Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Will Fleet Week Save Us From Ourselves?

Photos via Fine Young Man productions

The drone of the tattoo gun was a sexy background music to polite conversation. Hipsters, tastemakers and painted ladies enjoyed wonderful concoctions of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, while cute sailor boys mingled. One young lad wearing the whitest uniform ever designed turned to the older mariner and lamented, “Chief, I’d love to get a tattoo, but I live with my mother when I’m done.” The older seaman barked at him, saying, “Get it where she won’t see it,” and headed toward the free BBQ.

It was Fleet Week at its best as “The City That Never Sleeps” embraced seaman from all over the world. An old joke wonders about how long Popeye and Bluto have been at sea. It must have been a long time, it goes, because they immediately get it on with a no holds bar fight over what has to be the ugliest gal in the world, Olive Oyl.

At The Sailor Jerry Home Base, open until the 29th, there were no fisticuffs as the boys in white were on their best behavior. They called all the women, “Ma’am,” and all the men, “Sir,” as they hobnobbed with the likes of Rock Photographer Mick Rock, and artists Buff Monster and Hanksy. The free BBQ from Daisy Mays, haircuts from Frank’s Chop Shop and tattoos from Three Kings were provided to thank them for their service.


You see, Sailor Jerry was a real dude—Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins was in the Navy back in the day before he took the art of tattooing to a different level. I wear his tattoo flash all over my body. It grounds me in old world values and speaks of a time when honor was more important than life itself. Now good ol’ Norman wasn’t what these days we might consider a “perfect” guy. His political views put him a bit to the right of Attila the Hun, but he sure created some classic tattoos. I got one yesterday, a sparrow, which in the old days meant I had traveled 5,000 nautical miles. I may not have done that, but I have been lost at sea and shipwrecked a few times without leaving this island.

As we walked down the streets of the sanitized Times Square it hit me how NYC has changed. Years ago, the sailors would have flocked to the center of our universe looking for love in all the wrong places. Now they just ogle and politely smile. All the politeness is so confusing to me. My daily regime is polka dotted with rudeness and bitter arguments, as this election year seems to have turned us all against each other . Lifelong friends fight over candidate’s shortcomings, as political leanings turn into seemingly religious arguments. On the dating sites I occasionally peruse looking for love in all the wrong places, potential hookups want to know in advance if you stand with this guy or that gal. I can’t imagine, imagining any of the candidates in the bedroom. The campaigns have made all of us idiots in the eyes of those with opposing views. Facebook is a battleground.

Fleet Week and all the polite warriors that have been washed up on our shores have brought us a different set of rules of engagement. Some of us may disagree with the politics of Navies and the military, but there is little argument that these boys and girls in white are standing tall for all of us.

This Sunday everybody’s favorite bad boy from The Walking Dead, Daryl himself, Norman Reedus, will ride up on a custom built Sailor Jerry Harley and make a guest appearance to toast to the troops for all their hard work at the Sailor Jerry Block Party, featuring Cage the Elephant at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84, 12 Avenue and 44th Street. Mr. Reedus will be showing love to the visiting swabbies. I suggest we all bury the hatchets and show them love, too. (Tickets available, here)

Tuesdays Rock: See Two Bad Girls and Legendary Photographer Mick Rock’s Exhibit Tonight

Yesterday I told you guys that Tuesdays in this town are off the hook. I can never decide between Frankie Sharp’s Westgay party at Westway and Lyle Derek’s Dropout bash at W.i.P. Westgay is beyond, beyond for those who are in the know –  and I guess that now includes you. Tonight, resident DJ maniac Jon Jon Battles is joined by JD Samson. Amanda Lepore is there as well doing…well, Amanda Lepore things. Lyle Derek has Lady Starlight at W.i.P. in her first live show in …well…ever. There will be a DJ set by CREEP.  I just must be there or there but alas, I will be elsewhere.

