Tonight: DJing At BlackBook’s Party At Toy

Before I scoot over to Toy to DJ at the BlackBook Fashion Week soiree, I will scoot over to the Secret Society book’s event at Soho boutique treasure & bond, 350 W. Broadway. My friend, mentor, and owner of my DJ management agency 4AM – Jonny "The Lover" Lennon – will be spinning at this soiree. The hosts are myself Nur Khan, Serge Becker, Simonez Wolf, and Christian Alexander. That’s good company, and I’m honored to be there. It’s a book signing event.

Here’s the official info on treasure & bond:
"Every purchase we ring up generates change – 100 percent of all our after-cost profits go directly to the programs that benefit people in need, right here in our own community. Located at the intersection of retail and philanthropy, Nordstrom-owned treasure & bond is more than just a store; it’s an exciting concept that has one simple goal: to help people help people, with wit, imagination, and style."

The tome, Secret Society: Modern Speakeasy Style and Design, was put together by Patrice Farameh of Farameh Media, a NY-based publishing house with the help of nightlife guru Christian Alexander. It takes you to the "world’s hottest speakeasy destinations…showcasing dozens and dozens of undercover clubs, and drawing you into this world of secrecy and exclusivity."

I went to Wikipedia for the source of the term "speakeasy:"

"They were so called because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors."

See? I write, I DJ, I design, and I educate you. See you somewhere tonight.

Toy’s Grand Opening, ‘All Night Rong’ At Santos’ Party House

I didn’t sleep yesterday. I was awake at 7am having crashed at 3am Wednesday night. Thursday I had design meetings, marketing meetings, I wrote, and I dj’d a 7 hour gig at Hotel Chantelle. I found myself once again at the Olympic Diner where I said yes to the waitrons query "You want the usual?" I was too tired for an adventure so the usual was, as usual, wonderful. I awoke this morning at 11 am and feel great, I think.

I have too much to do so I’m keeping this short and sweet. Every so often I tell you to do something because I think it will answer some of your questions and put a smile, or at least a satisfied smirk, on your face. Tonight absolutely go to Santos’ Party House (96 Lafayette Street) for the launch of "All Night Rong". I love that name. Tonight they open with Dj Harvey., There will be installations and collaborations and it will be wonderful. For all you fools who cry and lament and complain about the state of the nightlife just shut the f@*%X& up and have some fun … if you remember how.
 
On a completely different tip the Koch Brothers Daniel and Derek and the wonderous Tony Theodore are officially opening Toy in the Ganesvoort Meatpacking. I will go here first and then scoot to that downtown hipster scene at Santos. I love Toy, which has been previewing in the late summer and Fashion Week. It is a welcome addition to the Meatpacking. I loved the Koch bros MPD incarnation before it went poof through no fault of theirs. These guys are gentlemen and I will pay my respects.

Happy Thanksgiving: All That I Am Thankful For

Today there isn’t much to say. Be careful out there. Some people go overboard during this season and there are too many people who drink and drive. Take the keys away from tipsy friends and do what you can to alert others to the dark clouds lurking amid all our silver linings. Be thankful for what you have and be aware of those around you who may need a boost. Sometimes a phone call can make a big difference. Be aware of those around you who are far away from home or are alone for other reasons. This time of year can be the loneliest for many. Be a good neighbor, a good friend, a good mate. Watch what you eat, and I’m not saying look at your food as you gorge yourself. Stay healthy. 

I have many problems, but these are far outweighed by the things I have to be thankful for.

I thank you for reading me.

I thank my editors who do their best to make me sound coherent, and temper me when my temper gets in the way of my higher brain functions.

I thank the tone-deaf operators who let me DJ at their joints.

I thank the operators who entrust me to build them their better mousetraps.

I thank Amanda for her…understanding.

I thank the Lord for the gift of family.

Tomorrow I will dine with my 90-year-old father and my 83-year-old mom. They have been together for 63 years and are a joy to behold. Dinner will be a blast. My brother and his wife will be there with Amanda and I, and we will bring a perfect stranger: Jillian Lee. She is an aerialist at Toy, a contortionist and dancer, and does hosting and other jobs at Hotel Chantelle. She is a Florida gal chasing her dreams in the city that still goes to bed real late. These days, NY definitely sleeps and it occasionally takes naps. 

