Nightlife At Its Best: Westway’s Frankie Sharp On Tomorrow’s Soiree “Westgay at Westway”

Nightlife is as good as it ever was and it continues to expand in every direction. Like our universe, it started with a Big Bang just a couple of years ago, when bottle service got out of the way of having a good time, and clubs, bars, lounges and restaurants got over the depression – both economic and social – of the post 9/11 disaster. Some peeps talk of the good old days as if there once was a Camelot or nirvana. I’ve been around for a long time and I firmly believe that nightlife today is more vibrant than any time in the last 30 years. I’m sure this statement will be refuted by many, especially those who thought having a good time meant waking up on a floor, but I’m standing by it. The drugs aren’t as important a driving force as in "the day." High rents and aspirations mean that people must be functional when the sun is up. There are less or different types of after-hour opportunities. The 4am to noon spots have given way to parties at lofts and hotel suites. I have been saying for a couple years now that there are few great clubs but many great nights. This is changing as clubs refine their nightly programming and offer more than just one evening a week of nocturnal bliss. Westway is fabulous and getting more so as time goes on. It’s a bit under-the-radar and to the left of things – dirty, fun, and daring. A friend of mine, Frankie Sharp is offering up a new Tuesday soirèe, "Westgay at Westway," and it seems undeniably fun.

This Tuesday, it’s Lady Miss Kier of DeeLite fame and a veteran of a thousand and one club wars, Jon Jon Battles, DJing to the gays, the trendies, and the in-the-know. There is a live performance from buzz act House of Ladosha and delicious hosts and hussies MR. MICKEY BOARDMAN OF PAPER MAGAZINE, DAVID MASON OF WWW.SLICKITUP.COM, QUENTIN BELT , LADY PEACH  SPENCER ,MICHELLE SALEM, AMY CAKES, DANKY DANK, and SHIT THAT FASHION GIRLS SAY. I asked Westgay honcho Frankie Sharp, who describes  himself as a Promoter and DJ, why this is going to be so scorching hot.

 
Why Westway?
Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kleigman, the owners of Jane, The Smile, and other great venues are such great people and believe in FUN and having a good time! Plain and simple. They reached out to me after my recent feature in Paper Magazine and the other great press I got from my successful weekly night at Bedlam. So we had the mutual desire to work with one another even before meeting. Also, I wanted a space that was big enough to build a big gay dance party and playground for the downtown kids that these big westside clubs get all the time. Westway is huge! It’s perfect! So I’m going to rent bouncy castles.
 
Is nightlife experiencing an era of global warming?
Well, I think bottle service is killing the polar bears and ruining nightlife. It’s too segregated. Also, "cooler than cool" just really isn’t cool anymore. There’s nowhere that’s just FUN and boozy, to just nerd out and feel and look amazing. It’s been quite stuffy at the places I used to frequent. At Westway, I’m getting the right people from all the different pockets of New York City together to get the pot stirring again. Upper Manhattan to Lower Manhattan, East to West, Downtown to Uptown. Everyone’s welcome!!!
 
Lady Miss Kier…what does she mean to you…why the booking ?
She was the first album I bought with my own money as a kid. She was my first inspiration when it came to style, music, and had a great frivolous but polished thing about her that spoke to me. I think she’s a great exclamation point to this new fun baby of mine. I love working with my idols and when it comes to music, she’s all about FUN.
 
Is this a Fashion Week extravaganza special or what we should expect every week?
No, every week you should expect more great DJs, artists, and performers from Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters, Santigold, Lady Bunny, JD Samson, Casey Spooner… they’re all acheduled to play. I’m trying REALLY hard to get Kristen Wiig from SNL to "DJ"… fingers crossed!
 
There’s a buzz on House of Ladosha. Tell me who they are and what all the hype is about.
House of Ladosha are two great visual artists who have banded together to become this amazing gender-bending rap group. They’re songs are catchy, topical, fun, and they look incredible. They just look and sound like New York to me. They kinda look like the Fly Girls from In Living Color, but with facial hair. They’re quite the show. Theyve opened up for SSION and have performed everywhere from MoMA PS1 to Webster Hall.
 
