The Legendary Debbie Harry Will Host Dropout’s Fashion Week Party

A smart, sharp, beautiful, successful friend asked me where she could entertain her out-of-towners. Not knowing anything about these tourists I sent her a list of the A-List places. This list included joints as diverse as The Darby, Avenue, Provocateur, Electric Room, Le Bain, Le Baron, and W.i.P. There are of course many other choices and places closer to the edge but as I said they are strangers in a strange land and these felt safe to recommend. After describing each place in a couple of sentences they opted for W.i.P. W.i.P. is satisfying the needs of a downtown art/fashion/mixed crowd that had been forsaken for so long. Their Tuesday night soiree’ Dropout continues to service the Post Jackie 60 scene. Tomorrow night in honor of Fashion Week they are offering up the amazing Debbie Harry. I caught up with Dropout honcho and man-about-town Lyle Derek and asked him all about it.

What does it mean to you/Dropout to have Debbie host this Fashion Week party?
Debbie is in a class all on her own by her doing this show for us. It confirms yet again how cool she is. Debbie is giving back to New York nightlife culture. With some of these pop stars that pretend to care about the NY scene and the underdogs, Debbie put her money where her mouth is and she doesn’t have to keep proving anything to anyone. We all know some of these girls can sell out the Garden, but what is really cool and a real feat in my book is doing small club gigs and keeping NY alive and exciting. Since we announced Debbie’s show we have gotten hundreds of emails from people saying how much this means to them to get a chance to see one of their heroes in an intimate setting like this. She is the real deal – not only one of the best pop song writers, but one of the sweetest people in show business.

Debbie is a rock icon/star. How do you interact with her? How hard is it to be a friend without the cloud of celebrity?
Debbie and I met when I was in film school, while I was producing the documentary about the legendary ’90s nightclub SqueezeBox, and we have remained friends. She makes me feel totally comfortable because she is so human and so real. Her beauty is the only thing [that’s] a little spooky. I mean that face! She is even more stunning in the flesh!

How did the Dropout concept begin?
Dropout was an idea that my pal from Texas – filmmaker Jonathan Caouette – and famed Dutch actor Noah Valentyn had. We wanted a new party that celebrated live performance and what New York City was when we started it almost a couple years ago. We did it at Don Hill’s, and there was nothing like that going on. Noah Valentyn came up with the name and we all created a night from the heart. Jonathan’s new movie took him to France and then sadly Don passed away and Don’s closed. We were shocked when we discovered our little art party had captured the imagination of the city and of the club worlds as we got calls from six club owners to move it to a new venue.

How did end up at W.i.P.?
We held off for a bit as most club owners do not support parties like these and don’t see the big picture of what this could grow into. The only owners in town in my book that get that are Barry M. and Noah Tepperberg, but none of Noah’s clubs have stages and we couldn’t do the party without a stage. Barry wanted the party and said he would put a stage for our nights and we started back up at W.i.P a few months ago and it was the best move we made. It was our first time working with Barry, and he cares about NY nightlife the way we do, and after our first meeting we were sold. His new venue W.i.P. was one of the best; Noah Valentyn and I discovered and it being new and fresh and letting us have a stage was the right fit. Stu [Braunstein] was also someone we worked with in the past and he gives W.i.P. a sick gallery of artwork and that helped make Dropout the perfect venue, ’cause Don Hill’s was a hard place to replace with its stage and feel. Barry also gives us the resources to bring on our hosts from Don Hill’s: the cool Darian Darling, Kiss, and Tommy Hottpants, and some new ones like recent PS1 curator Tim Goossens, upcoming designer John Renaud, and cutting edge art producer Michelle Tillou. And one of the best club DJs in New York ever: Miss Guy! Guy is one of our close friends and gave us the idea for a mannequin DJ back at Don Hills when we started because we couldn’t afford a real DJ! It was our way of downsizing. So having Guy on board to DJ was key and all that helped the night in blowing up. New York is very excited about this party cause we are giving artists an outlet they didn’t have otherwise ,and there is a real scene and community happening like many folks haven’t seen in a decade. We get calls from bands everyday – well known and new young artists that want the chance to play in front of an audience that celebrates new music and risk-takers. Artists feel safe coming to play Dropout and that why it works so well.

Dropout is really growing and has already garnished a great reputation. There is a lot going on these days – mostly good in nightlife. Have we turned a corner? Is nightlife back?
I think we have for sure turned a corner for the better and this show with Debbie Harry on Tuesday, which will also feature guest DJ Nick Zinner and a debut music video for the Miss Guy album, out next month. It will go down in the books as a night that helped spark a true happening – the kind you only have in New York City!

