Travel Trends for 2012

As 2011 winds down, it’s time to look ahead to our travel planning for the next year. The travel experts at Cox & Kings have been planning luxury trips since 1758, when Richard Cox was appointed to the post of regimental agent during the British Raj. Responsible for outfitting and arranging all travel for the foot guards, he became known for his reliability and honesty, which formed the basis for his business serving most of the regiments in India. These are their picks for 2012 trends.

1. “Ends of the Earth” Journeys – Intrepid travelers are looking beyond the hotspots of the last few years, like Thailand and South Africa, to rarely visited European countries like Albania and Serbia, the Russian Far East, and Greenland. Central Asian spots such as Uzbekistan and offshore destinations like the Falkland Islands and Papua New Guinea are also great options for those seeking the new.

2. Mind, Body, & Soul Vacations – Travelers looking for a memorable experience are looking within, in the Himalayas for new meditation techniques and yoga poses; in Bali for proper nutrition and lifestyle balance; and in countries such as Laos and Myanmar to visit ancient Buddhist temples and the Mahagandayon Monastery, where over a thousand Buddhist monks live and study.

3. “Your Money Matters” Travel – In regards to the conservation of wildlife and preservation of historic sites around the world, travelers’ dollars go a long way. While travelers are often conscious of places they can’t or won’t travel because they don’t support the regime, they can also spend in support, on a trip that will instill a responsibility towards what they saw.

4. Ancestral Travel – Cox & Kings agrees with Kensington: American-born individuals traveling to countries such as Russia, the Baltics, China, and Japan are excited to explore their legacy. Other popular root-travel destinations include Lebanon and West Africa.

5. Second-Chance Cities – Business travelers may pass throw a destination dozens of times and never really have time to get to know the place. Hubs like Madrid, Stockholm, and more recent stops on the circuit like Johannesburg deserve a second look. 

6. Off-Season Travel – Some dream destinations become vastly more affordable with a turn of the calendar page. Think India in May; Botswana during the “Green Season” for its wonderful birding; Brazil and Turkey in October; Moscow during Christmastime; and China in April.

7. Supporting Evolving & Recovering Societies – Though there are questions about safety in countries that have recently experienced upheaval, think about the outpouring of support in New York City after 9/11: visiting countries that are recovering from a national trauma lends support. Places of note include Colombia, Egypt, Tunisia, Japan, Mozambique, Norway, Croatia and Rwanda.

8. The BRICS – An acronym for the emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS are home to many great cities in their own right, and a deeper understanding of their characters can only help your investment portfolio.

9. Travel with an Expert – Some travelers may question the need for small group travel with an expert, but often it’s a way to gain access to great destinations and private experiences that will make a trip truly memorable.

10. Top Destination Picks for 2012 – Overall, according to the company’s experts, the next hot countries are Indonesia outside of Bali; Ghana; Malaysia; Nepal, Romania, Iceland, and Abu Dhabi. In terms of cities, head south to São Paulo, Brazil; Salta, Argentina; and Lima, Peru, as well as Beirut, Luang Prabang, Hyderabad, Stockholm, Tallinn and Mostar.

[Image via europhotos/Shutterstock]

Courtney Love Is Super Mature; Totally Sane; Absolutely Didn’t Flip Out At Kurt Cobain Poster

If ‘crazy’ could be bottled up and sold Ms. Courtney Love would be the Evian source, spouting seemingly endless amounts of pure, undiluted insanity every hour of every day. When she’s not Tweeting sociopathic (yet utterly hilarious) rants at ex-lover Billy Corgan or soon-to-be-hugely-famous ex-daughter Frances Bean, Courtney can be found yelling at the very crowds that pay her bills. This time, she focused her vitriol at a young Brazilian fan who waved a Kurt Cobain poster at her gig, refusing to play and then storming off the stage. Because that’s what a sane person would do. 

While directing a rant at the poor poster-waving fan, she mentioned Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl’s arena rock band Foo Fighters, before promptly leaving the stage. Minutes later, the crowd enticed her back with chants of … drum roll please … "Foo Fighters are gay". A smiling Courtney then bounded back onto the stage and proceeded to finish the show. 
 
What does this say about her? Cobain died under mysterious circumstances, with more heroin in his system than would allow him to finish dosing himself. Love’s never-ending supply of ‘crazy’ does draw a source from near constant accusations that she had something to do with his murder and subsequent coverup; the details of which are showcased spectacularly by Nick Broomfield’s documentary ‘Kurt & Courtney’. She might be one fracas away from a stint on Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab, but that is what we have come to expect from her. Check out the video of the event here, and tell us what you think. Crazy, or crazy like a fox?

