What We Want From Art

Claude Monet, White Frost Sunrise, 1889

I’ve always loved art. When I was a child, my parents dragged me to museums across the country; at first, I was resentful, but then it became a regular habit in my life, like eating at least once a day, or sleeping when the clock allows. So while I was in Chicago last weekend, nothing stood against the opportunity to return to the Art Institute. I would go to bed early and wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to spend a lifetime among Japanese fan designs, a collection on Dionysus, the cautionary images of Ivan Albright, Monet’s haystacks and Mondrian’s lines forming squares.

Meandering in and out of rooms at the Art Institute, my eyes jumped from painting to painting. I was transfixed by the essence of certain pieces—not so much the content, but what it meant. Something about the museum calmed me; I lived in this blurred region of my brain where I wasn’t perfectly conscious of my consciousness, submerged in the experience of experiencing.

For a long time, I didn’t know why I loved art, or why I craved it. I tracked some of the appeal to escapism. Growing up in a town that I learned to hate, I constantly sought a new place to go, either in body or imagination. Art let me dive into a time and place different from my own. I could visit the bawdy brothels and dance halls frequented by Toulouse-Lautrec, or go back to the Byzantine era and meet Justinian’s wife, Theodora. Adventure lay in every piece of glass tucked inside a mosaic or brushstroke on a canvas. I so desperately wanted to fly away to faraway worlds, to discover new spaces and faces; art let me do that.

But in the past few years, art has become almost the opposite of escapism for me. When I moved to New York City, I started writing about dance and theater regularly, attending a show every few weeks. After a year, I stopped, and for about three months I rarely made my way to auditoriums or black boxes. And I was sad, always sad. I felt like something was missing, and when I decided to review again, it was like I had found myself in every performance, every line of a play or arch of a dance move.

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Piet Mondrian, Composition C, 1935

I finally realized why art means so much to me after visiting the Art Institute. It seems obvious now, but I’ll share my personal revelation anyway:

Art says what I can’t. The irony of my life is that I’m a writer, but I’m very bad at expressing myself. In conversation, and especially with people I don’t know well, I get nervous. If I don’t know how to speak their language yet, I don’t speak a language at all, falling into exasperated tongue-ties as I try to say something—anything—of meaning. On an unintimidating page, however, I can’t always capture the moment perfectly, just as I want it.

But language can only convey so much. I don’t know how to talk about when the auburn leaves whirled from the concrete, spiraling upward to the sky, and how stunning they were, but also how they made me sad because they reminded me that everything is ephemeral and the world will never be the same as it was in that second. Monet could have shown that, the leaves swirling. He could have made them hopeful and tragic at the same time, playing with light until the scene was just right and everyone could see what I saw.

This is the power of art, and why it’s so important to me. Both the visual and performing arts know what to say, and how to say it, usually without saying anything at all. They defy the manmade confines of language to really look at the world, as it is, and express a thousand feelings in one simple gesture. Art speaks for me when I’m at a loss for words.

I think that’s why artists create, too. It’s funny, looking at changes in art and the historical events that might drive them. For example, the return to order after World War I: painters wanted to make sense of the chaos they had witnessed, some at the front, others at home. Maybe they didn’t know how to talk about the destruction—mangled bodies and ruined lives—but it’s all there, in the classicist allusions, in the stark, lucid lines. We can read books like Mrs. Dalloway to gage the effects of World War I, and that’s all right, but really it’s much more productive to look at a few of these tableaus. It’s all there, hidden in the subtext of the superficial.

This is what we want from art: an immediate method of communication that doesn’t have to obey the cold regulations of language. Something visceral. Something ugly and beautiful. Something improper. Something cruel and comforting. Something like the thoughts we can’t express—the “us” below the surface.

This Week’s L.A. Happenings: Circa, Unlimited Wine, Nick Cave

WEDNESDAY: Circa Opens In Manhattan Beach
Expect trips to Manhattan Beach now on the regular. An all-star team is behind a new restaurant project opening Wednesday: Circa. Michael Zislis (The Strand) has Octavio Becerra (Palate Food & Wine) in the kitchen, Josh Goldman (ink.) curating the wine list and Julian Cox (Playa, Riviera, Sotto, Bestia) crafting cocktails behind the bar. You likely don’t visit Manhattan Beach as much as you should and Circa is just two blocks from the shore, so make that two birds, one stone thing happen. Expect small plates of global flavors, casual, vintage-industrial design and perhaps a cigarette break to watch the sunset.

