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.

Riviera Sundays at Lavo, the Ban on Big Sodas, Sylvia Wood’s Passing

There will be no napkins safe this weekend as the serviette-tossing Rocco Ancarola returns to Lavo, July 29, for Riviera Sundays starting at 9:30pm. It is a joyous occasion. The event, called a "Celebration of Life," is a reference to Rocco’s long recovery from a heart attack that almost ended his life. In a Facebook post, he offered, "Thank you to all my friends for all your Love. You all helped me to recover very well and I THANK YOU ALL !!!!” Rocco is one of the great gentlemen in this business and we can’t wait to see him.

While at BINGO at Hotel Chantelle Monday, tablemate Michael Cavadias informed us that he was going to miss a week, something we never do, because he was heading to London. "For the Olympics," someone exclaimed, and I imagined him in a leotard, pole vaulting or weight lifting. Actually, he and our dear friend and inspiration Kembra Pfahler (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black) are performing at Antony’s (of Antony and the Johnsons) Meltdown Festival. Other performers include Lou Reed, Hercules and Love Affair, Joey Arias, Marc Almond, Laurie Anderson, and Diamonda Galas. The festival runs from August 1st to the12th, basically at the same time Olympians (sans the banned Greek racist track star) are running for the gold.

So I was so-so when Mayor Bloomberg led the charge in banning cigarette smoking in places where I eat and drink and dance and play and walk in. The downside at the time was the encroachment by government into our rights…or freedom of choice. The arguments about second-hand smoke hurting those around those evil smokers won the day and, in retrospect, the trade-off was OK.

Now comes a proposed ban on large containers of sodas that contain dreaded sugar at any place regulated by the Board of Health. It’s easy to spot those: they have a letter grade in their front window. I am a strictly-diet-soda guy, but this ban reeks of Big Brother. If they can ban sugar in soda, then they can ban butter on popcorn or lollipops or cracker jacks or hot dogs or liverwurst. The foods we eat are often only acceptable in moderation. I didn’t trust the cigarette ban because it seemed like a step 1. Now that step 2 is on the brink of enactment, I fear for step 3. Is step 100 a requirement for sensible shoes? A ban on ankle-breaking Louboutins? If a person wants to buy fattening soda, educate them, don’t regulate them.

Will drink maximums be considered by our Mayor? This won’t end until Bloomberg is put out to his billionaire pasture. He is so out of touch with the life of the regular guy that he thinks this might actually stop someone from consuming massive amounts of whatever. If they can’t buy a 32-ounce bottle, they’ll buy two 16-ouncers. Will New Yorkers eventually be fined for not wearing sunglasses on a sunny day?

We have to mention the passing of Sylvia Woods at 86, the legendary proprietor of Sylvia’s, Harlem’s soul food mecca. She was buried this morning. Reverend Al Sharpton performed the eulogy. I never met Sylvia, but was touched by her. When I was designing the Cherry Lounge for Timbaland and DJ Clue in Harlem, me and mine would stroll over to Sylvia’s for lunch and comfort. The walk over and the meal and the company at her restaurant washed away a myriad of stupid misconceptions we had about Harlem. She was a true ambassador for the neighborhood. It was wonderful. She will be missed.

Richard Alvarez On Tonight’s Art Soirèe at Stash

Despite my big hoopla Tuesday night at Avenue, today/tonight is my real birthday. It is very common in clubland to celebrate your special day on another day. I remember, back in the day, every time a Quentin Crisp or another not-so-rich celebrity needed $500, we would throw them a birthday party and give them the loot and a phony club dinner. Sometimes six months separated the event and the reality. A rival club honcho asked me why I did my bash at Avenue and I referred to yesterday’s article and told them that "they asked." It was wonderful.

Tonight I will work on my birthday; I guess I’m working right now…writing this, but I never think of what I do as work. My DJ agent Adam Alpert of 4AM is constantly reminding me of that. Tonight I will be a working DJ at Richard Alvarez’s art event at Stash. That will be from 9 to 11pm. I will then rush off to Hotel Chantelle to DJ from 11:15pm till around 4am. Miss Guy, Michael Cavadias will also spin. It’s been fun. Please come and say "Happy Birthday" if you wanna.
 
