Paul Sevigny at Heathers, Yours Truly at EVR and DL, and a Rock ‘n’ Roll Designer Birthday

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A call in the middle of the night from my dear pal Paul Sevigny always puts a smile on my gorgeous face. Paul said he was in Fort Lauderdale with his boat, but planned to jet up to New York to DJ at the newly re-duxed Heathers (506 East 13th Street) which, by all accounts, is catering to the sharp set. He asked me to DJ with him, which I always enjoy, but alas I am at EVR (54 West 39th Street) from 6pm to 10pm for their after-work soiree, and then off to DL (95 Delancey at Ludlow) for their hard rock/metal/sleaze rock party with Sam Valentine and David Katz. DL will be celebrating rock enthusiast and star Daniella Tyler’s birthday.

Another birthday shout-out to Natasha Adonzio, the designer of all things rock, who was the spandex queen of St. Marks at the boutique that bore her name. The first party I ever threw was Dee Dee Ramone’s birthday at Max’s Kansas City. I got the bug, and so my second party ever was a fashion show with over 20 East Village shops. Natasha was the first to say yes. Everyone else said "Well if Natasha is doing it then so will I." She legitimized me … not an easy task. She is still designing and still for the rockers.

I got to go … It’s 8am and I won’t get to sleep until 7am. Yes, still crazy after all these years.

[For info on the venues listed above, visit the BlackBook New York Guide]

Two Reasons You Have to Go To Webster Hall Tonight

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The 8th Annual Paper Nightlife Awards will be held tonight at Webster Hall and everybody is going. These are the Oscars of nightlife, and so watching what the nominees and guests are wearing is everything. The categories are divided into two parts that People’s Choice and Paper Magazine have chosen. The People’s Choice part was infamous for ballot-stuffing, but they seem to have made it harder to just keep clicking that button for yourself or your favorite employer. The public gets to vote on: 
– BEST NYC PROMOTER
– BEST CLUB SONG
– BEST NIGHT TO GO OUT
– BEST MEGA DJ(S) WITH ONE NAME
– BEST MEGA CLUB IN THE USA
– BEST NY PARTY MUSEUM
I’d like to give an award to the person who came up with those categories.

The Paper chosen winners will come from a heavily skewed "new" list because that’s the way they want to roll. The categories here are:
– BEST PARTY
– BEST BAR/LOUNGE
– BEST HOTEL WITH A NIGHTLIFE SCENE
– BEST ARTY PARTY SPOT, BEST DJ
– BEST PART-TIME DJ
– BEST RESTAURANT WITH A NIGHTLIFE SCENE
– BEST CLUB
– BEST BEER GARDEN
– BEST NIGHTLIFE SOCIAL MEDIA STAR
– BEST NIGHTLIFE PERSONALITY

I don’t believe in "the best" in nightlife. Besides, if there was a best it would probably be over and on to the next by the time you are done reading this. The best of anything in nightlife – and don’t let anyone tell you differently – is what you like. To many, Lit Lounge is nirvana, and to others it’s a pigsty, a hole in the wall that smells bad and plays music nobody has ever heard of. But those are the same reasons why it’s nirvana to so many. These days, a joint could be the greatest show on Earth one night and a nightmare on any other. Clubs are no longer all things to all people as they have become very specific.

DJs, on the other hand, tend to trend, and it is common to hear the same tracks as you bop from one joint to another. Paper’s DJ category does seem to reward those less likely to play predictably. In that category, my favorite DJ not named Paul Sevigny or Jonathan Toubin is nominated. That’s Elle Dee. I love the "BEST PART-TIME DJ" category as it recognizes the "everybody is a DJ” era that I have become so involved in. Paper has been around for a long time, and some of the players who made it great are still around and as credible as anyone to give these awards. One of those venerable Paper players is the sparkling Mickey Boardman, who is celebrating his birthday today and tonight.

While I am out and about and at Webster Hall, I will certainly stop by Riot Avenue, my Thursday DJ partner Sam Valentine’s weekly Wednesday event there. Sam will be joined by Avi Miller. Among the hosts is the absolutely fantastic Bless Fantastic.

