Diplo Headlines Huge Hush-Hush Event Tonight

Last night I bartended the Help Heal New York benefit at Pacha. I had not bartended since before you were born; the game has since changed. Here I am writing everyday about how to do this and how to do that, and my afternoons are spent designing bars so it was good to have this hands-on experience. I didn’t actually make a drink; I had minions to do that. I better correct: the love of my recent life, Amanda, made the drinks while I interacted with the patrons. It all went to charity – the price of admission, the drink revenues, and even the tips. The real Pacha bartender assigned to me, Megan, was amazing. Her smile and demeanor while slinging drinks for the cause and putting up with my antics was above and beyond. She is a great bartender and a wonderful new friend. Twenty-dollar bills and even some Benjamins flew over the bar to the tip bucket, which also benefits the cause. At one point I was squatted down picking up loot that slipped down from the bucket.

The DJs were just grand. I particularly loved Afrojack. I left before Erick Morillo went on, as I have to be up early for you…and looking good at that. At one point, Pacha owner Eddie Dean came by to hug and heckle me . He was accompanied by his sidekick, partner in crime, his "Tonto"… Rob Fernandez and DJ Sunnery. These guys threw money at us for the bucket as well-wishers gathered to shake hands and take pictures. All around us, thousands rose with the music… the love was apparent. DJ Sunnery , a big deal, was waiting to go on. He seemed as calm as a thoroughbred at the gate on derby day, ready to get this party started. I was told he is the nicest of persons and is married to the most beautiful girl in the world… Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes. I looked her up and, for sure, she is real, but alas I only have eyes for Amanda.  

Pacha is a monster. On every level, from the door to the staff to management, they are pros. Everybody talks a good game, but Pacha walks the walk. As those who know me know I am a rocker, and house or  EDM or whatever label is put on it in whatever decade doesn’t sooth this savage beast . That being said, being in a big room with a big DJ, big lights, effects and a big crowd is an experience unlike any other.

Before the bartending gig I was at 1OAK, tasked to DJ for Richie Romero at his birthday. I was to open for ?uestlove and Jesse Marco, and I had M.Ortiz opening for me. M.Ortiz was so great that I didn’t bounce him off, content to hear what he was offering. Amanda told me if I kicked him off, as some told me to do, she would "moida me.” Mr. M. Ortiz is getting ready for a British tour, and I expect we will be hearing his name often. He is really great. 1OAK was starting to fill up when the birthday boy finally showed. Richie Romero was zonkered as I wished him well. He has dodged almost as many bullets as your humble servant and it was good to see him surrounded by hundreds of friends and tacky balloons and such.

Tonight I will be at a big event in a big location…off the beaten path and super hush-hush as it’s sold out. Dos Equis is behind this shindig. Diplo will headline. There are six or so rooms of music and other distractions. I’m going to DJ for a short set along with Cobra Krames, Sam Valentine, David Katz, Justine D. Daniel Leyva, Fatherhood (Michael Magnan and Physical Therapy), Hayley Pisaturo, Shayne (Hood By Air), and 7aywana. There will be a lot going on at this happening and I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. If you see me today, ask me nicely. I think there are three tickets left.

If I wasn’t obligated elsewhere, the place I would surely be is the Ava Lounge at the Dream Hotel up on 55th Street. A photo installation by Marko Kalfa will bring the sharp set. Liquid Lab, which I have to tell you about in depth on a later day, will provide fall cocktails. Fannie Chan wil DJ.

Another party worth checking out is the five-year anniversary of the Thursday Punk Rock Happy Hour at Otto’s Shrunken Head. My pals Traci Danielle and Joy Rider are doing the inviting.

