Let's Get This Party Started Right

In order to open up a nightclub in New York City, you'd better be an angel or a saint. At least, that's the impression I got watching the two-hour song and dance given by Crobar representatives to Community Board 4 last Wednesday night. Club owners Callin Fortis and Ken Barilich did everything to prove that they are model citizens, not like those other club owners (Sleazy, Shady, and Skanky). Fortis and Barilich brought in an army of people to testify before the board—including former Miami Beach mayor Neisen Kasdin, ex-special narcotics prosecutor for New York City Robert Silbering, and, believe it or not, a Tibetan monk, the Venerable Nicholas Vreeland, a liaison for the Tibet Center on 32nd Street, who gamely offered, "I guess I'm here to represent the spiritual side of Crobar." The only people not present to vouch for Cal and Ken: their mothers.

It worked. The board approved 38-8 to open a club on 530 West 28th Street, across the way from the ill-fated Twilo and Tunnel. The space—at 40,000 square feet—is gargantuan, and has been eyed over the years by many club owners, including Peter Gatien, whose name was invoked repeatedly at the meeting, since a Page Six item had linked him to the Crobar peeps. Of course, Fortis and Barilich did everything to distance themselves from the fallen club king. At one point, a community board member read parts from a letter written by Space owner Luis Puig—a competitor of Crobar in South Beach—implying Crobar was in cahoots with Gatien. Apparently, Puig had also set his sights on the West 28th Street spot, but after turning down an offer from Gatien, claimed that Gatien told him he'd "never have that building." Puig suggested Crobar and Gatien had set up a similar partnership deal.

Fortis denied an association, stating that the charges were "put out there intentionally to hurt us," and told the board, "Luis Puig and Peter Gatien would have made terrific partners." Ouch.

If Fortis and Barilich are in a deal with Gatien, they are doing a fine job of pissing on his already tarnished image. Next step for the dapper, tall-and-tanned Adonis Crobar boys—a week's vaca, and hopefully approval from state and city agencies for a real superclub.


Celebrities, schmelebrities. Who needs 'em when you've got Felix da Housecat in the house? The newly crowned king of electro was in town with his very deeeeruuuuunk glamour pusses, Glamorama, and spun an impromptu set at Adrienne Day and Eric Demby's monthly Plant Bar bash, Permaculture. The evening's scheduled guest, Brett Dancer, played lovely deep house, but word on the street was that Felix would come with records. He did, announcing himself loud and clear with his hit "Silver Screen Shower Scene." Earlier in the evening he had told me, "I'll just play a few," but after two hours in the booth he kept shouting, "One more!" like a kid in a candy store. This is from the same man who once told me he has so much fun playing records that he forgets to get his money for the gig.


Ministry of Sound U.S. may have big bucks for Fischerspooner, but they don't have enough for one of their A&R heads, who got the ax a few weeks ago. But contrary to the word on the street, the U.S. branch—with five New York employees—isn't going under. A source confirmed that Ministry-U.S. is entering into a "multi-tiered deal" of sorts with MCA, which will handle distribution and feed funds to the imprint. "There is a possibility that there will be some kind of structural change to better integrate us into MCA, but what that shape is will be determined," said my source. "I can't tell you that the team we have today will be the same three months from now."


Funny, fantastic tidbit of the week: I hear Peaches and Lil' Kim—potty-mouthed pornographic sisters-in-arms—will be collaborating on Kim's next record! Maybe Kim will show Peaches the way to basic hygiene: "Here's the razor, this here is a bar of soap, and here are some scissors to cut that ugly mullet off!" Mullets are bad enough, but curly ones? Ew.


tromano@villagevoice.com

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