Striking Up Friendships

A working weekend kept me hot, bothered, and a little short on steam. But I was able to attend the Carrera Sunglasses party on the fabulous roof at 505 West 37th Street. The roof—some 40 stories over the Javits Center, train yards, and the Port Authority Bus complex—is so high that it made those places seem romantic. A pal asked me what that place across the Hudson River was, and I replied “America.” New York did seem far away from America this week, with the World Cup bringing so many accented tourists to the haunts I hang in. The Carrera event had a slew of downtown types who followed GoldBar honcho John Lennon and downtown PR flack Dana Dynamite uptown. I chatted up a very nice Whitney Port, who I was told is in that show The City. Watermelon, cold cans of Café Bustelo, and clear views of places I rarely want to see up close kept me happy for hours. I visited an apartment downstairs where they hid the swag, and I was told that the one bedroom with those views goes for $2200 a month. Almost cheap enough to forget the $15 cab fare to anyplace I’d like to be. Still, I think there will lots of fabulous events at this sweet spot.

An expensive yellow limo returned me to downtown where I belong, at the behest of Fuse Gallery/Lit bigwig Erik Foss. I attended the art opening The Hole Presents Not Quite Open for Business, “A conceptual group show of unfinished art, unfinished poems and unfinished symphonies.” When Jeffrey Deitch split to be the director of MOCA in L.A., it left the presenters confused as to what to do next. Some funding problems and an artist not quite ready to show was turned into a positive thing, as artists were asked to show their work in the stage it was in, a caught-with-your-pant-down approach to curating. The result is a fun, thought provoking, and unpretentious good time. I joined Erik Foss over at Lucky Strike and watched him have a snack. Erik is just back from Mexico City where he brought his Draw show. I hadn’t been to Lucky Strike in a long time. A friend of mine who used to work there was killed in his apartment many years ago, and it stirred up bad memories.

Mike “Seal” used to be my head of security over at Life, and his untimely death under mysterious circumstances made me wonder. When you go out to eat or play, you don’t necessarily need to be reminded of sad things. Lucky Strike wowed them back in 1989 when it first opened. Like all Keith McNally joints, it has an energizer bunny type of energy and the basic bones to last forever. The service, the staff, the design, and the fare are timeless and I felt good to be back. I still visit Pravda, Odeon, Pastis, and Balthazar from time to time, and his other entries Minetta Tavern, Morandi, and Schillers are magnificent machines. I am currently building in his old Nells space, trying to create something worthy of its lore. Pulino’s opened in my hood a little bit ago and although it wasn’t reviewed well by one prominent critic, the crowds have voted it a winner.

I will be DJing at the other Lucky Strike, the bowling alley and lounge on far West 42nd Street. The occasion is the birthday bash for Noel Ashman, who was at one point the operator of the Nells space when it was Plumm and NA. The invite reads “National Academy of Television, Arts and Scienes… Emmy Awards along with…” And it goes on to list Chris Noth, Patrick McMullan, Damon Dash, and a slew of others. Grandmaster Flash, Jamie Biden, Ethan Browne, and DJ Reach will join me on the wheels of steel. In the left corner is the logo for adult entertainment company Wicked. There’s hosts like Richie Romero, Brandon Marcel and Matt de Matt listed as well. Every time I write about Noel, a slew of haters come out of their holes and hovels to spew dirt. I am always asked why do I write about him. Noel has made a ton of omelets over the years and I guess in the process has broken his share of eggs. I personally have never had a bad experience with him and the naysayers are always of the suspicious variety. The diversity of the people on this invite and the crowds that will attend speak well of him. I am always asked why do I write about him. The answer is short and sweet. He’s my friend.

Scott Caan on His New Film ‘Mercy’

Scott Caan, who you might remember as the lovable lug Turk Malloy from the Ocean’s trilogy, has gone and made himself a movie. It’s called Mercy, and not only is Caan the star, but he wrote the thing, too. The film, which costars Wendy Glenn, Dylan McDermott, and Scott’s dad James, is about a novelist who falls in love with his own critic. It opens in limited release today, and was directed by Caan’s friend Patrick Hoelck. Here the actor talks about working with his famous father, his love for The Outsiders, and when true love leads to decapitation.

Was writing the story a cathartic way for you to deal with your own experience with relationships? Yeah, I think everything I write is not that far away from what’s going on in my life. I’ve always been interested in relationships and love and I think it’s something that there’s not a lot of science to. In everything I write, one character or another is dealing with something to do with relationships.

Did you write the character of Mercy as your ideal woman? No, I don’t think so. I think that in the movie she serves a purpose. She’s not the most well-rounded person, but she seems perfect on paper and that’s how I wanted it to be. The story is not about her flaws. Next time I write a female character maybe I’ll make her more flawed and real.

Do you find it harder or easier to play a character and get into it when you have written it yourself and you are speaking your own words? I always think it’s the best way to play a role when you’ve written it yourself because no one understands it better than you. Sometimes for the actors, it’s hard to figure out what you are supposed to be feeling, but if you’ve written it then you know that already.