How The Club Handled The Chris Brown-Drake Brawl

Everyone is asking me about the Chris Brown/Drake thing at W.i.P. I’ve taken enough pot shots at the changing scene over there. I won’t further the gossip about how the seating was done, despite warnings to management not to do it like that. The ensuing brawl, I am told, was "inevitable.” Multiple sources told of the seating "roped off the way it was resembled a boxing ring.” I won’t talk about the report of a young gal needing and getting multiple stitches but reportedly not being helped by club security. My source said "she got 16 of them.” A couple of people talked of art by photog Scott Alger valued at 10K+ being destroyed. One employee texted me that "it was late on a good night and that Mary J. had left and it was all good"…until it wasn’t. They added: "it isn’t nearly as rough as Sunday". Since the NY Post and the big news organizations are all talking about this, and me and those W.i.P./Greenhouse guys are getting along after a bit of a rough spell… there is no need for me to even mention it.

Man-about-town Terry Casey will be celebrating his gazillionth birthday at La Zarza, that wonderful little spot on First Avenue and 10th Street. This is turning out to be a big deal, not because it’s Terry’s birthday – God knows he’s had lots of those – but because of the talented DJs who will be on hand. Stephen Luke the LIV Miami resident will join Xander Phoenix and innovative DJ Kris Graham. Kris was one of the originators of the now-everywhere House Music brunches. Back in 2002 Kris was doing Diva on West Broadway and joined forces with Roberto Burchielli who helped bring the European programming to Provocateur

Rumor Has It: Butter Group Is Splitting Up

I guess it’s official, as Frankie Sharp – that promoter/host with the most fabulous following – lands on the cover of the Village Voice. It was 430am this morning and I was walking the puppies and grabbing bagels with the gal, when I saw Frankie’s fierce puss staring up from a stack of papers. We have been banging Frankie’s drum loudly here forever. He is the new, while almost everyone else is… experienced. Frankie has blown everyone away. His boyfriend is David Davis, my assistant/co-worker/partner in design.

The Voice tends to use terms like "savior of nightlife" and stuff like that and say there was little going on when Frankie burst on the scene, without recognizing the great divide in nightclub culture. While the rest of the world is getting closer to embracing gays as full-blown members of our society…(shoot, even Dirty Harry himself – conservative stalwart Clint Eastwood – is supporting gay marriage) clubdom has become even dumber. The gays and the straights rarely mingle in the same room as once was.

Frankie’s party is mostly gay and, of course, we love that, but there is another side of the coin as well. There are two parallel universes co-existing with one, not recognizing the existence of the other. Clubs, once so forward and influential, are more divided in lifestyle and music and ways of doing business than ever before. Congrats to Frankie for the well-deserved recognition.

On that straight front, there is rumor and innuendo on the top-tier places. I was asked by a realtor-type why I hadn’t talked about the imminent takeover of the Shadow space on 28th street. I told him I did chat with Mike Satsky of Provocateur about all that a while back, but have left it until now. Wanted to let them cross all the T’s and dot all the i’s. The realtor says its a 99 percent-done deal. In club life, when someone says it’s 99 percent done, I think there is bound to be trouble ahead. If someone says it’s 50/50 I think it might happen. 

With that in mind, my same source says there is trouble percolating at Butter Group. It’s always been brewing, but my realtor dude says that Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano are on the outs, with various scenarios being talked about. Dividing up of properties is being chatted about. In the "I can’t believe it’s not Butter" category, my first design gig Butter on Lafayette is being renovated by my ex-partner Mark Dizon. Scott seems to be gearing up to run this show and maybe the new 1OAK LA, while Richie is on The Darby and 1OAK NYC all the way. My source says 1OAK Vegas isn’t worth fighting over. How much of this is real or not, I just don’t know, but a call that I am bound to get later today should fill in the blanks.

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Kelly Bruce’s Birthday Bash at Stash, My Birthday Next Tuesday at Avenue

A freak injury involving a work boot, an immovable object, and an unfortunate little toe has made this a slow news day. I blew off yesterday with pain pills and bandages, just mobilizing enough to DJ last night. I had a tumbly, tossy night of  medicated dreams and am coming at this late in the day. Normally, I’m up at 7am, but the painkillers convinced me my pillow was where my fortunes lie. Of course, they lied and my editor is going to hurt another toe or something.

