Luc Carl on Rocking the Lower East Side

This Thursday, Sam Valentine and I will DJ at our weekly “Generation Wild” Rock Party at Hotel Chantelle. We will be joined by the legendary Lüc Carl. Luc is famous for lots of stuff and real good at things that get lost in the fluff that surrounds him. Although we have different approaches to life on this planet we are both grounded in rock. At Chantelle we play the stuff that makes them gag at most saloons. You won’t hear Blondie or the B-52s – not that those fantastic acts don’t have a place in my heart or my playlist… but they just don’t have a place on Thursdays, on the lobby level. Miss Guy and Michael Cavadias offer that downstairs and sometimes it can be mixed in on the glorious roof …but the lobby is rock and roll hoochie koo. If you, like my editor, don’t know what rock and roll hoochie koo is (editor’s note: watch it, Steve.), come by and ask one of us …although I think Nicky Delmonico, the tattooed go-go vixen will be better at explaining it.

In this photo by Eric T. White, Luc looks like the rock star that he is. I asked him to tell me all about it:

On Rock ‘n’ Roll
At the age of 8 I got my first drum set. That same year in my father’s Dodge I discovered Playboy, Peppermint Schnapps, and ZZ Top. That’s the day I became a rock ‘n’ roller and I’ll never go back.

On St. Jerome’s
At the age of 25, the woman I’d been working for handed me the keys to a brand new bar. A shitload of hard work and booze later, it became one of the world’s most significant rock ‘n’ roll bars. I left the bar just over a year ago, yet it remains the driving force of rock ‘n’ roll in New York City. It may be falling apart (good luck getting a cold beer or a working air conditioner) but they’re always fully stocked with Jameson and 20-somethings talking about decades they weren’t alive to experience.

On Lady Gaga
At the age of 25 a girl walked into my bar and we instantly fell in love. (I found out later that at the time, she was only 20 years old with a fake ID). We dated off and on for over six years. She wrote a bunch of catchy pop songs and realized that if she walked around in public with a potted plant on her head the world would say “who is that?” and the tabloids would write stories about her. Her life, needless to say, completely changed, and I’m not the type of guy who can sit on someone else’s yacht sipping champagne. Unfortunately, to date someone who is never in the same country, let alone zip code, you had better be rich or be willing to live off of their money. I was neither.

Unfortunately, I get a bum rap. I could write four bestsellers and have 100 radio shows per week and the general public will still be more interested in the ex-boyfriend title. (You already thought about skipping the rest of the article…see what I mean?).

She’s an amazing woman and I wish her all the best in the world. Although I think we all know she already has it.

On SiriusXM
I’ve been on-air there for nearly a year now. I love it. It’s the only place in the world where real-deal rock ‘n’ roll remains relevant. I can be found seven nights per week on either 38 Ozzy Osbourne’s Boneyard, or 39 Hair Nation.

On The Drunk Diet
Somehow between all the partying and working my ass off I found time to write a book. It’s in stores all over North America and in Europe. It’s been featured in The New York Times, Penthouse, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Fox and Friends, Mens Health, Runners World, Bicycling Magazine, Self, etc. I also have a blog that features my insanity on a daily basis and gets over a million hits per year. LucCarl.com

On Ludlow Manor/ The DL
Last summer my good friend and bandmate for nearly a decade, Georgie Seville, came to me about a business opportunity. The space was gorgeous and I was ready to get back into nightlife so it seemed like a win-win. I was hired to staff the second floor with bartenders and DJs and basically make sure no one was fucking up. A month later, I was in every local newspaper as the “owner” of Ludlow Manor with, of course, my ex-girlfriend’s name right next to mine because that’s the only way the publicists could sneak their way into the papers. I came to find out that the actual owners had lied to the entire staff, including myself, about having liquor licenses. It seems to me that if you want to open a club of that size in an old Jewish/Hispanic neighborhood and fill it full of uptown idiots listening to pop music, the first thing you should do is get all the proper permits. But what the hell do I know: I’ve only been in the business for 12 years.

On Hotel Chantelle
Recently I was approached by Hotel Chantelle to DJ their Thursday night party and I was instantly excited. They’re doing something real. There are very few places in the world where I can play the music I want to play and actually have someone want to come listen to it. That’s the beauty of this city. When one bar fucks you over, there’s always another one right across the street.