Did you know you wanted your father to play your father in the film? No, it just kind of came about. He’s read stuff and told me what he likes and doesn’t like but when he read Mercy he was pretty much like, “What do you want me to do? I’ll be any part.”

Is it a weird dynamic on set to try and separate your real life relationship with him from your character’s? Yeah, it was. It was definitely the hardest stuff to shoot. I feel like I am the best, as an actor, when I’m using what is really going on, whatever the reality is. And the reality between my old man and I is so different from what we were doing, we were fighting against that the whole time.

Do you feel a lot of pressure when working with your dad? Anytime I’m working with someone I have a lot of respect for it is a lot of pressure. It’s like if you play in the minor leagues and then you get to play with the Yankees one day, of course you’re nervous. In those moments, to me he is a great actor. I don’t look at him like he’s my father, we’re kind of past all that.

Do you enjoy doing stage more or film? As an actor there’s so many pluses to doing theater. There’s things I dig about both. I love writing theatre and acting on stage. Sometimes I wonder how good I would be if I just stuck with one thing but I’m always so scattered, I want to do so many things.

There’s a completely different feeling when you’re on stage that you can’t really match behind a camera, isn’t there? I just think you can’t fully live out something when you are doing a movie like you can do in the theater. In theater you can fail, you can try things, no one is really remembering that one moment. But with film it’s that split second they are trying to get and it’s micromanaging moments. I’ve been talking to actors now that haven’t really done a ton of theater and I’m telling them to just go out there and do their thing, go out there and have an honest moment.

Are you a big Outsiders fan? Because you seemed to be referencing it a few times in the movie. I tend to use The Outsiders in every movie. I mean the name of my company is Gold Pony. It was the first movie I saw that changed my life. I was obsessed with all those characters. Even that Robert Frost poem in it, it just says it all; I like everything about what The Outsiders means.

Your character doesn’t use a laptop, he’ll only use a typewriter. Is that something you do or is that just a character quirk? No, its just a character thing but I purposely wrote a line in the movie where someone calls him pretentious for doing it. It just looks cool, I don’t want to shoot a computer.

I read somewhere that you said, “As morbid as it is, the death of someone I love would be easier than seeing them with someone else.” Is that sentiment why you chose to not give the couple a typical relationship? Sometimes when you are trying to get over somebody, the thought of them not existing is easier than the thought of them living somewhere else, a life without you. But that has nothing to do with their story. I wanted it to be more tragic than a break up and I thought the movie wasn’t really about their relationship, it was about this guy. It wasn’t about the break up, it was like, I don’t believe in love, then I find it, and then it’s gone. And that’s life.

There was one scene between your character and Mercy where they are shown kissing for the first time and your character looks her in the eyes and says, “If you leave, I’ll kill you.” That was pretty much a perfect moment. Yeah, don’t you feel that way sometimes when you’re so passionate and happy with someone and you just want to rip their head off and kill them?

If you could go back and live in any period of cinema is there one time you would go to? I love American movies in the 70’s, but I wouldn’t mind being an Italian actor with Fellini and Antonioni, guys like that. But since I don’t speak Italian I guess I’d have to say America.

What do you have coming up next? I have this play that comes out in two weeks called Two Wrongs, then Mercy and I’m just working on Entourage right now.

Is that as great as it seems? Oh yeah, it’s a dream job.

When you’re in New York in there any place you always go out? I’m not a big “out” guy. I mean I just love walking around and being in New York. The restaurants I like to go to are pretty simple. I like Cafe Habana, Lucky Strike. Nothing too sexy. And you know my friends out there own nightclubs but I get tired at about 10:30 at night and you New Yorkers want to start at that time. You want to have dinner and I’m ready for bed. What about LA? Well, I’m standing on the beach right now staring at good 5 to 7 foot surf.

Where Celebs Go

1. Naomi Campbell @ Interview magazine’s 40th anniversary party: I don’t know. I don’t really live here so much anymore. In London? I don’t live in London. I live in Russia. Favorite restaurant in Russia? Pushkin’s. 2. Chloe Sevigny @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: Depends on what I’m in the mood for. I like Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar in the East Village. I like Balthazar for oysters. I love Raoul’s. 3. Peter Brant @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: I would probably say the Four Seasons. I like that restaurant, but I have a lot of favorites. That’s, usually, a favorite of mine. There’s a lot of great things to eat there.

4. Linda Nyvltova @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: It’s going to be more restaurants. The pizza place, Vezzo, on 31st and Lexington. I love it. We go there all the time.

5. Brian Ermanski @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: Rose Bar. And I don’t really go out that much anymore. I love sitting outside Balthazar. And I don’t drink, so I don’t really like going out to drink a lot. I work a lot.

6. Sam Shipley @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary part: I really like Nancy Whiskey. That’s on the corner of 6th Avenue and Walker. We also love Lucky Strike. We also love Frank’s on 2nd Avenue and E. 6th Street.

