Why Rain Is Great News For Nightlife

As operators and employees gripe about the weather forecast, I see a silver lining in all these clouds: the weather may keep people from scooting off to oceans far away and also stop them from energy-burning daytime activities. Clubs may pack with rain refugees. The Hamptons may get washed out, the Jersey shore will surely suffer. Plus, my flowers are loving it.

This column must note the engagement of my pal Allegra Riggio to Mad Men and Sherlock Holmes actor Jared Harris. Allegra is a lighting designer known to clubland, and is an all-around beautiful person. She is gushing and spouting on social media. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person. I have RSVPd to a little soiree she is hosting and will tell you all about it after. 

Sailor Jerry Rum will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the old tattoo artist they named their brand after this coming Wednesday. Artists from Three Kings (my favorite inkers) and Matt Van Cura from invisible NYC are on board for this festival. The party will be at the Brooklyn bar with a bowling alley: The Gutter. It starts at 7pm and although it goes till 2am, it skews early.

I often consult middle employment situations. Clubs call me if they are looking for someone, and bar and waitstaff who are looking often ask if I know of anything. I am quick to give a recommendation to those who deserve it. It’s better than lending money.

I know a joint looking for a GM and am having a hard time. The reason for this is the job is one rung below owner. Investment types often team up with successful promo types and decide to do a club.

Problem with that is who is going to run it? Hire, fire, order cups, accounting, security, cleaning, repairs, legal matters: all are tedious work for a non-fabulous mindset. Promoters usually don’t learn that stuff in their travels, so GM types are offered points…ownership to make it all work. 

The GM job is therefore possibly the hardest job to fill, and although they often make way less than bar or waitstaff, it is just one small step for man (or woman) on that trip to to the moon.

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Summer & Father’s Day Brings on Thompson LES Hotel’s Party Series and a New Tattoo

Tonight my favorite DJ (not named Paul Sevigny) Mr. Jonny Lennon will provide the sounds by the pool at the Thompson LES Hotel. Ford Models will be hosting tonight and once a month. This sounds like way too much sexy-time fun for me and besides, I married a Ford Model 28 years ago so… been there, done that. Sal Imposimato, the recently-added corporate director of entertainment for Commune Hotels – the parent company that manages both Thompson Hotels and Joie de Vivre Hotels – is making his mark revitalizing the scene there.

They have a rock and roll movie series presented by Topshop that occurs the first Thursday of every month. It’s called “Pool Party Babylon.” They also have a weekly Tuesday party which, this week, presented Scorpio Rising by director Kenneth Anger and honored Mudhoney’s 20th Anniversary. DJ Miss Guy does the honors. Their locals-only Wednesday weekly is hosted by Creatures of Comfort and features DJs Amy Yao and Cameron Mesirow.

This Friday, starting at 2pm, Steven Hamilton hosts with resident DJ Jasper Stapleton and special guest Nick Catchdubs of Fool’s Gold fame. The programming is fresh, forward, and fun…and conveniently located. Sal did the most amazing job when he was with Morgans Hotels Group, totally getting me way uptown to the Hudson or way downtown to the Mondrian. Now that he has hung his hat near civilized humans, I’ll be around… a lot.

This Sunday is Father’s Day and I got an anchor tattoo that says DAD in honor of the day courtesy of Sailor Jerry who did half the hood over at 3Kings the other night. My dad Bernie just celebrated his 90th birthday. He joined the Navy on June 8th, 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the day before. If you are looking for me to attend a gala, a soiree or shindig on a Sunday, I always pass as me and mine dine with mom and dad.

I have the blessing of being able to look at nightlife from an insider/outsider perspective. From where I stand I see a lot of people chasing a lot of money and girls and other things without a sense of what is important. When the shit hits the fan, as it famously did for me, there are few you can depend on. My family was there. So take a minute or an hour to visit, call, or remember your dad before returning to the fray. A tattoo may be drastic but if you want one, call Alex McWatt or any of the other talented folks over at 3Kings. Tell them Uncle Steve sent ya.