Richard Alvarez and I have been friends for generations. He is often seen at the chicest joints, doing the door…"WORKING IT". He is unbelievably fabulous and dear to my heart. He is also very talented. I asked Richard to do the paintings that adorn the entrance sequence of Stash. Tonight’s soirèe celebrates that work and the ridiculously wonderful Richard. I asked him about tonight.
 
What is this party about?
I’ve always sought alternative spaces in which to showcase mine and friends’ work, a residual of the whole DIY ethic, so having a space which is open and wants alternative sort of events is always on the radar. I was fortunate in being asked and delivering the sort of work that doesn’t require a masters in fine art to understand. I always get off when all sorts of people have an opportunity to view art. I believe we should be surrounded by and allowed to bask in ART, so any chance I get in pushing that agenda, I grab – an open bar, in a well developed space where everything is designed for the feeling of transporting you, and great music!!!!!! That just sounds like somewhere I would wanna be at so that’s what the party is all about.
 
Like many people in nightlife, you are an artist supporting yourself; tell me about your night work.
 
Steve, I am so LUCKY!!! I really have been given such great venues to work at. I always say I want my place (which I really do see as my house) to be an interesting mix; all of anything is boring. People go out to meet and be inspired. I mean, if you work in a law firm you would rather go to a venue that wasn’t filled with the sort of people that inhabit your office!!! You know I always try to create a space that I would wanna go to. Music is also such an important element, with a good sound system and music that isn’t being blasted on the radio, mainstream tunes are just as exciting when sandwiched between obscure dance tracks. The whole experience has got to be about having a night, being fun, easy on the ears, eyes, and wallet!!!
 
Where have you worked, and are you currently working?
 
Presently, I work at subMercer and a party called Nouveau York on Sundays. Wow, let’s see: I started working in one of the installation booths at Area, the door at The World Bar, Crobar, Cielo, Vinyl, Club Shelter, everywhere!!!!!
 
Nightlife seems to be making a comeback after a few years of doldrums. Why is it happening again, and where do you go when you’re not working? Where do you send hip friends?
 
I think everything has cycles, everything. I would also imagine the current financial scene has a lot of people staying put, not travelling as much but still wanting to have some fun. Brooklyn has the hot parties (illegal). Brooklyn is really the cool-school. I think more and more venues will be opening on that side of the city. I’m gonna get sh*t for this, but the subMercer is KEWL, Le Bain is also, Top of The Standard is so grown-up I LOVE!!!!!! Santos Party House is fab, Cielo has the best sound system, Pacha stays open late and has some fierce after-hour vibes. I mean, the city is still hot, but I really do follow the DJs, so wherever they play I’ll go. Competition is the best cause we gotta stay on top of our game. The more, the better… I think.
 
Tell me about your art: where it came from, where it is today, and where you are taking us.
 
As a kid, my mum used to read all the newspapers. I would always wanna take the type and create new verse with them (I did not grow up in a enviorment where art was even a proposition). Years later I learned of Andy Warhol and the whole idea of art for the masses. In the Bronx, most of the men in the building I grew up in were locked up, so they would always send these foil and glass crafty art pieces. They would also send there mums, wives, sis etc. those velvet paintings so I was exposed to the cheesy, crafty art projects that had an impact on me. Of course, I didnt realize it until much later. I also worked at Patricia Field as a teenager. Keith Haring use to sell his shirts in the store; we were the only store to carry them for awhile. In fact, every Sunday, after a long Saturday night out at The Garage, I’d be in the back folding his t-shirts all day!!!! Anyway, Keith created a free South Africa t-shirt and for a display he painted this huge mural on the 8th Street store window facing the street. I think that had a major impact. See, I paint on glass. I paint on the back, so I paint in reverse. I use a concoction that I’ve developed, my "Bitches Brew," if you will, adhesion. It’s all about the glue!!!! Glass is tricky to get paint to stick to, so I use polymers glitter paints that react to light and movement. If you dance looking at my work, you see things that you’d miss from just one angle. I LOVE that because then the viewer and the art really create this relationship that really is a personal thing, which is what good art should do; it should speak to you, create a feeling in you. I try to get that out of the work. It really is difficult since creating feelings it is hard, you know, making somthing that will still dance after I’m gone!!!!! That’s what I hope to achieve. As you can imagine, I’ve got my work cut out for me!!!!!!