Circa (903 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan beach) opens and is now accepting reservations. For more information on the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

THURSDAY: Unlimited Wine at Mondrian
Tonight kicks off the inaugural, bi-weekly “Uncorked” wine tasting in Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian. It’s a happy hour with an outdoor pool. Seriously… why the hell not?  A nice selection of wines (unlimited pouring FYI) and bites at sunset are a crowd pleaser.

“Uncorked” is happening every second Thursday (starting 2/21) from 6pm to 9pm at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian (8440 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood). For more information on the restaurant, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

THURSDAY:  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
If you haven’t listened to the new album we recently streamed, you need to understand who we’re dealing with here. Nick Cave is a singer, novelist, actor, screenwriter, film composer, and all-around legend. We think he’ll be the next Pope. For now, see him live at The Fonda Theatre and scratch it off your bucket list.

Listen to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ new album here. To learn more about The Fonda Theatre (6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood ), visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Find out first about the latest openings and events in NYC by signing up for BlackBook Happenings, the email brought right to your inbox every Monday. And download the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

Industry Insiders: Michael Capponi, Club Kid on a Goodwill Mission

Like the city he hails from, Michael Capponi’s life is a story of triumph over adversity. Credited as the man who helped land Miami’s South Beach on the jet-set party map by promotiing such influential nightclubs as Warsaw and B.E.D. Miami, Capponi battled addiction and health problems until a successful stint in rehab gave him a new lease on life. His career has taken off from there, with his development company, Capponi Group, and club ventures like The Wall at W South Beach, and pool parties at the Mondrian. But after spending months in Haiti assisting with the 2010 earthquake recovery effort, Capponi decided to build a hotel there, creating a world-class destination for vacationers, while giving locals opportunities to rebuild their lives as he himself has done. 

What has turned your attention to humanitarian work?
In the mid-nineties I dealt with a lot of personal and life-altering things, ranging from major drug addiction to brain surgery and ending up in the streets for a stint. Since my recovery in 1999, I have really tried to contribute to good causes and have lived with a motto of " duty first."
 
Has your career in nightlife helped you with your efforts in Haiti?
While nightlife remains a somewhat controversial topic, it has opened more doors for me than anything I have ever done. In over 20 years in nightlife, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of people, presidents, dignitaries, celebrities, moguls, developers, publishers etc. When you start looking and connecting all the dots, you realize that all those relationships can really serve Haiti in a big way.
 
How are you putting those skills acquired during your club days to work? 
I think my main skill set is that I’m hands-on. Also, I understand development as a developer but, most importantly, I understand the art of rebranding, PR, and promotions. It’s all these key factors that are needed to help recreate a positive image for the new Haiti.
 
Are you worried that our attention on Haiti is waning?
No, I don’t see Haiti being forgotten. There was too much money donated and too much media and celebrity attention devoted to it. People like Donna Karan and Sean Penn continue being in the headlines, reminding people how important it is to stay focused on that island.
 
What is your plan of action there?
After 18 aid trips, I realized that Haiti needs to be fixed in a completely different manner. I’m developing a hotel on the southern coastline of Haiti, in Jacmel, where my focus will lay on creating tourism there, while preserving the local culture. Really, I thought about a hotel to create jobs there, and give tourists a nice place to stay when visiting. It maybe a small model, but with it I hope to lead the country into the world of self-sustainability.

Industry Insiders: Lindsay Luv – Tempting Tunes

Rocking a party at a white-hot nightclub is just the tip of the iceberg for Lindsay Frio, who DJs under the name Lindsay Luv. Her job might keep her up until the wee hours, but it takes plenty of hustle during the day to make it all come together. "I’m up early answering emails, managing my accounting, chasing down bills, updating my websites, downloading new music, planning photo shoots, social networking, and the list goes on," she explains. 