I’ll be DJing tonight at Avenue from 12:30 until 1:30 and I am pumped. Avenue is a great place to spin, from a DJ perspective. The professionalism of Tao/Strategic Group organization manifests itself on every level, including a user-friendly DJ booth and a staff that enjoys helping you feel comfy on every level. DJ Price will take my humble offerings to the next level. He will entertain me and everyone else in the always-packed-with-a fun-crowd room while I work the room after saying "hey" to not- seen-enough friends. I’ll buy a couple bottles of Beau Joie Champagne, as bubbles are always fun. I don’t drink very often but do adore that bubbles and sparklers combo. It makes me want to shout "Wheeee!" On the invite for tonight, I got a relatively huge billing over DJ Price, an apparent nod to age before talent.
Amanda Lepore
I will be in a seriously fabulous mood because, before all that mayhem, I will be at the wonderful The Bowery Electric (327 Bowery @ Joey Ramone Place, 2nd Street), at 8pm, to catch two bad girls I’ve never been cool enough to catch. It’s Zoe Hansen and Mary Raffaele presenting TWO BAD GIRLS (GOOD BAD), described as "A Night of Rock and Roll Attitude and Outlaw Hilarity" featuring readings and performances by REVEREND JEN,PAULINA PRINCESS OF POWER,MARY "RAFF" RAFFAELE, ZOE HANSEN, HEATHER LITTEER aka JESSICA RABBIT, FACEBOY, THE PRETTY BABIES (FEATURIING MONY FALCONE, LINDA PITMON, DEBBY SCHWARTZ, TAMMY FAYE STARLITE, JASON VICTOR), HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA with JP "Thunderbolt" PATTERSON, on percussion (Mr. Manitoba’s first ever, onstage, public "RANT!")"
Zoe says:
"This night has been a constant work in progress between Raff & myself. We wanted to not only have a reading, but a show. A tribute to the New York EV life, & years gone by, literature, comedy, burlesque with a splash of Rock N Roll all over it. We wanted real talent, which is most of our good friends, so it was hard deciding who we could scramble together to fit in on our bill. I am honored to say that we are truly proud of our all star line up. Raff & I promise you a real outlaw, loud, music inspired, hilarious bunch of performances, really entertaining, & all you have to do is just show up!"
I asked Raffaele a few questions:
Tell me about the event.
Zoe and I wanted to put together an event that would showcase our own talents as well as our friends’. We are writers primarily, but watching a series of people read off of pages can be dead-boring, so we decided to mix it up. We have a stellar line-up of very interesting, creative people who will be singing, performing spoken word, and doing plays, and we’ll have one really fun band. I am honestly excited about the people we’ve chosen and I’m glad I’m going on first so I can focus on really watching what they’re doing. I am really proud of all of the acts.
Tell me about our dear friend Zoe.
Zoe is my partner in crime: she calls me Patsy, I call her Eddy. She is whip-smart, super-creative, and very hard-working. She can do absolutely anything she puts her mind to. With her, anything is possible. I am very slow-moving in certain ways and Zoe is very good at lighting a fire under my ass. Plus, she’s easy on the eyes and no matter what kind of trouble we are in, she always makes the adventures seem classier with her accent.
I"ve always seen you as a rock star, always been a fan of Cycle Sluts From Hell. Tell me about that career and the other one with Patricia Fields.
I prefer being seen as a rock star! I got into daytime work after working in clubland for many years. Giuliani broke my heart – it was just too hard to continue trying to fight the good fight for decent nightlife. I was tired of getting screamed at at 2am by random task force fruit fly police, so I moved into day jobs. I have been with Pat for about 10 years; I take care of the money-end of things for her. But I am leaving in two months – I want more time to write a book and I burnt out on office work. It is an amicable parting and I’m helping them to find someone new and I will train the person, as my position is complicated. I am probably going to get back behind the bar. I’ve already started doing a Friday happy hour at Bowery Electric in preparation for my departure.
Mick RockAs if this evening were not already too packed with wonderment, legendary photographer of all things rocked and rolled Mick Rock will show for the first time ever his artwork, "based on his iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographs… The show is presented by CATM Chelsea with a private after-party to follow."  The "expected to attend" list includes Mick and friends " Lou Reed, Todd DiCiurcio (Artist), Scot Lipps (Owner, One Management), Amanda Ross, Chelsea Leyland (DJ), Ben Pundole, John & Joyce Varvatos, Timothy White (Photographer), Alberta Cross (Band), Gary Graham (Designer), Paul Johnson Calderon (Reality TV Star), Michael H., Nur Khan, Mazdack Rassi (Founder, Milk Studios), Rebecca Dayan (Model), Clem Burke (Blondie), Tennessee Thomas (Actress, Drummer for The Like), As Light Takes Over (Band), The Ravonettes, Cory Kennedy (Model), Jessica White, (Model, Actress), Jamie & Daisy Johnson (Daughters of Jets Owner)".
It’s a 7pm to 9pm thing at 500 West 22nd Street at 10th Avenue. If you don’t know who Mick Rock is, this is a good time to find out. Chances are you have seen his brilliant work on album covers and such for decades. Yeah, he was the guy who took that Bowie/Ziggy Stardust shot and that one of Iggy you thought brilliant, that Blondie photo, and thousands of others – one more iconic than the next.  It’s 40 years recording and making rock history. Look him up. He Googles well.