Memorial Tribute to Musician and Graffiti Artist Ana Bender This Weekend

Late-night romps can be cruel after you have done in it for decades. Today’s sunlight is lashing me awake and I haven’t the strength to wash the evening out of my hair. Hotel Chantelle was absolutely off the hook last night, with Sam Valentine, Michael Tee, Miss Guy, and Michael Cavadias and a slew of others whipping the crowd into a frenzy. I think the weather had something to do with it as well. The early spring brings flowers early and confusion into club circles. When it’s nice, the places are packed, but when the weather returns to form and a cold rain requires clothes that have been packed away till next year, the hordes stay home. This Sunday, the two-hour premier of Mad Men will hurt Sunday club ambitions.

After memorial tributes in San Francisco and Seattle for Ana Dyson aka ANA BENDER aka AYBEE, NYC gets its turn. White posters pasted on walls that hipsters pass announced the memorial, which will start at 7pm MARCH 25 at Legion, 790 Metropolitan Avenue. It’s a free show. The posters were produced by Ana’s friend Katsu. This comes from the 12ozProphet website:
"RIP ANA BENDER
 
4/26/1987 – 2/2/2012
 
Ana Dyson aka ANA BENDER aka AYBEE
 
Was an influential musician and graffiti artist from Seattle that lived in NYC and SF.
 
She was known for her raw and pure punk/folk music style as well as her graffiti tags “AYBEE”.
 
AYBEE was a close friend of the BTM graffiti crew both on the west and east coasts.
 
She lived in New York City for a time.
 
She lived in SF for a time.
 
A free event is happening this Sunday."
There will be performances by JAPANTHER, Soft Dov, Brohammer, and Dead Reich and DJs Maxwell 57, NineLives, The Cat, Grace of Spades, Ella, and Chloe.
 
Tonight I will attend a very special affair that is hush hush, super duper, uber secret and I have sworn to only speak of it come Monday. It’s one of these "show up on a corner late-night and you will be led to it’" events.
 
Twenty years ago I would have thought I was being whacked. I can’t offer you more today; my body is upset at my brain for the insults of last night. My brain needs to turn itself off for a couple of hours. It asks for your forgiveness. I got the usual, "Don’t you ever sleep?" from the waitstaff at Kellogg’s Diner at 6am. They had seen me for breakfast 20 hours earlier. I replied with my usual: "I’ll get all the sleep I need in 20 or 30 years." I realized over my eggs that I started saying that 15 years ago.  

Bringing the Change to Williamsburg

It was a wondrous day. The first day I really had the ability to walk the dog proper and smell the roses, which are stinking up the whole hood. As regular readers know, I got me some food poisoning at my regular Chinatown haunt last Monday and only came up for air Friday. With new vigor and without six pounds of me, Amanda and I strolled with Lulu towards the newish hotel King & Grove in Williamsburg. It surely is becoming the talk of the town, said I realizing that never before had I felt like I wasn’t living in New York anymore. Brooklyn/Manhattan really has become a tale of two cities, and the differences are becoming more and more profound as every nook and cranny of my hipster heaven is developed into stardust. Sure, there are Duane Reades and other chain store massacres popping up, but they are merely flea collars—annoying necessities to keep the dog moving. I still go into Manhattan every day but I am starting to rethink that.

I’m new to Brooklyn, having only been living and playing here for a couple of years. My crew are 10-years deep and they know others deeper. They pooh- pooh us "Johnny Come Latelys" and talk of the real art scene that’s becoming harder to find. Amanda points out all the strollers and kids rolling around. Her cutesie theory is they are a result of all those good parties and spring picnics in McCarren Park of yore. It’s only going to get worse now that the HBO hit Girls is screaming lust and lattes to the world. In the last few years, the invasion of frat boys and their sorority sisters has irked the deep hipsters, but they haven’t seen anything yet. With construction trying to keep up and rents still a bit better than Manhattan, Williamsburg is changing—lets say evolving—to meet its destiny. This isn’t anything profound or new, just a rant on a Monday morning from a sick old fool who can’t wait to see what happens next week on Girls (and don’t get me started on Game of Thrones).

This Saturday I went to see the Dirty Pearls at the Gramercy Theatre. It’s the second show I’ve caught there. I caught Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg a while back. It is that small rock theater some have been pining for. It has a big enough/small enough feel to it, great sightlines and sound, seating for those of us who need to do that, and a couple of adequate bars. With Hiro in the history books and Don Hill’s a nostalgic memory, this is the right spot for Nur Khan and his ilk to put on the right show for the right crowd. On the Dirty Pearls bill were Hussle Club, who are very much a part of the mayhem that I am part of Thursdays at Hotel Chantelle. "Hussle-ers" Carol Shark and Prince Terrence are two of the four DJs in the Basement along with Michael Cavadias and Miss Guy. Breedlove and Starkiller were also on the big bill. The Dirty Pearls are a buzz band poised to break out big in the metal rock universe. This show was completely sold-out, unlike most of the crowd.