I am thankful for all the talented people who gather in this city of ours and push to the edge. Clubs are still my choice of entertainment. Every so often I find myself in the very right room at the very right time. I love the music, the designs, and the people who are prancing around at 3am. I love the sexuality, the mysteries, the adventures of the night. I came into the world at 5am nearly six decades ago and I hope I go out at a similar time whenever my time comes.

I’m thankful for my experience in nightlife. I have rarely been bored. Even when I find myself in a place that is obviously not happening, the analysis of why it is not happening interests me to no end.

Thanks for listening to my rants today.

Thanks for being here for me.

Why I Couldn’t Wake Up This Morning

I didn’t wake up early. I didn’t do anything I was supposed to do this morning. I let the alarm ring on and on until I smashed it. I didn’t bother with that snooze button. I think all publicists should have a schmooze button that I could push hard and they would shut the F*#& up. I didn’t go there, did I? I had Cheetos and Diet Sunkist for breakfast and didn’t feel like a champion. I didn’t win at Bingo last night. I didn’t cash that check I’ve been sitting on, damn. But at least I didn’t suck DJing at TOY last night, even though I think they thought I would. One lovely woman came up to the booth and told me "You’re killing it, they love you!" At my age I want beautiful women to lie to me. Well anyway, I played my rock and roll and it was a great party. There were beautiful people everywhere and everyone was dressed up and drinking and dancing. I’m going to come back and they don’t even have to pay me as long as they get beautiful tall things with perfectlocks and smiles to lie to me again. I didn’t want to leave but I didn’t want to disappoint elsewhere.

I didn’t go to Adam Ant’s concert this weekend. I had at least three good questions for him, but alas, they wouldn’t let me interview him, so I didn’t. I’ve interviewed some big stars and a guy on a comeback might have cooperated… but he didn’t. Geez, I interviewed Jamie Foxx last week and he’s almost as big a star as Mr. Ant, isn’t he? I didn’t go there…did I? They wouldn’t let my photog. Lela Edgar have access and I didn’t feel it. As far as I was concerned, Adam Ant is a photo op, period. I remember back in the day when he was the high-cheekboned wonder boy with smash hits and pirate costumes. He played some pier and came up the river in a pirate ship. What an entrance. But then he exited the good life, the music, the scene, and now he’s an aging pop star popping back up. Maybe I should have believed the hype or gone for nostalgic reasons, but I just didn’t. I don’t play any of his smash hits in my set. Maybe I should. I’m going to buy them on iTunes right after I return from the store with a new alarm clock. With that, I can tell what time it is while I consider what decade or era this is. I read the reviews of other Adam Ant shows in England and Florida and such and they were mixed, mostly discussing what he looked like and how he acted. I went to a dive bar, watched a game, and wondered who was on the Yankees when Adam last played. I could have looked it up on my very smartphone…but I didn’t.

I didn’t want to write today but they have given me this new button so I’m easy to find again and I didn’t want to disappoint. If I ever do, it’s perfectly OK for you to lie to me. I didn’t want to say no to a pitch to write about this charity event from Wall Street Rocks. It’s the 9th Annual Hedge Fund Roctoberfest this Thursday, October 11th from 7pm to 11pm at 583 Park Ave. It benefits ALTSO, A Leg To Stand On. That’s a children’s charity that supports children with limb disabilities. Special guest musician and Wall Street Rocks Ambassador David Hudson, who is Katy Perry’s brother, will perform live on stage at the benefit concert. These same Wall Street Rock folks are hosting a Wall Street Rocks Battle of The Bands Round 3 on Tuesday, October 30th at venerable Mercury Lounge, 6pm. Proceeds from this bash will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and ReserveAid. The release states: "Wall Street Rocks is a non-profit organization comprised of members of the finance, technology, and entertainment communities that have banded together to honor and assist our nation’s war heroes."

Fashion Week Has Taken Over NYC

Fashion Week is all around us and I just love the way it conveniently ends at Valentine’s Day. I am a romantic and will concentrate on making next Thursday wonderful. This week, the most fabulous clubs, bars, and lounges are swelling with the most fabulous people. Fashion Week and that pesky Groundhog signify the near end of the cold, economically-incorrect winter. The top-tier patrons will jet off to exotic lands for a minute, chasing the fashion – but the thaw is coming. The spring, where every club cleans up both literally and in cash, looms. Starving stylists are flush this week and even the C-rated models that promoters exploit can be seen working.