Who are you and what else have you done? What’s your day job career? Tell me about DJing.
Im a full-time wardrobe stylist. I work in editorial and commercial and mainly work with musicians and recording artists to expand on their image and brand. I find great joy interpreting designers art and making a story out of them and pushing the fantasy even further. It’s literally getting paid to play dress-up and it’s constantly inspiring and exciting. As cheesy as it sounds, I love the work and I work hard at it.
As for DJing… I just like hearing the music I play when I’m drunk at home cause that’s what I want to hear when I’m drunk and out and about. I throw these weekly events mainly because I love a good time and I love getting my friends together and making fantastic memories that will last. There’s an odd joy I get out of curating a roster of people and building a dream team of performers, DJs, hosts, and personalities. It’s like hosting dinner parties with your favorite 300 people and it’s fueled by vodka, the night, and the energy of New York City. I get inspired by this in my styling and vice versa. Constantly. Seems like the perfect balance.

Strolling Around New York With Its Most Likable Brummie Chef, April Bloomfield

On a stormy Friday afternoon, a girl sat staring at her pig. More specifically, April Bloomfield, the Birmingham-born chef who first brought gastropubs to New York with The Spotted Pig, and later The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar, eyed a pile of homemade malfatti pasta tangled up with tree frog-green arugula and glistening bits of rosy suckling pig at Maialino, one of the chef’s neighborhood haunts. It is an apt choice considering the chef there, Nick Anderer, handles Italian food much in the same way Bloomfield expresses English cuisine: balancing high and low, delicate and rustic, with lots of hog thrown in. Bloomfield is just settling back into her cooking routines after a grueling book tour for her first cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories. So she was extra happy to visit her favorite New York hangouts.

april bloomfield maialino

Maialino
2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

(212) 777-2410
I live around the corner and come here at all times of the day. There’s this wonderful thing on the menu called a caramellato. It’s basically a brioche bun dipped in butterscotch vanilla sauce. They’re addictive. You can buy six to-go, but they’ll only do six. I’ve tried to convince them to give me more, but chef Nick wouldn’t do it.
 

april bloomfield kalustyan's

Kalustyan’s
123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

(212) 685-3451
Being from England, I love curry. It’s our national dish, and this is the most amazing spice shop you’ll ever come across to find it. You know how you can spend hours in hardware stores, whether you love home improvement or not? This is the equivalent for chefs. It’s not just a spice shop though. They have vinegars, oils, sugars, salts, nuts, and grains.

april bloomfield bonnie slotnick

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
163 W. 10th St., New York, NY

(212) 989-8962

When I first moved to New York, I found this tiny store. Bonnie has old books and modern books and everything in between. We’re picking up a book today that my friend Matt Dillon [of Sitka & Spruce] in Seattle recommended. It’s called Auberge of the Flowering Hearth. I’m excited to just go read it and touch the pages. Sometimes it’s nice to pick up an book that has that old smell. You don’t get that smell with iPads. They all just smell like Apple.
 

april bloomfield the smile

The Smile
26 Bond St., New York, NY

(646) 329-5836
When you’re at The Smile, you feel like you’ve stepped out of New York. I really like places that transport you. The Smile is rustic and perfect for a rainy day like this when you can curl up with a cup of tea—though the coffee here is great, too—and their delicious avocado salad.
 

april bloomfield korin

Korin
57 Warren St., New York, NY


(212) 587-7021

I heard about Korin from one of my chefs at The Breslin. The first time I ever went down, I was a little overwhelmed, but everyone is so helpful and friendly. They do a range of Japanese and Western-style knives. I got one that was sort of both—slightly firmer metal so they’re easy to clean and they don’t oxidize so much—instead of a totally traditional Japanese–style knife that is harder to maintain. They’re not a chain. It’s just a one–off. It’s not like Sur La Table. I like to support the smaller guy.

Photos by Eric Medsker.

How to Make It in New York: A-Trak, Curtis Kulig & Carlos Quirarte

How to Make It in America, HBO’s hip, snappy dramedy, could easily be re-titled How to Make It in New York. Given that its two lead characters, best friends Cam and Ben, are hustling to get their clothing label off the ground, the show couldn’t really be set anywhere else other than this fashion-happy, hard-scrabble town. To show off the series’ downtown New York-ness ahead of Season Two’s October 2 premiere, HBO has released a mini-documentary about three New Yorkers who actually did make it in America. Check it out after the jump.

