Hot Stuff at Hotel Chantelle, Surf’s Up, and Gay Pride

Help me, I’m melting! I actually need someone to pour water over me as I just don’t do well in the heat. In a heat-of-the-moment decision, I decided to DJ for free, something my manager Adam over at 4AM frowns upon. The occasion was the Surf’s Up soiree over at Aspen Social Club, which was converted to “Aspen Surf Club” to catch the wave. When I got settled and shook a bunch of hands and kissed the babes on the cheeks I went to the DJ booth where DJ Life was killing it. His offerings of hip-hop, pop, and R&B was just what they wanted so I opted out and headed to Hotel Chantelle where I really wanted to catch Luc Carl’s set.

The Aspen Surf Lodge event had a door proceeds benefactor in the Rockaway Beach Alliance. Every hipster I know is heading out to beaches in Fort Tilden and Rockaway these days. The night before at The Darby I dined with Marky Ramone and his wonderfully-made Marion and my gal Amanda. Marky felt strongly that a street in Rockaway should be named after Dee Dee Ramone, who penned the classic Ramones track “Rockaway Beach.”

That song has tourists from all over the globe flocking there. Marky pointed out that Joey Ramone Place is at 2nd Street and  Bowery, just a hop, skip, and jump from what is affectionately called the Ramone’s loft. It is actually the loft of artist, lighting designer, road guru and all-around genius Arturo Vega who I named my Chihuahua after. “Rockaway Beach” is one of the most recognized tracks from this seminal NY punk band, and a street for Dee Dee would indeed be sweet.
The air-conditioning failed to meet the test at Chantelle and, although we DJs did our best and the crowd tried to make a go of it, everybody ended up on the roof and partied under the stars. I had fun playing tracks that had some sort of heat reference including "Hot Stuff" by The Rolling Stones, "I’ll Melt with You" by Modern English, and eventually "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. They say the air will be fixed, but it was a bit too late for last night’s party. I’ve always been taught to "never let them see you sweat"…last night, I failed.

I would be remiss and subjugated to much emotional distress by my friends celebrating Gay Pride if I didn’t mention it. My fabulous friend and fiend Patrick Duffy has done it again. A fabulous event will mark my introduction to OUThouse within the THE OUT NYC resort complex. The space is behind a red unmarked door at 510 west 41st Street between 10th and 11th. This is a private affair with a $50 6pm-9pm champagne-and-curated- cocktail reception so if you want into OUThouse you better hustle.

The gift bags are a "must" with “a gorgeous equality candle, jewelry by Chris Habana, and a skin spa gift and much more. The gala has a name: “The Garden of Earthly Delights," a very special Pride benefit for the Courage Campaign and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Campaign. The shindig is hosted by the ever-fabulous Amy Sacco, Peter Davis, Christopher Valiante, Michael Warner, and of course Patrick Duffy. DJ Angola will set the tone, and my favorite Monday Night Bingo buddy Murray Hill will perform. I wouldn’t miss it for the world …unless their air conditioning is on the fritz.

Why That Recent NYT Nightlife Article Makes No Sense

I’ll be at BOW, 199 Bowery at Spring, tonight and maybe even tomorrow to check out the latest and sure-to-be greatest offering from bon vivant Travis Bass. The 199 Bowery space is an EMM Group foray to the wonderful world of downtown. There is an attitude out there that nightlife needs to deliver uniformity or even predictability for success. EMM group seems to be taking a different approach and should be commended for their effort. A recent NY Times article " A Night Life Veteran Bets On Social Media," is not worth the paper that I didn’t read it on.

Mr. Andy Russell, a former owner at the defunct Moomba – the most overrated club in history – is gathering groups of people to joints around town early in the evening. The creatures of the night will be just stirring or putting on their outfits while Mr. Russell’s crowd gathers at places bound to be chic after they leave. It rants about the acceptance of the same ol’ same ol’ attitude of bringing like-minded people together.

