Archive for Steve Lewis

Black, Beautiful & Badass…

Posted in DJ's, Music, Nightlife, Parties with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by thefrogge

When I first heard that Harley Davidson was throwing a launch party for their newest bike, it came as no surprise to me that they chose Don Hill’s as the venue… as they should have! However, nothing irritates me more than walking up to a joint that I frequent, aka live in, and have some dumb blondie ask me if I am on the list. I am not saying that I am The Queen of Sheba or anything, but it’s pretty insulting when you are in fact, a regular at a place and someone asks you if you are on the list. Who was she? Was she on the list? Was she even qualified to be handling the list? That would have never have happened if good ‘ol Thomas or James was at the door… But that’s what happens when Harley Davidson rents out Don Hill’s and decides they need something blonde with large boobies to guard the doorway.

HD Launch Party @ Don Hill’s

I was concerned that because of this “door situation” some of my special friends would not be inside. And although many of them were unfortunately shut out, due to the Fort Knox status, I was pleased to walk in and see my bubbly buddy Kelle Calco, the man behind Ladyland and Ruby Tuesdays. Of course, he was accompanied by his gal pal, the beautiful, the intelligent, the talented Ash Fox, rock & roll photographer and creator of Tit Tees, a handcrafted, rock & roll influenced T-shirt line based out of NYC.Ali Hassan, Wildstreet bassist was present, as well as the always jovial Mr. Marty E, drummer of The Dirty Pearls.Jonathan Murray, ex-bassist of BM Linx was also in the house, when I asked him why he left BM Linx, he said something about “not wanting to grow a beard.” Jonathan leaving BM Linx is old news, but I bring it up because that was something I was genuinely sad about… Their music was good, they were interesting to watch, and I wanted to see how far they were going to go…

Ash Fox & Kelle Calco

To continue reading this article on The Downtown Diaries, click HERE!

 


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♥ G i n a S a c h i C o d y ♥

Posted in Art, Nightlife, Personal Experiences with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2010 by thefrogge

It’s been a week since Gina Sachi Cody has left us and though I wish I could say that “I’m okay,” I’m not. The truth is, my heart is broken. I remember the first time I met Gina. I was being photographed for Good Night Mr. Lewis, a nightlife column written by Steve Lewis in Blackbook Magazine, and she was the photographer. We were in the basement of the post-Plumm, pre-Darby space and Steve introduced us. She told me where to stand, and began to click away as I did this & that… I remember feeling very at east in front of her camera. There was something about her… Perhaps it was her beautiful, big, brown eyes… I knew right away that I could trust her.

How It All Began / October 2009 / Photo by Gina Sachi Cody.

After the shoot, we exchanged numbers and a new friendship began. We started to bump into each other everywhere, as most of us creatures of the night tend to do… I was always happy to bump into Gina. She had one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen & lots of good energy that I could always feel when I was around her.

Our Bright, Beautiful Girl...

A few months after we met, my birthday rolled around. “I made you something,” she said so proudly into the phone, “When can I give it to you?!” We met up in the East Village and I unwrapped a flat, rectangular shaped object… What could it be? Of course… It was  the picture she had taken of me for Blackbook, except she had done something really interesting to it. Certainly Gina could explain the technique much better, but I think she had it printed on some sort of special photo paper, and then she peeled away the top layer of the photo, which made the photo look sort of distressed, “vintage-ish.” She had it framed, and I immediately hung it up in my apartment by the staircase which leads up to my lofted bedroom.

The last time I saw her was on Thursday, October 28th, just a few days before she passed. We were at Mick Rock‘s opening at the Morrison Hotel on the Bowery. It was completely packed. I was just wandering around, taking in the people and looking at Mick’s photos when I heard my name being called. I turned around… It was Gina… She looked so beautiful, so full of life… She grabbed my wrist and held my forearm tightly as she spoke to me a mile a minute about the magazine she was starting. She was so excited, she was so proud, her eyes were so wide, like a child… She was telling me something about going to Japan and how much she loved The Frogge… that when her magazine was started, she wanted me to be a part of it… that she wanted me to write for Prescribed Mag. I said that of course I would and that we should talk about it  more specifically when she had more details. We walked next door to John Varvatos to see Jamie Burke’s new band, Delilah & Adam Green. Gina & I stood right up front… We danced wildly, hand in hand, and she took lots of pictures with not one, but two cameras…

That is how I will always remember her. Beautiful, glowing, excited, full of life with endless possibilities… I only wish I knew it was the last time that I was going to see her… She took a Polaroid of my friends & I that night… She made me promise to upload it… “Don’t forget to upload that! Promise you won’t forget?” she said. “I won’t, I promise, I won’t.” And here it is… The last picture of me taken by Gina.

 

Morrison Hotel / October 28th, 2010 / Photo by Gina Sachi Cody.

The best thing about that Polaroid is that is has her handwriting on the bottom. “Get Prescribed,” it says, to promote the magazine she was so excited to start. It’s sort of ironic to that our friendship started and ended with a photograph. Isn’t is sort of strange that I know the exact first and exact last picture she ever took of me?