This Friday there’s a party across the pond that I wish I could attend. Old friend, DJ, producer, composer, innovator Larry Thom better known as Larry Tee will celebrate his birthday at Larry Tee’s Super Electric Party Machine at East Bloc, 217 City Road, London, England. I don’t even like to travel uptown so I send best wishes to one of the best.

Predictions About The Revamped Marquee

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I will be attending Marquee on Wednesday to see what I will see. I expect a Vegas-style club geared toward electronic dance music (EDM), with a room to dance and a room for corporate clients to have events. In the early stages, I consulted on the layout, but I’m not involved in the design now. I designed the first incarnation and a couple of reduxes since. The late, great Philip Johnson got involved at the last minute in the original design and added greatness to my humble offerings. It may have been his last project. Over the years, Jason Strauss, a partner, would ask me how I ranked Marquee in the all-time list of great clubs. I usually had it down around number 25, but with the caveat that time will tell. This latest redux says that Marquee’s story has not been fully written. It certainly dominated its decade and it certainly wasn’t all about black cards buying bottles, although that is a great part of its legacy.

Marquee took bottle service to new heights. It was a huge part of the bottle-model, table-service revolution that went global. Yet, there were hipster nights with Wednesday’s so-called “rock night” lasting for 6 or 7 years. I remember feeling great joy while sitting with Paul Sevigny and friends in the mezzanine. Marquee was fun. Celebrities came as often as sparklers on bottles. Over the year, the paint faded and the luster of it all moved to other venues. Many didn’t even realize it was still there. It was always making money, living on reputation and remembrance and professionalism. Tao Group or Strategic Group or whatever the corporate name at the time built other icons like Avenue and Lavo and PH-D and, and, and…and the crowd moved there. And then they built a club in Vegas, and the Marquee brand was reinvented as the highest-grossing joint ever. It even had an outpost way out in Australia.

As the 2000s meant bottle service, the 2010s are all about EDM. Marquee NY will be a hub, a routing point for the organization’s big name and DJ packages. Marquee NY will belie the slogan, “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” To some extent, a Vegas production-marketing-big club experience will settle on 27th and 10th. A nightclub pro told me yesterday that he believes it will dominate. He feels it will redefine the whole scene. So I guess in a few years I’ll call up Jason Strauss and utter a single word, a number like “9,” and imagine the smile on his handsome and successful face. Congratulations to Noah and Jason and Mark and Rich and the other Rich and Andrew and Wass and all the players to be named later. To all the players who work so hard and make it look so easy.

Tonight I will scoot down to Mister H at the Mondrian Hotel Soho to visit Louis Mandelbaum on the occasion of his birthday. I know Louis as Louis XIV, his DJ moniker. We teamed up on New Year’s Eve at Marble Lane, also owned by those guys up above. Louis will DJ and host, and a good time is ensured for all.

What Happened Last Night At The Amy Winehouse Foundation’s After Party At The DL

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T.G.I.F…and F.Y.I: with half the known world M.I.A. (missing in action) in MIA (Miami) for the W.M.C. (Winter Music Conference) and the U.M.F. (Ultra Music Festival), there was a great music based party at The DL ( Delancey and Ludlow?, Down Low?, Designed by Lewis?) in the L.E.S. (Was that as good for you as it was for me?). Anyway… the after party for the Amy Winehouse Foundation event that happened earlier at The Waldorf Astoria was one of the most fun parties I have been to in quite some time. A gorgeous, mixed, hip and smart crowd gathered to hear Mark Ronson and a few other DJs (Disc Jockeys) spin. Mark, of course, produced Amy Winehouse’s glorious multi-platinum album Back to Black, and arrived with producer Danger Mouse for his 1am set. I did the opening set, followed by Andy Rourke (ex-Smiths) who is working on a new album. Lucas Walters, Gavin Russom, and Vikas kept the crowd till 4 A.M. (ante meridiem). O.K. (OKAY), I’ll stop.

I chatted with Mark who closed out the set with Amy and his Valerie. It was a sobering reminder of her early departure and why we were all there. It was great seeing him. We worked together at Life and other clubs I directed back in the day. Whenever I see him I am awed at how much he hasn’t changed. Despite being very successful, he remains the same accessible and straight-up guy he always has been. Terry Casey put the whole thing together. I am in the process of redux-ing The DL which has proven to be a wonderful adventure. 

