Nightclub Panel Sets The Standard

Le Bain at the Top of the Standard

On Tuesday night I headed over to the Standard Hotel, the one by the High Line not the East Village newbie. It doesn’t take much to get me to the Standards as I just think they are grand hotels, fabulous playgrounds. I’ve done just about everything I ever do there at one time or another. This time I was there to catch The Standard Talks hosted by Sunny Bates at Le Bain. It was a club kids roundtable with Ladyfag, Anita Sarko, David Rabin, and Bruce Tatum. It was a lively discussion with each of the panelists giving intelligent and witty responses, especially as the booze was… accumulated. Sunny Bates is marvelous.

Ladyfag was funny, well informed, enlightening, and often brutal as a stray dumb question was offered up. I am counting the hours until her 11:11 party at Openhouse (244 East Houston Street), this and every Friday. Ladyfag’s vision of what makes a great party is shared by me and the panel as a whole.

Anita Sarko was brilliant in her firm demand to keep the creativity in the party. Her uncompromising DJ offerings have held the night for decades. She was a mainstay at legendary spots like Area, Danceteria, Mudd Club, and Palladium. At one point she was among the top five DJs in this town, and you didn’t have to say “women DJs”. Anita hosts Sarko Taylor Bar, a weekly radio show on SiriusXM.

David Rabin while inventing Lotus with his partners defined The Meatpacking District. Lotus was the forerunner of all that goes bump in the night now for the well-heeled bottle set. He was the president of the New York Nightlife Association, owned a bunch of other places, and on Friday I will visit his Bar Nana and/or Skylark Lounge.

Bruce Tatum, until a moment ago, was the nightlife editor of Time Out NY. He has DJed at Max’s Kansas City, Limelight, Centro-Fly, and Studio 54. His insights into the evolving music scene anchored the panel.

I came away from it amazed, as I didn’t disagree at any time with what was being said. I picked up quite a few things. The balance of creativity with making money was what I believe people took away from it. I can’t wait for the next session. As we were leaving Anita, was DJing tracks that I didn’t recognize but needed to hear.

I must mention the Red Bull Music Academy with its events plastered all over the walls of the hipper subway platforms. The lineup is incredible and is in form tonight with Bounce Ballroom at the Brooklyn Bazaar (165 Banker Street) starting at 8 p.m. On the bill are DJs Bobby Konders, DJ MikeQ, and MC Kevin JZ Prodigy, Todd Terry, DJ Sliink and Mike Gip, Brian Coxx, and more. This Redbull thing is a month of fun and I strongly suggest a serious look.

The BlackList: Weekly Events Dec. 2-8

Gallery hopping, film screening, concert-going, and partying: like always, we have what’s coming up, and this week, we’re going to Miami.

Monday, December 2

London: Marc Jacobs celebrates Kate Moss’ Playboy cover and the magazine’s 60th anniversary at the London store, 24-25 Mount Street, at 3 p.m.

Art Drive-Thru/Miami: Today through December 8, colette Paris heads to Miami with Alchemist, setting up an old school drive through (girls on roller skates and all) on level 5 of Herzog & Meuron’s parking structure. Order up a signed and numbered print , a beach towel, or a Rolex. Just don’t expect dollar menu pricing.

Paper Dreams/Miami: The Standard commissioned Luis Pons, a Miami designer, to float a paper and bamboo boat off the spa’s Lido Dock, offering some much needed calm for fair-goers. The smooth sailing installation pushes off with a cocktail reception from 5-7 p.m., remaining open through December 8.

Tuesday, December 3

Curiouser and curiouser/NYC: Maison Kitsuné hosts Le Cabinet de Curiosités of Thomas Erber at The Avant/Garde Diaries Project Space. The event’s fourth installment showcases California brand Parabellum, and touches down in NYC after making its way from colette in Paris, Brown’s in London, and Andreas Murkudis in Berlin. After this evening’s RSVP-only cocktails to celebrate the launch, the exhibition will be open at 372 Broome St. and Kitsune (1170 Broadway) through December 23, from 12:00 – 8:30 p.m.

NYC: BAM hosts Bodycast, a theatricalization of the “artist talk” with artist Suzanne Bocanegra and actor Fances McDormand, through December 7. Tickets $20

Wednesday, December 4

Sample sale/London: A sample sale worth the airfare – Nicholas Kirkwood will be 75% off today and tomorrow at 26 South Molton Lane, London.

