Jezebel’s Henry Stimler Reveals His Casino Royale-Themed Gala & Favorite Bond Girl

The previews of The Great Gatsby have me totally psyched up. Leo as Gatsby is a big ZOWIE! for me. Baz will understand. I’ve read Gatsby a zillion times. I relish the eternal optimism of the lead, his romance, his insane quest. The parties in Fitzgerald’s great tome – which attract all types, and devolve into the impure-ist bedlam – are the model for my events. The rich hobnobbing with the dressed-up peasants, the debaucherous under-classes worked well for me. Nowadays, nightlife is more segregated. Slumming isn’t the norm for the well-heeled, as most opt for mingling within the same class. The top spots thrive on big bucks and exclusivity as opposed to inclusivity. There are exceptions to this rule: usually the fun night at the usually boring joint. The hoi polloi have been banished to Brooklyn and they thank you very much. 

At Capitale’s Casino Royale-themed gala January 26th with Henry Stimler (Jezebel) and Seth Greenberg (Capitale) at the helm, the price of admission is $125, separating the men from the moochers. Capitale,130 Bowery at Grand, is the perfect setting for such an affair. The building was designed by Stanford White who was murdered by a millionaire who learned of an affair between the architect and his model wife which predated the marriage. Stanford White designed the house where Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald attended those lavish parties that inspired him. Stanford also designed the Arch in Washington Square Park, The Players Club Mansion on Gramercy Park. The old post office on 31st and 8th and tons of other places. He was the epitome of the American renaissance of architecture. His murder at the hand of Harry Kendall Thaw was the "trial of the century.” Capitale is there to behold. Its beauty, timeless. Its ability to host great events, legendary. I think this is an event of Gatsby-esque proportions. J. Bond and J. Gatsby are great icons. 

This Saturday, the Casino Royale Gala will attract the best. There will be gaming tables and a live symphony orchestra and sexy singers who will perform every Bond song. There will be a late DJ set by Antonio de Angelis of Pacha Ibiza. Aston Martins will be parked outside. Shaken not stirred martinis will be  served by gold painted ladies. It’s a costume party and attendees are encouraged to come as their favorite Bond character. They have provided this link for all info and costume concepts. A full 20 percent of ticket sales will go to the Tunnel to the Towers Foundation in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. A VIP table for five people goes for $2,000, for 10 people $4,000. There is a $50 ticket after 12:30p.m. as well. Their last event, “Midnight in Paris,” was all the rage and this looks like tons of fun.

I asked Henry Stimler a few questions.

What will guests see when they attend?
We are going to create a world of all things Bond, from being greeted by Miss Moneypenny, to tarot card readers, gold-painted ladies, Bond ice sculptures, full band, different singers performing all 22 Bond-themed songs, and of course a casino with amazing prizes.

What will they hear?
Well, the band will play during the gambling etc., then for the after party we are flying in Italian DJ Antonio De Angelis with DJ V to spin from 1am to 4am.

The reason for the Bond theme: is it just because it’s plain sexy?
It’s more than sexy, it’s iconic. I love Bond, and think everyone has that fantasy, the opening scene of Dr. No sitting at the table, lighting a smoke, and saying that immortal line, “Well, here you can embrace it, grab your best tux, strap on a Walter PPK (fake on please), and pull off your best ‘Bond, James Bond’ to a beautiful women, and the place will be full of beautiful Bond girls.

Why January 26th?
It’s my birthday on the 28th, so I kinda rolled with that weekend.

What have you learned from your previous event, Midnight in Paris?
Midnight in Paris was a smashing success. Everywhere people went that night, they ran into flapper girls. I ended up at 6am in a top hat and tails and the door guy asking me "what the hell’s with all the 1920s outfits tonight?” New Yorkers embrace themed parties it seems. We put on a big production –  but this one is bigger.

It’s you, Seth Greenberg, and who else?
We always have a team of people, such as Yana Tara, Michael Heller, Gary Quirk, Vito, Matt Esstes, and Vanessa Gil, but it’s just me and Seth for promotion.