Restaurants with the Best Nighttime City Views

Yes, we know: Le Jules Verne at the top of the Eiffel Tower. But assuming you’re not proposing this time around, here are eight other international top spots to enjoy breathtaking views while you fill your belly.

Restaurant Georges at Centre George Pompidou, Paris: By the time you hit the third set of escalators going up to this museum’s roof, it should be clear you’re on your way straight to the top. Enjoy a drink on the terrace and watch the Eiffel Tower scintillate, then settle into the modern, aluminum-lined space for delicious takes on French classics, like the champagne-poached cod.

Rhodes 24, London: Located in the City of London’s tallest building, Tower 42, the restaurant has held onto its Michelin star since 2005, for Gary Rhodes’ traditional British cuisine, privileging quality products over fancy preparations, and letting the view add the sparkle.

WP24, Los Angeles: Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has become so ubiquitous, it’s refreshing to see him get back to what he does best: modern, Asian-inflected cuisine that made him famous. Opened in 2010, WP24 was named one of the best new restaurants in America by multiple critics, not least for the spectacular view of the LA skyline from the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

A Voce Columbus, New York: The panoramic view of Central Park, accented by the glittering whirl of Columbus Circle, is only slightly more all-encompassing than the delights of chef Missy Robbins’ pasta dishes, which are delicious enough to eat every day and deceptively simple enough to make you think you actually could.

The View Bar, Sao Paulo: The 30th-floor lounge of The View Bar is as exciting inside as the city view is outside, with visitors mingling happily with Brazilian locals over a coupe of champagne, and couples sharing a meal of small plates with local influences.

Michel’s, Hawaii: About to celebrate its 50th year this January, Michel’s at the Colony Surf on Waikiki claims to have the island’s best view, both of the ocean waves and the lights of Honolulu. Live music, fresh fish, and some of the world’s best sunsets make this destination justifiably famous.

Aqua, Hong Kong: Victoria Harbor at night is the focal point of every major building that has access to it for a reason — the multicolored lights and visually thrilling skyline add glamour to rooms that are already luxe. Aqua’s combination of Italian and Japanese food is appropriately international for the setting in the luxury shopping development One Peking Road.

Top of the World, Las Vegas: Located in the Stratosphere (literally; that’s the name of the tall building towering over the Strip) this restaurant prides itself on creating a menu of American classics with unique accents—as unique as the restaurant’s own signature feature, which is the entire space’s 360 degree revolution every 80 minutes.

Exclusive Photos: The Closing Days of Sao Paulo Fashion Week

With the celebrities out of the way, Sao Paulo Fashion Week could focus on what’s important, namely, the fashion. Piercing, bright colors, seductive transparency, extravagant headwear, futuristic cuts, and powerful women were the trends that dominated over the last three days. Take a look at the second installment of exclusive photos by Tayon Braatz and Christian Pielow.

Rudolf Piper Is Alive in Brazil

When I was king of the forest, and a young bright person would come to me with aspirations of a career in nightlife, I would make them listen to a little ditty: “I will hire you, but you must understand that nightlife is like a roller coaster. You spend a little money to get on the ride and the first thing it does is it takes you up a great hill from which you think you can see the whole world. It broadens your horizons, and the anticipation of what lies ahead is a huge adrenaline rush. Then you plunge headlong into it—fast and fun, steep curves, and drops and spills, and you have barely enough time to catch your breath or see much else. Suddenly it’s over, and you basically went around in a circle and didn’t get anywhere, and the only person to really make any money is the guy who owns the thing.” For the great majority of aspiring Steve Rubells or Noah Tepperbergs, that’s all she wrote. Some are satisfied with the gal above their pay grade or the recognition at the club du jour’s door, but few make a real career from it. I was very lucky to have worked for so many brilliant men who did, and Rudolf Piper was as good as they get.

