At the end of the Oscar-winning flick The Bridge on the River Kwai (which won 1957’s Best Picture of Year award), a British officer stands on a hill and repeats “Madness!” while making a funny face. I can relate to him. Fashion Week is madness, and as much as it’s usually a “must avoid” for me, I am swept up in it like flotsam on the River Kwai. So many events, so many friends in town, and the weather is giving me a bit of spring fever—yes, even at my age. Madness! I was swept to The Box for it’s 4th anniversary. The dapper, debonair door principal (and all around nice guy), Giza (Gizaselimi), kindly invited me down, and as I have always depended on the kindness of gentlemen, I decided to go.
All the Boxers were there: Simon Hammerstein, Serge Becker, the Jakupi brothers (Genc and Binn), and all the bells and whistle blowers that have made the joint famous and infamous.
Walter Durkatz introduced me to a beautiful gal who spewed economics and politics at me like I was back at Stuyvesant High in Mr Irgang’s 12th-grade class. Madness! I nodded at the passers-by, shook a hundred hands, air kissed the unbelievably decked-out and gorgeous (I mean, how does she do it?) Suzanne Bartsch, and eyed Adrian Grenier and his very hot posse—er, entourage. I even smiled a couple of times. So I was told.
The stage was a-flutter with guys, gals, and those where gender doesn’t matter, performing their hearts out . Then the Scissor Sisters came out and raised the ante. 4 years ago, The Box raised the ante, and last night it was undeniable. One of the best rooms in the city: it is amazing when it is amazing. A smart guy with a funny hat whispered in my ear, “It ain’t what it used to be.” I told him neither was he. 4 years in clubland is like 15 in dog years—100 in human years. Too few joints can boast relevancy after even 2. Sure, there have been ups and downs, and scandals, and madness. But it’s a club, not a boutique.
While the Scissors were doing their thingy I looked at the mixed bag of socialites, queens, socialite queens, movers, shakers, spenders, debutantes, sluts, playboys, and street candy that packed the place. The people who say it can’t be done are just the people who don’t know how to do it, and those that follow them follow everything, and follow everybody else. Imagination was once a major part of nightlife, and these folks understand that, and have proven it for 4 years— and long before. There’s talk of a mega-move of talent, dreams, and energy to the vacant 27th Street shells of Home/Guesthouse and Spirit, and this coo-coo-cooler-than-cool (so cool crowd that sways to the beat of different drummers, and last night the Scissor Sisters) will surely enlighten us still more.
I had so much fun. Absolute madness: with and without a funny face. I just wanted to add that, from the moment I rolled up to the door to the moment I popped into the cab back to BBurg, I was treated like a king by a staff— who largely didn’t know me. Everybody smiled, and when I couldn’t find the coat check (I rarely check stuff) I was taken there by a busboy rather than pointed in the right direction. Everyone smiled and said ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ or ‘goodbye.’ Everyone was sharp and sexy. That is the service I hear about from the operators of the moment, who don’t know what the word means. Great service all the way down the line is actually, really, truly found in places that survive and thrive for 4 or more years. I’m thinking inside The Box at least once a week, if they’ll have me. My pal Mark Baker, the Energizer Bunny of nightlife, may just be in the right place at the right time (after all, this is the year of the rabbit). Nice guy Mark has been inviting me to the new, post-sloop/Jon B Juliet Supper Club for all the fashion week thrills they have in store. Jon B has indeed left the building, and Mr. Baker (don’t say that 3 times fast) is ready to step up and bring madness and mayhem to the spot. I’m wondering, since Juliet was named after Jon’s Mom (and he’s gone singing Viva, Las Vegas!) shouldn’t they change the name? If they’re changing the game, maybe a new name would be in order? I’m suggesting Madness!
Mark is uber excited by tonight’s Mackage official after-party, with Ladytron performing. Mark loves Ladytron, and insists I go. The dilemma is my very own BlackBook is hosting a soiree for Siki Im this Wednesday, and I actually got invited by them, which means I have to go to that. Then on Thursday, the love of my life (save for Mom, my dachshund LuLu, and my darling Amanda) Devorah Rose, is having her Rosa Pusher fashion presentation there. Could I possibly go to Juliet Supperclub 3 nights in a row? Would they bar me form Brooklyn if I did?
On Sunday, when I might have been at the Zinc Magazine affair at Juliet (OMG, Madness!) I was trying to DJ at the Catherine Fulmer aftershow party. It was nextdoor to the Bowery Poetry Club, through some weird door at what used to be that joint, Crime Scene, but now sports a giant red neon sign that says “LOUNGE.” It was to be Michael S. Baltra (DJ MSB), glamorpuss DJ Paul Sevigny, and then me. I love PSev opening up for me! Anyway, there was major equipment malfunctions on a Janet/Justin level, but the three of us had a blast anyway. We had 3 mixers, 2 turntables, 2 CD players, and a Serato—none of which worked at the same time. There were wires everywhere. Oh, and we didn’t have a working headphone jack. Try mixing without one. Some said I was better than usual. We were sliding tracks in and out while tech guys with flashlights in their mouths only made things worse. They tried, and we scrambled. At one point I tried to put on “Pop Musik,” and Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” came out. Madness—and a much better track. DJ MSB just took charge with his Serato, which allowed him to work. Paul is one of the last DJs to still use vinyl, and I use CDs. We all agreed to try again real soon. As I was staring at malfunctioning equipment and frenzied techies I did notice that the crowd was wonderful and forgiving of our madness.