I don’t think I can write anymore, as my heart is literally aching… But there is one more thing that I want to say. We are organizing a memorial for Gina. Larry Santos, Dave Delzio, Nia & Steve are also involved. We don’t have the exact date picked out yet, but we are working on it. It will be held at Santos Party House. We are doing this because we know there were a lot of “city people” who wanted to attend Gina’s wake but couldn’t get out to Jersey for this reason or that… If you are reading this and want to be involved in anyway, please don’t be a stranger. Feel free to email me directly anytime at TheFrogge@gmail.com. When I know the exact details, I will do my best to spread the word, and I really, really hope that you all attend.

Until then…

Love your aching friend,

The Frogge ❤

Fighting With Flavia…

Posted in Completely Asinine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by thefrogge

Dearest friends… Frogge here! And boy, have I had an eventful morning. I just wanted to share with all of you that I have officially found the biggest idiot in the pond. I happened to be doing a little innocent hopping around on Facebook this morning, when I got a notification that Steve Lewis “liked” my “activity.” I then clicked on his page and saw an old status update of his which read:

Steve Lewis: fabulous female friend transplanting to nashville for 3 months.. advice? friendship?”

Oh, Steve… You are such a helpful man. It’s the Aquarius in you, isn’t it? Anyway, being that I have never been to Nashville myself, I wanted to see what “useful advice” people were suggesting in case I decide to make the trek down south myself.

About 7 comments down, a women by the name of “Flavia” decided to chirp in, and this is what she had to say.

Flavia: I love Nashville my Aunt JJ Clark lives there. It’s very beautiful, lots of celebs live there like Nicole Kidman, Al Gore, people are super polite and courteous. Mafioso has good pizza, and there are really great bars downtown with live music, and they have a great TJ Maxx over there with lots of reasonably priced items. And take pics of the Batman Building.”

Directly under Flavia’s post, Caroline chirped in…

Caroline: Nicole Kidman, Adrian Belew, Emmylou Harris, Cheetah Chrome (yes from the Dead boys), the late Stuart Adamson (Big Country), Duane Eddy, and I think Dylan still keeps a house here.”

Now, to be totally honest, The Frogge normally does not get involved with idiotic people on Facebook… I usually NEVER contribute to Facebook fighting, or snarkiness, because really, it’s just a waste of time and I have more important things to do… like write The Frogge! But something about those two posts really pushed my buttons… And to be honest, I just happened to be in the mood for a nice, healthy quarrel… You know, something to get the blood pumping! So I responded…

THE FROGGE: @ Flavia & Caroline… My apologies for having to call you out… but really… A girl, or should I say a “Fab Female Friend” is moving to Nashville for 3 months… And you find it necessary to spout off a list of Celebs that live in Nash because??? Why??? I really don’t think that is going to help the FFF… Unless of course she plans to knock on Al Gore’s door and have a nice discussion on global warming with him. Or maybe, if Dylan does “still keep a house there” she can knock on his door instead and have a song & harmonica session with him b/c I’m sure he’d be down. UGH. Once again, you two have reminded me how barren & Celeb-Centric our culture can be… And I feel sorry for the FFF that this is the “useful” advice she is being given. At that rate, my advice to the FFF is to visit Barnes & Noble & buy a city guide. Not For Tourists is pretty awesome… I have the NYC edition… Perhaps they make a Nashville edition?

After that it was on like Donkey Kong. Here is the rest of the conversation for your viewing pleasures.

Flavia: As I recall, I also mentioned shopping and a pizza joint, and when I say that celebs live there I was mostly talking about viewing their residences since Nashville has some of the most beautiful houses in the US. The mention of celebs is just some Pop Culture Trivia. And I personally being a huge Andy Warhol fan, love to look at the aesthetics of Pop Culture. However I don’t spend my evenings watching TMZ, I actually read books, and roam my beautiful city of New York and studying the REAL PEOPLE, the creatures of the night. Stop judging people that you don’t know and lighten up sister.

THE FROGGE: Wow, Flavia, I guess you really put me in my place then. Congratulations, you like Andy Warhol just like everybody else in NYC who thinks they are cool. Did anyone ever tell you that you are so original? Oh, next time I go to Nashville, I’ll be sure to check out TJ Maxx… Because that is the definition is great shopping! It’s so unique… I mean, really, what great advice for the FFF… She should definitely visit TJM in Nashville, because the fact that there are at least 2 TJM’s in NYC isn’t enough… When I travel, I make sure to go to TJM too! Because instead of actually visiting a store that is unique to its city… I love to buy mass-produced garbage from China at unbeatable prices! Keep “studying” the creatures of the night… Maybe you can learn something from them!

Flavia: First and foremost, I am 40 years old and have been a Andy Warhol aficionado before you were probably born. I also help commission original prints to collectors. I am not here to argue with you about TJ Maxx or celebrities on Steve Lewis’ thread. I am here just to converse and exchange normal ideas with adult people who obviously are not angry at the world. I don’t have time for banter back and forth with a girl wearing a BEAR COSTUME. And maybe you should learn something from the creatures of the night and DISAPPEAR. BTW, sorry Steve.”