The three success stories are DJ, budding record mogul, and BlackBook columnist A-Trak (who even pops by our office in the video); graffiti artist and photographer Curtis Kulig (who recently remixed one of our inaugural covers); and BlackBook Industry Insider Carlos Quirarte, who, along with partner Matt Kleigman, owns The Smile and Westway. Let these three fellas show us all how it’s done.

Are We Not Men? Glenn O’Brien Answers Devo’s Rhetorical Question

It’s been almost two years since I sat down in front of my computer to interview filmmaker Lars von Trier about his gods-and-genitals film Antichrist. We were going to “try something new” and talk over a Skype video connection. In preparation for the chat, I downloaded a program that would allow me to record the conversation and dump an MP3 file directly into iTunes—except that it didn’t work.

The overall experience was clouded by a little video box in the corner, in which my twee head, then adorned with spiky, gelled hair, reflected my every awkward move. Jesus, I remember thinking, what an asshole I am. Does Lars von Trier think I’m an asshole? Of course he thinks I’m an asshole! Knowing that he was watching a offensively large version of me in that Lilliputian box made it difficult for me to focus on what he was saying, and so, when it became clear that I’d accidentally recorded literally none of our interview, I was hard-pressed to remember anything he’d said. Since then, I’ve resolved never to make the same mistake twice, except of course that I did—over tea with Glenn O’Brien, another hero of mine.

O’Brien, a writer whose prose is much like his white hair—short and unfussy with wispy flourishes—agreed to meet with me at The Smile to discuss his new book, How to Be A Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior for the Modern Gentleman. I’d come straight from the Waldorf Astoria where I’d spoken with actor Mia Wasikowska, who covered BlackBook in April. (While turning on the recorder for that interview, I recounted in vivid hyperbole the von Trier nightmare.) On the cab ride downtown I checked to make sure the audio recorder had recorded. It did, but it’s also a fickle bitch.

O’Brien, the 59-year-old New York fixture, has been prolific since he began hosting TV Party, a variety show featuring art misfits like Debbie Harry and Klaus Nomi that ran on public access cable TV for four years starting in 1978. He worked at Interview, first under Warhol’s reign and again in 2008, when he was named Editorial Director; he wrote and co-produced Downtown 81, a film starring his late friend Jean Michel Basquiat; he’s GQ’s Style Guy columnist—the magazine also named him one of the top-10 most stylish men in America in 2009; that same fall, he even modeled for menswear designer Adam Kimmel’s lookbook.

When he arrives at the Smile 20 minutes late, dressed in his unfailingly chic garb—a trench coat overtop a crisp shirt and subtly patterned tie, well-tailored but not fashionably-tight trousers—he is neither overly apologetic nor given to breathless histrionics. He simply was, he explains, recording a segment for a German television show, and it ran long. But he is here now and it is time for tea.

There are, of course, no video boxes intruding on our meeting, but there was an overwhelmingly distracting elephant in the room: O’Brien’s new book, which spans topics as vast as sex, patriotism, and sickness, and provides advice meant to distinguish gentlemen from everymen. Even before our first meeting, I’d broken three of these rules while interacting with O’Brien.

The first: “How many times, in an e-mail-volume–addled state, have I downloaded a MIME attachment that turned out to be nothing more than a corporate logo or signature?” he writes in How to Be a Man. “Trust me: attaching a Facebook or Twitter logo to your e-mail will only make me hate you. Attaching a logo to your correspondence is pretentious.” Why, oh why, had I attached our most recent cover to my e-mail? Had he noticed? Scoffed?

The second: “If you have an answering machine, when recording your message resist the temptation to play DJ and provide a musical interlude or try out your stand-up comedy routine. People like me will hate you for wasting seconds of their time,” he says about two things I’m loath to admit I’ve done in the past. “Never say, ‘You have reached [your name here].’ Obviously the caller will be talking to a machine because he has not reached [your name here], and when he does, it will be in the future.” I can’t help but worry that his assistant—who called me to tell me O’Brien was running late, and who I presume to be equally poised—has relayed my voicemail message to her boss. (Looking at him, it’s hard to tell.)