As DJs are in high demand, even I have a busy schedule. I will be DJing tonight at Hotel Chantelle and Saturday at the Empire Hotel Fashion Week party, which I did last year as well. Tuesday I am at Toy for a fabulous Fashion Week event hosted by BlackBook, which I will detail on Monday. Wednesday I am at EVR early for an after-work soiree. Thursday I will paint the town red for Valentine’s, surely ending up at Marquee for the opening night of Susanne Bartsch’s and Patricia Fields Valentine’s Day Ball. This is the premiere of Susanne’s game-changing Catwalk Party.

Of note, long-time absent DJ/headliner Sister Dimension returns for this gala. All the unusual suspects will gather, including  that bon vivant Paul Alexander, Michael Fragoso, Marco Ovando, Jordon, Jessica Love, and all sorts of accessorized etceteras and other denizens of the night. Patricia Fields is busy. She will be celebrating her birthday at the launch of Christina Visca’s T@TOY this Sunday from 6pm to 10pm. DJ royalty Johnny Dynell, Louie Vega ,and Lady Bunny will do it up. Toy is at the Hotel Gansevoort on 9th Ave. and 13th St.

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What Nemo Did For NYC Nightlife

Stage 48, 605 W. 48th St., is currently being used as a live music venue until, according to a source, "it gets all its licensing together" sometime in mid-March. An insider told me that John Blair, now an outsider at XL nightclub will bring his thing to Stage 48 on Saturday nights. I am currently involved with a cosmetic redux of the lounge at XL, so conflict of interest plays a part here. It does happen. I know about the planned Friday at Stage 48 as well, but will keep things tight until the time is right to blab about it. I hear the place has three floors and a sick rooftop.

I will be DJing at Toy tommorrow night for a Blackbook Fashion Week gala. I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow. I guess I don’t feel like talking to you much today.. I saw Beasts of the Southern Wild last night at the wonderful Williamsburg Cinema. I think it’s the best picture of the year, maybe of the last five years…like that. Then again, I also loved Warm Bodies which I also saw this weekend. OMG loved it!. The snow destroyed Friday around town but left most stir crazy, and Saturday boomed everywhere. The winter can kill nights and owners must be prepared to accept losses due to weather.

I DJd Saturday at the Empire Rooftop to a packed house who wanted to hear house, hip hop and EDM mostly, and not my rock offerings. Great room with a great, long bar, ample seating for the masses, good food, and professional and friendly service are what keep this place hopping. It has a solid, well-dressed crowd every time I go.

I have stopped doing my Thursday night Generation Wild party on Thursdays at Hotel Chantelle. They recently cancelled the basement pogo party, and I felt it was time to leave as a sign of solidarity to that. I’m busy enough with a new Wednesday after work residency at EVR, and will soon announce a new rock and roll adventure. I’m going to sip my Yerbe tea and head to a job site. I’ll be better tomorrow.. Go see Beasts …now!

DJs A-Trak, Kool Herc, & More at Scratch DJ Academy 10th-Anniversary Party

Chateau Cherbuliez officially opened in that old church on 6th Ave. known affectionately by all, well many as Limelight. A much better idea than that mall that shares the space and doesn’t seem to have many good ideas, Chateau will class up the building that once was a very classy place. I’m not talking about the Gatien-nightclub incarnation, but more so the time when it was a real church with parishioners that included names like Astor and other NYC-society types. Chateau, with marketing geniuses Derek and Daniel Koch, figures to be a winner. Famous chef Todd English will consult while executive chef Peter Larsen will do the cooking. Managing partner Olivier Bondon of St. Barts lore will preside over a main dining room, a private secret dining room, and when weather permits, a garden. Photos of the Limelight heyday by Patrick McMullan will adorn the walls.

At the official opening Wednesday, that champagne that I proudly affiliate with, Beau Joie, was the official sponsor. It was opened as Daniel and Derek opened Toy just a few weeks ago. The place has operated, and when the time was right and the kinks all un-kinked, they make it official. Good idea. The old building has been a place to gather since the 1840s, and I for one am happy that good people will be returning to have a good time.

Next Tuesday the 30th, Scratch DJ Academy celebrates its 10th year with over 100,000 students from all 50 states and 35 different countries. It’s a major force in developing young talent. Tuesday’s anniversary party honors some not-so-young talent; DJ Kool Herc, DJ QBert, and A-Trak will be the focus of attention while various young studs strut their stuff. It’s an RSVP thing so if you wanna go, do some hustling. I caught up with Rob Principe, CEO and co-founder of Scratch DJ Academy, and he told me all about it.

