This Weekend: Work & Play All of Labor Day

It seems to be happening fast. Last night I felt comfortable going out in my leather jacket; the temperatures easily allowed it. There was a hint of cool air in the wind, and traffic was nonexistent. I could park anywhere in my ‘hood. I had a Kojak spot in front of the house. New Yorkers were off to elsewheres, grasping at the last straws of summer. Union Pool’s patrons included last-gasping college types partying hardy before they were off to dorms in exotic locales where they will surely party just as hardy. The small talk was all about "what are you doing for the weekend?" As for me, I’m headed out Monday to DJ poolside at The Montauk Beach House.

My plan (and I never plan) is to play all surf rock, from Jan and Dean to the Ventures to the Tandems, Beach Boys, and Dick Dale – heavy on the surf guitar instrumental tracks. I’m bringing along a bikini-clad go-go gal for effect. I might drive out on Sunday morning and crash at a friend’s. I want to catch the DJ setfrom Julio Santo Domingo. He is the founder of Sheik ‘n’ Beik parties and record label. They throw events in New York City as well as in Miami, London, Paris, and Barcelona. It’s going to be techno music for the socialites…  not my usual cup of tea but since it is the end of summer… I may upgrade from that cup of tea. Besides, while not teetotaling, I get to hang with pal DJ and The Montauk Beach House booker Terry Casey, fast friend DJ Kris Graham, and the awesome DJ Brigitte Marie who, with a bunch of others, will be on before and after sir Julio. I’ll pop by Ditch Plains Beach, where surfers will be trying to catch that last wave of the season. The trip home should take about seven hours of bumper-to-bumper. Amanda will opt for singing “99 Barrels of Beer” rather than listen to my mixed tapes …again. Although it’s hard to have trouble in bumper-to-bumper please be aware that the roads are dangerously full of party animals who truly believe that they can
drink and drive.

Last night I dined with Marky Ramone, his lovely Marion, Jonny Lennon, and Adam Alpert at Gran Electrica, 5 Front Street, in Brooklyn. It was all fun and games ‘till the food came and then it was hard to concentrate on anything else. It was outside and wonderful and the war stories underneath the ivy were so much fun. Mark, the last of the Ramones as I knew them, is enjoying considerable success in his "post" career with his band Blitzkrieg and all sorts of other spin-offs and endeavors. The best benchmark for success, as I see it when I get to hang with him, is the all apparent love and respect and admiration he shares with Marion. I met them, we figured out last night, over 34 years ago. They have never wavered. He has never allowed the awe I have for his career interfere with our friendship. Jonny and Adam are my DJ agents and they must be good at it because I’m spinning three times this week…The Montauk Beach House on Monday, Hotel Chantelle tonight, and Bantam tomorrow. I will move off my usual rock offerings at all three gigs and serve up some Michael Jackson, who was born on August 29th, 1958. I read that, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, Michael Jackson was the most successful entertainer of all time. I guess that depends on how you define success.

Industry Insiders: Nick Cohen, DJ Sneaker Pimp

Nick Cohen, DJ and owner of Upper Echelon Shoes, punches the club clock, DJs sans shirt for the downtown celebs, and builds his upscale sneaker brand — all to avoid those dreaded fluorescent office lights.

How was Los Angeles? Really good. We Just did press and celebrity seating and met with stylists and editors [for Upper Echelon Shoes].

You’re the resident DJ Thursday nights at Southside. Other than Southside, what other spots do you like to hit up? Because I have spent so many hours in nightclubs, if I am going out, I am going out. I like 1Oak, Tuesdays especially. I’ll go in and do a small guest [DJing] set. Just with a couple of friends, I’ll do something there. The music is always pretty good. And then Beatrice Inn. I logged many hours in the Beatrice Inn, smoke in my eyes.

Punching the clock at Beatrice. [Laughing] Basically that’s how I look at it: How many hours you have disposable and how many timecards you have in the city. You have your Beatrice timecard, 1Oak timecard, and now my Southside timecard. My favorite place in New York will always be Bungalow 8 just because I have more fun there than anywhere else in the city. I still think that. We did my opening party there, and it was like sick fun. It was like old school Bungalow 8. And then I did my friend’s birthday party there. I was DJing, we just had a huge crew come down. It was really sort of fun, interesting.

What other DJs or nightlife people do you hang out with or admire? I mean there is sort of like a core group of DJs that you hear, like my boy Todd Malice who’s been around for a while. He’s a couple years older … these sort of people who are like chips off the Mark Ronson block. Like early, when Mark was steady working in New York, these were people who were opening for him or around the same sort of timeframe, but I mean you know I get stuff from them … I’ve really been enjoying these electro DJs. My friend, this kid Julio [Santo Domingo], puts together these big sort of parties with all the best DJs and they come in from all over. He’s doing one on Halloween in Brooklyn that should be pretty sick. I’ll probably head over there after I finish this Halloween gig at the Hudson Hotel.

You’re doing a gig for the Hudson Hotel? Yeah I’m doing the Hudson Hotel for Halloween for my friend Al from Sky New York, who I’ve been working with since I’ve started. I don’t do as much work with him anymore, but whenever he has good events I’ll come out and not charge him too much.

Anyone or anything you’re not feeling? Hipster DJs with iPods sort of ruined DJing, because they drive the prices down. They’ll play off iPods for $150 bucks [a night]. So it kinda fucked up the market for DJs, but at the same time it also gives you a bit more exposure to people who don’t know how to DJ but might have good musical taste.

What do you think it is about the Thursday night at Southside that makes it good? Well basically they changed the whole concept up. Obviously they had a cash cow around that sort of like downtown Dorrian’s preppy make me wanna choke-you-and-stick a-plunger-up-your-ass kind of scene. It wasn’t really my thing. When [Southside owner] James Willis came in he’d invite me down, and I’d be like, “Listen you know I’ll support you and I’ll come here but normally I wouldn’t be caught dead.” But James sort of changed the culture a little and would bring the Australians and also the models and everything and tried to make it a lot more hip than the previous crowd — wankers and shit. And then obviously when they did the close down and re-open, they gave the place an underground look. It reminds me … I call it underground Bungalow 8.

It sort of has that look. It’s like an underground Bungalow 8, and the crowd has gotten a million times better. I was there this Friday and this Saturday DJing, and it was beautiful fucking girls, cool people, everyone’s showing love and support. And my new thing is that I take my shirt off every single night I’m djing there. So people now instead of asking me for music, they ask me when I’m gonna take my shirt off.

That’s the peak of the night? Basically.

So your sneaker line Upper Echelon Shoes sells rather expensive shoes with real gold laces. The acronym is U.E.S., as in Upper East Side. But you’ve got this chill little store here in Chinatown on a very mellow block … My partner Seth Campbell and I have been friends since the 4th grade, and we grew up on the Upper East Side, so U.E.S. is a funny acronym. We needed to centralize our operations. We were working out of home, and I had a storage bin, but it was so annoying going all around the city. Everything was overpriced or in the Garment District. I hate Midtown. When I go to Midtown I want to kill myself. I found a bunch of different office spaces, and they were fucking expensive. Everything was tiny and had fluorescent lights. I’m doing this because I don’t want to work under fluorescent lights. So I went on Craigslist and found this space, and it was a café and …

It’s got a bit of a clubhouse vibe. I’m not very concerned with foot traffic. It’s my showroom and my central base. People are always hanging out here … they’ll come in and chat and bullshit. Some random people will come in off the street, and I sit out here and smoke a cig and watch the fucking soccer [at the field across the street]. It’s amazing.