Flxx Performs At XL: “Don’t Be Fooled By The Hair. It’s My Mind That Leads Me”

Flx Chaparro-Pitre, usually known as or referred to as just Flxx, has been a nightclub constant or quite a few years. A benevolent manager at hot spots around town, he is known for his look, which includes a lion-like mane. He is soft spoken but stern, and knows everybody and everybody knows him. In the category of "where is he now?" we report that after two and a half years of self-imposed exile, Flxx is back with an album. On April 6th, he will perform at XL nightclub. His new production, "FLXX’s Journey To You," will include the single and video off his new album Valentine’s Romeo, entitled "You". It will be the world premier at the hot 42nd street club and everyone – the old and new – will attend. FLXX is one of the good guys in the business. Read ahead and see why that definition may not be accurate.

You have an ancestry, a lineage that would lead you to entertain. Tell me about that it.
There has always been song and dance in my family for generations, and it’s an epicenter to my life. Every family gathering would lead to instruments playing, people singing and dancing, and the showstoppers were always my mother and father. I would wake to my mother’s singing voice every day. Growing up in Chelsea, my father would frequently perform in clubs and lounges in NYC and invite my Mother to do so as well.

You were always a look… a big look, a powerful look, a recognizable look.. tell me about how you came to it.
There is a picture of me when from when I was seven years old that I have begun to share when asked this same question so terribly often. It was taken during the wrap party for a production of Swan Lake that I was the lead in, and when I look at it, it is still me. I am just now adult version. In the picture I have long hair, a top hat, and tails and an ascot! Yep. Still me. I am all real. But sweet, awkward, comical men and women have dressed themselves as me. Men and women have followed the charcoal lines around my eyes as me. Sounds like a narcissist’s dream. But I believe it’s disconcerting to be reminded so blatantly of oneself. The fact that people want to impress upon you their perception of you is disturbing to say the least. 

You managed, worked in clubs, clubs, clubs.. tell me about that life.
In late 1998, my opportunity to enter the never-ending part of nightlife arose. It is no secret that at the time, Peter and Alessandra Gatien, who infamously owned Limelight, were going through extreme legal issues. They needed someone with a good, clean record to run their Limelight. I hadn’t even received a parking ticket. I was the perfect candidate. Luckily, Father always taught me "one foot in, the other one out to have proper footing," and mother taught me that "no one is better than I, and I am no better than anyone else." I went there to work, make money, and go home peacefully. 

I became the co-general manager of their jewel in the crown, the most infamous nightclub in the world to date. It was by no means a walk in the park. But that is the business. If you can’t handle it, don’t play in it. 

Eventually, their reign as NYC nightlife royalty came to an end and I left and re-positioned myself elsewhere. I opened Arena @ Palladium, XL-Chelsea, Avalon NYC, Mr. Black, Ultra, to name a few. Oddly enough, right after leaving these aforementioned venues, they were shuttered. Once I leave, it’s done. Look at me all you want, but don’t be fooled by the hair; it’s my mind that leads me.

Were you always looking to get out of the nightclub biz?
I always knew that I was leaving the clubs. It was just a matter of when. I like to move forward. I want every day to be new from yesterday in all. From the very beginning I realized that the "beautiful people" were actually quite ugly and untruthful. But it’s no different in nightlife now, I see it. I can smell it when I walk to the door of any club: the aggrandizing. I can only number on one hand the true friendships that I have kept from my NYC nightlife experience thus far, and those people remain dear because they live in truth. 

Is nightlife the same, has it changed drastically, or has it just matured?
I believe that nightlife is the same. The music is there. The people are there. The venues are there. The laughter is there. It is just redesigned. That’s not a bad thing. People often speak of the "good ol’ days."  What’s wrong with progression, with change, with today’s nightlife? Why must one stay in the memory of something they once had as opposed to living in what they have in front of them. I go out looking forward to what will be as opposed to longing for what was once available. 

You wrote, "I am not man, I am not woman, I am not black, I am not white, I am not gay, I am not straight." Define yourself. 
 I live in as close to my truth and present as possible. I reflect upon yesterday, look forward to tomorrow, but most of all, I live today.

