Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds Head for Space in ‘Life’

Well, it’s official – even when you’re with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds, space is scary. Deadly, even, according to the new trailer for Life, which features the leading men on a voyage to find extraterrestrial life with their six person crew. When they finally do discover a single cell organism, however, it turns out to be deadly.

“We’re looking at the first proof of life beyond Earth,” says Ariyon Bakare’s character, gazing fondly at the small creature before being violently murdered by it.

The trailer is intercut with audio from John F. Kennedy’s 1962 “moon speech.”

The film is directed by Daniel Espinonsa (Safe House, Child 44) and was written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. It hits theaters Memorial Day weekend.

Check out the first trailer below.

Sandra Bernhard On Her NY Shows This Week, Happiness, & Her Legacy

Sandra Bernhard will perform tonight at Carnegie Hall at a fundraiser to raise money for music education programs for underprivileged kids. The Music of Prince show produced by Michael Dorf has Elvis Costello, D’Angelo, Talib Kwell, Bettye Lavette, Amos Lee, Devotcka, and many others performing Prince hits. The Roots are the house band. And on Saturday, Sandra will appear at the Tarrytown Music Hall in the namesake NY suburb. This is part of her national tour which will take her through the summer. Sandra was the go-to gal for me when I opened two clubs back in the day, She wowed them on New Year’s Eve a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away with an all-star cast that she assembled when the Palladium entrusted me to fill it. She also set the tone for me at Life when I first launched that fabulously famous joint. In both cases, I enjoyed the consummate professional who wowed us off and on the stage. This week, I caught up with Sandra and asked her all about it.

First of all, let’s begin where we first met. I booked you two times when I was running nightclubs. I booked you at the Palladium for New Year’s Eve, which was an amazing show. And then I booked you at the opening, or right after the opening at Life, a nightclub I ran on Bleecker street. 
Yeah! 
You were incredible. The first one was you, and you brought along Gianni Versace, Robin Byrd,  André Leon Talley, and there was one other..
It was Donatella Versace.

And we had Debbie Harry open, or after you performed because that’s the way it works. And the Psychedelic Furs performed for the first time in 10 years, and we had PM Dawn perform at dawn. 
Oh my God. 

So it was the biggest booking I think I ever did. 
Those days are gone. And sadly, cause I miss The Palladium. It was a great club. 

 
So you’re playing in Tarrytown this Saturday. Is the show the exact show that you’d do in Vegas or New York, or do you tone it down a bit for the local hoi polloi ?
I might just pull it back a bit, because you’re not gonna do a New York-style show in a place that doesn’t call for it. So in the sense of bringing all my wardrobe? No, I’m not gonna do that. But, I’ll be there with my band! We’ll have a great show. Apparently, a lot of NYers have moved to Tarrytown, as with all the surrounding areas of NYC, so you’re always gonna get a good audience wherever you are.

Tonight you’re playing with Elvis Costello, who’s amazing, at The Music of Prince at Carnegie Hall. What is the music of Prince? 
It’s a fundraiser for music education and it’s like 20 different people covering Prince songs. I’m covering “Little Red Corvette” with the band The Roots. You know, Questlove, it’s his band that’s the backup band. And other people are bringing their own bands, but I’m performing with Questlove. They’re backing me up.

You’re right in the forefront of the movement for LGBT rights. Under this administration, there seems to be exponential strides. Even Dirty Harry himself, Clint Eastwood, came out for gay marriage. Are you running out of material? 
That was never my thrust, the gay movement per se. That was certainly the backdrop, because that’s just sort of where the smart, forward-thinking people have always existed, and still do to a certain extent. But my material is much more eclectic than that and always has been. I mean, I never identified myself as, you know, a “gay performer." That’s just not where I’m at. My work is about taking all the things that I thought were sophisticated and important from all the different worlds. From the art world, from the music scene, the underground scene, from vaudeville, to Broadway, to rock ‘n’ roll, to burlesque, to the Black movement. I’ve always melded my shows together. I’m postmodern, honey. I don’t get caught up in one thing. Never have. 

