Rumor Has It: Butter Group Is Splitting Up

I guess it’s official, as Frankie Sharp – that promoter/host with the most fabulous following – lands on the cover of the Village Voice. It was 430am this morning and I was walking the puppies and grabbing bagels with the gal, when I saw Frankie’s fierce puss staring up from a stack of papers. We have been banging Frankie’s drum loudly here forever. He is the new, while almost everyone else is… experienced. Frankie has blown everyone away. His boyfriend is David Davis, my assistant/co-worker/partner in design.

The Voice tends to use terms like "savior of nightlife" and stuff like that and say there was little going on when Frankie burst on the scene, without recognizing the great divide in nightclub culture. While the rest of the world is getting closer to embracing gays as full-blown members of our society…(shoot, even Dirty Harry himself – conservative stalwart Clint Eastwood – is supporting gay marriage) clubdom has become even dumber. The gays and the straights rarely mingle in the same room as once was.

Frankie’s party is mostly gay and, of course, we love that, but there is another side of the coin as well. There are two parallel universes co-existing with one, not recognizing the existence of the other. Clubs, once so forward and influential, are more divided in lifestyle and music and ways of doing business than ever before. Congrats to Frankie for the well-deserved recognition.

On that straight front, there is rumor and innuendo on the top-tier places. I was asked by a realtor-type why I hadn’t talked about the imminent takeover of the Shadow space on 28th street. I told him I did chat with Mike Satsky of Provocateur about all that a while back, but have left it until now. Wanted to let them cross all the T’s and dot all the i’s. The realtor says its a 99 percent-done deal. In club life, when someone says it’s 99 percent done, I think there is bound to be trouble ahead. If someone says it’s 50/50 I think it might happen. 

With that in mind, my same source says there is trouble percolating at Butter Group. It’s always been brewing, but my realtor dude says that Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano are on the outs, with various scenarios being talked about. Dividing up of properties is being chatted about. In the "I can’t believe it’s not Butter" category, my first design gig Butter on Lafayette is being renovated by my ex-partner Mark Dizon. Scott seems to be gearing up to run this show and maybe the new 1OAK LA, while Richie is on The Darby and 1OAK NYC all the way. My source says 1OAK Vegas isn’t worth fighting over. How much of this is real or not, I just don’t know, but a call that I am bound to get later today should fill in the blanks.

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Lots of Big Sexy Noise, Parties, Vodka, & Christmas Lights

With a week to go before the big show, clubs must compete with Christmas parties at unique venues where free booze will flow. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get all liquored up in this town without spending cash money as long as you diligently RSVP to the right events. Many clubs are getting people through the doors, but the spend is not there as these holiday soirees eat into revenues and people are hoarding cash for Christmas gifts.

Tonight you can enjoy Russian Standard Vodka at the Bo Concept holiday party at 105 Madison Avenue. This affair is hosted by bon vivant photographer Patrick McMullan, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, Michelle Park, and Niki and Shaokao Cheng. The music will be by Lady Bunny, who is riding yet another 15 minutes of fame after being used by Adam Sandler in a sight gag during his 12/12/12 routine. The party will unveil “the new collection of Swedish Underwear Brand, Frank Dandy modeled by New York Swim Team. You must RSVP. “ After Bingo at Hotel Chantelle, where Stoli will try to sway me, I might head over to the Jane Hotel  to listen to DJ Wonder and Bianca Linta as I play ping pong. This is a New York vs Sweden shindig and I may seek out aquavit and such.

Tonight I am desperate  to attend Big Sexy Noise performance at The Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery at 2nd Street. Big Sexy Noise features the New York no wave singer, poet, actress, and performance artist Lydia Lunch and ex-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds guitarist James Johnston. This is post-punk nirvana and I’m there.

Tomorrow night, an event scheduled for November 2nd but postponed by Sandy will occur at SL, 409 West 14th Street.  Amanda Hearst, Georgina Bloomberg, and the Friends of Finn committee will attend The Humane Society of the US’ “To the Rescue! Benefit After Party.” The list of A-listers involved is ginormous. This is a see-how-the-better-half-live event.

Last night, me and mine headed out to Dyker Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood right before the Verrazano Bridge, to view the holiday lights. There are homes where hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to celebrate the season. We were in awe of these Disney-level extravaganzas. I have to go out and buy some gifts, a tree, and wrapping paper, so I will leave you here. 

“I Hate Music!” Says Michael Musto, Your Gay Grandpa

How many times have you heard some old person complain about what the kids are listening to these days? (Oh, yesterday, from me?) It’s a certainty, like death and taxes, that popular music will only cause the furrowed brows of the cool kids of yesteryear to become more creased, their now wrinkled hands forming into limp fists raised slightly in the air as the loose skin on those arms shake with a ferocity only matched by the senility so depressingly spouting from their typing fingers. Do not dare hush them! They have opinions, and they are always correct! Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Musto has something to say about the current state of pop music! 