You are performing at XL on April 6th. What can we expect?
It’s my first time conceiving, writing, producing, and directing an entire production within one emotionally-charged theme. It’s entitled, "FLXX’s Journey To YOU," with the worldwide premiere and release of the first single and video off my album, Valentino’s Romeo, entitled “YOU." I have combined the theatrical with the club in me. A DJ will play music during the opening reception, muralists have created live images of me to backdrop the songs, and I will sing, accompanied by musicians, a choir, and my mother. Curtain up!

Tell me about your album Valentino’s Romeo.
It’s a gathering of many different moments in my life within my journey of love. At times I felt great and at times I had a 103-degree fever! I lived every moment of this album in real time. And I live each song as they still affect me both emotionally and physically. At times we are loved, but not enough. Not too good. And sometimes these moments in love happen simultaneously  Serious mind-fuck. A psychiatric rubber room of emotions is this album. 

Tell me a club story nobody knows…
I met the person with whom I have shared a greater part of my life thus far in Limelight. A person that will forever be one of my greatest loves. I am lucky and thankful. I can extricate myself from the clubs at my choosing, but I will never erase the clubs from my heart.

Get the inside-info on XL nightclub here

This Strange Weekend Ahead

There is a consistent desperation in the voices of friends and promoter-types; the summer seems to be grasping for straws or gasping for air or fill-in-your-own-saying/proverb. Mark Ronson is at The Montauk Beach House tonight. I asked a honcho over there what the game plan was for rain on a big event at their big pool party, and was told "we don’t have one…it hasn’t happened yet.” I love that attitude. But what can be done short of enclosing the whole place in a retractable dome? At beach retreats, rain-outs are part of the landscape.

I’m staying in Brooklyn tonight…maybe. I might slip into the city for Frankie Sharp’s escapades at XL. He’s in the Lounge of this chic playpen with the amazing Lady Bunny. They have Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race and performances by Ebonee Ecxell and Epiphany Get Paid. Amanda Lepore and Marco Ovando are in the big room. As I keep saying: keep your eye on Frankie Sharp. He’s an up-and-comer.

I’ll probably stay near home in BBurg…maybe. I am totally psyched to attend the One Year Anniversary of Eight of Swords, 8pm to 11pm, 115 Grand Street, Brooklyn. There will be live performances by CornMo, Wi Hula Hoop Harlot Melissa-Anne, sword-swallowing and fire-eating by the fabulous Lady Aye, and my friends from The Love Show. The group art show entitled “Hitmen and Harlots” will feature work from "over 35 tattoo artists, photographers, graphic artists, and fine artists including: Diana Brozek, Diana More, Jess Versus, Karen Rockower Glass, Kati Vaughn, Linda Wulkan, Mike Suarez, Nalla Smith, Nyahzul, Sweety, Tasha Rubinow, Woodz, Wyatt Mills, Zoe Bean, Nash Hogan, Mia Graffam, Adam Korothy, D.C.Wallin, Dan Bones, Drew Linden, Fred Harper, Gerald Feliciano, Guy Ursitti, Jim Gentry, Joey Wilson, Liz Huston, Molly Crabapple, Sara Antoinette Martin, Sara Best, Sarah Rockower, Sophie C’est la Vie, and others."

I caught Top Gun at McCarren Park Wednesday night, which completely reaffirmed my love for the borough. We headed to Williams Candy in Coney Island to stock up on caramel apples and gooey cashew treats. Next week, it’s Empire Records. The week after: Raising Arizona.

Gay Club Nights, Dani Baum in The Seagull, and Matt DeMatt’s Birthday Party

Is it a game of musical chairs or a natural expansion of the market? Gay Pride has arrived and will put the question of whether NYC nightlife can devote so many club nights to the gay crowd as major promotional figures bounce from venue to venue. XL has recently stepped away from Brandon Voss, or did he step away first? John Blair, who stepped away from XL for Brandon, is now enjoying major success with Beto Sutter at Stage 48. Brandon has, of course, landed on his feet. His Cher thing at Marquee last night was the hottest ticket in town. It will be interesting to see how Brandon’s crew mixes with the incredible Susanne Bartsch’s Catwalk crowd. When Pride is passed, will there be casualties? Can the city support so many gay club nights? I think something will have to give.