The vibe last night was outstanding. The beautiful Taquana Harris turned to me mid-evening and remarked that the party was very reminiscent of the old days in club life that have seemed so far away and unattainable. I guess if one gathers immense talent for a good cause, people of substance will come out to play. None of the DJs played a set in any way similar to the others. The public, which is much smarter than the pablum-packed sets usually offered at nightclubs, embraced the eclectic mixes from all the genres offered. I must note that Marky Ramone and Paul Sevigny were also wonderfully willing to lend a hand with the event if we needed them. My day today is shot a good sign that my night was grand.

The Most Hated and Loved Man’s Birthday & The Vinatta Project Gossip

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All the unusual suspects will gather for DJ-club god Michael T’s birthday. I have never loved or hated someone as much as Michael, and that’s in the first 10 minutes every time I meet him. He can be oh-so-sweet and oh-so-sour, but his heart is always in the right place. There was this one time — I’m going to stop there, as we all have stories. He remains my favorite DJ who isn’t named Paul Sevigny. How can someone so ageless have so many birthdays? He’s celebrating two on one day…tonight.

The first of Michael’s birthday parties, according to the invite, is from 8pm till 1am at La Bottega at Maritime Hotel, 363 W. 16th St. The second runs from 11pm till 4am at Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St. There seems to be an overlap, and I suspect that the wily Mr. T is employing one of those Tupac hologram thingys or something like that. I’m always confused if it"s Michael Tee or "T.” In either case I will show up at one of these soirees to celebrate my friend’s fabulousness – probably at Beauty Bar so I can dine at IHOP right after. Michael is so thoughtful like that.

Everybody I know (from some circles) is off to Sundance to overpopulate the tiny hamlet of Park City, Utah. I spent a year there one night. I am being inundated with invites, but everyone knows I gave up the snow years ago. I’ve actually never gone to Sundance, as ski slopes and roller coasters and jumping from airplanes are for my next incarnation. I do love a good film though, and I hear they’re showing some in between, before and after all those parties. Noah and his Strategic Group have taken over some underground garage facility, decorated it, and snazzed it up, and are ready to show all how it is done. I would love to check out Park City Live, the newly renovated hot spot that always books national acts. My pal Kathryn Burns is living her dreams there.

Monday (after BINGO) I will attend the Benefit Concert for Animals hosted by Wesly Wang, Geri Gongora, Dava She Wolf, and sponsored by Alacran Tequila and Forever Young wine at Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan St.  The Bashers – featuring musicians from Guns N’Roses, Soul Asylum, X-Pensive Winos, Uptown Horns – and others will lead the way. The Planets will also perform. Bands start at 9:30pm and they’re asking for a minimum of $10 at the door.

On Sunday the rockers will descend on Manitoba’s for the 14th annual anniversary extravaganza. It’s billed as the first great party of ’13 – and I’m a believer (unless someone actually plays that track). It’s running from 1pm to 4am, and is a "15-hour rock and roll party at 100MPH.” There will be munchies and drink specials, and the football games will be shown. Handsome Dick Manitoba and his lovely wife Zoe Hanson will host.

The other day, a reliable source whispered to my always open, rather large and sometimes naive ears that the building where The Vinatta Project thrives was bought by Matt Levine. It simply isn’t true. Matt reports: "I have no involvement at 69 Gansevoort at this time. Let me get The Rowhouse Inn open first before myself and Michael start opening up more spaces in the Meatpacking, haha."

