Inside the CFDA After Party with Victor Cruz, Gigi Hadid, Jhene Aiko and More

Jenna Lyons, Maxwell Osborne, Prabal Gurung, and Dao Yi Chow at the CFDA After Party. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

January Jones, Janelle Monae, Zackary Quinto, Bella Hadid, Jemima Kirke (and the Fat Jew) showed up to celebrate the exclusive CFDA After Party co hosted by Refinery29 at the Top of the Standard.

After the CFDA Awards it’s the after party — and supper — where winners and stars celebrated fashion’s finest.

Rachel Roy and Britney Snow. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Cynthia Rowley and Harley Viera Newton. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Diane Von Furstenberg. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Janelle Monae and Legendary Damon. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Jhene Aiko, Prabal Gurung, and January Jones. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Jenna Lyons. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Jenna Lyons, Maxwell Osborne, Prabal Gurung, Dao Yi Chow. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Tom Van Dorpe, Miles McMillan, Zackary Quinto, Harley Viera-Newton, Richard Chai and Gigi Hadid. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Victor Cruz with Ovadia & Sons. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/

Gigi Hadid (and Bella Hadid). Photo: Billy Farrell/

Esteban Cortazar and  Hanne Gaby Odiele. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Jemima Kirke and Zackary Quinto. Photo: Billy Farrell/

June Ambrose. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Mickey Drexler, Karlie Kloss and Casey Neistat. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Instagram’s Kevin Systrom and The Fat Jew. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Daria Strokous and Natasha Poly. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Maxwell Osborne and Misha Nonoo. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Jason Wu and Nadja Swarovski. Photo: Billy Farrell/

Maxwell Osborne and Binx Walton. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/

Joan Smalls and Victor Cruz. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/

Karen Elson, Tabitha Simmons and Jessica Hart. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/

Taraji P. Henson and Vanessa Hudgens. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/

Boy George Wants You

Boy George

Boy George’s performance led to an afterparty at Boom Boom Room in the Standard Hotel. It was a private affair with many of Boy’s NYC friends in attendance and a rumored performance by David Bowie himself that never really happened. Here’re some pics of the night.

Besties Danielle Levitt and Ladyfag

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Kayvon Zand

Countess Luann

Me peeing in the sink.

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Boy George

Erich Conrad + Derek Blasberg

Making Moves: The Dream Downtown, Bunker, & Cayte Grieve

On Wednesday, anybody who is anybody will be dressing up and having fun at Dream Downtown. The Meatpacking District continues to evolve, and with three colossal hotels—Dream plus Standard plus Gansevoort—it’s flush with hospitality complexes. The lines defining day and night for the jet set/party set are obscuring rapidly. In fact, the lines between clubs, restaurants, and hotels are nearly completely blurred, and no amount of prescription bifocals will clear it up.

These hospitality giants strive to fulfill all one’s need on a 24/7/365 schedule. I may have to change my title from BlackBook “Nightlife Correspondent” to “Hospitality Correspondent,” seeing as things don’t only start at night anymore. There are pools, brunches, and daytime events equal to anything that hides under the cover of darkness. This is the future, as stand-alone clubs in residential neighborhoods will soon be difficult to sustain. I’ve seen Dream Downtown, told you it was a game changer — and it is.

Either before or after I hop, skip, and maybe jump to Dream to pay respects (and ogle the place when it’s full of people who aren’t the usual crowd of construction workers or training staff), I will be at 1920 Bunker Club. Do people actually call it that? I thought it was Bunker. Anyway, on Wednesday 1920 Bunker Club and some very nice people with hearts of gold will be raising money for unfortunate children in the Dominican Republic. The event, mtipforKids (Make the Impossible Possible for Kids) and Dream Project (a co-linked project/event), starts at 8pm and goes on until 11pm, thus answering the question of what to do when you’re all dressed up with both the Dream Downtown hotel soiree and the Bunker charity to go to. The event at 1920 Bunker will raise much-needed funding, “breaking the cycle of poverty through sustainable education programs that allow the opportunity for every child’s gifts and challenges to be met with your support.” Celebrities and industry leaders are slated to attend and you should as well. My pal, new mother Suki Sohn, told me about this group and how brilliant their efforts are. Help this dream before the Dream.

