Memorial Tribute to Musician and Graffiti Artist Ana Bender This Weekend

Late-night romps can be cruel after you have done in it for decades. Today’s sunlight is lashing me awake and I haven’t the strength to wash the evening out of my hair. Hotel Chantelle was absolutely off the hook last night, with Sam Valentine, Michael Tee, Miss Guy, and Michael Cavadias and a slew of others whipping the crowd into a frenzy. I think the weather had something to do with it as well. The early spring brings flowers early and confusion into club circles. When it’s nice, the places are packed, but when the weather returns to form and a cold rain requires clothes that have been packed away till next year, the hordes stay home. This Sunday, the two-hour premier of Mad Men will hurt Sunday club ambitions.

After memorial tributes in San Francisco and Seattle for Ana Dyson aka ANA BENDER aka AYBEE, NYC gets its turn. White posters pasted on walls that hipsters pass announced the memorial, which will start at 7pm MARCH 25 at Legion, 790 Metropolitan Avenue. It’s a free show. The posters were produced by Ana’s friend Katsu. This comes from the 12ozProphet website:
"RIP ANA BENDER
 
4/26/1987 – 2/2/2012
 
Ana Dyson aka ANA BENDER aka AYBEE
 
Was an influential musician and graffiti artist from Seattle that lived in NYC and SF.
 
She was known for her raw and pure punk/folk music style as well as her graffiti tags “AYBEE”.
 
AYBEE was a close friend of the BTM graffiti crew both on the west and east coasts.
 
She lived in New York City for a time.
 
She lived in SF for a time.
 
A free event is happening this Sunday."
There will be performances by JAPANTHER, Soft Dov, Brohammer, and Dead Reich and DJs Maxwell 57, NineLives, The Cat, Grace of Spades, Ella, and Chloe.
 
Tonight I will attend a very special affair that is hush hush, super duper, uber secret and I have sworn to only speak of it come Monday. It’s one of these "show up on a corner late-night and you will be led to it’" events.
 
Twenty years ago I would have thought I was being whacked. I can’t offer you more today; my body is upset at my brain for the insults of last night. My brain needs to turn itself off for a couple of hours. It asks for your forgiveness. I got the usual, "Don’t you ever sleep?" from the waitstaff at Kellogg’s Diner at 6am. They had seen me for breakfast 20 hours earlier. I replied with my usual: "I’ll get all the sleep I need in 20 or 30 years." I realized over my eggs that I started saying that 15 years ago.  

Jetting to Miami for ABSOLUT Miami ‘Art of the Party’ Panel

I’m out of here! An opportunity, the ABSOLUT Miami "Art of the Party" Panel, has reared its lovely head and now I’m heading to Miami. This morning, I will jet to a place where the grass is still green and the winds not as mean. I’m trading the 18 degrees of balmy Brooklyn for the 81 of South Beach.

Last night, a dozen people and I dressed like Arctic explorers while trying to get warm at Kellogg’s Diner. Our friendly banter was all about the weather. It dominated our every thought as we clutched coffee cups to warm our hands. Everyone was showing off their new gloves and socks and scarves and such as my mind wandered south toward warmth and salvation.
 
I like Miami Beach. I have been going there since before its dramatic makeover. Back then, it was Tony Montana types and mahjong-playing octogenarians. I stayed at the Clevelander for pennies and ate every meal at the new News Cafe. Nowadays, the charms are different. Tony has been banished with his little friends and the octo-crowd has, well, either moved along or moved elsewhere. It’s been models and bottles in a club-friendly atmosphere. Some people say it has lost some of its luster lately as some travelers opt for the oppulence of Vegas. Vegas may have this and that and many other things, but one thing it will never have: the Atlantic Ocean beachfront. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.
 
At the Panel, ABSOLUT Miami will launch, eliciting an intriguing list of Miami-centric participants. Stories and photos of "some of the best parties over the last 30 years" will excite the crowds. "We’ll learn about the ‘Art of the Party’ – where it’s been and where it might be headed in the future, and we’ll enjoy some signature cocktails along the way." Here are some of the players:
 
"Moderators:
Alfred Spellman and Billy Corben (directors and co-owners of Miami production company Rakontur): Spellman and Corbin were the men behind critically-acclaimed, Miami-centric documentaries Cocaine Cowboys and The U. Rakontur’s development slate this year includes a Cocaine Cowboys dramatic series for HBO, with executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, and the animated comedy series Miami Cowboys with executive producer Pharrell Williams.
 