Clubs are wonderful when like-minded individuals mix with people who dress, behave, and generally think differently are thrown in. The "novel" idea of having parties early so that people can be in bed by midnight is not only nothing new, but reeks of old and tired. Jerry and Mimi Rubin did this networking thing decades ago before social media made networking so easy. They drew 5,000 suit-and-tie types that didn’t want to mingle with the hipsters and those "other" types. The OMG complaint about being in a real club which will even have a door policy later in the evening is sooooo lame. This is a way for clubs to get early revenue; it’s been around and forever and there is nothing wrong with it. Andy’s crowd has a right to gather, but why the Times Inc.?. It is a tried and true way for the older set to go out and meet and agree, and it sounds as boring as anything I’ve heard about in a while. Charity events serve this purpose and exist for a good cause. 

This Sunday, a good cause requires the presence of some of these suit-and-tie types and others who want to mingle. The children and supporters of New York Foundling are having a reception at the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway at 47th Street, where attendees will enjoy a matinee performance of the Broadway show Annie the Musical. Attendees will include:

"Staten Island-based Foundling families, many of whom have never seen a Broadway show, and who have been trying to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The Foundling purchased tickets for the children and their families with money donated from a campaign to support “real-life Annies” across New York City . The Foundling is hosting a pre-performance reception at the Palace Theatre featuring a special performance by students from The Foundling’s charter school in the South Bronxwho will serenade Annie composer Charles Strouse with their own rendition of “Tomorrow.” CNN “Starting Point” Anchor and Foundling volunteer Soledad O’Brien will emcee. (This short performance is scheduled to begin at 1:00pm.) Other guests include the original “Annie,” Andrea McArdle, Annie producer Arielle Tepper Madover, director James Lapine,  and Annie the Musical cast members.

Bill Rudin, vice chairman & CEO of Rudin Management Company, Inc. and Anthony Watson, chairman and CEO of EmblemHealth, Inc. will be honored for their strong and continuous support for The Foundling."

There are hundreds of events where good hearted people can meet and mingle with like-minded types.

A dinner for non-like-minded people will celebrate artist Kevin McHugh as he heads to Art Basel 2012 with all those Art-y Basel types. The dinner hosted by Patricia Fields, Wendy Williams and DJ Danny Tenaglia will be at THE OUT NYC, 510 W. 30th street, where thinking outside the box is encouraged. Kevin’s art is Pucci-inspired and will be previewed at the soiree. DJ Alex Perez’s sounds will dance around the conversation. 

Last on today’s list of things to do and, of course, not do will be Saturday’s “Wildchild” party at 107 Suffolk St., 11pm. Pal Ian El Dorado will DJ. My friend, Facebook and otherwise, Joy Rider will host and I can’t miss it. There, I will bask in rock and roll and hang with like-minded people that I like.

My Labor Of Love: The Rosebud Speakeasy Opens In The Out NYC Hotel, Gala Tonight

I love publicists. They make everything sound so very nice. They specialize in wow’s and oh wow’s and are so crafty with words that sometimes they don’t have to even say anything. The truth lies between the lines, and the lies become truths if you say them often enough to the right people. "They make lemons taste like cherries," a wise lady told me. I have favorite publicists and I’ll name two. Tomorrow, all the rest will have you believing I named them. Brad Zeifman of Shadow P.R. is wonderful, and so is R. Couri Hay of the P.R. company with his name on the door. 

R.Couri and his crew are handling the P.R. for the opening of The Rosebud. This is honorable work, as the product is honest and may actually be wonderful. Rosebud opens tonight after a minute or two of delays. I designed the place alongside David Davis, who is always around projects I do but gets little attention. He is my Johnny Depp, not my Tonto, a reference that some P.R. companies will make clear to you any week now. On the invite I appear in bold letters described as "Designed By Nightlife Industry Leader Steve Lewis". OMG! Thanks, but I haven’t led the nightlife industry since the last century. I go so far back that a vodka on the rocks had real stones in there. Fred Flinstone was my…  well, you get the idea. You can read between the lines.