7. Genevieve Jones @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: I like Café Select. I, usually, go anywhere I can walk downtown, so, like, Balthazar and coffee at Saturday Surf. I like N after work. What else? La Esquina.

8. Jessica Stam @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: Really, I just hang out at restaurants close to my house. I like to go to the new restaurant at the Jane Hotel [Café Gitane]. That’s really pretty because it overlooks the ocean. I like to go to Tompkins Square Park. The park itself? Yes.

9. Edward Droste @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: My apartment! I love Marlow & Sons. It’s a restaurant in Brooklyn. It’s one of my favorite places. I have friends that work there. I eat there all the time. And I love Mary’s Fish Camp restaurant in the West Village for seafood. But I don’t know anything about clubs, so … I’m good at food.

10. Mary-Kate Olsen @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: I’m not doing interviews tonight.

11. Pastor Joel Osteen @ Hezekiah Walker Presents: A Night of Hope and Prayer for Haiti: I ate at Rockefeller Center today, [near] the ice skating rink. In Houston, Texas, there’s a little Italian place that I love to eat at, not too far from my house. I don’t even know the official name of it. I like all kinds of different food.

12. Al Sharpton @ A Night of Hope and Prayer for Haiti: I have several favorite restaurants. I love, of course, Sylvia’s, but I also like to come downtown sometimes to Nello’s. I’m a salad eater now. I don’t eat meat anymore, so just salad and maybe good fish.

13. Congressman Eliot Engel @ AIPAC Northeast Regional Dinner: In the Bronx, when I was growing up, there were many, many, old, wonderful kosher delis, and they really all have disappeared, except for one in Riverdale, called Liebman’s, on W. 235th Street and Johnson Avenue. It’s an old-time New York kosher deli, and no matter where I’ve been around the United States – in Cleveland, in Pittsburgh, in Indianapolis, in Detroit – people say to me, ‘ Oh, you gotta go to this deli. It’s a real, authentic, Jewish-style deli.’ And I go there, and I always think, ‘Oh, my God, it’s so inferior to what we have in New York.!’ So that’s where I like to go.

14. Senator Chuck Schumer @ AIPAC Northeast Regional Dinner: My favorite places are in Brooklyn, and you’ll think this is funny, but Nathan’s is still one of my favorite restaurants for hot dogs and french fries. And go to the original Nathan’s in Coney Island — they taste better! But if you go to Fifth Avenue, and you go to Smith Street, you will have great, great restaurants. And we eat at a lot of them. Al Di La, we love very much. How do I pick my favorite? Best slice of pizza in Brooklyn is Roma Pizza on Seventh Avenue; I’ll tell you that. Here’s what I recommend: Po on Smith Street. It is just great!

15. Chris Blackwell @ Strawberry Hill, Jamaica: As I spend most of my time in Jamaica, when I go to New York, I love to check out wherever anybody is saying is a new place or is a great place. So, I’m not really a creature of habit, in going back to one restaurant, all the time. And in Jamaica? If you like the mountains, here is the best place, Strawberry Hill. If you like the sea and the beaches, there are three or four different places that are really good. There’s Port Antonio; and there’s a place called Frenchmen’s Cove, which is just stunningly beautiful. You can’t stay there; you can just visit and swim there. I have a property called Goldeneye, which is in Oracabessa. And then there’s a really nice hotel in Ocho Rios called Jamaica Inn. And Montego Bay is the other main area, and they have a couple of great hotels. One is Half Moon, and the other is Round Hill. And then there’s the South Coast, which has got a whole different feel. It’s, like as if you’ve gone to a different country. There’s a great place there called Jake’s. And Jake’s is, actually, a very casual type hotel, in a whole village area.

16. Daljit Dhaliwal @ History Makers conference: Right now I haven’t been doing an awful lot of entertaining, going out and being sociable. I just bought a new apartment and I’m learning how to use tools. I know how to use a screwdriver and I’m contemplating the electric drill. [There’s] some spackling, sanding and painting. I like to hang out in my neighborhood. Cafe Julienne, a bistro, serves wonderful French fare, nice hamburgers, great pate, nice cheeses, and good wine. In London, I love Notting Hill, Portabella Market — a fabulous place to hang out Saturday or any day of the week. Westborne Park, Grove and Road: West End. London is great for shopping.

Where Celebs Go Out: Marc Jacobs, Amanda Lepore, Adrian Grenier, Emma Snowdon-Jones

At David Barton Gym annual toy drive: ● MARC JACOBS – “In Paris, there’s a small club called Montana, and there’s a restaurant called Thiou. Bars I really don’t hang out in. Oh, there’s this great club that happens once a month in Paris called Club Sandwich. And it’s at the Espace Cardin. And everyone gets super dressed-up, so it’s really, really fun. I try to go whenever I’m in Paris, if it’s going on. And we stay out all night and just dance like crazy. And in New York, my favorite restaurants have always been the same. I love to eat at Pastis. I love the Standard. I love Da Silvano. I eat in the lobby of the Mercer a lot, the hotel. I usually go to Pastis for lunch, and there’s a sandwich that was on the menu, but they don’t make it anymore, but I always insist that they make it for me. And it’s really fattening, so I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s chicken paillard and gruyere cheese and bacon. And it’s so delicious. It’s really good. And it’s my weakness. It’s just like the most perfect sandwich.”