Your restaurant Jezebel is providing "bites." Tell me about bites and, while you’re here, Jezebel. Who goes there? Has the kosher cuisine crossed over, and been embraced by non-Jewish patrons?
Jezebel has been a trip. We are seven months in and it’s going great. I think it’s really been embraced by people. You get such a huge mix of people, it really is the melting pot that is NYC. On any given night, you can have your table of 5 Chabad dudes sitting next to two football players with their girlfriends, next to a table of models, then a rabbi and his wife on a date, next to some huge financiers next to Russell Simmons. We have a great new chef, Chris Mitchell, formerly of The Breslin. He is just great.

For Bond, we are going to do a mix of Goldfinger food and Bond-inspired snacks. It’s gonna be very cool and super delicious.

Ok, ok, ok, who’s your favorite Bond? Who’s your favorite Bond villain and your favorite Bond girl?
Sean Connery, hands down, for favorite Bond, the girl in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Goldfinger as my fav Bond villain: "I don’t expect you to talk, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die." Classic stuff.

Get my column in your inbox before anyone else by signing up for the biweekly Good Night Mr. Lewis email blast. 

Tomorrow Night: It’s Midnight in Paris at Capitale

It’s early morning as I write this. I am sitting in a comfy chair surrounded by my puppy and Buster, my cat. The patio door is open. Our eye contact is easily understood as we wink and smile at each other in delight. The air reeks of spring, which has been elusive so far. A hint here and there has left us unsatisfied. We want to toss the cold weather gear into that closet where the cat will sleep on it till late September. There is romance in the air today and romance is all that I will speak about.

An extremely romantical soiree is near. A night for those who believe they are the upper crust, the better half, the enlightened, the enfranchised will be held at the extremely romantic Capitale this Saturday. French Cabaret Dinners is inviting the jet set to a 1920s-themed dinner party called Midnight in Paris, inspired by the movie. Capitale was designed by the infamous architect, bon vivant Stanford White who was shot on the roof of the second Madison Square Garden, a building he designed about a hundred and five years ago. The murder was over a model – Evelyn Nesbit – and the jealous rage her millionaire hubby, Harry Kendall Thaw – couldn’t control any longer. Sanford was a playboy. He built a circular room in his home with mirrors all around and a single swing in the middle. He lured pretty young things to this den and had them swing naked and then did manly things to them. Legend has it that the popular, romantic song "I Could Love a Million Girls" was playing at the time. Stanford designed the legendary mansion, Lands End, on the Long Island Sound which is said to have inspired the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Daisy…Gatsby, F,Scott …It doesn’t get ,more romantic than that. Stanford’s work lives on. He did the arch in Washington Square Park which should be more romantic than it currently is.

I read the following:

"He designed and decorated Fifth Avenue mansions for the Astors, the Vanderbilts (in 1905), and other high society families. His Washington Square Arch still stands in Washington Square Park, and so do many of his clubs, which were focal points of New York society: the Century, Metropolitan, Players, Lambs, Colony and Harmonie clubs. His clubhouse for the Atlantic Yacht Club, built in 1894 overlooking Gravesend Bay, burned down in 1934. Sons of society families also resided in White’s St. Anthony Hall Chapter House at Williams College, now occupied by college offices."

Capitale is wonderful and the perfect setting for this spring fling. There will be a three-course dinner and dancing, and even a late-night smash for those who have other dinner plans. It will have a 1920s feel, and I have been told to leave my Mets hat at home – I’m thinking Brooklyn Dodgers. They were so romantic. I rarely attend such parties, but my friend Henry Stimler is that kind of guy and he is hosting along with Roberto Buchelli, Seth Greenberg, Yana Tara, and that Alacran guy, Arty Dozortsev.

I caught up with Henry and asked him all about it.

