Gorgeous Crowd at Yotel Party, No Pie at The Bowery Diner

A half a dozen emails and a bunch of texts were a waste as tech problems plagued what was otherwise a stupendous party last night at Yotel. There were three DJs. I needed CDs, Roxy Cottontail, turntables, and Guy Furrow just needed a Serato hook up. I was stunned by minutes that seemed like centuries as techies fumbled with wires. My mood reflected in my set; I have to learn not to let the tech problems, the bad song requesters, and other distractions affect me. I am, after all, a professional disc jockey. Lady Starlight was scheduled as well, but a last minute bit of confusion sent her elsewhere. I caught her as she was leaving and I was arriving. She was fabulous head-to-toe and with a brilliant smile. I’m trying to reschedule to spin with her and interview her as well. Patrick Duffy put together last night’s shindig and he is just undeniable. The crowd was beautiful, fun, and dressed up.

Some old friend of mine was talking my ear off about the good ol’ days and I stopped her and pointed to the room. The crowd wasn’t living in any past. They were reveling in the present and defining the future. Nightlife is expanding in every direction, with every nook and cranny occupied by partying swells, mooks, or trannies. Nightlife is as vibrant as I can ever remember it. Sure, it’s not as druggy as those good ol’ days – although there are some who will disagree as they chase down another Molly. Yes, the creatures that go bump in the night still do bumps in the night, and heroin chic still has its lemmings. With most joints actually closing at 4am and our house party culture not as defined as LA or Miami, we are a bit tamer in the drug department. New York is still a working town, even for the unemployed. Creatures of the night often find creative ways to eat. The hotel club culture continues to lead us into this young decade. Yotel is beautiful, fun, and has a brilliant staff. They could use a techie … if you know anybody.
Earlier in the day, I took a meeting at The Bowery Diner, conveniently located around the corner from Elsinore, which I am designing. It is starting to look real solid and soon I’ll tell you all about it. The Bowery Diner looks amazing, has a familiar and brilliant staff, but fell way short of expectations. I read the reviews when I had a moment to see if my experience was unique, but sadly it wasn’t. I seems there are a lot of kinks to be worked out. My experience started at 4:30pm with a couple of business associates. I asked a hostess as we entered if we could sit and get some coffee and pie. We were told yes and seated in a booth. When the waitress arrived I was told that I actually could not get pie until 5pm. I thought she was kidding. I then asked for an egg cream advertised on the wall behind the counter. I was told nope, 5pm too. It seemed silly with only a few minutes between me and double happiness but she denied me both. I settled for a cup of java and a donut. It was a good donut but it didn’t scratch my pie itch. I might come back, but it seemed like they didnt really care about me all that much. The location right next to that art museum and its lovely modern retro dècor will make them a hit, I’m sure, but I left with a pie itch that can be scratched at other nearby joints.
The Biters, one of the bands Handsome Dick Manitoba said he was into in yesterday’s interview are playing tonight at The Bowery Electric. Friends are telling me they are just great. I can’t attend, as I am DJing my regular set of irregular music to an eclectic crowd at Hotel Chantelle tonight. There’s lots of news coming on that front and I will keep you posted.

Tuesdays Rock: See Two Bad Girls and Legendary Photographer Mick Rock’s Exhibit Tonight

Yesterday I told you guys that Tuesdays in this town are off the hook. I can never decide between Frankie Sharp’s Westgay party at Westway and Lyle Derek’s Dropout bash at W.i.P. Westgay is beyond, beyond for those who are in the know –  and I guess that now includes you. Tonight, resident DJ maniac Jon Jon Battles is joined by JD Samson. Amanda Lepore is there as well doing…well, Amanda Lepore things. Lyle Derek has Lady Starlight at W.i.P. in her first live show in …well…ever. There will be a DJ set by CREEP.  I just must be there or there but alas, I will be elsewhere.