Well, at least my boy got that Rowhouse part right. Rael Petit, a friend of mine and partner and manager over at Vinatta, 69 Gansevoort, asked me to clarify. He’s at Sundance doing diners for his Mulberry Project and Vinatta. I caught up with him before he jetted off. He told me Fridays and Saturdays are slammed at Vinatta with a great crowd listening to resident DJ Mok. He tells me the Tuesday-through-Thursday crowd are filled with the locals and are for my tastes. I’m summoned to check it next week when he’s back. The official line from them is :

“The Vinatta Project opened its doors in November 2011 in the bustling Meatpacking District. In the constantly evolving restaurant statosphere, The Vinatta Project embodies all of the components of a perfect night out–delicious food, complete beverage program, friendly service an a hip yet inviting atmosphere.  The menu features a selection of Contemporary American dishes including Paella Spring Rolls, made with Shrimp, Chorizo, Jalapeño and Smoked Paprika Aioli, Tuna Tartare with a Crispy Wonton and Wasabi Greens and NY Strip, served with Chimichurri, Polenta Croutons and Pickled Red Onion.

Vinatta also features a robust beverage program, complete with hand-crafted bespoke cocktails created by some of the best mixologists in NYC, and a selection of artisan spirits. Vinatta is open for weekend brunch, special events or even catered parties.”

Yesterday,  my very secret whisper-in-my-ear source, who obviously is right most of the time but not all (the price of being fast and first), says that The Shadow space on W. 28th St. has a new operator. Shadow was owned and operated by the old-school, wonderful Steven Juliano.  He, according to my source, has settled on a buyer which my source says is one of the premier operating  groups. I know who it is, but I’m going to double and triple check before I tell you.

Ludlow Manor In Trouble With New York State Liquor Authority, Selling PB & J Sandwiches

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A special friend has relayed the information that Ludlow Manor, that ambitious club/lounge/(restaurant?) had an awful time with the New York State Liquor Authority at the full Board Meeting Wednesday. Nobody got hung or shot, but they did get buried with being forced to turn in the liquor license for safekeeping the end result. My ex-wife took my cat Violet for "safekeeping" 20 years ago and I haven’t seen either since. Ludlow Manor is fronted by Georgie Seville and GaGa’s ex Luc Carl, something the board took note of. The Times reported that Luc called himself an owner and, by SLA rules, that isn’t strictly true. It is merely a harmless exaggeration club-runners use to describe themselves when they often own nothing more than their wardrobe. I wont reveal the names of the real owners here.

His and his attorney’s attempt to calm the savage beast of the board bordered on comical. The board wanted to know why they weren’t serving food, a basic condition of their license.They pointed a finger at universally-hated Con-Ed, which hadn’t gotten around to giving them gas. The board asked if they currently served any food at all while waiting for power. They answered cold sandwiches. When pressed about what kind of delicious and nutricious sandwiches they were offering, they replied peanut butter and jelly… and also turkey. My man on the scene did all he could to contain his laughter, but the scene was sober and guffaws would have been inappropriate and dealt with severly. When asked about why the upper two unlicensed floors were operating, fingers were pointed at a no-longer-employed bad, bad publicist. The club’s lawyer was less than dynamic. The board was less than sympathetic. A $10,000 fine was assessed and the license grabbed until a  fully-functioning kitchen appeared, at which time another hearing would be held.
 
Last night, they were closed. I visited Georgie at Ludlow last week to get the story, but I didn’t really need to ask him any questions. He was slumped on a bar stool and looked worried and beaten. Usually an upbeat gent with a million-dollar smile, he looked shaken and stirred, with little spark in his famously bright eyes. He talked about bills piling up and employees out of work. I wished him luck, knowing that luck would have nothing to do with it.
 
Kenmare was in front of the same board. They were found guilty of serving a minor booze. Liquor lawyer legend Warren Pesetsky pointed out a discrepency in the bust. An undercover purchased two beers for $16, but expensed $38. When cross- examined at a preliminary hearing, the undercover explained he was good tipper. Kenmare is currently closed, awaiting a knight in shining armor to revitalize the space as a restaurant. Banter between the owner and SLA board was about the chef quitting. The board queried about it being strange that he couldnt find a chef in NYC . The owner wanted to get one form his other restaurants and none seemed enthusiastic about getting involved. Here, too, the real owner did the talking as the former "front owners" Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan were someplace else being "owners."
 
