Stonewall, Nightlife Culture and Gay Rights in America

By Gamal Hennessy

The modern era of gay rights in America can be traced back to a small bar in New York’s West Village. When a group of transvestites refused to go into the bathroom to have their genitals inspected to determine their gender, it marked a turning point in the relationship between homosexuals and heterosexuals in the US. To a large extent it also changed the perception of homosexuals about themselves. The annual Pride Parade, positive gay figures in the media, debates on gay marriage and open sexual orientation in military service are all a by-products of the first Stonewall Incident.

Nightlife culture has a social impact that goes beyond bottle service and DJs. It is an environment that pushes the envelope of American culture as a whole. Historically, it is the space where minorities and homosexuals felt accepted when they weren’t accepted anywhere else. It is where modern music and fashion trends are tested before they slip into the mainstream. It is where social protests and movements from anti-Prohibition crime to the start of the gay rights movement found their home. If more progress is going to be made, it may very well continue where it started. Even if common society’s apathy, red state mentality or tabloid media slurs continue to promote division and hate, nightlife can and should be a haven for those who need a place to get away from the negative elements of society. Natives need to protect each other.

As New York celebrates LGBT Pride in parades and parties, we should keep in mind the importance that nightlife culture has played in providing a social haven and building the communities that drive progress in America.

Have fun.

How to Find Live Music in 2012 (Websites, Apps and Social Media)

By Gamal Hennessy

I hear a lot of good music when I go out. I also hear quite a few suspect DJ’s, bartender iPods and other random forms of bad music in bars and lounges. This is not a recipe for a good time. To reverse this disturbing trend, I decided to start 2012 by going to see more up and coming live musicians play.

As well intentioned as this idea was, it created a big question: How would I find music I liked without wasting time seeing bands I had no interest in? There are thousands of good musicians who play in New York every year, but I’m like you, I don’t have a lot of time to sift through a lot of white noise. I started looking for ways to focus in on the bands that sounded good to me and avoid everything else.

Like any other problem in 2012, I tried to solve it with an app* or a website. My research has led me to a few contenders that each attempt to connect you to the music you want to hear. This is by no means an extensive survey, but hopefully it will help you find your way to a decent show or two.

Live Music Apps

Gigbeat: The best thing about this app is that it only finds the concerts of artists you want to hear. When you download the app, it scans all the music on your phone, compares it to a database of artists on tour, and then gives you the listings of every musician you listen to who is currently performing. It will also give you an alert to let you know when your artist is playing in your area and allow you to buy tickets to the show.

But the reliance on your music collection is also the worst part of the app. By definition, music discovery isn’t part of the experience because it will only tell you about artists you already know. Also, there is a lot of information on this app about shows you probably can’t go to. It’s all well and good to know that your favorite singer is playing in Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo this month, but if you live in Brooklyn that’s not really helpful. Gigbeat is good, but a function that can suggest similar local artists to the ones on your phone would bridge the gap to make this app completely amazing.

Gigbox: This app has several layers that make it a good source for shows. It focuses on your location and pulls upcoming performances. When you scroll down and find something you like, you can add the event directly to your calendar, share the event with your friends, buy tickets, read the bio of the artist and see videos of them from Youtube. You can also search for specific artists and venues, but this function didn’t work as well as the location search.

As a music discovery tool, Gigbox works well. For every artist in the database, it also cross references with similar artists and the ability to see and hear them before you go to the bar is key. Once upon a time people were willing to hang out in bars and listen to new bands hoping to find something special. But this is New York in 2012. Who has time to sit through 10 bad to semi average bands to find one good one?

JamBase: JamBase is unique because it has both a website and an app, although neither one is very appealing. The website will allow you to search for artists and shows around the world and once you find something you like you can buy tickets, add it to your calendar, buy their music via iTunes, read articles about the artist, join contests and a lot of other different things. The app is a stripped down version of this. You can still add the event to your calendar and get a map to the venue but I found the rest of the interface rather clunky and annoying to use.

The major downside of both aspects of JamBase is the lack of samples. There is a lot of information to wade through on this site and when I was done I didn’t feel like I was any closer to deciding on where I wanted to go. I would avoid this site and the app until they clean up the interface and provide more solid discovery aspects.

Last FM: A lot of the apps on this list are powered by, which is surprising considering how unfriendly this app turns out to be. It has functions featured shows, recommended shows and local shows, but it looks like none of those functions work unless you pay for the service. I can’t tell you how much that service is or if it is worth it because I never checked. There are too many other free services out there to pay for a subscription. I guess that’s why has to make money licensing its system to other apps.

Live Concert: This app allows you to import information from other music services (Soundkick and and then lets you search for shows in your area. As a stand-alone app, Live Concert is redundant. It offers the barest of information about the shows, no suggestions or samples that I saw and no ability to export the show information out of the app. It also crashes sometimes, so it’s probably best to skip this one altogether.

Live & Local: This app sponsored by MTV will access your Facebook music likes and then suggest local shows based on your preferences. It sounds good in theory, but the execution was very underwhelming compared to the other apps. It took me several tries to get it to work at all and when it did analyze my preferences it only gave me two shows compared to the dozens offered up by the other services. This service needs a lot more integration and functionality before it is useful as a live music source.

Reverbnation: This might be the best website for live music discovery. Once you create a profile, you can search by artist, genre, location and date range. As you browse through the results, you can hear samples, save shows to your profile, buy tickets and reach out directly to the artist through FB, Twitter or the Reverbnation social network. As a music discovery site, this has almost everything you need to plan weeks and weeks of live music.

Unfortunately, there is a downside. Reverbnation has an app, but it is for musicians, not for fans. You can get to this website on your phone, but the experience is much better on a computer.

Technology has made live music much more rare in New York nightlife, but it can also lead you directly to the live music you want to see. If you have another site or app that belongs on this list, let me know. I’m always looking for more info.

Have fun.

* All the apps listed here are available in the Android app store. They might be available for iPhone too, but I can’t confirm or deny that.