I booked you back in the day because you know how to make a statement. 
And that’s what I’m still doin, honey, cause there’s plenty to make statements about. Now the statement is: how complacent can our culture be? How lazy can we be? How dependent are we on social media? And the lack of people putting themselves out there, meeting new people face-to-face, being inspired, which is the real human experience! That’s what makes people great and interesting. You can’t do that by hiding behind the veils of social media. I mean, it just cuts off people’s ability to grow as people. 

You have this band called The Flawless Zircons, which I think is an amazing name. Tell me about them.

Well, some of the stuff I’ve written and some of the songs are covers. I have a huge musical repertoire that I draw from depending on the night. I switch it up. I love that element of surprise, just the way I’m sure if you talked to The Stones the night before they did a set, they wouldn’t tell you their set-list  Nobody wants to hear ahead of time what they’re gonna be hearing, you know what I mean? And the name – I love to “wow” you with "the big rock" and it turns out to be diamond-wannabee Zirconia. It just makes me laugh.

You do so many things in your career, but what would you like to be remembered as? What is Sandra Bernhard’s legacy? 
As somebody who constantly breaks down the walls of complacency. I love being somebody who can command attention on stage. Who demands attention. Who earns attention. Is somebody who not only entertains you, but makes you walk away at the end of the night and think, “wow, here’s somebody who shares my emotions, my fears, my hopes." There’s a wave that carries us through life, and throws us on to lots of different shores of interesting, exciting, ongoing, inspiring circumstances. But life should always be inspiring. It shouldn’t suddenly drop off the cliff and not be fun anymore, no matter where we’re at culturally or environmentally. We still gotta find ways of making life inspiring. 

How far is the real Sandra Bernhard from the stage Sandra Bernhard? Are you always on? Is it always you? 
No, not at all. I think I can drop into entertaining mode at the drop of a hat. But day-to-day, it’s work! You gotta roll up your sleeves, deal with so many different elements of this business. I’m on both sides of the live-performing and the creative side, and I’m also on the acting side. You can’t just throw it into somebody else’s lap because it’ll just fall apart. At different junctures, I’ve been with the wrong people, and you just gotta wrestle back control of your career, and be collaborative with people. 

Are you happy, or happier?
I’ve always enjoyed my life. As an artist and creative person, you’re always struggling to find level footing because you see things other people don’t see. If you didn’t see them, you would have nothing to talk about. You may lift up corners of rugs that are filthy, and no one wants to look at the filth, but if you don’t look at the filth then you’ve got nothing to talk about. So, when you look at things that are a little shocking or a little scary, they affect you emotionally and physically. That’s what artists do – painters, sculptors, writers, singers, funny people –  we look at things that other people aren’t willing to look at, and then talk about it in a funny or interesting creative way. 
 
So what’s the future? What comes next? 
Right now, a friend of mine is developing a great television series idea for me and another actress I don’t want to talk about because we’re right in the planning stages. We’re setting up meetings to go out and pitch the idea, and there’s nothing more irritating than when things are in transition. You just gotta let them fall together. But it’s a great idea with another fabulous, highly-visible actress who needs to be seen again, so it’s the two of us. I feel very positive about it, and that’s my next thing that I really wanna get done. 
I remember when you came in for sound check at Palladium, I hadn’t yet met you, and people were saying, " Oh my God, she’s gonna eat you up, and don’t do this…and that…" Then we heard you walk in, and from then on, you were just a joy. You were a joy to work with. So professional.
Thank you, and that’s what you gotta be. I mean, there’s no excuse for being anything less, and there’s no reason not to be. If you’re not professional, you don’t get anything done. You know that, and I know that. And thank you for that gig! It was a great, great night. That was the most fun night. 
 
Transcribed by BlackBook’s superstar intern Nicole Pinhas. 

