The Poor & Rich: the NYC Homeless, Champagne at Winston’s, Mark Baker’s Birthday

The night started at Winston’s, where champagne flowed and bon vivants were on their best behavior. I was then caught in that time trap that we Williamsburgers sometimes find ourselves in. It was too early for anything else, but going back to Brooklyn might end up being it for the night. That wouldn’t do: I had places to be. So I decided to take in the glorious night and walk down 14th Street to The Darby and Snap to await Amanda. I would meet my better half there before heading to Meatpacking. The swells and damsels in fine dresses of Winston’s were replaced by desperate men and damsels in distress pleading for anything I had and they didn’t. The $1,000 bottle of champagne set, $1000 shoe sets’ banter echoed in my ear as I ran out of change fast and decided I couldn’t feed the world. Who can.

Maybe a billionare like Mayor Bloomberg could make a dent on this tragedy under our feet. Maybe the city could do more. It got less insane as I moved off Union Square – but still, the hands were stretched for hand-outs.There was a party of some sorts by the Salvation Army Headquarters: dogs and sleeping bags and lots of young homeless drinking inexpensive bottles of swill. I read on my expensive phone earlier that our Mayor had banned food donations to homeless shelters because "the city can’t assess their salt, fat, and fiber content." The people I passed didn’t have calorie counters on their phones. Billionaire Mayor is worried about the nutritional needs of people who are rummaging through garbage and afraid of the places the city provides for them. I needed a drink and some thicker skin. I hated that my eyes avoided them, that I had moves with my hand and arms and head that could tell them I wasn’t going to be helping them.

The long legs of the gorgeous were supporting expensive smiles outside The Darby. The gays going into Stash’s gay night soiree were ear-to-ear as well. A couple of dozen Snap sports bar patrons were watching millionaires run around with balls. The spring is just born and the warm weather will soon bring the desperate hordes from everywhere. It’s beginning to feel like a Steinbeck tome out there. The tourists who support our economy will soon be here in herds, taking serpentine routes around the indigent to get to a place to spend $500 on a bottle of booze. I was swept up by my Amanda, and we politely passed on the cheap flowers from the more tycoon-ish poor. I remembered another article I had read earlier in the day which said that the Bloomberg administration was going to implement a policy where single adults would have to prove that they had no place else to stay but in a shelter. The people I passed could barely prove they were alive. How could they prove anything. Are their clothes smelly or torn enough, their demeanor below the civilized line the Mayor and his set have carved in the concrete? Can they sell their desperation enough to get in. Who are the doormen at these shelters? Will it be "Sorry, you’re dressed too nicely to get in?" I guess the flower peddlers wouldn’t qualify and the old lady with the old coffee cup with change in it wouldn’t either; they’re way too prosperous. That cup and it’s contents prove she can pay for a cot in a flophouse where she will surely meet some great people who will entertain her with threats and possibly worse. Maybe this isn’t the forum. Maybe my nightlife column should ignore what my eyes couldn’t ignore as I traveled from one heaven to the next.

The Double Seven opened up its doors for me and mine. Their door policies being the polar opposite of the Mayor’s. You had to have loot or be someone who can drive their brand to get in here. Single adults are encouraged. Money gets you in, not out. I was there for my dear friend Mark Baker’s 50th birthday bash. Mark will forgive me for using his article to air out my sudden conscious. He has a heart of gold and I’m sure feels the same sadness at the madness all around us.

Six bottles of Beau Joie Champagne were delivered to his tables; beautiful girls and sparklers and all the fluff that goes with a good time. The crowd was known to me, veterans of nightlife and the upwardly mobile, partying like it’s no longer 1999. All around the Goose and the champagne was helping the gathering affirm their good life. DJ Elle was playing a superb set – music that most of clubland has given up for pop mediocrity, offerings spewed by bad boys with laptops. Elle can go. She has the taste, the style, the guts, and more importantly the backing of the club to play the good stuff. I’m sure some of the crowd was soon rushing off to somewhere after for their Rihanna fixes, but while they were at The Double Seven, their ears were to be enlightened.