On the Make: Nightlife as a Lifeless Sham

By Gamal Hennessy
On the Make takes a critical look at image management in thenightlife setting. Using Philadelphia as a case study, the book explores the motivationsand tactics of various groups to deceive, manipulate and hustlepeople for various ends. While the book does offer insight into the intriguesof social interaction, the tone drains almost all pleasure from the actors. Itleaves you wondering why anyone would engage in the experience at all.
The central idea behind On the Make is that nightlife can beseen as a series of con jobs or hustles. These are designed by the con artistto separate the victim from something valuable by offering them somethingworthless (or very close to it) in exchange. Club owners create artificialenvironments and force their employees to engage in false friendship orflirting to separate the patrons from their money. Public relations companies,local media and promoters make up flimsy events and pay celebrities to show upat venues in the hopes of luring the naïve and desperate. Men engage in complexrituals to solicit sexual contact from women and prove their masculinity tomen. Women use more complex (and more successful) tactics to counteractlecherous men, acquire drinks and special treatment and pursue their own sexualconquests. Everyone participates in and has knowledge of a thinly veiled façadedesigned to create and control image. In nightlife, no one and nothing is whatit seems.  
There is a significant portion of every urban populationthat avoids the club scene because they see it as “artificial.” That group willfind a lot of ammunition for their position in this book. Most of the workpaints a negative, predatory picture of nightlife culture. It also largelyignores two important facts. First, image management or hustles are notexclusive to nightlife. They are the common mode of conduct in everyday life.The way most of us act at school, work or at home on a daily basis is as muchof an act of deceit as anything that happens in nightlife. Avoiding nightlifein an attempt to avoid fake people or because you don’t want to put on an actis futile. Those people and that act are part of your everyday life.
The other thing that Mr. Grazian and other nightlifeopponents ignore is the cultural components of nightlife that are fundamentalto the experience. Even if you eliminate or discount the musical, fashion, and gastronomiccontributions of nightlife culture, the social aspect cannot be discounted. Theinteraction between people for camaraderie, sexuality and self-expression canbe exercised in nightlife in ways that are not acceptable in professional orfamily life. More importantly, the pleasure and release that can come fromnightlife culture does not occur in other aspects of life. Nightlife may infact be an illusion, but it is an illusion that makes reality worthwhile forthe people who enjoy it.
Have fun.

Notes from the Night: A Nightlife Culture Review

By Gamal Hennessy

This is simultaneously the best and worst book ever written about New York nightlife. 

It is the best book because Taylor Plimpton captures the rituals of going out with a style that evokes every emotion involved with this intricate process. He describes the reluctance of being dragged out for yet another night and the anticipation of getting ready. He contrasts the ambivalence of the pre-game drinks with the struggle to get into hot clubs. He compares the arrogance that comes from getting into a club to the jaded cynicism of being around so many people who pretend not to care. 

He shows you the comfort of being with friends and the anger of being provoked by strangers, the pleasure and pain of drinking, the urge to dance and the fear of not dancing well, the attraction to beautiful women and the futility of trying to pick them up, the drained feeling that comes at the end of a long the night and the desperate desire for the night to never end, the frustration that comes from never find what he is looking for in nightlife and the contentment that comes from a good night out. Plimpton describes one night but in a certain sense he describes every night in this world in a writing style that is equal parts insightful and naïve. 

It is worst book because reading it can easily lead to the impression that the "exclusive club" experience is all that nightlife in New York is about. He specifically leaves out any reference to the bar and lounge environment, the live music scene, the underground venues and all the other types of nightlife that make New York unique. He never comes to grips with the idea that his nightlife culture is only a slice of a larger whole and that for all the allure of his scene, he is missing out on much of what New York has to offer. 

I highly recommend this book. It is a very good description of New York nightlife for anyone who can't experience it firsthand. It will also bring back a lot of fond memories for anyone who has actually lived this life.

Have fun. 

Why Should You Care About Nightlife Culture?

By Gamal Hennessy
When I talk to people about being an advocate for nightlife culture, the first question I usually hear is “Why should I care about nightlife culture?” It is a good question. This is my good answer.
Nightlife culture is central to the quality of life of acity and the people who live in it. Without a thriving nightlife culture, our social dynamic is crippled. When that aspect of a city is gone students, tourists and young professionals migrate to other areas to find that connection. Without a thriving nightlife culture, the artistic and creative community withers. When that happens, the economy and reputation of a city falls dramatically because people do not feel drawn to that environment. The health and progress of a cityis directly related to the health of its nightlife culture.
Nightlife culture in New York is complex and multilayered.It has fostered our arts. It has shaped the relationships between people of different classes, races and backgrounds. It has attracted people from all over the world to visit, live and work here. It is as much a part of our history and identity as Wall Street, Times Square or Fifth Avenue.
In recent years, nightlife culture has been damaged by political, economic and technological changes. Nightlife has been marked as a scapegoat and held responsible for urban crime and a lower quality of life. Rampant gentrification, higher real estate costs and contradictory urban planning has created conflict between nightlife and local communities. Advancements in digital technologies and fragmenting entertainment markets havestifled many traditional creative outlets in nightlife. While nightlife culture continues to grow and adapt, it has suffered recently.
So care about nightlife culture because it is the real reason why you go out. It is one of the reasons you live in New York City. Understand that it is important to everyone whether or not they patronize nightlife venues. Expose yourself to the cultural side of nightlife and experience everything it has to offer. Most importantly care about nightlife culture to make sure that it isn’t further eroded to the point wherethe city completely loses its artistic and social prominence.
Have fun.

Sutra Celebrates Seven Years as a Hip Hop Icon

By GamalHennessy

Most clubsin New York City do not last very long. Normally, a club can go from thehottest place on Earth to closed in 3-5 years. For a club to last more than 5years and still be relevant is a rare and wonderful thing.

Clubs thatstay opened the longest rely on good management and a reputation for particulartype of music. There is a club on the corner of 1st Street and 1stAvenue that is still going strong after 7 years.  Its owner has been a strong supporter ofnightlife culture who has built a haven for both underground and mainstream hiphop at a club called Sutra. I sat down with Ms. Ariel Palitz on the seventhanniversary of the space to discuss the impact that it has had on the LowerEast Side, nightlife and the culture of New York City.

GH: What was the goal when you firstopened Sutra? How close have you come to achieving that goal seven years later?

AP: I spenta lot of time in Bar 16 as a patron before I bought it and opened Sutra. Iloved spending time there because of the type of people I met and the vibe ofthe place. When I became the owner, I wanted to keep that spirit. I wanted aplace where different types of people could come and have a good time. I wantedto have different types of parties and different types of music. I wanted Sutrato represent underground New York. We had that vibe from day 1. It didn’tmatter if we did bhangra parties, soulful house sets or hip hop parties. Thegoal was to always to celebrate the diversity of New York and we were always ableto pull that off.

GH: I know you have a lot ofdifferent types of parties, but I’ve always seen Sutra as a hip hop spot. A lotof that has to do with the people who perform here. It’s a long list thatincludes Funkmaster Flex, Questlove, Mos Def, Slick Rick, DMC, Just Blaze and alot of others. When did you first realize that the hip hop industry embracedSutra?

AP: Therewas a night early on when Questlove was in the DJ Booth spinning and BlackThought and Mos Def just jumped in there and started freestyling.  We had no warning but everyone in the roomloved it. It has such a raw energy about it. It felt very natural. There was nohype, no drama no problems. Everyone was just flowing with them. I sat back atthe owners table and knew it was special.

GH: Were there a lot of nights likethat?