The third: “A dandy isn’t faking it,” he writes in his book’s section on style. And he might be right, although earlier that morning when deciding what to wear, I purposefully chose an outfit that might at least approximate his own. Crazy, of course, but not the first time (or the last) I’d play the interviewer-interviewee reflection game. (I introduced Mark Ronson to my hairstylist and now we both get “The Ronson.”)

All of this is to say that I felt like I was faking it, and I knew after the first minute in O’Brien’s company that his tolerance for bullshit is lower than John Galliano’s tolerance for alcohol. (News had just surfaced that day about the former head designer for Dior’s boozy, anti-Semitic rant, a reveal that somewhat shocked O’Brien.)

Over the course of almost two hours, we talked about everything from Patti Smith (he said something amazing about her once having a sense of humor) to his unceremonious departure from Interview (which was all of the record, anyway), to his home in Connecticut, to the irrelevant frippery of Fashion Week, to Andy Warhol, to the punk scene, to his son. It was dishy and witty and revealing, and, unfortunately, you’ll never read it. So, you know what, Glenn? As far as I’m concerned, the number one rule for how to be a man is this: Turn on the fucking tape recorder.

Buy Glenn O’Brien’s compendium for the urban dandy here.

What’s Behind NYC’s Hottest Restaurant Clientele?

Eater’s‘s recent post, “The 12 New York Restaurants With the Hottest Clientele,” was pretty spot on. I, too, have noticed the overflow of pretties as I patiently tried to nurse my hangover at Peels; I’ve checked out the front table at The Smile; and I’ve unsuccessfully tried to keep my date’s attention at La Esquina. (Which is crazy, because who can even see in that dark cavern?) In any case, there are reasons—good, plausible reasons, I tell ya!—why gorgeous cats congregate at these locales. Check it.

Peels Anything this closely related to anal warts means people are getting it on. Also: people who stick together like some kind of secret society are usually pretty—just ask cheerleaders—and the people who vie for their attention usually have low self-esteem but fancy themselves pretty, too. I mean to reference Adam Platt’s take on the kind of tight-knit crowd that frequents restaurateurs William Tigertt and Taavo Somer’s Freemans and Peels: “And although I never had a really bad dinner at Peels, I never enjoyed anything close to that clubby, clannish sense of occasion that makes Freemans such a unique place to eat,” Platt wrote. Sort of like saying he doesn’t want to hang out with Peels because she’s the Prom queen, right?

Rubirosa Leave it to Angelo Bianchi, former gatekeeper of the Beatrice Inn, to attract his attractive friends and former Bea clientele to his (delish, truly yummy) Nolita pizza spot. Even Eater admits Bianchi is curating Rubirosa’s cool, without actually admitting it: “Think Chloe Sevigny/Paul Sevigny types.” Those “types” happen to be proprieter/proprieter’s sister of the Beatrice Inn.

The Smile Eater says “The real hotties can be found between 1:30pm-3:00pm, Monday-Thursday.” That’s when owners/rugged cowboy babes Matt Kliegman & Carlos Quirarte drop by. Coincidence?

The Lion “In this super-VIP lounge, you might see Gwyneth and Chris, Matthew and Sarah Jessica, and maybe a Ronson or two.” No kidding, Eater. Those special-people types can also afford to pay for their $105 steak. You know who else can? Pretty, young women on the arms of Amex-wielding men. Oh, and trust-funders—who can also pay to pretty up. So, yeah. Also, in the vein of “birds of a feather flock together,” the art that adorns The Lion’s walls comes from the personal collection of this woman: image

Thankfully, Sunglasses Are Not Season-Centric

Even if our climates are drastically different, that doesn’t mean we won’t appropriate LA-based Alex Israel’s shades as our own. Inspired by and named after various highways in LA, the collection features unisex oversized vintage-inspired sunglasses, in a variety of black and white frames with the option of reflective lenses. In the sea of high-priced designer frames, the appropriately titled Freeway line is a refreshing $100 per pair. Getting to California might be somewhat more expensive, though.

Freeway sunglasses are sold online and at various NYC retailers, including Barneys, the Gagosian Shop, and the Smile.