Mark Baker turning 50 is unbelievable. The energizer bunny of nightlife, Mr. Baker had an earlier go of it at the Liberty Theater for the launch of Malibu Red, with Ne-Yo performing. He’s off to Miami now to continue his celebration. There he will hold court at the Raleigh Hotel for this Music Loves Fashion thing. I have known Mark a long time. Our old dogs played with each other on Hamptons beaches a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when they were alive and young, when we were also younger. He is a young man compared to me. I told him I have shoes that are 50 and, sadly or wonderfully, it’s almost true. He is a gentleman who deserves all that the world has to offer. Seeing him smile as all the love, affection, and attention came to him last night put a smile on my face. Cameras jumped up to catch THAT event.

I asked Mark about hitting the half-century mark.

"First I never even thought I’d live past 40 so making a half century is just a bonus to me lol, I feel better than ever (and cutting some bad things out of my life have made things WAY better) … more sweating the small stuff as everything WILL be ok, we’ve made it this far so stressing over bs just isn’t necessary, I cherish and value the LONGTERM friends I’ve made over the years and even laugh harder with a couple that I’ve scrapped with, life is good, business is great and gf relationships .. Well you know how they go in this business lol.its always a work in progress (isn’t there a club called that ? Lol….I’m blessed to have the life I have and I work hard at keeping things as simple and drama free as possible and  happy day to day…Just have to rememember …"LIFE…IS GOOD"…:-).
Ps ! I’m celebrating with a four day marathon party starting on wednesday at the liberty theater and the double seven and ending in miami on saturday with a pool party at the RALEIGH..your welcome to join….if you can keep up….lol"

Bar Mitzvah Save-the-Date Videos Are a Thing Now

When I was in high school, this girl who lived a couple towns over earned local (and regional) notoriety by having a “Save the Date” website for her bat mitzvah (called, featuring an ill-advised music video of her perpetuating all the stereotypes and singing along to Gwen Stefani’s Fiddler on the Roof-butchering single, “Rich Girl.” We thought ridiculous and stereotype-enforcing bar and bat mitzvah excess had ended with, but this week, the Internet reached peak bar mitzvah ridiculousness, and I can hear the “oy veys” of my elders now as I watch it.

Meet Daniel. Daniel is from Atlanta, and he won’t let you forget it. And in May, he will be called to the Torah and become a man in the eyes of his faith. Which makes now the perfect time to make an elaborate, ridiculous promotional video. Daniel raps to Jermaine Dupri’s “Welcome to Atlanta,” but changes the lyrics to be about his big day, all the while visiting different ATL landmarks (the Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field, CNN) and hanging out with Special Guest Stars like Ne-Yo, Charles Barkley and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. I have a lot of questions about this, the least of which are how much did it cost, how many favors had to be called in and why would this be the logical conclusion of how to mark a pretty serious religious occasion and a young man’s acceptance of responsibilities in his faith? He’d better have a pretty solid mitzvah project and a kickass d’var torah to back this up. Oh well. We’ll see what happens when the little broseph tries to join AEPi at Emory and his prospective brothers find this in the depths of the Internet.

[via Tablet]

Ne-Yo on Curating Artistry & Loving Michael Bolton

Ne-Yo is a busy man, and for the prodigious singer/songwriter, Labor Day is just another Monday. He’s busy writing songs for New Kids on the Block, Monica, and Michael Bolton. Yep — the man who’s shaking up dance floors with “Closer” is working with flaxen-haired, saxy-tooting Michael Bolton. Plus, he’s busy promoting his new album Year of the Gentleman. But regardless of his hectic schedule, the suave crooner set aside some time (10 minutes!) to chat about his cool people, romance, and yet another venture he’s undertaken: curating Hennessy Artistry.

What’s up with you and NKOTB? You know what’s cool. They’re New Kids on the Block, not old guys trying to bring it back. They still have their swag about them. It’s a different swag from when they were younger but they still swag all the same. They definitely look like they know what they’re doing.

Tell me about the song you wrote for them, “Single.” Basically it’s for all the single ladies in the club who are arguing with their boyfriends. What I’m saying is that, for the next three and a half minutes, which is how long the song is, just pretend that I’m your boyfriend. So if you’re single, you don’t have to be tonight. I’ll be your boyfriend, or at least until the song ends.