I’m very proud of club fixture Dani Baum, who is starring in The Seagull, a play she produced. It opens tonight at THEATRELAB, 357 West 36th Street, with 5 performances tonight through Tuesday. Click here for tickets and info.

I was proud of Matt DeMatt, who is keeping himself together as he navigates the always murky waters of nightlife. His birthday party last night had me rubbing shoulders with Tom Green and Playboy playmate Cathy St. George and Randy Jones of the Village People and celebrity photog Patrick McMullan. An old school crowd of hot people had a blast. There are big things happening over at Gaslight/G2 where the bash was held. It is the best location in town, but has been catering to the foot traffic of the Meatpacking.

Matt is prepared to focus his energies on upgrading to an upscale crowd. Location, location, location, location … location. He has the best location, and without distractions from previous management I expect great things.

[BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for XL, Stage 48, Marquee, Gaslight, G2; Follow Steve Lewis on Twitter]

Bowing Down To Stevie Nicks Tonight & Why I’ve Been M.I.A.

 

Hey all, sorry I’ve been M.I.A. (That’s Missing In Action, not Miami International Airport). I have been very busy completing the new Birch Coffee Shop on 96th and Columbus. I think it’s hot, and the coffee is beyond wonderful. Check it out. I’ve been completing the design over at The DL where I just added these wonderful glass lanterns I bought at Milly & Earl on Graham in Brooklyn. Everything in that place is to die for. I frequently go in and find myself saying I’ll take 10 of these and 12 of those. Me and mine are also completing the design of the front lounge of XL Nightclubwhich will be named "Rosebud" –  not a movie reference.

I am running back and forth to Huntington, Long Island doing a restaurant that’s to-be-named later. It’s a big gig and I love it. I am also finishing up a quaint little restaurant on Avenue C which I will brag about when it’s a little closer to opening, which I think looks like 4 weeks. And tonight I’m Djing atEVR, my favorite place to spin. It’s an afterwork crowd and I get to play stuff that just won’t go over in a club environment. There’s so much more, but enough about me. 

Tonight I’m bowing down at the feet of Chi Chi Valenti, Johnny Dynell, and Brian Butterick (Hattie Hathaway)  as the23rd Annual Night of a Thousand Stevies returns to the Highline Ballroom. This is, for me , the number 1 can’t-miss-for-nothing-no- how event of the year. A list of legendary characters will perform all thingsStevie Nicks. The crowd will dress the part and sing along. It is, of course, sold out – save for 100 tickets that will be offered at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors open at 9pm.

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Memorial Day Weekend Is Approaching, & The City Is A-Changin’…

Sorry I have been missing…been busy. I am happy to have nearly completed the design of The DL, that three-floor nightclub with the DOL (Dinner on Ludlow) attached. It looks swell, and I never want to leave it since it’s so much fun. The Wednesday night party with DJ Prince Terrence and the House of Fields crew is wonderful. I almost have an itch to get back in the game but, alas, staying up till 5am and dealing with the daily grind of nightlife is not for me anymore. I’m content to build the clubs and analyze and anecdote for you. 

Next up is the opening of the front room of XL (512 W. 42nd St.) which has earned its own moniker: "Rosebud." I’m quite sure that this isn’t a Turner Classic Movie reference. XL is the go-to place for everyone who isn’t straight and narrow, which means you are certainly welcome if you are straight and not narrow minded. I designed the place to be warm and comfy. It is all walnut burls and rich veneers and plush seating. It is an ultra-lounge which functions as a quiet respite but can twirl and spin with all the bells and whistles when it needs to. I am very proud of it and will proudly attend the unveiling this Friday. 

I’ve also been slammed finishing up that coffee shop on 96th and Columbus. Birch Coffee is slammed from open to close. It was difficult to live up to the reputation of its brilliantly brewed coffee. And the restaurant out in Long Island I’m working on is six weeks out and still takes up a great deal of my time… but I will be filing regularly again.

The impending Memorial Day Weekend has tons of skilled bartenders, waitrons, and support staff heading east. This creates openings for jobs in the city where clubs will learn to lean on the tourist trade that will fill the void, especially on weekends. Thursdays become Fridays as the NYC in-crowd is still in town. This is an ideal opportunity for newbies to learn or hone their trades, as nightlife still pays the bills for artists that won’t want to starve, and students who pay their bills by serving swill.

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