 
The Boston native was raised on a steady diet of Springsteen and Neil Young, courtesy of her parents, and played the saxophone from an early age. While working in music management and promotion, she developed a friendship with the late Adam Goldstein, a.k.a. DJ AM, who suggested she try her hand behind the tables. She’s been spinning for larger and larger crowds ever since, keeping the dance floors packed at L.A. clubs like the Mondrian’s SkyBar, where she’s the resident DJ, as well as New York’s Webster Hall, along with private parties for the likes of Britney Spears, Richard Branson, Pharrell, and her friend Mel B. When she has any spare time, she enjoys hiking and going to the beach, but these days she’s working almost nonstop. "The one thing that has remained consistent throughout my jobs in this industry is my attachment to discovering new music and sharing it with other music lovers," she says. Looks like she’s got her work cut out for her. 
 
Here, in her own words, Lindsay discusses wilderness trips with her family as a kid, DJing at the Playboy mansion, and what it’s like to be complimented by Suge Knight. 
 
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where were you born, and where did you grow up? What were you into as a kid?
I was born in Boston, grew up in a small suburb outside the city, and graduated from UMass Amherst. I’ve always been into music. I played the saxophone for many years growing up, and in high school I would help promote emerging local bands at the time like Dispatch and Guster. I was always very active. I was captain of the cheerleading squad in high school, and I would spend every summer traveling and horseback riding out west in places like Arizona, Wyoming, and Montana with my family. My parents lived on a Navajo reservation before I was born, so visiting the west was a big part of my upbringing.
 
How did you get involved with music in general, and DJing in particular? Was there someone or something that was influential to you at an early age that made you decide on a career in music?
Music was always in my blood. My parents are still hippies at heart, and raised me on vinyl of their favorite artists like Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Social Distortion. When I moved to New York I got involved with the management team for The Raveonettes. Their producer, Richard Gottehrer – a legendary songwriter and producer in the music business – and his notable business partner Scott Cohen, were really the first people to mentor me in the industry. As I moved through different music-related jobs, I was eventually booking various artists like Justice, Chromeo, and Mickey Avalon for brand events in New York. In doing this, I crossed paths with the late Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM. We immediately became friends and I would send him all my underground music finds for his sets. When I was between jobs at one point, and the economy had just taken a turn for the worse, he suggested I DJ. I had never thought of it as an option before, but suddenly it seemed like a perfect fit. I bought all the equipment he recommended, practiced for hours each day at my friend’s club Ella in the Village in New York, and the rest is history.
 
When did you know that you had made it?
While New York definitely held the building blocks for my career as a DJ, the actual day I moved to LA was my birthday, and I had been booked to DJ at the Playboy Mansion. Playing at such an iconic place for a wild party on my first day in Hollywood was pretty epic, and set the pace for my career moving forward in my new home.  DJing rooms and private parties for the likes of Britney Spears, Richard Branson, Pharrell, and intimate affairs like the baby shower I just spun for my friend and Spice Girl, Mel B, really felt like defining moments. At the end of it all though, making it for me means making a living by sharing great music with whomever wants to listen and dance.
 
What is an average day like for you – if there is such a thing as an average day?
I really look at my career as building a brand, the brand being Lindsay Luv. Before I was even DJing, I was building a following regarding my work in music within social media outlets like Myspace, where I had amassed over 25,000 followers. What happens in the DJ booth is only half of the battle. I always wake up early, around 9 am, and immediately hit the computer. I generally take a break to hike and run errands, and then it’s back to work before a gig. Some days are spent solely on email, others are spent recording mixes in my home studio, and others are spent on the road touring. Traveling nationally and internationally takes a lot of additional work. I am going to DJ in India for New Year’s Eve this year, which is exciting, but has taken a ton of work in securing visas, scheduling press opps, immunizations, paperwork and so on.
 
What are some of your favorite clubs to DJ?
I have been a resident DJ at SkyBar in LA since I moved here. They essentially enticed me to move from New York and rock it at their gorgeous poolside hot spot both for their summer pool parties and weekend evenings. SkyBar is a staple in LA, and you never know who will drop by. The staff is amazing and so is the view. Every summer pool party and Saturday night I have DJed there has been packed, and we have so many great regulars. What more can a DJ ask for? I also love to play at cutting edge spots like Hemingway’s and many of the cool SBE spots like MyStudio, however since I DJ so many big events I get the opportunity to bounce around to tons of different clubs, which keeps it interesting. Back in New York, Webster Hall on a weekend night is really thrilling to play because they function as a concert hall as well. Last time I played there, I went on after having seen Nine Inch Nails play the same stage the night before. It was surreal to play on the same stage as huge artists, with an incredible sound system and to thousands of people that go there to party each weekend! 
 