AP: Yes. Alot of artists come to Sutra to experiment on a live crowd. You can put outmusic on the internet, but nothing beats getting the reaction of people in theclub. Artists like Just Blaze and Tony Touchknow that. They’ll come and drop new beats and hooks and samples all the timeand then we’ll hear those same elements in top 40 songs 6 months later. Sutrahas been the birthplace for a lot of new music.

GH: What has been the most successfulparty Sutra has had over the years?

AP: We’vehad quite a few long running parties, but Toca Tuesday has to be the crownjewel. Tony is truly a professional artist and it is people like him that keeppeople coming back week after week. He is one of the reasons Sutra has been sosuccessful.

GH: What are the other things thathave helped Sutra last so long when so many other clubs don’t?

AP: We nevertried to make people feel like they didn’t belong or they couldn’t come in. Wewon’t turn your friends away because of their race or anything else. We don’ttry to force bottles on everyone. We throw parties that people enjoy. We’vealways been able to attract talent that people wanted to see. We have a goodrelationship with people on the block and in the neighborhood. All those thingshelp keep the doors opened.

GH:  So what’s next for Sutra? Do you plan to keepit opened for another 7 years?

AP: Iactually put Sutra on the market for sale this week, partially to coincide withthe anniversary. I had a goal in mind when I opened Sutra and I’ve achieved it.I love Sutra and the impact it has had on my life and the life of the communityand culture, but I have other goals, new businesses and new ideas for the Sutrabrand. Once I find the right buyer, it will be time to move on.

GH: How do you think Sutra willchange once you sell it?

AP: Ideally,the new owner would inject new energy into the place but still keep theinclusive spirit I inherited from Bar 16 and developed in Sutra. Ultimately Idon’t know what the new incarnation will be, but I will do everything in mypower to make sure that it will be a benefit to the quality of life forneighborhood, the people and New York.

GH: Do you think artists who havestrong ties to the spot might buy it? Rappers have bought venues before…

AP: Owning anightclub is a very different business than being a rapper or a DJ, but ifsomeone in the industry would want to take it over that would be great because hopefullythey would be able to infuse the same great talent and great vibe that has keptSutra alive this long

Have fun.

Halloween and the Nightlife Amateur

By GamalHennessy

Halloweenis one of my favorite holidays. It beats out Thanksgiving, July 4th andeven Arbor Day. Halloween is similar to nightlife because it gives people achance to move away from their daytime personas and create a new identity fromtheir imaginations. Unfortunately, Halloween is also a breeding ground foramateurs, and little good can come from a night over run with amateurs.

Natives and amateurs
I need to be very clear about my distinctionbetween nightlifenatives and nightlife amateurs. Where you fit in isn’t a function of how many clubsyou’ve been to or how many times you go out. It’s about quality, not quantity.

For nightlife natives, going out is part of their lifestyle.We enjoy the drinking, dancing, dating and hustling that is a part of cityliving. It’s not a problem for us to go out three or four nights a week andconsistently make it to work the next day without hangovers, scars or gaps inour memory.


Amateurs on the other hand tend to crash and burn.The combination of liquor, hormones, drugs and sleep deprivation that nightlifecan generate often overwhelms them, leading to decisions that can generously bedescribed as questionable. When you’re out at night and you see people fighting,throwing up, peeing between cars, getting thrown into a squad car or anambulance or unable to show up at work the next day, you’re looking at amateursin action. When community boards complain about the nightlife that is ruining theirquality of life, they’re complaining about amateurs. Simply put, amateurs give nightlifea bad name.


The need for amateurs
At this point, you might think that I don’tappreciate amateurs. That is simply not true. Amateurs are essential tonightlife for three reasons. First, everyone has to start somewhere. It hasbeen said that you don’t really know your limit until you’ve crossed it. Manynatives go through an amateur period in the beginning that teaches them whatthey can and can’t handle. If you can evolve from that stage no worries.Amateurs often serve as an entertaining example of what not to do.

Second, amateurs are a good source of nightlife revenue.When amateurs go out, they are willing to pay extra to get in or they just buybottles. When natives go out, many of them can have a very good time withoutspending a lot of cash. If everyone was a native, clubs might not make enoughmoney to stay open.

Finally, and most importantly, some people likebeing amateurs. Of course, they don’t call themselves amateurs. They considerthemselves hardcore party people or players inspired by Jersey Shore who needto prove how much liquor, coke or sex they can consume in public. But since ourdefinition of amateur revolves around excess quantity, anyone whose goal isover consumption qualifies as an amateur.

Avoiding amateurs
If you’ve read this far and decided that you wantto avoid amateurs at night, be careful. There are some common misconceptionsout there. Some people believe that if you avoid B&T traps, you avoidamateurs. Not true. While many amateurs come from outside the city, they canpop up anywhere…even in Brooklyn.

Also,some people might think that if you just get a bottle and stay in the VIP area ofa club, you are shielded from amateurs. This is a trap. Amateurs often buytheir way into places they couldn’t otherwise get into. They are actually drawnto the VIP area for the temporary status it promises. There is nothing worsethan paying several hundred dollars for Grey Goose AND being surrounded byamateurs all night.

There are two main ways I’ve found to avoidamateurs. The first is to go out on the nights that amateurs stay home. Thedays from Sunday to Thursday are often the best native nights. Friday andSaturday are mostly amateur nights. The second solution is to go to the placeswhere amateurs can’t get in, including house parties, private clubs or out ofthe way spots that the amateurs haven’t found yet. Even in this period ofpolitical change, this might be one occasion where segregation is desirable.

When amateurs attack
As I stated before, you can find amateurs all overthe city on any given night. However there are some nights when theconcentration of amateurs swells to crisis levels. These nights include thebirthday of the individual amateur, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and ofcourse, Halloween. It might not be so bad this year since Halloween falls on Monday.Saturday will be the big party night, which means I’m going to a private party.Nightlife needs a certain number of amateurs, but I don’t need to be aroundthem.

Have fun.


The Art of the Nipple Pasties

Burlesque in New York Nightlife
By Gamal Hennessy
She steps on the stage in a full length gown, long glovesand high heels when the music starts. By the end of the song, she’s onlywearing the heels and a pair of tasseled sequin pasties on her nipples. Whathappened in between is part strip tease, part comedy and part history lesson.This isn’t Scores or Tens or the Hustler Club. This is burlesque and you areprobably missing it.

What it was. What it is
Burlesque is a form of variety show that started in Europeand eventually made its way to America. It used to include all sorts of actsbut modern burlesque really boils down to X-rated comedy, a little music and alot of women taking off their clothes in a Boardwalk Empire type atmosphere.Picture Eddie Murphy in Delirious backed up by a jazz band and a constantparade of thongs. Add a large quantity of liquor and a crowd of men and womencheering like they are at the Super Bowl and you have a good idea of what theshow is like.
The resurgence in burlesque started in the 1990’s. Most ofthe performances are done by small collectives who perform in art houses, barsand lounges but there is also a professional circuit where full time burlesqueperformers travel from city to city, enter competitions, perform in majorfestivals and become famous for the way they twirl their pasties. The art formhas become so prevalent that there are burlesque shows in New York every week,almost every day.