Panelists:
Ingrid Casares: the “Queen of Miami nightlife” has been seen in gossip pages since 1991 with gal pals like Madonna, k.d. lang and Sandra Bernhard, just to name a few. Her entrepreneurial exploits and celeb connections helped solidify South Beach as an international playground for the rich and famous.
 
Biz Martinez: Music Director for LIV/Arkadia/MMG; created Miami’s longest running Saturday Electric Dance Music night and after-hours
 
Conrad Gomez: Has manned the gates of Miami hottest clubs including, but not limited to, LIV Nightclub/Blade Lounge, and Pool and La Cote at the Fontainebleau. He’s also co-owner of mega-club Klutch.
 
Freddy Diaz: From head bartender at Club 50 Viceroy to the 5-star Setai Hotel Miami Beach, Freddy Diaz has been behind the bar for more than 18 years. He employs classic, modern day, and molecular gastronomy to develop his outstanding libations.
 
Seth Browarnik: A photographer to the celebrities, hee can be seen at every star-studded South Beach event, taking shots of all the best moments.
 
Cocktails will be created and served by three of Miami’s leading bartenders."
 
After all this, we’ll all hit the town. I have many friends in Miami and am looking forward to catching up. I’ll let you know what I see and hear. Now I have to get dressed to go … a process that has been taking me 30 minutes these days.

Celebrating My Lady’s Birthday at La Esquina, Kenmare & APL

It was the love of my life, Amanda Noa’s, birthday last night and due to circumstances beyond my control we were unable to consider dining until almost 11pm. But late night fare in this town is getting swankier, if not better, so I did have some choices. I wasn’t going to get away with our usual afterhours spots Veselka or Kellogg’s Diner. It came down to the recently opened Marble Lane at the Dream Hotel or La Esquina. She opted out on the steak-centric Marble and we scooted off to La Esquina.

A couple months ago Noah asked me to suggest a name for his new steak house, and I suggested one based on a tattoo on my lady’s back. In honor of our relationship, she has a couple of tats that sum things up. One is a set of teeth with a string tied to them because dealing with me is like pulling teeth. Another is a rib-eye with a pretty bow on top, which is supposed to be “miss steak” or mistake. My gal won’t settle for just a spat – she permanently marks herself with her misgivings about me. Anyway, I suggested the gal-friendly name Miss Steak for Noah’s new spot. Apparently cooler heads prevailed… Marble Lane seems better. I’ll be out late tonight and will pop in. La Esquina remains my favorite haunt. Everything about the place is cool, cool, cool and the food is constantly terrific. We had a blast. For people in the club world, having a relationship is often problematic. We’re surrounded by distractions, many of our own devices. I’m lucky to have someone who puts up with me.

We stopped by Kenmare to say hey to Paul and Nur and found Nur in the back with some other birthday boy. Megan escorted us to see my man and we enjoyed small and big talk before scooting off to APL to wish co-owner Joey Verdone a happy birthday as well. As I hopped, skipped, and jumped to the nearby restaurant, I tried to figure out what date it was 9 months ago. My fingers told me October. After APL we headed to St. Jerome’s, a good place to end a night. It was a going away party for Hotel Chantelle barkeep/manager Dave Coleman, who’s off to Panama to find fame and fortune. He says he’ll be back in no time but I’ve got a $2 bet he’ll be a little late. A coke and a Bud in this legendary LES dive bar came in at the cheap Williamsburg price of $6. We listened to rock staples and laughed and had fun. No attitude here, just good music, a friendly atmosphere and inexpensive solid drinks. Sometimes the business is as easy as that.

