I Saw ‘Sleep No More’ Again Last Night But Didn’t See Any Naked People

I went to Sleep No More last night for the second time. If you aren’t aware of the immersive, interactive theater experience, don’t feel bad: plenty of people I’ve talked to in the last few months seem to be unaware of the production, despite the show’s popularity in New York since it opened in March 2011. Taking elements from Macbeth, Rebecca, Hitchcock, and Kubrick (just to name a few), the show is up to three hours of wandering around in the darkened multi-level McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea, where bloodied actors run, dance, and fight accompanied to a blaring, dramatic score. And sometimes they get naked, too! But I wouldn’t know anything about that, because despite my best efforts, I seem to have missed out on all the fun parts.

Here’s what I saw last night: a pregnant woman being thrown against a wall by an angry man in a tuxedo, a hot guy lip-syncing to a cover of Peggy Lee’s "Is That All There Is," Macbeth and Lady Macbeth fighting in loud gibberish in a room full of empty drawers, the aforementioned pregnant woman taking off and on her housecoat (a scene I saw twice—the sequence of events happens multiple times so that the audience members can see the multiple storylines—because I happened to be exploring the woman’s bedroom right before she and a crowd of my fellow masked theatergoers trapped me in the corner of the room during the second instance of the scene), and a severe looking maid forcing the pregnant woman with a glass of cloudy water. Oh, and some ballroom dancing. That was kinda fun! 

Afterward, I asked my friends who came with me (from whom I was immediately separated, as the show encourages solo experiences rather than tagging along with loved ones through the dark) what they saw. My boyfriend saw the famous orgy scene not once but twice, while our other friend complained that he mostly saw a bunch of dudes sitting around and playing cards or doing paperwork. (There are, I must admit, some really dull moments, and because you can’t check your cell phone for the time, the three hours start to feel like five.) While I missed two women breast-feeding a goat or the full-frontal male nudity, I did happen to see a nip-slip when a woman in a low-cut dress started writhing on a dilapidated bar while another woman in a red dress tossed water on her. (No one told me that there were some Flashdance references there.)

So it’s an unpopular opinion, I think, but I must admit that my second time at Sleep No More was kind of a bust, and while the production as a whole is pretty fucking amazing considering the design and choreography, the chances that you have any personal experiences with the actors (or see any dicks) are slim and random, leaving it feeling rather like a pretentious haunted house without the frights. I know plenty of people who have gone back multiple times, but the current price of admission ($95, which is up twenty bucks from when I saw it last year) leave me feeling like it’s probably not worth a third visit. But I still recommend it for the experience. And hey, Scores and The Eagle (depending on your gender preference) are a block away if you’re unsatisfied with the nudity at Sleep No More.

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Scores Opens for Boozeness

Or is that boobness? I got a call from my pal Richie Romero, who is a marketing director at the new Scores New York on 28th Street, around 8 p.m. last night as I was walking my dogs. “Have you written tomorrow yet?” he asked. My mind immediately went to that mural of Joe Strummer east of Avenue A on 7th Street which says, “The future is unwritten,” so I said, “No.” He told me to grab my camera and run over to him at the joint. I felt like Jimmy Olsen; I got the Canon out (see gallery) and changed my shirt as he promised the entire staff was there, and I am still single, and it was a Monday night, and the agenda till then was a book with a Gossip Girl interlude.

Lionel Ohayon of iCrave fame was hired to redo the old Scores and make it grand, and he has succeeded. Jennifer Goldman, director of marketing (I think I met four of those) was gushing like a new mother about the joint. I asked her about the club, and she told me in about 10,000 words how beautiful it was. Her first sentence: “It’s a Vegas experience for the high-end nightclub crowd, bringing back the heyday of Scores from back in the day.” Her last sentence: “Look, they even put in grommets — grommets on the chairs!”