 In the past 10 years, what have been the major changes in DJ culture? The biggest change has come from technology and the democratization of the art form. Technology has now empowered the broader culture to not only become a DJ, but to do so with a very low barrier to entry in terms of cost and equipment.

What do you predict the next 10 years will be like? Technology will continue to fuel change, and the art form will continue to evolve accordingly. Music will also continue to become more personalized in its delivery and consumption, and the experience will continue to become more social. 

Tell us about the 10-year anniversary event. The ten-year anniversary event will celebrate the Scratch DJ Academy’s amazing milestone, and the legacy of Jam Master Jay and the broader DJ community who have impacted, affected, and shaped the art form over the years. 

What can we expect? What will happen? There will be some great performances, and we’ll also be honoring some awesome DJs like A-Trak, Kool Herc, and QBert. DMC from Run DMC will also be performing along with DJ Dasmatic (Jam Master Jay’s son).

Do you think the public is actually becoming more educated with the art of DJing or are clubs just programming pop? I do believe that the public’s music IQ is definitely increasing. Clubs will always program what they need to drive their revenue, but overall, people are much smarter about music than ever before. 

A Love Letter to Lit & The Box

I was weak from Fashion Week events when Lit Lounge owner Erik Foss texted me late last night to head to The Box, which was celebrating its anniversary. Erik told me it was their sixth. Six years in nightlife and remaining relevant is no small task. I cannot think of a more vibrant place than this. I often say that NYC is devoid of great clubs, but not lacking in great nights. Spaces are so consistent with their programming and crowds as to flirt with boredom. Sure, the pretties might be here or there, and the bon-vivants may flock to this or that joint, but few do more than sell booze and spin the same music as the next place…few push the culture forward.

The Box has its ups and downs, but it is one of the few places I will go to without knowing what’s going on. I know the crowd will be mixed and often daring, I know that the experience will entertain me, push my buttons and occasionally my limits. I heard it was packed with a great crowd. Congrats.
 
Erik Foss and Lit are also nearing an anniversary. On February 22nd they will turn 11. Now that’s an impossible number. Lit is my go-to spot. My favorite place. It too can fluctuate but, then again, who doesn’t. I know when I tell the cabby 2nd Ave. and 5th St. that I will find fast friends in a great room, and the music will not be the same ol’ same ol’. There might be an art event in the Fuse or a band downstairs, and Erik will be there or Dave or bartenders that I know and respect. For me, it’s a family affair. I will not be in town on the 22nd or I would help DJ at the celebration.

I DJ at EVR on Wednesdays, and it is refreshing to see the place grow. Nice people, nice place. Its 39th Street location brings in a crowd that is well-heeled but  non-yuppie. They are the hipper side of the working set. Club types gather, and models and hipsters pop in too. I highly recommend it. They have been running mostly afterwork hours, but now they are opening for late night and getting a solid base. 

On Tuesday I was privileged to DJ at BlackBook‘s Fashion Week soiree. It was soooo much fun. I got to hang out with the reigning Miss New York USA , Joanne Nosuchinsky, who visited me in the booth. Joanne is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met …and that’s a statement. She is energetic, sharp, beautiful, fun, and way cool. Her in-it-to-win-it attitude will take her far, and I’ll be rooting for her to win it all at the big pageant  The event was held at Toy, which always puts me in a playful mood. 

The staff is amazing. You start with door icon Fabrizio Brienza, who is so fashionable and fabulous that you can easily forget he has a heart of gold. I described him to a single girl on her way to Toy as about 6-foot-3, extremely handsome, intelligent, polite, and with a heart of gold. When asked if he was single, I said I didn’t really know, and she said "it doesn’t matter; he was probably too busy saving babies or the earth itself." It’s like that. Inside every manager, owner, waitron, maitre d’ is someone outdoing themselves to make the experience wonderful. 

It’s been an exhausting week and I better run off to get a fabulous present to complement the bodega flowers I’ve already offered. If I’m not here tomorrow, you will know that I succeeded in getting the perfect Valentines gift…or didn’t.

New Year’s Eve Parties for All, and Management’s Response to the Christmas Incident at Le Souk

First of all, Happy New Year. Today will be short and sweet as BlackBook staff is cutting out to get ready for the big night. Yesterday’s article about Sam Valentine allegedly getting beat up by Le Souk management did get a response, which you will find below. As for New Year’s Eve, I, of course, will be DJing at the Dream Downtown and will be there when 2013 is rung in. Afterwards I probably will pop into Lit to say hey to that gang.

