Radiohead Deliver ‘The King of Limbs’ Album and Lotus Video

“It’s Friday… It’s almost the weekend… It’s a full moon….” all legitimate reasons – perhaps in order of importance — that Radiohead gave for releasing their new album The King of Limbs a day early, after announcing its completion only a week ago. On Monday the band revealed that the album was finished, ready to go and would arrive on Saturday. But in a pleasant twist, Yorke and crew have premiered the album today, just to say: TGIF.

According to an official statement, “With everything ready on their website, the band decided to bring forward the release rather than wait until the previously announced date of Saturday, Feb. 19 to deliver the music.” We’d prefer to stick with “Friday” “almost the weekend” and “it’s a full moon.” But, yeah – that’s cool too.

Radiohead also unveiled the visuals for their new single ‘Lotus’ and Thom Yorke’s dance moves are certainly ideal for celebrating the full moon this weekend.

Lotus Begins ‘New Era’

Since most people can’t afford a Lotus automobile, the company is launching an aggressive campaign they hope will expand their brand into other, more affordable markets. The fabled UK automaker is kicking off the campaign with surprisingly sleek 2011 models (we like the Elan), but also Lotus-branded clothing, a fashion magazine and, just to prove they’re for and by the people, their first ever permanent retail store in London. There you’ll be able to buy Lotus-branded things that do not cost $100,000.

But believe it or not, in these shoddy economic times, luxury car sales are actually up. Perhaps sensing an opening, Lotus is throwing a launch event at a private estate in Los Angeles this Friday to celebrate their “Lotus New Era” and “Lotus Lifestyle” branding initiatives. Billy Baldwin is scheduled to be there. So is Ione Skye. So, you know, don’t miss this one.

Lotus is also rolling out products aimed at what they term “aspirational consumers,” similar to what other luxury car brands have done in past years (see Porsche’s licensed products). Lotus will be selling a “fresh, young, colorful collection of sportswear” for men dubbed “Lotus Originals,” both online and at the London store. A pricier line called “Lotus Heritage” will also debut, which means jackets “inspired by the glorious racing days and victories of the 60s and 70s.” And don’t forget to subscribe to the Lotus magazine, which, judging by its first cover, is pretty legit.


Anthony Mackie on Playing Tupac & Hating Smelly Europeans

Somewhat surprisingly, biopic-happy Hollywood lacks a movie recounting the legendary but brief life of Tupac Shakur. The slain rapper is uncannily suited for the celluloid treatment, with his firebrand rapper-as-revolutionary persona, his frequent brushes with the law, and an early death that saw him ascend to both myth and martyr. If he ever does get his own movie (and he probably will), a good bet to play him might be Anthony Mackie, who portrayed the rapper in a play written by his Julliard classmate; Mackie’s donning the bandanna again in Notorious, a film about Tupac’s friend and foe, The Notorious B.I.G.. Mackie met up with me at the W Hotel in Union Square to discuss embodying Tupac for a second time, leftover street booty, and why pungent Eurotrash are ruining New York nightlife.

This is your second time playing Tupac. How did this differ from the first time? It was very different. Playing him on film is extremely different than doing it on stage. I wanted to show more of who he actually was to the people around him. Tupac at this time was fresh coming off of Juice, at the top of his game, and just living it up. And everything was just all good. This was way before the sex abuse case. I wanted to show how much joy went into making his music.

This movie tells Biggie’s story and clears him of any implication in the East Coast/West Coast rivalry; it portrays Tupac as responsible for igniting the tensions. Do you think a Tupac biopic would tell a different story? Of course. The great thing about this movie is that it’s called Notorious. It’s from the perspective of Biggie, so if you go talk to Suge Knight, if you talk to anybody on the West Coast, if you could talk to ‘Pac, the other perspective is completely different. I think a Tupac biopic would be a completely different movie.

Would you be interested in playing him in that? Of course.

Was your preparation for the role more trying to embody him, or did you try to imitate him? The thing that was so important was his demeanor, his ability to entrance people with his personality. I wanted to give that life, to give that fuel back to who he is. Because it was just his charisma that people bought into.

How do you think his mother would react to seeing this film? I think his mother would be very pleased. At the end of the day he’s an entertainer, so if this is what I’ve got to do to sell records, you know, if Britney Spears got to show her crotch, if Eva Longoria has to be with Tony Parker, if so and so has to make a sex tape with Ray J, that’s what I gotta do.