** I now have to interrupt this conversation to show you a picture of the bear costume… Because after reading that, how can you not be dying to see it?? I know you are dying to see it!! So here it is… **

To Ribbit or To Rarrr? That is the question! THE FROGGE disguised as a bear!

I know… I know… It’s awesome… Okay back to the conversation… So I answered…

THE FROGGE: You don’t have to apologize to Mr. Lewis. He likes the attention from us women-folk. Believe me. But once again, dear Flavia, you have put me in my place… And I thank you for that. However you do sound bitter about your age. Just because I am definitely a lot younger than you, doesn’t mean that I am less mature than you are. AND… don’t even go there about dissing the bear costume. I was volunteering at a children’s hospital and happen to have a sense of humor. Besides “helping to commission original prints to collectors” when was the last time that you donated your time to a cause that actually matters? You’re just embarrassed that you that got called out by a young-in and that is why you feel it necessary to accuse me of being angry at the world.”

(Okay, now, here is the truth. Cause I refuse to lie on my own website. I actually did not wear the bear suit at a children’s hospital. But I had to say it, because I really wanted to stick it to her good. Now, the reason why it was okay for me to lie at the time and say that, is because I truly am a registered volunteer with NY Cares and I am volunteering with them 3 days next week. So In some sense… it’s kind of true. Which leads me to the real reason I was wearing the bear suit, which also happens to be for a very good, but different cause. Last week, a bunch of my froggers, froggettes, and I attended a rock concert called Rock For A Cure. A ton of bands came out and played for free to help raise money for a woman with a brain tumor. Next door to the venue where Rock For A Cure was taking place, a random store was having their “going out of business/everything must go sale.” I saw the bear costume, it was love at first sight… I had to try it on… And it just so happened that it look sooo good on me (lol) that the woman who owned the store said I could borrow it and wear it for the night. So, I went back to Rock For A Cure, as a bear, made all my friends really happy, and gave the bear suit back at the end of the night.) One more picture… Then back to the conversation… This part is really good…

The Bear w/ Dave M, Nate J & Jacky O Nasty from THE PARTY DEATH, Leo Henry from PUi, & our beloved friend Axel @ ROCK FOR A CURE!

Flavia: Here we go. If I was bitter about my age, I wouldn’t have mentioned it. I am from Uruguayan/Argentine and we happen to age very well, so you prob have more wrinkles than me.And I’m sure you way fatter. I am 110 and a size 2. I was merely pointing out my experience in regards to art. As far as volunteering, yes I am a member of the ASPCA AdvocacyBrigade, PETA, Greenpeace and Sloan Kettering. I am happy that you do what you do for children. Good for you, but was that out of the goodness of your heart, or is it a condition of your parole violation? Ever heard the expression Make Love Not War. You should follow it. Especially the making love part. You will find all your anger issues with miraculously dissapear when you get some. It was great speaking with you, usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature. But if you wish to go on, I anticipate your next syllable with “great eagerness”.

THE FROGGE: The fact that you just felt it necessary to list your weight and size… is PATHETIC. It makes me feel sorry for you. And although you are 110 & a size 2, I still wouldn’t date you. If it makes you feel better to think that I am fat… You can think that I am fat. And if it makes you feel better to think that I don’t get any, than you can think that too. It just shows how insecure you are with yourself, your own weight, and how much you are getting. You may be from Argentina, but in America we have a little expression that goes something like this, “Don’t argue with idiots. In the end, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with their experience.” That said, I’m out. I have more important things to write about. Have a lovely day, Flavia.”

So… Okay… I am completely aware that this is 100% asinine, a waste of time, pretty stupid, and overall useless… But I also feel that it is funny, a good way to kill time if you are bored at work and a pretty accurate social commentary on the world of Facebook and how our generation likes to waste their time these days. I also wanted to show you how smart and witty I can be when fighting with 110 pound, size 2, 40-year-old woman from Argentina… but most importantly… I wanted to show you my bear suit. I will also be writing about Rock For A Cure in the very near future… So that was a nice, brief introduction of what’s to come.

I hope you enjoyed reading my fight with Flavia and much as I enjoyed actually fighting with Flavia.

Love your friend,

The Frogge ❤

RIBBIT OF THE DAY: The ROTD is going to Steve Lewis as he finally commented on the thread between THE FROGGE V.S. Flavia…

His comment?

Steve Lewis: I love it when the bitches fight over me.”

Of course you do Mr. Lewis. Tell us something that we don’t already know.

My response?

I ain’t no bitch baby, I’m a Frogge.

Ciao bellissimos! Stayed tuned for my next post which will be about THE DIRTY PEARLS… Their show at Irving Plaza with Andrew WK, their trip to SXSW, and their guitarist Johnny B shitting out whole pigs.

The Pinkest Sheep of Them All…

Posted in Fashion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2010 by thefrogge

The world of fashion is ALL about making statements. As we all know by now, yesterday our beloved Alexander McQueen made one of the biggest statements of them all when he was found dead in his London apartment on the opening day of New York Fashion Week, just one week before London Fashion Week.