Invite only/Miami: MoMA’s Chief Curator at Large and MoMA PS1’s Director Klaus Biesenbach is honored tonight by MEDIUM with the Curatorial Excellence Award. 7 – 9 p.m., The Standard Spa, Miami Beach.

BlackBook at Art Basel/Miami: BlackBook is excited to co-host our Art Basel event with LACMA and React to Film at the Delano, Miami Beach. There’ll be cocktails and a showing of three artist films celebrating the work of David Hockney, John Baldessari, and Ed Ruschka.

After the party it’s the after party/Miami: Interview and OHWOW get their party on to celebrate Art Basel Miami Beach on the rooftop of the Boulan, 2000 Collins Ave. RSVP

Sing it/Miami: André Sariava brings The Standard East’s karaoke club to The Rec Room at The Gale in Miami, 1685 Collins Ave. Open through December 7, from 11 p.m. until late early morning.

NYC: Women in Music will host a celebration (of what other than women in music) at Le Poisson Rouge with DJs Jackie Smiley, Cherie Lily, and Shannonigans. 7 p.m. Tickets $10

NYC: Nitehawk Cinema hosts a one night only screening of a newly restored Sidewalk Stories, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15

NYC: Ozu and His Afterlives begins at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, showing films influenced by and of Yasujiro Ozu. Screenings through December 12.

NYC: Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre company premieres Chroma, with choreography by Wayne McGregor, and sounds of orchestrations of The White Stripes. Performances begin today through January 2.

Thursday: December 5

Shopping break/Miami: SUNO celebrates the launch of their line for Miami’s prime shopping destination The Webster, 1220 Collins Avenue, from 3-5 p.m. RSVP to

Invite only/Miami: Spike Jonze celebrates HER with a private dinner at The Standard, Miami Beach. 9:30 p.m.

NYC: To celebrate the anniversary of the end of prohibition, The Village Voice hosts a holiday spirits tasting event from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Studio Square, 35-44 37th Street in Long Island City. Tickets from $50

Friday, December 6

Boozy brunch/invite only/Miami: Creative Time throws their second annual champagne brunch from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at The Standard Miami Beach.

Confessional/Miami: Glenn O’Brien celebrates the release of Penance, his latest book, with a live confessional at The Newsstand at The Standard Spa, Miami. From 5-7 p.m.

Win, Lose, or Draw/Miami: Let Ryan McGinness teach you how to draw. On the heels of his new sketchbook, the artist is hosting a drawing class at the Lido Lounge at the Standard Miami Beach.

Saturday, December 7

NYC: Nitehawk Cinema gets its Old West brunch on with an 11:30 a.m. screening of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, introduced with a live performance by Julie Christie and Warren Beatty. Tickets $16

NYC: Hop over to Milk Gallery for a book signing of Richard Corman’s Madonna from 4-6 p.m. 450 West 15th Street. RSVP here.

Sunday, December 8

NYC: The Museum of the Moving Image hosts a screening of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with an introduction by the book’s author Ron Hansen. 7 p.m. Tickets $15

WeSC & The Standard Hotels Design a Capsule Collection

WeSC (We are the Superlative Conspiracy) is a Swedish clothing brand known for bringing international cool to the streetwear culture. They’re also major supporters of all creative fields, and work with both emerging and established culture game-changers to create their distinct community of WeActivists. Now, the brand has kicked their collaborative efforts up a notch by teaming up with The Standard Hotels in New York, Miami, Hollywood, and Downtown LA on a slick accessory range.

The WeSC x The Standard is a five-piece collection of accessories—travel wallet, passport holder, wallet, luggage tag, and iPhone case—in distinct colors that match each Standard hotel’s identity, like the black set for The Standard New York, above. 

The capsule also includes WeSC x The Standard retro-style headphones. To celebrate the collaboration, five artists of the Superlative Conspiracy have created unique short films that represent each hotel. Watch the films here and shop the collection here.

Not Your Standard Residency

The United States government is not the most lavish granter of cash for struggling artists, and if you didn’t make the MacArthur Genius Grant cut this year, it can all start to feel pretty hopeless. Thankfully, the Paris Review and the Standard Hotel have joined forces to offer a brand new residency program for novelists and poets, which includes a three-week stay in the hipster hotel’s East Village location.    “Every applicant does have to explain why the residency might be useful,” Paris Review editor Lorin Stein told BlackBook. “That might give some out-of-towners an edge, but you never know. I can think of reasons a New York writer might need a place to escape. E.B. White wrote Here Is New York in a hotel room.”