4AM DJ Show Joins Mick Rock Downtown

If it seems like only yesterday that I chatted with Adam Alpert about his DJ management company and the show that they are doing at Irving Plaza, it’s because it was only yesterday. Yet in that brief time, there was a major mishap, and it all changed. Nightlife is often faster than a speed-balling hipster. Word comes of a dispute between the parties involved and the show at Irving Plaza has now moved to Santos Party House. The official dribble is "due to unforeseen circumstances…" but just a little asking around revealed a financial dispute between Brobible, co-promoting the event, and Live Nation, which owns and promotes Irving Plaza.

It seems that a couple of Brobible shows didn’t live up to Live’s expectations, and so Thursday’s show got the boot. Live Nation and Brobible might not be "bro’s" anymore, as Live is reportedly looking for Brobible to come up with some loot. Santos will accommodate DJs Jesse Marco and Jus Ske and their special guests  for this event. For more info go here.

The holiday season is a win some, lose some situation for night crawlers. You can’t attend every event. I missed the sold out/private frenzy of the Black Keys at Webster Hall last night. They released a record and threw this gig to impress. Friends who did attend were still drooling on each other this morning. They keep repeating "OMG" and were otherwise useless to report the goings on.

On my must attend list is tomorrow night’s photo exhibit by Mick Rock at the W (way) Downtown. If you find yourself on the Staten Island Ferry you’ve gone just a little too far downtown. The W Downtown is new and beautiful and they work hard for their money, always making the trip worthwhile. Mick is an old friend and survivor of an era that he and I lived in 3D, and that he has captured brilliantly on film. I can go home again through his work that captured rock icons like Bowie, The Sex Pistols, Debbie Harry, and the like. For this exhibit, he adds images by Symmetry Live performers such as Cee Lo Green, Janelle Monae, Neon Trees, Ellie Goulding, and Theophilus London. There will be a live performance by Phantogram and a DJ set by Mark Ronson. This is a tough ticket, but if you can’t get into this reception, the show will be up until December 29th. The W is transforming the culture of downtown Manhattan, as it booms and zooms into it’s  post 9/11 rebirth. It’s a whole different world than most of us are used to, and the W is a comfortable and exciting place to start to explore this often neglected part of our town.

It’s that time of year again. Inked magazine and Sailor Jerry will reveal their annual 2012 calendar and the girls who grace it. Personally, I hardly ever look at the pictures, but I’m always in need of a reliable calendar. It’s Sailor Jerry Rum and pinup girls at 3 locations. They’re doing an LES night crawl which starts at 33 Essex Street at 9:30, then scoots to 127 Ludlow at 10:30, and then to 105 Essex at 11:30—all just a hop, skip and a stumble from each other. I will attend if only to catch my dearest friend Dana Dynamite who always lives up to her name.

I will attend the latest installment of Holiday Kink by the Domi Dollz team this coming Thursday, before I scoot off to the enclosed roof of Hotel Chantelle, where I will be offering up rock anthems and such. My Domi friends will invade my hood and enlighten all those who show up at Shag (108 Roebling at N6th) from 7pm. It’s a couple hours of instruction in the art of BDSM, from those in the know, including Nina Payne and Mona Rogers. Their last shindig at the Museum of Sex was a scream. Reservation are recommended.

Lou Reed and Mick Rock Reminisce over Transformer

Last night at CBGB the John Varvatos store in NYC, Lou Reed and Mick Rock spoke about their friendship and work relationship spanning from the very beginning of both of their careers in music and photography to now. The gathering was to celebrate the launch of their photo-filled book Transformer, showcasing many previously unseen images of Lou by Rock, and a few of Rock by Lou.

After guests milled about the store with cocktails, perusing the fruits of the artists’ labor, Rock and Lou took their places on a stage, not to perform, but to talk about their history. Lou Reed’s adoration of Mick Rock came from a few things: his ability to capture him in a way that felt alive, and real (as opposed to what he described as movie theater cardboard cutouts,) and for their shared affinity for staying up all night.  

A few jabs at Pop music masquerading as Rock later, Lou was on about Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols, and how he did it first. Whatever you say, Lou. I just wish the S&M store Lou used to dress from on MacDougal were still around…






Lou Reed, Gentlemen’s Clubs, and Groupies: After Hours This Week

A seriously cool book signing will roll all the rock and rollers to the seriously cool rock and roll clothing store John Varvatos (315 Bowery) this Thursday at 7pm. The store, formerly the seminal club CBGB’s, has an otherworldly vibe as if the ghosts of all the acts that ever played there linger in its mist. The book will bring Lou Reed and Mick Rock together to sign their book, Transformer, from Genesis Publications. The event is completely RSVP’d out so I’m going to hang outside like a groupie.