Zev Norotsky On the Launch of New Electronic Dance Music and DJ Magazine “Elektro”

Electronic music has changed nightlife forever, for better…for worse. It has made DJ’s rock stars, strange and remote places destinations, and has filled clubs and stadiums. It’s inspired Woodstockian festivals. It has defined, along with mash up/mixed format, a renaissance in nightlife. When clubs were going through their doldrums just a few years back, it was argued that there had not been a new genre of music to lead us out of the boredom. Mixed format combined other genres and was considered by some to be a sort of wishy-washy sound for the musically-challenged masses. DJs like AM certainly shattered that misconception. Electronic was lumped in as a progression of house and not much new. This has proven to be an inadequate description of the sound that has swept the world. Many DJs I have spoken to speak of how it has united people worldwide, as superstar DJs play for hundreds of thousands, from Asia to South America.

Zev Norotsky formerly of Mirrorball and Get There PR, has joined Harris Publications as president of its H360 Group. They are launching elektro, a new magazine…
"[It’s] geared toward electronic dance music/DJ fans… elektro’s mission is to take you behind the turntables and into the lives of DJs, sharing their passion for the music, giving fans an all-access backstage pass. From Tiesto’s sold-out gig, to David Guetta’s new album and the Swedish House Mafia’s unreleased track, elektro will show you the tools to make the music and the lifestyle they live. Electronic music is now the fastest-growing genre in music. DJs are the new rock stars and are selling out arenas around the world. elektro brings you face- to-face with the fans that attend these events, along with powerful marketing solutions including print, online, and experiential activations at sold-out shows and festivals across the globe."
Tiesto is on the first issue’s cover. It will come out quarterly. I sent Zev a few questions (electronically of course) and got these answers:
 
What is elektro?
elektro is a new platform for electronic dance music enthusiasts to learn about DJ culture and their favorite artists and producers. It’s definitely much more than a magazine as we have also built in a comprehensive digital ecosystem and a large special event calendar for 2012 to round out our presence nationwide. This includes our online hub at www.elektrodaily.com, very active social media engagement, and strategic partnerships with Spotify, future.fm, mixcloud etc. We will also be distributed at all the large festivals including Ultra and Electric Daisy in New York and Las Vegas, etc.
 
You have been a promoter/marketing guy;  is elektro an exit strategy…a way out of nightlife’s day-to-day, er… night-to-night, or a natural progression and a deeper commitment?
I must refer to a quote from Steve Jobs where he said, "You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards." I got my start in nightlife very early working the doors at Limelight and Kit Kat Klub when I was in college, striking out a few times on my own and eventually landing with Eddie Dean at Pacha NYC.  Nightlife is my absolute passion and I like to say that I got my Masters following Eddie around as we launched the Pacha brand in America. That was, by far, the most valuable experience of my life as I learned not only the importance of branding and guidelines, but also how vital nightlife can be to the world of marketing and how strong the connection is between consumers and brands. I have been jumping up and down on corporate board room tables for the last four or five years, begging brand managers to pay attention to what’s going on in electronic dance music (EDM) and people are finally paying attention. It’s an amazing feeling and now I have elektro to make sense of it all. I never could have imagined this starting out but when I look back it all makes perfect sense.
 
Everybody in the world is going electronic..or is it elektronic… as online is more and more the way people want it…why print?
We are very in tune with the digital space. I actually moderated a panel a few weeks back during Social Media Week based on a theory that the explosion of EDM in America is intrinsically tied to social media; that’s why we have created an extensive online presence across every single medium there is for us to share content. We are curating playlists with Spotify, streaming from events with future.fm, YouTube, Instagram, etc., you name it. The honest answer is you need everything to succeed and we take a 360 approach here. The sweet spot for me is how everything connects from the live events, the social media, and the print piece. That gives us maximum leverage as both an editorial property and a marketing vehicle for brands.
 
How did Tiesto become your first cover boy?
This was such a no-brainer for me; he is arguably the most iconic DJ of all time and truly personifies how far dance music has come in America, from the initial burst in late ’90s, to now. I literally made a mock-up of elektro about a year ago with him on the cover to show my partners what I look at every day to remind me how this all started.
 