The biggest hurdle the P.R. company faced at the straight-friendly The Out NYC complex which also includes KTCHN restaurant and The Out NYC Hotel and The Out Spa and Gym, and all that is how to explain the sculpture I put up in the middle of the room. It was best left undefined, says all. I call it "Woody," and you’ll have to come by and find a name for yourself for it. The press release says:

"Nightlife veteran and acclaimed interior designer Steve Lewis was inspired by the ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ network, adding a warm, relaxed, and yet exclusive feel to THE ROSEBUD NYC. Incorporating elements like walnut, rosewood, leather, and bronze, Lewis transformed the 2,000 square-foot space to a traditional setting with a modern touch. Strategically placed lighting flatters and enhances the space, and comfortable banquets made of rosewood and velvet around the 350 foot center bar offer the perfect spot to see and be seen." 

I guess that’s all true, but Woody isn’t even mentioned and Woody does own that room. I wanted to make it all warm and comfy and really set it apart from XL, from which Rosebud was carved. I didn’t want the ceiling sculpture to distract or offend or define the room as a men’s club because the complex caters to all types. Then the-powers-that-be named the place Rosebud, which is not a Citizen Kane reference, and I got confused and figured they all said WTF and went with it. Woody speaks for itself. It also lights up and flashes and doesn’t just sit there limp by any means. 

The rest of the press release describes "signature cocktails" by "celebrity" mixologists (I do hear they’re swell at making swill taste great) . I’m gonna ask one to make some lemon thing taste like cherry. I bet they can.These cocktails and bottles will be served up by staff wearing "Prohibition-era" cocktail dresses and matching "1920s hairstyles." The guys will be wearing "classic white oxfords, black vests, and trousers." That’s catching the whole Gatsby wave I guess because some publicist somewhere got some people to say that that movie was actually good… but thats’s another column. 

Their will be memberships for sale at Rosebud. The P.R. release says:

"Privileges include a variety of exclusive perks including guaranteed entry and priority-table reservations at THE ROSEBUD NYC and XL Nightclub. Members will also receive special offers from THE OUT NYC including special rates at the straight-friendly urban gay resort, discounts at KTCHN Restaurant, complimentary access to THE OUT NYC’s spa and gym and invitations to private events throughout the year."

The Rosebud is located at 512 West 42nd St. I am very proud of it and will attend tonight’s gala. 

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This Week’s NY Happenings: Downtown Music Festival, SakaMai, KTCHN

FRIDAY: Rock & LoHo At Downtown Music Festival
The Lower East Side’s music cup runneth over as Downtown Records brings a second year of the Downtown Music Festival. The venues are a greatest-hits package of below-Houston spots. Mercury Lounge hosts Teengirl Fantasy, Cake Shop has Beach Fossils and Trash Talk, and nine different acts will take the stage at Tammany Hall. Even swank event space Capitale is in on the groove, hosting L.A.’s Black Hippy. The spaces are all intimate, so get your tickets quick.

The Downtown Music Festival runs Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11th, at venues like Cake Shop (152 Ludlow St., Lower East Side). To learn more about the bars, click on the listings in bold above.

NOW: Shuck It
The Lower East Side is your oyster tonight, as SakaMai lays on a “Shell & Sake” tasting. Take a guided tour through six sakes, expertly paired with a dozen bicoastal bivalves.

Shell and Sake starts at 6:30pm, tonight, May 6th, at SakaMai (157 Ludlow St., Lower East Side). Tickets are $75. To learn more about the sake bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Killer Instinct
The Out NYC’s house restaurant KTCHN kicks off a monthly dinner-and-a-movie series with a screening of Basic Instinct. They’re injecting some Rocky Horror, too—when Sharon Stone deploys her ice pick, you’ll find a Jack & Coke in front of you.  