Tonight I will DJ rock ‘n roll hootchie coo as Gunbar launches its Wednesday night party. The affair is hosted by BlackBook, thus me getting the gig. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Saturday I will go to another birthday bash at the newly opened Mother’s Ruin, next to Bread. Dana Dynamite, my favorite PR and marketing flack, will show us how she got her name. I’m sure client Sailor Jerry Rum will lend a hand. I had a few sips of that cheap beer so I’m a little out of it today – I’ll cut things short. As regular readers know, I only have a drink two or three times a year…whenever I have sex. So I guess the second half of 2011 will be…exciting

A Very Important Night in New York

To V.I.P. or not to V.I.P., that is the question. I am always conflicted about which New York to show clients. Should I take them to La Esquina, Lit, White Noise, or Don Hill’s? Should I venture out to my beloved BK for Brooklyn Bowl and Manhattan Inn? The Manhattan hot spots are designed for client relations and the special white-glove pick-pocketing that goes with it. It seems to be a dollar-and-cents thing that makes sense when the deal is sealed. My clients with limos and expensive expectations wanted the V.I.P. New York that they understand, because it’s quite similar to the V.I.P. experience they know from Vegas and Los Angeles. We were to meet at Avenue after my DJ gig in Chelsea.

I almost DJ’d at the APM models holiday soiree at The Chelsea Room. I walked in, looked for APM V.I.P. Penny Basch, and watched the crowd jump to that special House music only played in the most swanky joints around town. I knew every track and wished I didn’t. I very much doubt superstar DJ David Guetta, who begins Pacha’s 5 year anniversary celebration tonight, will be offering up this drivel. Anyway, the crowd at The Chelsea Room was living for it, so I opted out. My special blend of tracks produced long before Penny’s long-legged crew were born would have stopped the show. I walked out after gaggles of fake giggles and double-sided cheek kisses, and headed west to meet my clients. The party was fab and the place accommodating, but my business took me elsewhere.

Noel Ashman, the former operator of the Chelsea Room, called me as I departed. In some sort of cosmic karma coincidence, the long call ended as I passed Darby, the other space he once operated as N.A. and Plumm. Amanda found 2 bowling trophies by a lamp post and we promptly dropped them off at the ever-developing SNAP, which needs some more sporty stuff. The trophies were for “lowest score” in some tournament, and the receiver I guess dumped them when he had lost the people who thought that was cute. The double coincidences were not lost on Amanda and I. We bought a lottery ticket. The great Willie Sutton, who robbed over 100 banks – a career decision that had him in jail for most of his life – once said, “A man should place a bet every day. Otherwise, he could be walking around lucky and not even know it.” We lost our money, and with it, respect for Willie Sutton’s advice.

We arrived at V.I.P. joint Avenue and were whisked to a table. Avenue has some of the best “whiskers” in town. The door people whisk you into the hosts, who whisk the clients credit card to some safe spot as the waitrons whisk bottles of sticky liquids into glasses that are in a position nearby just waiting to be whisked. In no time at all, thousands of dollars were being whisked from one bank account to another. Everybody on staff smiles impossibly wide smiles with immaculate pearly white teeth. A trip to the men’s room had a security guard, who recognized that I was at a table, whisk me to a small private bathroom. That level of service separates the great whiskers from the boys. My clients were ecstatic, surrounded by movers and shakers and beautiful women. Hotel magnates told of projects and I heard the name “Dubai” 3 different times from 3 different folk. I bet there’s a whole lot of whisking going on at that Dubai place. Avenue is all that it should be and an absolute goldmine. Everybody was having fun and knew that they were in the right place. And then suddenly we were to be whisked “elsewhere,” as intelligent phones carried the news that “elsewhere” was better. “Elsewhere” would be more perfect than this perfect.

Cars were outside to whisk us to Lavo, where our beautiful crew was whisked inside by proprieter Noah Tepperberg to other proprietor Mark Packer’s table. Jayma Cardoza – the best whisker ever – grabbed my girl by the hand, and with unbelievable glee made friends with her. Somewhere nearby, someone was putting some credit card in some safe place. Promoters to the left and promoters to the right, with tables full of 6 foot beauties, came over to say hello. The 6-footers smiled perfect smiles at me, and whisked perfect hair from their almost-perfect faces. I remembered the old days, when beauty could also be found in shorter people as well. Alas, I’m sure that’s still true in other non-V.I.P., non–whisking, non-credit-card-maxing places. I wondered if some promoters were paid by the inch. The same music was being played at Lavo that was offered at The Chelsea Room. Avenue had the hip-hop or open format version of that music.