It’s a quarterly; will there be events to celebrate each issue at various clubs around the world? Will the cover boy be the DJ? Will the distribution of the magazine at these events be a huge part of the marketing strategy?
Absolutely. We are gearing up for a massive launch during Miami Music Week. In addition to a private launch party with Roger Sanchez that we are hosting for the industry on Thursday, March 22 at The Setai, we are going to be distributed in the VIP section at Ultra, are an official media partner of Winter Music Conference, and will be hosting events all week at the National Hotel, Villa221, Mansion, as well as a big in-store event with Guess Jeans on Saturday 3/24. We’re also working on an official launch party in New York on April 14th at Pacha NYC which will be a sort of homecoming for me I guess, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Will Back in the Day Come Back?

The other night at the Latex Ball, I had a eureka moment. It occurred to me that I was witnessing what nightlife was like back in the day; when large, mixed crowds of creative people were all getting along and enjoying each other’s company in a huge room. Out of necessity and circumstance, bottle service drove the creative types from the game. The rising costs – which include rent, insurance, DJ fees, litigation, and too many etceteras – drove the clubs that didn’t embrace the table service crowd to Brooklyn or oblivion…which isn’t another name for Jersey, Queens, or Staten Island, but could be.

Yesterday I wrote:

"Creativity on a grand scale will return to nightlife as a business decision. Creativity is hard to extinguish. It has thrived on the street and in the subways, cave walls, in prison, and in societies that have repressed it. It has reared itself at advanced ages. It has given those seemingly impaired a way to the light. It has channeled the beasts and the fears within us and brought them to survivable places. Creativity will be embraced by the bean counters because it will be useful to separate their bean machine from the others."

Many clubs seed their rooms with dressy or flamboyant people to add to the adventure. "Image" promoters are asked to bring in and babysit young model types, because that is the image that has traditionally sold bottles. Many joints have "hipster nights," where the music isn’t the same ol’, same ol’ stuff heard around the scene. These nights are usually reserved for off-nights and generate enough money to be worth opening. The theory is that it breaks up the week and, every so often, a traveling wale (big spender) wanders in and it’s a score. These nights are the more creative (as I define it) and, in a sense, acknowledge that when the crowds are smaller on early weeknights, the clubs become more creative in order to set them apart from their competition. They change their own game to emphasize that their bean machine is cooler than the next one. New music and even fashion aren’t breaking out of clubs.Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny are throwing a couple of weeklys that don’t attract the fashion-forward set, and the music is also a step ahead. Places like Home Sweet Home are pushing the envelope with great DJs and fun programming. The Box format of shock and awe still brings in a great crowd, long after the novelty has worn off. The very fact that it offers “different” delivers crowds who are bored with the top 40 sounds and condo-clone set. That club does attract the debutantes and the frat boys and black card babies who, like moths, are attracted to its flame – but its smart door monitoring understands how much of that can be let in without scaring away the core crowd. On a small scale it proves that those not starving in Bushwick can embrace a creative format, and the different mindsets can exist in the same club at the same time. The era of a large club where all types gather has passed, but is the time right again for a real monster of music and fun and new ideas?

Nearly every club for a decade or more has hitched to the "great service" wagon. The art of bottle service has been refined into a science, but the concept is wearing thin. The clueless are still all in it but the sharp set are less interested in it as an idea of fun. It just comes with the table. I can’t help but believe those spending the bucks want anything more than the same, and there is little doubt that they will demand more. They are just following their traditional leaders: the good ol’ boy owners who service them as they flit around from Vegas to AC to The Hamptons and back.

One of these smart owners will turn to creative types to set them apart. Will it be drag queens dancing on the bar?…I think not. At least not in the beginning. But nights need to be curated to keep people in their seats and spending. After all, a bottle of Goose is the same bottle of Goose at the A-list club as it is in the dive bar. Getting dollars out of the customer will, as the industry continues to expand, become harder. Every nook, every restaurant or cranny, every roof, every bar salivates over the revenue stream bottle business brings. Entertainment to attract the crowds may not be as out there as what The Box has served, but it may separate the men from the boys. Vegas slams you with the big DJ, the beautiful go-go girls, and the staged entertainment. New York rarely offers anything more than a forced smile from a waitron and a sparkler. It will happen. Managing partners will mix things up or be left behind. Eventually, a large club will be necessary. It will start with a revamping of mid-sized venues and talent bookings. Electronic dance music venues will route acts from Vegas into their NYC locations and maintain a strict door policy. Think Lavo, but on a grander scale. As soon as spectacle is embraced, the need for a larger venue will become apparent. It may not be easy or even possible for a new large venue to open in Manhattan. The existing joints that live on the "size matters" concept are set in their ways and successful at what they do. Webster Hall may not be all things to all people, but they continue to offer brilliant music programming and serve thousands of people who enjoy their version of a big club experience. Their detractors must realize that they are music-based, they do make tons of money (one of the primary reasons to be in the business), and they have been around since before your parent’s were born.