● DAVID BARTON – “Oh, I can’t think where I like to hang out in Seattle except my new gym! There’s a great place that just opened up in New York, up on 51st, called the East Side Social Club. Patrick McMullan is one of the partners there. He’s co-hosting with me tonight. Great place; really cool. It’s very old world, kind of like going to Elaine’s, kind of little cozy; sit at a booth; very cool. Love a little place called Il Bagatto, over on 7th between A & B — little tiny Italian place, East Village, kind of a neighborhood place that I go to. What else? I don’t know restaurants. I’m very casual. I’m so not that into food. I mean, I could eat cardboard — I’m just not into food! I like people. I like atmosphere, but I’m just not that into food.” ● AMANDA LEPORE – “I definitely like Bowery Bar and I like Hiro. Boom Boom Room. Just anywhere where everybody is, I guess! [laughs] Novita, I like, my friend Giuseppe. Any favorite dishes? I try not to eat too much! ● PATRICK MCDONALD – “My favorite restaurant in New York is Indochine. It’s been around for 25 years. Jean-Marc, I adore. I love the bar at the Carlyle. I don’t drink, but I like to go there for tea in the afternoon. And I love Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Gramercy Park. I love Pastis, Odeon, and everywhere. I like the French fries at Pastis.” ● PATRICK MCMULLAN – “I love going to Waverly Inn downtown. Boom Boom Room is fabulous. That’s really a new, great place. SL, on 409 W. 14th Street, down below is nice. Of course, I have the East Side Social Club that I’m involved with, and that’s great for hanging out in, for eating. Favorite dishes anywhere? Oh, I don’t know, just anything that people recommend. I usually go with what people recommend ’cause most people know what’s good — the waiters know, so I think that’s the best thing. Red wine is good to have to drink sometimes. They have a drink called the Eastsider at the East Side Social Club that’s really good; any of their pastas; their ravioli is great there. What else do I like? That new place that’s open, the English place, on 60th in the Pierre — Le Caprice, that’s a nice place. At the Waverly Inn, I like the macaroni and cheese. It was funny because the macaroni and cheese is about two dollars less than a room at the Pod Hotel, which is where the East Side Social Club is! The Monkey Bar is fun. There are so many cool places in New York. I just go where people tell me to go.”

At elf party for Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe:

● JENNY MCCARTHY – “In Chicago, I would have to say Gibsons Steakhouse still; in Los Angeles, Katsuya, still love that sushi; I’m addicted to it. And in New York, Koi. I’m very trendy and boring, but, hey, that’s where the good food is, so …” ● PERI GILPIN – “In L.A., we like BLT a lot. We have five-year-old twins, so we’re like in bed by nine o’clock — pretty boring. Corner Bakery for soup.” ● CANDACE CAMERON BURE – “L.A., hands down, our favorite restaurant is Gjelina, which is in Venice. And we love Craft; love Michael’s in Santa Monica. Here, in New York, my favorite restaurant is Lupa, which is a Mario Batali restaurant; love it here. And I don’t go to clubs anymore, nightclubs; I don’t ever! At Gjelina, they have a burrata with prosciutto and, usually, a warm pear or a warm peach. I love that! I really love tapas. I enjoy getting a lot of appetizers, more than just a main dish. We, actually, have had our own wine label, Bure Family Wines, for two years, which is at several restaurants, so matching the food and the wine is a big part for us. We’re big foodies” ● DEAN MCDERMOTT – “There is a great bar, Ye Coach & Horses in L.A., on Sunset. I’m so bad at this stuff! Oh, Katsuya, in the Valley, awesome sushi. It’s our favorite place. We go there like three times a week.” ● KEN BAUMANN – “In New York, my favorite restaurant is Il Cortile. It’s in Little Italy, and it’s run by this guy named Stefano, and it’s incredible, phenomenal food. In Los Angeles, my favorite restaurant’s gotta be Cut, which is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.” ● SHAILENE WOODLEY – “Honestly, I’m not really a club kinda girl. I’d rather go to a local bar with some friends and hang out there. Or just go back to my house and have people come over. I’m more of the congregate-at-my-house kind of chick. I’m 18, so I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars. There’s a place called the Alamo, which has karaoke and it’s a bar, but we go and karaoke there probably once a week.” ● FRANCIA RAISA – “I’m not a big club person. I really like bars and lounges. In L.A., I like to hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching sports and drinking beer with my friends. I really don’t go out that much. I hang out at home and have my own glass of wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I just tried this restaurant yesterday at Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a new, Italian place — Maialino. It was amazing. And again, I’m very simple, so I like pizza, and John’s Pizza out here is amazing to me, too. And hot wings I like at Planet Hollywood. I’m obsessed with them!”