Die-Hard Romantic Matt Costa on his New Album, ‘Mobile Chateau’

You may recognize Matt Costa’s voice from buoyant tunes like the version of “Mr. Pitiful” featured in the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel dick-joke vehicle, I Love You, Man. Or from iPhone 3GS ads. If you were anywhere in the general vicinity of a radio in ’06, you’ll recognize his crooning on the song “Sunshine” from his debut album, Songs We Sing. And if those references don’t rustle up any fond memories, then you’ll just have to start from scratch: the California native’s just-released third album, Mobile Chateau, is out on Brushfire Records this week. We had the opportunity to chat with the songwriter about touring and his bigger-than-life romance at The Smile last week.

How’d you get started on Mobile Chateau, and what have you been up to since the release of your last album, Unfamiliar Faces? I wrote the first song for this record three years ago. It was called “Secret,” and I didn’t put it on the last record because it didn’t define the sound of it. The first songs I wrote specifically for Mobile Chateau are “The Season” and “Witchcraft,” which are the first two singles. They were the catalysts for how I wanted to go about recording and the arranging the rest of the songs. Once I started treating the songs like this, I felt like “Secret” would fit. The last song on the record, “Next Time,” started out like a Buddy Holly-type song, really straightforward, so I decided to deconstruct it and make it a lot slower and groovier. I’ve done that before, and it worked with this one. Once we got this version down, I feel like it suited me and the guys I was playing with more than anything else.

There are two distinct sounds on Mobile Chateau, psychedelic and folk. How’d you bridge those two together? It had a lot to do with listening to British Folk music from the ‘60s, like Fairport Convention. They combine those two styles. There were a bunch of songwriters who came and went from that group: Richard Thompson, Iain Matthews, and Sandy Denny, a female singer. They would do a psychedelic rock song and then do these folk ballads – folk-inspired, dreamy tunes. To me, they went together perfectly because I listen to a lot of that music. It also evens it out a bit, in that your ear can handle something elaborate and then listen to something simpler.

What’s up with the name ‘Mobile Chateau’? I started writing some of the songs when I was in Paris and in a Château near Tours. I forget the actual name of the city I was in, something beautiful-sounding…I was there with my wife and she made a mobile with all these different objects that she had found and hung it in our room in the château. Then I started writing a song about that. I imagined all the songs hanging from this mobile. It was in the middle of the winter, too, so we spent New Years there. It was freezing out and real hazy all around. Inside, we had these warm fires going. There was lots of history in this château, beginning in the late 1600s. Everyday we’d take walks and my wife would find things on the ground. I just felt like all the songs could be hanging from this mobile, and that gave me so much serenity and peace of mind. Then it took on a dual meaning, the mobility of it. You can take all of these songs with you, wherever you go. They’re meant to be taken, and our experience is meant to be shared.

You got married in between your last two albums. How has that changed things for you? We did it on the fly. One day, we just decided we were going to get married, and the next day we did. It was a very romantic way to go about it. My uncle had passed away and I’d started playing with this whole new group of guys, and I started thinking to myself, ‘things are changing all the time, and you never know how long you’re going to be around, and if you really feel something for someone, why not take a stand and do it?’ So we got married. We felt crazy about each other then, and it’s amazing to see how it grows and how we grow as people. A lot of times, people run away from things, and then try to re-invent themselves as new in another strange town or something. It’s good to have someone who is a good barometer for change and that you can experience things with. It’s a helpful way to view the world and get a better perspective on things. I was also adopted, and I’ve talked to other adopted kids who feel the same way, but I never see anyone who looks like me or physically resembles me. I’m always searching for that in other things. It’s ultimately nice to have a team and never be alone. That’s why I create songs, because when I do that, it’s a 100% representation of who I am.

On your last tour, you opened for Ryan Adams and The Cardinals and Oasis. On this tour, the band Threes and Nines are opening for you. Are you psyched? I’ve done my own stuff before, but I always try to keep working with people I’m generally inspired by or who are from the same area where I’m from. I like to support the local scene where I live. There’s a lot of good music from there and bands that I like and that I’m friends with. Before we toured with The Delta Spirit, from Long Beach, I worked with Elvis Perkins.

