RIP Webster Hall – 8.5.17

It seems like the only time I cover nightlife anymore is when some sort of historic NYC institution shuts it’s doors. Between the New York nightlife and all of my friends who have died I seem to be getting a little too good at writing eulogies… But that’s life and sadly we suffered another casualty in the corporate takeover of downtown New York City: Webster Hall.

Webster Hall doesn’t close it’s doors for a few days, but last night was the memorial service for the legendary venue. AEG Live recently bought Bowery Presents (Terminal 5, Bowery Ballroom, etc) and they weren’t done buying up New York venues. They partnered with Brooklyn Sports Entertainment (Barclays Center) to purchase Webster Hall after being owned by the same family for nearly 30 years. The venue will continue, possibly under the same name, but it won’t be the same.

Webster Hall was home to the first Motherfucker party I shot for my site. Motherfucker was the greatest party I have ever been to and their 7th anniversary was at Webster. I barely knew Michael T at the time and he specifically told me I couldn’t shoot it so I went around him and got a press pass from the Faint. The next day I got an angry phone call from Michael yelling at me about going around his back. I still have no idea how he got my number but despite his anger he loved my photos and I from then on I was always on the guest list to his parties.

Webster Hall was the place I would bring friends who were visiting town so they could see what real nightlife felt like. Webster Hall had the kinda parties you only see in movies. I would spend New Years eve there hanging with tourists and porn stars and misfits and famous DJs. I let Alex English crowd surf with my camera to MSTRKRFT and partied with a dwarf dressed like a New Year’s baby. It was always the party you dreamed about going to before you moved to NYC.

When my favorite weekly party Trash moved to the basement of Webster I was disappointed because there weren’t any lockable bathrooms to shoot naked girls in, but I quickly got over that because Alex and Rekles were throwing their weekly Boys & Girls upstairs. Every Friday I would shoot both parties for the Village Voice and get paid twice for the same amount of work.

I could use the word legendary a lot in this article but Boys & Girls will go down in history. I don’t think EDM would be what it is today without that party. From their first sold out party featuring Justice to Skrillex playing last night they gave DJs of all genres a huge platform in NYC and they did it so consistently for so long. Despite my long career shooting dance parties I don’t actually like dance music, but that scene was so much fun to photograph and it really felt like a family. For so many years the only DJs I knew were DJs I actually knew and now those same people are touring the globe making millions. That shift from EDM feeling like an underground movement to Atrak, Skrillex and Diplo becoming pop stars was such a crazy thing to be a part of and you had a front row to that every Friday night at Webster Hall.

Once EDM became pop culture the vibe of Webster Hall changed quickly. There were so many bros upstairs at Girls & Boys that the only safe space was when you were hanging out on stage. The security became overly aggressive and there were always crazy lines. Getting into Webster Hall became so stressful. You had to make sure you were on the right list and had the right photo pass and then had to wait in line again your bag checked and then groped by security. By the time I got in the club all the positive energy I had would be gone.

But downstairs at Trash was a whole different thing. DJ Jess was the first person to hire me to shoot parties in New York and one of my favorite people to party with. When Jess worked out his deal with Webster he was given his own door and own security and they were told not to search anyone. Jess stepped up and took responsibility for his party. His little family of misfits playing the Smiths and Bowie were left alone by the finance bros and aggressive security upstairs. Once you got past “door bitch” Brendon James you were set.

Jess threw me a bunch of birthday parties over the years but my 30th was the last and one of the most memorable. I will leave out the details here but let’s just say I got fairly drunk and ended the night naked stuck inside my laundry basket until the go-go dancer I had lured home with me with the promise of tiny kittens pulled me out. My final Tweet of the night was about eating a pretzel sandwich.

Eventually I went to Trash less and less but I would always go to Trash’s anniversary parties. Trash meant so much to me and it was the longest running weekly party downtown. When it finally ended it felt like such a huge chapter in my life had closed. It was such a sad moment made only more sad by the tragic death of DJ Jess a year later. I actually referred to his death as the end of New York nightlife. It was so fucking heartbreaking but his memorial brought so many people back together and it was of course held at Webster Hall.

Despite my complaints about the terrible crowds and aggressive security at “Webster Hell” I really do have so much love for the place. I met so many amazing friends and lovers there. I had so many good times. Many of the staff felt like family and I loved going to Veselka or Sidewalk or another diner with the bartenders and go go dancers and DJs at 5:30am after waiting for everyone to finally clear out so we could get paid. Last night I got to see a lot of those people again.