I got a word in and asked if the economy was bringing a different type of person looking for employment. “A stripper is a stripper, and that hasn’t changed,” she said. “It’s hard to tell if the economy is bringing more of them to New York, as the business is seasonal and the Florida girls naturally migrate north with the weather.” She also pointed out that “bachelor party season is starting and that brings the girls to New York — it follows retail.” She gushed about the pink and blue runway, which I referred to as a magic carpet, and the place went wild. Owner Bob Gans, a real down-to-earth gentleman, liked it, and let’s see if I made history. Jennifer felt (along with everyone else in management) that this place is nice enough to function as a club even if it wasn’t a strip joint. I’m teasing her, as she is quite sharp and brings class as well as an enthusiasm, which will ensure success. Director of marketing Ronnie Sherman told me “the city is ready for a place like this.” I agree. I asked him if they were biting their nails a few months back when the economy was tanking; he nodded a yes, but told me he felt that the upswing is perfect for the opening of this new place.

Will Savarese gave me a copy of his “New American” menu, which will be available until 3:30 a.m. Will did wonders at Le Cote Basque (now Benoit). He was raving about his al torchio pasta with dried duck sausage, and for a minute my mind wandered from the 50 or so beauties who were having their orientation. One of the managers, a savvy woman who has seen a few things, yelled, “You know we’re all not going to get along, but we’re all here for the same reason — to make money!” There were 200-plus employees and lots of recognizable management types telling them how it works, while upper-tier execs listened in. Top management, top designer, top chef, topless girls — seems like a winning formula to me.

Scores New York will have a pre-opening party hosted by Strategic Group tonight, followed by the grand opening on Wednesday.

What’s the Scores?

imageLike a diabetic avoiding a candy store, I avoid strip clubs. I don’t want to want what I can’t have, and even if I could have it, I really truly don’t think I want it really anyway — I think. Anyways, I don’t frequent them, but whenever I would lumber down 27th Street (back when that was something some people did), the guys at the back door of Scores would flag me down and invite me in. They knew I wouldn’t go, but in some old school ritual they extended the invite anyway. My man Clint used to say, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” I’ve got a weakness for women, and as Brian Ferry once said, “Love is the drug for me.” So anyway, I don’t go.

I have been told that my old friend Lionel Ohayon over at iCrave, one of the countries premier design firms, is finishing off this mammary mansion on West 28th Street — it boasts a spectacular fashion show of the future with a light-up glass runway as the main design feature. The runway is married to scores of giant flatscreen TVs where “the most beautiful girls in the biz” will wiggle their moneymakers for a moneymaking crowd. I’ve been told that Bob Gans of Metropolitan Lumber and Penthouse fame has licensed the name Scores for his latest topless adventure. My source points out the that Bob also licenses the name Penthouse for his other joint.

There will be a Robert’s Steakhouse with chef Will Saverice doing the honors. I am told that “this is a big deal and these are the best [bleep]ing steaks in town.” The “honey I don’t even notice the naked girls, I go for the steak” rap will surely work. Richie Romero will assume the title of marketing director, and I asked him what kind of crowd he would be directing to Scores. “An over-25 crowd making well upwards of 100k per year,” he said. He also told me that they have 19 private rooms, and he too emphasized the “great food.” Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss’s Strategic Group is launching the place on May 12, and I may have to go as I hear the food will be great.

When the sky was falling, I heard that the strip clubs were hit hardest because the expense-account, big-bonus crowd was cut down to size. It seems that the bailout has made these kinds of folk flush again, and it’s nice to know that the government money isn’t, as usual, being flushed right down the toilet. It’s refreshing that you can actually see it hanging there on the garter belt of “one of the most beautiful gals in the business.” Liquor? Well, as I said, I hardly even know her — oops, sorry — I hear they have the license in place.

Losing Score(s): Famous Strip Joint Fades into Ether

According to a Daily News report filed today, famous New York strip club Scores — a reputed haunt for celebrities wishing to get their laps danced on at whatever hours of the day — is closing up shop. Problems with liquor licenses and the bad economy are chiefly to blame, and the sad sight reported by said Daily News reporter doesn’t sound all too pleasant: “On Wednesday night, at the E. 60th St. location, a lone customer downed a half-price beer as club employees kept promising dancers would take the stage ‘any minute.'”