This ‘Writer-in-Residence’ program is a welcome change of path from the traditional residency model, in which writers and artists spend months in the woods, drinking too much and having indiscriminate sexual intercourse with each other. (See Jonathan Ames’s Wake Up, Sir! for more on this.) The only caveats: Writers applying for the residency must already have a book under contract. There’s no smoking in the room. You likely can’t bring along your trusty animal companions. And, per the rules, “It is expected that the writer will stay alone, within reason.” What does that mean, exactly? “We chose the word ‘reasonable’ for a reason—but really, this is a question for the management,” Stein says. (Clearly, the fear is that the writer will turn their residence into an opportunity for drug-fueled orgies; let’s hope Cat Marnell isn’t applying. Prospective applicants can find out more at the Paris Review’s website.

Reflections on 9/11 and How It Changed NYC Nightlife

The attack on the World Trade Center still seems fresh to me. So many horrible moments from that day haunt me. Among the horrendous losses was a loss of innocence. We have never felt secure in our homes or maybe even our skins since. It’s been a dozen years, a bunch of wars and even the killing of Osama Bin Laden has not brought closure.

The club world was changed forever as well. The way people went out, how they interacted with each other (and others unlike themselves) changed and can be linked directly to the post 9/11 psyche. I have referred to this as "SIN" (safety in numbers).

Prior to 9/11, I was involved with the programming and operations of nightclubs. A successful club was defined by diverse crowds and progressive music. Post-9/11 club crowds became more specialized, more segregated as white people tended to party with white people, blacks with blacks, rich with rich. Like-minded crowds embraced mixed format music laced heavily with familiar sounds, pop music and radio tracks or electronic dance music (EDM)—an escapist trance-like stream of unconsciousness.

For the most part, clubs got smaller to handle crowds with specialized tastes, a clientele that wanted to hang with familiar faces. Bottle service—which had begun in earnest in the late 1990s—became a way of life as groups of people paid for real estate that was theirs until the credit ran out or the closing bell rang.

The top clubs prior to 9/11 were places where fashion trends broke and new ideas were exchanged. Creative people were VIPs. These types were banished to clubs where they would mostly hang with folks like themselves. Super trendy parties had few yuppie types or straight-laced patrons visiting. These parties filled with only the fabulous lost the revenue streams these voyeurs provided.

The fabulous folks gathered on Sundays or Tuesdays or on other off nights in off clubs. Saturday nights at the important clubs no longer featured drag queens prancing on bars or dance platforms. It wasn’t cool anymore. It was too different…foreign for the new mindset. The bottle service era which dominated New York City nightlife for the decade after the attack became a worldwide phenomenon.

Bottle service isn’t about the high-end vodka or Champagne. You can get the same swill anywhere for a lot cheaper than it costs in hot spots. Bottle service is about a booth which few ever sit in. It’s a territory where the credit card holder is king. It insulates that king and his minions from anything unfamiliar. Now we are in a golden age of clubs. The rise of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, ghettos of love and trendiness that took the creative types across the moat of the East River. The forward thinkers are now there.

A time traveler from the 1980s would look at Manhattan nightlife and scowl. Sure there are small pockets of wonderful but there are mostly lines of bridge-and-tunnel types and far less "pick-and-choose" from snooty doorpersons. The Box, with all its faults, stands firm in fabulousness. The Standard rises above the standard.

Susanne Bartsch is still doing it and doing it well across the decades. Tonight, she will celebrate Fashion Week at the forward-thinking McKittrick Hotel. Natalia Kills will perform. Everyone who is amazing will attend, everyone who attends will be amazing. There are no great clubs—at least as I define them-post-9/11. But there are great parties and events every night somewhere nearby.

Tonight, I’m staying home to reflect. For me it’s still too soon.


image: USAF photo by Denise Gould

Industry Insiders: Meet Chris Hessney, EMM Group’s VIP Manager

Celebrity sightings are just a day in the life for Chris Hessney, the VIP Manager for EMM Group and their property CATCH, one of New York’s most exclusive seafood spots. “Since CATCH is a major destination, there’s a good chance you’ll spot a celebrity or ten dining at a table near you, a model, or a business executive of a company you’re a fan of.”

But more than the sightings, it’s the little moments that keep Hessney psyched about working at the Meatpacking District restaurant. “I love watching guests’ over-the-top reactions when we set the crispy whole snapper or the Cantonese lobster on their table,” he says. “Our one-year anniversary brought in over 800 groups of guests on a Monday night, which was an absolute blast.”