What advice would you give to a DJ who is just starting out?
I think there are a few important tips. Always remember to stay humble and professional. Be the DJ that the people hiring you can count on, and always treat each gig like it’s the biggest gig of your life. That way you always rock it! And stay inspired. I never use a set list. I allow the night and the different crowds to dictate my sets as I go. Also, download and research new music constantly. People look to you to inspire them, not bore them with the same sets night after night. I think being true to yourself is always a great piece of advice as well. You may not be the best scratcher or the perfect mixer or the latest it girl, so focus on what your talents are and build your confidence and your brand around them. Recognize and own up to what makes you special in a sea of talent.
 
Have any funny or interesting things happened while you were DJing?
I love the fact that notorious Death Row Records legend Suge Knight came up to me while I was DJing at the Mondrian Skybar the other week. He told me he had seen a million DJ’s but that I was special and really lit up the room. He took a picture with me and told me he would come back again to see me spin. Sure enough, he came back the following weekend and we took another picture. I know he has a very intense background, but to me he represented the person who brought some of my favorite hip-hop albums to the forefront of the industry when I was young. Hearing a compliment like that from someone so notable was pretty amazing. 
 
Is there one particular style of music you enjoy working with? Any favorite artists?
I really love it all. I have played every genre and often spin them all in any given set, which is why I label myself a true open format DJ.  Some of my favorite artists are Madonna, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Robyn, The Gossip, The Raveonettes, Jack White, Dr. Dre, Rihanna, Chromeo, Snoop Dogg, Swedish House Mafia, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, Blondie, The Faint, Holy Ghost, Garbage, and The Cult.
 
Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not working?
I love outdoor activities in California, like hiking and kicking back at the beach. My biggest passion outside of DJing is cooking. I love to cook and spend a ton of time in the kitchen and entertaining for friends. I love wine and going wine tasting, and I also love traveling to exotic destinations, whether for work or play.
 
Hair by Elisha & Carly of The Establishment
Makeup by Melissa Sandoval

Steal This Bathrobe: The Best Hotel Products to Swipe (& Buy)

You’re wrapped in a plush terry robe, reposing on thousand-thread-count sheets, listening to a custom-programmed iPod on the dock next to your bed, and feeling as though this is nothing more than the lifestyle you deserve. So who could blame you for wanting to take some of the accoutrements of your newfound bliss home from your luxury hotel? These are top three souvenirs we recommend you swipe.

Toiletries: These are always a safe bet, since they’re there for you to use anyway. We love the Remede toiletry kits given out by the St. Regis, the Malin + Goetz soaps used by the Morgans Hotel Group properties (including the Delano in Miami and the Mondrian in Los Angeles) and the exclusive Hermès bath products at all Sofitel locations.

Slippers: Hotels actually get a certain amount of free advertising from branded products escaping the confines of their hotel, and even the non-branded versions still provide travelers with fond memories of their trip. Our favorites come from the amenity-packed Asian hotels, including fuzzy slippers at the Mandarin Oriental’s multiple locations, and the Havianas at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Personalized Stationery: Once a standard part of luxury hotel service, personalized stationery is a pleasant enough surprise that these days, you might be inspired enough to actually write a letter. While hotel stationery and pens are always fair game, no one can complain about something personalized going home with you, and you can find it at a surprising number of places, including the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, the Trump SoHo in New York , the Stafford London, Chicago’s Talbott, and the New World Shanghai.

That said, not all of us want to steal from our favorite hotels (who wants that on their guest profile?) and hotels have of course developed procedures to address this—many sticky-fingered guests will now find their more outrageous grift charged to their room bill. So why not shop their style the legal way? Many hip hotels have added online shops full of items that either appear on property or embody their style, like these three:

The W Store: W Hotels is happy to sell you everything from the bed you slept in to the music in the air, as well as apparel from brands like John Varvatos and Mara Hoffman. We particularly love their collection of statement jewelry and their eclectic blend of home accessories.