1940s ‘Life’ Magazine Proves Teens Always Had Slutty Subversive Secrets

Rainbow parties? Colored bracelets that indicate sex acts you’ll perform? That’s kid stuff. Get a load of what Life magazine found teen girls doing with their hair bows in 1944. These little tramps communicated all kinds of subversive sex messages with just a ribbon in their hair.

Buzzfeed found a March 15, 1944 issue of Life magazine that did a piece on "High School Fads." First of all, it is a mindfuck to see the currently-trendy Peter Pan collars were in fashion back in World War II. But is also quite confusing to memorize all the codes for different hair bow messages: A bow on the top of her head means this saucy minx is "out to get herself a man." (Sorry! It’s 1944! They’re all over in the South Pacific or Poland!) A bow warn in the back means "not interested in men," which may mean OMG LESBIAN but may just mean "my boyfriend is 4,000 miles away getting shot by Nazis." A bow worn to the side means "deeply in love" while a bow worn to the left means "going steady." Interesting how those two things are different. A white bow means a girl is already someone’s girlfriend and a yellow bow means she is a "man-hater." And I am pretty sure "man-hater" does mean "lesbian," but also probably "woman who believes we should be getting paid as much as the men did to do their jobs and we should not all be fired when they return back from work."

Wow. Is it any wonder our grandmas are kind of fucked up?

Last Night: Paradise Garage Reunion

Someone who I always bash said “you can’t go home again.” Last night I did, and the emotions are really screwing up my thoughts this morning. There was a reunion for the Paradise Garage, one of my choices for top 5 joints of all time, and it was held at Le Poisson Rouge, which used to be one of the top 5 places I used to run, Life. The event had doors at 6pm, and I unwisely decided to show at 11. It was bedlam. A line down the block, and people dancing in the streets, literally.

A white van from Coney Island Dancers / Pro DJ Services was blasting house music, as the driver, wearing a white sailor suit, pranced and danced on the asphalt. It got the huge line singing and dancing in place. It was sort of like Fame with forty-somethings.

The Paradise Garage was more than just a nightclub. It was a way of life—a religion, almost. It was all about finding yourself among like-minded people who’d spent a great deal of their lives being unliked. Society, sometimes so impolite, had pushed them away for being black and gay. Somehow, the Garage happened, and they found themselves not alone anymore, but accepted and celebrated for being exactly who they are. Friendships, the kind that last lifetimes, and loves that last beyond life pervaded. Pride was soon to follow. No one was alone anymore. Everyone belonged to this family.

I once wrote that when I found the Paradise Garage it blew me away, but I couldn’t get my “friends” to go. So I got new friends. It was transforming. All the great house music clubs and the DJs that followed owe a debt to the Garage, and its guru— the late/great DJ Larry Levan.

Larry and so many others—too many others—were lost to the epidemic years ago. Last night they were in everyone’s thoughts, in every record played. The music swept us up like it did eons ago, and we could feel it once again. Last night was the perfect conjunction of supply and need. The crowd that showed were awed at the turnout, at the energy, at the love in the room. The organizers, plagued with some starts and stops until this date and room were secured, got it all right. It felt real, and therefore it was. I recognized so many faces, although it’s been so many years. I looked around for people that probably were there, but it was a massive event: Dark, loud, crowded like it always was. It was, as a poet once said, “same as it ever was.” I’m sure time and distance made the trip impossible for others, and others lived only in hearts and minds. Some were slightly familiar, and a nod and a smile were all that was necessary. Others needed a hug and a tale.

No one expected the turn out except veteran club promoter Christina Visca, who offered a few non-annoying “I told them so’s.” Where else could they have held it? That was the question. It seems that a Sunday at some place with an early opening (as this crowd can’t do 4am much anymore) is the right idea. As I walked around Le Poisson Rouge, I was hit with a double-whammy of nostalgia. Life was my baby, and it was great to see it alive and kicking. Life was named for my friend Fred Rothbell-Mista, who struggled and eventually succumbed to AIDS. At the time I felt the club crowd wasn’t aware enough of how important our lives were. It was a tone which I felt made the club what it became. As I was leaving, I did stopped to chat with the beautiful Barbara Tucker, who is still producing, singing, and promoting. We felt blessed. Everyone who came felt blessed for having had the experiences, and for being able to relive and to go back home again. It was an important evening.