Besides dressing like David Niven, what do you do?
I was a private equity chap for nine years, but after the banking crisis I decided to devote myself full-time to the world of nightlife. So besides building my restaurant Jezebel – which should be open in June – I host a weekly live-music night at Winston’s Champagne Bar on a Wednesday night, Yiddish Cabaret at The Box once a month, French Cabaret Dinners at La Petite Maison bi-monthly, and now concept parties at Capitale, our first being a 1920s-themed party called Midnight in Paris.

I’m getting lots of notices about this Saturday’s event at Capitale. What’s this event about ? Who are the players?

It’s getting to that point that people are somewhat bored of the same thing over and over again, sitting and sipping vodka and tonic and making polite conversations – they want to be entertained, Midnight in Paris is a production; it’s going to take you back to that glorious age of live music, singers, dancers, burlesque, flapper girls, jazz, etc. It’s an entire production, and you get to dress like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda – what could be better than that? I have the amazing Seth Greenberg, owner of Capitale, the elegant Roberto Buchelli, Arty of San Anturo, and Alacran as our sponsor and, of course my girl Yana Tara; a rather formidable team, wouldn’t you say, sir?

Capitale is a wondrous building designed by the infamous Stanford White. He also designed the house that The Great Gatsby centered around. Is there a Gatsby-esque era going on now or is it always going on for some, but at times it expands and retreats? Is Stanford White’s Capitale providing the romance needed for a gala event?
I can’t think of a better space then Capitale for this sort of party; from the minute you walk up, its special, and we have added so many things to evoke the 1920s, from the Rolls Royce parked outside, to scenes of Paris – it’s going to be wonderful. As for the Gatsby-esque period, I think it comes and goes and movies bring it back to the forefront; Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris for me and the new Baz Luhrmann-directed Gatsby movie brings it again.

On a broader note: when I see you, I see a bon vivant. Where do you go? And when you "slum," what amuses you?
I go everywhere. Seriously, there is no place that I won’t go check out at least once. But I have my regular haunts; I love the posh lounges like Rose Bar, Provocateur, and Boom Boom Room. I love the rock & roll places like The Bowery Electric and Sons of Essex, when Madame Wong’s was around, that was my home, prior to the now-shuttered Beatrice. I haven’t had a "home" since – Provocateur being my most regular. Hopefully, when Jezebels is open, that will be everyone’s new home. When I slum, it’s home with the GF watching movies. I think tonight we have Chariots of Fire and Casino Jack on the agenda.

Beaumarchais’ Jazz Series: Your New Tuesday Night Party

Tuesday nights are an enigma. Do we continue our gin-and-tonic-and-cocktails parade and devour a plate of tilapia tacos at Barrio Chino with a date from Tinder, or do we subscribe to an evening of Netflix and pad Thai-spring roll delivery? How about none of the above. At Brasserie Beaumarchais bi-monthly Tuesday Jazz Series, you get the relaxation of a night in with Netflix and the indulgence of a night out drinking martinis, eating seafood, and being among good-looking people for five-plus hours.

What you can expect at Beaumarchais: live, 1940s Parisian and bohemian music from swing-French jazz troop Avalon Jazz Band starting at 7pm, $5 wine and $10 cocktails during the 5:30pm-7:30pm Happy Hour, Parisian black-truffle gnocchi topped with parmesan,  grilled lamb chops with eggplant and goat cheese-filled cannelloni, and more cheesy, flaky, creamy bites.

And when you’ve finished lounging and feasting, go back even further in time and catch a late-night showing of the ’20s-era blockbuster The Great Gatsby. And by the time you’re done, try – just try to log in to Netflix. Chances are, you won’t remember how.

Get the inside-scoop on Beaumarchais, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Baz Luhrmann Wants to Remake ‘Hamlet’ With Leonardo DiCaprio

Whether your preference lies in Kenneth Brannaugh, Ethan Hawke, or Mel Gibosn, it’s evident than modern adaptations of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet are of a vast variety. But when it comes to those modern variations on Billy Shakes’ text, what’s important is to breathe fresh life into the work—even if the film may not be everyone’s precise cup of tea, the filmmaker must do what’s possible to bring the words to life in a way that we couldn’t simply gain from the words on the page. And although Brannaugh’s myriad Shakespearean revivals have been wonderful, the personal to really revitalize the genre was Mr. Baz Luhrmann himself, who gave us 1996’s masterpiece Romeo + Juliet.