He understood the money end and never let it get in the way. He knew without the bucks there would be no Buck Rogers, but he was an artist first. The clubs were a canvas that sometimes sold for lots of loot and sometimes a little less. The value of art is not necessarily in its price tag. I think Andy Warhol would have disagreed. I think Andy felt its value was in its ability to generate cash, but although Andy did something in almost every creative field, he never ran a joint. Nowadays, few operate places for little more than the money, and maybe the gals. There is nothing wrong with that, but it has led to the migration of the creative types to other boroughs—or even hemispheres. Rudolf Piper now resides in playful, hedonistic Brazil. He is making money there for club operators from NY, Miami, and elsewhere. He takes familiar brands visited by South Americans during the warm weather when they migrate north, and recreates them near their home. Yesterday I gave Rudolf 15 minutes of fame, and today I’ll give him another 15. Andy wouldn’t have minded. Rudolf is a man for all seasons, a bon vivant. He found himself in a paradise and furnished it to his tastes.

When operators look for a name of some garage or warehouse that will be “the place to be” for a few years, they no longer think small. They envision their brand in Vegas, or Miami, or Atlantic City – or with Rudolf’s help – Brazil. A name must transcend the boundaries of Manhattan’s rivers. It must be able to travel and be relevant elsewhere, wherever the party people live and play. Sometimes it’s merely a pop-up at Sundance or Cannes, but often it is a full blown joint in a faraway land. I learned much from my mentor, Mr. Rudolf Piper, and I apparently have a great deal more to learn. He invited me to visit him way down there, but I had to decline. I’m just getting used to Brooklyn, which feels like a foreign (but absolutely wonderful) country to me. Besides, from what my old boss has been telling me, I’m not sure i would ever come back. I often say you can only live one life. My old pal once again proves me wrong. Like an old cat, he survives continually and recreates himself and the world around him. I asked him a few questions via modern technology.

So, how does it feel doing club business in Brazil? First and foremost, it’s fun, sexy and lucrative. Meaning, it’s better than in many other places in the world. The economic crisis never arrived, or has been extraordinarily late in coming, so the economy is booming. Here, everybody that has money is really nouveau-riche, and therefore prone to spend a lot on lifestyle. It’s no secret that Brazilian girls are ultra-sexy, so that takes care of that. One generally overlooked factor is that the local population is of a joyous nature: they are happy, easygoing, and welcoming, and that’s a major differential. What other countries in the world could be labeled as “happy”? If you think about it, I’d say that there is almost none. So, it’s much better to live in a place where people are party-oriented, than in places where they are weird or depressed.

You have specialized in licensing foreign club brands in Brazil. How did that happen? It all started because Jeffrey Jah was trying to install a Lotus club in São Paulo in 2005. He was having difficulties, because a lot of the investors did not speak English down there. Then, at my birthday dinner at the Bowery Bar in 2005, where you and Jah apparently made up, I was sitting right next to Jeffrey and he got a call from Brazil, and he passed the phone to me. My Portuguese is impeccable, don’t ask me why because the story is too long. In any case, suddenly I was thrown into the middle of this project, and loved every minute of it. Then, that same night, some bizarre queen came out of nowhere and trashed our entire table setup, remember? Well, that incident gave me a good feeling about this whole plan, and I’ve been south of the border ever since then. There were many branches of Lotus down there. What other places did you license? Yes, Lotus had clubs in São Paulo, Guarujá, Salvador, Campo Grande, Campinas and Campos do Jordão. A nightmare to control. Then, I licensed Buddha Bar from Paris, owing to my friendship with Raymond Visan, who just passed away a few days ago. Later, I was briefly part of Pink Elephant-Brazil, and then purchased the Mokai brand from Miami. Recently, I was involved in the development of Kiss & Fly, which is now going to Punta del Este too. Currently, I’m working to open SET, from Miami, for next year, and I have some more things up my sleeve.

Talk about the strategy behind bringing these brands to Brazil. It definitively makes money and sense. Brazil is still a class-divided society, and the upper echelon is well-informed, has money to burn, and does not like to hear samba in their clubs. They travel a lot, and once back home, they want that same house music and DJs they listened to abroad. In a nutshell, they really want that NY club they liked so much in their own backyard. So, I took it upon myself to bring those venues over. How do you hook up with a foreign brand and how do you select which club you want to approach? First of all, I do research amongst the target clientele, to see which U.S. clubs seem to excite them most. And they always want American clubs, because nobody really knows what clubs are trendy in Europe. Once I have three or four possible candidates, I fly over and start negotiations with the people from NY or Miami. Normally, some 50% of the selected venues clinch a deal. The reason why the other places don’t is because they charge too much or create obstacles. Many fail to see that a licensing deal for Brazil is like money found on the street. They get concerned about the image of their brand, forgetting that most American clubs have only a short lifespan, so what possible damage could Brazil do to them? Others start preparing complicated contracts, some gigantic legal monuments that nobody in Brazil will sign. The rule of thumb is “easy does it.”