These reunion things usually degenerate into a “OMG, look how old they got’ bore. The Paradise Garage was felt by all. It hit deep into the soul. This morning one of the organizers, the legendary DJ David Depino, offered up on Facebook: “We did NOT expect a turnout like we got. To all that waited outside on line.: THANK YOU!!!! Next time we will look for a bigger spot, even though that’s not so easy. A bigger spot that’s even more reason why we all miss the GARAGE so so much!!!!!” The refrigerator magnet at home says “Size doen’t matter, it’s how you use it.” Le Poisson Rouge was certainly too small, but it was used quite well.

Liam McMullan: Chip Off the Old Block

I’ve hung out with Liam McMullan in nightclubs for about 21 years. When I met him he was in no condition to even say my name or, for that matter, much of anything else. It wasn’t because he was inebriated or under the influence: it’s because he was a baby. A party baby. New York nightlife grew up with Liam. His famous dad, photographer Patrick McMullan, is a constant at fabulous affairs, openings, and shindigs. Patrick’s documented the scene since the Warhol days. He is one of the good guys in a biz that sometimes attracts baddies. Liam’s gal Aesha Waks and I are old friends as well. Through her I’ve rekindled my friendship with Liam. They are constantly in the papers and blogs, constantly doing interesting things. They are usually inseparable, but I managed to get a few questions in as Liam rushed off to DJ at Eastside Social Club, a place his dad owns a piece of.

Your dad is the uber famous photog Patrick McMullan. I first saw you as a baby in hip downtown clubs. When did you realize that Dad wasn’t like the other dads? I always knew that Dad was different than other dads, but it wasn’t only the time that I spent with him at the clubs that made me see he was different. Most people tell me that I have the coolest and kindest dad and I see that more and more every day—even when he’s lecturing me. I feel like he is everyone’s dad in a way. I feel like I have many brothers and a huge family even though I am an only child and my parents live separately.

What is your earliest club memory? I feel like a club has always been like my second home. I grew up with nightclubs as a part of my life since I was a baby. I remember I used to dress up as Batman. Other kids only had the life that we shared at the playground and probably wouldn’t have understood the nightlife at that age.

You must have tons of club Uncles and Aunts. Tell me about that? Yeah, that is a funny way to put it but, yes. Many people tell me how small I was when they first saw me at the club. Some people measure the height from the ground and others make shapes with both their hands. Do you remember the first time you saw me? How old was I when we were in the backroom of Life?

You must have been 8ish. I, like many others, saw you as a baby. I can see how young you were in my mind but can’t remember the club. Anyways, now you take photos, but I understand you’re not following in your Father’s footsteps. Tell me about your photo style? I actually take lots of pictures, I post some on my Facebook. I let people tag themselves in my photo’s for the most part. Some people tag themselves into pictures that they aren’t even in. I’m starting a blog where I will post all of my pictures, but it is not fully developed yet. My Father’s footsteps are hard to follow because he is always running around town. The closest thing to following his footsteps would be to log onto PatrickMcMullan.com and see where he was the night before and I think there are many people that follow him daily. I do want to help lead my Father’s company to the next level.

You DJ a lot . Where and what do you play? I Play a mix of Disco and Techno with lots of hot 80’s jam’s thrown in. I really don’t plan ahead and I just play whatever comes to mind.

Your relationship with Aesha is a tabloid constant. What does she do for you to complete you and what do you do for her? Aesha and I get a fair amount of attention on blogs and perhaps in an occasional magazine. They never talk about any of our projects. Aesha and I complete many of one another’s professional projects, ideas, and concepts. We spend all of our time together. I love Aesha so much and I want to see her succeed and get press for things that she works so hard on, like her diet book “The Model Body.”