I’ll be DJing tonight at Avenue from 12:30 until 1:30 and I am pumped. Avenue is a great place to spin, from a DJ perspective. The professionalism of Tao/Strategic Group organization manifests itself on every level, including a user-friendly DJ booth and a staff that enjoys helping you feel comfy on every level. DJ Price will take my humble offerings to the next level. He will entertain me and everyone else in the always-packed-with-a fun-crowd room while I work the room after saying "hey" to not- seen-enough friends. I’ll buy a couple bottles of Beau Joie Champagne, as bubbles are always fun. I don’t drink very often but do adore that bubbles and sparklers combo. It makes me want to shout "Wheeee!" On the invite for tonight, I got a relatively huge billing over DJ Price, an apparent nod to age before talent.
Amanda Lepore
I will be in a seriously fabulous mood because, before all that mayhem, I will be at the wonderful The Bowery Electric (327 Bowery @ Joey Ramone Place, 2nd Street), at 8pm, to catch two bad girls I’ve never been cool enough to catch. It’s Zoe Hansen and Mary Raffaele presenting TWO BAD GIRLS (GOOD BAD), described as "A Night of Rock and Roll Attitude and Outlaw Hilarity" featuring readings and performances by REVEREND JEN,PAULINA PRINCESS OF POWER,MARY "RAFF" RAFFAELE, ZOE HANSEN, HEATHER LITTEER aka JESSICA RABBIT, FACEBOY, THE PRETTY BABIES (FEATURIING MONY FALCONE, LINDA PITMON, DEBBY SCHWARTZ, TAMMY FAYE STARLITE, JASON VICTOR), HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA with JP "Thunderbolt" PATTERSON, on percussion (Mr. Manitoba’s first ever, onstage, public "RANT!")"
Zoe says:
"This night has been a constant work in progress between Raff & myself. We wanted to not only have a reading, but a show. A tribute to the New York EV life, & years gone by, literature, comedy, burlesque with a splash of Rock N Roll all over it. We wanted real talent, which is most of our good friends, so it was hard deciding who we could scramble together to fit in on our bill. I am honored to say that we are truly proud of our all star line up. Raff & I promise you a real outlaw, loud, music inspired, hilarious bunch of performances, really entertaining, & all you have to do is just show up!"
I asked Raffaele a few questions:
Tell me about the event.
Zoe and I wanted to put together an event that would showcase our own talents as well as our friends’. We are writers primarily, but watching a series of people read off of pages can be dead-boring, so we decided to mix it up. We have a stellar line-up of very interesting, creative people who will be singing, performing spoken word, and doing plays, and we’ll have one really fun band. I am honestly excited about the people we’ve chosen and I’m glad I’m going on first so I can focus on really watching what they’re doing. I am really proud of all of the acts.
Tell me about our dear friend Zoe.
Zoe is my partner in crime: she calls me Patsy, I call her Eddy. She is whip-smart, super-creative, and very hard-working. She can do absolutely anything she puts her mind to. With her, anything is possible. I am very slow-moving in certain ways and Zoe is very good at lighting a fire under my ass. Plus, she’s easy on the eyes and no matter what kind of trouble we are in, she always makes the adventures seem classier with her accent.
I"ve always seen you as a rock star, always been a fan of Cycle Sluts From Hell. Tell me about that career and the other one with Patricia Fields.
I prefer being seen as a rock star! I got into daytime work after working in clubland for many years. Giuliani broke my heart – it was just too hard to continue trying to fight the good fight for decent nightlife. I was tired of getting screamed at at 2am by random task force fruit fly police, so I moved into day jobs. I have been with Pat for about 10 years; I take care of the money-end of things for her. But I am leaving in two months – I want more time to write a book and I burnt out on office work. It is an amicable parting and I’m helping them to find someone new and I will train the person, as my position is complicated. I am probably going to get back behind the bar. I’ve already started doing a Friday happy hour at Bowery Electric in preparation for my departure.
Mick RockAs if this evening were not already too packed with wonderment, legendary photographer of all things rocked and rolled Mick Rock will show for the first time ever his artwork, "based on his iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographs… The show is presented by CATM Chelsea with a private after-party to follow."  The "expected to attend" list includes Mick and friends " Lou Reed, Todd DiCiurcio (Artist), Scot Lipps (Owner, One Management), Amanda Ross, Chelsea Leyland (DJ), Ben Pundole, John & Joyce Varvatos, Timothy White (Photographer), Alberta Cross (Band), Gary Graham (Designer), Paul Johnson Calderon (Reality TV Star), Michael H., Nur Khan, Mazdack Rassi (Founder, Milk Studios), Rebecca Dayan (Model), Clem Burke (Blondie), Tennessee Thomas (Actress, Drummer for The Like), As Light Takes Over (Band), The Ravonettes, Cory Kennedy (Model), Jessica White, (Model, Actress), Jamie & Daisy Johnson (Daughters of Jets Owner)".
It’s a 7pm to 9pm thing at 500 West 22nd Street at 10th Avenue. If you don’t know who Mick Rock is, this is a good time to find out. Chances are you have seen his brilliant work on album covers and such for decades. Yeah, he was the guy who took that Bowie/Ziggy Stardust shot and that one of Iggy you thought brilliant, that Blondie photo, and thousands of others – one more iconic than the next.  It’s 40 years recording and making rock history. Look him up. He Googles well.