What about Biggie’s death? Do you have any theories on who was responsible? Both Biggie and Tupac’s deaths were very odd. They were both in very crowded places, in the public eye. They were both in convoys with their friends, and nobody saw anything, I found that to be very odd. Tupac being on the Vegas strip on fight night — I was on the Vegas strip for the De La Hoya fight, and literally it took me an hour to go two blocks. So you pull up next to him, shoot up his car, and speed away in a convoy, and nobody sees anything? There are more police on the Vegas strip than Fort Knox on a fight night.

How do you think the rap game would be different if they were still alive today? Half of these cats wouldn’t exist.

Like who? I ain’t saying no names. But I would say 95 percent of the rappers right now who are selling albums — all the cats who we go to the club and listen to their music, then we realize they’re fucking losers. All those dudes, the only reason they’re in the game is because Pac died. Because Pac came out and said, “Fuck yo momma, fuck yo sister, fuck yo kids,” you know what I mean? “My 44 make sure all your kids don’t grow! I’ma shoot your lady in her belly!” What?! And nobody said nothing! Pac said “Fuck you,” and everybody said “I’m sorry.” Today, somebody says “Fuck you,” and everybody got beef. It’s bullshit. Everybody is Parker Posies, everybody is trying to be these pseudo wannabe thugs. All these motherfuckers wanted to be Will Smith ten years ago, all these motherfuckers wanted to be Kwame ten years ago, all of them wore polka dots, all of them knew how to do the Chinese typewriter like MC Hammer. Fuck that! What happened to all the dudes in middle school we used to beat up? All of a sudden they disappeared and everybody’s a thug. Fuck you! that’s bullshit! All the motherfuckers we used to beat up in high school, they bought a Tupac album, and now they’re fucking hardcore.

Do you think we would have seen Tupac evolving into a business mogul like Jay-Z and Diddy? Tupac was never selfish enough to make that happen. The thing about Tupac that was so great, that was so prolific, was the fact that he was about the community. It wasn’t about him being worth $400 million.

Do you think he was a revolutionary? Of course. At his height, there were cats in jail writing ‘Pac letters, asking him what they should be doing next. That is a mogul. When you can entrance an entire group of people to move in a completely different way, that’s a mogul. A mogul is somebody — if you go to the hood and sell this bullshit music, then you have to reinvest that money you make from this bullshit back into the hood. Build some community centers, rebuild some public schools. You got $700 million, take $100 million and rebuild some public schools. Whoa, now all of a sudden you’re a fucking philanthropist, you’re Rockefeller, you’ll be ordained and remembered forever. It’s real simple. From the time you make $100 million, your grandkids are taken care of, so what else do you need?

I read that you said you choose acting over engineering because girls don’t chase engineers. Now that you’re an actor, are girls chasing you? Nah, now that I’m an actor I wish I was an engineer. Because the engineers get the good girls, the engineers get the girls who are smart and cute, who go to the gym. I just get leftover street booty. I get videos hoes. Who the fuck wants them?

I do! Exactly, but then after five minutes you’re like, get outta here!

Who do you think is the greatest rapper of all time? Tupac. He’s the most prolific, he’s the most revered. Biggie died right before his second album. Biggie dropped a double CD after Tupac was the first rapper to drop a double CD. He revolutionized the game. Nobody was wearing tattoos and all that shit before Pac did. Everybody was listening to Kwame and Will Smith.

What about Eminem? You worked with him on 8 Mile. Do you think he’s a good rapper? I think Eminem is an amazing rapper. He’s no Tupac. I’ll say there are about eight cats before Eminem. But I think he’s definitely in the top ten, just because of his lyrical skills.

Where do you like to go out when you’re in New York? I mean, the thing about New York is, going out is kind of shaky, because you have so many smelly Europeans. It’s not like New York ’98, when you used to go out and you used to hit Lotus, you used to hit PM, you used to hit Nell’s. You don’t really go to Eugene’s anymore, 40/40 is a bunch of suits, and you don’t want to hang out with fucking cornballs.

