Halos, Heartbeats, & Rosewood Land in NYC Tonight

Tonight sees the opening of Rosewood (5 E.19th Street). I’ll be there. I like everyone involved in the project and well…yes, they are paying me. I will be DJing in the lower-level den which the press release describes is for "a more eclectic crowd.” That’s me. I’m opening for the fabulous Kelle Calco, one of my favorite DJs. Upstairs, Danny Rockz and Zeke Thomas provide the music. They had some preview thing the other night and it was a major celebrity fest. The building space has been many clubs, mostly with silly names like Roam and Boudoir. Nobody went to these places, so it will feel real new now. Naysayers and nut jobs will say it’s cursed. Bah humbug! My first of many this season, says I. There is nothing wrong with the space that a little experience, some love, good DJs, and common sense won’t solve.

The experience comes in the form of Redd Stylez who, as Gary Oldman once quipped in True Romance is practically related to me. Redd has been associated with a dozen places over 15 or more years. He is the creative guy; the guy tasked to fill the room and make it sing and swing. He will do just that. Hiring Ruben Rivera to do the door is a great start. Ruben has a great following and a solid eye for what works. Like all great door folk, he is not afraid to say no and also not afraid to say yes. The latter part is something that newbie door folk rarely understand. Creating a mix and letting in that borderline patron and making a club money at the same time is the difference between red and black ink. Redd doesn’t want red ink.

Inside Rosewood will be one of the fastest and, he will tell you, best-looking bartenders in this ‘Burg: Blaise Johnson. Heis fast. There’s some drink he made up called the “White Rose” which I will try after I turn things over to Kelle. It’s Appleton Rum, Chambord, and blood orange puree. Sounds yummy. Rosewood will open Tuesday through Saturday, and I’m hoping they do well.

Saturday night I attended the 4AM electronic dance music event at the Highline Ballroom. I didn’t know what to expect. The place was sold out, jammed with a crowd down the block. When I arrived, DJ Dalton was frenzying the crowd. Promoter pal Cody Pruitt and I discussed how refreshing it is to attend events outside the usual boxes…the familiar clubs. He helped me out at that Dos Equis party at Masonic Hall a few weeks ago. Then, and over the weekend and seemingly always, he brings a great crowd to any party. He is singlehandedly convincing me that promoters, who usually referred to me as the "P-word," are not all bad. Last I saw him, he was going to cut off his long locks. Alas, it was only a couple inches and I feel mislead.

Also of note is tonight’s charitable event Halos and Heartbeats, hosted by the ever-fabulous Tish and Snooky at the new Cutting Room. Tish and Snooky of Manic Panic fame sold me my first pair of pointy shoes when they had their store on St Marks. I ruined them and a brand new leopard-print sports jacket while going over a barbed wire fence one typical night a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. They are the most wonderful of people. Their hair dyes are coveted to this day. Tonight’s event features performances by Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle. It will benefit Frankie’s Friends foundation, which funds grants for life-saving veterinary services from their Hope Fund to treat pets whose families cannot afford the cost of care. There is a live, silent, and online auction to raise funds. For tickets to tonight’s event, see here.

The Gates Shutters, Tammany Hall Opens, & Facebook Remembers

Although I hadn’t noticed it myself, word comes that the Gates, an unbelievably boring and predictable place I didn’t believe in, has shuttered. It was off to the left, a little too high up, and not cool enough to survive. To close right before the holiday cash-in tells a tale of deep dark failure. The guys who brought people to the place, Redd Stylez and Michael James, seem to have taken their show on the road – Redd to Studio XXI and Michael to Chelsea Room. Gates was snobbish without reason and badly managed. Although they made changes to correct initial blunders, this isn’t a second chance town. Their door was a disaster, all attitude with little knowledge or experience. Making mistakes at the door at a venue off the beaten path ensures failure. There are plenty of other places in town that desire “B” crowds and their money. At best, that’s all it was – a B, C, or D crowd in a badly conceived place. They spent what looked like 20 bucks rehashing the formerly beautiful Biltmore Room. They lasted way longer than I expected, but then again, I hadn’t heard a whisper about the place for 6 months.