This week my favorite editor Cayte Grieve will move on from BlackBook to greener pastures (or maybe the same green pastures, just to a different green acre—we’re not 100% sure yet). Cayte has kept me in line, stopped me from crossing the line, and from doing lines again. She has held my hand, rewritten my inane ramblings, and made me look good for years now—not an easy task. She has put up with my breakdowns, tantrums, foibles, and freak-outs. She has done what no other women (except for Mom) has ever been able to do: she has soothed this savage beast and gotten me to print everyday. If you think that what I write is sometimes unfocused or insane, you should see it before she edits me. Cayte will be heard from again. She is brilliant, beautiful, and a dear friend. [Editor’s Note: Aw, thank you Uncle Steve. You weren’t as bad as you imagine].

Zeno Charity: Catching Up With Past ‘Lifer’ Employee Robert Escalera

Sometimes people say nice things about my clubbing career, citing successful clubs as proof of an outstanding legacy. Some might say I started this or that, or was the first here or there. The legacy that I am most proud of is the success of those who worked with me, and a group of co-workers that became lifelong friends that I refer to as my family. Most of these folks met and lived at my joint Life, and are indeed brothers and sisters to this day. Sadly, most live out in Venice, California, rearing gorgeous babies, hiking, and cooking meals for each other. It’s only a matter of time until I, too, bask by the Pacific. This week members of my clan, Robert Escalera and Patty Doria, return to the East for a soiree to benefit Zeno Mountain Farm.

I caught up with Robert and asked him about the Zeno Mountain Farm benefit, which he’s helping to put together. The film, shot at “Actor’s Camp,” will be shown on Saturday, June 11th at 8pm at the Tribeca Film Centre at 57 Varick St. There will partying after, and I have promised to actually get plastered—something I only do 2 or 3 times a year (whenever I have sex).

What are you up to these days? I am the food and beverage manager for the Poolside Restaurant at The Standard Hollywood and I love it. I have always had a great deal of respect for the Andre Balazs brand and how it maintains its cultural integrity. Having never worked at a hotel before, I was intimidated by being responsible for food and beverage for a property that has room service for 139 rooms, a 24-hour coffee shop, and the poolside restaurant. My fears dissipated rapidly though. The bulk of our business is repeat and we pride ourselves on having guests consider us their second home. I also really love and respect the people I work with which, as you know, makes the world of difference. I know it sounds cheesy but I really love my job and I love how supportive they are to the arts. I’m getting a little long in the tooth and it’s good to work for a company that I believe in, where I can have upward mobility as opposed to just working for money.

I know you’ve been around forever but how did you get started in nightlife? I was in Miami working as a model when I met Chris Paciello at a club he owned called Micky’s with Mickey Rourke. He offered to pay me a couple hundred bucks to bring my friends and said we would all get in for free and get free drinks. I was very confused, and was convinced there must besome ulterior motive. Now in hindsight it made perfect sense. I was always the ringleader and the go-to guy whenever people wanted to go out. I was at castings for work with pretty people all day, so who better to spread the word about your venue?

I remember DJing your Halloween event with BlackBook at The Standard, Hollywood that also benefited Zeno Mountain Farm, how did you get involved and what exactly do you guys do? I’ve always felt hugely blessed and with that gratitude had a sense of responsibility. I remember when I worked at Life I would volunteer at God’s Love We Deliver every Wednesday, and you would ask me why I felt the need. I guess I need to compensate for the superficiality of my life with something that is inherently gratifying, and mine. The story of how I got involved is also a serendipitous one. I was staying with your ex Kelly in Venice and one of my close friends I grew up with was coming to LA to do camp. It turns out camp was literally not even a block from her house. The second I visited I was hooked. It really is the most magical place— full of pure, unadulterated fun. I had just committed to doing two weeks, and immediately got a call from The Standard that I was hired. It was a scary decision to tell the job I had sought that I had a prior engagement for two weeks and would not be able to start until after. I went to camp thinking I would help people but what I never expected was to be the one being helped.