Pacha serves those who want their brand of music and crowd. District 36 isn’t often on my radar, but it does offer a simple, classic, house-head purity. All of these joints are not part of the club social set scene. They don’t care much about that. Off-parties are wonderful fantastic experiences, but the jet-setters, the bon vivants, don’t consider them since they are putting on their shoes to go out. The cops and their puppeteers probably wouldn’t allow a new mega club in Manhattan, but Manhattan is not everything anymore. The high-rises of the Brooklyn waterfront, the $28 entrees at new nearby restaurants, the baby strollers on Bedford Ave., tell me that a ginormous joint could thrive in an old warehouse in Greenpoint or near there.

I have been hearing rumors and have sat in on a few meetings – I believe that this will happen. The next big thing most likely will be born outside of Manhattan and could redefine the scene to what it once was.

Two Articles On Bottle Service That Are Completely Clueless

There have been two recent articles professing the end of bottle service that I am being asked to weigh in on. The first: an article by Hardeep Phull on NYPost, and a story by Megan Willett from Business Insider. Both profess a "Chicken Little" approach to bottle service when all that’s really happening is an expansion of existing formats, not a quantum change. I contributed to my pal Hardeep’s article with a quote taken out of context from a much larger dialogue. He has it wrong, but compared to Megan’s take he is spot-on. Megan is clueless.

Marquee’s approach to dance was a calculated take on the market and their place in it. Their approach signals an internal decision to re-brand the NYC Marquee to be relevant to the Vegas Marquee, the highest-grossing nightclub in the country. They also have a Marquee in Australia. The NYC Marquee, after six years of wonderful and a few more of OK, needed a redux to bring it up to speed. I helped with the plan and the layout, but not the design. It was made clear from the start that it was all about the music, with some areas to accommodate big spenders who also cared about the music. It was also designed to be fairly non-competitive with their other NYC properties Avenue and Lavo, where bottle service thrives. Marquee made a smart move using their international DJ booking connections to create cachet. It doesn’t signal a trend of the end of bottle service in any way. Avenue and Lavo are bottle-selling machines. In that regard, the stories are just straight inaccurate.

Output in Brooklyn is as irrelevant to a larger social club concept as Cielo, the joint that spawned it. I love Cielo – did from day one. Its design, sound system, and bookings have made it one of the premier dance clubs in NYC. It has never been part of the larger club culture and has seen no need to be a part of it. Its new Brooklyn outpost should be a winner but it does not signify a trend. It’s merely serving dance aficionados in an ever-expanding Brooklyn scene. The trendy hipsters sipping $15 cocktails and eating $30 entrees at nearby hot spots in the new Williamsburg may never go to Output, and Output’s patrons may never go there but both will coexist in BBurg’s new world. Both are enjoying the transforming neighborhood which recently got a movie theatre and a Duane Reade and The Meatball Shop, and all sorts of other entertainment/distraction choices previously only found elsewhere. Output doesn’t signal the end of bottle service, but merely the expansion, or perhaps the gentrification of BBurg. On a side note ,I find it fascinating that a "no dress code approach to door policy" was mentioned or sited as portending a trend. I live in Williamsburg and basically everyone dresses the same here anyway.