No good. You might recognize Scores as the place that Howard Stern found it necessary to constantly endorse on his show, but then again, as reported by the place’s Wikipedia entry, Stern recently dropped his Scores-endorsing ways for Rick’s Cabaret, citing a disagreement with “recent changes.” That couldn’t have helped. Neither could all the corporate tax-evasion charges. Or maybe what they were missing was steak, as the Penthouse Executive Club seems to be thriving these days. Whatever it is, Scores was a New York institution, for better or worse — we mourn it, and hope their talent finds work elsewhere. If anything else, we have a great intern program. We’d be glad to help jump start your journalism career, as we’ve done for so many others in the past.

Industry Insiders: Jeffrey Jah, The Inn-Sider

Jeffrey Jah on going from runways to club king, bringing heat from here to Sao Paulo, and putting DEA raids behind him.

Point of Origin: I’m originally from Toronto, Canada, but now I live in Gramercy Park. After my modeling days, I was an event producer and creative director for venues. I started out having connections in the fashion industry, from photographers to make up artists, editors, and designers. First, I started producing events, which eventually turned into parties, promoting clubs, directing clubs, and finally owning clubs, bars, and restaurants. I currently own The Inn in New York, I’m a partner in 1Oak, a partner in Café de La Musique in Florianopolis, Brazil. I also have six Lotus clubs in Brazil, Double Seven reopening in New York, and a Double Seven opening in LA in 2009.

What events were you involved with in the early days? Well I used to put on a couple festivals at Randall’s Island. We had great bands like Jane’s Addiction and chronic raves. Some of the best events that I ever did were with Matt E. Silver. We threw some of the most legendary Halloween Events over the last 15 years. Don’t take my word for it, ask the people that came to Cipriani 42nd St., Scores, The Roxy, Milk Studios. We were the guys that put on all those events. In my early club days at [the third incarnation of] Danceteria between 1992-94, I had the pleasure of booking Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana. These groups played next to nothing back then, and it was so exciting to be a part of all that.

When you’re not at the club? What do you enjoy doing? I love snowboarding and traveling.

Do u have a side hustle? Were you ever an undercover actor or anything? No, but after watching the Olympics, I really want to be an undercover gymnast.

What’s your worst experience working in nightlife business? My worst experience has got to be when I was working for Peter Gatien. I was there when the DEA, the FBI and IRS raided the place and came in to arrest everyone and confiscated everything. They took all the file cabinets and the computers. I was one of the people that was lucky enough to put that incident behind me.

Who have you collaborated with? Currently I work with Ronnie Madra, Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva from 1Oak. We are actually opening up a 1Oak and another Butter in San Paulo, Brazil, hopefully by December of this year. My newest project, that I’m really excited about, is The Lamb’s Club, which will be a restaurant/bar and catering [venue]. It’s a venture between me, David Rabin (Lotus and Double Seven) [and two other partners].

Who do you look up to in your industry? Hmm…I’d have to say, Adrian Zecha who owns the Aman Resorts, Izzy Sharpe who owns The Four Seasons hotel group, Keith McNally, Eric Goode, and Sean MacPherson who gave Los Angeles Swingers in the 90’s, and has been behind some of New York’s coolest hotels like the Maritime and The Bowery.

What are your favorite hangs in NYC? I never go to anyone else’s clubs…Ever! Occasionally I’ll stop by The Box to see Serge [Becker] and Sebastian [Nicolas] or Rose Bar to see Nur Khan. In terms of restaurants, my favorites are Mezzogiorno, BLT Fish and The Spotted Pig.

What are your projections for next year? We have 6 venues opening between the three different partnerships I’m involved in. Between the two Double Sevens opening, The Lamb’s Club, Butter and 1Oak opening in Brazil, I have a lot on my plate for next year.

What are you doing tonight? I’m going to another meeting at 9 p.m., heading to the gym, then to The Inn, and then to 1Oak, and then I’ll do it all over again, and again and again.