Onward and upward. This Thursday the bar will be packed full of beautiful people with nothing to lose but a few useless brain cells. I’ll be behind my Mac playing music that was written before anyone ever heard of the Internet, with a smile on my face as big as my hair.

If you see my Harley out front, please don’t sit on it.

Kenmare & Travertine Changing, Ludlow Manor Loses Floors

This week finds me too busy to completely vet your rumors, so you will get a lot of "we hears." For example, I heard the Kenmare closed up "temporarily" while they get their restaurant situation together. We hear the Travertine is getting their kitchen together with a familiar face. It’s an out-of-the-frying-pan into a red-hot-as-a-fire situation. And I was told that Ludlow Manor has been chopped down to size.

For Ludlow, the community board got miffed at the operators, citing all sorts of misrepresentations and misdirections. My source told me (as if he knew everything about it) that they only had one liquor license for iall three floors and were playing some catering license/"private party" type of game. The powers that be put the kibosh on that and closed down two floors. On Saturday night, I walked by and saw the roof without its trademark blue lights on, and the ground floor dark. The side door — which takes VIP types to Luc Carl’s private lair "Casino" — was admitting patrons. The problem with that is my source and published reports say it’s only the ground level that is actually licensed. You can’t take a state-issued liquor license and move it around from floor to floor. I’m afraid that the authorities are going to deal with this continued game of night moves harshly. It’s possible they got some sort of permission to use the paper on a different floor, but I’ve never heard of that. More on that perhaps later.

These closings put a whole lot of people out of work at the worst possible time. I’m not saying it could have been prevented. Kenmare will be great when it returns to the living, and eventually Luc and Georgie Seville will get organized, but the impact in the "right now" is tremendous. Scores of people, including DJs and bartenders and waitrons and security and busers and promoters etc., will have a lot less loot in their pockets to ring in the New Year. It does seem to me that community boards are becoming more aware of the need for joints and therefore jobs. Closing places on technicalities must stop because all of us need to — technically speaking — pay rent and eat and buy things.

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Back From the Dead: Ludlow Manor Hires NY Nightlife Association President, Reopens

Yesterday I walked past the shuttered-by-the-NY State-Liquor-Authority Ludlow Manor. The place was all lit up and looking ready to go. There was some action on the first floor where a real liquor license was granted. The upper floors were conspicuously unoccupied. There was a new unpainted exhaust vent on the Ludlow Street outer wall. Maybe it was always there, but I never noticed it. Having a real food component was a condition placed on the place to re-open. Someone said it would never re-open and I told them they were wrong; too much has been invested, too many jobs are at stake, too much tax revenue to be made. I wasn’t surprised today when an old friend and New York Nightlife Association honcho called me to tell me he was coming aboard to right all the wrongs. I asked him to send me an email all official-like, and here it is:

Due to an operational oversight during the launch of Ludlow Manor late last year, that occurred simply due to an excitement surrounding the opening, management of the space at 95 Delancey Street decided to regroup and focus on doing everything possible to deliver the best experience to their guests. To ensure this, they have brought in Paul Seres, President of the New York Nightlife Association, to handle day-to-day operations.
 
Additionally, Luc Carl is no longer involved in the project.
 
Today, the first step begins, as we are excited to announce the opening of The DL, a tapas restaurant located on the ground floor. The focus is on perfecting every aspect of the venue, and that starts with making sure The DL is delivering high-quality food and bringing a new experience to the Lower East Side. Over the next few months we will be introducing several new elements and look forward to making sure each step is executed properly, ensuring a great destination for our guests.
 
Paul Seres

Ludlow Manor In Trouble With New York State Liquor Authority, Selling PB & J Sandwiches

A special friend has relayed the information that Ludlow Manor, that ambitious club/lounge/(restaurant?) had an awful time with the New York State Liquor Authority at the full Board Meeting Wednesday. Nobody got hung or shot, but they did get buried with being forced to turn in the liquor license for safekeeping the end result. My ex-wife took my cat Violet for "safekeeping" 20 years ago and I haven’t seen either since. Ludlow Manor is fronted by Georgie Seville and GaGa’s ex Luc Carl, something the board took note of. The Times reported that Luc called himself an owner and, by SLA rules, that isn’t strictly true. It is merely a harmless exaggeration club-runners use to describe themselves when they often own nothing more than their wardrobe. I wont reveal the names of the real owners here.