Nightclub Space Ibiza is on its way to New York. It will be big, it will be grand, and it will compete with the other Ibiza-based mega club that thrives in NYC: Pacha. Webster Hall, a little as well. I go to Pacha on occasion, although not as often as I would like. I love Pacha. Eddie Dean and Rob Fernandez are magnificent at what they do. They find new talent, book established stars, and have created a mega club where you can dance and chat and buy bottles of booze or just plain water. They know their patrons and have a social scene that’s unique. They thrive and survive and have vast experience in the market. Space will be coming in and have to learn a lot quick. Big clubs attract big enforcement and scrutiny. They are off-the-beaten-path, but so was Crobar/Mansion before it was pummeled to death. 

Will there be competition? Of course. Will Space mean the end of Pacha? OMG, no. Space is a natural development. As EDM spreads to the masses, clubs will embrace the trend. More dance floor is needed to accommodate more dancers. These dancers are not being drawn away from bottle service. These clubs are not in competition with those clubs. EDM DJs command salaries in the high five and even six-digit ranges, and mega clubs are the only places that can afford them consistently  Space, Pacha, and Marquee have relationships with these superstar, rock star DJs as they are all international brands. The big club experience is enjoyed by many and shunned by many as well. I loathe EDM but I am confident that EDM heads would loathe my Ministry and Stones and Zeppelin DJ set.  

One of the things I particularly disapproved of in these articles and the comments that followed in social media was the comparison of these clubs to the mega clubs of yore. Palladium and Limelight and Tunnel all had door policies that culled crowds of 5,000 down to 3,000. Without getting into a discussion of the merits of door policy, those clubs had highly-developed social scenes at their core. We strived to book the best DJs available and had multiple, sometime six or more dance floors working in the same joint. We mixed crowds from all social strata, races, and creeds. Does EDM appeal to a mixed racial profile? Hmmm, I have not observed that. To me it seems to be white boy shee-it and that’s that, for now.

The articles also failed to recognize that EDM is a genre of music. There are many other genres of music. All have a place in our city which does include people of many ethnic backgrounds and classes and ages. EDM is expanding, but from my point of view it appeals mostly to a certain demographic and has not completely taken over the mindset of NYC clubs. Hip hop, mixed format, rock, pop, salsa and all sorts of other genres still pack them in. Sitting or standing or dancing with friends around a bottle is part of our club way of life. Marquee played a huge role in that development. Bottle service isn’t dying, going away, or being replaced. The writers just didn’t understand what the….  what they were talking about. No offense. 

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Saying Good Night to 2011

 

2011 rushes into history taking some notable strangers, a few friends, and some cherished concepts with it. I can’t complain about the way it treated me because it seemed to have treated a whole world of people worse. The world seems harder and more dangerous and less forgiving than in years past. Every minor conflict that we were worried about seems to have been worth the worry. The news is rarely good news and we seem to be accepting mediocrity as a nation. A recent trip to Virginia took me past town after town of similar malls and cookie cutter architecture. My New Year’s resolution is simply to still give a damn.

Nightlife has become more of a means to escape for most. There are still wonderfully creative and ambitious people pushing the envelope — celebrating creativity, but a solid decade of reality TV has unfortunately exposed us to our reality. "Boob tube" used to describe the instrument, when now it clearly describes those who find escape or answers or life watching it. I will be out and about tomorrow night popping in here and there, seeing the sights, kissing cheeks and telling bad jokes. I will DJ the last desperate hour of 2011 and a few moments of the virginal 2012 at Goldbar before heading into the streets where I always find comfort.

My first stop will be Stash, my wonderful creation on 14th and 8th. It is now ready for prime time players, and I will gather with a few friends and owner Matthew Isaacs for a toast to what was and what could be. It’s intimate, colorful confines will do the trick. I will miss GaGa at Times Square for the ball drop and probably Debby Harry at The Boom Boom Room (yes I still call it that). Nur Khan’s soiree at Casa Le Femme might catch me passing through for a second as I believe that the celebrators there will be gorgeous and fabulous. These terms are often mutually exclusive. That is a concept sometimes misunderstood in nightlife. W.I.P. seems to be a place to be with legendary producer Scram Jones Djing. If I am still awake I will head to Pacha for the tomorrow it always delivers. Pacha always is fantastic on New Years Eve. Webster Hall as well. If size actually matters (and I do thank God everyday that it does), these two joints are answers to your what-to-do? questions.