There are a lot of people that run Webster but I want to give Kenny Schachter a special thanks. He would always get me into shit if I asked and was always so cool to me. He really appreciated the people who were part of the scene and made me feel appreciated. He was one of the first people I ran into last night when he walked me in the door and made sure I had all the passes I needed without having to deal with any of the madness. Skrillex and Boys Noize gave him a shout out last night and the whole thing got me choked up when they brought him on stage and thanked him for everything.

Before I finally get to the photos I should probably mention the actual party last night. Deux Twins were on when I got there and they were followed by Ekali. Around 1am Skrillex got on and didn’t stop playing until six in the morning. He brought up Boys Noize and they performed as Dog Blood which is honestly a fantastic name for just about anything. I have also been told I should mention that DJ Sliink was there although he didn’t play any music.

I still don’t fucking know anything about EDM but Skrillex was a pretty good soundtrack to reminisce to. I just hung out on stage all night with old friends telling stories about that period of time where we ran downtown nightlife. I was talking to a DJ, a coke dealer, a door guy and another photographer together just looking back on the last decade. I might be a more successful photographer now and still doing some interesting shit with my life but I don’t think my life will ever be as fun as the years where I could walk into any bar or nightclub south of 14th street without so much as an ID. I would know a dozen people in every spot and run into bunch more people while headed to the next one.

Everyone who has ever lived in NYC has their “things were better back in my day” story but the sale of Webster Hall another reminder that the New York I fell in love with is gone. Thanks for the memories.

Click here to see way too many photos of Skrillex from the End Of An Era closing party for Webster Hall.

RIP Webster Hall

Skrillex

rip-webster-hall-699

RIP Webster Hall

RIP Webster Hall

Deux Twins

Boys Noize & Skrillex

RIP Webster Hall

 

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AVN House Party – 7.13.17

I have made it back to NYC and I have just a few days before I leave again for the god damn Gathering of the Juggalos. I got a ton of books to ship (buy my book!) and a lot to do in the next 5 days so I am gonna try to make this quick.

One week ago today I was in LA I hit the AVN House Party deep in the valley. AVN if you aren’t aware is the number one magazine covering the adult industry but they also do a ton of shit including throwing the AVN Awards that I have been covering for a decade. They also wrote a great review of my book!

My LA book release party was the next day and a room full of porn stars seemed like the perfect excuse to promote the book party so I hit up my friends at LA Weekly so I could make a little money while also trying to convince cute girls to come to my party. It worked out pretty well because I met Gia Paige who came to the party and hit on me and we took photos and hung out and I think now she might be coming to the Gathering of the Juggalos with me which is probably a terrible mistake but don’t tell her that because I am real psyched about it.

Anyway, there are a lot of pretty photos of pretty people in here and there is a bunch of nudity because porn stars like being naked. Oh, I should also mention that they announced Angela White and Harli Lotts are going to be the next hosts of the AVN Awards which was sort of the point of the party.

Click here to see all my NSFW photos from the 2017 AVN House Party.

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

AVN House Party

 

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Instaxxx LA Release Party – 7.14.17

Last night I threw the second and last Instaxxx release party. The NYC one was fun, the LA version was fucking insane. I am always stressed out when I throw parties and there was plenty of shit to get stressed out over but the party was actually really good and I would have had a ton of fun if I wasn’t the one throwing it.

Superchief Gallery LA is such a great space in DTLA and I am really glad I threw the party there. That being said they don’t really have a DJ set up and apparently I either borrowed the wrong stuff or not enough stuff so Carter Cruise had to DJ off iTunes. It was pretty hilarious but she kinda killed it anyway. When her set was over she was laughing about how she only had the music on her Itunes cloud and so she ran out of music “at some point I just played an A-Trak mix for 2o minutes.”  Sorry Carter!

By the time Kate Mo$$ played it was already after 10 and the party was supposed to end at 10. It did not. Kate Mo$$ played a short insane set that was pretty perfect for the party. I unfortunately missed half of it cause I was doing shit but I am really glad they came out. It was total madness.

Joseline Kelly played after that and then I took photo of her in a bathroom cause the bathrooms at Superchief are grimy and cool looking so clearly I had to shoot some photos in there.

Speaking of girls in bathrooms, huge thanks to Charlotte Sartre and Riley Nixon for hanging out topless on a couch all night. Not sure the photo booth worked exactly how we planned it but it made the party a lot more fun.