Juxtaposing modernity with the antiquated text, Baz brought Radiohead and Garbage to Verona and crafted a fierce take on the classic tragedy that was as aesthetically stunning as it was emotionally potent. So with his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby waltzing into theaters this week, Baz has revealed to THR that he would like to next tackle his own version of Hamlet—starring his Romeo, his Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio. Be still my heart.

"To me, Gatsby is the American Hamlet. What else could we possibly do as a follow-up?" said Baz, although "i’s just a dream at this point." But as we all know, Leo’s performance as Romeo was one of the best he’s ever delivered—the third act of that film worthy of a closet full of Oscars alone. So with all hope this is a film that will actually come about. In the meantime, let’s watch some behind-the-scenes footage from Romeo + Juliet.

 

 

‘Gatsby,’ Rendered In 8-Bit and Interactive

Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited adaptation of The Great Gatsby opens this weekend, but perhaps you’d like a more interactive and less overwhelming-to-the-senses experience with the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Of course, you could get that by actually reading the book and pondering Jay Gatsby’s obsession with the green light and so forth, but that would be boring. Why read the book when you can play not one, but two 8-bit video games based on the book?

The first, The Great Gatsby for the Nintendo Entertainment System, has inexplicably been around for decades. It came back into the spotlight back in 2011, after a San Francisco developer found an ancient copy of the original game at a garage sale. Charlie Hoey and Pete Smith recreated the game, where in, a Super Mario Bros.-style of gameplay, you, as Nick Carraway, collect martinis and hats as power-ups and defend yourself against flappers, tuxedoed butlers and others. You can play the whole thing at the site they’ve set up here. Like most classic NES games, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly, and depending on your attention span, you could try to go through the whole plot of the thing.

The more recent and tongue-in-cheek Gatsby interpretation comes from the team at Slate, who created a much simpler game where you, as Gatsby, in a rowboat, must fight for the American dream. You row, in your rowboat, toward the green light and all it stands for, but prepare to be borne ceaselessly back into the past. The gameplay is decidedly frustrating, but it makes for a good setup for the joke. 

An Ode to Leo: Looking Back on Mr. DiCaprio’s Best Roles Yet

I remember sitting in the theater as the credits rolled on opening night of Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. As Max Richter’s "On the Nature of Daylight" played softly, my best friend and I sat in silence, quietly weeping to ourselves. And although the film was a wonderfully-shot journey of psychological thrill, it was Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance that moved us to tears. Did we have our own flair for the dramatic? Yes. But really, he was just so good we couldn’t help but succumb to our emphatic emotions.

But it’s always that way—no matter the film, in the twenty years that he’s been gracing our screens, Leo has never given a bad performance. Whether he’s playing a mentally-handicapped teenager coping with the strains of family, an infamous imposter conning his way around the world, a family man wrestling with the trials of love, or a psychopathic slave-owner, he always delivers a performance that’s brimming with conviction, intensity, charm, and agility—with that signature essence of Leo that lingers even when he disappears into his characters.

And this week, we’ll see him take on one of his most anticipated roles yet as the iconic role of Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s lavish reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerlad’s The Great Gatsby. So in honor of, what I am sure is to be another brilliant performance, here’s a look at some of Leo’s best roles throughout the years. And for good measure, a few old interviews with the young star before he went on to be Hollywood’s most beloved leading man. Enjoy.