If you still don’t know where to go to find your place in the universe maybe it is best not to do it. The desperation of New Year’s Eve is sometimes a downer. Get some sleep and gather with friends for breakfast. If you must hit the streets realize that most places have been rented out until 2am with four-, five- and six-hour open bars as part of the package. By 2am there will be millions of not-so-hot messes walking and driving. Subways are reliable, packed and therefore safe at all hours. I tell everyone to hire a car and driver from your local car service for your peak hours. They charge 40 to 50 bucks but will wait for you anywhere and whisk you around and take you home safely. Split this with a few friends and it’s very affordable. Taxis will not be an answer. Places like Lit and White Noise, which are essentially mom and pop operations — saloons run by saloon keepers with panache — will often be the best place to enjoy the ride. They will be affordable and usually controllable. Anything goes in the big clubs, and if you don’t believe me ask any experienced security worker or company operator. They dread NYE.

Be careful, have fun and most of all don’t try to pack a whole years worth of partying into a single evening. Carry hand warmers and power bars and a small bottle of water. Stash some extra cash and only use it for an emergency. I worry about you.

Diplo, Scorpions, Owls, & Belly Dancers At Last Night’s Party

What I thought might be an OK  event turned out to be a blast. The hush-hush Dos Equis event last night at the Masonic Lodge on 24th St. and 6th Ave. had more pleasant surprises than my third wife’s diary. Things that I thought irrelevant or even tacky when I first heard of them at early event meetings turned out to be wonderful. People wore the provided masks and ate the weird bug munchies (scorpions, toasted ants, worms – see above). The belly dancers were actually amazing. One of my event golden rules is to leave whenever a belly dancer goes on. But somehow it worked. The belly dancers were hot. The Masonic Lodge has ballroom after ballroom, all marble and wood and gilded moldings. It is grand and mysterious. Photos of admirals and dead politicians lined the corridors, and the crowd rose to the occasion and behaved while they played. 

In rehearsal, surprise guest Andrew W. K. was like a kid left in a candy store during after hours. He played on a ginormous pipe organ while Diplo provided the beats and texture. Diplo would go on to win the hearts, minds, and bodies of the big crowd. I’m not an EDM kind of guy but after the night, before listening to some of the best over at Pacha, and then Diplo, I have been almost…a little converted. Now let’s not get hysterical; rock is still my genre, but I did enjoy Diplo in that grand ballroom .

 I was asked to recommend some cool promoter types to fill the room on short notice due to the Sandy wipe-out. Seva Granik was asked to fill the place, and he brought a hip Williamsburg crowd to the gala. Seva and I talked about how Manhattan is now a novelty destination for his flock. The Bespoke Group, headed up by Cody Pruitt and partners Doug and Brookes Rand, mixed in their bottle service. Alas, the only bottles were Dos Equis, and no one was complaining about that.

Everyone left with smiles on their faces. David Katz and Sam Valentine and Justine D. offered rock and roll while belly dancers rolled their hips and bellies. It was surreal.

The highlight of my night was the birds of prey room. I had an owl and a kestrel on my arm. I bonded with the beautiful kestrel. I talked softly to him and stroked his feathers, and then he leaned in and kissed me right on the lips. I am in love.

My day started at 7am and ended at the next 7am. I guess I’ll get all the sleep I need in 20 or so years. There were too many great DJs to list here and too many people to thank for bringing their friends. The thing about this event that made it hot and interesting was the mix of people. Give a crowd reasons to be cheerful and they will be…cheerful. Dos Equis and Mirrorball and all the other supportive entities deserve credit for producing one of the best events I have recently attended. 

Tonight I expect you to come to Webster Hall’s Hanky Panky Sandy "Rock- N-Rebuild” benefit. I’m doing a late set. Hanky Panky is very much happening thanks to the tireless efforts of Gary Spencer and the Webster staff. I always have fun there.