Zeno Mountain Farm is a true grass-roots non-profit camps that supports fun and friendships between people with and without disabilities. Our campers range in age (from 19 to 68 years-old). There are different camps throughout the country, with different focuses, to allow everyone within our unique community the ability to take part in either a creative, or athletic coalition. For the Music camp everyone takes part in writing, producing, and performing a song which we then record in a music studio and make into a music video. For our current camp, Actors Camp in Venice, we write, produce and film a movie in which everyone at camp is a star. At Ski Camp and Summer Camp in Vermont there are a various sporting events where every team has the chance to win the illustrious “Cheshire Cup” and a great deal of bragging rights. A lot of our campers would never have the opportunity to do the the things or activities we take for granted. In many cases Zeno Mountain is the only time where the campers are not among a family member or caretaker who is getting paid to be with them. At the end of the day, I finally found my true passion. In order to fund camp we have a variety of benefits throughout the year such as the upcoming premiere of the movie we filmed at last year’s Actor’s Camp, with the after party immediately following so bring your dancing shoes.

How can we help? Raise awareness! Adults with disabilities have a much smaller support group as parents die and siblings get their own families. Even those with support rarely have the chance to just have fun. Like us on facebook and come to one of our premieres. Go to our website and donate to Get involved!

What was it like working for me in NYC back in the day? What’s that quote? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”? I honestly owe you a huge debt—most everything I know, and my closest friends are because of you. The magic of Steve Lewis is that he is always one step ahead of the game. I remember working at Life and thinking that you had put together such motley crew of people that made no sense. Those people have become my family. I lost my father when I was six years old, and frankly you are the closest thing I’ve ever had. That being said, how many times did I quit or was fired? I think the only reason you trusted me so much was because your dog “Arturo” loved me. For the record, I’m still one of the few people he hasn’t bit. I think that says something about my character. Who can forget the nonsense you put me through? Remember when at Life we were having a huge Tibetan fundraiser hosted by Richard Gere? I’m walking his publicist around the club and green room and going through his rider and you storm in with a look on your face and begin to tell that joke…

We can’t tell that story here but I promise to tell it to people who ask me in person! Or the time you decided to take me to Miami for my birthday. First of all you were loving the fact that everyone thought you were my sugar daddy because we were literally running around with inches of hundred dollar bills and sending the bottles of Veuve Cliqout that club owners were sending us as a courtesy to the random table next to us, and ordering bottle after bottle of Cristal. Then you decided it would be a brilliant idea to take me to Club Madonna (a strip club) on my actual birthday, and give a bunch of strippers a ton of money to forcibly carry me on stage and proceed to take off my clothes and stand there bare…

OK again—what happens with Steve Lewis stays with Steve Lewis.How are you liking Los Angeles, and why did you move? With the economy doing so poorly it became a full time job just to get paid from the clubs, and my tribe and I were collectively over it. Despite your story that Charo is my mom and I’m a trust funder, I still had to work. I started doing a bunch of consulting jobs for restaurants and nightclubs all over the country. I did a job outside of Chicago for six months then was in Miami for another job for a couple months. I was at the penthouse of the Viceroy in Miami by the pool on a gorgeous night as winter was beginning to descend on New York and decided that was how I wanted to live. It was the first time in my adult life that I didn’t have responsibilities forcing back to the city. I told the friends I was with that I wasn’t going back to New York. They got excited thinking I was staying there. There bubble was burst when I told them I was moving to Los Angeles. I love it out here, and I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Don’t get me wrong—I love New York, but I kind of feel like it’s for the young or the wealthy. I had the time of my life in the city, but now life is just nice. Instead of being out until all hours of the night, we barbecue or go hiking. Besides, most of our family is out here. You keep threatening to come out, is that ever going to happen?

What is your craziest club memory? My God, where do I start? Hosting a pajama birthday party at Life for Rue Mclanahan and having her carried out in lingerie on a sleigh buy scantily clad go-go boys. Or when Jocelyne Wildenstein won her settlement and I decided we should have a party for her celebrating her divorce. I was photographed walking her in and down the stairs. The next day I get a call from my mom asking if I was dating her because it was all over the press that i was her new beau. Life was by far the best club I’ve ever been to not to mention worked at. I consider it the Studio 54 of my generation, but the shenanigans that went on there were the stuff of legends, and I would be disrespecting the trust put on us as club operators if I betrayed that.

Cant wait to see you guys!

Rushdie’s Reading List for The Standard Hotel

While most hotels are bending over backwards to give their guests the latest in-room technology, The Standard Hotel is going back to basics. They’re certainly not removing the hi-def flatscreens or Apple Docks, but they’ll be adding good old-fashioned paper-pages books (not Kindles, not Nooks) to each of their 337 rooms. If it doesn’t sound flashy enough, wait—there’s more. They’ve tapped none other than celebrated novelist Salman Rushdie to do the curating.