I think that’s it. Thanks to everyone who came out and partied with me and thanks to everyone who bought a book. If you are in LA and still want one get at me quick cause I have about 10 more books than I want to take home with me.

Buy a book here.

Oh, and also I should mention that these photos have an unreasonable amount of nudity in them. Enjoy.

Click here to see the NSFW photos from the Instaxxx LA release party at Superchief Gallery LA.

Instaxxx LA Release PartyInstaxxx LA Release PartyInstaxxx LA Release PartyInstaxxx LA Release PartyInstaxxx LA Release PartyInstaxxx LA Release PartyInstaxxx LA Release Party

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2017 Brooklyn Zombie Crawl – 7.2.17

Meant to get these Brooklyn Zombie Crawl pics up a few days ago but let’s just say I was a little bit preoccupied shipping out hundreds of books this week before I head to LA tomorrow for the LA Instaxxx book release. Let’s just say it’s been a crazy fucking few weeks. I have been working non-stop on Instaxxx so the zombie crawl was a nice break on Sunday.

The crawl started at the Charleston in Williamsburg where we were greeted by zombie Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD and Ben Kissel from the horror podcast Last Podcast On The Left. Kissel is running for Brooklyn Borough President was the “grand marshall” of the zombie crawl. I don’t know enough about him to endorse him but he’s for criminal justice reform and a quick look at his Twitter has progressive Tweets about immigration and LGBQT issues so I am on board with all that. Plus Borough Presidents don’t really have a lot of power so voting for him probably couldn’t hurt… although anyone who has been endorsed by Gary Johnson worries me a little bit.

We left the Charleston around 6:30 and walked to McCarren Park. For some reason there were a bunch of Guardian Angels with us which was kinda cool given that I don’t think I have seen one in the entire time I have lived in NYC. Glad they are still around. We stopped at the park quickly for a group photo and then headed to Greenpoint to stop for drinks at A-Bar. I haven’t been there since the opening, but I ran into a few friends there who had no idea the undead were coming.

From A-Bar we hit Brooklyn Bazaar for the after party where we were met by come competitive eaters in town for the 4th of July including my friend Tim “Gravy” Brown and Michelle Lesco who came in second in the women’s Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest. Competitive eating legend Badlands Booker was there too but he was there for the entire zombie crawl.

I didn’t take a ton of photos at the after party because my band actually played it but I got some shots of the other bands including Jess O’Lantern, J and The 9’s, and Uncle Jake and the 18 Wheel Gang. Plus my friend Lunchbox did some horrifying sideshow shit and “Everything is Terrible!” headlined with their insane video projections and super weird performance. I wish I could explain the whole thing but I was back stage getting ready for our show. All I know is that they are building a pyramid of Jerry Maguire VHS tapes and I wanna fucking see that shit.

Anyway, my band closed out the night and I ate a raw potato on stage for the two dozen people who suck around after Everything Is Terrible. I have no idea how the potato got on stage but let me tell you, don’t eat a raw potato like an apple because it tastes terrible and it makes it quite difficult to sing.

I gotta pack for LA now. I will post again when I have all the details of the LA Instaxxx book release party worked out but it’s July 14th if you happen to be around. Go look at zombie photos now.

Click here for photos from the 2017 Brooklyn Zombie Crawl!

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

Brooklyn Zombie Crawl

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Instaxxx Release Party – 6.29.17

Last night my book Instaxxx finally was born into the world. It was pretty exciting because this is by far the biggest project I have done. My last two books were about a third of the size of Instaxxx and every part of this required way more time, money and effort than all of my other books or art shows and I still have a lot to do. I am starting to ship books out today but I have nearly 500 packages to send out. Plus there’s the release party in LA on July 14th. Should be an interesting couple of weeks…

Anyway, last night was a blast. The night started off slow but by 9pm Superchief NY was popping. It’s a massive space in Ridgewood, Queens but it actually filled up pretty nicely. I sold some books, took some photos and we ran out of beer 30 minutes before the party ended which is honestly pretty well timed. Huge thanks to Pabst Blue Ribbon for all the cases!

I of course have to thank the DJs OHAILEIGH, Cat Lady and Francesca Darling for not only DJing the party but for posing for the book. I assume it’s gotta have been the first time any of you guys DJed with naked photos of yourselves projected on the wall in front of you right? Thanks a ton!