Shutters Beach Style: This Santa Monica hotel is one of a handful that are right on the beach, but the interiors are as striking as the views. Known for its impressive contemporary art collection which belongs to the hotel’s owners, their online store has drawings by Frank Gehry and Ellsworth Kelly, as well as stunning homewares like their signature rug and pewter table accessories.

Shop The Standard: They’re on the cutting edge of urban hotel style, so it’s no wonder that they’d have a quality online presence. The covetable goods include everything from RK Ripper fixed-gear bicycles to limited-edition art prints to the kissing puppy salt-and-pepper shakers on the table at the Standard Grill—so stealable that they’re listed for purchase right on the menu.

Mister H & Mondrian Sessions Hit LA’s Sunset Strip

LA’s Sunset Strip used to be known as the home turf of bands like Guns N’ Roses and, god help us, Poison. These days, with hotels such as The London and Mondrian pulling the jet set to West Hollywood, a more sophisticated demographic stakes a claim to the famous boulevard. Accordingly, The Mondrian is raising its own nightlife stakes this year with two new initiatives. Over the weekend, Morgans Hotel Group debuted Mister H, a new pop up that might just take the place of ping pong-centric Spin Hollywood, which dominated the ground-level lobby in 2010.

Armin Amiri (Socialista, Bungalow 8) flew in from New York for the opening, which was timed to Oscar weekend in LA. Guests were given a taste of the flavor Amiri has already brought to the Mondrian’s new Soho property via his Mister H in Manhattan. In WeHo, Mia Moretti was on hand to spin a few nights at the new space, which isn’t yet fully designed, but already feels a step up from Spin Hollywood, with lush plants, dim lighting, and a vaguely bordello-esque vibe.

But the best reason to try to find a parking space on the Sunset Strip this spring is the hotel’s Mondrian Sessions. Presented by iAMSOUND Records, the live music series has snagged some fantastic talent to play poolside at the hotel’s Skybar, including Lykke Li and Canada’s Gonzales.

Already this year, acts such as the Dum Dum Girls (top image) and Zola Jesus have sent their sounds pinging off of the sleek glass rooftop exterior.

The best part? So long as you RSVP, all the shows are free. Information can be found here.

March is shaping up to be a very good month to drop by the hotel, and we highly suggest you check out Gonzales’ gig there next week. Rumor has it he’ll be bringing a special guest or two. If you know who his famous female musician friends are, you can probably guess who we’re talking about.

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The Mondrian SoHo, a New Classic

A fairly mediocre NYFW has come to an end, right as spring seems ready to roll around the corner. We skipped and tripped over the remaining patches of frozen tundra that was our post-Christmas New York, to attend all of the fabulous parties. And the only conclusion I drew from the week, is that snow is now the new black. Dinner at El Quijote at the Chelsea hotel was wonderful, and the same as it ever was. I’ve been going to this classic spot, named after Cervante’s classic read, since before you were born.

Of course, I was a resident of the place back in my wonder years and took the elevator instead of a cab. We walked off our meal while heading to a soiree at the new Mondrian hotel. There, the hotel’s nightlife honcho Salvatore Imposimato invited me to a friends and family preview and the walk from the old, landmarked Chelsea — erected in 1883 — to the brand new Mondrian, had us discussing and debating the differences and advantages between new and classic.

The Chelsea has been home and host to notables such as Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan, Sid and Nancy, Iggy Pop, Dee Dee Ramone, Allen Ginsburg, Thomas Wolfe, Virgil Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Iggy, Larry Rivers and a zillion others. The room I lived in, I was told, was once home to or at least a notable stop for John Wayne, Isadora Duncan, John Garfield, John Huston and Arthur C. Clark, who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey there. The Chelsea still has a squadron of artists, authors and nightclub superstars living in its’ comfy confines but no longer accepts new long-term residencies. My mighty band went to the top floor and walked down the steps where Natalie Portman dangled from in The Professional. We stopped at every painting and photograph adorning the walls and chatted up Dahlia Weinstein, the daughter of my dear, departed friend Arthur Weinstein. I don’t visit the Chelsea much anymore, as I have found it painful to do so. Two years later, I’m coming to grips with the loss of someone I could always turn to for honest advice while he tried to pick my pocket. His exquisite images hung on walls and as a giant mobile on the 10th floor.