I walked over Beauty Bar to say hey to Michael Tee who has been their Saturday night regular for three years. The place was pumping with a nice crowd, which had been pumping Tequilla and Mexican beer in themselves since…early, maybe years. I forgot it was Cinco de Mayo, which has potential to be as annoying as St. Patrick’s Day. I made for the curb and walked into the Hole Gallery’s pop up restaurant Hole Foods at 231 2nd Avenue at 14th Street.

"Artist Joe Grillo has completely transformed the restaurant into a multifaceted, experiential artwork. Executive chef Robert Rubba will be serving fancy comfort Italian in his customized Dearraindrop chef suit. For three months only!"

I arrived too late for dinner but in time to talk the talk with Paper mainstay Carlo McCormick and some familiar downtown players. The old meatball restaurant that existed just a minute ago was awash with color and colorful folk. Am I wrong, but knocking off the extremely successful Meatball Shop chain without understanding what made that work is…wrong and maybe plain dumb. Saturday was the first time I walked in to the place and I walk by  four times a week. I don’t really know the story of this location and this seemingly defunct or on its way to defuncting restaurant, but I do know the story with the Meatball Shop. Mike is my boy and he’s doing it right. I’m putting down pen…er closing the computer and hop, skip, and jumping over to Bedford Avenue for lunch.

Where I’ll Be This Halloween

The major news of the day is the merger between EMM Group and Pacha over at the soon-to-open FINALE. They’re looking for performance artists and staff that can do more than just sling drinks and, as I have said, I think this is the shape of things to come in NY nightlife.

This Wednesday, Terry Casey and his inevitable sidekick Chris Graham will start their Sub-Atomic Wednesdays, a house music affair, at Lil Charlie’s. At the opening, they will DJ along with special guests Nelly Munoz and Niki McNally. I love the space and adore Terry and Chris, so I’ll be there. They have a big Halloween planned. They asked me to DJ the top floor that’s open to them for the holiday but alas, I will be at The Griffin along with Chrissie Miller and Michael Cavadias.

Lest I forget a special birthday shoutout to Jamie Hatchett who celebrated at Pink Elephant last week. I am still living out of suitcases as my new apartment is readied. I am getting to some things, but not to everything. Jamie is one of the good guys in the business who will surely finish first. 

The DL Begins Anew Tonight & Why You Should Never Call Me ‘A Legend’

Tonight marks a new beginning for The DL, a joint at 95 Delancey that was doing very well anyway…thank you very much. It’s luscious, sprawling, and enclosed rooftop brings the crowds – rain or shine, winter or summer. The launch of its Wednesday gala brings events on three floors, with notable DJs Prince Terrence, Carol Shark, Miss Guy, and Michael Cavadias on the top floor. Dirtyfinger and JLamar will be on the restaurant level as Sam Valentine and I recreate our rock and roll hootchie koo on floor two. I’m double dipping with an early gig at EVR, which attracts a totally adult fun crowd. My peers can pop by for a drink and still be asleep right after Letterman.

Seva Granik is behind this revival at The DL with partners Richie Romero and Bill Spector. I think this will a be back-in-the-day good time. Everywhere I go people pat me on the back and tell me how much fun they had in the "good ol’ days." They refer to me as "a legend," which always has me checking my pulse. To repeat some lyrics from my real "good ol’ days" …"These are the good ol’ days." Although I understand that I did some things back then that was all things to some people, I do very much like to be defined in the now. Now…tonight I will DJ 55 years of rock and roll from Carl Perkins to Rival Sons, and if you tell me I look good, I will smile but will be thinking less of you.

As I pointed out, The DL was doing fine before all this. Their restaurant serves serious food and they fill the place with great crowds who keep coming back for more. They will expand into more vigorously programmed weeknight soirees, timed to hit a warm weather season that sees them attracting throngs. I have been thinking about the first song for the new soiree and it will be "You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ by Johnny Thunders, a childhood friend. Yeah, I’ve been rolling and rocking for a minute.