At Zeno “Hot Spot” launch party @ MTV Studios:

● SKY NELLOR – “I am a huge sushi fanatic, so I just had Katsuya three times in two days in L.A. What is it about Katsuya? It’s the baked-crab hand roll in a soy-paper wrap. It’s just so yummy. I want one now! In New York, I have a fixation with Bagatelle. I just love the fish and the veggies. Nightclubs, nightlife, oh, my God! Apparently, I’m a really good bowler, so I hang out at Lucky Strike everywhere — Miami, L.A., Kansas! We just had a bowling party, and I won, so … Oh, they didn’t let me see my score. I just kept getting strikes to the point where they were, like, ‘Give her more shots! We have to stop this girl!’ And the drunker I got, the better I got. Clubs — if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out to dance. And I’m going to go where the DJ is playing. I don’t care what club it is. I went to a dive in L.A., at a party called Afex, just because some of the best DJs were playing that night. Like, I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about the scene. I care about the music. I don’t think the venue has a name. I think it’s called No Space. They just move the party around.” ● SUCHIN PAK – “I have a great place. It’s called Broadway East, and it’s on East Broadway. And I love it because it’s a beautiful space, but also it’s literally across the street from my house. That always helps. And then there’s a really fantastic place called Bacaro. Oh, it’s amazing! It’s downstairs. It’s almost a dungeon-like place. The people that used to do Peasant, the wine bar there, moved to this place. I like to say the Lower East Side on East Broadway is where the grown-up hipsters go. For a true Lower East Sider, it may not be true Lower East Side, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved more south than east, and I keep trickling that way.”

At charity:ball for charity:water:

● ADRIAN GRENIER – “Brooklyn. Fort Greene. Habana Outpost — it’s run mostly on solar power, and it’s a sustainable business.” MARK BIRNBAUM “Well, if I do say so myself, Abe & Arthur’s on 14th Street; SL, the new club underneath it. I still love Tenjune. And I like hanging out at home other than that. What about places other than your own? So I shouldn’t say the Chandelier Room, in Hoboken? I really like going to Bar and Books in the West Village — that’s our spot. You know where else I like to go? Miami — the new W South Beach is unbelievable, by far the best hotel down there. The design is incredible; the pool area is very nice; they have good restaurants there — there’s a Mr. Chow’s and the other one is good; the rooms are really nice; it’s very well done; it’s just very fresh, the entire thing; and the artwork is incredible. You don’t feel like you’re in South Beach — not that there’s anything wrong with it — but it’s really, really, really, well done.” ● NICOLE TRUNFIO – “I just found this really cool jazz club in Paris where they still dance to old, rock-and-roll music in partners. It’s a location undisclosed. I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s in the Saint-Michel — it’s just off it. You can jump into a taxi, ‘cause we went to a jazz bar called the Library, but that was closed. So we asked the taxi driver, and he took us to this place. So, I’m sure lots of local French taxi-drivers would know the place.” ● LAUREN BUSH – “Oh, gosh, I’m like so uncool! It’s such an obvious question, it’s so hard … I’m a vegetarian, so I love Blossom restaurant. They have a good, quinoa-tofu dish. It’s like gingery. It’s really good. ● EMMA SNOWDON-JONES – “I love Le Bilboquet because it’s consistent, and mainly wherever your friends are it makes the place. It’s on 63rd, between Park and Madison. I’ve gone there since I was in boarding school. I’d come into the city on the weekends, and I’d go there. I think anyone that’s been in New York as long as I have knows it. That’s a really, bloody long time, sadly. As good as my Botox is, it’s too long!” ● KRISTIN CHENOWETH – “I am an old-fashioned girl, and I still love Joe Allen’s. I go there all the time. And right next-door above, is a place called Bar Centrale, and I go there, too. I was just there last night for three hours. I like the manicotti at Joe Allen’s. It’s excellent!” ● JULIAN LENNON – “Probably the Jane bar and the Rose Bar in New York.”

At launch of S.T. Dupont in-store boutique @ Davidoff on Madison Avenue:

● RON WHITE – “I love the bars in Glasgow, Scotland. You could go sit in a bar by yourself and in five minutes, you’d be talkin’ to 10 people because they’re so curious about anybody that walks in that’s not normally in there. They just want to go talk to ’em and find out what they’re about. They’re just as friendly as they can be. I was there for the British Open, or the Open Championship, as it’s called. And if you go to a bar in New York City, you can sit there for the rest of your life and not meet another person because they’re not really gonna come up to you and go, ‘Hey, what’s up? What are you doing in town?’ That just doesn’t happen here.”

Billy Gilroy’s Interesting Employees

Bill Gilroy is one of the industry’s real players. Known as a hardass no-nonsense operator at places like Nell’s, Lucky Strike, and Match, he was one of those people always at the heart of well- run, successful places. His word has always been respected and good — a rarity in a world know for characters who try to get away with anything. Today, Employees Only and the new Macao Trading Co. are predictably making waves, and Bill Gilroy is behind them bringing experience, savvy, and that good word. I caught up to Bill at the Pod Hotel. We sat in his Pod Cafe and enjoyed food from his son Devon, the executive chef.