How do you come up with your ideas? I don’t know. It’s the way that I think. I’m somewhat of a romantic.

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for somebody? I had a girlfriend, and Valentine’s Day came around. I didn’t have any money, no money for anything except for what you can buy at 7-Eleven. Her favorite candy was peanut M&Ms, so I bought a huge bag, gave her that, and made her a card. What I did was I took the colors of the M&Ms, and I wrote a little poem about every color — like yellow matches your hair, red represents that, and she really dug it.

That is adorable and very, very romantic. Thank you very much. It’s not about the quantity. It’s not about how much you do, it’s about what you do.

I’ve actually met you before, at the Wrigley’s Spearmint Press Conference. Which one were you?

Well, I know you kind of run the line, so I doubt you remember me. I was the petite Filipino at the very end. Did you smile at me?

Probably. Who doesn’t smile at you? How is Big Red coming along? It was cool. All I did at the press conference was go onstage and introduce the jingle that I wrote, and everyone was like, “Oh you did a great job!” A great job? I didn’t do anything!’ Did you stick around for the performance?

I did watch the show, and I have a funny story I can tell you later on if you have time. It was a lot of fun and exciting to meet you, Chris Brown, and Julianne Hough. She’s so cute with her cowboy boots and whatnot. Yeah, she’s cool people.

Who are the cool people you’re hanging out with these days? I went to see Janelle Monet in LA at the Viper Room with Brandon T. Jackson, who’s in the Tropic Thunder movie. Later on that night, we hung out with Diddy at Coco de Ville. I guess that’s the spot to go out in LA now, or that’s what they told me. I just got out of the studio with Monica, she’s working on a new album. I think her and Keyshia Cole are going to do something together. Just recently, I’ve been in touch with Michael Bolton of all people.

Michael Bolton?! Michael Bolton. And you know what? He’s really, really cool and down to earth. I expected him to be otherwise. When you work with people who have been in the game for a while, you’ve got to grade them on a curve. They’ve been in the game for so long that they expect certain treatment. But he was a regular person.

Tell me a little bit about Hennessy Artistry and how you got involved with the project. Hennessy is one of the coolest cognacs out there because you can go to dinner and find it there, or you can go to a club and find it there too. It’s a cognac that knows how to toe the line: It’s diverse. My album, Year of the Gentleman, is all about the diversities of a gentleman. Being that cat who can party with anybody and everybody. It just makes perfect sense to take Hennessy and Ne-Yo and put us together. It’s going to be a cool situation.

And you’re curating, as in choosing the performers? To a degree, yes.

Can you describe the vibe? There’s no specific style of music we wanted to go with. Since Hennessy represents diversity, we needed the selection to be diverse. So we have a rock band, rappers, singers, R&B, a little bit of everything.

Will you be performing or are you just curating? I may get up there and do a couple of cuts. Depends on how good I feel that night. We’ll see what happens.

Ne-Yo: Fashion Plate, Lohan Lover

imageSo hello, Ne-Yo. You’re looking so rat pack these days. Can you tell me about what you’re wearing?

Button down, red shirt, tie, nice fedora. This is my thing — the year of the gentleman.

How’d you come up with this concept?

Basically, it’s me making an assessment of the business and seeing that the essence of what it means to be a gentleman is lacking nowadays. For example, the guy that will pull a woman’s chair out for her when they sit down to eat, the guy that will open a car door for a lady, the guy that takes the time to make sure he looks his best when he walks out of the house, that guy is far and few in between. So I’m basically leading by example, trying to show cats what it means to be a gentleman again.

Would you ever consider doing your own fashion line?

I don’t really have a lot of free time but maybe once I slow down on my artistry.

Now I know you’re working with John Legend, Lindsay Lohan. Are you planning on changing or adding to their respective sounds?

John Legend is John Legend. There’s no changing that guy — he is who he is. Lindsay Lohan — I didn’t really know what to do with her. It was a shot in the dark with that one. We did something a little dancey and tried to bring a little energy to her and she loved it. She cut it and it was fantastic.