People who know The Frogge know that I adore McQueen (just like everybody else who is worth their salt in this town.) Yesterday morning I awoke to a text message from a good friend that read, “OMG… Alexander McQueen committed suicide.” I was shocked… and the first thought that came to my mind was, “Holy shit. The world has just lost one of it’s most creative geniuses…”

This photo was taken from "goodfornothingnow.wordpress.com"

After I cried (yes, I cried) I went on Facebook to see how others were reacting to this news… And of course, I was far from being the only devastated Frogge on the island of Manhattan.

When an artist is lost, other artists will feel the pain. No, we may not have known McQueen personally, but in some sense, we are all part of the same community. A community that is trying to make this world a more beautiful, inspiring place to live… My newsfeed was flooded with statuses from my artist friends, all attributed to McQueen…

“I don’t usually do R.I.P.’s however, Alexander McQueen was and is not only a legend but a pioneer in our culture. Truly R.I.P.” Kayvon Zand (Musician)

“I feel sick… and can’t concentrate… I can’t believe the world lost Alexander McQueen, Mr. McQueen you shall be truly missed… you are brilliant!,” Veritee Hill (Designer)

“The man who introduced me to thinking outside the box, Mr. Alexander McQueen has passed. He was a true legend, a pioneer even in our culture. You have become a legend sir. May you rest in peace,” Hunter Thompson (Stylist)

“Devastated over the death of the Great Alexander McQueen
Rest in Peace, I love you forever,” Kariem Younes (Designer)

“Alexander McQueen, the world of fashion cries for you,” Amanda Bermudez (Photographer)

“I was wishing it was just a publicity stunt for an upcoming show… but it seems true… considering they say his mother died a few days before. I can’t even deal. He was the one show I always looked forward to during all these somewhat boring fashion weeks,” Jermaine Jagger (Designer, DJ)

“Word comes of the sudden passing of Alexander McQueen. Yesterday I found myself looking at a collection of his shoes called ‘Plato’s Atlantis.’ His death reminded me of a quote from Plato that I carry in my wallet and on my facebook profile: ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,'” Steve Lewis (Designer, Nightlife Writer)

“Goodbye McQueen. Thank you for touching my life. May you rest in peace,” LadyFag (Nightlife Personality, Writer)

“Saddened and shocked about Alexander McQueen. He was so talented and imaginative. Rest in peace,” Victoria Wallace (Artist, Model)

“Each piece he put out was incredible. I will miss looking forward to his work,” Axel Kohler (Menswear Designer)

As a Frogge who owns many bags (I have been collecting from a very young age, my mother was a buyer for Saks, and I grew up in a fashion-obsessed household) the story is always the same… People just go nuts over my McQueen bags… I mean literally NUTS. Where ever I go, whether it is to a club or to the supermarket, if I am wearing one of my beloved McQueens, at least 2 or 3 people will stop me and say, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BAG?” His designs truly are show-stoppers… conversation pieces that are completely outrageous and classic at the same time… A combination that is almost impossible to attain.

I don’t know what will happen to his label, to the beautiful empire that he has built, but I do know that I will miss waiting for his new collections to come out… And I will miss The Pinkest Sheep of Them All… Mr. Alexander McQueen (March 16th, 1968- February 11th, 2010)

Love your (sad) friend,

The Frogge ❤

RIBBIT OF THE DAY: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” Plato. (Thank you Steve Lewis, for reminding me of this quote that I love so much.)

THE FROGGE has been BLACKBOOKED!

Posted in DJ's, Fashion, Music, Nightlife, NYC Bands, Parties with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by thefrogge

Dearest readers… Happy Sunday! Today is a very special day for The Frogge and I would like to share it with all of you. The Frogge is so pleased and proud to announce that she has been mentioned in the December issue of Blackbook Magazine (page 99 to be exact!) as a nightlife blogger, New York based actress, club kid, and overall important contributor to the New York City nightlife scene.

The article was written by NY nightlife legend Steve Lewis… The man who was behind iconic clubs such as Palladium, Limelight, Tunnel, Danceteria, The World, Red Zone, Club USA, Plaid, Spa, Butter, Marquee, Aspen Social Club and many, many more… (Oh, and did I mention he is in the process of designing 8 new clubs?)

The article is called “The Kids Stay In The Picture” and was inspired by a photo that was taken in 1989 at infamous Michael Alig‘s annual party called The Changing Of The Guard… And here it is…

Michael Alig's 1989 Changing of the Guard Party @ The Red Zone

Exactly 20 years later, Steve Lewis wanted to make it a point that the scene has not disappeared. In fact, it is alive and well. He explains in Blackbook that, “Back in Alig’s day, the annual ‘Changing of the Guard’ party and group photo announced a who’s-who of upcoming club kings and queens. To usher in the new decade, we’ve done the same with the classiest crop of pleasure junkies.” And without further adieu… Here we are…