Oh, lest I forget: Happy Birthday to Prince Terrence… Oh, and I’m back from that wedding in Puerto Rico, tanned from the hot sun and plump from mofongo. There may be a time, ladies and gentlemen, when you can truly say "Goodnight Mr. Lewis" as a future of quiet walks on endless beaches with puppies and my gal and friends on warm sunny days seems an inevitable conclusion to so many nights spent in so many loud rooms. I may end up swimming with the fishes after all, and the guy serving me Limber De Coco popsicles won’t think of calling me a legend.

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Sailor Jerry’s 101st Birthday Celebration and a 500 Million-Year-Old Extraterrestrial

I am usually fond of winter but my old bones are saying no, No, NO! and I’m mostly staying home for the week. I will venture over to Hotel Chantelle to DJ with Miss Guy and Lily of the Valley tonight. Lily has another name, Michael Cavadias, who is a person and an actor and a writer and all sorts of other things. Michael wrote and performs in The Mystery of Claywoman, which is directed by Rob Roth and playing several performances starting January 21st at Abrons Art Center (466 Grand Street). They sent me this:

Blending live performance and film, The Mystery Of Claywoman is the story of Claywoman (Michael Cavadias), a 500-million year old enigma who, legend has it, can cure anyone of their deepest pain. She, along with her canine musical traveling companion ‘Craig’ (Rob Roth), travels the universe searching for souls to heal and planets to save.
The Mystery of Claywoman begins with a "found, unfinished, severely damaged, and restored" documentary film that introduces the theories and mythology surrounding the Claywoman character. This mockumentary raises questions concerning our need for faith, ritual, and validation through interviews with characters played by such performers as Alan Cumming, Edgar Oliver, Amy Poehler, Justin Bond, Debbie Harry, and Ruth Maleczech.
 
With irony and wit, this fictional film sets the stage for the live lecture. Commenting on our "need for answers," the lecture explores the scientific and historical evolution of humanity from the perspective of this supposed 500,000,000-year-old extraterrestrial.
 
Special guests will introduce this latest version of the performance every night including Ana Matronic (Scissor Sisters), Michael Musto (Village Voice), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Kembra Pfahler (The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black), and Rachelle Garniez (Citizens Band).
 
On Saturday, January 14th, I will be among those crazy people celebrating what would have been the 101st birthday for that tattoo deity and old curmudgeon Sailor Jerry. Like Lily/Michael, Sailor Jerry had another name too: Norman Collins. Now, Norman lived a life quite different than most. His political views swung a little to the right of Rick Perry and maybe even Attila the Hun, but he left a legacy of art and technique that changed the world of ink. The press gal told me, "He expanded the color palette of modern-day tattooing with the creation of purple ink."
 
On January 14th, the Sailor Jerry Rum Company is teaming up with Fineline Tattoo and attempting to give away/create 101 Sailor Jerry Tattoos to those who get there in time. They’ll start at noon and go till 10pm. They’ve chosen 14 classic Sailor Jerry designs to choose from. Fineline is a respected shop which started in 1976 when getting ink was an underground thing. It wasn’t until 1997 that the city legalized it. If this isn’t enough, they’ll be offering up drink specials like Hot Apple Jerry all day at Lil’ Frankie’s where the crowd can wait their turn. I’m popping in early to get me a new one.
 
I’m not the only one taking it easy to start the year. 1Oak is closed for the next 2 weeks as they improve upon the sound and lights and such. They are sending their regulars to Darby Downstairs.

God Save the Queens: Star-Studded Benefit for Russia’s LGBT Community

The new Secretary of State at the Vatican, Pietro Parolin, said the other day that the subject of celibacy within the church is open to discussion. Responding to a question during an interview with Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the man regarded as "the most powerful official at the Vatican after the pontiff," said, "Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church."

"The efforts that the church made to keep ecclesiastical celibacy, to impose ecclesiastical celibacy, have to be taken into consideration," added the 58-year-old prelate from Italy. "One cannot say simply that this belongs in the past." (Now if i can only get this guy to talk to my girlfriend.)

The world is changing. Amid the usual doom and gloom, skirmishes, war and all the tragedy our media shows us, there are movements forward. I was the best man at a wedding between two women the other day. Rights and fair play are at least discussed. Society is more forgiving. Lindsay Lohan will get another chance. And we almost forgave Weiner and Spitzer—which is destined to be a talk show…OMG a reality show! How fun!