I plan on limping over to Stash tonight for Kelly Bruce’s Massively Epic Birthday Bash. Kelly left Blackbook just a few days ago and I have been inconsolable since. Stash just got a fab mention in New York Magazine’s Design Hunting section …much thanks to Wendy Goodman. I will then pop into The Darby for a peek; they finally got their marquee up. It looks fabulous and makes the place look even more elegant. I’m a proud papa. Then it’s Provocatuer to be amazed. It never ceases to amaze me.

Nightlife is getting bigger and better, except sometimes when it gets smaller and chicer. Fashion week looms and everyone is getting ready to slam into the new season. Club operators are getting ready to unveil or, at least, have polished the silverware and brought out the good china. New spots like Le Baron will help define the night. XL will be a game-changer as well. Christina Visca is having a good old- fashioned grand opening tea. Be there this Sunday for the boys and girls who need a place of there own. It starts at 5pm and ends at 10pm so there are no "tomorrow’s a work day" excuses.

Of no significance at all is my birthday bash at Avenue this coming Tuesday. I will be older than the wind but still young at heart. I’ll DJ for a half an hour with pals DJ Sinatra and Todd Smolar. I will pop a couple bottles of Beau Joie Champagne and promise myself that this year I will offer no more teenage excuses. The people at Avenue, Lavo, Marquee, and  the great team at Tao Strategic Group are family to me and I am honored they are offering me a party. It’s what they do best. Shout out/ Happy Birthday to the Group’s Judy Tepperberg.

The Top NYC Nightclubs To Hook Up With Models

Okay, we’re shallow, shallow people. Whatever. Sometimes it’s just fun to hook up with models. I wouldn’t know, but I have a couple of moderately douchey but lovable friends who say it’s "da bomb." Models are creatures of another world, a world like Avatar. And though they are scattered all across the city, there are certain nightclubs where we can confidently say “you will be breathing the same air space as a high concentration of models.” So here is our list of the Top NYC Nightclubs To Hook Up With Models

DJ Danny Rockz On Life As a Professional Party Starter

Tucked behind a booth, with his headphones, signage-emblazoned laptop, and two-disc turntable, stands the up-and-coming leader of the New York party scene: DJ Danny Rockz. Seen – and heard – at his resident spot at Provocateur, as well as such lauded New York hotspots 1OAK, The Darby, and Gansevoort Park,  this master of the mixes subconsciously dictates the tone and rhythm of our every groove, drink, and dance floor- rendezvous. Where there’s slamming tunes, there’s Danny Rockz. 