This is not a put-down of those two guys or any of the other "owners" that are merely the handsome faces put out front to generate buzz and get things working. In reality, the marketing  people or operators who aren’t on the license define a joint way more than the squeaky clean fellow who invests the cash and gets to get a license.  A new concept is coming at Kenmare. The place was shut on advice from lawyers who understood that a wrath from above would surely come as the kitchen got closed, leaving only the lounge to cause trouble. The license was surrendered voluntarily while violations and concept are defined. The voluntary surrender of the license was the right way to handle it .. the police raid and subsequent taking of the license at Ludlow…not the right way. Sources tell me the peanut butter and jelly defense was never considered by Kenmare’s attorney.

A Little Bit of Rum & Hope

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For me, this summer of love has been well…lovely. I decided to file only three days a week until Labor Day reignites my passion for writing this labor-of-love column. Yet here I am again. I’ll keep it short and as sweet as that apple rosemary puree they put on my porkchop over at Hope Garage, which had its friends and family opening last night. Yep, it was a garage and yep, it’s on Hope Street, number 163, right off of Union. When they officially open, they’ll be open until 4am. The staff and food and ambiance will have me walking over as soon as that happens. The thing about this friends and family gathering was that it was full of friends who I never see on this side of the river. Most are still shocked that I live nearby as I am shocked that they still live over there. I play and work in Manhattan, but I walk my dog and thrive in Brooklyn. I might not have attended, but Noelle Bailey, who many of you know from the doors of NYC clubs, told me I had better go. She’s out in Colorado now, finishing up her PHD. She’s the type that will reach right through my computer screen and yank me if I disregard. She won’t have to command me to attend again. Hope Garage is a welcome addition to the hood.

Tonight I will attend the 2FEET 12INCHES opening reception for C.ZAR a screening at White Rabbit, 145 East Houston Street. That starts at 7pm. Robert Aloia, who is curating this and a series of other events under the 2FEET12INCHES brand, always has a hot, eclectic turnout.

This Saturday I’ll pop out for the day to The Montauk Beach House, my home away from home. My pal Paul Sevigny will be DJing and celebrating the birthday of DJ Peter Makebish. They’re also launching a "New Revolving Showcase for Local Artists" under the title “Downtown Art.” I’m gonna leave early Saturday morning to beat the traffic and take a 10-hour energy thing to get me home to my own bed. Yep, I still roll like that.

Tomorrow is National Rum Day…yep. Those good people over at Sailor Jerry Rum are taking over Mother’s Ruin, 18 Spring Street (Mott and Elizabeth), and are offering up $2 Sailor Jerry Slushies all night. I did some research because, yep, I roll like that, and National Irish Coffee Day is January 25th, World Whiskey Day is March 27th, National Bourbon Day is June 14, and National Tequila Day is July 24 – which is way too close to National Scotch Day on July 27. National Vodka Day is October 4th and, of course, National Hangover Day is January 1st.

Terry Casey: “There Are Big Changes Happening in Montauk”

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I don’t do The Hamptons. Although I have great friends that love the prospect of driving hours in a car through the cultural desert of Long Island to hang with people I strive to avoid in Manhattan while eating $50-a-pound potato salad, the idea has never appealed to me. I have done it and done it right, but I do remember spending a year there one night . I did design Dune at one point but never actually graced it with my divine presence. During the winter months, my clan treks out to Montauk to huddle around fireplaces and beachcomb. The water, the light, and the lack of crowds made me a believer years ago. I’ll be there come the cold. Apparently they have built this wondrous place called The Montauk Beach House and I have been told it’s a game-changer. My pal Paul Sevigny DJd there recently. When I was considering a story about Bastille Day and looking through my online emails and evites, I saw a big name pop out at me: Paul Oakenfold, one of the top DJs in the world. He’s doing a gig at The Montauk Beach House this Saturday, July 14th at 3pm. Take a look at the pics – it’s gorgeous. My pal Terry Casey is booking the joint and DJing as well. He called me about playing there come August so I asked him what the heck is going on.