I am sending people to parties that suit them. There isn’t a be-all event for everyone. Many will love the Dream, many 1 OAK. Many will just be in heaven at The Darby while others will love Toy. For people with my view of things I’m recommending the Box and Bow.

I am heading out to 305 Ten Eyck, Brooklyn for Seva Granik’s party, BRCDBR and THV ENT. present Shanghai. Seva and Thunderhorse are producing this event and the installation, which "is going to focus around the fear, or the premonition, of China and Chinese culture taking over the U.S. So lots of  futuristic stuff like screens, lasers, smoke, etc." The DJ’s are Gavin Russom, a "legendary DFA label guy who built their synths for them and played in the now-seminal act LCD Soundsystem" and Venus X, a big deal. The New York Times just did a profile on her. The music is going to be very dancey and very unexpected. Admission is $10 and it starts at 1am. They have my vote.

On New Years Eve the biggest problem, except for the people you are surrounded by, is getting around. If you are not a public transportation kind of guy or gal I suggest hiring a local car service for some hours. Rates range from $25 to $50 an hour . Traditionally I have hired them from 1 to 7 am, sometimes splitting the cost with another. It’s great to have a driver to whisk you around safely while you party like it’s 1999. New Year’s Eve is amateur night for the club industry. Take it from a pro and prepare for all contingencies.

In life they say there are two sides to every story. In nightlife, when you add in booze , dark lights, loud music, and other factors, some stories can have multiple sides. Yesterday I ran a story about a beaten up and down story, Sam Valentine. Others who were at Le Souk on Christmas night verified that indeed owner Marcus Jacob had kicked and punched Sam. Today Le Souk responded to the allegations that Sam was attacked, bruised, and hurt to the point of hospitalization by Marcus Jacob with the help of security. Yesterday I referred to Sam as hobbit-sized, and that description is fairly accurate. He told me he was 5 foot 7 and I’ll believe him as long as he believes I’m 6’3". Sam is 5’7" standing on a phone book. He has heart but is no match for the forces that hospitalized him. 

The response from partner Lamia Funti is below. She is a partner at Le Souk and wife of Marcus Jacob. I have always respected and enjoyed her, but having read her response I cannot help but think that excessive force was brought to bear. Her version only tells of a late night argument, with promoter Sam Valentine reacting badly to not getting paid on Christmas. The amount was $200. All accounts agree that he was loud and demanding, but Sam is a lover and a promoter/DJ, not much of a physical threat to anyone.

The response attempts to justify the physical altercation. It does not explain the injuries inflicted by bonded security and an owner. Anytime a person is beaten badly and in need of hospitalization somebody screwed up. Unless weapons of mass destruction come into play security must contain the situation, and kicking and punching are not allowed.

Here is the response from Lamia:

Unfortunately, it was a small situation that escalated over nothing. Our accountant took the day off since it was Christmas so there was no one to make the checks. We let our staff know so that they do not wait for the checks in vain. Everyone was fine with it, since we never have problems with the checks.

At the end of the night, Sam Valentine comes storming downstairs, asking Marcus to give him "his fucking check now." Marcus was actually very calm, he’s really not the guy that likes to fight, he was trying to calm him down, but he was cursing out, and making a scene at the bar downstairs.

I called the security to calm him down because now he was pushing people around when they are trying to talk to him and we didn’t need a scene in front of our friends and family, while Marcus only asked him to wait til tomorrow for his check. Since it was Christmas, our friends were all there and two of my aunts that are much older in the fifties were there as well, which was embarrassing.

I went quickly to tell him to stop and he pushed me with his hands and called me a bitch, the security saw that and they tried to contain him but he wouldn’t stop fighting, we just asked him to leave, he did not want to leave, and started throwing things around and fighting with the security who was trying to escort him out. I also have several witnesses that saw that and saw him wrestling with the security.

We actually called the police, before it got out of hand, which is really unfortunate. When the police got to Le Souk, he started cursing the officers out which I’m guessing that’s why they told him they would arrest him. And the rest is history. We have been in the business long enough to be mistreating our staff or customers in any way, and we always pay on time, for someone to be acting that way after we ask him to come back the next day because its Christmas and nobody came to the office to work, but we can not tolerate having people storming at us like that while there was no wrong doing.

I guess this is the way he’s planning on getting back at us. And by the way, Ariel was at no point near the scene, he didn’t see anything at all and witnessed anything, and did not talk to the security at any time, he was upstairs the whole time.