The Most Hated and Loved Man’s Birthday & The Vinatta Project Gossip

All the unusual suspects will gather for DJ-club god Michael T’s birthday. I have never loved or hated someone as much as Michael, and that’s in the first 10 minutes every time I meet him. He can be oh-so-sweet and oh-so-sour, but his heart is always in the right place. There was this one time — I’m going to stop there, as we all have stories. He remains my favorite DJ who isn’t named Paul Sevigny. How can someone so ageless have so many birthdays? He’s celebrating two on one day…tonight.

The first of Michael’s birthday parties, according to the invite, is from 8pm till 1am at La Bottega at Maritime Hotel, 363 W. 16th St. The second runs from 11pm till 4am at Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St. There seems to be an overlap, and I suspect that the wily Mr. T is employing one of those Tupac hologram thingys or something like that. I’m always confused if it"s Michael Tee or "T.” In either case I will show up at one of these soirees to celebrate my friend’s fabulousness – probably at Beauty Bar so I can dine at IHOP right after. Michael is so thoughtful like that.

Everybody I know (from some circles) is off to Sundance to overpopulate the tiny hamlet of Park City, Utah. I spent a year there one night. I am being inundated with invites, but everyone knows I gave up the snow years ago. I’ve actually never gone to Sundance, as ski slopes and roller coasters and jumping from airplanes are for my next incarnation. I do love a good film though, and I hear they’re showing some in between, before and after all those parties. Noah and his Strategic Group have taken over some underground garage facility, decorated it, and snazzed it up, and are ready to show all how it is done. I would love to check out Park City Live, the newly renovated hot spot that always books national acts. My pal Kathryn Burns is living her dreams there.

Monday (after BINGO) I will attend the Benefit Concert for Animals hosted by Wesly Wang, Geri Gongora, Dava She Wolf, and sponsored by Alacran Tequila and Forever Young wine at Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan St.  The Bashers – featuring musicians from Guns N’Roses, Soul Asylum, X-Pensive Winos, Uptown Horns – and others will lead the way. The Planets will also perform. Bands start at 9:30pm and they’re asking for a minimum of $10 at the door.

On Sunday the rockers will descend on Manitoba’s for the 14th annual anniversary extravaganza. It’s billed as the first great party of ’13 – and I’m a believer (unless someone actually plays that track). It’s running from 1pm to 4am, and is a "15-hour rock and roll party at 100MPH.” There will be munchies and drink specials, and the football games will be shown. Handsome Dick Manitoba and his lovely wife Zoe Hanson will host.

The other day, a reliable source whispered to my always open, rather large and sometimes naive ears that the building where The Vinatta Project thrives was bought by Matt Levine. It simply isn’t true. Matt reports: "I have no involvement at 69 Gansevoort at this time. Let me get The Rowhouse Inn open first before myself and Michael start opening up more spaces in the Meatpacking, haha."

Well, at least my boy got that Rowhouse part right. Rael Petit, a friend of mine and partner and manager over at Vinatta, 69 Gansevoort, asked me to clarify. He’s at Sundance doing diners for his Mulberry Project and Vinatta. I caught up with him before he jetted off. He told me Fridays and Saturdays are slammed at Vinatta with a great crowd listening to resident DJ Mok. He tells me the Tuesday-through-Thursday crowd are filled with the locals and are for my tastes. I’m summoned to check it next week when he’s back. The official line from them is :

“The Vinatta Project opened its doors in November 2011 in the bustling Meatpacking District. In the constantly evolving restaurant statosphere, The Vinatta Project embodies all of the components of a perfect night out–delicious food, complete beverage program, friendly service an a hip yet inviting atmosphere.  The menu features a selection of Contemporary American dishes including Paella Spring Rolls, made with Shrimp, Chorizo, Jalapeño and Smoked Paprika Aioli, Tuna Tartare with a Crispy Wonton and Wasabi Greens and NY Strip, served with Chimichurri, Polenta Croutons and Pickled Red Onion.

Vinatta also features a robust beverage program, complete with hand-crafted bespoke cocktails created by some of the best mixologists in NYC, and a selection of artisan spirits. Vinatta is open for weekend brunch, special events or even catered parties.”

Yesterday,  my very secret whisper-in-my-ear source, who obviously is right most of the time but not all (the price of being fast and first), says that The Shadow space on W. 28th St. has a new operator. Shadow was owned and operated by the old-school, wonderful Steven Juliano.  He, according to my source, has settled on a buyer which my source says is one of the premier operating  groups. I know who it is, but I’m going to double and triple check before I tell you.

New York: Top 5 Hotels You’ll Never Have to Leave

Leave the touring to the little people. image1. 60 Thompson (Soho) – Trendy but not too obnoxious, with fine dish Kittichai downstairs and A60’s unparalleled views up top 2. Hudson Hotel (Midtown West) – Schrager and Starck’s West Side claim brings two hot bars and a swanky comfort-food cafeteria. 3. Dream Hotel (Midtown West) – Room service from Serafina, Rm. Fifty5 for off-lobby tippling, Ava for sick views on two levels. Making midtown modern/bearable.

4. Mandarin Oriental (Upper West Side) – Asiate, MObar, and the Lobby Lounge, on top of a five-star spa and lap pool. 5. Maritime Hotel (Chelsea) – Studded with porthole windows and stuffed with an upscale Japanese and a rustic Italian restaurant, a patio, a cocktail deck, and a booming nightclub.

Albert Hammond Jr. Gets a Hiro’s Welcome

New York’s samurai den Hiro Ballroom at the Maritime Hotel held a party that Spin publisher Malcolm Campbell described as being the first official party for the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. The only indication of that were the sluggers flashing on a big screen, plus two dudes in the corner trading long balls on a Nintendo Wii home-run derby. People were there for one reason: to see Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. play songs from his new solo album, ¿Cómo Te Llama?. However, when Hammond finished his accomplished (if not Strokes-ish) set, the crowd didn’t seem all that into the idea of an encore.

After he left the stage, the lights remained dim (it was a party, after all) but the DJ stayed silent, giving the audience an opportunity to coax Hammond back on stage. What I heard were scattered claps — maybe twenty out of the several hundred people there — and a few awkward chants of “One more song! One more song!” Despite several attempts to get the crowd in the mood, each such attempt eventually faded to general, disinterested chatter. After about five minutes of nail-biting suspense — will he or won’t he! — the answer came with the sudden sound of John Lennon screaming “Twist and Shout.” The crowd, ever so jaded, did neither. So did Hammond’s plans for an encore dissipate due to lukewarm audience response? Or was the DJ just slow to the decks? Check back next week when we interview the man in question.
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