While we are on this rock tip I will spend my early Sunday night from nine till midnight DJ’ing at Sapphire (333 East 60th), a gentlemans club. After my set I guess I’ll sneak in to the main room where the "talent" is, and once again become a sort of groupie. I’m working with the ever dapper Todd Smolar in the rock/electro room where everybody is fully-clothed, while DJs Manero and Kevin Lim work the sexy room. The sexy room is somewhat troublesome for DJs, as the songs have to be three minutes long for the lap dancers. I may just go topless in my room to ensure the other is packed. The party is called SINS—short for Service Industry Night Sundays—and Gino Rubinsky and Ruben Araneta are the players to be named.
After that if I’m not all groupied out I will shoot downtown to LIT, my favorite haunt in this naked city. There, I will seek out my friend Joy Rider, who along with Ms Cal, Disco Mike and the Dirty Pearls drummer Marty E, present Yuck Foo—a rock and roll weekly. Ms Cal and Marty will DJ. This party is getting better each week; soon there will be bands and guest DJs. Joy, a bonafide Steve Lewis groupie, is threatening to bring me in for a set. Other Steve Lewis groupies gather Thursdays at Hotel Chantelle for the weekly rock night. Sam Valentine, Bree and Sean Louis bring the masses.
On a weird segue note, Dual Groupe which I will from now on call Dual Groupie, will bring their fervent flock to the Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street), where their mammoth Saturday Brunch (2pm-7pm) will shelter for the winter. RSVP to RSVP@DAYANDNIGHTLIFE.COM.
Daniel and Derek Koch have a good thing going, with a large following of the fabulous who spend Saturdays eating fine fare and sipping champagne. This event  marks the opening of their sixth season, with DJ sets by guys who have far more groupies than I,  DJ Paolo and Matt Winter. Tonight I will attend the grand opening of Suite 36 (18 West 36th Street) and decide whether it is truly grand. They have real talent spinning, DJs Jeffrey Tonnesen, DJ Ruckus and DJ Reach have lots of fans…er groupies.  I like the spaces in this defunct manufacturing district—high ceilings, solid walls, and few neighbors should spell success. Although District 36, being redone as we speak by players to be named later, never gathered enough groupies to be viable.

Mick Rock Photo Exhibit Opens This Week at W New York Downtown

In a recent issue of Brit music mag NME, a 15-year-old music fan wrote in to the letters column earnestly lamenting that in her not-so-humble opinion, compared with the likes of Bowie, Bolan and Robert Smith, the current crop of bands all look like utter shite. Perhaps no one would be better placed to adjudicate such an epic philosophical conundrum than the man who has viewed just about every major rock and pop star through his legendary lens. Indeed, Mick Rock became an icon himself by photographing rock & roll’s most mad, bad, dangerous and glamorous gods and goddesses in the 1970s, elevating what was merely a profession to a genuine art form. He remains to this day the music’s most in-demand snapper.

"It’s just a different world now," he observes. "The demystification of rock stars happens very quickly these days. And everything’s been done, so it’s hard to be a cultural revolutionary, or to make an original statement with the way you dress."

And, as opposed to the battery of stylists employed by most of today’s stars, he stresses that, "Iggy Pop, Freddie Mercury, Lou Reed…they were all totally self-styled."

Visitors to the W New York Downtown will get to ponder the question for themselves come December 8, as the hotel will be exhibiting a career-spanning collection of Rock’s photographs. The show runs the gamut from Iggy, Bowie, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Queen (with never-before-seen shots of Freddie Mercury) to current superstars (some that he’s shot specifically for W’s ongoing music series Symmetry Live) including Janelle Monae, Ellie Goulding, and Cee Lo Green. There’s even a rather hilarious shot of Truman Capote with a Santa-suited Andy Warhol.

"We did mini shows in London and Barcelona," Rock enthuses, "but this is the first full-scale show. And unlike in a gallery, I can show quite a few big prints. Previously I’d only been able to do that in museums. And of course, the environment is very different: it’s a display. A gallery wants to sell, and this is not about selling."

Being feted by a chic New York hotel also keenly points up the increased measure of respect accorded to rock photography. Ironically, it’s perhaps the dizzying glut of third-rate images now clogging the culture that has emphasized the true artistry of someone like Mick Rock, a dyed-in-the-wool rocker who can claim Man Ray as an influence, and whose photographs have always brilliantly captured the peculiar energy and essence of what have often been exceedingly enigmatic, eccentric and volatile characters.

And the inevitable question: Who does he consider his most fascinating ever subject?

"Well, the person I’m most fascinated with is always whomever I just shot yesterday," he states diplomatically. "But in terms of pure photogeneity, no doubt, David Bowie and Debbie Harry."

debbie harry