Top-notch New York food and hospitality has been the mainstay of Hessney’s career, where he was maitre’d at Morimoto, and manager of The Standard Grill. And it was at The Standard in 2008 where he first met EMM co-founders Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum. “EMM was the perfect next step for me,” Hessney says. “With them, the sky’s the limit.”

Find out CATCH chef Hung Huynh’s favorite app here.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter.

Lindsay Lohan Bans Herself From The Standard

After getting into a fight with another woman in the nightclub of the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles–the second one in as many weeks–Lindsay Lohan is reportedly banning herself from ever going there again.

According to TMZ, Lohan has been telling friends she’s banned herself from the Standard, calling the hotel a "curse" that causes her "nothing but heartache." More details:

We’re told Lindsay is fully aware she’s now a big fat target … knowing full well there are people who want either quick publicity, some easy money or both — but she vows not to become a shut-in out of fear.

As for Wednesday’s drink-throwing debacle — Lindsay admits she was at The Standard’s nightclub Smoke and Mirrors … but insists the other girl was the instigator.

Yes, because it’s the hotel–and not the habitually immature and reckless alcoholic/drug addcit inhabiting it–that has a problem. Riiiight.

As far as her social life is concerned, fear not for Lohan–she’s already "on the hunt for a hip new place to spend her time."

How about rehab?

DJing at Le Bain’s ‘My Favorite Party’

Tonight I will DJ at “My Favorite Party” largely because my favorite DJ, entrepreneur, restaurateur, and favorite person Paul Sevigny has asked me to. He’s telling me to think outside of the box. I haven’t thought inside the box since Reagan was president…and even then the box contained a pipe, some combustibles and keys to my Rickie Stickie Tickied Volkswagen Camper. These Wednesday night shindigs at Le Bain started a couple weeks ago but now they’ve added early acoustic sets.

The Standard has its act together, so the bookings at Le Bain are eclectic and relevant and are as close as anyone is going to get to the perfect past. If I had the time, I would go every night. However, Wednesdays it will be.

Tonight’s acoustic set features ex-Moldy Peaches member and now solo artist, Adam Green, whose hit “Anyone Else But You” made it’s mark in the flick Juno. These live shows are being called the “Havaianas Summer Wednesdays Series,” and Paul tells me they represent the tip of the iceberg. Come October, he will be hitting up friends like David Johansen, Kool Herc, Maripol, Fab Five Freddy, Lizzie Truly and a list of other unconfirmed etceteras to chime in. He and his team will create an atmosphere that will attract the right “artists to want to participate.” He excitedly asked me as I was blinking off last night, “What place in the whole world can you listen to rock and blues with better views?” He continued, “This is a kick back kind of thing tonight but we’re going to get uptight come November. I mean it’s Summertime, we are in America…people can come look at the Statue of Liberty and listen to old time rock ‘n roll.” I asked him what I should be playing and he told me “anything cool from the last half of the last century to today.” I can do that. I was around when those records came out.

The party is called MyFavoriteParty because it will be. Paul is no longer involved with his long-running Tuesday night at Avenue and is now putting his efforts here. I’m going on at 9pm and will be followed by Alexandra Richards, Jamie Biden, Prince Peter and Paul. The Standard’s Sebastian Puga told me that they’ll be giving away free flip flops, which I assume will help with the chill tone. And for the record, as a DJ, the only requests I take are ones like “Can you hold on to my flip flops while I jump off the roof?” The answer will always be yes to this one and no to anything else.

On June 24, an article appeared in the Financial Times, that London thing, with my byline on it. It tells everyone my 5 choices for best rooftops in New York. The Standard is listed as one of them. Often I contribute a great deal to articles in other publications and get zero credit. In this case, I was interviewed at length for the piece, though I did not write it but received credit for writing it. I’m not complaining, just disclosing and there are only a couple of things in the article that aren’t exactly perfectly correct. That’s because my editors weren’t asked to help out. All in all it’s a good read.

Inside Closet Visit, Jeana Sohn’s Homage to LA Style

Where street style ends, Jeana Sohn’s website begins. Closet Visit takes voyeurism to the next level, displaying some of Los Angeles’ most stylish ladies—Shiva Rose, Clare Vivier, and Jesse Kamm among them—from the point of view of their closets.