His and his attorney’s attempt to calm the savage beast of the board bordered on comical. The board wanted to know why they weren’t serving food, a basic condition of their license.They pointed a finger at universally-hated Con-Ed, which hadn’t gotten around to giving them gas. The board asked if they currently served any food at all while waiting for power. They answered cold sandwiches. When pressed about what kind of delicious and nutricious sandwiches they were offering, they replied peanut butter and jelly… and also turkey. My man on the scene did all he could to contain his laughter, but the scene was sober and guffaws would have been inappropriate and dealt with severly. When asked about why the upper two unlicensed floors were operating, fingers were pointed at a no-longer-employed bad, bad publicist. The club’s lawyer was less than dynamic. The board was less than sympathetic. A $10,000 fine was assessed and the license grabbed until a  fully-functioning kitchen appeared, at which time another hearing would be held.
 
Last night, they were closed. I visited Georgie at Ludlow last week to get the story, but I didn’t really need to ask him any questions. He was slumped on a bar stool and looked worried and beaten. Usually an upbeat gent with a million-dollar smile, he looked shaken and stirred, with little spark in his famously bright eyes. He talked about bills piling up and employees out of work. I wished him luck, knowing that luck would have nothing to do with it.
 
Kenmare was in front of the same board. They were found guilty of serving a minor booze. Liquor lawyer legend Warren Pesetsky pointed out a discrepency in the bust. An undercover purchased two beers for $16, but expensed $38. When cross- examined at a preliminary hearing, the undercover explained he was good tipper. Kenmare is currently closed, awaiting a knight in shining armor to revitalize the space as a restaurant. Banter between the owner and SLA board was about the chef quitting. The board queried about it being strange that he couldnt find a chef in NYC . The owner wanted to get one form his other restaurants and none seemed enthusiastic about getting involved. Here, too, the real owner did the talking as the former "front owners" Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan were someplace else being "owners."
 
This is not a put-down of those two guys or any of the other "owners" that are merely the handsome faces put out front to generate buzz and get things working. In reality, the marketing  people or operators who aren’t on the license define a joint way more than the squeaky clean fellow who invests the cash and gets to get a license.  A new concept is coming at Kenmare. The place was shut on advice from lawyers who understood that a wrath from above would surely come as the kitchen got closed, leaving only the lounge to cause trouble. The license was surrendered voluntarily while violations and concept are defined. The voluntary surrender of the license was the right way to handle it .. the police raid and subsequent taking of the license at Ludlow…not the right way. Sources tell me the peanut butter and jelly defense was never considered by Kenmare’s attorney.

Ludlow Manor & Electric Room Revitalize the Rock Scene

I took a tour of Ludlow Manor, a quite large restaurant/club/lounge on the south side of Delancey and Ludlow. It’s right across the street from Hotel Chantelle. The joint will open this Friday, with owners Georgie Seville and Luc Carl doing the inviting. It is the sister club to The Delancey, that wildly famous joint just east. The owner of that joint, Robert, is hanging out behind the scenes letting the rock studs run with it. I worked with Georgie back in the day, and he is pure Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo. This makes me happy. I am a rocker to my core, and am pleased to have another joint where I can hang.

Joining Georgie as a partner is former St. Jerome honcho Luc Carl. Yeah, that guy. I asked the publicist if he was still dating Gaga, and then withdrew the question. Sorry I brought it up. He’ll be making things run right on the second floor Casino room. This has a separate entrance on Ludlow street. If he’s not there, you can catch him on Sirius/XM Channel 39,

 Hair Nation. He has a book coming out in March called The Drunk Diet (St. Martins), about losing weight without giving up booze. His Drunk Diet blog has garnered over a million hits.

Ludlow Manor has a roof to die for, with 20-foot ceilings and a retractable roof for warm weather, and a very bubbly wading pool in the center. Like The Delancey, large tropical trees and lush foliage add to its charms. I didn’t notice when I was there, but was told later that the requisite lounging beds in this case are water beds. There are miles of stairs so be prepared. The first floor boasts a long bar and familiar talent behind it. They’re serving food along with the booze. This Friday’s DJ lineup includes Alexandra Richards, Nick Cohen, and of course, Luc Carl.