Basic Instinct at KTCHN (510 W. 42nd St., Midtown West) starts at 7pm on Wednesday, May 8th. Prix fixe dinner is $49; wine pairings are an additional $25. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Know every inch of this city by checking out BlackBook’s NY City Guides

This Week’s Top NYC Happenings: Harlow, Pennsylvania 6, KTCHN

WEDNESDAY (tonight): Richie Notar’s Latest Parlor Harlow Opens 
Studio 54 and Nobu legend Richie Notar flies solo with Harlow, his glamorous new restaurant and parlor bar. Part of a 1926 gift from William Randolph Hearst to mistress Marion Davies, the space still has its original chandeliers and stained glass. Modern art (there’s a Warhol) updates the look, providing an elegant backdrop for a globe-trotting seafood menu. The raw bar nods back to Nobu with Japanese accents. For dinner, it’s creative combos like salmon with chorizo-Asian pear salsa, or Australian wagyu with fresh chimichurri.

Harlow (111 E. 56th St., Midtown East) opens Wednesday the 20th. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

WEDNESDAY: Mightier Penn
High ceilings and popping red seats highlight the comfy confines at Pennsylvania 6 (pictured), the newest pub in MSG’s hood. Check out the space Wednesday night while celebrating the launch of Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout season with the malt masters of Brooklyn Brewery.

Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout Launch Party at Pennsylvania 6 (132 W. 31st., Garment District) on 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday the 20th. Get the inside-info on the pub at the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SUNDAY: Oscar Admirer
KTCHN at The Out NYC knows that the Academy Awards are more fun with champagne, a big screen, and a lively crowd. You’ll find all that, along with dishes cribbed from the 1929 awards, prizes for the deftest ballot jockeys, and edible Oscars to take home.

The Academy Awards Viewing Party at KTCHN (510 W. 42nd St., Midtown West) starts Sunday the 24th at 7pm. No table minimum; reservations required. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Find out first about the latest openings and events in NYC by signing up for BlackBook Happenings, the email brought right to your inbox every Monday. And download the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

A “Straight-Friendly” Eatery Just in Time for Gay Pride

Sorry, but I am not buying the whole “gay urban resort” that THE OUT NYC has capitalized on. In fact, I am not even sure what it means.  I do know, however, that the Hell’s Kitchen hotel itself is a swank, well-run machine and place I would want to stay in despite the theme. Good thing, too, because now not only is it “straight-friendly” (what?) but tonight they are debuting their new eatery, KTCHN Restaurant.

Resulting from a partnership between the hotel and the owners of Eatery and Whym, KTCHN Restaurant is helmed by chef Dale Schnell, formally of the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel, Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, and Terrance Brennan’s Artisanal. Like the other two Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, KTCHN’s concept is New American, and Schnell plans to serve upscale comfort food with nibbles like smoked bacon with artichokes on polenta, various oysters, and marinated fluke with grapefruit. Aside from Schnell’s menu, THE OUT NYC has also brought Duane Fernandez Jr. onboard. Fernandez, who refers to himself as the “the only gay master mixologoist in New York,” is handling the cocktail menu, which includes low-calorie drinks, infused vodkas, and plenty of wine cocktails.

As for the hotel experience itself, I loved what Joel Stein wrote for Time magazine in May. He said, “It was also the only hotel room I’ve ever been in without a closet, which seemed a pretty big sacrifice just to make a metaphoric point.” Later, after noticing the hotel wasn’t all gay like he had hoped it would be, he wrote, “The problem is that being gay has become so acceptable that tourists think the gay theme is just fun New York Culture.”

Oh how things have changed, and Stein is spot on. So maybe “straight-friendly” doesn’t really need to be advertised since it appears the hotel is just welcoming in general. And now, with pride week and the parade this weekend, I am sure anyone is welcome to try out KTCHN—gay, straight, or whatever.