Classy Smut
The appeal of burlesque is the element of controlled risqué. It is stripping with a more artistic feelthan normal pole dancing. It has an underground feel without being threatening.It encourages an acceptable kind of voyeurism and exhibitionism and burlesque crowdsoften contain as many cross dressers, divas and other assorted characters asthe actual show. If you are bored with the nightlife you currently live, try anight of burlesque for a different type of thrill.

Where to Find It
The 8th Annual New York Burlesque Festival hit BBKings last weekend, but if you missed that show you can find regular burlesqueperformances at Bamboo 52, Bar 9, Carnival, Hells Gate Social, Honey, TriadTheater, and Vig 27. Check the individual websites for dates and times.
Have fun.

Tough Doors: The Most Dangerous Place in Nightlife

By GamalHennessy

Two of the majorstories floating around the nightlife press this week revolve around safety. Onone hand, NYNA and the NYPD have released the second edition of the NightlifeBest Practices. This new set of guidelines are designed to help operatorswork with police to protect us from threats ranging from sexual assaults toterrorist threats. At the same time news came out that a man named ChristopherAdames was stabbed and killed just outside of the popular Juliet Supperclub.While details about the latest crime have not fully been revealed, thisincident fits a pattern that is fairly specific to nightlife. History suggeststhat serious violence is much more likely to occur in the immediate areaoutside a venue as opposed to inside the venue itself.

There have been a numberof events over the past 20+ years that support this theory.  
  • ·        In1989, Virgil Sylvia was killedoutside Payday.
  • ·        In1990 David Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo shot bouncer Marcus Peterson outside The Palladium.
  • ·        In2001, Terrence Davis was stabbedto death outside Tunnel.
  • ·        In2003, a bouncer named Dana Blakewas stabbed to death outside Guernicaby Isaias Umali.
  • ·        In2006, bouncer Stephen Sakai shotGustavo Cuadros outside Opus 22.
  • ·        Imette St. Guillen and JenniferMoore were both killed in 2006 in separate incidents after leaving The Falls and Guest House clubs.
  • ·        Aserialrapist was allegedly targeting isolated women as they left The Box in 2007.
  • ·        LauraGarza disappeared after leaving Marquee with a mannamed Michael Mele in the last month of 2008.
  • ·        In2009, MarioOlmedo slashed several people outside Deco.

While the years and weapons usedand number of victims are different, one constant thread remains. Each attacktook place outside the venue.

The reasons behind this phenomenon aren’t hard to understandif you consider the mentality of the attackers. From a psychologicalstandpoint, there is a higher chance that the ego and self-esteem of fanaticsis lower at the door. There could be several triggers for their distress. Maybethey can’t get in. Maybe they just got kicked out. Maybe some woman rejectedthem. Maybe they spent more money than they had. Whatever the cause, the endresult is the same. Their self-respect has been lowered and their temper hasbeen raised. They lash out, either the operators, patrons or random passers-by asa way to regain their sense of power and control.

This isn’t a justification for fanatic behavior. It is also nota suggestion that nightlife is inherently dangerous. In the last twenty years,there have been an infinitesimal number of fatalities compared to the 30,000people that nightlife employs and the one billion entries that patrons have innightlife every year. The only thing I’m attempting to point out is that amajor location of potential nightlife violence is just outside the venueitself. That is one of the reasons security is stationed at the door. When yougo out, it’s a good idea to get through the door (in or out) as quickly aspossible. Give the operators at the door a chance to do their job and give yourselfa chance to get out of harm’s way in the unlikely event that a problem arises.

Have fun.

The Important Lesson of Fashion’s Night Out

By GamalHennessy

Maybe youlike Fashion’s Night Out, maybe you don’t. Considering the annual event is onlyin its third year, I understand if you are still on the fence about it. That’show I feel too. I want to dislike it, but it makes a point that nightlife could learn from.

This year, Idecided to join in the festivities by attending the Armani party on Madison Avenue. While this excursion didn't make me fall in love with FNO, it did prove two things to me. First cougars enjoy groping young,well-dressed black men. Second, it is hard to deny that FNO, like the Fashion Weekevent that spawned it, gives the fashion industry attention and buzz thatimproves the industry’s image exponentially.

Image andSpectacle
One of themajor strengths of fashion is its ability to generate spectacle and manipulateimages. FNO is a perfect example of this. Described in marketing terms, thenight creates positive energy among a very desirable demographic (the ladiesthat spend money on clothes) and encourages brand interaction (going to thestore, getting excited about clothes and ultimately buying something). Thenight is covered by media at all levels before, during and after the partiesstart, creating an attention tsunami that drowns out almost everything else.

Yes, it encouragescougar groping. Yes, it encourages amateurs to get sloppy. Yes, it has thepotential to an annual nightlife train wreck of the same magnitude as New Year’sEve, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. But none of that really matters in the endbecause people eat it up. If defines the conversation people have aboutfashion. No one talks about the price of the clothes, possible sweatshop laboror the negative body image coming out of fashion. They just get hear about aparty, get excited, go out and associate fashion with a good party.

Learningfrom the Masters
FNO issimilar to Restaurant Week, Spa Week & the Tribeca Film Festival in termsof their public impact. Each event improves the image of and generates interestin those respective activities.

Nightlifedoesn’t follow this model. In fact, nightlife operators schedule many of their majoropenings and events around Fashion Week to ride the long tail of media hype(see the New York Times article here).This is a missed opportunity. There is more than enough good energy innightlife to create a spectacle and improve the image. Music, dance, mixology,social interaction, sexual expression and yes, even fashion all converge tomake nightlife what it is. Why not harness that energy create the biggestspectacle of all?

Nightlife hasan image problem both in the mainstream press and within the culture itself. Ifwe take a page from FNO we can change that.

Have fun.

Rakim at the Blue Note Celebrating the Birth of Modern Hip Hop

by Gamal Hennessy

When I was in high school in 1986, I rode the A train from Queens into Brooklyn to get to class. I would listen to my mixtapes (real mixtapes with an actual cassette player, not an iTunes download) on the long ride of all the hip hop songs I patiently stayed up late to record off the radio. Late night radio was one of the few places you could hear hip hop back then. At the time, older people and people who thought they knew music decided hip hop was a fad. They wouldn’t support it on mainstream radio. If it was going to die out in a few months, why bother with it?

Hip hop has clearly lasted longer than a few months.

Last week Rakim and the Roots did a show at the legendary Blue Note to celebrate 25 years since Paid in Full album ushered in the era of modern hip hop. Paid in Full was different from other hip hop albums at the time because its songs had a format that was radio friendly and a structure that was more musically complex. Rakim lead the way for other rap artists like to move into the mainstream in radio, music videos, TV, movies, fashion and other staples of American culture.