Well, where do you hang out? I bring the party home, there’s this little spot I go to in Brooklyn called Moe’s. That’s old faith. You come to the city to get dinner, and you go there. Because at the end of the day, the city is garbage now. You go to the Meatpacking District, and it’s a bunch of Jersey freaks and weirdo European dudes. It’s really weird man. It’s like, you closed Lotus? Where am I supposed to go? Lotus is closed? I’ve been going to Lotus for a long time, Lotus and Nell’s.

I wasn’t around for Nell’s. Remember when Tupac got arrested in a club for fucking a girl and getting head? That was in Nell’s. Nell’s was right down the street from Lotus, it was on 14th between 7th and 8th. The illest club in the city. Upstairs there was live music, downstairs was just a sweatbox hip hop joint. They closed down the Palladium and made it a fucking NYU dorm. But Nell’s was the illest situation in Manhattan. So you know, I don’t hang out with fucking Europeans.

Industry Insiders: Eugene Remm, Tenjune

Eugene Remm, the sovereign of Tenjune, talks about working his way up from the mailroom to picking up the slack in nightlife industry, and what he’s got on the books for ’09.

What are you doing tonight? Going to Tenjune!

Where do you go out? Gramercy [Hotel] is one of my favorites because they have a great scene, great design and great people who work there. Pastis always stands out because they know how to treat regulars. That combined with the great food and great staff makes for a consistently good dining experience. Charles has the appeal of an intimate restaurant where the owners treat you like family and the food is really good.

What’s your job title? I am a Partner in EMM Group, a Nightlife and Hospitality group that owns and operates businesses including Tenjune, Four Hundred; our members-only concierge company, our Hampton property The EMM Group Estate and our hotel bar The Chandelier Room.

Who do you admire in your industry? I worked for Steve Hanson and always admired the way he created a great multi-restaurant operation focusing on hospitality and top-notch, consistent service. It was an amazing learning experience for me before leaving to open Tenjune and developing the blueprint to build EMM Group’s multiple venues. Ian Schrager is another person who really stands out as a pioneer in many businesses. He took the most exclusive nightclub formula and grew it into a hotel empire. When people use the term ‘he gets it’ in my opinion no one represents that more than him.

Any downsides to working in nightlife? The lack of work ethic of some people who work in this business. There are people who still believe that if they just show up for the three to four hours of service that they are doing their job. When in actuality the job is now more 24/7 than ever.

What is something that people might not know about you? That I moved to New York and started in the mail room at a big PR firm.

Best place to spend New Year’s Eve? Miami at The Shore Club.

Where’s your dream spot for a venture? I am living my dream in my dream spaces. I have all of my businesses within three blocks of home and I don’t even have to get in a cab to do what I love to do.

What do you have going on in 2009? The opening of our first hotel bar in Hoboken and our new restaurant and club on 14th Street in the Meatpacking District.

Industry Insiders: David Rabin, Mr. President

New York Nightlife Association prez and Los Dados owner David Rabin on re-opening the legendary Lotus, commuting to Moscow, and suckering his partner into doing his other job.

What are you up to these days? We are re-doing the Lotus space, though we don’t know what to call it yet. We’re doing it with Mark [Birnbaum] from Tenjune. Just yesterday we got the plans for Double Seven in New York, which we’re trying to re-open on Gansevoort Street near Los Dados by the end of the year. I don’t know if I believe it myself …

And we’re working on a restaurant in midtown with Jeffrey Zakarian, who is a terrific chef and a great guy. There’s going to be a Double Seven-ish bar on the second floor. So to answer your question, I own Los Dados, and we have three or four things that should open within the next six or seven months.

That’s a lot. It’s too much! I think what’s going to happen is we’re gonna get hit with a sledgehammer around December through March and have three or four openings and hope that we can hold up. But we’re lucky because we have some great people to work with.

About four things happening at once. I’m not as nervous at [the former Lotus space] and Mark and [his partner] Eugene [Remm] have a huge part to play in that. So I’m not concerned. They are very hard workers. I just think that it’s a lot at once. So we’ll see, hopefully it’ll work out.

How did you get started in this business? Ah, sort of an accident. I was a real estate lawyer with a few entertainment clients, and my partner Will Regan was a Wall Street guy. We went to college together. Neither of us were too happy in our respective fields. We kept running into each other in the late 1980s at Nells, MK, and whatever, and we realized we knew a lot of people [in the industry]. Our first place was Rex’s from 1990 through 1992. So that’s where we cut our teeth, a place that people remember very fondly. Cause it was very organic, very pretty, with a lot of our friends from the music and fashion worlds. So [the public] decided that was what they thought of us.