Where would you live besides California? Every time I visit some place, I wish I could live there. I’d like to live in New York, but after a couple of months, I know I’d wish I could be back in California and have some open space. I’d like to live in Mexico City, or somewhere around there. I’d like to get a heavy dose of that culture, because it created so much of what California is. I like going into Texas and the South. In California, you don’t get many thunderstorms. I lived in Central Florida for a while, just south of Orlando, and you get thunderstorms every day. I like them for the sentimental reasons. You have no obligations for the day, and you can just hang out inside and relax when it’s raining.

What’s one of your best touring stories? I was down in Australia recently to do Blues Fest and my folks came down because they wanted to see Dr. John, who was also playing this festival. As we’re getting on the plane to go to the show, I see Dr. John waiting to get on our plane. I have this old box that I carry my harmonicas in, and I’m sitting there for about twenty minutes and Dr. John walks up to me all slow with his cane and his medicine bag and his feathers hanging off of it. We start talking, and he goes, “What you got in that box?” And I said, “I got harmonicas in there.” And he was like, “Well what do you do?” And I was like, “I write songs and perform them.” And he was like, “You write songs, huh? That’s where the money’s at. From my experience, you can play ‘em, but you gotta write ‘em.” Then he gave me a handshake, sealed the deal. He gave me a little bit of knowledge, and now I have confidence in what we’re doing. I never washed my hand again. I call it my ‘Mojo Hand.’

Fashion’s Night Out To-Do List: Bowery Bonding

While you’re bopping about town on Fashion’s Night Out, stimulating the economy and whatnot with your cab fares and fancy purchases, designers and friends including ROGAN, OAK, The Smile, and Archetype Showroom will be trying to lure you to their neck of the woods. Together with other local favorites, the group’s pooling their talents to present the first annual Black Carnival on Fashion’s Night Out from 6PM-11PM. Bond Street between Bowery & Lafayette will be roped off in street-fair fashion—funnel cakes replaced by luxe sushi, street meat by high fashion—to celebrate the dark (and humorous) side of fashion with black tents, live music, local cocktails, and unchecked revelry. No man is an island, and neither are retail brands, which is why these Noho favorites have joined forces. Our favorite destinations in the nabe after the jump.

ROGAN: The Bowery mainstay will be hosting a Blackout photo session in which revelers can have their photo taken in the style of the FW10 ROGAN blackout video. They will be showcasing their ROGAN vs LOVE special collaboration with precious lockets available only on Fashion’s Night Out.

OAK: Carnival attendees will receive a special discounted price on the coveted OAK French Military Jacket. It will be available for purchase for $90 (regularly $154). How come? They’ll be hosting fun decorative booths in which you can customize the jacket with biker and punk-inspired patches to create a unique, one‐of‐a‐kind piece. They’ll also be doling out temporary tattoos.

The Smile: A favorite of the downtown set (and the site of every party below 14th Street lately, it seems), the resto will be offering delicious bites prepared by Executive Chef Melia Marden.

Factory by Erik Hart: With any Factory By Erik Hart purchase, receive a limited edition signed copy of Erik Hart’s Zine. They’ll also be filming. You. In your very own art film.

LNA: Another downtown fave, you’ll be able to create your own shredded tee, tank, or legging with LNA designers and founders Lauren Alexander and April Leight.

Kai Aakmann: Participate in Kai Aakmann’s “Style Intersection” and personally style male and female models. A winning prize of a $500 gift certificate is up for grabs.

Surface to Air: Create your own charm necklace, choosing from various chains, charms, and pendants. Here’s a tip: get your hands on the customizable (and ever‐popular) Surface to Air 2 and 3‐finger rings, marking them with your initials.

• Hester Street Fair: The Big Social, the team behind the Hester Street Fair, will be curating the food at the Black Carnival. Vendors include: Luke’s Lobster Nijiya Melt Bakery Sigmund Pretzels Macaroon Parlor

BONDST: The famed restaurant will have sushi chefs making hand‐rolls on demand and frying up spicy crispy shrimp.

CHRISTINEATS: Confectioner Christine will be on hand with special caramels and Prohibition Truffles for the adults.

Vita Coco: Delicious, refreshing, and hydrating – a healthy option to keep you going all night.