When did Billy become Bill? I’ve always known you as Billy Gilroy. If somebody asks my name, I say Bill.

I prefer Steven. My closest friends call me Steven, but almost everybody calls me Steve, and that’s because Steve Rubell told me it’s a very familiar name. Bill is a solid name; Billy is familiar — it’s like you’re accessible if you’re a Billy, whereas Bill might be a little more formal. Yeah, and William’s even more formal

Were you ever William? I was only William the first day of school, that’s it, or whenever I’m signing something, obviously.

You’re one of the most important people behind Nell’s, one of New York’s iconic clubs. The big breakout for Nell’s was the night they turned Cher away because she wouldn’t pay the five-dollar cover charge, and everybody paid five dollars at Nell’s. Well, actually, they didn’t recognize her. She had two young Spanish boys on her arms, and as they approached — actually before she even got within 10 feet of the ropes, I think — Thomás Mueller just said “It’s not happening tonight” without even going to the ropes. After that we had Thomás reading People magazine, because he was German and new to the country.

He’s around now. H was working for me for a little while at Macao, and now he’s at the Standard.

Cher was big news back then; Nell’s was seriously exclusive and serious about that 5 dollar cover. It really gave the club a boost. They turned away Eddie Murphy. He was with 12 people, and it was five dollars to get in, and he was ready to pay, but his entourage was like, “:Eddie Murphy don’t pay!”. So they kind of just got put through the other door. He came back the next night and paid the five dollars

He was at the Tunnel one night — he had a bottle of champagne, and the waitress came to me and said, “Eddie Murphy says that he doesn’t pay.” I didn’t mind him not paying because I would have comped him a bottle of champagne, but I wanted to go over to him — because my attitude was, if I comped a celeb a bottle of champagne, that means I was dropping their name in Page 6 tomorrow. That was the price. So I walked over to him and said, “I don’t mind you not paying, but in the future get a manager … the waitress doesn’t know to comp you if I’m not here.” And he said, “My clothes don’t have any pockets.” He was wearing a leather jumpsuit, and he didn’t have any pockets. You know he hates to get touched; he always had a bunch of people around him, because if you touched him, he really freaked out. Prince used to come to Nell’s quite often too, and he was also someone who he would never order directly — he would order through his bodyguard. He was one of those people — I guess similar to Michael Jackson — who’s so shy, and then they get up on stage and become so dynamic

What about you? You’ve mellowed over the years. I’ve not always been thought of as being the most easygoing,

How have you calmed down? Because I’ve been talking to you now for a few hours, and you’re a calm and collected and peaceful human being. Well, I’m working on my fifth marriage now, so that kind of wears you out. I’d like to think I wouldn’t make the same mistakes or react the same way as I did in my 20s or 30s over certain circumstances, just by virtue of the evolution of your consciousness through experience. Like they say, reincarnation is perfection to experience — it takes a few hundred times for me to get it, but I’ve had time to do it.

The club business is so rewarding — when it is rewarding — that you can fulfill a lot of your fantasies and your goals within it. You don’t necessarily have to prove yourself anymore after a certain point; you can look back and say. “I’ve done this body of work, I don’t have to answer to anybody, I may be a saloon-keeper — as Rick said in Casablanca — but that’s what I want to be.” And you are a saloon-keeper. Absolutely. You know, I serve soup and sandwich. That’s the common denominator here. I serve it to all types of people, whether they’re in fashion, the arts, Wall Street, or whatever. And for me it’s always been about networking, but networking in a way that the people who come get to meet people in fields perhaps opposite of what they’re into. For example, actors don’t necessarily want to meet other actors; they want to meet other people who live their lives differently.

Where did you get your start? I started at La Gamelle. I don’t know if you remember La Gamelle — it was on Grand Street, where Lucky Strike is now. I worked there with Florent Morellet, who opened Florent. He was the waiter, and I was the bartender, and there was a guy name Alex, little crazy Alex … He was the owner, an Algerian guy. I was there for the first five years. And then I went form there to the Water Club with Buzzie O’Keefe, and then I went to Café Luxembourg — that was Keith McNally. And then I went to Nell’s, and I was the maître ’d at Odeon.

And Keith was at Nell’s also, right? Yeah. Then I opened Lucky Strike with Keith, then went to Match from there, and then Match uptown, and then Match Hamptons, and then now most recently, Employees Only and Macao Trading Co.

We ate at Odeon yesterday, and my assistant Mary is sitting with us, and she’d never been there. I don’t know how many years old it is … 15, 20, 25? Almost 30 years old.

So now when you talk about training a staff — this is a three-week process with Keith McNally, and it’s really heavy — and it shows. You went through the Keith McNally system — Absolutely, he was definitely my mentor.

