Recovering From New Year’s With Bingo at Bowery Poetry Club

I’m still hurting. This holiday season has beaten me down. It feels like I spent most of it in the car driving from one bogus hamlet to another smiling at people who think I personally killed Jesus. Yeah…it was like that. New Year’s Eve had me at Goldbar where I witnessed what has to be the most pathetic couple out that night — or any night. I am pretty sure I found them but am willing to hear about others. So, I’m outside enjoying the beautiful, although a bit apocalyptic Mayan, weather, waiting to DJ, when this heavily accented pair stumbled up to the ropes. It was an 11pm stumble, not the 2- or 4ams that would dominate later. They asked for entry and pulled out an 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper that would supposedly open up the velvets for them.

"We’re here for the open bar," they declared in a heavy but unfortunately understandable accent. The doorman was confused. "We’re not doing anything like that here!" "This is Goldbar!?!" they demanded, shoving forward their paper. "Yes. Let me see that," the helpful door dude queried. He and a couple of the security guys looked at the dream sheet. The door dude explained, "Er…this is for Goldbar in Australia". After an unbelievable long exchange of "that’s impossibles" and "look, it says it right heres," the conversation digressed into them angrily explaining that it "i’sn’t their fault" and they "should be let in" These two couldn’t be let in and would continue this argument well into the night. I eventually stepped in and steered them to the Lower East Side where standards are always a bit lower.

Sunday was a headache and a stomach ache and cloudy eyes and a pillow that wouldn’t let go. I only had one drink…but it might have been a big one. I thanked the stars and moon and Jupiter (which is, by the way, that bright thing hanging next to it these nights) that I and most of my world had the day off — and on Monday, too. Monday was spent driving and walking around waiting for an evening planned at the Bowery Poetry Club. At 6:30 we caught Warhol legend-in-resident Taylor Meade who was in rare form. The octogenarian poet had a packed house reeling with laughter as he recited his poems, showed us his art, and told us stories about a life spent with Andy and that crew. A story of an embarrassing encounter with Jackie O. underscored the depth of this genius’s life. Taylor is unpredictable. He literally takes random paper out of an old bag and reads what comes. Sometimes he is a bit lost or uninterested, but more than not he is enlightening. He just celebrated his 87th birthday, and although the body is frail the mind and wit is still intact. We were mesmerized and enchanted.

We kept our seats for what the local yokels call "Tranny Bingo." It’s so much more than that. The wonderful Linda Simpson and Mr. Showbiz himself Murray Hill run with this BINGO ball thing every Monday, and we go as often as possible. They don’t need this plug as it’s packed out the door on most weeks. It is the best game in town. I won the big jackpot round this week as I had the hottest card in the room. I needed one number on nine different occasions on that very card, and felt going into the final round I couldn’t fail. I shared the grand prize with two others and went into the night to have breakfast at IHOP on 14th and 2nd where I am a regular. It was a predictable Monday night for me and my crew. We needed predictable after a season that seemed to start months ago… well maybe it did. I’m going to be a little weak this week and I do ask for forgiveness.

Oh… my New Year’s resolution??? IHOP and it’s lucious omelettes have me bound to breaking eggs. So my resolution is "NO MORE MR. NICE GUY." Stay tuned — tomorrow I’m gonna rip someone an asshole which means there will be two of them in one silly place.

When Andy Warhol Walked In… & Walked Out (His Diary Excerpt Inside)

This past Monday would have been Andy Warhol’s 84th birthday. It’s hard to imagine a world without Andy, and it’s hard to imagine Andy at 84. He hasn’t been replaced. The concept of "downtown,” of art-influenced clubbing, has never adjusted to his loss. Going back before "back in the day” for most of you, there was a scene that was led by the creative crowd. In my club days, I started each night with the concept of having my joint cool enough "in case Andy Warhol walked in.” It was the way I set my goals, got up for the game. On occasion, he would walk in.

I can’t think of a celebrity that would define the "cool" in this era. I guess club owners were fawning over Lindsay Lohan until recently, and at one point it was Paris Hilton. Of course Jersey Shore peeps or Kardashians or basketball stars bring excitement to the hoi polloi. Maybe Jay-Z or Beyonce are the pulse. An art star like Julian Schnabel is often seen at downtown spots. Although he carries impressive credentials, he doesn’t influence the thought process like Andy did. I thought Banksy might create a stir – until we got used to his face.

Andy charged up a room. Any gathering he attended was defined by his presence. He hobnobbed at Studio 54 with Bianca and Mick and Truman and Halston and Elizbeth Taylor, but then snuck south to Max’s Kansas City for Lou Reed, The Dolls, and his crew. The profound difference of celebrity back then and now mirrors the profound difference of VIP, then and now. Then, it was the wonderful, the creative, the style-influencers. Now, it’s all about the Benjamins.

Until a few weeks ago I would catch Taylor Meade’s act at the now-shuttered Bowery Poetry Club. Stories about Andy would drift into his act – one day disdaining Warhol, one day adoring him. Taylor is 87 now. He’s still brilliant but very frail. I don’t know if and when and where I will see his schtick again. I miss my weekly dose of his and Andy tales. Just before his death, Long Nguyen and I produced a fashion show for Kohshin Satoh at Tunnel. Andy, Miles Davis, and Devo’s Gerry Casales were the celebrity models. Andy was complaining about the place being cold, although it wasn’t. He looked ill, so we forgo him walking up and then down the steps from the dressing room he shared with Gerry. We put him on the ground floor with Miles. We weren’t being mean, but we couldn’t make him comfortable. He smiled and waved on the runway and no one in the audience suspected a thing. We knew he wasn’t himself and we found out later that he was sick and in pain. He died a few days later, on February 22, 1987.

Here’s Andy’s own recollection of the event at Tunnel, straight from his diary:

Tuesday, February 17, 1987:

…Then went over to the Tunnel and they gave us the best dressing room,but it was absolutely freezing. I had all my makeup with me. Miles Davis was there and he has absolute delicate fingers. They’re the same length as mine but half the width. I’d gone with Jean Michel last year to see his show at the Beacon, and I’d met him in the sixties at that store on Christopher Street, Hernando’s where we used to get leather pants. I reminded him that I’d met him there and he said he remembered. Miles is a clotheshorse. And we made a deal that we’d trade ten minutes of him playing music for me, for me doing his portrait. He gave me his address and a drawing-he draws while he gets his hair done. His hairdresser does the hair weaving, the extensions.

      They did a $5000 custom outfit for Miles with gold musical notes on it and everything, and they didn’t do a thing for me, they were so mean. They could’ve made me a gold palette or something. So I looked like the poor step child.and in the end they even(laughs) told me I walked to slow…