Last Night’s Var Magazine’s Launch Event: I Got a Tattoo

 A long time ago, there was this club called Palladium. It was my job to fill its 108,000-square-foot space about five nights a week with people that mattered. To give you an idea of how big that is, it is more than two Webster Halls and maybe 15 Marquees. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were on top of the pyramid and were really great at bringing in top-tier celebrities to create the shock and awe such gigantic places needed. In this modern era, superstar DJs drive the car. Back then, it was Yoko and Liza and Rick James and Andy Warhol. Palladium never lived up to Studio 54 -Steve and Ian’s previous project – but it did have its moments. We did do 3,000 to 5,000 people, five nights a week. It was a pre-bottle universe but people drank a lot more and most paid admission.

I learned many lessons working for these geniuses of nightlife. The specifics were lost in time, but there was this party, and Madonna was going to be there …she really was supposed to. We were even allowed to say it, but we opted not to. The thought process was that we were going to sell out anyway, but if we said that Madonna was going to host or pass through or whatever then everyone would be focusing on that and not the party. The theory went on that if she does show, then everyone will be energized, as it will come as a great and wonderful surprise. Madonna ended up showing, sitting on the backbar, and reading the magazine that prompted the party. It was a party where the anticipation of the celebrity didn’t squash the fun.

Another event at Palladium was an Elite Model soiree. Again, we opted to limit promotion to the model agencies’ list. We didn’t tell our adoring public about the event. The logic was that model agency parties attracted the worst kind of guys and it would be swell if people came and saw a place packed with long-legged beauties. Without knowledge of the event, they might think it was like that every night. I did a good job.

Another time we produced a Koshin Satoh fashion show. He did clothes for lots of famous folk like Miles Davis and Rick Ocasek and Andy Warhol. Again, we knew Andy was going to show but we left it an undiscovered secret. The crowd that came was pumped up by his presence and the party was off the hook. For me, having the party off the hook was more important than a Page Six mention. He was swarmed by the press, including a TV crew who asked him why he had come for the Koshin Satoh show and he replied "Because Koshin designs clothes for Don Johnson.” The interviewer didn’t understand and said "So?" and Andy deadpanned: "Oh, because I think I look like Don Johnson." I held back my laughter as she went away confused and happy. Andy let loose a small smile as she skitted away.

I was mad about Andy. You can take all your Guitar Heros, DJ Megastars and whose-reality-is-it-anyway TV stars and toss them away. Andy was my reason to be cheerful. My clubs and the great clubs of this day are driven by the great crowds and off the hook parties. Word of mouth, amongst the people who actually got in past the door staff, was and remains more important than housewives reading gossip in the NY Post or other periodical. Most savvy operators realize their revenue streams aren’t driven by mentions in Us Weekly.

Last night I attended the VAR Magazine launch event. In fact, I was the DJ. It was a great party. Everyone had a blast. Sally Shan did a fantastic job. She will be happy when she reads this. She is sleeping now because she put everything into it. At the event there were whispers that Ron Wood, out and about pushing his book, would show and that Adrian Grenier was going to perform. These whispers didn’t become the focus of the event because Sally and the other organizers didn’t let the celebrity or the anticipation of one get in the way of a good event.

The Wooster Street Social Club, known as that tattoo place on NY Ink, was the setting for this bash. One of the highlights of the evening was me getting a tattoo while spinning records…well, CDs. Has this been done before? You can Google it if you think it’s important. You can even call the Guinness Book of World Records or start an event where everyone leaves with a tattoo to remember it. Luke Wessman did my tat. Even though the event was wonderful, in time it will fade in memory for even those who had a blast. I won’t forget it, as the ink will always be there to remind me. What did I get?… Andy Warhol’s signature… of course.

13 Questions for Friday the 13th

It is Friday the 13th and, yes, I am getting a "13 ball" tattooed on my arm from Magic Cobra Tattoo Society.  The line on Driggs and South 1st was long and totally fun for the inexpensive permanents. They ink for 24 hours starting at midnight and I gave them mixed CDs for the occasion …some biker/tattoo music to ease the pain.