We headed out towards subMercer where we stopped for water and chit-chat with Richard Alverez and Gabby and Moses. It was slamming. subMercer is now a classic, which means that you can pop by anytime and expect quality crowds and music. We then stopped by Goldbar to pick up Jonny “The Lover” Lennon. P.R. player Steve Kasuba greeted us and Johnny took me to meet his new Thursday night DJ, Lino Meoli, who was playing rock and dance classics. Johnny didn’t realize that I have known Lino since he was a brand spankin’ new baby. His mom, Maripol, stylist to the stars–including a young, budding Madonna–is my dear friend. His dad GiGi was a DJ for me for many years and his Wednesday night parties with Moby were one of the better nights I’ve ever programmed. Maripol was on hand to check on her creation who was seriously killing it. Jonny is re-launching Thursdays at the now classic Goldbar. It feels like home and although Goldbar went through some troubled times, it remains much more than a viable nightlife choice.

We skipped and jumped to the new Mondrian and were greeted by Disco, resplendent in suit and tie, at the door of the new hotel’s lounge Mister H. Disco, of course, once worked side-by-side with Mister H operator Armin Amiri at Bungalow 8. He is a welcomed face at this destination stop. The entrance to Mister H. is on Lafayette Avenue, to give it a separate identity, while hotel guests will enter through the 9 Crosby Street lobby.When operators open something new, especially when it’s a little off the beaten path, it is imperative that a familiar face is manning the door. Mistakes made there are hard to rectify as good people rarely return to joints that don’t welcome them. Disco knows everyone and that is a good thing. He is classically trained, having worked with me at the doors of Life and Spa.

After all the hugs and kisses I begged Sal to show me the lobby, which I had seen just a week before. It has been a long week for me but short for those readying the Mondrian, which is only moments away from stardom. The lobby and restaurants on the main floor have improved exponentially in just a few days. It is the “funnest” place ever. Bright shiny patent blues, luscious reds, silver, weird woods, over-the-top chandeliers then the pièce de résistance — don’t be impressed, I get my French from Saturday morning cartoons — is the $250,000 plus, plus, plus table by artist Beth Lipman. The thing weighs a ton–literally–and has tons of beautiful, clear, crystal vases in zillions of shapes and sizes sitting precariously on it, about 8 feet from the bar. As a classically trained nightclub and design veteran I asked, “Don’t you think this stuff is going to break?” I was told that “breaking is an evolution of the art piece.” The Mondrian is going to be amazing.

The Mondrian New York on Track for March Opening

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken. This winter of discontent will end sooner rather than later and thankfully, for nightlife, things are as simple as hot and cold. The warm weather will bring South Americans and snow birds back to spend money here, instead of there, wherever that is. Although the calendar says that winter will slink into spring on March 21, nightlife has its own seasons. New York Fashion Week is already upon us, which marks the thaw of a severe freeze in revenues that began on January 1. The smart set, the jet set, the fashion set, and the playboys who follow the models are all in town to celebrate the shows and the thousands of unbelievably important events that celebrate them.

And if that isn’t enough, Valentine’s Day is also thrown in to up the ante. Valentine’s Day creates a boom for restaurants, but it can be problematic for clubs since patrons spend their cash on roses, candies, diamonds, pearls, and those lavish dinners before going to bed early that night. But Fashion Week will give clubs a boost and the eternal hope that spring ushers in already has joints gearing up, sprucing up, and cleaning up. Things should be heating up in nightlife as new places with grand ideas and new décor will be showing everybody how it should be done. I will note two of these openings today.

Yesterday afternoon, my pal Salvatore Imposimato gave me a tour of the brand new Mondrian Hotel, which looms large over the Chinatown/Soho/Nolita nexus of Crosby and Howard Streets — you know, right by Canal. The Mondrian also looms large over nightlife, as the same successful synergy of drinks, music, and events that Sal brought to the Hudson Hotel will soon become a reality here.This is the Morgans Hotel Group’s first New York construction since Ian Schrager went his own way, and it will be a force to reckon with. The Hudson, located where no man had gone before, brought hip downtown relevancy to an area better known for other things. I found myself there way too often, having way too much fun. The Mondrian’s location is a much easier commute for those that create the scene and I expect great things from it. Uber chef Sam Talbot will be in the kitchen at entrance level restaurant No. 9, offering an East Coast fish menu and — when it’s a little nicer outside — BBQ on the panoramic 26th floor Penthouse. With its’ 1500 sq-ft outdoor deck and a view of everything that counts (and Hoboken too), the penthouse will surely host spectacular soirees.