One night I was at Rex’s, and Taylor Danes decided to sing. And she was very big at the time. Yeah, people jumped in with the band, it was great. And people dancing on tables. And upstairs was the club, and we learned a lot of lessons there — like making sure you have a big enough bar, an actual bar, to service the amount of people you’re going to have in your place. That was one of our problems with Rex’s, because nobody could ever get a drink. It’s nice to be popular, but it’s better if people can actually purchase something.

So after two years of Rex’s, we went to work briefly for Peter Gatien at Club USA for about a year, which was quite an education in a hit club. We went from a place that held 200 people to a place that held 2,000. And we worked with some of the best guys in the business, from Peter to Steve Lewis to people who really had a lot of experience. And then we got plucked, serendipitously, to be the consultants for the first Western-style nightclub in Moscow. And we commuted back and forth to Russia for two years. We took turns going there, running a place called Manhattan Express, which was the first large-scale Western designed and Western-run nightclub and supper club in Russia. Three years after communism fell. So it was an incredible time to be there. We had a two-year stint in Moscow.

When we came back and did Union Bar, which is [to this day] a nice bar for people between 25 and 35 who aren’t necessarily into the [trendier] nightlife. And it lasted. We sold it a few years ago to some younger guys, but it’s still open. So it’s been open from 1995 until now. It’s 15 years old, and we had it for about 9 years. So I guess we created a good thing there.

In New York City, that’s a big deal. It’s a long time. And then when we had Union Bar we stumbled across the Lotus space, which was a strip club closed by Giuliani.

And you partnered up? With Mark Baker and Jeffrey Jah. [Will Regan and I] were already both married [and because of that] we had not been in the middle of the nightlife scene for some time. We thought it would be great to have two guys who were sort of at the top of their game.

And Mark and Jeffrey had been just coming off of the club Life. Exactly. They were running Life, and it worked out very well. I mean, Lotus ran for eight years. We suffered through 9/11 because we were only 13 months old when that happened and very much on the upswing. We were one of the only games in town of this size and we were about to go into Fashion Week, and of course that’s a ridiculous thing to say in comparison to what happened to people, but … Somehow we stayed open, but we were severely damaged because people just were not in a celebratory mood for a long time, understandably. And we inched along, changed the menu from fancy Uptown kind of French to what we call urban Asian street food.

Tell me about being the head of the New York Nightlife association since it started. Yeah, yeah, unfortunately I am! I’m the only one willing to take the job. I’m trying to sucker Mark Birnbaum into taking the job from me. I don’t know if he realizes it yet!

Industry Insiders: Jeffrey Jah, Inn-Famous

Jeffrey Jah holds forth on going from runways to club king, bringing heat from here to Sao Paulo, and putting DEA raids behind him.

Point of Origin: I’m originally from Toronto, but now I live in Gramercy Park. After my modeling days, I was an event producer and creative director for venues. I started out having connections in the fashion industry, from photographers to make-up artists, editors, and designers. I started producing events, which eventually turned into parties, promoting clubs, directing clubs, and finally owning clubs, bars, and restaurants. I currently own the Inn/Canoe Club in New York, I’m a partner in 1Oak, a partner in Café de La Musique in Florianopolis, Brazil. I also have six Lotus clubs in Brazil, Double Seven reopening in New York, and a Double Seven opening in LA in 2009.

What events were you involved with in the early days? Well I used to put on a couple festivals at Randall’s Island. We had great bands like Jane’s Addiction and chronic raves. Some of the best events that I ever did were with Matt E. Silver. We threw some of the most legendary Halloween events over the last 15 years. Don’t take my word for it … ask the people that came to Cipriani 42nd Street, Scores, the Roxy, Milk Studios. We were the guys that put on all those events. In my early club days at [the third incarnation of] Danceteria between 1992-94, I had the pleasure of booking Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana. These groups played next to nothing back then, and it was so exciting to be a part of all that.

When you’re not at the club? What do you enjoy doing? I love snowboarding and traveling.

Side Hustle. Were you ever an undercover actor or anything? No, but after watching the Olympics, I really want to be an undercover gymnast.