What don’t people know about Liam that you’d like them to know? I am actually a very serious person. I rarely go out unless it’s for business. I have an internet show with my friend Shaggy. We have been on hiatus for about a year and a half, but the news was so ahead of its time that it’s probably just getting to you now. Anyway, we show music video shorts and we tell you the news. We are gonna start back up soon! Check it out at DowntownTV.com, otherwise known as “The latest show on earth.”

Is there fun in clubland? What do you want more of? Less of? To me, clubland seems like a wasteland. I would rather be at home writing music with Aesha or designing clothes or working on scripts. I’d like to see more people smoking in clubs and less shitty music from the 90’s. They aren’t all the way cool yet.

What are you going to be when you grow up, or did I miss something? The real question is, what am I going to be before I grow up? You must have missed something, because I do way too much. Most things I don’t want to talk about until I can say them for sure, but I am writing and producing a few TV and movie projects. When I do grow up, I want to have lots of cute little babies and live happily ever after.

DJ Jus Ske Shapes the Music of the Club Age

As we told you yesterday, a new DJ management company called 4AM is set to take legions of talented NYC “social” DJs national—even international (maybe even interplanetary, these guys are that good). Jon Lennon, Adam Alpert and DJ Jus Ske have the abilities, the connections and, most importantly, the respect to manage these people. The New York DJ with his Serrato, skills and charisma is sought after in LA, Vegas and all major metropolises. With a few notable exceptions, the DJs coming in from out-of-town to play here are not getting anyone’s panties wet. NY DJs are the go-to guys at store openings, festivals and events on the national party circuit. Yoni Goldberg has a roster over at DGI that includes DJ Cassidy, Paul Sevigny and Berrie. Up until now, he’s had a stronghold on the industry, catering to the smart set, the jet set, the bottle/model crowd. 4AM steps up and handles a roster that includes Ani Quinn, DJ Vitale, DJ Price, DJ Phresh, DJ Sal Marole, DJ Orazio Rispo, Jus-Ske, Suss One, DJ Theory among others. Jus_Ske is a partner at the firm along with long time friend Richie Akiva.

I met Jus Ske when I was running LIFE. Richie and Jus along with Mark Rose were the young, brash, in-the-know kids that I needed to have around to stay relevant and to be credible. That element, street credibility, is what separates 1Oak and some other clubs with the wannabe joints that don’t understand that edge. At LIFE, I had the high end, the euros, much of the promoter-driven crowd and wealthy men and model crowd. I added in the gays and trendoids and we had it all mixing up and had a great party. But it was the edgier crowd, the cool hip-hop crews these three dudes brought that gave that club the realness I needed. The “hip-hop” room at LIFE was always where the party was and I believe it is the model for the all the great (non house-head) places since. DJs like Mark Ronson, Funkmaster Flex, Grandmaster Flash, Kid Capri, Riz— and I’m sure many others I cant think of now—paved the way for this new generation of talent who find a market that craves their “street cred” sets.

“Mash-up” or “open format” is the musical genre of our club age. The organization of these talented DJs by 4AM and DGI will ensure career growth and fair pay. To me Jus Ske has always been there, trying to push the music forward. I have great respect for him as a DJ, but more importantly, as a person. Nobody is perfect, especially in the world of clubs where most take 2 steps forward but then 3 steps back and think they’re making it. I have always felt that Jus was in it for the art of it, while so many others around him were motivated by other things. Whether its his clothing line or his collaboration with Pharrell or his foray into club ownership, the underlying truth to DJ Jus Ske is his true-to-his-school mentality. Any beef I ever had with the man (and it was always short-lived beef) ended with his trade mark “its all good” and it surely was always a little better than that. I caught up with Jus Ske and asked him a few questions.

What’s your musical style? Open format. Good music is good music

Where are the trends in music going? Electro, retro, yet organic. Fast, yet slow—meaning 140bpm and 70bpm in between on the break down.