Also thanks a bunch to Mel and her friend (and my buddy Sucklord’s girlfriend) Meg for running an insane photobooth. The idea was for Mel to take photos of people topless with Meg but they both ended up topless all night and no one seemed to mind. I feel like it was a solid idea and hopefully the LA version will work out even better. Naked friends in LA let me know if anyone wants to volunteer…

It’s at this point I should mention that I get so fucking stressed out at events like this that I do a completely terrible job of taking photos. I meant to like Instagram live and like Tweet out photos and things and I did none of that. I also took some of the worst party photos I have ever taken. If I had hired someone to shoot a party for me and they came back with these I would fire myself. Still, at least you get some sort of idea of what the party was like and you can see people drinking that cold refreshing PBR…. Gotta get those sponsor shots!

Lastly, thanks to everyone who came out and helped out with this book and this party especially everyone at Superchief. I just hope that the party at Superchief LA goes as well as last night!

Now go check out these photos and given that more than a dozen people who were in the book showed up this gallery is fairly NSFW even if the photos are not very good.

Click here to see all the photos from the NYC Instaxxx book release party at Superchief NY!

Ps. Get your copy of Instaxxx here! Oh and you can get my new zine NOT SAFE here.

Instaxxx Release Party

Instaxxx Release Party

Instaxxx Release Party

Instaxxx Release Party

Instaxxx Release Party

Instaxxx Release Party

Instaxxx Release Party

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Sailor Jerry Fleet Week – 5.24.17

Last night I got to hang out on an aircraft carrier which is probably the coolest location I have been to for a party in all my years of partying. Fleet week started yesterday and Sailor Jerry threw their Fleet Week kick off party on the USS Intrepid. The Intrepid is a decommissioned WWII aircraft carrier that is now a museum and apparently a fantastic place to party.

It was hard to beat the Fleet Week kick off party last year which featured Cage The Elephant and Norman Reedus but the Alabama Shakes played this year and when you mix that with the insane location it was one hell of a time.

For some insane reason they gave Daniel “Gravy” Thomas a wireless mic so most of the night featured Gravy running around like a mad man buying sailors rum and hyping the party while Ian Saint Laurent DJd. Around 9 Alabama Shakes came on and ended the party properly. I haven’t really listened to them before but I left fairly impressed.

I really like some of these photos because the scenery was so amazing. You probably are gonna wanna check these pictures out.

Click here to see the photos from Sailor Jerry’s Fleet Week kick off party on the USS Intrepid.

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

Alabama Shakes

Gravy Thomas & Ian Saint Laurent

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

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Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo celebrated it’s 20th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of legal tattooing in NYC over the weekend. The events started on Friday with two events at Daredevil and then two full days of tattooing with some of the best tattoo artists in the world doing classic flash tattoos and updated versions of the historic flash. It was a really cool event and I got two galleries for you from it!

On Friday things started out with a few hours of $50 Sailor Jerry tattoos with a small break before the opening night party. I didn’t make it out in time for the $50 tattoo part but I did make it down in time for the party. Sailor Jerry was involved all day with brand ambassadors Gravy Thomas & The Paul Monahan both showing up for the madness and bringing plenty of Sailor Jerry rum to the party.

The cool thing about having a party at Daredevil is that it’s not just a tattoo shop but it’s also a tattoo museum. The place is filled with tattoo history and is located just blocks from the birth of modern tattooing. The first electric tattoo machine was patented in NYC and changed tattooing forever. If you wanna learn more about it I guess you could google it, but you should probably just go down to Daredevil and check it out.

Aside from partying with all the legendary tattoo artists the coolest part of the party had to have been the surprise appearance from Golden Lions NYC. I was not expecting three Chinese New Year dragons to roll up into the shop but they did and it was pretty incredible.  After the lions I left to go watch the end of a playoff hockey game that went into overtime but I was up bright and early the next morning for the second part of the tattoo celebration.

After working for Sailor Jerry the night before I got hired by the website Tattoodo to cover the tattoo convention part of the weekend (located a few blocks away from Daredevil at Ludlow Studios). Tattoodo is a massive online tattoo community with almost 2 million followers on Instagram. They sponsored the weekend and it was great working with them. Plus I got to get tattooed while I worked!

I decided to go with some of the historic flash and got a snake wrapped around a dagger tattooed by Nick Colella. Nick and I have been instagram friends for ages and I actually got tattooed at his shop Great Wave in Chicago before they were even open to the public. Nick had never tattooed me though so I figured it was time. Thanks Nick!