Rushdie’s reading list, comprised of 13 American selections, is not a marketing ploy to sell more copies of his Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children. Instead, the in-room book program is timed to coincide with PEN’s World Voices Festival of International Literature, which is being held at the Standard along with other venues around the city from April 25th to May1st. Rushdie is the chairman of this year’s PEN festival, the literary and human rights organization that brings together more than 100 writers from 40 nations for this event each year.

Starting on Monday, guests will find one copy from Rushdie’s selections in their rooms. The copies are worn-in donations from Housing Works, the charitable thrift store chain. “The core element of literature is what? It’s a used, worn copy of a book. So nothing can beat that,” Laszlo Jakab Orsos, the festival’s director told Reuters. “These books are going to be on the nightstands until they disappear.”

Rushdie’s Reading List:

Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass

William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Eudora Welty: The Collected Stories

Bernard Malamud: The Complete Stories

Saul Bellow: Humboldt’s Gift

Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint

Flannery O’Connor: Everything That Rises Must Converge

Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse-Five

Thomas Pynchon: V.

Joseph Heller: Catch-22

Toni Morrison: Beloved

Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Standard Hotel Publishes First Art Book

The Standard is the only hotel chain with a cult following that doesn’t offer a hotel rewards program. Not that this is meant to go straight to the suggestion box (or maybe it is). But while you can’t earn points by staying, they basically offer everything else, including Bingo for hipsters and a peep show at the Standard New York. So lifestyle driven is the hospitality group that they’ve launched a site dedicated to chronicling “Standard culture,” which includes profiles of Standard standards like Greg K of Misshapes and Japanster. Now that freakish ambition has led them to publish their first book, What Me Worry by artist Andrew Kuo.

What Me Worry is published in partnership with DAP (Distributed Art Publishers) under an exclusive publishing imprint, Standard Press. If you don’t know who Kuo is, he’s “the man about (down) town” according to Paper Magazine, a multi-talented artist represented by Taxter and Spengemann Gallery. Like everyone else in New York City, he’s also a DJ. Not like everyone in New York City, you may also have seen his byline in the New York Times, where he reviews music, from albums to live shows. The 200-page hardcover book will be available exclusively at the Standard shops on December 1st, and might prove to be something more meaningful than hotel points.

Where I’ll Be for Halloween

It’s time to get Halloween serious and dust off my Elvis costume. For at least 15 years I have been Elvis. Not the skinny young one used by the U.S. Post office in the early ‘90’s for white envelopes, but the fat old one they used for bulk mail. The first time I put on my white sequined suit with the wig, the shoes, the bangles, and the sunglasses, I could feel the King’s energy in my veins—it transformed me. As Elvis, I have hosted many a costume contest, and sung on the subway to thunderous applause. I have walked in the parade and had a zillion photos taken with babies, girlfriends, and tourists. Each year I add a little more padding, and the wig gets a little more gray, as art imitates life. Last year, I added real freeze-dried flies to the wig, but the schtick is getting a bit old and it may be time soon to bury the old codger. This year Elvis will appear two more times: as I DJ as him at the Hudson Hotel’s monster soiree with my pal Paul Sevigny, and as I jet out to LA for the actual night of Halloween, a Standard Hollywood gig. Should I just wear the costume on the plane? Will they let me board if I decide to?

When Halloween falls on a Sunday, many celebrate on the Saturday before. The big gig at the Hudson on Saturday has something seriously delicious in each of its hospitality spaces. London-based new wave/electro-pop duo La Roux will DJ in the Hudson Bar space. I’ll be right beside them with Paul in the Library. 4AM will host Hudson Hall with their elite DJs Jus-ske and Jesse Marco on tap. Good Units will have Suzanne Bartsch doing her annual Halloween Party, with Patricia Fields hosting and a bevy of downtown’s glitter crew. It will be a fabulous night for all, and with its mix of cultures, possibly the closest thing in a long time to resurrect the ghosts of Halloween clubs of yore. Also on Saturday, the gorgeous, fabulous, and famous Tinsley Mortimer will set the tone at Horror on the Hudson, a monster bash on Pier 92. With its 75,000 square feet of floor space and super-star DJ Mel Debarge, this event is the in place for the crowd who has everything. I expect lots of rented costumes and hand held masks. If that isn’t enough try Porn Star Halloween at SL, or the EMM group’s other party at Tenjune, with a live set by Slick Rick. Devo is at the Hammerstein. Every joint in town will be banging. There will be a million house parties to boot. Getting a taxi will be a nightmare.