Club Royalty: The Class of 2010

In case you are wondering just who is in this picture… The Frogge shall explain…

(From left to right in the back row) Mr. HUNTER THOMPSON: Stylist, professional crumper & dead animal collection/ DANZIE: DJ, music specialist & blogger… Check her blog out at zdanz.com/ Mr. SAMUEL VALENTINE: NY nightlife promoter, event host & band booker/ THE FROGGE: writer of THEFROGGE.COM (obviously) & actress/ Mr. PATRICK DUFFY: Owner of Serpentine/ Mr. YING CHU: Fashion designer/ KENDRA MARTYN: Door girl @ The Tribecca Grand Hotel/ AXEL KOHLER: Menswear designer/ EPIPHANY GET PAID: Performance artist/ LAUREN DILLARD: DJ, NY nightlife promoter, event host, musician, member of the band Creep/ APRIL CHALPARA: Band member of Figure Study/ NADIA KOCH: Co-Owner of Home Sweet Home/ ALEX CHAPMAN: Stylist & clothier/ LIBBY BROOCKS: Jazz singer & photographer… Check her pix out on fulltimefriend.com (From left to right in the front row) Mr. JERMAINE JAGGER: Designer & DJ/ WILLIAM MERRELL: Bartender & tooth-and-bone collector/ DJ NITA AVIANCE: DJ at Mr. Black/ ONE-HALF NELSON: Designer, host & overall eccentric/ JAMES COPPOLA: Promoter, event host & founder of fulltimefriend.com…and last but not least… LADYFAG: Performer, writer & nightlife personality.

To quote Lewis in his article, “With Alig tucked away in an exclusive venue with a very tough door: the upstate prison where he remains incarcerated today, a new generation of style-savvy merrymakers has risen to carry the torch.”

NYC nightlife, the real nightlife (cause you know that I am definitely not talking about the dive bar on the corner of 33rd street & 3rd ave.) is more than just “going out and getting some drinks.” (If you treat it that way… well, that’s exactly why  you aren’t in this picture.)

What you have to, need to understand is that nightlife is a place where artists of all kinds (actors, actresses, DJ’s, musicians, writers, designers, stylists, photographers, ect) come together and exchange ideas, exchange creative energy… Whether its hearing a new great song, discovering your new favorite band, seeing a piece of clothing that you just need to have, meeting your new best friend, seeing something that you have never seen before, doing something that you never thought you would do… The nightlife is our perfect fantasy land where we go to escape the mundane… It’s where we go to let our alter egos play with all the other alter egos… To grow, to learn, to see, and most importantly to push the boundaries… to defy normalcy… because nothing is more boring than being normal.

We know that carrying the torch is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, and I couldn’t be more honored that its us.

RIBBIT OF THE DAY: I gotta give the ribbit to Marilyn Monroe when she said, “Imperfection is beauty; madness is genius. And it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” I think this quote perfectly defines the nightlife, the kids, and the beautiful movement that we are a part of.

Love your friend,

THE FROGGE ❤

*A big thank you to Mr. Steve Lewis for writing this beautiful article and giving us kids the recognition that we deserve. Check out his column GOOD NIGHT MR. LEWIS and get your very own copy of Blackbook magazine at a magazine stand near you! (Mila Kunis is on the cover and she looks F’n HOT!!)

A NIGHTLIFE CAROL

Posted in DJ's, Interviews, Nightlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by thefrogge

Good day! Frogge here! And it feels so good to be back! It has been way to long, and all I can say is, life got a little too hectic for a second… So let’s not waste any more precious time! I have a great interview that I have been meaning to put up for DAYS now… so today is your lucky day that I am here to share it with you.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down with nightlife extraordinaire, Steve Lewis. Mr. Lewis has been involved with nightlife longer than I have been alive, so I figured, who better to talk to about nightlife than him? He is the ghost of nightlife’s past, nightlife’s present, and with 8 (yes, 8!) new nightlife spots on the way that he is designing… nightlife’s future.

With that, I present to you… drum roll please! A NIGHTLIFE CAROL… straight from the taco stand at La Esquina to your computer screen!

steve lewis

Steve Lewis on 6/22/09 Saving the Nightlife for the NPC Event! (PS... The Frogge <3's Chloe!)

The Frogge: I am here with Steve Lewis eating tacos at La Esquina… You’re a busy man, so let’s get down to business. How did you get involved with nightlife? What initially attracted you to this crazy world…

Steve Lewis: (He gasps!) Oh my god! I got involved with nightlife because I did fashion shows for a living… I found that doing them in nightclubs, where there were great lights, great sound, and fabulous people, was a lot of fun. I would do an early show for the fashion industry and a late show for the trendies. And I drew thousands of people, so I said, ‘Hey, this nightlife thing works!’ Plus, I was meeting a ton of hot girls…

TF: When you say you ‘did’ fashion shows, what exactly does that mean?

SL: I produced, directed, and choreographed fashion shows. I did Moschino’s first show in America… I did over 400 shows. I had my own modeling agency, my own make up agency, my own PR company. We used the nightclubs, which wasn’t passé at the time. No one had done it before except for Susanne Bartsch who did a show at The Limelight for Vivienne Westwood and I really liked what I saw, I liked how the people reacted…

TF: So that’s how it all began… Let’s talk about now; because I think this is an interesting time for nightlife, lots of changes are being made… The newer spots have kind of re-invented the club, they are taking nightlife in a different direction… Especially with all of these new “gastro-lounges” such as Avenue, or Abe & Arthur’s… What are some of your favorite places in NYC right now?