First things first: where did your name come from?
My DJ name was actually a nickname from high school, I had a few people that used to call me: D Rockz, I simply expanded that to Danny Rockz.
How did you first get involved in DJing?
It was something I started in high school. Freshman year I would go weekly and collect vinyls. It was kind of like a side hobby, something I was always interested in but I never directly involved myself in until college, when I got thrown into it. I was more into hosting parties with a friend of mine, and then one day our DJ didn’t show up, and my friend was like, "We really need a DJ for tonight, you have to take over." From that night on, I got thrown into it and I really started to enjoy it.
What where some of your first gigs?
The first residency I had in 2010 was with the Gerber Group. I was doing Whiskey Park for them on Fridays, playing all indie-dance and rock and roll, which built into doing Provocateur, which is my main place. I’ve been at Provocateur now for well over a year and a half, four nights a week. That’s my home away from home. I love the venue, the people, the staff. I don’t like their exclusive door policy, but if that’s the worst of it, I’ll take it.
Do you ever DJ out of town?
Yeah, out of town my main section is the Dominican Republic. The guys down there are so nice, the people are amazing, the food, the weather.
What’s the New York DJ scene like?
It’s just so flooded and crazy. You have to make yourself stand out in some way. I was honestly borderline going to give it up at the end of 2009; I had a full-time job, granted I wasn’t that happy doing that but I also wasn’t really that happy with the way the DJ world was going…the parties I was doing, the caliber of the people. So in 2010, I clean-slated everything; I dropped my job, stopped DJing, and just so happened to break-up with my girlfriend. I took the first two months of 2010 to think about what I want to do, what direction I want to head in. I started with a whole new image, new music format, started doing parties that I like, playing music I like, and it all just grew from there. The venues just started coming in.
What kind of music do you play now? What’s your sound?
I like playing a good rock and roll, indie-type set. I also like doing a true open format set where it’s not so slanted toward one particular genre or another, where it gives people a real diverse mix. I’ll play a few hip- hop songs, a few ’80s, ’90s, ’70s, ’50s, ’60s, house, rock, everything.
Is this influenced by what you grew up listening to?
All the music my parents and grandparents used to play, I despised. They listened to everything, from Sinatra, to Dean Martin, disco, to rock ‘n’ roll, ’90s dance, such a diverse mix. And I think that’s what’s affected me, because it’s all the music I like that now. I laugh about it now, because I go from hating it, to loving it, to playing it.
Besides the music you play, how else do you stand out in the flooded scene?
With your look, the job you do, your personality. Personality is the one thing I feel like a lot of people lack. Most people that stand out, stand out for a reason, and personality definitely plays a role. I’ve come across people that are looking to make it in the industry and it’s like talking to a serial killer or something.  
Ha! What do you say to them?
I’m like, "I have no idea what you’re doing, but you’re obviously in the wrong field. You need to be outgoing, you need to be enthusiastic." Everyone has their bad days, but if you go into this market with a negative outlook and negative mindset, or if you’re just a negative person, it’s really not a good way to go. You’ll be sick before you even get started.
How do you balance the pre-party music prep with your DJ hours? 
I DJ from 11pm-3am or 4am, but all the pre-party work that goes into it all is a full-time job in and of itself during the day. I pre-arrange the music before the party so I can just go to this one crate, organize new music, search for new stuff to play. One of my roommates has witnessed me doing an eight-to-nine hour shift, just searching for new songs.
How do you find new music?
I’ll go through different blogs in French, Spanish, Russian; you name the language and I’ve probably been on a blog that’s in that language. I’ve found some amazing music, some alright music. Most of my music comes from there. I buy stuff from iTunes, Beatport, websites like Hype Machine. Sometimes even YouTube, believe it or not. I’ll type in an artist or remix that I like and I’ll see what comes up in the suggestions and go through those.
And do you let those people know that you’re playing their song?
That’s the thing, it’s sketchy. As long as you’re not selling it or giving it away as a promotional tool, supposedly you’re in the clear. But that’s also why I put it on websites like Dubset; supposedly the artists get some money out of it all.
I’d imagine, even if you have most of the party music prepared, you’re constantly looking ahead to the next song just in case you change things up. 
Yeah, I like to be two songs ahead in my mind, so I have one song playing, one song queued up, and I’m looking at the song after that and the song after that. I bring a folder, and I’ll have them arranged in a specific order, start the party off at a modest vibe, and then build the energy up and maybe do a little rollercoaster effect where you have your ups and downs.
How are you hired for these parties?
Networking. Being social. I talk to people, meet people, follow-through. A lot of times you have to stay on top of people, but in the sense that you’re not overwhelming or creepy about it. You just want to be cool, just say, "Hey, what’s going on? How are you we going to make this happen," and it’s also hard too because a lot of people like to go for a manager, have somebody represent them. Now, I’m debating taking on a manager. I’ve basically done everything myself.
Is that rare?
It is kind of rare, especially to be working this much. One weird thing I don’t do that lots of DJs are involved in is this whole PR scene. They like to have themselves in huge papers and what-not. I’ve never been about that, not because I have anything against it, just because I feel like it doesn’t do anything for me and it’s a little tacky sometimes.
What’s the craziest experience you’ve had DJing?
I’ve seen everything I could possibly see. For me to see something that shocks me nowadays, it would have to be over-the-top. I couldn’t even put it into words what it would have to be. I’ve seen people get hit with everything in fights – tables, chairs, bottles- to people getting knocked-out. Years ago, I saw people get shot and stabbed.
But I’ve also seen nice things, where people at partiespropose. Off-hand, one of my favorite parties was a corporate party for Halloween during that crazy snow storm. I thought no one would show up; the weather was horrendous, they were expecting 200 people. All 200 people came, in costume, ready to rage, at 8pm. It was the most amazing holiday party I’ve ever DJed in my life. They were such an exciting crowd. One guy dressed up in this wolf costume. It was an amazing outfit, and I kept playing the A-Track song "The Big Bad Wolf." Just imagine this guy in a wolf outfit, jumping around the room, people cheering him on, people getting hyped and crazier and crazier.
What’s the one song everyone wants to sing to, dance to, hear?
There are so many songs, it depends on the party. My new thing now is playing songs like "Rockefeller Skank" by Fatboys Slim. It’s such a ’90s breakbeat-ish song, but it has such energy and I love watching people rock out to this, saying, "I haven’t heard this song in so long!"
Do you write any music yourself? Play an instrument?
I used to play piano a little bit, but now I’m getting into music production which is pretty crazy. There’s a lot that goes into that. I’m gonna be creating my own tracks from scratch. I do it all at home using Logic.
Do you feel comfortable in the scene now?
Yeah, I’m very content. I’m happy to see how this year alone, my stats and traffic have grown on things like Dubset and my Twitter.
You are the one of the most prolific Tweeters I’ve ever seen.
I just try to be random and put whatever is on my mind at that time. I’ll mention music, parties I’m doing. Watching lots of growth makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m heading in a good direction.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
This past week, the only night I had off was Sunday, and I was looking forward to lying in my bed, watching a movie, and that’s it. This winter, I plan on doing several ski trips. I love just being outdoors. I do a lot of walking. Sometimes I’ll just find myself roaming around town for the heck of it, even if it’s just to clear my head.
I’m sure you have lots of followers and groupies. What’s the most memorable thing someone has said to you while DJing?
I had someone tell me recently they watched me DJ for a whole night and said, "I’ve seen other DJs play often, and I’ve never seen anyone quite as happy as you. You just have the cutest smile on your face the whole night." That made me feel really good. It’s definitely my happy spot.