Industry Insiders: Todd Selby, Inside Man

Fashion and interiors photographer Todd Selby never dreamed he’d spend his days behind a lens, much less shooting inside the homes of creative icons like Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Louboutin. He grew up in the suburbs and worked a bevy of eclectic jobs—Tijuana tour guide, exotic flower wholesaler, and Japanese clothing designer to name a few—never having considered or even heard of a career as a photographer. All that change when Selby moved to New York and began working at Details in 2001. Selby began taking photos of his friends and their homes, developing his own portfolio in his spare time. These pictures—intimate glimpses into the lust-worthy (and often cluttered) spaces of artistic personalities—soon became the buzz of the design community by way of Selby’s photoblog, The Selby.com. We sat down with fashion’s favorite voyeur to talk Selby beginnings, dream subjects, and his new book, The Selby in Your Place. Details after the jump.

On what brought him to photography: I’ve enjoyed it since I was a kid. I used to do it a lot when I was growing up when my family would travel. I didn’t know about being a photographer. I knew about National Geographic and the person who did school portraits, but I never knew that an editorial or advertising photographer existed. After I moved to New York City, I got involved with different design stuff and learned photography. I worked for a magazine and I thought I wanted to work at a magazine. Then, I realized that photographers had the most fun. That’s kind of the coolest job.

On the beginning of The Selby: On the weekends, I started developing my portfolio, taking pictures of my friends and their homes. Some of the same people that I shot for beginning The Selby were the same people who I shot for my portfolio in 2001.

How The Selby went from personal project to what it is today: I worked for a long time in media work and in London doing portraiture. For magazines I would do a portrait of a band, do a picture of an author in their home, do some celebrity portraiture—I tended to shoot people in their spaces. I just thought it was a lot more interesting than just shooting someone in the studio in a space that had nothing really to do with that person. Then, I wanted to do a personal project based on my interests. So, I just started out doing The Selby as something for myself. I thought it would be kind of cool and fun.

On his blog becoming popular: In the beginning, nobody looked at it. It was just me and my friends. By word of mouth, they’d send it to their friends. Then, other blogs talked about it. It just started getting really, really popular. As it became more and more popular, people started e-mailing me and sending pictures of their places.

His first subjects: I’ve been excited by a lot of the people I’ve photographed, to be honest. Especially in the beginning, when I was just starting out and people were just like, “Yeah. It’s cool. Come.” In the beginning, it was just me and my friends. I’d say, “I’m doing this project. As a favor to me, just let me do this thing.” Then, people started being down with it and excited about doing it and that was really exciting to me.

On the 9-5: I don’t miss any of that stuff. I feel like it’s fun and good and healthy for people to do a lot of different stuff and try things out. I think that I did that and it was really fun. I think my job right now is really amazing. I get to travel. I get to meet really interesting people, go to their house, find out all about them. It’s intellectually stimulating for sure. It’s really fun and artistic and creative. It’s pretty awesome.

The most lust-worthy space he’s photographed. I’m not a very jealous or envious person. I just go in. I’m happy with my own place and my own things. I approach it more as an interest in how other people live. I feel like the Neistat Brothers who are in the book have a really cool office space. I think I was the most inspired by their workspace. In my space, I have all these hard drives and cords that drive me really crazy, but they actually took all the cords and tapes and everything and made it into a cool display.

Dream subjects: I’d really like to shoot the Obama family in the White House. I’d like to shoot the astronauts living in the international space station. I really want to shoot Ralph Lauren and Bruce Weber. I think he’d be really interesting. Those are my top picks.

If time and space weren’t an issue… I’d like to shoot me and my family when I was a kid.

On his new book: I’ve worked on it for so long. Most of the shoots in the book have never been published before. I put a lot of love into that thing. I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s not just my website in a book form. I think it really adds a lot to the whole thing.

Upcoming projects: I do a fair amount of advertising. I shoot for Vogue Paris. It’s a style and home kind of thing. I did my first shoot for American Vogue recently, which was really cool. I do a lot of cool editorial and I just always try to keep working on my own website and doing a new post every week.

Go-to spots: The Smile for dinner. You know The Smile on Bond Street? And, Il Buco for lunch, also on Bond Street. I go to Saltie on Metropolitan in Williamsburg. I was just there today. I love the Jane. Now that it’s reopened that’s exciting for me.

Image by William Gentle.