SL: I like this place that we are, La Esquina… I am going on record saying that it is the best place in town… I like The Jane, I think it’s very cool. I like a lot of small places… I am really looking forward to Serpentine reopening soon… I find myself hanging out at 1Oak a lot lately… that’s about it… Some local bars… I am a dive bar kind of guy… Why are you laughing at me?

TF: Because I know that you don’t even drink! So I don’t know what you would do in a local bar…

SL: What? I can’t go to a local bar and get a club soda?

TF: Of course you can. I take it back. I just personally don’t see the point of drinking club sodas in a dive bar, unless you are with a great friend and are there for the conversation… but hey, agree to disagree! What do you think NYC nightlife needs right now?

SL: It needs diversity. It needs to stop being afraid of different types of people. There few places out there that draw a mixed crowd… Things need to get mixed up a little bit more… Most places these days are just following formulas… You can pretty much predict the music from one club to the next…

TF: AMEN!

SL: My favorite place in town right now going back to your previous question, is Collective Hardware

TF: LOVE CH! LOVEEE…

SL: So, as I’m sure you know, it’s not a club, its more of an art gallery, and when they do an opening, you get a really great eclectic, mixed crowd… and I like the openings, even though the art crowd is the worst crowd in the world…

TF: Excuse me!! I disagree with that statement!!

SL: Well, traditionally the art crowd was a bad crowd because they smelt bad…

TF: L i t e r a l l y ?

SL: Yes, they didn’t shower… But now-a-days it’s a much hotter crowd, the art crowd…

TF: Did you read the article that The Frogge wrote about Collective Hardware?

SL: Oh, no, I didn’t catch that one… Although I love reading The Frogge, I loved The Mad-Hatter article… I thought it was one of the better articles that I have read this year…

TF: Of the year? Nice! I’ll take that compliment! The Frogge thanks you. Anyway… The past few days I have been irritated because I have been hearing a lot of people who think they know something (keyword: think) saying things like, ‘New York is over… London is the new It City.’ How do you feel about that?

SL: Ummm, yeahhh… London is across the pond… So I am not going to ‘commute’ to London on a weekly basis… Plus it sucks because it’s full of Brits.

TF: Agreed… And people say the French are obnoxious!

SL: London is one thing, New York is another. London does not have the racial diversity that NY has. I just think NY is far more diverse… Paris will always be cooler than London…

TF: That’s a given! Tell me something that I don’t know… Tell me what you look for when you are running a club, and you are standing by the door, tell me what makes you let one person in over another… What do you look for? Because I know that is goes deeper than “just being hot.” And I HATE it when people talk smack about clubs, calling them shallow, cause they only let in hot people… I know there is more to it than that.

SL: I look for an opinion. I like when the people present themselves in a way that contributes to the party, I think most people who know how to run a door will say something along those lines. If you aren’t a supermodel, or a rich billionaire that’s going to spend a lot of money, I want them to be people who thought about what they were going to put on… People who are in the community, who are doing something with their lives… an artist… Now if you are a stockbroker, there is nothing wrong with that, but don’t come to my party, I am not interested in you. It’s just not my scene.

TF: You were involved with many, many clubs…

SL: Yes, lots of clubs… Danceteria, The World

TF: Not The World that was in Times Square!

SL: No! Not The World that was in Times Square, that place was a dump!

TF: I know, that’s why we needed to clarify…

SL: The World that I am talking about was on East 2nd Street, it is one of the top five clubs that ever existed…

TF: What are the other four?

SL: You didn’t read my article? I just wrote an article on this…

TF: Of course I read your article, but I want you to tell the people who may not have read your article…

SL: I’ll say this… The World is in the top 5, Studio 54 was top 1… For the other 3, read my article, it was in the August issue of Black Book magazine…

TF: So there is a mystery 3… and if you want to know what they are, you have to go check out Blackbook…

SL: And it’s my five… it’s not necessarily yours…

TF: Well, of course… it can’t be the same as mine because I have only been alive half as long as you… No offense, it’s just a fact…

SL: I am not offended! I am keenly aware of my age… And I like to think of it as experience…

TF: Well it is…

SL: I’m still kicking… But, there has been a lot of great clubs. There is only one club that is open right now that makes my top 25 and that is Bungalow 8

TF: Which, sadly, is pretty much always empty now… Should we have a moment of silence for Bungalow?

SL: But for 7 or 8 years, it had a really strong history… It has a legacy… Bungalow was consistent for many years…

TF: So what were some of the clubs that you actually ran?

SL: Limelight, Tunnel, Palladium, The Red Zone… Plaid, which I think was one of the greatest clubs of all time… Of course no one will agree with me, but I think it was way ahead of its time. It opened up with mash up music… open format, nobody was doing that at the time, there was a band space…

TF: And Courtney Love performed there! I love her!