The venerable Village Voice columnist is very upset today, because of Rihanna and Flo Rida and Ke$ha. And honey, he has lost his mind and control of his elipses:

The number-one slot on the chart generally goes to whoever gave the most free copies to concert-ticket buyers that week. The second week, they’re suddenly not even in the top 100. … Adele is happy. … Once you’ve heard the title of a Taylor Swift song, there’s no need to hear the actual song. … The "Piano in the Dark" sample in Flo Rida’s "I Cry" drives me cuckoo crazy. I keep wanting them to finish the phrase! … Someone please tell Rihanna it should be "shine brightly like a diamond." … Boybands are back. They’re like a case of crabs you just can’t get rid of. I really like their hair, though. … The musical repetition that started with all those Kesha songs is now in every single mix-mix-mix-mix-mix by every singer-singer-singer-singer. Stop-stop-stop-stop. … People who walk around listening to music are generally oblivious to everything else, not even aware that they’re endangering your life as they step into traffic in the middle of the street. Somehow they always come off scot-free as they glide through everyone else’s tragedies. They’re probably listening to Eminem.

Please, sir, tell me more!

Every song today happens to be "featuring" someone. Would the Beatles have had to give up their instrumental breaks to someone rapping about bitches and hos? 

Very good musical analysis, Mr. Musto! I had never ever considered the possibility of the Beatles singing about bitches and hos, much less the notion that Paul and John might step away from their microphones to give room to someone else to rap about bitches and hos. Very astute observation, pitting a band that has not released music since 1970 against, say, Jay-Z and Kanye West. Very smart! 

But hey, Michael Musto is hardly a music critic, and he knows it! Which is why he then begins to quote heavily from his music critic friend, who, similarly, is so angry about everything, especially Pitchfork:

" is an intentionally obscure website that reviews every indie record, rating them with a score from 1 to 100. It’s hard to get a score over 73. They create stars, like Melody Maker and NME did in England 20 years ago, and then they turn on them. As a result, your EP will sell 6,000 copies in Brooklyn, and then your full album will stiff. If you’re no longer new, you’re not as cool to them. They love bands they never heard of, and they love Neil Young, but everything in between is not good."

Anonymous Music Critic, you are so on-point! We’re on the cusp of 2013, after all, so it’s about time someone take a stance at those dastardly Pitchforks with their 100-point rating scale. And goddamn you, Brooklyn, for being so overpopulated by people who pay money for EPs! "White people," am I right? 

I mean, I get it: it’s hard to take your afternoon nap while listening to One Direction, and that only leaves you being cranky at dinnertime (which is 6PM, in case you forgot). 

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Village Voice’s Choice Eats Event Last Night, Guided Photo Tour Inside

When you stick hundreds of New Yorkers into a space the size of an amphitheatre, filled with over 80 of the five borough’s top restaurants, alcoholic beverages, and desserts, and tell them it’s “all-you-can-eat and drink,” what happens?

We turn into CAVE PEOPLE. Voracious, thirsty, hungry cavemen and women. Wildly primitive desires emerged at last night’s Choice Eats event, as men and women aggressively made their way to the front of the shoelace-long lines, grabbed for the largest meat-covered crostini, shrimp roll, and bowl of salted caramel ice cream, and ran around with toppled food platters and sauce-covered fingers.
So we were full after 15 minutes, or we have some frou-frou diet to attend to. Who cares! For one night, we went wild. And it was oh-so-necessary.
Here’s our guided photo tour of the evening’s best:
Doughtnut Plant
Doughnut Plant’s peanut butter glaze and blackberry jelly donut. I’m still full, but I’m still craving this. 
Scrumptious sausages at Kafana.
Bep’s mango salad makes healthy delicious. 
Ample Hills Creamery
Ample Hills Creamery’s Salted Crack Caramel ice cream. Made with salted butter caramel ice cream and bits of their "crack." Aptly named. 
Mile End
Mile End’s smoked meat bun. Sweet. Fluffy. Meaty. 
Fried brussel sprouts topped with yogurt, tahini, and pomegranate sauce. Tanoreen does it again. 
Good Batch
The Good Batch’s chocolate chip cookies. So soft, but chewy, yet doughy. An enigma, actually.
Fay Da Bakery
Fay Da Bakery’s pork bun. Always the best.
S'more Bakery
S’mores Bakery. Toasted right infront of you. 
Ditch Plains
Ditch Plains’ mac ‘n’ cheese-covered hot dog. It’s worth the heart attack. 

Bracks on Bracks on Bracks: Pop Culture Bracket Alternatives to March Madness

March means erratic weather, boozy St. Patrick’s Day festivities, and above all things, people filling out brackets because of college basketball or something. Out of it, a trend seems to have emerged of pop culture-loving websites making pop culture-focused brackets. Here are three alternatives for those who don’t feel like weighing in on sports right now. 