Saturday Night in the City, Plus a Chat About Hotel Chantelle

Health is wealth, says my mother. My recent bouts with flu have left me “anorexic,” says she. Well, I took my much thinner self on a romp this Saturday night and got the feel of things. I stopped by APL, which is changing its name, game, and menu to get back to a good place. These are nice people and it’s the last place I designed with Mr. Dizon. I wish them well. Then I scooted by Highlands Restaurant and Mary Queen of Scots, which celebrated their one year anniversary on Sunday.

I walked for a while with Matt Levine, who told me his new place previewed and will soon be ready for prime-time players. He was heading home, so I popped into Hotel Chantelle to see how the roof was holding up with the weather advancing toward winter. The enclosed roof deck’s foliage was as vibrant as ever and the crowds were still there enjoying the illusion of being outdoors. I’m DJing there Thursday, so I checked out the booth to see what I was getting into.

Then I passed by Noel Ashman’s new joint, where fresh paint was debated. Also the name of the place. I can’t much talk about it except to say the joint is going to be sweet. Noel and his uber secret partners are excited. I walked over to subMercer for my second visit in two days. Gabby Meija’s birthday bash the night before was a costume affair with a Roman flair. It was a great party. I didn’t go downstairs Saturday, opting to hang out at the door with Richard Alvsarez and the chain smokers, which could be the name of his band if the door/art thing doesn’t pan out.

I zoomed over to Snap to see how the basement spot I’m designing has progressed. Although the name is secret here as well, I’ve been hearing it in the street. If one more person mentions it, I’ll consider it public knowledge and tell you. Geez, when I had joints I wanted people to have the name on their lips. This secret sauce confuses me. I peeked into The Darby and was amazed by the vibrancy of the place. The upstairs was winding down its dinner/show with a solid adult crowd and bon vivants were sliding into the downstairs lounge. Everybody was beautiful and well dressed. Matt Issacs and I walked over to this 42 Below Underground Rebel Bingo event on 16th street. It was just ending and the crowd was shuffling off to Buffalo and other such places.

There were nice new cars parked everywhere, and I was told the Cold War Kids had performed. It was time to get real, so I headed to the Dream Downtown. I went to the roof where everyone was having a good time in the low lit room. How dim was it… girls were picking me up. It was that dim or they were. I called ahead to Provocateur to announce myself, as is their practice, and was whisked inside. Lately, the snarkiest amongst my readers and friends have suggested that two years in the place has lost a step. It had been a couple of months, so I wanted to see for myself. Those naysayers are crazy or just mean spirited. The place was off the hook with every table a story with a fairy tale ending. Every time I go to Provocateur I see the most wonderous crowd. I zipped over to Electric Room, where Nur Khan was hosting Crystal Castles after their show. I asked the door heroes about the black carpet that guided you through the steep Hacula garage entrance. “So, if a person is rejected they have to skulk all the way uphill to the street? How embarrassing that must be!” They replied with something eloquent, like “Yep.” Inside it was wonderful. Every thing was clicking. The staff is brilliant, the music fun, and the crowd was having a great time instead of just pretending or looking like they were having one. I love it there. In my spare time I asked Victor Medina-San Andrés about his Thursday night soiree’ over at Hotel Chantelle.

SL) Thursday you are hosting the 5th Annual Masquerade Ball. Tell me how you got into this and the charity it benefits.

