My Home Is My Kastel
The much-anticipated opening of Kastel in the Trump Soho had me and my pal Stretch Armstrong on the 1’ and 2’s. That’s DJ jargon referring to the equipment we disc jockey professionals use. In this case it was 1’s and 2’s and 3’ and 4’s and so on, as state-of-the-art, up-to-the-minute gear, was of course installed. All the DJs that came by coo’ed something like, That’s the new blankety blank or the new thingamajig. The new stuff had me baffled, fluxed and perplexed for the first 30 minutes of my set. When Stretch showed up and needed to get his Serato (another DJ pro term) hooked up, it was all too confusing. The booth became packed with more “glad to lend a helping hand” dudes than Jenna Jameson’s table at a porn convention.
Your humble servant moi was DJing like he was playing Twister, reaching through wires and arms and flashlights to tuck DVDs of questionable taste under, over and through the crew. I did the first hour and a half and then Stretch and I ping-ponged back and forth one record at a time. He made me look good. I remembered him to be the first person on the scene to use the Serato and telling people it was the next big thing. He said he was actually the second. Management wants to keep the volume down and the energy up, but not out, as it is a lounge. I found it fun to work at. The only problem with DJing there once you get used to the new stuff is the DJ can’t feel or hear the room from the booth easily.
Kastel was packed with an opening night crowd of beautiful well-dressed people and of course some of my friends. It was suit heavy and refreshingly older than most of the joints out there. The owners and operators of half the joints in town came by to check it out. They saw a perfect place to steal their early crowd. The theory seems to be that Kastel will serve the post-dinner/pre-club needs of New York city’s finest. It should easily find that niche. It’s small enough and very well appointed by the Rockwell Group of design professionals. Yesterday I asked my thousands of Facebook friends what the first song should be for this Trump hotel nightclub. I received many suggestions, some of which I will be able to print here. Tons including the real “E” Eric Weinstein said “Money” by various artists. Others offered the Talking Heads “This Must Be The Place,” or “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Eye Of The Tiger,” “Banquet” by Bloc Party, the Star Wars Theme, “Heart of Glass,” “Praise You” by Fat Boy Slim, “Let’s Dance” or a Marshall Jefferson house track. Mega star DJ Mark Kamins suggested Gil Scott Heron”s “The Revolution Will Be Televised.” Someone suggested “I Wish I Could Be There,” but I didn’t know if that was a song or a come on. The final answer was “Let The Good Times Roll” by the Cars, because that’s the way I roll.
I loved the gig, the room, the party, the very helpful staff and most of all Nicola Siervo, and Nicola Schon and Rony Seikaly and Karim Masri who honored me by letting me DJ. I also have to especially thank Manny Del Castillo who offered me the gig. Manny is a managing partner of Griffin. He has accepted the position of Music/Creative Director for Kastel & Bar D’eau. I asked Manny if this put him in a conflict of interest situation with Griffin, and he said “I would like to stress that I’m Reda’s right hand, creating concepts and coming up with the vision for all his venues, Room Service & Griffin. I’m trying to get away from the promoter/promotional director stereotype. At Griffin I was responsible for bringing in Dizon & Lewis (that’s me, yes it’s a very incestuous business) for the design and Milk and Honey for cocktails, amongst other things.”