeles to New Orleans and beyond featuring a who’s who of New York DJs and talent from the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, wasn’t impressive enough, the man himself is already up and about and ready to get back behind the turntables.

Not only will Toubin be spinning tonight at Jack White’s sold-out show at Manhattan venue Webster Hall, but Sunday he’ll be celebrating alongside friends like Ian Svenonius and local buzz band K-Holes with a party at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl. Other upcoming dated include a May 12  and a June 9 set at Glasslands, a July 7 set at Lincoln Center for the Midsummer Night Swing, July 21 and August 18 sets at Glasslands and a September appearance at the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in Asbury Park, NJ.

Back in December, Toubin was sleeping in a ground-floor Portland hotel room when a taxicab drove through the room’s wall, trapping him and causing serious injuries. And while friends and fans should be thrilled to see him back at work, it seems like something Toubin himself knew he would be doing again. As his mother recounted to the Times, the day of the accident his doctors heard him make one request: “I’ve got to have my records.” 

Toubin’s best known for his high-energy, soul-infused sets. To get an idea of the sort of music the beloved DJ plays, check out a series of his playlists below. 

The Benefit for Gravely Injured Night Train DJ Jonathan Toubin Is Tonight

We’ve some sad news to report. Jonathan Toubin, the DJ responsible for the ever-popular New York Night Train parties (which, if you haven’t attended, is a soul-filled night of booty shaking and feet shuffling) is currently in critical condition in a Portland hospital. Toubin, known as the Night Train Conductor, was in Portland for a soul party when a cab crashed through his hotel room wall and plowed into the DJ while he was asleep.

He was scheduled to fly back home and play tonight at Home Sweet Home and Cake Shop, respectively. A purveyor of good jams and great vibes around Brooklyn and Manhattan, we’re saddened to hear such news about a great DJ and all-around well-liked guy. Fortunately, his night at Home Sweet Home has been quickly converted into a relief fund for Toubin, so swing on by tonight, drink some Belvedere, and donate some cash to help to a New York staple in need. Suggested donation is $5.