 

The Aviator as Howard Hughes, 2004

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape as Arnie Grape, 1994 

 
 

DiCaprio, 1995

 

The Departed as Billy, 2007

 

DiCaprio, 1995

 

Gangs of New York as Amsterdam Vallon, 2002

Romeo + Juliet as Romeo, 1997

 

Django Unchained as Calvin Candie,  2013

 
 

DiCaprio, 1997

 

Marvin’s Room as Hank, 1996

Revolutionary Road as Frank Wheeler,  2009

 

Catch Me If You Can as Frank Abagnale Jr., 2003 

Behind the Scenes Rome + Juliet

Titanic as Jack Dawson, 1998 

Shutter Island as Teddy Daniels, 2010

The Basketball Diaries as Jim Carroll, 1995

Spoilers For Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ Leaked

This week marks the mightily postponed release of jazz-age drama The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. But! Did you know that The Great Gatsby has already been a movie four times, dating all the way back to 1926? It’s also come to my attention that The Great Gatsby was once even written down and typeset as, for lack of a better term, a novel. Serious Luhrmann fans are tracking down this mysterious artifact, hoping for a clue as to what might happen in his groundbreaking new film.

Beware, however! There are spoilers aplenty in this text, apparently penned by a hapless and/or disgruntled drunk. If you read it before seeing the Luhrmann version, you’ll already know about narrator Nick Carraway’s latent homosexuality, not to mention the fateful car accident that brings the story to a climax. You’ll find out that Gatsby is not what he pretends to be. Most alarmingly, you’ll learn of the final shocking twist: that there’s a green light and time is kinda weird.

If you want my advice, go into this Baz Luhrmann epic cold. Sometimes we have to trust a peerless auteur to get his message across effectively rather than scrounge around for some Cliff Notes or what have you. And with a running time of two and a half hours, the movie can be viewed in fifteen fewer minutes than it would take to get through all those troubling and ambiguous words! You’ll get a much better sense of the period hairstyles, too.

Emeli Sandé and Bryan Ferry Orchestra Do Beyoncé for ‘Gatsby’

With every new addition we hear in full, it seems that the Jay-Z-produced soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby gets weirder and weirder, and perhaps more disjointed. After Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” turned out to be kind of a bummer, we were hoping that Emeli Sandé’s take on Beyoncé with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, a cover of her mega-hit “Crazy in Love,” would fare a bit better. And it does, but to be fair, expectations were pretty low after “Back to Black.”

Sandé’s vocals are fantastic, and it’s awesome that she’s on a very hyped soundtrack for a very hyped movie right now so more people are exposed to her music through it. And the orchestra, while gifted, feels a little hokey with the muted trumpet, like it’s trying real hard to set the scene for the 1920s, but oh look, it’s a contemporary pop song!

It definitely feels very Baz Luhrmann, if that makes sense—like it’s the Gatsby equivalent of the pop songs in Moulin Rouge! that were shoved into that cabaret environment. Nevertheless, it’s one of the soundtrack’s better offerings. Listen below, and then listen to two other solid covers of “Crazy in Love”—the similar-sounding Puppini Sisters version and Antony & The Johnsons’ heartbreaking ballad version. 

 

Brooks Brothers Has Launched a ‘Great Gatsby’ Collection

Because one mind-blowing Great Gatsby announcement isn’t enough, it’s just been revealed that Brooks Brothers has been tapped to launch a collection inspired by the film. Given that authord F. Scott Fitzgerald was a hardcore fan of BB and even mentioned the suit-happy brand in his books, costume designer Catherine Martin knew that there was no better match for a limited-edition capsule. 

WWD has the scoop on the collab, noting that "top sellers so far include a black bowtie with white tipping — a Brooks Brothers archival piece that Martin discovered and brought to the retailer; it’s also the tie worn by DiCaprio in the poster of the film; a bottle green cotton cardigan with burgundy and white trim, and a white linen herringbone peak-lapel suit with a contrasting brown vest." See and shop the full range here

While the collection is totally dapper and taps into that whole retro vibe that peeps have been feeling since Mad Men hit the tube, where can men wear these head-to-toe pieces without looking like a douche dude stuck in a timewarp? Either way, yay for Gatsby things!