Good Night Mr. Lewis: Looking Good on ‘Paper’ & Popping Frank Owen
[UPDATE: Frank Own is not amused.]
Paper Magazine’s 4th Annual Nightlife Awards seemed to me to be a must-attend event. Still, it was a cold Sunday night, and Mansion is way over there, and it was hard for me to get going. My “dates” for the evening, my lovely girlfriend Nicole and the beautiful blogger Brittney Mendenhall of Chichi212 opted out, and so I tivo’d Entourage and went alone. Mansion was a madhouse, packed with nominees and their followings. It was a party like 1994. I ran into Guest of a Guest blogger Rachelle Hruskas’ special friend, Olympian rower and all around good guy Cameron Winklevoss, as he smuggled a turkey sandwich into the joint. Rachelle’s table was packed with the beautiful Princeton types and fabulous funsters that have adopted my wonderful blogging buddy. Rachelle was all dressed up with a great place to go, as this event had everyone dancing on tables. It was one of those times when the potential of a new nightlife, of a new era in clubbing, seemed possible. I wrote a long time ago how this was possible, even inevitable, and I thought Mansion might be the club to do it. Mansion really hasn’t done that, but it has survived and thrived and is generating tons of loot, which is more than something in this day.
I ran into Mansion honcho Mark Baker, my dear friend. We looked around the room at the splendid crowd, and it seemed clear to me that Mark was very comfortable with this mix. Mansion came up a little short on the fabulous end. With all the politics and ghosts of dead clubs still haunting the place, it never became all things to all people, but it is printing money, and the crowd isn’t bad by any means. It’s just not the mixed bag and banging like the days Mark and I remember well. I asked him what he’s going to do after this. He asked, “You mean tonight?” “No,” I said. “After Mansion.” He said, “That’s a while off,” and then talked about exotic and warm places, and we chatted about one day working together again. Mark’s a gentleman, and I think if Daniel Craig gets tired of his Bond gig, Mr. Baker should step right in. Tia Walker towered over me in higher-than-a-club-kid-at-the-Tunnel heels, and she was awed by the pretty people in their pretty clothes. I offered that “this might be the best night Mansion has ever seen.” She agreed and posed with me for a photograph.
Rachelle then took me up to meet Down by the Hipster blogger Scott Solis. I like Matt and I love his blog; although we’ve traded potshots, I think it’s all been pretty civil. I had made a ridiculous statement last week, which I had thought was off the record, but my lovely assistant Nadeska (a.k.a. Nasdaq) Alexis decided it was blogworthy. Scott ripped me on it, and I thanked him for that. I deserved the slap. As we were chatting, DBTH target extraordinaire Matt Levine came up to me to say hey. I introduced him to Scott, and the exchange was uncomfortable. Matt kept on insisting he is “a nice guy” and undeserving of the treatment he gets at Scott’s hands. Scott insisted the treatment was fair. In a short while, a semi-truce was negotiated. Matt Levine is a nice guy who has opened a nice little joint for his friends, the Eldridge. I go there. I like it. But since it’s around 900 square feet, it really can’t be all things to all people.
I went over to my assigned table, which was hosted by Paper honcho David Hershkovitz. He thought I wasn’t coming, as I had declined my nomination for Best Blog. I told him I felt that Paper Magazine skews more for other bloggers, like Guest of a Guest and Down by the Hipster. I totally support the awards but didn’t like the format of “People’s Choice” when any motivated citizen could vote for their favorite club category a thousand times. Besides, my blog had already been awarded the Village Voice Best of 2008, and my ego is big enough. I had thrown my support behind Guest of a Guest. At table 33 was Frank Owen, the author of Clubland, a book which tried to give an accurate look into the world of Peter Gatien, Michael Alig, and myself and the events that caused our hard fall from grace. David H. sheepishly tried to introduce me to poor Frank, who I considered a friend at one time.
Frank immediately reported to me that he had heard from “at least two sources that [I] had said some unkind and unfair things” about him. I told him I don’t like talking behind people’s backs and got into his face. I recalled how in his book he told of a confession I had made to the DEA. This confession was thrown out of court, as it never happened. I had turned myself in to the DEA guys and had a lawyer five seconds after they called me on the phone telling me to return to New York to meet them. That “confession” was merely a script that they wanted me to repeat in court. I was promised freedom if I played along. The script was lies, and I never agreed to play ball and took the shot. Frank knew this and put in the lie for sensationalism. When the book came out, I confronted him. He promised to correct the mistake. He never has. Last night, he denied it was ever written. I said, “Read your own fucking book” and got really close to popping the fool in his nose. But I am a kinder, gentler Uncle Steve and left the ass to go hang with the fabulous. He pleaded with me that he was my friend, and I told him he was no friend of mine. I should have popped him. Oh well, maybe next time. Frank can’t be too far from the Heinekens, so I’m sure I’ll see him again.
Paparazzo Steve Sands told me of a dispute he was having over at the Eldridge and how he might need me to mediate; then he said he probably had it covered, as Matt Levine really is a nice guy. Patrick McMullan took a zillion photos of me posing me with various beauties, as I was solo, apparently a major faux pas in nightlife photography. Patrick told me that last Friday was the 25th anniversary of the opening night of the Limelight. He also told me his son Liam had turned 21. I remember Liam as a baby being shown off to my generation at places like Mudd Club and Danceteria, back when crowds looked like this one. I asked Patrick why no one thought of doing an anniversary party for the Limelight. His head tilted, and he gave me that, “I thought you were a smart guy look,” and I remembered Frank and the book. Q-tip was on stage getting his best party award. He seems so comfortable in his present career. He’s a really nice guy too. I then posed for my favorite nightlife photographer, Gina Sachi Cody. She dragged some smiley people over to pose with me as well. She tried to teach me how to smile. I told her two wives tried for decades to no avail.
Kenny Kenny, presenting the Best Promoter statue, pointed out that there were no gay promoters nominated, and there were certainly a few good ones that should have been considered. He is surely correct. He also shamelessly promoted his own new Sunday party with Susanne Bartsh over at Greenhouse. Michael Musto, announcing the Best DJ category, noted that Samantha Ronson could not attend as “she was busy inside Lindsay Lohan and that I’m happy if she’s happy.” I think most of us are happy for both of them. Lindsay was such a mess when I used to see her out. Samantha is a really nice … well, I’m so happy they’re happy too. Spencer Product, who’sSantos’ Party House won Best Club, dedicated his trophy to my late friend Arthur Weinstein, and that made me happy. Still a little miffed because I didn’t pop Frank Owen, I recalled Arthur’s famous mantras “forgetabout it” and “shut up,” so I did and will now.
Oh I forgot — the statues by Kid Robot were amazing, and now I want one. Alas, Down By the Hipster won Best Blog, and I congratulate him. In his speech, which could barely be heard above the Mark Ronson beats, Scott thanked Matt Levine for providing him with so much fodder. Matt Levine is really a really nice guy, and I’m happy he and Scott are chatting. Really.