Another rock and roll joint that always gets my attention is Nur Khan’s Electric Room under the Dream Downtown. To enter, patrons must travel down the parking garage ramp which is adorned by paintings by art player Harif Guzman. I caught Harif the other night as I was heading down to the club. He was holding court, er, ramp, with a bevy of beauties including Margot Bowman, who DJs in Paris and London, and threw a long-running party there. Her painted jacket had me drooling. They are rock and roll hootchie koo. Margot Bowman is an artist, illustrator, designer, as well as a DJ. She is the creative director of The Estethetica Review, a publication focused on ethical fashion published biannually in conjunction with the British Fashion Council. Other ongoing projects include the Painted Truths series for Notion magazine, and Another Fashion Cartoon for Another magazine, and everythingissoamazing.com.

Rock is coming back stronger than ever, and the Electric Room  provides an outlet for the set that doesn’t feel comfortable anymore in the grungier joints (where I live).This crowd just can’t get into the R&B, hip-hop offerings found at most clubs, and considers the mash up or mixed format DJ scene unacceptable. House doesn’t do it for them at all. Electric Room is a playground for rockers with a little success in their pockets.

When you talk of rock, hootchie koo, and all that, purists will mention the Bush Tetras. They never quite made it out of the scene to stardom, but carved out a reputation as a real-deal band in the ’80s no wave scene. What separates bands from arenas and big paychecks can often be lack of a great song, but the Tetras had a few including "Too Many Creeps"(1981) and "Can’t Be Funky"(1982). Too many creeps and wannabes often cash in, while some great talent never breaks out. The original bassist for the Tetras, Laura Kennedy, passed Monday after a long battle with liver disease. We offer condolences.

BlackBook Midnight Mixologists Presented by Stoli

After rollicking stops in LA, Chicago, and Miami, all eyes were on New York City last night, as Stoli’s Midnight Mixologists  made the final stop—the grand finale, if you will—of their successful nationwide tour. It all went down at Ludlow Manor, the Lower East Side’s brand new multi-level funhouse, and we’re happy to report the event did not disappoint. As if there was ever any doubt.

They were all there: Justin Anderson, Brad Bolt, Camille Austin, Beate Kiser, Joe Brooke, and Charles Hardwick. And they brought their skills with them. The packed house enjoyed the exclusive, specially-crafted cocktails from each mixologist and danced to beats courtesy of DJ Danny Rockz. Photography was provided Nancy Egan, and video duties fell to Stephen Kaczmarczyk. Special thanks go out to Stoli and Ludlow Manor, for being beautiful.   

Dumps, Dives, & Holes: Not-So-Saintly St. Jerome’s

St. Jerome’s is an awesome gothy punk bar. Slightly removed from the Ludlow Street shit show, it sits off Clinton on Rivington just across from ABC No Rio. No matter when you go, as long as it’s dark, the music is always great, the projected porn is always vintage, and the disco ball is always turning. The best part: it’s completely filled with fog.

The block is particularly quiet, so the large window with the back of some DJ and swirling dots of disco light immediately draw you in. After pushing past the thick velvet curtains, you enter a haze, only able to see vaguely in front of you. On the left is the elevated DJ stage where they are always playing Danzig, The Cure, or punk leaning towards the more obscure. They don’t take requests, I’ve witnessed. A line of large semi-circular velvet booths and candle light lead you to the bar where the constant old fleshy movie is projected above.

Drink prices are normal, with the exception of the awesome happy hour ’til midnight where two dollars will get you a Bud and Bud Light. There’s also two specials — the Happy Meal (shot of Jameson and a Budweiser) and the Donkey Show (tequila and a Corona), which are both $7. As the bar’s owned by Lady Gaga’s ex-boyfriend Luc Carl. The small stage opposite the bar was her home before she hit it big, and it still hosts acts like her cool friend Breedlove, who used to do his Magic Monday party there (though now I believe it’s moved over the open-or-not Ludlow Manor).

Above all else, St. Jerome’s is just a gorgeous old space. The black ceiling is vaulted, thick and intensely ornate squares recede upwards, the intricately floral walls are broken up with diamond slabs of antique mirror, and the floor is cracked marble. Its effortless beauty makes you feel as though you’re transported back to a mid-century speakeasy, but then you open your eyes and half of some kid’s head is shaved. Go later. I’d imagine it’d be a good place to take a date, given it’s dark, cheap, atmospheric, and there’s constantly sex projected on the walls. I have no idea if people even date like that anymore, so maybe go with a friend and hit on people instead.
 

155 Rivington Street
Between Clinton and Suffolk