What the heck are you doing out there? Who have you had already and who’s coming up and who’s coming to this place and …tell me all about it!
I GOT ASKED BY EVENT SOCIETY (RENE AND FRANCOIS) TO BOOK AND PRODUCE A MUSIC SERIES AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE WITH A GOOD FRIEND: MATT THOMAS. HE’S A BRIT AND WANTS GOOD MUSIC AND IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE. OWNER CHRIS JONES ALSO DESIGNED NIKKI BEACH, AND MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE FEELS LIKE A MIAMI HOTEL SO IT’S A NEW CONCEPT IN MONTAUK…RENE MANAGES OPERATIONS AND DOES IT WELL AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE; HE’S  THE OWNER OF EVENT SOCIETY. IT EXCITED ME TO DO AS I’VE BEEN GOING OUT TO MONTAUK FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS – I FEEL MORE AT HOME THERE THEN IN THE HAMPTONS. I USED TO DJ IN HAMPTONS CLUBS AND FEEL LIKE I SOLD MY SOUL. I STILL DO A FEW WILD HOUSE PARTIES IN THE HAMPTONS, BUT THAT’S VERY DIFFERENT TO THE CLUBS…THE CLUBS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE NOT MY THING. MONTAUK IS MORE LAID-BACK AND LOT OF SURFER CULTURE …THERE ARE  BIG CHANGES HAPPENING IN MONTAUK; PLACES LIKE SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S HAVE SET THE PACE…LOTS OF FRIEND HAVE MOVED TO MONTAUK AS THEY PREFER IT.

WE DID A SOFT OPENING WITH PAUL SEVIGNY LAST WEEK AND HE PLAYED A LOT OF GOOD ROCK, SOUL, FUNK ..HE ROCKED THE PLACE….A GREAT DJ AND REAL RECORD COLLECTOR PLAYS VINYL AND LOTS OF IT. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HIM OFF THE DECKS. I GAVE UP AT 4AM, HAHA. I PLAY ROCK AND ELECTRONIC SO IT’S NOT ALL ONE STYLE …AND THE MUSIC SERIES WILL MIX UP BANDS AND DJS…ALL SUMMER…

FOR THE DAYTIME BY THE POOLS, WE HAVE DJS LIKE BRIDGET MARIE AND SARAH RUA. THEY PLAY MORE HOUSE, AFROBEAT, SOULFUL VIBES.I’ve rarely enjoyed the music out east during the summer.. you told me Montauk is different… tell me why that is.
MONTAUK IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU FEEL AWAY FROM NYC. THE HAMPTONS FEELS LIKE AN EXTENSION OF PEOPLE’S BAD BEHAVIOUR IN NYC…PEOPLE ARE STILL RUSHING AROUND…YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE CHILLING OUT…ON VACATION.

I GO TO PLACES LIKE BANZAI BURGER AND FEEL LIKE I’M AT THE BEACH OR IN THE CARRIBEAN.  BANZAI IS ALEX DUFFY AND STEVE KASUBA’S NEW PLACE OUT EAST. THE FOOD THERE ROCKS…I GOTO SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S. THEY’RE ALL GREAT PLACES AND ALL VERY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.

Are the townies coming or is it a hipper visitor, vacationer, weekender?
ALEX DUFFY LIVES IN MIAMI AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM MIAMI, NEW YORK, AND OUTSIDE THE US COMING IN. AND, OF COURSE, THERE ARE LOCALS.  ON WEEKENDS A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SICK OF THE EVENTS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE COMING TO MONTAUK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT…IT’S THE SAME REASON PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN GO TO WBURG …THEY’RE OVER MANHATTAN AND ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LESS CHEESEY.

At the end of the summer, will you try to continue this series in a NY venue? How would you describe the state of NYC clubland?
I’VE BEEN APPROACHED TO DO MORE EVENTS IN NYC AND MIAMI AND I HAVE PROJECTS IN MUSIC IN THE WORKS. I LIKE THAT THERE’S MORE CLUBS BOOKING MUSIC ACTS AND LESS MODEL PROMOTERS …BUT NYC NEEDS MORE BALANCED MUSIC AND SOCIAL CLUBS. I WISH THE FESTIVALS WOULD BOOK MORE LOCAL DJS…WE ARE BOOKING TALENTED LOCALS LIKE JESSE MARCO ,CHAINSMOKERS, DJ VIKAS, JULIO SANTO DOMINGO, KRIS GRAHAM, LIQUID TODD, SHORTY, AND MANY MORE..THESE GUYS ARE LOCALS AND TRAVEL THE WORLD.