It may be Triskaidekaphobia that has me not willing to write today, to commit to a story, say anything I might regret later. I was up until 8am at Magic Cobra haven and woken at 7am Thursday morning. That question from Dirty Harry keeps banging around in my head "…But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?’” Well I feel anything but lucky today and the entire world away from my pillow feels like a .44 Magnum; I am absolutely feeling like a punk, so forgive me if I keep this to 13 possibly dumb questions with uneven answers.

Q1) Was it the luck of the Irish that got that fabulous Ballinger crew open almost immediately at Webster Hall after a stabbing at a hardcore show, while  Greenhouse/W.i.P. got shuttered harder and longer for a bottle-throwing incident?
A1) I think it’s a matter of a long history of working well with the community that has Webster doing its thing, while Greenhouse has been way more annoying to some. The fact that the Webster stabber and stabbees were white and the bottle throwers and brawlers at Greenhouse were black never crossed my mind.

Q2) Are the rumors that Pink Elephant may close for August true, and was it bad luck or bad planning to open a Euro-based club in the beginning of the summer or was it planned like this all along?
A2) I’m too tired to ask them the question today and you know what will be said anyway.

Q3) Is The Double Seven just being unlucky or is it the weather, or is it just fabulous and not as confused as my personal confusion perceives it?  A source who made me swear to say nothing about what he told me about The Double Seven will be happy that I respect his wishes.
A3) Mark Baker and crew will tell me how wonderful it is over there if I had the strength to pick up the phone so why should I bother to call?

Q4) So why can’t they call it Bungalow 8 and what did Amy Sacco ever do to be the focus of such silliness?
A4) She is so fabulous and smart and fun and if they want to call it "8"…wink, wink, I’m going to go anyway. Hey, they can call it 13 and I’m there.

Q5) Is the Xtravaganza Ball really going to happen next Sunday, July 22, and have they really asked me to be a judge?
A5) OMG ! Yes ! What to wear? I must look …legendary.

Q6) Have those wonderful and erotic Domi Dollz fallen into a pile of good luck now that every skirt on the planet has read Fifty Shades of Grey?
A6) I missed their monthly soiree/seminar this past Thursday at the Museum of Sex but predict they may soon need to get a bigger room to whip those novices into shape.

[Editor’s Note: I went, and it was amazing. Those Dollz know how to whip you and their leather-collared, half-naked boys into shape.]

Q7) Am I really going to do 13 of these?
A7) No, seven is more than half of 13, I think… and considering the condition my tattoo is in, it’s all you can expect. I’m going to crash…get my tattoo from Adam Korothy at Magic Cobra, rinse, and repeat.

Men’s SS11: Tattoos, Chokers & Gold Lips

If you thought crop-tops and jeggings for men were a mistake on the recent SS11 runways, just wait until you get a load of the accessories. Marc Jacobs covered his Louis Vuitton models in temporary tattoos, which were a staple at the women’s Gaultier and Chanel show last season. Jacobs enlisted his own tattoo artist, NYC-based Scott Campbell, to spray LV logos across the necks of his mannequins. The tattoo trend continued over at YSL, where Stefano Pilati “portrayed the tattoo artist Mark Mahoney of the Los Angeles Shamrock Social Club in a short film, directed by Ari Marcopoulos, which debuted at its men’s show last week,” says the Independent. Also fixated on the male neck was Alber Elbaz at Lanvin.

Elbaz introduced thick chain chokers (some equipped with over-sized gems, some with tiger teeth) and charms fit for a decidedly fierce Indiana Jones. And while luxury neck ink and statement jewelry isn’t for every man, Thom Browne took men’s accessories to a whole new level of weird this past week. In addition to slim tailored short suits, Browne introduced school girl knee-socks and lips that looked as though they’d been plated in gold. Never one to play it safe, Browne’s latest collection pushes menswear’s boundaries yet again.