What does “service” mean to you? Everybody uses this word — we’re going to provide the best service there is, etc. So what does that mean? For me, great service is when it exceeds your expectations. If you go to a restaurant, you expect to be served, you expect the food to be decent, you expect that atmosphere to be nice … but when it exceeds that expectation, sometimes you can’t put your finger on it exactly. It’s important that the people I hire bring more to the table than just your basics, so I often prefer artists or people aspiring to be something else — they’re not career waiters. I’ve always felt like in traditional French or Italian restaurants, where they’re working those double shifts — those French shifts — and they’re subservient, and they’re standing off to the side … they almost look like they’ve been beaten down, and they’re not supposed to interact with the table. I’ve never enjoyed it personally, being served like that. When I am hiring people, it’s people who can interact with the table, they have a certain way about them … nice personalities and nice people.

I always hated it when they’re an actor, and after four years, they’re still bartending for me. I wanted them to get out and do well. Of course. And they bring that to the job — the fact hat they have some depth to them, another side, they can talk to the table. I’ve said many times the staff I have is more interesting than the clientele.

Industry Insiders: Leading the People’s Revolution

Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, embarked on her first public relations venture when she realized that fashion was the new rock ‘n’ roll. With the help of now-partners Robyn Berkley and Emily Bungert, People’s Revolution is a leading bi-coastal marketing and branding firm and a frontrunner in the fashion industry. The one-time affiliates of The Hills have their hands full for the fall ’09 collections — handing names such as: Yigal Azrouel, David Delfin, Buckler, Mara Hoffman, Nicholas K, Sergio Da Vila, Alexandre Herchcovitch, and Chado Ralph Rucci. The lightning-speed lifestyle required for the job has earned the firm a tough-as-nails reputation, but it occasionally takes a toll on the team. Upon arriving at the People’s SoHo office to sit down with BlackBook, Emily Bungert announced that her bi-annual Fashion Week ailment was already creeping in. “I’m losing my voice,” she said, “I lose my voice every Fashion Week. It’s just usually not two weeks before … it’s usually right in the middle or towards the end.” Read on for more from the power trio on the days leading up to the mayhem, nostalgia for Fashion Weeks past, and, without doubt, The Hills.

What’s this soon-to-be-legendary event that I’m hearing about? Kelly Cutrone: This year at Fashion Week, we’re doing three designers in one show. It’s the first time ever in the tents at Bryant Park that they’ve allowed one time slot for three different designers.

What’s the setup? KC: The setup is that there will be three of them, and they’re all going to have separate shows. So as one finale goes, and the lights will go down; there will be a sign change, and then the lights will come up, and the next designer with a music change will come out. It’s really fast. Robyn Berkley: All of the editors have to sit through all three shows. KC: The backstage will be crazy because there will be 80 models and three sets of hair and makeup.

Was it one invite? RB: No, three different invites.

How would you describe yourself in work mode? RB: Perfectionist, conscientious, innovative, and ambitious. KC: I’m brutally honest. In my role, I’m the leader.

Tell me some memorable Fashion Week stories. RB: One of our designers decided to change the number for the RSVP line that we had set up for him to his cell phone number. At the last minute. Emily Bungert: At the Sass and Bide show, when we were filming The Hills, the designer wouldn’t start the show until her friend — who was flying in from Australia — arrived. RB: Emily’s out front. I’m on the headset, and everyone is screaming at us to start the show. EB: The friend was flying in just to see the show from Australia, and the models are literally lined up, ready to start. The designer is just refusing to start, and we had to argue over the headset and decided that we had to start at that very second, and couldn’t hold the show anymore. Her friend didn’t end up getting to see it. RB: Another one for me is when we did the Heatherette show. They had to close the front of house, and there were still close to 1,000 people outside. Everyone was screaming. And then, we had never done production, and we had to call the show for Heatherette. I wasn’t there for the runthrough, so I get on the headset, and I’m like, “Okay, what’s the whole idea for the show?” All of a sudden, there are all these little fairy girls who are maybe ten, who are walking out with Amanda Lepore and there are dancers — and it was a full-on choreographed routine, and I had no idea. That was pretty dramatic. EB: One year at LA Fashion Week, we did three shows back to back in three hours, and it was all being filmed for The Hills. Andre Leon Talley was there floating around. He’d never been to LA Fashion Week before, and he sat backstage while we were calling the show. He stayed for our shows and sat in the fourth row — he never sits in the first row, he sits in the back. We weren’t completely sure why he was there.

Who’re your favorite clients? RB: I love Jeremy Scott’s shows. The energy there, the crowd, the music … Michel Gaubert does all of the music. It’s always really powerful. EB: Andrew Buckler has really good shows. He has really great models, so there are always a lot of cute boys floating around. That’s the fun thing about doing menswear every once in awhile. He loves to pull some little tricks, and he’s been known to have interesting things happening on the runway. One season, the theme was spaceships and aliens. It was in Bryant Park, and there, everything has to be done by the book, and you have to have insurance for everything. We get to the show that day, and backstage, there are these huge stilts. He didn’t tell us about it, but he hired a guy to be an alien, and the alien had to walk on six-foot stilts, and the stilts were taking up the entire backstage. The people at Bryant Park came up to us and were like, “You need insurance for these stilts.” And there was also a unicycle, and a man in drag was going to be riding it in a corset and a hat and a full face of makeup. But that’s like a typical thing that would happen to us. RB: We did a really good job for Yigal Azrouel when he did his first menswear presentation. He got an amazing response, and this season, he’s nominated for the GQ designer of the year award.