Breedlove Brings Avant-Garde Performance Back to New York Nightlife

"It’s a circus… Breedlove’s our ringleader and we are all his freaks," said a 21-year-old shivering in a sequined jacket outside Tammany Hall last Monday. He exhaled, "Where should I put this button?" He pulled the large American flag-inspired circle featuring the face of Breedlove from his lapel. He moved it down, fastening it to his leather pants just above his crotch.

Those who’ve frequented Breedlove’s Magic Monday party throughout the past two years are well aware he’s terribly underrated. Moving seamlessly between host and star, he manages to excite the otherwise antiquated fashion of cabaret, a talent which has earned him a growing cult following who gather every Monday to see him perform. With his first studio album soon to be released and a single available on iTunes that’s seen raves from the likes of Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton, Breedlove is set to blow. He’s raw and incredibly unique, an avant-glam lounge act, if you will. Self-deprecation drives the laughter, and his staggering emotional transparency is refreshing in a world where any from of rock ‘n’ roll has been diminished to phallic guitar battles and orange chicks in very small Motorhead (or worse, Pantera) t-shirts attempting to pass-off as knowledgable of the scene.

I caught up with Breedlove after his set backstage at Tammany. The black room was small and full, with scantily clad go-go dancers lounging on black leather couches and more than one bouncer angrily eyeing the smokers in the room. Here’s what he had to say.

Where are you from?
I was born in San Leandro, California, but then my parents went on tour until I was five. Then we moved to the San Joaquin Valley of California to my family’s orange ranch for three years, and then we moved to Marin County after that. I lived there until I was eighteen and then I moved to New York.

You said your parents were touring… What was that?
My mother was a cabaret singer and my dad was an actor and a singer. They did a show together. Well, they did many shows together. They traveled around the country doing them, and I went with them.

That makes a lot of sense. How long have you been living in New York?
I’ve lived here for twelve years.

What was your scene when you first came here?
The scene that I was introduced to first was through Lady Starlight. She started bringing me to Josh Styles’s parties. I would go to his party called Smashed! Blocked! and Lady Starlight would go-go dance. I was studying theater at the time, and I saw her applying all these techniques that I was learning at school just naturally in her go-go performances. There was a party called Shout! at Bar 13 we would go to. Nobody in New York was dressing up at the time, so we had to plan out what events were going on each week that encouraged serious looks and played the various genres of classic rock ‘n’ roll that were into dancing to. We went out as many nights of the week that there was a party going on, which at times meant seven nights a week. Our little scene at the time was so important to us and we were all so consistent about going out that it would be strange to see someone missing at one of the shows or parties. I miss those days a lot, but it’s cool that now you can walk into almost any bar on the Lower East Side and see people in really great looks dancing to really great rock ‘n’ roll.