VMSA) The first Masquerade Ball was in Paris in 2007, I brought out about 700+ people on a Tuesday night and it was a huge success. Healing the Children Northeast is a small organization which is based in Connecticut and they’re great, their sole purpose is to heal children with burn injuries, cleft palates and other deformities whose families don’t have access to or cannot afford treatment in developing countries. I have decided to help them to raise money with their missions. I know the money goes to the right people since I traveled with them to Thailand right after the Tsunami.

SL) You’re having it at Hotel Chantelle and the invite says black tie. Talk to this why Chantelle and why black tie?

VMSA) Terry Casey was the person who suggested Hotel Chantelle and he told Tim Spuches and Kyle O’Brien about the event and they said “Definitely!”. I love Hotel Chantelle, it has a great vibe, 3 floors an amazing roof deck and it’s just perfect for the event. I call it black tie because I want to give people a second chance to look like a rockstar at their prom. If you think about it, we were all a bit awkward in High School so this way you get to basically be whoever you want behind the mask and have fun at the same time. In addition, this party is dedicated to all women. Yes, women who have amazing beauty and within and can show it with their attire that evening.

SL) Tell me about what you do.

VMSA) I’m a photographer and filmmaker. I have worked in about 24 films and I’m developing a few ideas about directing 2 short films I want to shoot. One of them is about suicide and how painful it is to families and I want to present it to suicide organizations to try and prevent it. I’m still developing the idea but we will see what happens with it. The film industry is very “up in the air” sort of business. At times, you can shoot for months and then is quiet. Also, I became partner and curator of the After-Set Independent Film Screenings and we do screenings with Tribeca Grand Hotel & GrandLife. Tony Fant & Tommy Saleh are amazing when it comes to support with the arts and we allow indy filmmakers to screen and showcase their work for free, we screen weekly and we give a percentage of the money collected at the door to Healing the Children Northeast on a weekly basis and it works. is a social media site for filmmakers only and we do the screenings not only in NYC but Paris and Rome. As a photographer, first it was a hobby which turned into a business, I have been shooting for a long time and I recently joined The Cooper Union to take lessons and it’s funny how the professor asked me: “what are you doing here?” since he found out what I have done as a shooter. Lastly, at the party I’m also showcasing The Masquerade Show – Part Deux, 20 nude images I photographed, I’m selling the prints and giving half the money to the charity as well. This way everyone at the party can feel good about helping children.

SL) Terry Casey is involved with this event… tell me more.

VMSA) Terry loves masquerades as much as I do, he’s not only a good friend but very talented when it comes to music and DJ’s. He has been in the nightlife scene for a long time and he approached me last year about doing the Masquerade Ball and he actually introduced me to GrandLife and Tribeca Grand where I did the Masquerade Ball last year, I know this business can be cut-throat but you do actually build good relationships at the end. We are in the business of entertaining people and make their nights memorable and The Masquerade Ball is going to do just that.

SL)How do people get in?

VMSA) Get there early and $20 gives you access to get in. Masks can be purchased at door for $30. Starts at 7pm until 4am on October 27th at Hotel Chantelle. I didn’t want to sell the tickets online because I want to see a line of people dressed in black tie outside the venue. if you come with no mask, jeans, caps or any wrong attire or shoes, no problem, then your entrance fee is $1,000.

‘Double Seven’ & ‘Bounce,’ Catching Up on New Openings After NYFW

The end of Fashion Week is certainly a relief from the bombardment of invitations to events I would not attend even if I had the time. It’s also an end to the gaggles of fashion victims banging my knees with gift bags as they rush to the next can’t-miss party, and a return to “normal” programming at clubs and restaurants. Reservations and cabs will be easier to obtain and a certain frenzy will end as the fashion faithful rush off to another metropolis.

The weather outside is delightful but the fall is saying hello and the days are getting shorter. For creatures of the night, like me, this is a good thing. This will start a migration home and to milder climates for the South Americans and Euros who have been enjoying our warmth and the hospitality of our weak currency. The well-heeled will spend more time abroad chasing broads in warmer locales and with them goes the “ka-ching” of their plastic. September brings the baseball playoffs, the Jewish High Holy Days, and for many, school. This is a traditional time of soft revenue, which will continue until the fall/winter slam that begins with Halloween and rips until Christmas and all its parties and through New Year’s Eve.

Tickets for the soon-to-be announced greatest show on earth, Pacha’s New Year’s Eve bash, go on sale Monday or Tuesday. It’s like that.