During the show, Rakim explained how he grew up as a saxophone player who translated John Coltrane‘s musical flow into his lyrics. His revelation went against the prevailing myth that hip hop artists didn‘t have any musical training. QuestLove, the drummer for the Roots, described his experience in music school when Rakim’s album showed him that rap wasn’t an alternative to music or a rebellion against music. It was music. Even stars like Dave Chappelle came out of self imposed exile to testify about the huge impact Paid in Full had on him while he was growing up.

Hip hop has had a huge impact on world music over the past 25 years, but when the show was over, I wondered who people would be remembering in 2036. Will artists like Drake, Kanye, and Lil Wayne be seen as pioneers opening up new elements of modern music or will someone else release a Paid in Full for the next generation?

Have fun.

Did Marriage Equality Start With Nightlife?

By Gamal Hennessy

I don’t mean to belittle the historic event that took place last weekend. The act of getting the marriage equality law passed in New York took an enormous amount of effort and education over the past four decades from thousands of different people. There have been struggles and setbacks within families, among friends, in businesses, courtrooms, schools, churches, legislatures and the media over this issue. There have also been internal struggles within many people who had a stake in this process to give up, keep fighting or just move away. For everyone who was waiting to have the same rights as everyone else and for everyone who wondered if this time would ever come, this weekend might be a pivotal moment in history.

But just because it is pivotal doesn’t mean that nightlife didn’t play a role in the process. Nightlife was where the LGBT community went to connect with each other and be accepted for who they were. It was in nightlife where people rose up to defend themselves from abuse during the Stonewall Riots. It was in nightlife where people began to organize and share the information that built up their community. It was in nightlife where many of them found their identity, their hustles and the people that they would eventually fall in love with. And it was in nightlife where many of them celebrated the victory of the marriage equality act last weekend.

Saying marriage equality came about because of nightlife might be going too far. But nightlife is a part of that story, so it is a part of our story as a society. Who knows where we would be without it.

Have fun.

Liquor as a Rite of Passage

by Gamal Hennessy

Nightlife is defined as adult activities outside the home that revolve around social connection. By definition, children are not meant to play a significant role in the discussion of nightlife benefits or problems. However, we all know that minors are drawn to liquor, because it has happened to many of us. So any discussion about reducing underage drinking in nightlife has to include the motivations of the minors if we want to create positive change.

In the United States, consumers must reach the age of 21 before they are legally permitted to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. This legal barrier creates one of the most powerful social effects of liquor in nightlife. Nightlife is an adult environment primarily because alcohol is served there. The collective message we send is, “If you can drink, you must be an adult.”

The fact we label people who can drink “adults” and people who can’t drink “minors” creates a need to drink that has nothing to do with the liquor itself. In our system, the permission to drink is a symbol of adulthood and independence. This is one of the main reasons that teenagers struggle to obtain fake IDs and then sneak into clubs even though they may not like the environment. Ironically, many of them don’t really want the liquor because they dislike the taste of alcohol. But they do want to grow up faster than our society will allow. They want to be adults faster than their physical, mental or emotional capabilities can manage. Consuming liquor is a short cut to that status.

This is not the same in other countries. According to the International Center for Alcohol Policy, many countries have a legal drinking age of 18 or even 16. In influential states like China, France, Israel, Italy and Russia, there is no drinking age at all. There is a direct relationship between the rules for drinking and people’s relationship to alcohol.

We have created a powerful social motivation for minors to drink. But it is interesting to note that while the sale of alcohol to minors is seen as a major problem in nightlife, most minors get their drinks without ever stepping into a club. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 10.1 million people aged 12 to 20 nationwide reported being current drinkers of alcohol. While these numbers might be shocking, it is enlightening to take into account another study conducted by the Department of Health in 2006. In a work entitled. “Where Do Minors Get Alcohol From?” the government found that, depending on the age of the minors, anywhere from 85-97 percent of the alcohol they have access to is from outside the nightlife setting. While underage drinking is a problem across America, nightlife is not a primary location for that kind of abuse.

Unfortunately, nightlife is often singled out as the villain in the story of underage drinking. The social motivation of the minors themselves is often discounted or ignored. But placing the blame solely on the doorstep of the operator will not solve anything. Change can only occur if society changes its perception of and relationship to liquor as a whole. When our indulgence is more responsible, our relationship with liquor is more relaxed. When that happens minors, won’t feel the need to drink illegally because the social benefit will be gone.

Have fun.

Is Venugo Just Right or Just Too Much?

By Gamal Hennessy

There are a lot of web sites out there to help the nightlife patron navigate their way through New York’s 1,200 venues. Some, like Urban Daddy, highlight the new spots. Others like Yelp and the directories on Black Book and New York Magazines provide a catalog of venues searchable by keyword. Still more sites are available to sell you tickets to parties, get you discounts on drinks, connect you to promoters and flood your inbox with invitations to parties you don’t want to attend.

Every site has their niche, but Venugo plans to be the one place that everyone goes before they go out. At first glance, Venugo looks like other nightlife sites, but dig deeper and you will find a more involved process.

That deeper level of involvement is both the good news and the bad news about the site.

Venugo has similarities to several different sites. It is similar to Lending because once you submit your party preferences, participating venues compete to give you the best deal in order to get your business. You then negotiate back and forth with each venue (up to 5 at a time) until you get the deal and the party that you want. It is similar to Yelp because it offers official and user reviews, organizes venues together by type, location and other elements so you have the information that you need to decide what venues to work with. It is also like Facebook, because it offers (or plans to offer) social media elements such as groups, chats, file sharing and other things that nightlife patrons use.

When you combine all these elements, the founders of Venugo believe that anyone who uses the site can easily organize a party for groups from 2 to 200. It even gives people who use the site the potential to become a promoter. For example, let’s say you start a group for Knicks fans on their social site. Your friends and other random hoop fans join your group. When the Knicks win the championship (I know it probably won’t happen, but this is my example so just let me dream, ok?), it will be time for a party. At that point, you can use Venugo to find venues big enough for your group, negotiate a deal to get the best offer, invite your whole group and just like that, you are a promoter. And since you can make a group about anything, you don’t have to wait for Amare to get a ring to make it work.

All of these things in one site sounds like a good idea, but there are a few hurdles that the developers will have to overcome before Venugo becomes the be all and end all of nightlife planning.

First, this process requires both the owners and patrons to do work that they might not want to do. It’s one thing to ask two groups to negotiate a deal for something major like a mortgage, but if a few guys want to drink on their birthday, they might not be willing to put in the effort Venugo requires.

At the same time, operators often have their hands full keeping the doors open. They might not have the time, interest or staff to negotiate back and forth with multiple parties. They would rather just let the promoters deal with it. And the venues that consider themselves A-list won’t even get involved in the discussion in the first place.