As reported earlier, the Lucky Cheng’s space is finally changing hands. I’s have been dotted and T’s crossed and I’ll tell you all about it when they tell me I can. The opening of Foxglove at 242 Flatbush Ave. near the Barclays Center intrigues me. DJ mOma is the draw for me, as is the continuing relevance of Brooklyn nightlife. They describe the space as "reminiscent of the Sub-Mercer" which for years was my favorite haunt.

There’s a whole lot of other stuff to report but I’m way too tired. I’m opting out with some warm milk and a long nap. Will someone please say good night, Mr. Lewis.

Why the Steakhouse Credit Card Scandal Is So Painful

The steakhouse credit card scam that is in all the papers hits home hard. I know a few of the players, and I hear from others that I know some of the others. First on the list is Martha Rubiano, a second-tier pal in my first tier of friends. Martha and I have been poking each other on Facebook for years. I asked around and found out that everyone has been avoiding her. Unemployed or unfulfilled doesn’t explain away the accusations. In the end, she was the gift horse that many looked into the mouth. Her too-good-to-be-true "deals" on luxury goods were indeed a must to avoid because, as it turned out, she seemed to be fencing goods bought on captured American Express cards.

She hasn’t poked me in days, and I assume she is otherwise detained. I will hope that she gets out of this okay. I think there will be a lot of deals cut and she seems low on the totem pole. I adore Martha, and hope she comes through this. It goes to show you that you never know a person all that well.

Higher on that pole is Andrew Parker, a nice enough fellow until you get to know him. Peter Davis did a story for The Daily Beast on him last December, which proved to be a mere tip of the iceberg, considering the latest accusations. I totally recommend reading it. I’ll add to Peter’s story a few anecdotes gathered by some of Andrew’s "keep my name out of it" friends. I was told, "When he was a kid at Dwight (a prep school), he was a bit of a bully. Now barely 5 foot 6, that seems impossible, but back then he was large." I was told "He fell out of favor and was so disliked that he was lured to an apartment of a friend where he was confronted by about 20 students and beaten up by a couple of them while the others cheered. Everyone hated him. He was and arrogant bully, not morally sound."

When he hit the club scene, he had worked his way back into the good graces of some. He hung with a "high roller, celebrity crowd." He even threw a few parties. He had an "after hours club called Pacha, and his mom was somehow involved." After that foray, "He then started selling clothes at flea markets and on the street. Then mom bankrolled him in A.S. Parker, a very small closet of a store on Madison Avenue and 78th Street. Samantha Ronson deejayed at the store’s opening party." He had changed his name from Pollack to Parker," so he wouldn’t seem so Jewish." He then "went crazy, not paying for anything, like stealing fruit from supermarkets and he was stealing customer credit cards using the money to pay for his lifestyle, completely lost his mind. Paying for hookers, strip clubs, and then he dated that porn star Heather Pink." I asked if he was paying for the bottles I would often see at his table. "No, he always knew how to get a free bottle, who would give him one. He would show up with a crew of girls and get the bottle for free. He was sort of an unpaid promoter." One of his friends wondered how he got out of jail so fast after the last arrests. “Maybe he was out for a reason." There’s always a rat and according to those who know him well, he "fits the bill."

I always got along with Andrew. I’d always say hello. I even met his mom when he was doing that Pacha thing. I commented that he never tried to screw me as far as I could tell. "He figured he shouldn’t shit where he eats, and clubs are where he lived." I said, "It seems he always shat where he ate according to his arrest record."

The so-called mastermind of the whole shebang is Damian Jacas, often known as DJ. People say I know him and I sort of do recognize his face from his Facebook photo. I was told that "he was someone I knew but never let into my clubs." Years later, he latched onto a fast crowd and in the bottle service era, people like Jacas and other jackasses become V.I.Ps with the swipe of a credit card. He seemed to have lots of those. I wonder if clubs have been touched by this scandal. Many say that "he can’t be the brains behind this mess." Then again, they really didn’t get away with it—28 of them are locked up. I bet that number grows. He was a bartender uptown or had a bar up there. I don’t care enough to find out. Too many people’s lives have been hurt by this. Among them is my old friend who was cuffed at the hospital while his wife was in labor. She got busted as well, but is nursing their newborn and therefore not in jail. He used to throw parties and until recently, was dabbling with some idea of doing a joint. He recently told a friend that he was "retired from the biz." He should get out today, and I’ll give him a call. But what can be said. I’m sorry for your troubles?