After getting tattooed I spent the rest of the day photographing other people getting tattoos by tattoo artists that have waiting lists of months if not years. One of my favorite tattoo artists Grez was tattooing all weekend and it took me 9 months to get an appointment for him to do my arm and and another 6 months to get my chest done. The tattoos were well worth the wait but you gotta love a convention where you only need to wait a few hours.

I didn’t make it back Sunday but I got plenty of shots for you to look at. If you care at all about tattooing or tattoo history you should check out these galleries. I have not one, but two of them! But before I get to that just wanted to congratulate Michelle Myles & Brad Fink on 20 years of Daredevil!

Click here to see all the photos from the opening night party at Daredevil Tattoo!

Click here to see all the photos from the tattoo convention at Ludlow Studios!

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

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2017 Tisch Gala – 4.3.17

I am headed out of town this week to the Galapagos Islands of all places and I have no idea what my internet situation is going to be like. I hope to get another update up before I leave but if I don’t update for a while you know why.

Anyway, I just wanted to get up some photos I shot a little over a week ago. Every year since maybe 2008 I have shot the Tisch Gala for NYU. It’s a big fundraiser for Tisch School of the Arts scholarships and they always honor some alumni or someone associated with the school. I don’t always post the photos on here because it’s not really that kinda party but this year was pretty fun so I wanted to post some of the images.

The Gala honored actors Danai Gurira and André Holland. André gave one of the best speeches I have heard in nearly a decade of shooting these events and Danai seems to be one of the most impressive humans on the planet. Seems like Tisch made the right call honoring them.

It was also Alec Baldwin’s birthday (he is on the Dean’s Council at Tisch) and his wife surprised him at the end of the evening. I have photographed him several times at Tisch events and he is always been nice to me but I know he doesn’t have a great love for photographers. I am very careful when it comes to photographing him but I got some really fun shots of him getting his birthday surprise. He seemed genuinely touched.

After the awards I went to dump images for press and when I came back down a dance party had broken out with a lot of the students that were there and let’s just say if you put on Beyonce’s Single Ladies you will probably get more enjoyment out of the photos.

So yeah, check out these photos and I hope to be back with an update before I leave (and maybe while I am there?) but if not I will be back on the 24th with lots of photos of turtles and iguanas and things like that.

Click here to see the pictures from the 2017 Tisch Gala at Cipriani.

2017 Tisch Gala

Alec Baldwin's Birthday

André Holland

Danai Gurira & Her Award

Randy Jackson

2017 Tisch Gala

André Holland & Danai Gurira

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Fader Fort & The Rest Of SXSW

Okay! This is the last South By Southwest update and the first one not typed up in Austin. Usually it’s the exact opposite but this was a very different SXSW for me this year. I didn’t do much and I am not too mad about it. I didn’t see a lot of bands but I did see a lot of friends and I did some pretty great photo shoots including a fairly epic one with two babes on the last day of SXSW instead of doing SXSW things. Anyway, let’s talk about Fader Fort.

Fader Fort is one of the biggest events outside of SXSW at SXSW if that makes any sense. It’s not an official event that happens every year and everyone goes and it’s a whole thing. I have covered it a lot but I haven’t been in a couple years because I was working too much. This year I didn’t actually RSVP but fortunately I was with my Playboy editor Leila when she was going and she got me in. We walked in right as Playboi Carti was playing and so of course she had to interview him because of the Playboy/Playboi thing. I shot a few photos of him live and him with his surprise guest ASAP Rocky and then we went back stage for the interview and a took a couple portraits. I shot Lil Yachty back there too for Playboy and got a few shots of him live as well.

A couple days later I checked out Fader Fort again and the only artist I saw was a dude named Super Duper Kyle who has a song that I had heard but I don’t really know anything about him. He put on a hell of a show though and I had a good time. At the end of his set he actually crowd surfed on an actual surf board. It was pretty amazing honestly.

So yeah, Fader Fort went for several days and I only shot three artists so this gallery isn’t that impressive. To make up for it I have a second gallery filled with some random shots I took along the way. Most of it is just stuff I shot in the streets. There’s a few shots of LA Riots DJing and a shot of Hannibal Buress and his grill which matches nicely with Lil Yachty’s grill so that works well for the images below. Anyway, just look at the galleries right below this paragraph and shout out to North Face for the free jacket even though it was the wrong size.

Click here to see all the photos from the 2017 SXSW Fader Fort!

And click here to see the random SXSW photos I had left over!

Super Duper Kyle

SXSW

Lil Yachty

Hannibal Buress

Playboi Carti

SXSW

ASAP Rocky

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