What’s your worst experience working in nightlife business? My worst experience has got to be when I was working for Peter Gatien. I was there when the DEA, the FBI, and IRS raided the place and came in to arrest everyone and confiscated everything. They took all the file cabinets and the computers. I was one of the people that was lucky enough to put that incident behind me.

Who have you collaborated with? Currently I work with Ronnie Madra, Scott Sartiano, and Richie Akiva from 1Oak. We are actually opening up a 1Oak and another Butter in San Paulo, hopefully by December of this year. My newest project, that I’m really excited about, is the Lamb’s Club, which will be a restaurant/bar and catering [venue]. It’s a venture between me, David Rabin (Lotus and Double Seven) and two other partners.

Who do you look up to in the industry? Hmm … I’d have to say, Adrian Zecha who owns the Amanresorts, Izzy Sharpe who owns the Four Seasons hotel group, Keith McNally, Eric Goode, and Sean MacPherson, who gave Los Angeles swingers in the 1990s, and has been behind some of New York’s coolest hotels, like the Maritime and the Bowery.

Favorite Hangs: I never go to anyone else’s clubs … ever! Occasionally I’ll stop by the Box to see Serge [Becker] and Sebastian [Nicolas], or Rose Bar to see Nur Khan. In terms of restaurants, my favorites are Mezzogiorno, BLT Fish, and the Spotted Pig.

Projections: We have six venues opening between the three different partnerships I’m involved in. Between the two Double Sevens opening, the Lamb’s Club, Butter, and 1Oak opening in Brazil, I have a lot on my plate for next year.

What are you doing tonight? I’m going to another meeting at 9 p.m., heading to the gym, then to the Inn, and then to 1Oak, and then I’ll do it all over again, and again, and again.

Industry Insiders: Mark Baker, Mansion Master

Mark Baker of Mansion and Lotus fame (among others) rises early, loves Russia, accepts responsibility for the superficial lounges he helped create, and has fun while trying not to get stabbed by irate, rebuffed club-goers (again).

How did the day start for you today? Actually, today was an early start. I get calls from Europe [early] because nobody [there] has any idea what time it is here, so my day started at 7 a.m. I always leave my phone on because you never know what catastrophes or overdoses or suicide cases or whatever our friends and clients … People with suicide these days is a really heavy deal. There’s a lot of kids out there who just give up, and that’s part of running a network of friends and clients, basically just keeping an eye on everyone. And being accessible.

You get a lot of these crises? I get crises, I get idiots, I get friends I get … models.

Is there one you can talk about? Unfortunately it resulted in somebody, a top model [Ruslana Korshunova], that basically fulfilled her thing…and she jumped, unfortunately.

Was Korshunova a friend of yours? Yes. And I’ve had other very close friends who have definitely attempted … it’s just crazy. But there are other happy stories, too. It’s not just bad.

Why do you think this is? Does nightlife attracts a certain kind of person? I just think that New York is a young city. This is the crux of it: New York is a young city. Nobody who goes out in New York, nobody who’s here in New York, is from New York. They’re all from somewhere else. There’s no family here, so we are each other’s family. And where does the family get together to meet? In our nightclubs.

Yeah, ‘cause you have these little tiny-ass apartments. Well I have a big-ass apartment.

But by and large, the public space is important. By and large we are each other’s family. So obviously, the older you get within this family, this society we have, the more responsibility you have to take on, and the young people who you know socially come to you for advice, because I’ve been here 25 years, because I know who all the doctors are, know the clinics and all of that, so it’s full service. It goes hand in hand, if you come to my nightclub, it’s, “Come help me out when I’m in trouble if I need something,” or, “I need advice,” or it’s “My boyfriend just left me.” You know, it’s just everything, so the phone’s always on, and sleep is a rarity. Not just because of alcohol and drugs, which is what most people think people in nightlife are into. We spend most of our time dealing with crises.

Dead sober. You fucking have to be dead sober, and if you’re not, you get sober in a matter of seconds. If you’re fucked up, you can’t run a multimillion dollar operation. It’s a fallacy. I still enjoy going out of course. You’ve seen me in meetings today, so you know I’ve been here since 10 this morning. I’ve been in the office every morning at 10 a.m., and I work till 6 p.m.. I go home for an hour, till 7 or 8 p.m., and then I go out again. And then I’m out till 2, 3 a.m. So if you figure you’re getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night, there’s no way you can party and do crazy shit.

