My Labor Of Love: The Rosebud Speakeasy Opens In The Out NYC Hotel, Gala Tonight

I love publicists. They make everything sound so very nice. They specialize in wow’s and oh wow’s and are so crafty with words that sometimes they don’t have to even say anything. The truth lies between the lines, and the lies become truths if you say them often enough to the right people. "They make lemons taste like cherries," a wise lady told me. I have favorite publicists and I’ll name two. Tomorrow, all the rest will have you believing I named them. Brad Zeifman of Shadow P.R. is wonderful, and so is R. Couri Hay of the P.R. company with his name on the door. 

R.Couri and his crew are handling the P.R. for the opening of The Rosebud. This is honorable work, as the product is honest and may actually be wonderful. Rosebud opens tonight after a minute or two of delays. I designed the place alongside David Davis, who is always around projects I do but gets little attention. He is my Johnny Depp, not my Tonto, a reference that some P.R. companies will make clear to you any week now. On the invite I appear in bold letters described as "Designed By Nightlife Industry Leader Steve Lewis". OMG! Thanks, but I haven’t led the nightlife industry since the last century. I go so far back that a vodka on the rocks had real stones in there. Fred Flinstone was my…  well, you get the idea. You can read between the lines.

The biggest hurdle the P.R. company faced at the straight-friendly The Out NYC complex which also includes KTCHN restaurant and The Out NYC Hotel and The Out Spa and Gym, and all that is how to explain the sculpture I put up in the middle of the room. It was best left undefined, says all. I call it "Woody," and you’ll have to come by and find a name for yourself for it. The press release says:

"Nightlife veteran and acclaimed interior designer Steve Lewis was inspired by the ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ network, adding a warm, relaxed, and yet exclusive feel to THE ROSEBUD NYC. Incorporating elements like walnut, rosewood, leather, and bronze, Lewis transformed the 2,000 square-foot space to a traditional setting with a modern touch. Strategically placed lighting flatters and enhances the space, and comfortable banquets made of rosewood and velvet around the 350 foot center bar offer the perfect spot to see and be seen." 

I guess that’s all true, but Woody isn’t even mentioned and Woody does own that room. I wanted to make it all warm and comfy and really set it apart from XL, from which Rosebud was carved. I didn’t want the ceiling sculpture to distract or offend or define the room as a men’s club because the complex caters to all types. Then the-powers-that-be named the place Rosebud, which is not a Citizen Kane reference, and I got confused and figured they all said WTF and went with it. Woody speaks for itself. It also lights up and flashes and doesn’t just sit there limp by any means. 

The rest of the press release describes "signature cocktails" by "celebrity" mixologists (I do hear they’re swell at making swill taste great) . I’m gonna ask one to make some lemon thing taste like cherry. I bet they can.These cocktails and bottles will be served up by staff wearing "Prohibition-era" cocktail dresses and matching "1920s hairstyles." The guys will be wearing "classic white oxfords, black vests, and trousers." That’s catching the whole Gatsby wave I guess because some publicist somewhere got some people to say that that movie was actually good… but thats’s another column. 

Their will be memberships for sale at Rosebud. The P.R. release says:

"Privileges include a variety of exclusive perks including guaranteed entry and priority-table reservations at THE ROSEBUD NYC and XL Nightclub. Members will also receive special offers from THE OUT NYC including special rates at the straight-friendly urban gay resort, discounts at KTCHN Restaurant, complimentary access to THE OUT NYC’s spa and gym and invitations to private events throughout the year."

The Rosebud is located at 512 West 42nd St. I am very proud of it and will attend tonight’s gala. 

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Good Night Mr. Lewis: Britney Spears, Free at Last!

The super-private, ultra hush-hush Britney Spears birthday and album release party brought the New York City club scene to Tenjune last evening. It was the birthday and album release party that were cited as the reason for the crowds that gathered but most were there to see how she looked after everything that went down. A series of misadventures had rendered the gal who once kissed the material girl virtually immaterial, except maybe as gossip fodder. A highly controlled comeback, and yes – I saw the special and know how much she hates that concept — was in full swing as the VIP ropes inside the VIP section was, I was told, “controlled by the father.”

I like the guy. He came off as a great ‘ol good ‘ol boy in “the movie,” so I sidled up to him to watch him work; he didn’t let anyone inside the VIP section unless he knew them. It was like watching Clint Eastwood in that secret service movie. The inner sanctum crowd surrounded her and kept her at a safe distance from the world of New York City clubs. I also saw Larry Rudolph, I recognized him from the movie too, with all the other Britney “we’re ready again for prime time players”. It was fun, but just like everything I saw in “the movie,” it was so controlled and so sanitized. Britney used to hang out at my joint Spa back in the day; she was so sweet and fun and free. She would dance for hours with everyone and once with me. She made me blush as I was a statue and she was literally dancing rings around me. She popped up on a speaker and go-go danced with a pretty hat and I remember three regulars, a pod of B-girls, came up to me and said “wow where’d ya get that go-go dancer? That looks like Britney Spears Steve…wow, oh golly, she’s fantastic!” I replied, “she is Britney Spears,” and they giggled a salvo of “no really’s” and “hahaha’s” until I gave them that serious stare I usually save for my puppy when he pees on my rug. We all loved her for being this sweet thing on her way to the big top. She was so inspiring, so optimistic then. Maybe she just couldn’t handle it or needed better handling or maybe, it was all good and as she said…lots of people shave their heads.

I can’t say what really happened but I do know this: all the puff pieces and PR babble isn’t going to sell me that she isn’t coming back from some deep, dark place and into the light again. The handlers didn’t need to have layers on layers of velvet ropes in a joint like Tenjune — Heidi Klum and Jeremy Piven were walking around without a problem. A real good New York club crowd knows how to deal with a celeb and Eugene and Mark run a real solid New York City club and have lots of celebs hanging and letting their hair down (no offense Britney). Britney would have been okay just wandering around, and even dancing. She used to dance on platforms at my joint with her large security near enough but not looming; high-profile celebs from Mick to Liz Taylor have mingled with the masses. I hope one day when the “non-comeback tour” is over Britney can just pop into some joint and be herself without Rudolph and the red-nosed father to chaperone. Oops I did it again, I spoke too soon: “She ended up staying till 1:30a.m., danced in middle of dance floor and was having a great time,” said Tenjune co-owner Eugene Remm. Yeah!! We love you Britney!

Photo: Patrick McMullan