So, once you have signed a US brand and secured a property in Brazil, what do you do next? I start doing all those things that you do so well here in NY, like drawing up plans, getting additional investors, hiring contractors, decorating, starting initial promotion and presswork. As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be the Steve Lewis of Brazil! Well, thank you, I guess I’m flattered! It feels good to know that I became a mentor to my old mentor somehow. Now, changing subjects radically, let me ask you a question that a lot of our friends have been wondering about. Why, after so many successful clubs in the 1980’s, did you suddenly leave NY in 1991 without notice? They didn’t run you out of town, did they? To be honest, I think I did! No, seriously, there were a few reasons. First, I believed that the magic of NY had evaporated by then. Boy, was I right. Second, I realized that nightlife was subject to cycles of trendiness, which ended abruptly and was substituted by new ones. Most people who seriously identify with the times just past, normally have difficulties in a new situation because they were considered passé. The best example of this was when disco ended from day-to-nite in 1979, for no specific reason. The morning after, nobody would be caught dead in a disco outfit! Something happened to me when New Wave gave way to hip-hop. I was too close with those skinny black jeans! Plus, when I say that I ran myself out of town, there is a certain truth to that, because I opened Mars in 1990, and that was the first legally established place to really play some kick-ass hip hop—and I absolutely hated hip hop! I was not gonna put up with it! Then, because of all the shootings and stabbings in Mars, I decided to get away from the young crowd, and became a partner with Mark Fleischman at Tatou, a very successful supper club that existed in midtown for many years. When we decided to open branches in Aspen and Beverly Hills, I thought it was time to say farewell to NY. Then you initiated some kind of a pilgrimage around the world that lasted for roughly 20 years? Yes! I’m this German that became the Wandering Jew! Well, long story short, after a few years, California became just too lame for me and, besides, I heard voices telling me that my destiny was to go back to Germany, where I hadn’t been in 25 years. So, not wanting to argue with those voices, I sold my part in Tatou, went back to Berlin, and got a nice apartment there. Three months later, I realized that I couldn’t stand all those krauts around me, and I started to remember why exactly I had left Germany in the first place! It is an impossible place to live! I threw myself out of town again, and fled to Paris. In Paris, I was the promotions director of Les Bains Douches for a while, and did many other clubs and events for 6 years. Then, projects in Belgium and London followed suit. I spent one year in Lisbon, 4 years in Miami, and now 5 in Brazil. Yes, I call it tourism in slow motion, because in every damn place that people normally visit for a couple of days, I ended up staying there for years and years. I had fun, though. Of all these clubs you participated in, which one do you consider the greatest, most incredible nightspot you ever were involved with? You know, I hate being nostalgic and like so many other club people, I live for the here and now. But, as we both are true blue connoisseurs, let me just say the following: Up until recently, I would have said Danceteria, no question.That place had an un-fucking-believable magic, and, as you were part of it, I need to explain no longer. A short while ago, however, I came across an old issue of Mao Mag that had a long article about the Palladium, and I came to realize that this was really the most fabulous club of all time. And you were involved in it too! I came to think of all the aspects that made that place so great, like that fantastic old theater, Arata Isosaki the architect, Steve and Ian, the sheer luxury and size of it, those incredible parties for 5,000 people, all dressed up. It was a castle of dreams, a never ending ball at the Grand Opera. I also realized that, nowadays, the Palladium has been overlooked and even forgotten, in spite of the fact that no other place like that existed in the whole world—ever! There was an aura there, some atmosphere that cannot be repeated, and that will never come back. But then, again, Marx said that “History does repeat itself, but the second time around, only as a farce.”

‘Vice’ & Intel Launch the Creators Project

Last night at Milk Studios saw the debut announcement of the Creators Project, a massive worldwide digital arts event put on by Vice and Intel. It’s easily the most ambitious thing Vice has ever attempted in terms of event packages, and that’s saying something. Curated by Mark Ronson among others, the stellar cast of participating talent covers artists and creative nerds coming together for events in New York, London, Sao Paulo, Seoul, and Beijing. The launch event–in New York, also at Milk, on June 26–promises a total takeover of the building for a variety of panels, installations, and of course parties in the inimitable Vice style. Quite likely to be among the summer’s top events in this town.