Tonight I will be at Provocateur because I think it will be the place where the Fashion Week flock will come to unwind and celebrate. I have called ahead so they will rush me in through their ever tight door. Last night I visited Daniel and Derek at their restaurant MPD for an appetizer and we chatted about St. Tropez, yachts and stuff and other things we will talk about in more depth and disclose to you…after the collective deep breath. Then it was off to The Darby for my first meal at the joint. I was with a client who wanted to do so and so it happened. I try not to eat at restaurants I design. I thought it might cloud my perception of the job I did. Last night sitting by the stage enjoying the show and a truly great meal I realized that I was wrong and I must experience the design from a customer standpoint and not just the operators. There were celebrities all around and the staff was great. I was really proud to be a part of it. I bounced over to Travertine to visit Ruben and then it was home to catch up on some long lost z’s.

Tonight I will try to catch up with some openings that occurred while I was fashionating. The Double Seven is not having a formal big bang opening “because of its size” according to David Rabin, but loyal followers will be invited to pop by all week. I need to get over to Bounce, that new sports bar on 21st Street where Porky’s used to be. I popped in while construction was nearly done and was very impressed by the room. I alsoneed to catch Arias With A Twist, that Joey Arias and Basil Twist performance at the Abrons Art Center on Grand Street. This is a must-see for the downtown set.

Terry Casey Talks New York Nightlife

My old friend Terry Casey is getting a little older and will celebrate his birthday at Home Sweet Home this Thursday. He isn’t getting any wiser, apparently, as he has asked me to DJ for an hour. I will be sandwiched in early around 8pm between Rocco Ancarola and veteran spinner Walter V. That’s like 80 years of club experience throwing music that isn’t muzak at you. Terry is one of those bright, go-to guys that I go to for advice or insight on what’s going on. He can be seen everywhere as his taste in nightlife is as diverse and eclectic as his grasp on music. I am honored to play for him.

Tell me about your upcoming birthday event. My birthday event is a fun, non-serious affair combining music, art, and fashion. There will be DJs, an art show with great artists (courtesy of Javier Leonard of Leonard Tourne Galleries), and a small fashion show. The venue really helps with this, as it has a real gallery with a cool cocktail bar attached. Artists want the best setting for their art and Home Sweet Home’s new gallery space offers that. They don’t want just a few walls in a nightclub/bar/lounge setting with bad lighting. I picked a wide selection of DJs and friends to do two rooms of music. It’ll be everyone from the bottle/social scene to the DJs playing the Brooklyn warehouse parties—I like to connect the groups (dots). I asked you, Rocco Ancarola (Pink Elephant, Lavo) and Walter V (Studio 54, Danceteria) to play music in a gallery setting and what more experienced nightlife crew could I have found for a 3 hour opening session? The crowd will get to hear these people play songs they want to play and not just the radio or karaoke/wedding DJ songs like most spots in NYC. Later in the evening we’ll open two rooms, with one for indie dance music and the other with electronic DJs like Varick, Carlos Mejia and more from the techno/minimal/warehouse party scene. That includes parties like Sheik N’ Beik (Julio Santo Domingo’s), Blkmarket Membership (Taimur and Fahad), Low Pitch Orchestra (Carlos), Flawless (Jen and John), Made Events and many more. These parties introduce new acts before they become mainstream and bring culture to the New York scene.

Since you closed Le Royale, what have you been up to? Is there a venue in your future? Le Royale closed when it was still very very busy, with four months worth of bookings and global acts coming to play a 150-person DJ room. That’s not a good or normal reason to close a club but it’s also not normal for your business partners to not show any accounting for the business. To this day I have not received any accounting from my former partners, David Baxley and Elaine Romagnoli. The issue will hit the courts in the next few weeks and they can explain their actions to a judge. Their actions were damaging to staff, promoters, vendors, and to me who all lost a lot of money and two years of my life building a strong brand. Their actions were dishonest and I expect to be able to show their actions were not in good faith in a court. At first, I took a year off doing no events and just listened to lots of music and worked on a few small projects away from nightlife; I was not sure if I wanted anything more to do with clubland. The ugly side of this business left a bad taste in my mouth, it was a sad experience. But it’s made me a lot wiser and I have already pulled out of deals with similar characters trying the same type of stuff. I understand that clubs and bars are a business and expect them to be run with honesty and care. My love comes from the inspirations of music and creative people, and combining those is so much fun; nightlife can be such a creative avenue for people and it caught my heart many years ago. Will there be more clubs from me? Yes. I expect there to be more ventures but it needs to be the right deal and a place that can make people feel at home. I’m working on a few things now but talk is cheap, as we all know.

