A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a rock star with the greatest moniker ever, Jello Biafra, crooned a tune called “Holiday In Cambodia.” At that time in Cambodia, the people in power were whacking teachers, doctors—anyone with an education or slight western tilt. A holiday in Cambodia was a bad idea. Nowadays things are different. The bad men, for the most part, have been exiled far away from Main Street, and people I know can actually go there. With the weather here driving me bonkers, I checked in with a pal living in the oblivion of Southeast Asia, and asked for a club report. I mean, if I’m gonna go somewhere to duck the cold, they had better have a good club, or I better be prepared to make one. The words may not be that accurate as this Droid translator—a Cambodian to English thing—is way too hard for me to handle. But I’ll give it a try.
It’s real cold here and I’m looking for an exotic escape. Is there nightlife in Cambodia? They are behind here, but it is hip compared to Vietnam.
What are Cambodian clubs like? Most are smoky and have sleazy girls in cheap plastic heels with lots of expats watching soccer. Bangkok has much more of a scene. They have some clubs that can afford international DJs. They do Tokyo to Bangkok, so it’s not like they fly them in from London. Singapore used to have really famous DJs, and the decor in the clubs is so classy, so up-market, that they sometimes had one great DJ a week. Singapore has real night life, but they are American in so many ways — except that ladies doing a “trade” are legal. Why not? It’s the safest city in the world. Is there a little Steve Lewis yet? I hope you are happy and NY isn’t so cold and your apt is warm.
No, no kids. And could you define happy? I’m freezing and want to go somewhere hot. I went to two really nice Cambodian clubs, one called Heart of Darkness with great decor but only so-so music. It did have amazing security. The other one was called Riverside. It has a fantastic sound system, hot women that are not sleazy, so far. Those are the nicest I have seen. Heart of Darkness is also nicknamed “Heart of Business.” It had a gay element, and had tough guys and foreign people living and visiting. It was packed. The decor mixed Ankgor and modern perfectly. It was hot.
I’m looking into flights!
Last night, after BINGO, we headed over to Travertine to check out what my man Ruben was doing with the downstairs space XIX. XIX didn’t impress me at first. I almost went in on a couple of occasions, but stalled at the door, chatting with door folk. The crowds I observed going in were not going to lure me off the street. It seemed to be trying to do the same ‘ol same ‘ol, and didn’t have the players to pull it off. It was, at least for me, a must to avoid. Ruben called me and told me he changed things up, and to pop by.
I never say “no” to some people, and yes, that has gotten me in trouble, but this time I was pleased. Everything was working. The crowd was enthusiastic, with enough beauty to legitimize it with a sharp crowd, and plenty of hip and artistic types to keep it from being a bore. DJ Kid Mess was just killing it with sounds not normally offered at joints trying to sway similar gatherings. I was very impressed. With it’s proximity to Kenmare, La Esquina, Goldbar, and a neighborhood packed with interested parties and restaurants to feed it—including its own upstairs—this small spot looms big. All they need is a little patience to see their plan through, and this joint will get serious. Ruben is just what they needed, and XIX is what I need. I’ll be back.
There are many people I can’t say “no” to besides Ruben. One is Heather Litteer, who is sometimes called “Jessica Rabbit” or just “Rabbit.” She’s an extraordinary performer/artist, often seen around this town wherever the hipper-than-hip, smart set evolve to. Tonight she will sing at The Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street, which, as she points out, is right next to the Sex Museum (but we all knew that). The shin-dig starts at 8pm, and will include “special performances” by Nath Ann Carrera and Nicholas Gorham. It is promised that Heather “will sway you with the sultry sounds of her smoky vocals, while accompanied by Zecca Esquibel on the ivories.” She says to “Pucker up darlings!” She will conquer you. She can’t help it: She was just drawn that way.