Paul Oakenfold. Like …how do you swing a name like that?
PAUL OAKENFOLD AND YOUNG EMPIRES (LIVE) …YES, ME AND MATT HAVE CALLED A LOT OF FRIENDS TO GET PEOPLE TO PLAY ALL SUMMER FOR SMALL FEES IN A 200-400 PEOPLE VENUE BY THE POOL….WE HAVE A LOT OF ACTS COMING LIVE AND DJING….I DONT WANNA SAY WHO, AS EVENTS ARE INVITE- ONLY..  BUT EXPECT MORE HUGE ACTS. 

Want Some Hanky Panky? Gary Spencer Knows Where To Find It

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Friend Gary Spencer has been tasked to carve out a little slice of heaven from mega-club Webster Hall, and brand it as “The Hanky Panky Club.” As creative director, he is opening his ambitious concept with a performance by the New York Dolls frontman David Johansen and my favorite DJ in this world: Paul Sevigny. For me, this is an incredible booking. The influence of the New York Dolls on NYC music, and the direction rock took from their lead, is incalculable. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I wore a suit to an office and listened to jazz. On the way to something somewhere, my cab cut to Park Avenue from another avenue to avoid traffic but got stuck again. As I glanced out the window at the very grey NYC of the early ‘70s, I saw the Dolls stumbling over each other in dresses and such with a wonderful entourage in tow. I had seen a light and got an itch that I have spent the rest of my life trying to scratch.

It was a few years later that the Ramones indoctrinated me into the life completely, but it was the Dolls who showed me the path. Rock and Roll, to its devotees, is a religion. Its anthems rarely get old, and the offerings of ancient bands and rock stars still play well to generations. Rock produced today and a zillion days ago will play well to people who aren’t even theoretical yet. It’s an "old school" genre that still delivers, still sells out stadiums. Gary Spencer is approaching the new Hanky Panky venture with an old- school mentality. I will be there to support and, more importantly, to enjoy a slice of the life I have chosen.

Hanky Panky starts with a bang, with the New York Doll’s David Johansen and my favorite DJ and (perhaps) person Paul Sevigny. Why were they chosen for this grand affair?
Friday is going to be a special night; we’ll have David Johansen from the New York Dolls performing, Paul Sevigny spinning.
I wanted to keep the integrity of not only the space but also NYC, and who better than David Johansen of the Dolls to do that? He’s New York and he’s totally rock and roll. Webster Hall is New York rock and roll history, and we have the club that overlooks it – how cool is that!!! Paul Sevigny is a quality DJ; a guy that really knows his music and is a perfect compliment for the Dolls and the room in general. He’s underrated and he crosses so many eras of music in his set. Plus, he’s an absolute gentleman. Deadbeat Darling will be supporting Johansen;  they are an amazing band whose latest album “Angel’s Share” was produced by Ken Nelson (producer of Coldplay’s “Parachutes” and “Rush of Blood”). Terry Casey, another underrated DJ, will also be spinning and maybe even you Steve, who knows? It’s all a secret!

It’s in but it’s not. The Hanky Panky Club includes the balcony of Webster Hall. Let’s face it… it’s Webster Hall, but a redefinition of part of it. Webster Hall is very music-based. Tell me about the pairings of bands and DJs at The Hanky Panky Club, and the development of a separate brand from Webster.
Lon Ballinger, the owner of Webster Hall, contacted me and said he was looking for a different demographic, a market that he hasn’t been able to tap into, and that he wanted to open the space that was above the main club. After walking through the venue on a Friday night, I was like – WOW – this is incredible; the energy on the main floor was like nothing I had seen in a nightclub for a very long time. Hundreds of people were having a genuinely amazing unpretentious night out. It was refreshing to see, but it was even cooler to see and live it from the comfort of the balcony, which is incidentally attached to – ta da – Hanky Panky!