How have you evolved as an artist?
I started as a go-go dancer at a party Starlight, Anna Copa Cabanna, and I threw together called Freak Out! Then Josh invited me to dance at Smashed! Blocked!, which was a huge deal for me. Then Anna started her own show at Bowery Poetry Club and cast me as one of her four dancers. She would let me sing one of the songs I had just started writing in each show. I would write songs just to sing there and soon had a whole set of tunes completed. When my friends Semi Precious Weapons went on a tour between dates on The Monster Ball, they told me to remove my vocals from my demo recordings and open for them singing to tracks. That’s how I started singing karaoke to my own songs. Now I’m working with a producer, Chew Fu, who is bringing me into the dance world, which is really fun. It’s extremely magical to see people dance to your music.

How has the downtown scene evolved since you’ve been around?
It’s way more acceptable to look crazy than it was when I first moved here. I remember one time Lady Starlight and I wore very elaborate outfits to the Roxy Music show at Radio City Music Hall, and this very straight-laced couple walked up to us and said, "You’re gonna win. New York City will be what you want it to be again," and it has happened.

Your method of performance is very specific. You’re in the crowd, engaging the audience, and on stage very glam while maintaining a palpable emotional availability.
Cool! (laughs)

It’s very unique! Where did this concept come from?
My mom, because she’s a cabaret singer. And because I was in her womb when she was performing the music of Jacques Brel, for instance, and a lot of Stephen Sondheim… a lot of really intense story telling in music. And when I was born—from the time I was a newborn—I had to hear my mom sing these songs, and I would watch her really live within every song she sang. When I started writing my own music, it was just natural for me to write very dramatic story-telling music and perform it in a very earnest way.

One of the things I love about you on stage is that you’re so raw. You’re not trying to falsely project anything…
I just want to live in that song.

I can tell, it’s very cool. Your single, "I Never Had," is out on iTunes now. And your album… What’s your album called?
We actually don’t have a name for it yet.

Well, whatever it ends up as, it’s out soon?
It’s not finished yet; Chew Fu is still working on the production. Most of the songs we’ve already recorded the vocals on, so as soon as he’s done with the production we have just a couple more songs to record the vocals on and we’ll be good to go!

What can we expect from the new album?
Everything that I’ve been performing for the last two years at Magic Monday have been demos. The music that I’m doing with Chew Fu are the first songs that will actually be available for sale.

Quickly, who’s Chew Fu?
He’s this really awesome dude who’s actually born on the same day as me. He’s a Dutch DJ who has done a bunch of remixes for Rihanna and Lady GaGa and, like, everybody. I’m really excited to be working with him on his first full production project. It’s a really cool opportunity for us to both debut this aspect of ourselves to the world with each other at the same time.

Awesome. But back to the album, what can we expect?
All the tunes from my demos will be on there, but totally re-imagined by Chew, plus new tunes that he and I wrote together. We also wrote a tune called “Heart Attract” with Bootsy Collins that I’m really excited about. He’s gonna play on it! Our first single came out on iTunes on Valentine’s Day—it’s actually the first song I’ve ever had on sale. It’s called “I Never Had” and it’s a love song.

It seems that your music is deeply intertwined with the fantastic performative aspect of your live show. Was it difficult to recreate the energy, to isolate music from performance in the studio?
Somewhat, but what’s really cool about working with Chew Fu is he understands me as a performer. The way we record is he just loops the track over and over again and I sing it probably like twenty five times over and over again without stopping. Inevitably about the fifth time my emotions really give in and I really start acting the song. About the same time, vocally I just sort of let go, and he gets a lot more tones in the recording process. Repetition is the key, by then I get out of my head, let loose, and perform the way that I do on stage.

You’ve mentioned Lady Starlight a few times during the course of our conversation. Who is Lady Starlight and who is she to you?
Lady Starlight is who I believe to be the most inspiring person alive. She is responsible for the early live performances and fashion stylings of Lady GaGa, most notably. But there have been many people in New York City who she’s influenced, including me. She gave me my name, she helped me develop my personal style and taught me how to shop, and taught me about the kind of music that… not that I should be listening to from the standpoint of cultural importance, but the kind of music from the past that I should be listening to based on who I am as a person and as a performer. She has a gift in that way of pinpointing what somebody needs to know from the past in order to inspire them and create something that’s really relevant and actually futuristic.

Photo by Thom Kerr