SL: Yes, she did…

TF: It’s great to speak with you about this because I you are one of the few people who has really been around long enough to see the progression of nightlife, of the clubs, from let’s say, the time of Studio 54 until now… Let’s talk about DJ’s… Who do you love?

SL: Paul Sevigny… I love listening to him, I think he is so much fun, he can do anything. Cassidy is great… even though I am not a big fan of the mash up, but Cassidy mixes in music that the other DJ’s don’t… I have been listening to DJ Berrie a lot, at first I wasn’t sure what to make of him, but he has surprised me lately… Carl Cox, Steve Aoki, Junior Vazquez… he is great… Funk Master Flex, Q-Tip, Mark Ronson… Justine D… Larry T, sometimes… A good DJ can get me out of the house sometimes… Tiesto won’t get me out of the house.

TF: Why would Tiesto get anybody out of the house?

SL: Well, that’s unfair. Tiesto is a stadium DJ… He just doesn’t play the type of music that I am interested in hearing. But, there is no room for musical snobbery.

TF: Did you just call The Frogge a snob?!?!

SL: I think you are a snob!

TF: Uhh, excuse me! I am a little offended, Mr. Lewis. If you are going to make such an accusation, please do explain!

SL: Most people who have a blog, most bloggers are snobs… But I think you have to be a snob to be a blogger… It goes with the territory… I’m a snob too.

TF: Okay, fine… I’m a snob, you’re a snob, we’re all snobs… Moving on… So basically you went from producing fashion shows, to running nightclubs… Now you are designing nightlife spots… How did you get involved with the design aspect?

SL: I got into design because I was always involved with the design process of the clubs that I was going to run. I was involved with the design process of The World… of Club USA… The famous slide of USA, that was me… I redid The Limelight… I always wanted to tweak them for my own needs. At one point, I guess, I did the money deal for Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano, but I was on my way to jail, so I couldn’t run Butter, but…

TF: Wait, hold on, that was a funny little side comment… You were on the way to jail?

SL: Yes, I was on the way to jail. Everybody knows I went to jail. It’s part of my shtick. But, yes, I was on the way to jail, but I had to design Butter… It was the first time that anybody ever asked me to design something that I wasn’t going to run myself…

TF: Not bad to have Butter be the first spot that you designed…

SL: It won best restaurant from Time Out, and some other awards… Now, it’s seven years later and it’s still kicking. So when I got out of jail, design seemed to be the route to go… So I became a designer.

TF: What else have you designed?

SL: People know me for Marquee and Butter. But I did Aspen Social Club… Aspen…

TF: Which are both g o r g e o u s …

SL: Thank you. I also did the restaurant Amalia… One of the rooms at Tao in Vegas… I think it’s called The Buddha Room… Home/Guest House… Prime… There was no budget for Prime, but I did it…  Webster Hall… which I hate… They say they spent over three million on it, but they are lucky if they spent $175,000.

TF: Lies!

SL: I am not going to even get into this now… But I call it Webster Hell! It’s a great concert venue, but it’s one of the worst clubs… maybe the worst club in NY…

TF: Probably the worst club in America… But anyway… It’s important for me to talk about the Nightlife Preservation Community

SL: I began to see a constant attack by the powers that be…

TF: What powers that be? Do you mean cops?

SL: No… The cops are just being used as a tool by the people who are pulling their strings. There are certain people who have other interests in this town… Certain people have decided that every area of NYC is ripe for condo/co-op development… and that there is no room for clubs… The nightclubs are being chased out by the bedroom community. I formed the NPC after getting the go-ahead from the NYNA (New York Nightlife Association) who are great people, they have been fighting for many, many years one their own… So my vision is to, in the next election, endorse 4 or 5 great candidates… by sending out hundreds of thousands of emails to inform people of which candidates support our cause… So we started with a party to announce the formation of the NPC, but a party is just a party, “an announcement.” The real action will take place during the elections… We are going to try to get 4 of 5 people elected who can make the difference.

TF: Do you think this particular problem is what has affected the clubs on 27th street? They used to be great… once upon a time… and now they are kinda blehhh… What do you think caused the fall of 27th street?

SL: The decline of the clubs on 27th street was a disgrace! The clubs were thriving… and then somebody eyed the neighborhood and decided that with The High Line coming… it was a good place to put up condo/co-op developments. So the city re-zoned that area. Originally that area was given to clubs. You could get fast track licenses. The city said, “Yeah, build over here, invest your money, and we won’t bother you!” So Mansion went in there and spent millions! The same with Home/Guest House… Pink Elephant, Marquee, Bungalow, Prime, Suzie Wong, Cain, Sol, Stereo, Ruby Falls… The list goes on… And then somebody eyed the neighborhood, some real estate guys who thought they could make a buck over there… So it was re-zoned to a “mixed-use” neighborhood, and then came the harassment. The police used the excuse of the excuse of that poor girl dying…

TF: Which one? Laura Garza?