And that’s just the pre-October 31st happenings. DJ extraordinaire Jeannie Hopper is getting into the mix with a boat-bash at the Chelsea Piers on Thursday. Has Sunday become a redheaded stepchild for the week of events? Will people actually have energy, money, and a clean costume come Sunday? To the purists, its all about Sunday, and it all starts with the parade. Joonbug has taken over Capitale and its 40,000 square feet, and will judge costumes and such, but I believe there will be a little less Halloween this year than usual. With work the next day, and so many things happening all week, costumes will be a mess and pockets a bit empty.

Halloween is a great windfall for clubdom. It’s a mini New Years Eve without the crash of the first week of January. These days, big ticketing and promotional companies like Joonbug and Club Planet rent out all the joints in town for New Years Eve, and sell tickets using e-mail, text messaging, and on-line lists numbering into hundreds of thousands of interested parties. Their clientele are looking for a sure thing on the big day, and use these companies to design – and define – their festivities. The clubs do well in this agreement mostly because the energy normally used in promoting this event has gone to these people, and they can work on the all-important Christmas season. Their efforts are focused on ways to make money during the chill of January. New Years Eve, unlike Halloween, kills all things clubby for days before, and days after, as people spend it all in one big blast or go away on holiday. Halloween brings much-needed revenue for the entire week leading up to it, and doesn’t kill the next week completely. What happens in costume stays in costume, and people quickly return to their normal routines. Unlike New Years, the Christmas season and all of its expenses is far off. For these reasons, I believe that Halloween is the biggest night/week in clubland. For the first year in two decades I will not be in town to enjoy it.

A Room with a Free View

I spent the weekend at the brilliant Gramercy Park Hotel. It was a blogger thing with fellow writers and editors from Nylon, Huffington Post, Urban Daddy and Mr. and Mrs. Smith cocktailing and dining. Even my old pal Scott Solish from Eater was there. It was breakfast and dinners and fine wine and strolls through the ultra private Gramercy Park. We slumbered in feather soft beds in rooms with views. I always look gift horses in the mouth, kick the tires and ask direct questions while looking people right in the eye, but nobody wanted anything of us “except to experience the property.”

I asked one of the PR peeps if there was any reason for the timing of this tour. I was told that they just wanted us to see the hotel and what it had to offer. I said the getaway was “sort of like a flare reminding New York and the rest of the world that they were still here” and that was an acceptable explanation for them. Except for visits to my man Nur at GPH’s Rose Bar and an occasional walk through the lobby and bar to see the art, I suppose I haven’t “considered” the hotel lately.The place really is undeniable. The staff was bright, sophisticated, informed and informative. The restaurants were brilliant. Danny Meyer’s touch was everywhere and my summer slim-down diet was severely sidetracked. Maialino on the ground floor was a fun feast. The roof club brunch was wonderful and on such a lovely day.

In a town that has been dominated by news of Andre Balazs and the Standard Hotel of late, it was enlightening to revisit Ian Schrager’s Gramercy. These properties set the bar, one doesn’t have to be hipper, cooler, hotter than the other. They are the ultimate in the boutique hotel experience.

I keep promising my take on Jon Lennon, Adam Alpert and Jus-Ske’s new company “4am” but something keeps coming up . By the time you hear my story about them they’ll have renamed it to 6am. I got a frantic call Saturday about the Roxy. My source told me that the Roxy was going to be reopening with Peter Gatien in the deep background. My crazy (but too lazy to check for himself) pal went on to say “Wow, that’s nuts. Gatien is the reason the Community Boards need to exist.” I laughed and went straight to the horse’s mouth. Since this horse is a dark horse, I’ll keep his name blacked out. My man said, after 3 full minutes of laughter, that the story is not at all true. The Roxy will not return as a club but may reincarnate itself as a roller rink and restaurant if the Community Board agrees. The chit chat turned to the revelation that a new mega club is planned for a West 50’s location. The project is well funded and so far away from baby carriages and retirees that it might actually happen. I know the players that were mentioned and they are seasoned pros with no baggage.