The restaurant space was nearing completion as I walked through and it looks accessible, yet chic. The hotel interior, by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, seems to take a page out of the Dorothy Draper school of design, most notably seen at Ella (which was designed by Draper purist Carleton Varney) and the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City, which was executed by Boom Boom Room designer Sean Hausman. The new hotel is Hollywood “Golden Era” chic, with a fun language of design. Of course, most of the furniture and fixtures are yet to be installed for the March 1 soft launch, and it may morph into something else by that time. I can’t wait to see the final product as it’s looking fabulous even at this stage. I was particularly interested in seeing the lounge, which I was told is being called Mr. H. after a fictional character “Mr. Hong,” who takes care of all the patron’s needs (wink, wink) in this Chinatown-meets-Humphrey-Bogart romantic dream. There are large painted rabbits scurrying in and out, and hidden ones to delight those who peek around. This is in celebration of the current Chinese Year of the Rabbit. There are neon Chinese characters masked by sheer curtains and a busy bar with jars of dried seahorses, ancient mystical cures, and all the common cures as well. Of note is another neon sign which scolds: “This Is Not A Brothel, There Are No Prostitutes At This Address.” This sentiment was underlined when proprietor Armin Amiri told me that he would not being employing promoters. He wants people to come in and have fun and the concept of a promoter table with a bevy of prostitutes, oh — I meant to say models, is unappealing. The girls in that setting are not accessible, merely window dressings, while Amiri wants people to interact and move to the music. With that in mind I caught up with the legendary Lord Toussaint in a t-shirt and jeans, connecting an impressive sound system. We chatted about the last time we met, about isolating the sound from room guests, and about speakers and stuff that would mostly bore you more than my usual. Needless to say, the sound will be amazing. He did Pacha’s system and is regarded as a top tier, international guy. Armin, ex Socialista, ex Bungalow 8, is poised for great things and was very excited about having his crowd occupy the new space. There will be a “Friends and Family” event this Friday and I hear Paul Sevigny may christen the turntables. A tour of the rooms was enlightening. A deep blue carpet, deeper blue mirror, and more ultra-sweet Draperesque moldings made me a believer. The Hotel complex is due to officially open on March 22.

]Also gearing up for a look is Bowery Beef, located in the front space of one of my haunts, the Bowery Poetry Club. Michael Herman and Ray Lemoine will be serving up North Shore-style regional roast beef sandwiches. From what I could make out as I listened and scribbled on cocktail napkins (which, by the way, should always be white for scribbling) this roast beef is very thinly sliced, rolled into a patty, and served with condiments (usually BBQ sauce). It’s all the rage. They will also be serving breakfast with H&H Bagels and lox and Blue Bottle coffee which, according to my napkins, is served after an ounce of these ultra connoisseur grinds are sifted through a porcelain cone directly into your cup.

This stuff is so amazing that no skim milk or flavorings are tolerated. It was hinted that I may not be sophisticated enough for its many charms, since I sip Dunkin’ Donuts in a waxed cup when I’m on site doing my day job. At night they will program different events and utilize the performance/bar space when it’s not being used, which is quite often. This Sunday they will be featuring my pal Catherine Fulmer’s fashion extravaganza with her show and after party. This is ultra hush hush, but they’ll have a sneak peek this Friday for their buddies. They too are getting off to a good start at Catherine’s extravaganza with Paul Sevigny providing tunes, but unfortunately they asked me to DJ after him. Maybe they feel that with all of this Fashion Week commotion, people might need a quick nap around that time.