SL: No, the one who came out of Guest House. What happened was, she used her old sister’s ID to get into Guest House… Once she was in, she didn’t buy any alcohol in the club. But the point is, she could have boarded a plane with that ID. A real ID, is a real ID. When she came out of the club, her car was towed. She went to the NYC pound, and the NYC police didn’t give her back her car because she was too drunk. Then she wandered out onto the west side highway, where she was kidnapped and tortured to death by some asshole… who ended up being caught, because he used her cell phone… what a bright boy… The point is… the club got blamed… Newspaper headlines blamed the club, when it wasn’t the fault of the club… And then the harassment came… With in just a few years later, many of the clubs closed… Home/Guest House, Bed, Spirit, Sol, Stereo, Secret… And the clubs that are still there… like Pink Elephant, Cain, Bungalow… They are being affected… And this is criminal. And yes, I am using the word CRIMINAL, because I think it really needs to be investigated… I want to know who is pulling these strings… who is making these decisions?

TF: So what happened to the clubs on 27th street, do you think it is similar to what happened to The Beatrice?

SL: The Beatrice was a different story. The Beatrice had different problems… Most of the problems at The Beatrice had to do with smoking…

TF: What kinddd of smoking? (wink, wink.)

SL: Well, I am not going to get into that. The bottom line is, the smoking ban was not dealt with intelligently. The smoking ban states that no one is allowed to smoke inside of a club, which is where the problems started for The Beatrice. People were going outside to smoke and the neighbors were complaining about the noise. I think that if the clubs were allowed to hire police officers to control the noise, this problem could have been easily eliminated. But The Beatrice was not allowed to hire police officers and as I am sure you know, nobody respects regular security guards the way they would an officer…

TF: The Beatrice tried to hire police… and they weren’t allowed? Who didn’t allow them?

SL: The city. Ray Kelly and his administration do not allow the clubs to hire police officers.

TF: And why is that? You would think they would want that… it sounds like a good, safe idea…

SL: He [Kelly] believes that it would spur corruption… But I feel that is just an excuse, of course there are ways around that.

TF: That’s kind of silly… Silly, silly Ray Kelly… Okay, last thing we are going to talk about… your blog… your column, whatever you want to call it… Good Night Mr. Lewis… I really like it, I read it often… How do you find the stories that you write about?

SL: It’s sort of like the world tilts to me now, but in the beginning it wasn’t like that… I had to get out there and scrape around… find interviews… I had no idea what I was doing. Now, I get fifty phone calls a day from people who are pitching me ideas… I think in a year from now I will get most of my stories from leads, from the people who are calling in. But this is what’s happening… People [club owners] feel that a story is going to get out anyway, and a lot of people are turning to me because they know that I will give them a fair shake. They figure, if they give it to me first, they know I will speak the truth about it. They want to make sure that the story gets told correctly, and since I don’t have much of a personal agenda… they figure they can give the story to me first before it ends up on Page Six , Gawker, DBTH, ect. As time goes on, I am getting more and more credibility, people are trusting me, and so more people are talking to me.

TF: Tell the people where they can check out your column!

SL: Blackbookmag.com… under nightlife… Good Night Mr. Lewis. It’s there Monday-Friday… and one article a month that comes out in Blackbook mag…

TF: Closing thoughts: What do you love most about nightlife?

SL: I love the exchange of ideas. The ideas can be expressed through clothing, through music, through conversation, style… I love music… I really do go out to hear music… I like to mix with people… I am single now, and I think one of the best ways to meet people is to say, “Hey, you want a drink?” I like the fact that I can meet different kinds of people in one place… There aren’t a lot of other places where you can exchange the same kind of energy as a club…

TF: What advice would you give to the club owners of today?

SL: Don’t worry about the other guys too much. Worry about your own place. Make sure you own place is good… Do your own thing… Do what you want to do. Stay true to your school. Don’t worry about what the other guy is doing or what you think your crowd will like. If you are in this business, you must know something… so do what you like. Let the club be an expression of yourself… your heart, your soul, your mind… Let it be organic… That’s why The Beatrice and The Jane had success, because they are an expression of Paul… of Matt… of Carlos… The great clubs are a reflection of the person who created it… That’s why Bungalow was great, it was a reflection of Amy Sacco… If you think this business is an easy buck, your gonna fail… If you’re not in this business because you love it, this is not the business for you.

TF: That was a beautiful last line. Let’s end here. Thank you…

SL: Thank you!

So there you have it… A Nightlife Carol with Mr. Steve Lewis… We talked about the past, we talked about the present, and I can not wait to check out his (8) new spots in the future! Especially the one that will be 14th street (It’s in the same spot where The Plumm used to be.) I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one…

RIBBIT OF THE DAY: I’m giving it to Mr. Lewis… “New York City nightlife needs diversity!! It needs to stop being afraid of different types of people!! There few places out there that draw a mixed crowd… Things need to get mixed up a little bit more.”

I agree! Lets stop following the formulas people! Stop playing the same music and the same crap over and over again… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I hear Boom Boom Pow or Poker Face one more time, I will hang the DJ!

We are living in an interesting time… let’s start acting like it!

Love your friend,

The Frogge ❤

PS- Don’t miss out on all the great bands that are playing this week for CMJ! Thursday night PUI will play at SANTOS PARTY HOUSE! 10:30 sharp! Be there! (I hear they have a new drummer who is pretty damn good…)