But then we have Russia. Vladimir Putin—who looks like the gayest man alive in every photo I’ve seen him in—is leading a regime of oppression against LGBT citizens of his beloved homeland. An event to raise awareness and loot to support our oppressed friends over there entitled "God Save the Queens" will light up XL Nightclub on Saturday night beginning at 7pm.

Lyle Derek and Noah Valentyn have put this shindig together and they should be rewarded for their efforts. By all means attend and tell everyone you know about it. Things can be done! I mean is any gay bar or club selling Stoli anymore? Shouldn’t all the clubs take a stand on this? I say fuck ’em in the wallets…It always works with my girlfriend.

A star-studded benefit for Russia’s LGBT community, God Save the Queens! To Moscow, With Love, will feature performances by Katrina Darling, Joey Arias, Miss Guy, Sherry Vine, Mistress Formika, Tina Burner, Dallas DuBois, Maddelynn Hatter, Michael Cavadias and Cher Noble.

Miss Guy will also DJ. I am assured there will be some surprises as well. It’s $20 at the door, shows at 7:30 and 9:30. The gala is hosted by Mudhoney Salon and Any Old Iron. Your door dollars will benefit the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, which is working to stop the violence in Russia.

Lyle sent me this:

Hi Friends:

I hope this finds you well. I am producing a party next Saturday that is a real labor of love! This party is supporting a friend’s organization called the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance which is working on the sad situation in Russia for our LGBT brothers and sisters.

Of all my events over the years I am so proud of this one. And it really needs your support and I would love it if you could join us and get tickets for this wonderful group who are taking direct action. Let’s all come together on this night and celebrate and send Moscow lots of love!

I would truly appreciate it if you would get tickets to this one and if you cannot go please spread this around on Facebook and emails, etc. Let’s show Russia some real New York love!

And the show is one of the most exciting NY line ups in ages—and we have some real surprises in store too! I hope to see you there and share a Pink Russian with you!

xoxox

Lyle

I had a chance to ask Lyle some questions.

What is the situation for LGBT people in Russia?

We have spoken to some of the queens in Russia and as we all know, it is rough for them, but they have a thriving gay scene and drag scene despite it all. Russians are a very strong and resilient people, but I am by no means an expert on this issue. Like many, I am just concerned and this is a sad state in this day and age. We have come so far and had such a great year here and it’s like the dark ages there.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

We hope to raise awareness for the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, and some funds would be great too. They are friends of ours and we want to help them. They are from Russia and working in Washington now on this issue directly. They will be at our event Saturday and will speak about what is going on and they know much more about what is going on than I do, so we hope everyone comes, we all get the facts and the night makes an impact.

What is going to happen at the event?

"God Save the Queens" is really a drag spectacular with Mistress Formika doing a rare drag appearance. We have the legendary Joey Arias and Sherry Vine and many more who will do numbers in the theme and spirit of our event. The scandalous Katrina Darling who ruffled the real queens’ feathers last year with her Playboy spread will open the show with a sexy burlesque number and Miss Guy is going to close the night with his new track "God Save New York," which he did with Debbie Harry.

Are you excited about doing this at XL?

Doing this at XL made so much sense as they are the epicenter of gay culture and are doing it with such class. A lot of venues wanted this show but XL at The Out Hotel just made perfect sense to us and we will be doing another God Save the Queens right before the Olympics and in London and Los Angeles to continue to help the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance. The one thing this is doing is bringing the global LGBT community together and that is good. It’s going to just grow before the Olympics.

Is there hope?

Of course there is always hope. Look at the great year we had with the Supreme Court. It was a long road to that victory. And Russia will be next.

What do you feel is appropriate regarding the Olympics in Russia? A ban? A boycott of advertisers? An armband of solidarity?

We need to take our anger to the Olympic Committee and the government, not companies that have nothing to do with Putin or his policies. I think the blogger Dan Savage was very irresponsible by putting false information about Stoli out there and started this boycott. All of our performers find that a waste of time and Stoli has been supportive of LGBT events for decades and continue to be. We should all stand together, not have this animosity for folks who our on our side.

Are Russian gays eligible for political amnesty in the USA?

I am not sure if they are, but after Russia took in Edward Snowden, I hope our country would welcome the queens from Russia. Gays never give up secrets.

Get "God Save the Queens" tickets here!

 

image of Joey Arias via