Tell me about technology and the changes DJs are adapting to. What I have been doing since Le Royale is listening to lots of new music to make myself happy. My favorite is a new music style called electro swing which combines old swing music with electronic beats like house and hip-hop. I recently DJ’d a night of 90 percent electro swing music to see what people thought and was pleasantly surprised. There are pockets of people in many cities around the world making this music and sending it to each other and spreading the word globally—how fun is that? I’ve also been checking out new DJ technologies, which in recent times has moved to a new level. I came into the music business from being a DJ and I started out in London at 16-years-old, buying import dance releases from NYC, Chicago and Detroit. It was mostly house music at that time, but over the years my taste expanded as I grew musically and learnt more about music. Now I’m open to everything from dubstep, to classic rock, to world music and everything in between. At the moment I’ve been excited by DJ Controllers and Midi Controllers—I hate to say it, but CD players and turntables are going to be history in clubs soon enough, because the future is here. I currently use an S4 Controller by Tractor and it just blows my mind. I don’t need anything but the controller and it does more than a CD or turntable ever could with music. I have to thank DJ Kris Graham (Diva) for turning me onto this. Kris is a nerd surrounded by beautiful women, but he’s a nerd, I’m calling him out on it right now.And of course, the Technics SL-1200 is still an amazing piece of engineering.

What are the positives and negatives about the current New York nightlife scene? I think the positives are that social clubs are booking and promoting new music, not just booking people to play the radio. I believe that’s partly because of YouTube and other outlets promoting new music, which now gets to the masses and not just DJs. At this time there’s no need to wait on radio stations and the losers at MTV to play new music. MTV wanted us to believe that reality TV was bigger than music and more profitable to shareholders but I think it’s safe to say that YouTube has a brighter future then Viacom. You only have to look at Lady Gaga’s career and how the web took her to new highs. Then, if you look at Lavo, Provocateur, SL and other socially/bottle-driven clubs, they have taken a serious approach to booking the established and rising stars in electronic music.

In Brooklyn we have world-wide sensations and New Yorkers need to be proud that we have such a creative force in our hometown. We also have a new rising star in festivals with Electric Zoo and you have to give it to Mike Bindra for taking that chance and seeing the vision in doing a purely electronic music festival. We are also lucky to have Bowery Presents in NYC and great live music shows at Bowery, Webster Hall, and Music Hall of Williamsburg. Le Bain has a great music policy now, with Jerome and Neil Aline and Cielo is a stable for house heads. On Fridays, Webster Hall Friday is dubstep heaven and draws the biggest acts from dubstep and electro. The brunch/restaurant parties in NYC are off the hook, day and night, including Lavo and Bagatelle. Rocco Ancarola’s Sunday night is my favorite party at the moment and the DJ plays almost no house and no hip-hop, so that’s rare. There are lots of performers and it’s held in a restaurant so you see people like U2, Paul Oakenfold and movie stars dancing on tables to world music.

Negatives, well that’s easy: Some aspects have not changed much, including bottle service, door policies, a lack of diverse crowds, too much focus on money and no culture, to list a few. Also, rent is too damn high, as our friend who ran for mayor said.

Where is Brooklyn headed? Brooklyn can only get bigger and better, it’s where the youth of NYC look to live, not Manhattan. It’s very international especially Williamsburg and Dumbo. People used to move to places like Williamsburg to save money on rent and now they live there because they want to be with friends. To me, Williamsburg offers what Manhattan is not able to offer—a real community. Manhattan is becoming very generic, which is not cool to watch because there are still areas that feel like community, for example the West Village. But most people can’t afford to live in those areas so it’s a luxury for them. More people will move to Brooklyn from all over the country and the world before even touching down in Manhattan. There’s already more people living in Brooklyn over Manhattan so it can seen as its’ own city or even funnier, Manhattan as a suburb of Brooklyn (that’s a joke). Brooklyn can expect some of the issues from Manhattan over time, like more chain stores (Starbucks, etc) and rising rent costs. Rent prices have gone up a lot over the last 10 years, and more than doubled and tripled in some areas, but there’s been great progress for the communities in Brooklyn and Queens at Manhattan’s cultural expense.

Are you British, or is that a speech impediment? And why are you in New York? I’m a big city guy, born in London and was very lucky to be born in what I’m told is the music capital of the world, although NYC and Brooklyn are fighting back strong.