What are your favorite tracks? Jus Ske and Junior Sanchez electro dance remix of Drake’s “Over” called “Far From Over.” “Broken” from Gorillaz, “Flashing Room” by 2AM Club (Yacht remix), “Elevator” by Junior Sanchez featuring Good Charlotte and Maino, and “Animal” by Miike Snow (Fake Blood remix).

How did u start in the business? Steve Lewis.

How did you decide to be a DJ? What year? Probably around 1997 when I started promoting. I felt it was more fulfilling for the soul to dabble in the music aspect of the night and became a DJ.

(Editor’s Note: Yeah, you’re gonna want to download these tracks now.)

To A*Muse the Muse: Pamela Anderson and Richie Rich

My travels and travails took me to Miami, so I missed what must have been the very amusing A*MUSE fashion show, where former Heatherette designer Richie Rich debuted his latest collection. The event featured my favorite PETA player Pamela Anderson, along with Terrell Owens, CariDee English, Tinsley Mortimer and Amanda Lepore. I was also told that Richie and Pamela also debuted their new single “Hi” for the grand finale of the “Hot for Teacher” themed fashion show.

From the press release:

“A*MUSE’s collaboration with Pamela Anderson will offer animal-friendly and 100% organic styles, including: bathing suits, casual dresses and beachwear. This season the label will also be introducing graphic printed tees and zip up hooded sweatshirts, featuring images of Pamela Anderson and designer Richie Rich. Richie knew from the beginning that the first muse for this collection had to be his long-time friend, Pamela Anderson. “Pam has long been a source of inspiration to me, she has this amazing combination of the sweet girl next door but in the most glamorous of ways — I love her lust for life!” Richie describes the A*MUSE collection inspired by Anderson as, “fun, sexy, surfer girl from Malibu meets Andy Warhol.”

Richie Rich has often been described as an original Club Kid. I was there, so to deny him the prestige that goes with that moniker would be unfair. It would be equally unfair to characterize him as one of Michael Alig’s minions, or imply that he was part of the seedy side of that lifestyle. It’s not that he wasn’t having fun– Richie was just always his own “kid’. His association was artistic, he pushed boundaries without pushing anyone over a cliff. While some Club Kids consider the club years their most defining, Richie continues to create a more fabulous story.

In 1996, when I was doing my thing at the Tunnel, I collaborated with PETA’s Senior Vice President Dan Mathews and banned fur from the fabulous club. Tunnel was the best joint in town and arguably one of the best joints of all time. To his credit, Tunnel owner Peter Gatien fully supported my idea to bar entry to anyone wearing a fur coat. We wanted to make a statement that fur was not trendy or cool and we stuck to our dress code. Many famous people were forced to put their dead animal in their limo, or were denied entry. Although some revenue was lost, it was assumed that the money was recouped by the media storm that ensued. Whenever we turned down a fur-draped celebrity it made Page Six. Kim Basinger posed as our PETA model and we plastered Manhattan with posters bearing our message. We were committed to a good cause and I think we actually came out ahead, financially. Dominique Swain later replaced Kim and finally Pamela Anderson became our poster girl. I did an event with Pamela at Life and was incredibly impressed by her incredible professionalism, dedication and friendliness to all. My dog Arturo, who growls and snips at all humans, played with her for hours. Pamela continues to support the rights our friends who cannot speak for themselves. I caught up with her while she was at her Malibu home.

How did you and Richie Rich meet and what to do you love about each other? 
 We’ve known each other for a long time. We met through David LaChapelle and Amanda Lepore, as well as many other mutual friends. We are like a little circus of misfits living little wild lives that just fit together and are somehow complementary, peaceful and inspiring. It’s good just knowing that we have each other. I love Richie’s sense of fun and art. He’s great with a glue gun and spray paint. He’s just altogether multitalented!