Your body will shut down. [laughing] Especially at my fucking age! But this is the Mansion experience baby! We wanted to do something fun. We had a big venue. We didn’t just want to do another pop-a-pill, rip-your-shirt-off, and go bump and grind in a big sweaty, industrial venue. We didn’t want that. We wanted to do something more intimate, more sexy, more entertaining, more diverse, and just basically a more fun experience. And that’s Lo — er, what Mansion is.

You almost said “that’s what [Baker’s former club] Lotus is!” [laughing] Yeah, well, this has much more space to do much more creative stuff. Mansion’s a playground, and it’s a Mansion. And we have a ballroom, a study, a library — you know the theme of Mansion? We have fashion shows, performances, all the rest of it. On top of our speakers here, there are two giant elevators that go up and down with girls inside, dancing go-go girls. They’re fun, they’re dressed in themes.

I was just talking to one upstairs. Yeah they’re great, they’re sexy, fun, We have this whole light theme, and the sound system is probably one of the best in Manhattan. It’s a custom-made million-dollar sound system. These giant subwoofers also serve as platforms for our beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Russian dancers … most of them are Russian.

Why Russian? ‘Cause Russians are the best. They’re sexy, they’re beautiful, they’ve got the best bodies, and they’re fun. Obviously, you know, girls these days who dance can go and get a thousand dollars a night as lap dancers, whereas we obviously pay considerably less for a girl who just dances. But my friends in Russia hook me up with a constant stream of girls … We have aerial performances. The whole lighting system goes up and down and twists and turns. The aerial performer flies around, I have gospel choirs who come in during the middle of the night and belt out gospel. I have opera singers who come in and sing opera to Paul Oakenfold. It’s a theater, it’s dance, it’s performance, it’s fashion, it’s art, it’s entertainment.

So it’s coming at you from all angles. It’s not just a stage in the front. Yeah! It’s not just like, let’s walk into a fucking room .Look at 20 other clubs in this city where all you do is go into a little room, you get squashed into a little table, listen to music, and everyone checks each other out, and then they leave. This has got shit going on everywhere. Also, if you look, the tables are spaced quite far apart, so the people are never sitting right on top of each other. I have 40, beautiful … uh …

Russian girls? Well yes there are 40 Russian girls. We love the Russian girls.

I spent 10 insane days in Moscow. Yeah, so you know Moscow. I get a lot of my ideas from Moscow these days because they’re so creative. They have no guilt partying up there. There’s no such thing as guilt. I love America, but there’s too much fucking guilt here. Get over it. Have fun. Enjoy it — don’t feel guilty about it.

Because Russia is a godless society. That’s right! They have no religion to give them the fucking guilt. I spend a lot of time in Russia. I just knew that Russia was gonna be hot. I could see it coming, just their energy and their creativity and now they’re rockin’, and they’ve got all the money in the world. They’ve got the hottest girls in the world, and let me tell ya, Moscow is off the charts. And not just in Moscow, other places within Russia and Ukraine and even out to the Black Sea.

Do you think that this is the most fun spot in New York? I have no question, no doubt about it. I mean look, it’s not one of the smaller VIP venues in Manhattan. And having done those smaller VIP venues for 25 years … look, everybody wants to have “the” hotspot. I don’t mind not having “the” hotspot right this second. I think that there’s all types of nightlife in New York, and there’s room for a Double Seven, a 1Oak, and a Rose Bar in Manhattan. My friends own and operate those venues, and its great. I like to go there sometimes and have a drink. I think that a lot of people are missing out on having a really good time in New York because they’re just so conditioned to go to these places and just look at each other. It’s all very well to go look at each other, but, guys, girls: There’s fun here. People have fun!

Well, people in New York don’t seem to care about fun anymore. People kind of want exclusivity, and it’s kind of your fault! We definitely created a monster with the whole model/celebrity scene. During the course of the month, I get most people in the city that come through. We get a ton of celebrities here. But I try not to tell them about it beforehand. I just say, “Look, come check us out, and tell me afterwards if you had fun.” And everybody that comes through — pretty much everybody, unless you’re completely phobic of big venues — comes here has an amazing … they have fun. I get no fucking hate mail for this place. I get hate mail for every other venue that I’ve owned.

