A Birthday, an Anniversary, and a Date With my Editor

I have decided to no longer call my dear friend Nur Khan. From now on he is NUR KHAN. Last night, Nur…er NUR, delivered big time…again. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) put on a wonderful, intimate, driving rock and roll show at NUR’s Electric Room, which I suspect is the size of many of the dressing rooms this act has gotten used to. I last saw them a couple of Fashion Week’s ago when NUR showcased them at the now-defunct Don Hill’s. At the time, NUR insisted that BRMC was never again going to be seen in a room that small. He was wrong, but in such a good way.

The invite-only crowd was full of the beautiful and cool and all the usual and unusual suspects. There was enough sound in the small Electric Room to power a stadium and a big-time light show as well. Every time I write one of these, fans of the band chime in and get all upset that I don’t talk about what they sang or wore or said. This isn’t a review of the show, but merely a testimonial to NUR and BRMC and the effort put in to enlighten a select few. Electric Room’s Tuesday night DJs Justine Delaney and Nick Marc were on before and after the act. We chatted while Justine offered up sounds that unfortunately cannot be heard in most places. Tonight at Wass’ birthday bash at Avenue, I will be true to my school until they pry me from the booth. I want to say thank you, NUR KHAN.

After my DJ gig, I will be heading to Cielo, another little club that delivers big with a devotion to a purity in music. They are a house venue, and although I definitely rock and roll, I do love house when it isn’t being offered as a mindless medium to jug heads. Tonight is the eighth anniversary of Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge’s Roots NYC. Louie, just in from a seven-week tour of Europe, will spin from 10pm till 4am. He is so "one and only" that I have decided to no longer refer to him as Louie Vega. From now on he is LOUIE VEGA. One of the nicest guys in the biz and easily one of the most talented DJs to come from here. I look forward to his set.

Lastly, my editor Bonnie Gleicher, O.K. BONNIE GLEICHER, has put herself up for sale – or at least rent – in a silent auction win-a-date bidding thing. She will go out for a night on the town that I will arrange with the person who bids the most for her charming company. The loot will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. As of this writing she is up to $300 but I assure you she’s worth much more. I would walk a million miles for one of her smiles. I’ll write about this adventure and give you 15 minutes of fame (if you like) if you are the winning bidder. Find out more about this date with destiny here.

NY’s Top Properties For Sale: Former Lucky Cheng’s & District 36

There’s lots going on behind the scenes as various parties "negotiate" for the old Lucky Cheng’s space; a deal is a deal only when it is a deal. At District 36, closed for a few months, other various parties are trying to obtain what probably is the best room that’s come available in quite a while. Owner/operator Damien Distasio told me that “it will take a real player with real money and a real vision to make the deal.” The bottom line is that District 36 is a recent multimillion dollar build-out, with all newish fixtures. Plumbing and electrical and permitting are all intact. A "real player" can do a relatively inexpensive redux and have a brand new space on the cheap. All the heavy lifting has already been done. The District 36 folks are aware of this and are looking to get paid. Interested parties hope the price will come down as creditors, including the landlord, gripe. But spaces this size in neighborhoods where neighbors are rare don’t come along often. Someone’s going to snatch it up. My sources tell me Mike Satsky has looked, and other players have as well. I was told the operators at the shuttered Mars 2112 were interested, but Damien says that’s news to him. I know of one other serious group, but they are bargain hunting content to wait for their price.

Over at Ken & Cook/ Lil Charlie’s, Karim Amatullah, who is a man who can always talk the talk, told me he is going to walk the walk. He’s out, and here’s what he had to say: "Let’s just say it wasn’t the right fit."

On the must to-do list is tonight’s birthday bash for the ever lovely Justine Delaney at the Electric Room. It’s part of her weekly Tuesday night affair there where, with partner Nick Mark, she spins under her DJ moniker Justine D. Justine is a winner.  She has always been a bellweather of what’s hip, and I won’t miss her celebration.  She taught me everything I know about being a DJ, but obviously she didn’t teach me everything she knows.  A big happy birthday shout-out to Justine.

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.