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Vice’s Shane Smith works the room. Photo: Bryan Derballa.

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Spike Jonez and Mark Ronson talk about baseball and tae bo. Not really! Just tae bo. Photo: Bryan Derballa.

Sao Paulo Still Struggling With Body Image Issues

There’s a dangerous dichotomy at work in the fashion industry these days and Sao Paulo Fashion Week is the latest culprit. Just yesterday the Associated Foreign Press pointed out a growing concern among Sao Paulo’s fashion set about ultra skinny models on the catwalk. “The organizers of Latin America’s biggest fashion show raised the alarm Thursday over emaciated Brazilian models apparently following unhealthy US and European trends,” reports read. Paulo Borges, the creative director behind the biannual fashion week claimed that the emaciated models in question “are based most of the year in Europe and in the USA where they work majorly.” (Basically Borges is implying that it’s expectations further north and east that are encouraging Brazilian models to trim down to unhealthy weights.) But that debate in Sao Paulo specifically is nothing new.

(‘DiggThis’)Just over six months ago major model Karolina Kurkova caught a serious backlash when she showed up on Sau Paulo runways looking a bit heavier than in the past (emphasis on a bit). “One Brazilian paper blasted her back fat and cellulite, as did other outlets,” the Huffington Post wrote back in June of 2009. The conversation is no doubt loaded. But it’s a bit suspect when the director of Sao Paulo’s fashion week is claiming that Brazilian models are being negatively affected by the unhealthy standards of the US and European fashion industry, when Brazil’s own paper blasted a healthy Kurkova for getting soft. At this point it’s starting to look like a question of the chicken and the egg. The moral of the story: the issue of unhealthy weight expectations in the fashion industry continues to be a global problem, with far too few regulations, not to mention good examples set of well-rounded views on what body shapes are in fact beautiful.

David Graziano & Corey Lane: The Guys Who Kiss and Bagatelle

David Graziano and Corey Lane are becoming moguls. David is a fantastic hospitality/interior designer with home runs like Pink Elephant and the Kiss & Fly/Bagatelle/RdV complex to his credit. Corey comes from an operations background but is well grounded in promotion, especially when it comes to South American house fests. I don’t know one person that doesn’t like or respect them. In an industry which sometimes creates tensions, that’s a mouthful. I caught up to them (and their new publicist Steve Kasuba) at their new restaurant, Ganesvoort 69, where the old Florent restaurant used to be. Florent was in the Meatpacking District when men were still packing meat while other men dressed as women were also packing meat. Late night, a scene of running mascara and sex workers of every persuasion had a bite after a long night. For club operators and staff, it was one of the few places always open where you could get an intelligent late-night meal. It was an after-hours club affair or someplace to fuel up before taking the party to the late afternoon at one of the great house meccas. They kept a lot of the charm and some of the fixtures as Ganesvoort 69 pays its respect to its vaunted past.

This used to be a very fabulous place called Florent, a late-night restaurant which I visited way too many times. What time is it now, Steve? Steve Kasuba: It’s 3:15.

Yeah, it was possible that I was eating here at 3pm from the night before. Steve: Ending your night.

Very possible. And there would be some S&M hookers over here, and some transsexual hookers and some other hookers. Spike Lee, lots of trendies. Florent was one of the great places in New York. In fact, when it went down, a lot of people were very upset because Florent was an institution, and you guys were taking over. As a publicist, Steve, you had to talk about what it’s like to go from this legendary space to Ganesvoort 69 without breaking eggs. Corey Lane: Interesting story about Florent himself. He was in here on the first night of friends and family. He came in with his boyfriend, and he sat and he had dinner. I went over and introduced myself, and I had a drink with him. I told him what our intentions were — to maintain this fun, neighborhood dinery type of feel. I said, “We promise that we’ll do good things with the space, but we have tough shoes to fill.” His comment back to me was, “Honey, my shoes are most of the time high heels. You wouldn’t feel comfortable in them.”

Well, he is that kind of guy. With Florent now closed, I don’t know if he still does his infamous Bastille Day party. Maybe you should do a Bastille Day party with him. Corey: We actually spoke about that. David Graziano: You should finish what Florent said. He did give the green light. He said he was happy with what the place had changed into. He kind of passed the baton on … Corey: He thought that we were a good, young group. He felt our vibrancy. He felt that the place was left in good hands. He passed the torch to us that night. It was very nice to have that moment with him.