That’s just one hurdle. At this point, Venugo doesn’t incorporate a venue’s music format into the selection process. The number of venues currently working with Venugo is limited. There hasn’t been much public push back from the established promoter community at this point, but it isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where they see this as a threat to their business and use their financial leverage to keep venues off the site. Finally, while patrons can review venues and share their experiences the way they do with Yelp, Venugo allows club owners to do the same thing. That means patrons who consistently book parties and don’t show up, trash the bar or engage in other fanatic behavior might not find many venues willing to host their next party.

Can all these obstacles be overcome? Absolutely. All it takes is creativity and work by people smarter than me and there are a lot of those people around. Venugo has investors, experienced network architects and advertising professionals behind them as well as prominent operators. Until the hurdles are dealt with, Venugo is still a good idea for professional corporate and charity party planners who organize events for a living. It could streamline their job and give the company the traction it needs to reach a wider market. If you want to get involved with Venugo before they blow up, visit them at

Have fun.

Work with the Bar Crawl, Not Against It

By Gamal Hennessy

The New York Post recently printed an attack bar on concentration in the East Village, attempting to draw a connection between the number of bars in a given area and the number of AA groups in the same neighborhood. This story came on the heels of an attempt by the Murray Hill community board to limit or control bar crawls. (New York Magazine, Gothamist, DNA Info) and rumblings that Groupon and other related discount services might face legal hurdles when it comes to discounts associated with liquor sales. All these stories are separate, and none of them can shut down venues on their own, but for NIMBY’s they each provide ammunition to reduce nightlife in New York City.

They also provide ammunition for advocates of nightlife who want to push for more support from city agencies. Real estate costs in Downtown Manhattan are among the highest in the country. The only businesses that can afford to operate there (besides Chase, Duane Reade and Starbucks) are ones that cater to people from outside the city.

That is where nightlife comes in. Nightlife is an industry that caters to people from the neighborhood, around the city, around the country and in some cases, around the world. If nightlife is a source of jobs, tourism and tax revenue in good economies and bad ones, which it is (Nightlife Economic Impact Study), then it is something that the city needs to support. If there is a number of venues in a certain area that facilitate bar crawls and happy hours but causes distress and concern with local residents, then the city needs ways help nightlife work with rather than against the local residents.

There are several ways the city can help. Increasing police presence during times of peak activity (Where are the Cops?) can limit the noise and fanatic behavior (The Four Residents of Nightlife) that causes complaints. Increasing sanitation services can limit the waste left behind by a spike in patrons. The solutions are there, but it is unlikely that City Hall will spend more money to support nightlife during a time of continued financial crisis. There seems to be money to create bike lanes and enforce a nanny state but none to create an environment where nightlife works better with the residents (Bloomberg's Nightlife Record). Perhaps it is easier to paint nightlife as a villain than to take on the challenge of creating a solution for both the industry and residents. But since that hasn't worked so far, it might be time to try and find ways to work with the nightlife and the bar crawls, instead of against them.

Have fun.

Show Some Love: How to Appreciate the DJ

By Gamal Hennessy

Music defines a scene and a venue more than any other aspect of nightlife culture. A good DJ is often the difference between a good party and just another club. In the past few years, digital technology, celebrity DJs and the economics of nightlife have transformed this urban art form into a mass market business. There are some people with nothing more than two iPods and a gimmick claiming to be a DJ. But if you want to tell the artists from the pretenders, consider three things the next time you go out…

Selection and Style: A DJ is often under a lot of restrictions when they play out. The venue has its format, the promoter is trying to satisfy his niche market and the random drunken requests all night impose limits on what they can spin. The challenge for a DJ is to transcend those constraints to express their own style. You can tell a lot about a DJ based on the songs they select and how much of themselves they reveal in the booth. A bad DJ plays the wrong songs for the event and the crowd. A decent DJ can stay in their lane and play the hits. A good DJ can take you back to great times in your past or expose you to gems that you’ve never heard before. A great DJ has a signature sound that builds a following and redefines a genre.

Transition: The artistry of a DJ isn’t really in the creation of new music. It is in the combination of music that already exists. One of the main technical skills that a DJ has is moving from one song to another in a way that is interesting and pleasant to the ear. Whether it is the seamless mixing of house, the scratching and beat drops of hip hop or the genre bending of mashups, the DJ flows from one song to the next. A bad DJ sounds like iTunes on shuffle. A decent DJ brings together similar songs. A good DJ can manipulate and maintain the flow in a room for hours. A great DJ combines songs that you like into a completely new song that you love.

Connection to the Crowd: Several DJs have told me that spinning at a party is an exercise in group psychology. As they play, they try to get more and more of the crowd to react to the music. As more people respond and the energy moves through the room the DJ can influence patrons to talk or drink, relax or go crazy, nod their heads or dance, stay or go home. A bad DJ ignores the crowd. A decent DJ is ignored by the crowd like background music. A good DJ can maintain a crowd for a couple hours. A great DJ can keep the crowd going all night so no one ever wants to go home.

Music Matters: There is one thing that I have learned from the DJs that I’ve known, listened to and played with; You can determine a good DJ from their set. It’s not about the technology they use, the genres they spin, the number of people at their parties or how many celebrities they know. It’s about the music. If you’re out somewhere and the boy or girl behind the turntables makes you feel better about being in the venue, that’s what matters.

When you find a good DJ, step up to the booth and let them know . They are often surprised that someone is listening to what they do and a compliment is always better than a drunken request…

…just don’t interrupt their transitions when you are saying hello.

Have fun.

The 100 Oaks Revival Interview with Shonali Bhowmik

Vital Statistics

Name: Shonali Bhowmik
Group Affiliation: Tigers & Monkeys, Variety Shac
Hometown: New York, New York via Nashville, TN
Latest Project: 100 Oak Revival
Next New York Performance: Sunday, March 20th at Littlefield 

Shonali Bhowmik has spent years in New York’s music and comedy scenes. I caught up to her to talk about her new album, the benefits of the internet to the music industry and being a Southern Belle…

NYN: You have your own band (Tigers and Monkeys), an ongoing comedy show (Variety Shac), a pilot for a TV series and a day job. When did you find the time to record a new album? How long did it take you to finish this with everything else you have going on?

SB: I recorded this album in a way that I haven’t done in the past. It’s taken me a few years to complete this release because I flew down to my hometown of Nashville, TN on various weekends to lay down the basic tracks in the home studio of the enormously talented Paul Burch.

My intention was to just go for a sparse live recording and immediately release the “Shonali Basement Tapes” album. But instead, I returned to New York and just started hearing additional musical layers which absolutely had to be added to the recordings in order for me to feel satisfied. So over time, I scheduled sessions with Matt Gill in his Manhattan studio, Key Room where after work he and other musicians helped me add piano, cello, guitar, vocals late at night. I just couldn’t stop recording, and then there were technical issues with converting the tape to digital format which meant we had to rerecord instruments. So the short answer to your question is this album took forever. Ha.