On an unusually hot day in L.A., I met the Sohn at her favorite Silver Lake coffee spot Lamill, to discuss style in her adopted hometown. Los Angeles is a city often-maligned for its style—Ed Hardy, anyone?—and Sohn had two goals when she began the site almost nine months ago: First, to have fun, and second, to prove that there was genuine style in the City of Angels. “Everyone thinks L.A. style is tacky, but we do have really good style in L.A.,” Sohn says.

Last year, everything in Jeana Sohn’s life boiled over. Having lived in Los Angeles for almost a decade—in her previous life she was a graphic designer in Seoul—she began to question her career path. She finally decided, “to try everything I wanted to try.” Spurred on by her husband’s gift of a Canon 7D, she asked her close friend and gallerist Heather Taylor to be what would become the first Closet Visit.

Closet Visit began without a roadmap, but Sohn had an inkling the site would resonate with readers: “In the back of my head I knew people would like it—I mean who wouldn’t like it? It’s someone’s closet,” she says with a laugh. Taylor agrees: “When she described what she was thinking about doing, I instantly knew she had struck gold.” Her artfully light photos of lithe girls in Victorian dresses and closets filled with enviable labels, have struck a chord with those who use the internet as a sort of aspirational style guide. Joanna Williams, a Closet Visit participant, explains Sohn’s appeal as such: “I love that it’s not about ‘fashion’ so much, but more about style, which I think always prevails.” Filmmaker Claire Cottrell, also a Closet Visit girl agrees, saying, “I know that Jeana thinks as much about each woman’s creative personality as she does their fashion sense. Her ‘stories’ are as much about unique women as they are about fashion.” Now her cup—and inbox—are full, run amok with demands to be the next Closet Visit girl. Some even go so far as to send video tours of their own closets. Whether she knows it or not, Closet Visit is like a club, with Sohn as its president. She shies away from propositioning people on the street, rather working from recommendations by previous Closet Visits or friends. Her reason being, “If someone says, ‘I want to take a picture of you, or I want to see your closet,’ It’s kind of creepy,” Sohn says. image Inside Clare Vivier’s closet.

Unlike your average street style photograph, which captures a single moment, Closet Visit presents an entire sartorial biography. As you venture from closet to closet, with each click of the mouse, you see the Closet Visit girl reveal herself. She typically possesses a career in an artistic field: Whether it be as a designer (Alicia Lawhon, Kathryn Bentley, Melissa Coker), photographer (Pietsie Campbell, Stella Berkofsky), or even a granola maker (Lauren Soloff); She lives in a sun-filled home, most likely in the Mount Washington or Silver Lake area; Each closet is artfully curated from years of shopping, and is a mix of known brands, local designers, and vintage finds. “I think Jeana has an eye for true personal style and her subjects are always interesting, because they seem to incorporate both high end, vintage, and street style in a truly interesting way,” says Williams. Indeed, there is an interplay between the ladies featured, and the labels in their closet. The second Closet Visit was with handbag designer Clare Vivier, whose work is a staple in almost all the CV girls’ closets. The day I met with Jeana, she was in full CV-approved regalia: An outfit by Momo Suzuki, matched with Katherine Ventl’s jewelry, and topped off with a Clare Vivier bag.

As the site continues to find an audience, Sohn has her eye on other CV ventures, like fashion films. In April she debuted the first Closet Visit film, Stella, which premiered simultaneously at a screening at The Standard and on her site. Serving as director, Cottrell says her collaboration with Sohn happened by chance. “I stumbled on Jeana’s blog and I was obsessed instantly,” she says. “I emailed her, asking if she’d ever thought of doing a film to compliment her photography. She said yes, and we met for coffee and shot Stella two weeks later.”

Like Cottrell, its star, Stella Berkofsky is also a Closet Visit alum. The films (a second one has been shot, and a third is in the works) are “meant to capture the essence of a Closet Visit star.” Each film acts as a personification of a CV girl. Stella is all about “vintage,” shot with Sohn’s trusty Cannon 7D camera. The second film features Matilde Riccardi in Karen Walker, and is a more “girly, romantic, and magical” piece.

While Sohn still considers Closet Visit a hobby—“I have a job, and that’s painting”—her calendar is rapidly filling up with photography jobs for lookbooks. While she’s open to shooting more lookbooks, Sohn is dedicated to Closet Visit and hopes to one day publish a book. Back at Lamill, she comments that my outfit is “very New York,” and shooting Closet Visits in other cities is something that is very much on Sohn’s mind. “I want to see what New York is about,” she tells me. My feeling is she’ll fit right in.

Top photo via Jeana Sohn’s Flickr.