Well, I think with any success, whether it’s a band or an institution like this, it’s being true to your school, being honest, and no fault can be found in that. Corey: Good sportsmanship.

I think that’s right. You guys are good sports. You’re the nice guys in the business, and you’re not finishing last. So this is Gansevoort 69. Tell me about he other properties you have. You have RdV, Bagatelle, Kiss & Fly. David: The new addition is Kiss & Fly Sao Paulo.

Now tell me about that. Are you going to actually go there? David: Yeah, we were just there last week. We signed a deal. It’s in motion. We’re in the process of designing it right now. We’re going to open up in March after Carnival. It’s a licensing/consulting deal. We’re going to help them get it off the ground. We’ll do co-brand and stuff with the DJs, stuff like that.

How are you going to operate? How do you control quality from 5,000 miles away? Corey: The first thing you have to do is you have to believe in the company. You have to investigate who these people are, what they’ve done before, and their track record, as well. Right now, we feel comfortable with the group that we’re dealing with. They’re responsible.

Are you dealing with Rudolf? Corey: Yeah, we are.

Rudolf Pieper is my mentor. He’s one of my best friends in the world. David: We’re actually designing with Rudolf. The group has done previous projects in the past that have been very reputable and very profitable.

I actually recommended you. Rudolf called me up and he was asking me about brands to take down there because that’s what he does. He rolled out Lotus. I suggested you guys. David: I don’t know if you’ve met any of Rudolf’s partners …

No. I know that I learned the business from him and Steve Rubell, Ian Schrager … he used to have a Cosmopolitan notebook. The next time that you see him, see if he still has it. On the cover of his notebook, he wrote, “In this industry, there are no friends that I cannot get rid of and no enemies that I cannot reconcile with.” David: We trust that the group is going to have the operational skills to help follow out our business plan. We’ll help them in the first couple months by implementing some of the procedures that we use in terms of steps and service. Corey, actually, that’s his expertise.

Is the idea that the Brazilian elite will be at one point passing through New York, and once they pass through New York, they will be familiar with you and therefore, it feeds your New York operation? David: Yes. Absolutely.

Once you do Brazil, Miami seems to be a natural pass because they do take that route. It’s easier to roll out in Brazil because you have that team in place, and Rudolf who does this for a living. So, is Miami kind of a natural next step? David: Miami has actually been on the map for us for quite some time. Miami’s a little trickier for us. I’m always a little bit hesitant with Miami because it’s so seasonal. Miami has to be exactly right. It’s got to be the exact right space, with the exact right local alliance. I’m from Miami, so I have a lot of connections down there as well, and I know the area really well. I wouldn’t make the move to Miami unless all the elements were right. Corey: We’ve come very close.

Kiss & Fly was an easy brand to take to Vegas. Then Vegas got hit hard by the economy, when Kiss & Fly was absolutely peaking. Have your other properties affected Kiss & Fly? Is Kiss & Fly still the same property to you? Bagatelle is different. Where is Kiss & Fly in your scheme of things? How do you maintain the brand? When people expand into other properties, how do you maintain interest in house and quality? Like Marquee is certainly a secondary brand to Avenue now. That’s like a dozen questions. Corey: With Kiss & Fly moving into its third year, where it’s found its groove is the weekends. They’re packed with European and South American tourists. We’ve become an international nightclub brand. The kid coming in from Germany or coming up from Argentina, or coming up in from most parts of South America and Europe — this is the brand that’s first on their list. And I think that that’s a good position to be in.

That’s always been your crowd, Corey. You’ve always been involved with South America. Corey: That is true. We’ve always had a South American crowd, and it’s certainly grown stronger with the European market. Some of our higher-end clientele has moved into RdV. The crowd has been replaced by more of the tourists, more of the transient crowd. The regular crowd that was more prevalent at Kiss & Fly, the higher-end Europeans, has moved over to RdV. They’ve made their mark in New York, and what’s replaced them at Kiss & Fly is more of the tourists.