What kind of stuff? You get the “I hate you for Lotus!” mail? No, the classic is like, “Hi, how you doin? I haven’t seen you in a long time, it’d be great to see ya.” Then they say, “Hi, I’m coming down to your club so can you put me on the list?” Then it’s like, “Hey I’m on the list I’ve had a hard time getting in.” Then it’s like, “Listen, I’ve been stuck outside for 20 minutes you asshole! What the fuck is your problem?” And then it’s like, “Fuck you! Watch your back, man! I’m never going here again. Fuck you!”

Did that happen at Lotus? Yeah I had some wacko fucking stab me ‘cause he couldn’t get into Lotus. He stabbed me in the chest. There are a bunch of wackos out there. And then another night, this guy misfired and hit me in the face, then he tried to pistol-whip me. He was beating up on his girlfriend, and we had to take him out. There are a lot of people who take this shit way too seriously.

Industry Insiders: Remi Laba of Bagatelle & Kiss and Fly

Monsieur Meatpacking: Bagatelle and Kiss and Fly‘s Remi Laba on boring models, the grub at Pastis, and bringing down the house (music).

Point of Origin: My dad’s American, my mother’s French. I was born in the US and raised in France. I can’t seem to negate my origin for some reason. Nightlife was an accident, to be honest. I was working for a liquor company, Pernod Ricard, and people were constantly asking me for sponsorship, and at one point I said ‘You know what? I’ll comp your sponsoring if my friends can come to your events.’ It grew from there until club owners starting saying they would pay me to bring people to their club. And that’s how we [partner Aymeric Clemente, formerly of La Goulue and Le Bilboquet] started, ten years ago.

We did it for fun until we realized it could really become a business. Everything we do resembles us. We try to create something that embraces the Jet-Set lifestyle in which we were brought up. When we started at Lotus, 8 years ago, Lotus was known for its hip-hop, models, whatever, and they called us and we brought in something very different. We brought DJs from Paris that were more focused on European house, and that brought the whole European crowd in and it became some of the highest generating sales ever for Lotus. We took that concept and moved it to our next venue, Marquee. We were part of the opening team at Marquee, then we did the Deck with Jeffrey Jah and Mark Baker and all those guys. We took it to Bed Roof. We always take that same concept and each time make it a little more complete. Then we opened Pink Elephant, as promotional partners with those guys.

Occupations: Aymeric and I are the main partners at Bagatelle, we’re the partners here at Kiss & Fly, and I’m in charge of all the marketing and PR aspects of the venue. What Aymeric and I do better than anybody else is bring the French ambiance and atmosphere into the venue. So it not only looks French, but it feels French. We’re taking it to the level: the St. Tropez party lifestyle. It’s for people who like to drink great wine, eat great food, and like great parties. Go to Bagatelle on a Monday night and you’ll have a peaceful environment with great food. Then the vibe builds on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then by Saturday brunch we move into a full-blown party. But we’ll never compromise the food.

Side Hustle: Aymeric and I are partners in marketing company/DJ agency called In The Buzz, that does promotions at all the top nightclubs across the world and also represents some of the top talent when it comes to DJs. We also do consulting in the hospitality industry. That’s what brought us to owning our own venue. There’s 13th Street Entertainment, which basically owns Kiss & Fly, Bagatelle, and our new lounge opening the first week of September tentatively named Bagatelle Lounge. We represent Mitch LJ, who’s the resident DJ at Nikki Beach. Jacques Dumont, who is an older DJ, probably 47 years old, and was the resident DJ at Nikki Beach St. Barths for years. Now he’s our resident DJ here at Kiss & Fly. We’ve had David Guetta play here. It’s not exclusively house music, but the crowd they’re playing for likes primarily house. I think for all of us our side projects are our personal lives. It’s hard to balance that in this industry.