Grantland’s "Smacketology" Bracket

After last month’s "Souper Bowl," in which Clam Chowder knocked out Lobster Bisque for soupy supremacy (soupremacy?), the folks from the Lair of Simmons are back with another bracket in time for the NCAA Tournament. This time, it’s about The Wire because of course it is. 

In "Smacketology," a vote to determine the greatest character of the Greatest TV Drama of the 21st Century So Far, Team Grantland puts Omar Little and Stringer Bell, the Duke and North Carolina of this equation, in No. 1-seed spots. Our prediction? Smacketology goes to President Obama’s favorite Wire character—Omar, the badass gay stick-up artist played by Michael K. Williams, who last month, singlehandedly brought marriage equality to the state of Maryland. Voting in Smacketology goes through the end of the week. 

Vulture’s Drama Derby 

Man, the past quarter-century was really great for TV dramas. Vulture thinks so too, hence their "Drama Derby," a vote to determine the best television drama of the past 25 years. Contenders are as varied as the premium cable mainstays (The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood) to sci-fi-con favorites (Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), from AMC (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) to network giants (Mad Men, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, LOST). Notable omissions: 24, ER, Homicide, Big Love, Weeds. Biggest (welcome, we guess) surprise: My So-Called Life! Although it got crushed by The Wire in round one. Let the debate-baiting begin.  

Sound of the City’s Search for the Quintessential New York Musician

The Village Voice’s Sound of the City blog is getting ambitious with their culture bracket, trying to determine which musician of the past half-century-plus (since the Voice‘s inception in 1955) best embodies, well, the sound of the city. One-seeds are varied but clear top-of-the-list picks: Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, the Ramones, John Coltrane. Filling the bracket out are everyone from Laura Nyro to Wu-Tang to Biggie to Laurie Anderson to the Fugs to Lisa Lisa. There will probably be some really terrible defenses in the comments section, but also some amazing ones. None of them are wrong. 

Image by Bobby Finger

Links: Lady Gaga Takes a Tumble, Sandra Bullock Sings

● Don’t you just hate when your crotchless leather pants get caught in your 8-inch heels and you fall in front of the entire world? [Styleite] ● Harrison Ford wore Wrangler jeans to his wedding, which seems preferable to his Indiana Jones and Han Solo outfits, because whips and sabers are just embarrassing. [People] ● Daniel Radcliffe on hearing Justin Bieber for the first time: “I genuinely thought it was a woman singing.” Celeb beef is just what these two weenies need. [MTV]

● Sandra Bullock made a surprise appearance at a Nashville fundraiser to perform “Smoke on the Water,” her third choice after Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” and the Sandra original “Jesse Ain’t Shit.” [EW] ● When the boys of Jersey Shore got punk’d into appearing on the cover of the Village Voice‘s Queer Issue, even the photographer had no idea what was going on—shirtless men, baby oil, and all. [Observer] ● Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa hates Kim Kardashian, and all other wives everywhere hate them both. [HuffPo]

Ashley Alexandra Dupre’s Boobs to Become Most Requested

I saw these images of Ashley Alexandra Dupre’s fur coat drop and thought: That’s a mighty fine rack. Followed immediately by “Ew” and “So that’s what $2K an hour looks like,” like everyone else, of course. But I still couldn’t help but think her new Playboy cover and nudie spread, c/o the Village Voice’s Running Scared blog, would incite more women to phone their plastic surgeons than stage a feminist protest. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dupre beat out Scarlett Johansson and Salma Hayek for title of “Most Requested Plastic Surgery Body Part.”

According to DocShop, docs usually ask prospective patients to bring in a photo of the body part they’d most like to trade theirs in for. ABC News reports that the most requested nose is Nicole Kidman, while Heather Graham has the most in-demand eyes and Halle Berry owns the most coveted cheek bones. Top three boobs are Carmen Electra, ScarJo and Salma Hayek. I give it a year before Dupre’s breasts sneak into the list.

The Rusty Knot May Need Polishing

I was shocked to wake up this morning and discover that not everyone loves the Rusty Knot (yes, restaurant news trumps international headlines any day). Since opening in March, the faux-nautical bar has been a shipyard of celebrity cool (Jay-Z and LeBron James are frequenters) and drunken hipsters (because in New York, hipsters have money). My one experience there was during a party for David Schwimmer’s comedy Run Fatboy Run, where I shared cheese balls with Judah Friedlander, who was incredibly stoked about all the free (and delicious) hors d’oeuvres. But not everyone is keen on the Knot.

Sarah DiGregorio of the Village Voice just gave it public drubbing, calling their Spiced Colada no better than a “glass of ice.” The shepherd’s pie is too salty, the meat pie same-old, and the oysters too vinegary. On the plus side, she likes their pickled egg! What makes all of this unacceptable for her, is that the place fails to deliver on the built-in promise that comes with big name backers and chefs (Momofuku co-owner Joaquin Baca is the menu mastermind). DiGregorio goes on to suggest the Ear Inn instead, a real nautical dive bar established in 1817.