Tell me about your long standing relationship with PETA and how you feel it affects your overall image. Is it positive? Does it matter to you if it is? I think PETA is very positive and has accentuated my image. It doesn’t matter if It’s good or bad if it gets people talking and caring about important things. It’s a “now that I have your attention” kind of thing. (PETA) are smart, funny, good-hearted people who love animals. It’s a social experiment and it’s amazing what gets people’s attention, but that’s part of the challenge and the balance. I just think PETA is perfect, I love them with all my heart. Stop the seal hunt please! It’s just barbaric. What would the world do if we didn’t have PETA, can you imagine?



What about Richie’s brand excites you? I love the glitz, the glamour, the fun and the pop art element. He’s such a talent. Richie is the calm in the storm. Crowds make me uneasy and he just roller skates right through them, gluing lashes on people, drinking bubbles and pinning the models into their barely-there clothes. Everyone has such a great time, the shows are like rock concerts. It’s still hard to believe It’s a business. A*MUSE is extreme fashion like surfing, skating or snowboarding. I don’t know, it just feels edgy and a little bit like we’re getting in trouble. It’s not as fashion-y as we should be, so I’m the perfect girl for him. I really don’t like clothes, but I love to sparkle!

Industry Insiders: Erik Foss, Lord of Lit

Lit co-owner Erik Foss talks about his art, his new bar in Philly with the best name ever, and why the city needs less yuppie cocksuckers.

Favorite Hangs: Max Fish! Max Fish! Max Fish! I also like Beatrice Inn because my bro’s Paul Sevigny and Andre [Saraiva] own it. It’s the first place I DJed. I dig Motor City because they are real there. Otherwise I don’t drink anymore, so my bar days are kinda over. Santos’ Party House is sick too. I love Spencer Sweeney, and he’s a dope-as- fuck artist!

Point of Origin: I graduated from Chandler High School in Arizona in 1991. I never went to college. I was accepted to Cooper Union, Stanford, and Art Center in Pasadena, but I was too concerned with skateboarding, making my own art, and running my T-shirt company (Dope Cloze). I made up my mind to sell the clothing line and leave. I moved to New York on Halloween of 1996. I came to New York because this is where all the artists came to be seen and make the best work of their lives. Once I got here, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.

My first job here was at the French Roast in the West Village. I got fired from there immediately. Bartending jobs are impossible to get. One of the bartenders who worked at Odessa became my friend … or so I thought. I was dating this crazy woman from San Francisco at the time, and we would go there to drink. She was very sexy and had a flavor for the dark side of things. My bartender friend ended up sleeping with her and felt so bad about it he got me my first bartending job there. I worked the slowest shifts until one of the bartenders quit and I got Saturdays. Boy, shit changed then. I had that place fuckin’ raging! I’ve always been able to get people goin’ — it’s kinda my specialty.

Occupations: I co-own Lit and the attached Fuse Gallery. One day I stumbled across this hole in the wall called Sub Culture Gallery, which became my home. David Schwartz was the grump behind the desk and owner of this wonderful place. David made emerging artist’s dreams come true. He provided us with a space to work and show. He had the gallery till about 2001 before the lease ran out and they doubled his rent. At that point, he looked at me and said, “Do you want to open a gallery?” So we went out and found Lit and Fuse Gallery. We had to raise a retarded sum of cash to do this. So we got partners, and that was a whole other issue. What a nightmare. Oh yeah, we also signed the lease one month before 9/11. Imagine that one.

We worked construction building the bar for six months with the help of our friends. I bartended seven days a week while also building seven days a week. I thought I was going to die. We opened on 02/22/02 and have been killing it ever since. Do-it-yourself is the way we did this: No benefactors, no grants, no nothing. This bar was built by artist, for artists. Call it a throwback, but when we did this, I never heard of anyone else doing this in New York City. I also just opened a bar with David Schwartz and Chicken Head in Philadelphia called Kung Fu Necktie.

Side Hustle: I am an artist. When I came here I wasn’t of a pedigreed art background, nor did I come from money. So I showed my work in bars like a href=”http://bbook.com/guides/details/max-fish/” title=”Max Fish”>Max Fish, Luna Lounge, and Life. I work 7 days a week and have since I was 15 years old. I paint and make art in my studio, which my bar pays for. I curate and show artists I like, and that’s it. I buy art I like. In fact, I spend all the extra money I make on other peoples’ art. I do have a solo show in San Francisco in November this year at Gallery 3. My website is erikfoss.org. I know it’s a nonprofit URL, but hell, I never sell my work anyways!