NYN: You have had other albums with other groups in the past. How is this record artistically different from the previous releases? What were the inspirations for this CD?

SB: This new album includes a backlog of music that I had written over the years since I moved to NYC in 2002. For the most part, they are representative of a moodier, bluesier, more country Shonali. I grew up in Nashville, TN and although I had always believed that my country roots didn’t impact my music that much. It took reading music reviews about my music and the specifics on my singing drawl to realize that I actually sing like a Southern belle. And then it came to me that I sing like that because I AM a Southern belle. This album is certainly not as hard rocking as songs found in my Tigers and Monkeys repertoire (of which we are currently recording another release also).

NYN: There have been a lot of changes to the business and technology of music during your career. How does that affect the way you create an album now and how you sell it once it has been released?

SB: Honestly, the myth is that Napster and ITunes killed the music industry. The reality for me is that the internet is a direct way for me to share my music with the entire world. Due to the advances in recording technology, I don’t need to spend $100,000 making an album anymore, which believe it or not I did at one point. So now artists can spend a whole lot less money to make great music. This is an exciting time for musicians. As a business person, I think that artists have to be proactive and dictate where the industry goes. We should be forcing the direction. Big labels aren’t the experts anymore. So we can load up our music and sell it directly to the people. I find that “Pay what you Want” is the way to go. You want folks to have your music, but let them decide what its worth to them. Everyone has a different scale – be it they are broke, or they are rich, or they are somewhat fond of heavy metal, or somewhat fond of country music.

NYN: Your release party is going to be at Littlefield. A lot of live music has migrated from downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn over the past few years. How has that affected the way you and your friends create and perform music? Do you see musicians coming back to the city or do you feel that it will move farther into Brooklyn and Queens?

SB: Honestly, although I love NYC, I wonder how good it is for a rock band to live and pay bills here. I started playing music in Atlanta, Georgia where the rent was cheap, rehearsal spaces were cheap and jobs were everywhere. It was the perfect place to live as a member of a touring rock band.

In Manhattan, rock clubs will always be a mainstay, but I think the question regarding where the music will go has more to do with the viable living options available to artists. It’s been a long, long time since living in the East Village was an inexpensive place for rock n’ roll and artist types. Brooklyn and Queens have taken on those titles but those boroughs are getting more and more expensive day by day. I just read that Austin was where all the young artist types are moving. New York and the entire United States needs to do more to preserve its artistic culture especially if everyone is just ripping music off the web. (Yeah, and I was saying that this was a good thing in my response to your earlier question - yup, contradictory that’s me.)
 NYN: Tell me more about the show and tell me what else you have planned now that this album is done.

SB: The CD release party for 100 Oaks Revival is scheduled for Sunday, March 20th. Doors are at 7 pm, and there is an opening surprise comedic guest at 7:30 pm. Russell Dungan will be singing a few tunes from his upcoming new Justice of the Unicorns album. Performing with me are Jason Lam, Jody Bilinski, Christa Molinaro, Amy Slonaker, Marcellus Hall, Jasper Patch, Matt Gill, Brendan Kenny, and Matt Whyte. The album was inspired by my time growing up in Nashville, Tennessee so there will be a few Nashville souvenirs raffled off during the show. Please make plans to attend. This will be fun. The cost is $5. Tickets are available online or at the door, Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street.

Have fun.

The Prince's Affaire


Vital Statistics
Phone Number: 212-375-0665
Address: 50 Avenue B
Cross Streets: 3rd and 4th Streets
Closest Trains: F to 2nd Avenue

China 1 was a well known spot among some nightlife natives, but I never went there when they were opened. I suppose other spots in the LES lured me in before I could get to Alphabet City. When I heard they were dumping the Asian theme for something more Continental, I was curious. New European style spots like Salon Milleseme left a good impression on me last year and and the proposed Paris Burlesque Club might open soon, so I invited a friend out to see if the trend would continue.

When you enter Affaire looks like a cozy spot for an illicit rendezvous. The interior of the ground floor is a cross between a French salon and a cocktail lounge speakeasy. High backed chairs will hide you from prying eyes. The seating is intimate without being cramped. The lighting isn’t the pitch black cavern of Underbar or USL, but the overall effect is very poised and collected.

The staff is quite friendly and they look after you from the moment you walk in. All of them go out of their way to be attentive, knowledgeable and quick on their feet. Sean Baker, a veteran operator who runs Affaire with China 1 founder Andrew Krauss, told me that he only brought in staff that could give good service. He wondered out loud how so many venues in New York got away with being mean and condescending to their patrons. I think many local patrons are masochist, but good service is a nice change of pace.

Affaire has a cocktail menu that is varied in their ingredients but very biased in their names. The cocktail list is dominated by drinks like the French 75, the French 69, the French poodle, the French maid…you get the idea. The one notable entry in the drinks menu is the mimosa kit that is served with brunch. For $25, you pretty much get a pitcher of mimosas. Some assembly is required, but the staff will help you put that together to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.

The main eating space actually sits on top of a more substantial venue downstairs. While the décor and the feel of the place is the same throughout, the lower levels are less about cozy couples and more about amorous groups. There are two rooms underground, each one with a separate entrance to the street, a separate DJ booth, and space to roam around looking for love. Affaire could be several separate events or one big party. With all three rooms converted from a restaurant for brunch and dinner to a lounge at night, it could emerge as a major nightlife draw in that part of town.

The music programming has a distinct nightlife feel. Soulful house is pretty much the standard soundtrack for the space, reminding me more of Cielo and Love than any cocktail salon. It’s a sound that absolutely fits a larger, more animated venue but it is a little jarring when you are just sitting back and sipping mimosas. Your body is saying “dance” and your mind is saying “relax”. It takes some getting used to, but practice makes perfect.

The location of Affaire is a bit off the beaten track, but if you are willing to walk a couple more blocks you’ll find that the old China 1 space has been reborn into an interesting combination of pleasant sophistication and soulful house. Whether you show up for brunch, birthday party or a forbidden liaison, Affaire is worth the trip.

Have fun.

Dealing with Drunks Part 2: A Guide for Helping Your Drunken Friends

By Gamal Hennessy

Click Here to Read Part 1 

In part 1  of our drunken guide, we gave you tips on how to deal with strangers. Now let’s get to a more delicate subject; dealing with your drunken friends.

Friends: When your friend, date, client or family member is the drunk, it’s rude to just hand them over to the bouncer and keep on drinking like we did in part 1. It is a major undertaking to save your own personal drunk from himself. Shepherding a drunken companion is a sign of true friendship, but if everything turns out ok, it is also great ammunition for funny stories later.

Once you look over at your friend and realize they need help, focus on controlling their consumption, shielding them from danger and monitoring them for more serious conditions.