Photo courtesy of JoonBug.com

Los Angeles by Night: DJ Lindsay Luv’s Itinerary

The ever-affable Lindsay Luv has one of the sunniest personalities in nightlife. It’s only fitting, then, that after eight years of living and DJing in New York, the east coast girl picked up and moved to Los Angeles. “I was offered a big summer residency at Mondrian Skybar to DJ their pool parties, and I decided it was time to try to expand my career,” says Luv. The west coast is a great place to do that—it’s the best move I could have made, both professionally and personally.” In less than six months, Luv found she was overbooked, suddenly becoming a DJ favorite among celebrities and booking LA hotspots like H. Wood and XIV. She landed in the pages of People magazine, thanks to a report that Britney Spears headed to Mondrian Skybar by herself, just to check out Luv on the decks. ABC’s former Bachelorette, Deanna Pappas, had Lindsay spin her engagement party, and Neve Campbell had Luv spin her private birthday bash at the London Hotel. Needless to say, she’s gotten to know her way around the LA party scene pretty quickly. Here’s her take on LA nightlife.

Name: Lindsay Luv Professional Resume: DJ, Producer, Fashionista, Blogger, ‘Girl About Town’ One Word to Describe Nightlife in Los Angeles: Glitzy

City Loves Favorite lunch spot: Local in Silver Lake for homemade farmer’s market inspired comfort food, Cactus Taqueria for the best tacos on the go! • Favorite dinner spot: Pace for hard-to-find-in-LA wood burning oven pizza and pastas and an incredible wine list; XIV on Sunset for this amazing homemade naan and yogurt dip, in place of bread, to start off a fantastic meal; Malo in Los Feliz for dope Mexican food and a hip scene.

Favorite Nightlife Trend: Poolside Parties, day or night—year round! You never know who might float by or jump in! • Drink of Choice: Kettle, Soda, Lime • Meal of Choice: Spicy Tuna on Grilled Rice Cakes and the Yuzu Octopus Spicy Tako Roll paired with a Pear and Parmesan Martini at Katana on the outdoor roof deck. • Favorite group of people to bump into: The staff at Mondrian Skybar! Everyone from the bus boys to the GMs to the door guy and in between have become like family to me! An eclectic and fun staff all around, and we all have been known to hit up a diner late-night after a crazy party.

City Gripes: Nightlife trend you loath: Sparklers. Omgggg Sparklers!!! • Drink: Mojitos! All that mint stuck in your straw or, even worse, your teeth! Yuck! • Meal: Drive-through greasy fast food. Hit up a more personal taco truck instead! • Group of people to bump into: People with bad requests that won’t leave me alone. “Will you play ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ again?” Ugh! Or obnoxious drunks.

Her Hotspots: Most night’s I’m working, DJing either special events, or clubs, so I go where the dex are. But here are my favorite spots.Monday: TeaRoom: I spin many Mondays and events there and love this place! They have great events for a variety of fashion, industry and celebrity clients! Also, late night at Teddy’s at The Roosevelt Hotel. •Tuesday: XIV SBE Group Industry Dinner that I spin from 8-11PM followed by the backroom at Trousdale. Great night all around! •Wednesday: Las Palmas. Dance on couches, see and be seen, and pick up great tacos at their stand on your way out! •Thursday: Mondrian Skybar where I spin all night—from 10PM to 2AM. Hotspot! You never know who will make a cameo. •Friday: The Edison (downtown) is an underground vault/factory -like haunt with amazing absinthe cocktails and a refined dress code; Little Bar, a local dive that was made over on my favorite HGTV show, “The Antonio Treatment.” •Saturday: Bronson Bar for rock music and whiskey. I love spinning all rock guest sets there, they actually mean rock when they say it! Wurstküche, downtown for sausages and beer, and indie/electro. •Sunday: I need a break! Costco? Home Depot? Target? OMG, I love Target!

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Every night: Bronson Bar. It’s like the dive bar version of Cheers that plays great rock music, and is unpretentious. Or Mondrian Skybar for a poolside table all seasons all hours. I love the SPIN room too, because Ping Pong is ALWAYS a good time! •Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Friday or Saturday nights anywhere in Hollywood, unless I am DJing. It is MAYHEM! But when I’m spinning in Hollywood: bring on the masses!!! •For special occasions: Katana or Pace for romantic ambience, and incredible food. Disneyland for straight fun, California style. Disneyland is a great date at night when the kids are heading home! Plus you can ride Thunder Mountain until you throwup! •Brunch is usually: Kings Road Café, ask for everyone’s favorite waiter: John! Griddle Café for pancakes as big as you are!