Favorite Hangs: The Hamptons are a big market with high visibility. A lot of people go there, and there are very few clubs to go to. Pretty much only Pink Elephant, Cabana, and Dune. We have a very good relationship with Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss and we host the Saturday night Kiss ‘N’ Fly party at Dune Southampton. But when I go to the Hamptons, I don’t go to socialize. I enjoy the beauty of the nature there. I love the beach at Flying Point, and off Route D in Southampton. In the city, I love going to Bar Pitti. It’s very unpretentious, a great terrace, and always good food. If I’m with a group of friends and want a good, fun dinner, I like Indochine, Bond St., Le Bilboquet; Aymeric used to be the GM there for several years. Bagatelle is a big version of Le Bilboquet. If I’m going to dinner with my girlfriend, I want to go upstairs at Le Colonial. I’ll never have dinner downstairs, it’s too formal. But the lounge is unbelievable.

Industry Icons: Jeffrey Jah and Mark Baker were the first guys to understand the European factor in nightlife. They kind of made us who we are today. I’ve really enjoyed working with those guys. I don’t know if I look up to anyone really. If there are two guys who have had a memorable career so far it’s Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss. We worked with them at Marquee, then at Tao in Vegas. They are very, very hard workers, and what they’ve achieved is remarkable. I would never work the way they do. The way they work is very American. The way we work is more passionate, less driven by numbers.

Known Associates: My current associates are Aymeric Clemente, Corey Lane, Lionel Ohayon, David Graziano, and Jonathan Segal. My past associates are Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano, Mark Baker, and Jeffrey Jah, Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg. We’ve promoted for Jamie Mulholland and Jayma Cardosa at Cain. We’ve basically crossed paths with every major person in the industry. It’s a small town.

Projections: We’ve established Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly in New York. Our next project is due the first week of September, fashion week, which will be the Bagatelle Lounge downstairs of Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly, at which point our 13th Street project will be complete–one restaurant, one nightclub, and one lounge. From there, we’ll move on, not necessarily with the same partners, but we’ll open Bagatelle restaurants and Bagatelle cafes in different cities. Ultimately our dream is to open a Bagatelle boutique hotel.We’d love to open something in Tulum (we’re looking at a property down there). We’d love to open Bagatelle, the restaurant as you know it, in London, Vegas, and San Paulo. We have offers in South Beach, but I don’t think Miami Beach is what it used to be. Though we did go to the Winter Music Conference in Miami for the past two years and did ‘Fuck Me I’m Famous’ with David Guetta at Cameo; that’s very successful.

Do you cater to a different crowd in the summer in the city than the rest of the year?

There’s definitely a different club crowd in the summer, not necessarily in quality. Most of your regulars go to the Hamptons in the summer or travel to St. Tropez, Ibiza, Croatia, etc. But there’s also a lot of tourists coming to New York in the summer who have read about venues and will come out. The truth of the matter is, if you have a good product and run your door properly, you can have the right crowd in your club every single night. If you focus on only celebrities and models and there are eight clubs going after the same clientele, there will be one winner and a lot of losers. But if you say, “Ok, I want my venue to be fun, I want the crowd to be pretty, and I want to generate dollars,” the way you look at things are going to shift. Some people say “Oh, my club is so great, we only have models.” Great, models are pretty, but are they the most fun girls you’ve ever seen in nightclubs? Not necessarily. Energy’s also a very, very important factor. If 1Oak says, “Oh, in the summer we have to sell out because all the good crowds are going away,” well, I’d rather sell out my crowd a tiny bit, but still maintain the level of energy.

Considering you’ve worked with Scott Sartiano and Jeffrey Jah, etc. in the past, do you see Butter as an influence or a competitor?

Butter is known for their Monday night parties. What Butter does on Monday nights, no one else does. It’s a concentration of models and celebrities in a very small space. Those guys have done great at it, they own Monday nights, but that’s not what we do. We’re not model-driven. [The Butter guys] aren’t competitors, they’re friends. We actually go to Butter on Monday nights when we can.

A lot of reviews of Bagatelle are calling you the next Pastis. Do you see yourselves replacing Pastis ever?

No. I think Pastis as a French bistro has had a lot of recent competition in the neighborhood, but we are very different. Most of the restaurants in Meatpacking, their concepts are big. We are very different; we’re small, 90 seats. We have a very personalized welcome. Aymeric and I are here every day. You can create an intimate relationship with the owners, which no other restaurant in the meatpacking can offer. At Pastis the food is average. At Bagatelle we pride ourselves on great food. Our chef Nicolas Cantrel, (who we “stole” from bobo), is a gift from God.

What are you doing tonight? I’ll be at Bagatelle caring to my guests and then dinner with my girlfriend later on.