Monday, August 30, 2010

Nightlife Police, New NIMBYs and the Continuing Smoking Struggles

The Nightlife Report
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

A New Influx of New York NIMBYs (The Wall Street Journal)
More residential skyscrapers are going up, which means more conflict between the nightlife industry and rich NIMBYs

The NYC Police Cabaret Unit (The Wall Street Journal)
The NYPD is reinstating its Cabaret Unit, which could be good news or bad news for New York nightlife.

The Potential of E-Cigarettes (The Wall Street Journal)
Are E-Cigarettes the anwser to the NYC Nightlife Smoking Ban? Probably not. City Hall will most likely ban them too.

Smoking Problems (Guest of a Guest)
Unlucky Strike: Juliet Supper Club In Cigarette-Related Trouble...Maybe they should try e-cigarettes...

New Venues
BlkMarket (Midtown)
Lamb’s Club (Midtown)
Tzigan (Meatpacking)
The Whiskey Brooklyn (Brooklyn)
XIX (Lower East Side)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bottle Service, Noisy Bar Crackdowns and Racial Profiling in Nightlife

The Nightlife Report for August 19, 2010
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Bottle Service History (New York Magazine)
A short history on "universally despised" nightlife staple, including a reference to a time when buying a bottle actually saved you money...

Noisy Bar Law(New York Press)
New law will revoke the liquor licenses of "noisy" bars. Score another win for the NIMBYS:

Racial Profiling in Nightlife (Gothamist)
Former Bolmor employees accuse management of racial profiling to exclude unwanted patrons. It's ignorant and underhanded if its true, but most modern venues serve niche markets and race figures into that calculation. The only difference is the level of subtlety in the execution...

Top Ten Party Cities (Ask Men)
Ask Men provides a list of the top party cities of the past 100 years including London, Ibiza, Dubai and of course... NYC

New Venue Announcement
Living Room Downtown (Financial District)
Plunge Park Avenue (Midtown East)
Silkstone (Chinatown)
Theater Bar (Tribeca)
White Noise (East Village)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Idle Hands, Salon Millesime, Sankey's and Nightlife Security

The Nightlife Report for August 12, 2010

Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

...we hunt down the nightlife news so you don't have to...

Idle Hands
The old Save the Robots space in Alphabet City is reopening as a bar that combines high end bourbons with rock n’ roll.

Salon Millesime
The new lounge inside the Carlton Hotel in Murray Hill will be a coffee bar during the day and a live music lounge at night.

The Manchester mega club plans to open a sister venue across the pond molded in the style of old school favorites Twilo, Sound Factory and Vinyl. If you listen very closely you can already hear the nostalgists moaning that the venue will never work.

NYS Re-writing Rules for Nightlife Security
What does a security guard in Macy’s and a security guard in Love have in common? They both get the same training to do their jobs even though they have very different jobs under very different circumstances. The state legislature is currently debating changes to the rules that would require more background checks and training for anyone involved in nightlife security. The new regulations are still being hammered out and while new rules will improve security inside venues, it won’t do very much to improve security outside a venue where most of the violence occurs.

Have fun.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gin Wigmore: NZ Rock Invades America

By Gamal Hennessy

New York Nights wraps up its focus on nightlife and music by spotlighting a new face in American music. Virginia “Gin” Wigmore is a chart topping signer/ songwriter in New Zealand who has played with established American artists like John Mellancamp and Sheryl Crow. She sat down with me at the Hudson Hotel last weekend as a part of her second US multi-city tour to discuss stage performances, nightlife neighborhoods and the draw of New York City.

GH: You were sixteen when you did your first performances. Tell me about that experience.
GW: I was incredibly nervous when I first started. I was very intimidated by the thought of performing in front of a crowd. Then I looked out into the audience and realized that there were only six people sitting out there. It was just a couple of my friends and a few homeless guys who were there free drinks. My stage fright was much easier to deal with after that.

GH: So why did you stop doing those shows?
GW: The open mic show had a winner every night and one night I won. When I went to collect my massive $6 prize, they asked me for my name, age and all that stuff. When they found out I was too young to be in a bar they kicked me out and told me I couldn’t come back without my dad.

GH: So you would have been better off if you lost the contest?
GW: Yeah, I should have let them keep their $6.

GH: I assume that when you played in New York for the first time there were a lot more people in the audience.
GW: Absolutely. We did our first show at the Cutting Room. The place was packed with media people, record executives and folks like that. It was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever done. It’s one of the things I love about playing in New York.

GH: Why is it so important to you to play here when you’ve had so much success in Australia and New Zealand?
GW: When you are growing up as a musician in any country, you want to get to America and you specifically want to get to New York City. That’s the pinnacle of live performance. The only way you could be a bigger deal is if you did a show on Mars or something.

GH: You mean playing in really large venues here?
GW: Not really. Once you get to New York, it could be a tiny little place or a big hall. The key is getting a show in New York. We’ve done some amazing sets at places like the Mercury Lounge, and I would have loved to play at a place like CBGB before it closed down.

GH: So what types of spots do you like to hang out in when you’re in New York?
GW: I love spending time in Greenwich Village at spots like the Spotted Pig and I really want to go back to areas like Park Slope and the East Village. I’d probably get a place over there if I could.

GH: Are you planning to move to the City eventually?
GW: Yeah, once my plans for worldwide domination fall into place. It won’t be long now.

You can see Gin’s latest videos on Youtube or visit her Website to find out more.

Have fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The New Nightlife Era

It’s a slow week in nightlife because a lot of the nightlife media is focusing less on the night to night details and more on the big picture. Steven Lewis posted a piece on the lack of originality in current nightlife music. Scott Solish did a piece comparing the creativity of past eras with modern nightlife. Another promoter associate of mine started a discussion on how hard it was to draw in a large mixed group (in terms of sexual preference, race and income) these days compared to the Limelight, Studio 54 era. On a certain level, all these writers touch on a central theme that needs to be understood by nightlife patrons and operators; the culture, society and technology has changed. Nightlife has changed with it.

There is a long list of reasons why nightlife isn’t, can’t be and won’t be what it was in the past. Higher real estate costs prompted the bottle service business model. The AIDS crisis killed many of the most creative personalities in the industry. Social networks don’t give anyone a chance to escape into the nightlife world because everything they do could be recorded forever and available to everyone instantly. Digital music and iPods mean that patrons have 24/7 control of their music now so they are rarely willing to branch out and listen to something new that a DJ might offer. Smoking is banned, dancing is illegal and noise is a crime too. With all these negative pressures, New York should be amazed and proud that we have a nightlife industry at all.

But for all the changes in nightlife, there are some things that have not changed. We still go out looking for acceptance, consumption, connection, entertainment and sex. We still want some kind of release from our daylight routines. And we can still find creativity and originality in New York nightlife. We can still make connections with people we never would have met any place else. You might have to go a little bit farther or look a little bit harder, but its out there. You might have to leave your comfort zone, but it is worth the trip. Nightlife isn’t what it was 20 years ago, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

Have fun.