news kids. The first of what will I hope be many nightclub
openings is set to take place on Sunday, September 14, when
our beloved house of worship, Limelight, reopens its doors
as the newly christened Avalon.
Ever since its original disco makeover some 20 years ago,
the de-consecrated church has endured a scandalous saga. When
savvy entrepreneur (and longtime Roxy promoter) John Blair
acquired the embattled venue last year with his Flatiron Group
partners, it seemed that the legendary dance emporium had
finally been rescued from its disgraced reputation.
But after extensive renovations and much hype, the hotspot’s
last incarnation as Estate proved short-lived. Earlier this
year, Blair put the property up for sale and began looking
for new partners who shared his vision for revitalizing New
York’s increasingly precarious nightlife scene.
Enter John Lyons and Steven Adelman, proprietors of Boston’s
famed Avalon nightclub (among other related ventures), actor
Bruce Willis, and entertainment conglomerate Clear Channel.
Suddenly the infamous temple of temptation is on a fast track
for a mid-September revival. Hallelujah!
Lyons, the mastermind behind his other clubs’ impeccable
audio and lighting installations (and those used on Pink Floyd’s
tours), is making the appropriate modifications at Avalon
to ensure a transcendent sensory experience.
Adelman’s impressive resume, which includes opening
Roxy in 1990 as director, moving on to Limelight in 1992 in
the same capacity, and similar subsequent stints at Palladium,
Club USA and Tunnel, suggests the man knows his way around
The Clear Channel alliance will generate a steady stream
of early evening concert bookings, while Willis transforms
the former Giger Room into the ultra-exclusive Spider Club.
Inspired by LA’s infamous Viper Room, entry into this
VIP glamour retreat will require membership, except on Sundays
when the gay boys (and their admirers) will enjoy free reign
of the joint. The private lounge will be unveiled in late
Avalon’s newly ordained Sunday night resident DJ will
be a circuit veteran, Los Angeles-based Manny Lehman. He’ll
rotate weekly ministerial duties with local DJs Chad Jack,
Alex Lauterstein and Gomi.
Just a few days prior to Avalon’s rite of passage,
Lehman will make his off-Broadway debut at DJ Connection:
Boys’ Night on Wednesday, September 10, at De La Guarda.
Lehman follows in the footsteps of fellow luminaries like
Peter Rauhofer, John Creamer, Josh Wink and Satoshi Tomiie
to DJ a special edition of the frenetic show at the Daryl
With Lehman at the helm and gay boys in the audience, this
is one show you won’t want to miss. Just be sure to
wear comfortable shoes (you’ll be standing) and be prepared
to get wet. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or on the Web,
go to www.delaguarda.com.
Junior’s Experiment in Cryogenics
Admittedly, I felt guilty as I entered Roxy this past Sunday
afternoon at 2 p.m., foolishly abandoning the gorgeous summer
weather that’s been far too scarce this year. But it
was Junior Vasquez’s birthday, and if friends could
travel from Boston and Miami for the occasion, then I could
certainly join them in the darkness.
Cleverly marketed as “The Ice Age” (an obvious
attempt to quash any fears that Roxy would become the disco
inferno that broke the spirit of so many revelers during Pride),
the party held great promise. And for the most part, it delivered.
While shows are often the weakest links at Junior’s
parties, things were thankfully different this time.
During my 10-hour Roxy occupation, I enjoyed Joi Cardwell’s
spectacular vocal talents, RKM’s surreal onstage antics
and arctic décor — it was quite refreshing to
see Roxy properly decorated; the penguins were a nice touch.
Guy Smith’s lighting effects were mesmerizing.
But I was most impressed by L.A. performance artist Flava’s
intense energy and flawless choreography during Beyoncé’s
“Crazy In Love.” Totally reminiscent of Miami’s
Power, both in execution and appearance. Bravo!
Raphaella’s highly anticipated rendition of Madonna’s
“Frozen” unfortunately fell a little flat (not
to mention extremely late — 11 p.m.). But perhaps subtlety
and simplicity were the objectives for this ethereal, thematically
appropriate selection. The requisite cake presentation, sing-along,
and other birthday frivolity was carried out by the lovely
Candis Cayne (on roller-skates) and Amanda Lepore (channeling
The party was not, however, free of faults. The music had
more dropouts than a juvenile boot camp. This may not necessarily
bother everyone, but I just don’t see the point of starting
and stopping the music so frequently, sometimes even several
times within a single song.
When it was actually playing, I thought the selection of
music was great. I particularly enjoyed classics like Mary
J. Blige’s “Your Child” and “Who Do
You Love” by Deborah Cox. I’m just sorry I had
to wait until almost midnight to hear them, because I was
far too tired by that point to carry on. Word on the street
is that the party officially ended around 2:30 a.m. Whew!
Until next time — Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Yourself.