I really feel that that’s what people will do: they will enjoy all the trappings and service of The Hanky Panky Club but also enjoy the energy that the main room and balcony have to offer, if and when they need it. In pairingup the music on a Thursday, we will have a soul evening, Fridays will be electronic, and Saturdays will be more commercial/house. The bands on these evenings will also reflect the respective genres in the main room. Your career. Tell me about it, and tell my readers about the wonderful nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow.
I was standing in Peter’s nightclub “Stringfellows “ in 1983, and his director of operations Roger Howe approached me and told me he wanted me to work for the company. I had zero experience at the time, but ended up a week later as a bartender at Stringfellows. Later on, I moved on to be the reception manager at the world famous and way-before-its-time Hippodrome. What I always remember from that is when Roger said to the bar manager at the time, “I want Gary to work at the bar,” and the bar manager said “well, we don’t have any positions available.” Roger said “Well find him one.”

Those guys understand image. They know the rest can be taught; they build all their clubs around selling glamour and image. Plus, they know all about programming. He knows his trade. Peter started off in church halls, then booked The Beatles one night and never really looked back.

Peter will always be legendary in nightlife. He understands what nightlife is; it’s fantasy, it’s sexy, it’s escapism, it’s what should be talked about amongst your workmates on a Monday morning after a wild weekend. But not only does he bring all of those qualities to his clubs, he does it with a swagger and a smile, whilst being able to laugh at himself which is a rare but very-much-needed quality in nightlife.

After I worked for Peter, I fell into a very successful modeling career and also produced the Fashion Café fashion shows worldwide. My modeling career led me to New York where I have lived for the past 15 years. Four years or so ago I went back into the hospitality/ nightlife industry and, before becoming creative director here at The Hanky Panky, I worked for Joe Bastianich at Del Posto.  I opened the Rusty Knot for Ken Friedman and was also at private members-only club Norwood.

You told me your approach to nightlife is old school, and you used the word "patience” several times. The need for it …not letting someone who doesn’t "belong" into a party in just because they’re buying bottles… will this fly?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it will fly. If somebody is right for the room and that person decides to buy a bottle, then that’s fabulous. But what I don’t want to do is let somebody in just because they have the money. I’ve seen too many nightclubs ruined that way.

While we’re on the subject, I think service plays a big part as to whether a venue is successful or not. NYC used to be known for its high standard of service, but we’ve gotten so used to everyone coming here for the last 20 years that nowadays, when a cocktail server comes to take your order, it seems like everything is too much trouble for them. Why would anybody want to spend money in an environment like that? That ethic would fail in any other business. The cocktail servers at Hanky Panky will not only be stunningly beautiful, but will also take your order if you are sitting at a table or not. I know many very wealthy people that want to be served fast and efficiently. They don’t want a “table” or a “bottle,” but they don’t want to deal with the bar either – so, they call a server over .

Another problem is that not enough nightlife people are operators in nightlife, so they defer to promotional teams to fill their venues up. Which is fine, but there is no easy fix. It takes just as much effort to fill a room that is promoter-driven as is concept-driven. The difference is that the concept-driven room will probably have far more longevity and be a hell of a lot cooler in the long term, but that’s where the “patience” bit comes into play, and unfortunately the world has become a little too “instant gratification” for my liking.

Tell me about future programming at Hanky Panky and where the name came from.
The evenings will always begin with a live band that will come on at 10:30pm and make way for the DJ around midnight. As I said earlier, we have a soul DJ spinning on Thursdays, so the band will be jazz or soul or maybe even reggae. DJs coming up soon will be people like Christopher Sealy, Bridgette Marie, Tommy D, John Luongo, and hopefully I’ll get some of my English-European mates here as well. And of course, not forgetting your good self, Steve.

When I did the first walk-through – walking up the marble staircase, past the distressed walls – I felt like I was being lead to a naughty secret hideaway. And then I saw this red neon light that was propped up in the corner that said “hanky panky,” and from then on, I immediately named it The Hanky Panky Club. If you read the dictionary definition of the phrase, you will know it’s a perfect fit.

What would you want people to leave HP feeling and thinking?
That they had fun, that they had good old-fashioned fun. That they were served well, and listened to great music amongst good people. There’s not enough of all of that anymore, and I, along with the Hanky Panky crew, intend to change that.

Gary Spencer