What are your fashion staples? RB: My new favorite jeans are the KSUBI Spray-On jeans, and anything Yigal Azrouel. I wear Chloe dresses. Lots of chain jewelry and big bangles. And the Alex and Ani Halo Necklace. They’re launching on ShopBop. I love Jo de Mer swimwear, and Camilla & Marc — who just launched their new swimwear collection. It’s the best thing I’ve seen in years. I only shop at one store in New York, called No.6. EB: I wear the Alternative Apparel Burnout Tee. We’re all obsessed with the Rag & Bone riding pants. RB: We wear black and white all the time, or else I wear Jeremy Scott.

Where are your places? KC: I go nowhere cool, first of all. Except for my clients’ places. I love Southside, Webster Hall. I love the Sunset Marquis hotel. I’m their publicist, and they’re my oldest client. We’ve been working together for 13 years. I love this hotel in Hermosa Beach called the Beach House, which nobody knows about. It’s the un-Malibu. It’s really beautiful and you can sleep on the second or third floor and have your door open and have the ocean rock you to sleep. I love this little, tiny restaurant on MacDougal street called Monte’s for Italian food. I am also known to pop into Little Italy and go to Angelos. I like it because the maitre’d treats fashion people like shit and is only nice to the mafia. He’s always like, “What you want?” He screams at me. And that, for some reason, I love. I love Savore, which is another unknown restaurant in SoHo, across the street from Mezzogiorno. And they have homemade foccacia. I go to Barolo once in awhile on West Broadway. I only go to places in a five-block radius. I love the Carlyle Hotel for the lobster sandwich, when I want to feel grown up. I love Sullivan Street Bakery. I like Omen, the Japanese restaurant. We love Lucky Strike. They’re like our living room. We love Sanctuary Tea. It stayed in business in a haunted space. Before they took it over, no one could stay in business there for more than six months. They give us free lattes during Fashion Week. RB: My best friend just opened up Charles. I love Nobu. I likeBar Pitti. I like Supper. I like Southside and Beatrice. I like Smith & Mills and Café Habana. I love the Vinegar Factory. We also like the backroom at Raoul’s. EB: La Esquina is my favorite restaurant. We like GoldBar. I love Café Gitane and Freemans. There’s a great restaurant in Williamsburg called Aurora. They opened one in Manhattan, but I like the one in Williamsburg better.

What is one thing that people may not know about you? EB: Well, I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I don’t think that people would expect me to be from Minnesota. RB: I always wanted to be in the circus. I wanted to be a trapeze artist. EB: Something that people don’t know about Kelly Cutrone is that she’s a really talented ice skater. She used to compete when she was younger. We were ice skating with her in Syracuse, and we’re on this local ice rink all wearing all black. Kelly was showing off her moves in the middle of the ice rink, and all the younger girls were getting really jealous.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? KC: My guiltiest pleasure is re-dating my ex-boyfriends. Recycling. Eco-dating. And just so you know, I’m down to my last ex-boyfriend to re-date. So it’s a very interesting time as to what’s going to become of me now that I’ve re-dated everyone that I’ve previously dated. RB: I cut all of them out. Three months ago, I started this intensive cleanse program, and I stopped smoking, drinking, eating, and now, I go to bed really early. I also cut out sugar. But if I wasn’t doing that, they would be smoking, drinking and eating. EB: I love red wine and Arturo’s pizza. RB: I sometimes get really obsessive watching CSI, like 10 episodes at a time.

Next is People’s Revolution — the reality show? RB: We can’t really talk about it yet. It’ll be announced right around Fashion Week. Most likely it will start pretty soon … everyone wants to delve right into it. EB: It’s definitely happening though.

Was your decision to get involved in reality TV based on The Hills and The City? EB: Kelly’s had a big presence on both shows and has gained a huge fanbase. That started everything. It will be very different from those shows though. It’s going to show what goes on during Fashion Week and with our clients and within the company. It’s more about People’s Revolution itself. It’s funny … Kelly goes to Target and has people going, “Oh my god, that’s the lady from The Hills.” It’s really funny. We went to Syracuse, Kelly’s hometown, and we stopped at a restaurant, and these young girls were staring at her and she’s like, “Oh no, Hills fans.” Her strategy is that she goes up to them and says hello because otherwise they’ll just sit and stare.

Will this be a huge lifestyle change for you? EB: I just hate having to think about my hair and makeup and what I’m going to wear.

What are you doing tonight? RB: I am getting on a plane and going to Miami. I am going to dinner with the team from Longchamp. Maybe seeing ex-boyfriends. I don’t really recycle them, but I have my ongoing conquests that don’t go away. EB: I am working on my sore throat so I don’t get too sick before Fashion Week. Taking some Emergen-C. I try not to make plans until March.

Photo: Patrik Andersson