“As one gate closes another opens,” said a fortune cookie. (Or was it a fortune teller/ or some guy at some table spending a fortune and being philosophical? In all this Christmas confusion I fortunately have forgotten). I went by the new 152 Orchard Street hang Tammany Hall yesterday. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion had played there this past Monday. Tammany honcho Eddy Brady and Sailor Jerry Rum sweetie Dana Dynamite were texting me and e-mailing me to attend, but alas Monday is Bingo night for me and my clan. The new Sailor Jerry pin-up calendar release event was a smash I hear, and the early reviews for Tammany seem to be as well. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was on hand, and the press people sent me pictures to prove it. I toured the joint with Eddy and Dave Delzio. Purist rocker, man about town, and all around good guy Dave will be upfront on this project, which prominently features a stage, proper lights, and appropriate sound. As I was walked around, workers were painting things red, while old school posters and photos of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall were being unfurled. They will be plastered on the walls to add some panache to the place.

My old pal Arthur Weinstein, who passed a couple years ago, celebrated his birthday on Facebook yesterday. His contributions to nightlife, and to my life, have been chatted about here, and cannot be underestimated. It’s amazing how many people took the time yesterday to wish him a happy one on his still-active Facebook profile. Facebook founder and Time’s Man of the Year Mark Zuckerberg has not only changed the way we live, but how we pass. Arthur is remembered and visited. His friends still stay in touch with each other years after he’s moved on. A special friend talks Arthur’s talk, and we suddenly feel like he’s with us. We see new images often, as people upload them. He lives in cyber space, and although I miss him terribly, I find solace there. Facebook is a relatively new phenomenon, and I see our present use of it as just the tip of the iceberg.

I bought an old 1930’s era phone for the restored Nells phone booth, which is part of our design at Darby. Many of the young crew working on the downstairs yesterday had never seen a rotary dial before. They couldn’t believe there was a time before push button technology. I told them that as a kid in Connecticut, we lived in a rural area and shared a “party line” with our neighbor. If the phone rang once it was for them, twice for us. Sometimes you would pick up the phone and they would be chatting on it. You would say “excuse me” and they would politely wrap up their call in a few minutes so you could make yours. It was a time when we had two channels on the television, which was the size of a sofa. There were no cell phones, and the only computers were in the Pentagon or NASA. As we approach the new decade, it just doesn’t seem cliché to me at all to ask, What will they think of next? I miss my pal Arthur, but will find consolation and comfort after I wrap this up with a “Hey” on Facebook.

Biltmore Room to Re-Open as The Gates

Danny Kane, Redd Stylez, and Rod Surut are gearing up the space formerly known as the Biltmore Room for an April opening. It will be called “The Gates” — a reference to the heavy ornate gates that guard the entrance. The Gates will be “a high-end lounge with food,” and the menu is slated to be “new American cuisine.”

Redd Stylez will serve as promotional director, and he tells me that they will have an “ambassador program” where qualified friends and fabulous folk will have special access and privileges. This will allow the joint to forego the use of dreaded promoters. A series of special events in April will serve as a preview, with an opening event scheduled for May. They will be open early six nights a week for that loungey after-work crowd and open late four nights for the clubbies.

The 8th Avenue and 25th Street location has proved to be problematic for two previous tenants — Rome, a gay club, once resided there, but it was a bit north of the strip and never really took off. And the Biltmore Room was a noteworthy restaurant, garnering an outstanding three stars from William Grimes of The New York Times, yet it succumbed to the no-man’s-land location as well.

The room is marble over marble and is absolutely breathtaking. Some upgrades to the banquettes and DJ booth were made, but they left the room mostly as it was, and it is beautiful. The times have changed, and it may well be that this location will work as many of this teams’ clientele have found traveling to places a little off the beaten path like Antik and Johnny Utah’s to their liking.