Controlling Their Consumption: The first thing your drunken friend probably wants is another drink. This is a bad idea, but as we saw earlier, logic is not in your friend’s vocabulary right now. Wikihow offers some suggestions on how to give them drinks without giving them drinks. If they call for another drink, try to give them harmless drinks. Try water, a very watered down version of their drink or just a soft drink. Depending on how drunk they are, you can simply hand them a coke and claim that it contains vodka. Unless they have very sensitive drunken palettes, they might not notice, especially if you're distracting them (hint: distracting a drunk is normally easier than distracting a sober person.) Don't give them a lot of stimulating drinks such as tea or coffee since this can accelerate dehydration. And don't force a drunk person to eat, since it could create a choking situation.

Shielding Them from Danger: Your friend needs protection when he is drunk because he can’t do it himself. First, you need to make sure he doesn’t engage in risky behavior including driving a car, fighting with other people or trying to make out with random individuals. Do your best to help your drunk avoid physical injury, especially through falling. Nicole John is the most extreme example of this hazard, but even a fall on the dance floor can be dangerous. Help them find and stay in a safe seat or even sit them the floor. It’s not the cutest look, but they can’t fall very far if they are already on the floor.

If your drunk needs to visit the bathroom, accompany them and wait for them to make sure they don’t slip and bang their head on the toilet. Above all, don’t leave them alone to sleep it off in any venue. They could be molested, robbed or snatched from the venue by a stranger.

If it is possible, try to deal with your drunk’s personal effects after your drunk is safe. Make an effort to find their phone, make sure their tab is closed and collect whatever clothing or accessories they discarded in their travels.

While you are looking out for your drunk, don’t forget to look out for yourself. Avoid saying anything that could provoke or anger the intoxicated person, since you don’t want the person you are trying to help fighting with you. Do not try to physically lift a drunken person or stop someone much larger than you falling down–you may injure your back. Instead, concentrate on protecting their head.. If you need help to help your drunk, look for the operators. It might be embarrassing for your drunk, but it is better to ask them for help than to have them kick you out when your drunk gets out of hand. Besides, a little embarrassment is a small price to pay to avoid more long term problems.

The final step in shielding your drunk from danger is getting them out of the venue and back to a place where they can safely wait for their hangover to arrive. That could be their place, your place or any place where they can crash. Your social relationship might prevent you from monitoring them after they leave the venue, but in extreme cases it is advisable to keep an eye on them.

Monitoring them for Serious Conditions: Once you make sure your drunk isn’t continuing to drink, fighting with the bouncers or sleeping in the street, you have to make sure they are resting safely. It helps to lie them down in a recovery position (on their side with the higher knee bent). to prevent choking. Put something behind their back to prevent them rolling back onto their back or stomach because vomiting in either position can cause them to choke or drown. Just because Jimi Hendrix did it doesn’t make it cool.

As they sleep, look for signs of alcohol poisoning including:
● abnormally slow breathing
● unresponsive to being prodded and pinched firmly
● blue lips and fingertips.
● rapid pulse.
● vomiting while asleep and not waking up even when vomiting.
● cold clammy hands/ feet.

If your friend starts to exhibit these symptoms, then it is time for you to stop helping them and time for medical professionals to start. Call 911. High levels of alcohol poisoning can lead to respiratory failure, coma or death.

I’m offering these tips with the understanding that I am not a medical professional. I’m just a guy who has caught a couple of falling drunks in my time. We all have too much at one time or another. Hopefully these tips can help you and your drunk get through the night so everyone can live to drink another day.

Have fun.

Dealing with Drunks: A Guide for Nightlife Natives

Part 1
By Gamal Hennessy

Drinking is good. Getting drunk is not good, especially the next day. Dealing with a drunk isn’t much fun either. Unfortunately, encountering a drunk can happen in any type of venue, no matter how high class or hipster. This doesn’t mean that your night has to be ruined. As a nightlife native there are a few things you can do to contend with any drunk that crosses your path or stumbles into your table.

The first tip for any nightlife native is responsible indulgence. The whole point of nightlife is going out for pleasure. But if you drink so much that you don’t remember what happened the night before your pleasure is severely curtailed and you can’t take care of a drunk. In fact, you become the drunk that someone else has to handle. Also, if you drink so much that you are unaware of your surroundings, you won’t be able to handle a drunk because you are too busy sorting yourself out. So the goal here is to drink, but not get drunk.

The second tip is choosing the right approach for the particular drunk that you encounter. People often identify several different types of drunks with labels that remind you of the Seven Dwarves. There are sleepy, happy, angry, flirty, loud, friendly and weepy drunks. These tips don’t deal with all that nonsense. Your objective is to have fun, not try to understand the drunks underlying emotional issues. Let Dr. Drew handle all that stuff. For our purposes, there are only two types of drunks; strangers and friends.

No matter what type of drunk you are dealing with, you have to be able to recognize them first.
The editors at Wikihow offer the following signs that a person has had too much to drink:

● slurred speech
● inability to stand or sit up straight
● a strong desire to lie down or roll over
● stumbling or a questionable walking technique
● unusual, loud, or embarrassing behavior
● violent reactions
● bloodshot eyes
● feeling extreme temperature differences

Keep in mind that a display of any single behavior does not indicate drunkenness. I have friends who do some of these things while they’re sober. Also, this is not an invitation to play watchdog and stick your nose in everyone’s party. Just know that a combination of these or other behaviors in your general vicinity is a clue that you might have to use your anti-drunk skills.

Strangers: When drunken strangers rain on your parade, you’re probably not interested in taking care of them any more than you have to. While you might decide to get involved in extreme cases, your main goal is normally to remove them from your space and continue your fun.

This is more complicated than it sounds, since it is difficult to have a logical conversation with a drunk. It is usually counterproductive to argue with or try to bully someone who thinks they are stronger, faster and smarter than they really are.

There are two keys to distancing yourself from a strange drunk. First, isolate them. This could mean moving out of their general area, misleading them into leaving your space, or enlisting the drunk’s friends to collect their associate and move him for you. The second key is to notify an operator in the venue that the drunk is wandering through the venue since isolation is only a temporary solution. Any drunk who leaves could easily come back.

If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to get other people into trouble by calling the bouncer, keep in mind that you are helping and not hurting the drunk in this situation. Operators often have more training and experience in dealing with drunks than you do including TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS)  and Nightlife Best Practices. It is actually their job, not yours, to deal with drunks in the club. Finally, if the drunk could potentially endanger themselves or someone else, then you could be preventing a problem before it happens.

Again, this is not a suggestion that you blow up the spot of every dude who looks at you sideways. It is a concept to help you go back to your carousing with as little hassle as possible.

In part two of our drunken guide, we will tackle the delicate situation of dealing with one of your friends when they get drunk in public.

Have fun.