Industry Icons: Steve Lewis is one of my heroes. For a while I had a job at the Bowery Ballroom. They hired me with no résumé. I put the first dollar in that register and worked for the Bowery family for almost five years. They run the best-run venues in New York City. I learned most of my club knowledge through them. Michael Winsch [owner of the Bowery Ballroom] is kinda my surrogate dad in New York.

Known Associates: I am very protective of the celebs that frequent my place. I believe in protecting them because they want to hang with us and come up to our level. That’s rad! I say let ’em and leave ’em be. My whole staff rules! They are all artists and musicians; creative people.

What are you doing tonight? Hangin’ out with my boys Carlo McCormick and Daze then going to the studio to paint a cop arresting a clown. I think the city is going through a transition, and it’s going to get real fun now that the economy is shit. Bye-bye yuppie cocksuckers. I just want our neighborhood back. Oh yeah, my favorite band is Slayer!

Photo: Leo Fitzpatrick

Industry Insiders: DJ Jus Ske, Master of Western Decks

Mr. West co-owner and DJ Jus Ske talks about blowing up, speeding up, and building up.

Favorite Hangs: When I’m in Tokyo, I love Feria. It’s a very high-energy, New York-style club abroad. David Guetta’s “F*** Me, I’m Famous” parties are always insane, and I love those. When I’m in NYC, you can usually find me at Mr. West, 1Oak, Beatrice Inn, or Rose Bar.

Point of Origin: I was born in Manhattan and have lived here my entire life. I think a lot of my musical influence comes from my dad. Everywhere we went, he was constantly playing music in the car — funk, 80s, jazz, classic rock, Latin — you name it, I heard it as a kid. When I was 21, I started at Life, promoting Friday nights with Mark Ronson. Mark was really the one that got me into DJing. He taught me the basics, and I took a big interest in it from the start. A few years later, I was promoting and starting to DJ at Lot 61 with Richie Akiva, and from there, everything started to snowball. Before I knew it, I started getting recognized by a lot of big-name people and was being asked to spin at clubs all around with world.

Occupations: I just opened a new club with Danny Divine in West Chelsea called Mr. West. I’m also continuing to DJ all over the place — I just DJed at Diesel’s XXX party in Brooklyn and was also in LA for DJ AM’s welcome home party. I really want to own more properties. I’m loving what Danny Divine and I are doing with Mr. West. and I’m excited to see what we can do next … maybe a hotel. I’m also thinking about possibly getting into acting and maybe releasing a DJ album soon.

Side Hustle: I have a clothing line called Danucht. Its very street couture, and I have a good handle in the design process, which is a pretty cool new world for me. I’m also a part owner of Oso energy drink, which can be found all over the city at places like Mr. West, Rose Bar, Marquee, etc.

Industry Icons: I really respect Richie Akiva as a veteran of the industry and his ability to pull together all the right elements of a party in order to make it perfect. I also admire Danny A for the way he can bring together the best crowd. Noah Tepperberg has proven time and time again that his business savvy is unmatched in the industry today. No one can run a business like Noah. All of these guys have the ability to maintain the sexy and classy integrity of a party by recognizing that it’s not always about making money.

Deck Trends: Music in NYC is definitely changing. It’s becoming a lot faster, which is great because it really increases the energy in a club. I’m starting to hear less hip-hop and more electro and dance, but I can never get enough of my hip-hop and rock and roll.

Known Associates: Shout out Pharrell, Zac Posen, Kanye, Noemie Lenoir, Mark Ronson, Mario Sorrenti, Jessica Stam and Kaws — all of these people have been huge supporters of Mr. West, and I can’t thank them enough.

What are you doing tonight? I’ll be at Mr. West.