I actually hear nothing but good things about Kiss & Fly. A number of my friends go on a regular basis. It’s a very strange niche club because it’s not shallow, it still has a great crowd, it has musical chops. It’s actually more fun than other clubs like that. Yet it stands alone. Sometimes it’s forgotten. It’s sort of like you’re not in the mix. You’ve positioned yourself to be to be a little bit off the beaten path. It’s very much like Florent. It’s always there. It’s always going to be there. It’s reliable. David: We share some of the same clientele with those places, but we don’t have a direct competition with them. We like that. I think that its helps. it keep its lifespan and keeps it lively. Steve: Black-Eyed Peas performed last night — an impromptu three songs at Kiss & Fly. Corey: They just jumped on the mike. They asked for a mike and performed three songs impromptu. Last week we had P-Diddy’s birthday party. We do have a mix of what’s happening in New York and a mixture of international crowd, as well.

I’m not a house head. I actually get a little nervous every time I hear house music. Corey: House music is a very general term. We play very, very happy European vocal-style house music.

I do go to see Junior Vasquez now almost every time he plays. David: He plays our Sunday nights.

So I’m going to end up there. Corey: He’s going be there next week actually.

I think Junior has absolutely come into his own. Corey: I’m going to come out because I haven’t heard him in a while.

The last time he played, the crowd gave him a standing ovation at the end of his set. David: Nice.

It was just the most amazing, uplifting thing. It’s great that you’re doing Junior Vasquez on a Sunday. I think that’s great. What time are you starting with that? Is it an early thing? Corey: Yeah. It’s an evening party rather than a late-night party. It starts at 8 and goes until 1 or 2.

It can go early or later if you need to? If it’s something that happens? Corey: If its something that’s happening, yeah. The crowd is definitely hitting earlier.

Let’s talk about RdV. I have not been to RDV. Why is that? You have never invited me. David: Have you physically seen it?

No, let’s walk over after this. Corey: RdV was, when we were initially trying to put together a design, supposed to the room that was the mature side of us. We had Kiss & Fly, which was our playground. And then RdV was going to be more mature — but still playful and sexy. We also wanted it to be a place where it wasn’t overly crowded and you can sit down in kind of a lounge environment. We made larger seating, larger set-ups for groups of people to gather in a very living room-type of environment. So when you’re down there, you get the feeling that this could be somebody’s wealthy playroom. The décor is set up around that. It’s elegant. It’s rich. We have lots of casual, soft light. But it also, again, has our trademark thing, which is a great sound system if you want to pump it up.

As an old-school operator, I think bottom line. If the seats are spread out and they’re really comfortable. How do you accommodate your bottom line? Do you need to get a certain amount per table? Do you have a great rent deal? As operators, how do you make money without cramming people in? David: It’s three venues in one building. RdV is really not about the bottom line … of course, you don’t want to lose money. But we don’t have to bang people over the head for table service or bottom service. In the end, it’s not about that.

Kiss & Fly is paying the bills. David: Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly are paying the rent. The success that we experienced from Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly allows us to run a more exclusive downstairs. We don’t have to apply bottle rules. We don’t have to enforce certain things. Corey: We don’t have to open the door up. David: The place is only available to a very specific demographic of people.

There’s been a big move into clubs and lounges in hotels. A hotel is blessed with the privilege or the ability not to have to really pay rent. Publicists are paid by the hotel. Insurance, security … a lot of the fixed costs of operating, the very high costs of operating are absorbed in the natural operation of the hotel. When they bring in a place like the Boom Boom Room at the Standard, it really doesn’t have to pay the bills that an Avenue or a Kiss & Fly or a stand-alone club does. There are people telling me that the days of the stand-alone club may be numbered. All the clubs at one point will move to hotels for a lot of reasons. Another reason is licensing, plus less police presence. You are a stand-alone club: You’re a restaurant, you are a club, and you are a lounge all in one operation. Are these people right? Are the clubs doomed? Is the hotel model the way it’s going to go? David: I think that we operate very similar to a hotel without the rooms in the sense that you take a hotel production, the food and beverage of the hotel. They often have a restaurant, maybe two, a club, a lounge, and then they have rooms above them. Well, we have the restaurant. We have the club. We have the lounge. We just don’t have the rooms above them.

But it’s the rooms that are making the money. Corey: Yeah, but look at Vegas. The numbers that they do off the floor — they’re astronomical. They’re making 50% of their revenue from their food and beverage. I think that you’re right … at some point I do think that incorporating yourself into a hotel gives you some protection and some benefits. David: It also helps drive business because you have people staying in the hotel. The nightclub venue and the hot restaurant also help drive business to the hotel. So there’s a synergy between them.

Are you getting offers from hotels? David:Yes. We’re looking at a couple different things. Corey: That’s a direction we would like to go, as well.