This scam will have repercussions. Clubs are very aware they are targets for phony credit cards. Disputed charges are a time-consuming part of every night life. Waitrons take photo IDs and managers background check as much as possible, but scams are more common than you might think. Now every effort will be doubled. This crime is a violation of our comfort zone. I read that all the money spent on the cards will be refunded to the unsuspecting owners, in time. What can’t be returned is the false sense of security we have when we give that smiling waiter or clerk our ID and credit card. Because of this crew, we all will be a little uneasy during this holiday shopping season. The cops and courts may quantify the crime in terms of dollars scammed, but the real loss is our trust.

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. 

This Saturday Pacha Celebrates 6 Years & I Celebrate Christmas Early

It’s hard to remember a time in NYC before Pacha, which is celebrating its 6th Anniversary with a series of events. To Pacha honchos Eddie Dean and Rob Fernandez, it must seem like yesterday, and yet an eternity since they first opened. Trust me: 6 years in clubland is like 120 in human years. On the top of my list of must-attend events is super DJ Erick Morillo, this coming Saturday. Tiesto was the first event of 6 parties celebrating the anniversary at a sold out soiree at the end of November. Roger Sanchez will DJ at the 5th event next Saturday, December 17th, and for the final installment, they have something super special planned. Stay tuned.

The Pacha thing will of course run late. Earlier Saturday night, I will pop in on A Murray Little Christmas, being held this year at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. There’s a 730pm and a 930pm, and as usual, it will be an unusually fun time. Murray just celebrated his 29th birthday, again. 29 in showbiz is like 150 in human years. Murray will be joined by international burlesque legend Dirty Martini, the bawdy songstress Bridget Everett, Moisty the Snowman (Bradford Scobie), Sebastian the Elf (Carmine Covelli), with live swinging holiday music from Murray’s band, The Stiff Gimlets. Santa Claus and Rudolph the fake 99 cent store red-nosed reindeer are scheduled to appear.

The storyline is as follows: ‘Tis the night before Christmas. Murray finds out the Manhattan theater where his annual holiday show is booked, is being torn down to make room for a five-story Duane Reade! Murray is devastated and wonders if he should just throw in the showbiz towel and retire in Florida as a Bingo caller. He’s lost all hope and his special guests were counting on the paycheck for a box of Crest Whitestrips (because none of them have dental insurance). Then, almost if by divine agnostic intervention, a magical hipster elf from Williamsburg takes the downtrodden cast of characters over the bridge to find a venue in Brooklyn. As the loose plot suggests, somehow the show miraculously goes on. Murray and the gang discover what matters most is their love for each other and to never give up hope, especially during the darkest of times.

Everybody is going to see Roma perform live (9:30 pm) at W.I.P. tonight. It’s 4, familiar to nightlifers, hot girls, and 1 sleazy male singer. I’ve heard it referred to as "art rock." The video I saw made me fidget. It’s hard to make me fidget.

Last night I saw the flick Shame, which basically portrayed a businessman trying to live the life of a typical club promoter. Well, in their dreams. In his unrelenting quest to get his dick wet, our hero (Michael Fassbender) sinks into the depths of NY nightlife, eventually hitting rock bottom at the club Quo, which I think is closed, but I don’t care enough to find out. The weird thing about that scene is  they seem to have switched the 2 joints around. He is turned away by the doorman/bouncer at the Eagle, a real live gay leather club across the street from Quo. He has a new bruise on his cheek and door peeps always turn those types away. The Eagle is portrayed as a straight club in the movie. So he walks across the street to Quo the straight club which is portrayed as the leather bar. I was as confused as Brandon, our hero, seemed to be. I loved the movie, which was directed by Steve McQueen.