We knew for sure we were in New York when the car-service driver taking us from JFK to our hotel in Times Square was having a heated discussion under his breath – hand gestures included – with an imaginary passenger in the front seat. Alas, if only our hotel had been as imaginary. The front desk at Andre Balazs’ minuscule (we walked right by it on three occasions) QT hotel on West 45th Street at first is easily mistaken for a deli counter, with its giant glass-doored refrigerator case behind the clerks, who seem more interested in selling bottles and snacks than assisting you with your luggage or listening to any pre-arranged details of your stay. The hotel has no lobby or room service, but does have a bizarre mini pool on the second floor with a swim-up bar, a bracing stench of chlorine on all floors, and claustrophobic rooms designed by someone who should be condemned to stay in one and who apparently struck a deal with the color beige – we had nightmares starring Faye Dunaway circa The Thomas Crown Affair. (For more reasons why not to stay at the QT, listen to Randy Barbato’s nightmarish experience on the WOW podcast.)
Our first night in New York, a snowy one, we went to a party for our old friend Patrick McMullan, whose latest book of photos, Glamour Girls, was to have another launch, this time at the West Village house of onetime VH1 president Ed Bennett, who now has some involvement in the Lucy Liu TV show Cashmere Mafia. When McMullan wasn’t elaborately introducing everyone to everyone else in that delightful way he has, he was enthusiastically hawking his books at a table in the corner (“Only a few books left!”) with his assistant, Sam, making the transactions The party was not only sponsored by some cognac or other, but one of the guests was selling her jewelry at tables set up in another part of the room. We escaped without buying anything.
We were in New York courtesy of Radar magazine, who in its latest issue has included World of Wonder in its New Radicals spread, along with Kathy Griffin, Candis Cayne, Craig Brewer, Spankrock, Kristen Schaal, The Bloggeratti, Shalom Auslander, and Jesse Eisenberg. There was a glamorous Svedka-sponsored “Radical Space/Radical Thoughts/Radical Talent” party for all us Radicals at the new New Museum, the just-opened Japanese architectural spectacle that looks like a haphazardly placed pile of silver boxes between two unspectacular storefronts on the Bowery. Upon entering, we and Randy Barbato were handed small gold-painted plaster urinals signed “R Mutt” in homage to art radical Marcel Duchamp, and made to walk a mercifully short red carpet, pose for photos, and talk to a lady with a mike, a cameraman, and unanswerable questions. Ugh. Most of the Radicals were in attendance – though we didn’t see Griffin or Cayne – and like Fenton Bailey (see above) left their marks on the stark white walls of the museum contemplating where they might be in 2033, that magical year made newly famous by said vodka. Over the course of the crowded party we ran into and shouted over the hubbub with Radar‘s most cordial editor Maer Roshan, Creation Nation‘s Billy Eichner and Jamie Salka, music guru Bill Coleman, Zachary Quinto from Heroes, WOW’s unofficial NY correspondent AguynamedWayne, old friends we thought we’d never see again, and “Webster Hall’s” Baird Jones who, with a silent accomplice, followed this WOW Report editor around all night with a tape recorder, a video camera, and literally an endless barrage of questions because Barbato had jokingly told Jones that we had come to the party only because we wanted to sleep with former NY mayor Ed Koch, who had just left. As if. But despite that odd stalker turn of events, the party was fab, as is the fun and very readable Radar, both print and online.
(All photos by AguynamedWayne, except top, from Media Eater: Saban and Barbato answer questions on the red carpet; Fenton’s future; Saban tries to get Jones off his back: Barbato and Bill Coleman aka Peace Bisquit; Saban Wayne Barbato; Maer Roshan; photographer Mark Tusk and Coleman; Benjamin Salka and Billy Eichner, Zachary Quinto)