After a while, when the business talk had been shouted out over the din, it was time to leave. Nearby, men in nice suits danced like bobble head dolls with women who truly loved them for their personalities. I imagined them talking about Dubai for a minute, but then noticed nobody was really talking. For the most part, the loud, almost-house music, took the talking out of the mix. What was there to talk about, really? We all have money, we all look good, and we spend all the rest of the time of our lives talking with cell phones and computers. Now was the time to sway, pump it up, and flirt with eyes, and celebrate our successes and desires. Hot-as-hell go-go dancers would have been great conversation pieces, but due to the volume, were perfect just as pieces.

I double kissed a dozen people, and I pointed at a couple bottles on the table, and shouted to my client to take 2 of these and call me in the morning – or tomorrow night. I offered my giggly joke to all, waved to people I didn’t want to say goodbye to, and headed to the street. Lavo is amazing, wonderful, and banging. But of course, not for me. I headed to Williamsburg in a fast yellow chariot and stopped at Kellogg’s Diner before home. The lobsters in the tank by the door greeted me with confused stares. They belonged at Kellogg’s about as much as I belonged at those V.I.P. spots. The music on the radio at Kellogg’s was pretty much the same stuff offered up at the clubs, but it came with a cheesburger deluxe, and I accepted it.

Brooklyn vs. Manhattan

I re-watched all the episodes of Bored To Death the other night. HBO On Demand is the greatest thing since sliced bread. In one of the episodes it was said that Brooklyn is the new Manhattan and Manhattan is the new Queens. As a person who is splitting his time between the boroughs, I started to ponder this. I attended the Brooklyn birthday party of my model/socialite friend Kayci Ryan Rothweiler. “White trash gear required” the invite said, it was a theme party. I was amazed at how many outfits I had at my disposal.

I wore a black WESC warm-up suit with a razor blade zipper pull, cream-colored patent-leather shoes that looked like plastic from an old Elvis costume, a black and gold Playboy Bunny necklace. I slicked back my hair put on some D&G cologne and talked the talk and walked the walk. My crew landed in Kellogg’s Diner. I found it to be wonderful except for the bad food, poor service and atmosphere. In Brooklyn, that’s the charm I guess. Half the scene believes that making an effort is the ultimate insult to the hipster gods they worship. If Moses delivered a tablet to Williamsburg (or is it Greenpoint? Or is it Bushwick? If he landed in Williamsburg it might be so 5 years ago.) Not looking like you are making an effort to be cool would be commandment number one. Commandment number two would say something about not washing your plaid. Number three would say the same thing about the body and so on.

After the cake was washed down with properly indifferent coffee we trekked to Barcade, one of the worst places I have ever tried to find a good time in. The crowd was ugly and their mothers had dressed them funny. The music was boring and played at a level to imitate a mosquito’s hum. The place had no redeeming quality, but my crew (save for a distinguished few) loved it. I was so turned off that I opted to leave Kings County for the evening.

We hit up Santos where we finally felt alive. There were all different types of folks partying. In Brooklyn it was just more of the same everywhere. It was the same sad plaid and the hair do’s that don’t and wouldn’t even if they could afford to. In trying to be above it all they actually had lost sight of their own individuality. I know this was just a bad night at bad places, but only a very few places in old BK mix it up like, dare I say it, a good Manhattan joint. I love my skee ball and the crew at Full Circle Bar. I think Brooklyn Bowl has more than a few moments and there’s a few other joints where conversation and diversity prevail.

We went to Lit to rejoice in its sweet sounds, smells and swill, then trekked to La Esquina for a taco. In full character we entertained the party crowd at GoldBar. PR whiz Steve Kasuba got us non-alcoholic ginger cocktails, which knocked my silk socks off. It was only in Little Italy that my entourage and I looked as if we belonged.

On Sunday I walked my puppies downtown with some special friends. We chatted up Chloe and Andres Serrano and a dozen other bold face names. Everywhere we looked there were fabulous people mixing with the hipsters and all were happy with the promise of spring. The big difference between Manhattan and Brooklyn is the ages of its hip inhabitants. It’s younger in the borough and a celebration of commonality in taste and outlook is to be expected. I keep thinking about the quote “Everyone in Brooklyn just seems bored to death,” from the show. Though the Manhattan scene has been much maligned lately, the potential is still far greater. Here adults play with the children and being incredibly cool isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Brooklyn seems so much more one-dimensional the more I get to know it.