Thursday, September 14, 2006


I met Leigh Lezark once. Years ago. It wasn't a very memorable meeting. She was drunk, smoking a cigarette, and surrounded by gay undergraduate boys. I was at a bar I didn't want to be at for a party I didn't want to attend for someone I didn't really like. We exchanged some words and for the life of me, I can't remember what we said to one another but I remember thinking, I kinda like this girl. She's seems all about life.
You know "life." She seemed all about it.
She was nineteen.

Years later, Lezark is one-third of MisShapes, a trio of downtown "kids" that know how to successfully throw a party (ultimately, isn't it just about the music?). You're wondering, can you be famous for the simple act of being good party promoters? According to this morning's sycophantic Times article, I guess so. Journalist Cathryn Horyn alleges that the MisShapes "have been compared to Andy Warhol and other figures of the 1960’s underground." Lezark and her two partners Georden Nicol and Greg Krelenstein have even sat "across from Karl Lagerfeld and Elton John" at a Hedi Slimane fashion show. Surely this is the measuring stick for success.

But I hold no ill will for Princess Coldstare. Rather, I feel bad for her (paradoxically, I feel nothing for the indiscernable Krelenstein and Nicol. They feel like the backing band to Lezark's lead singer). Investing all your time and energy into the trend-seeking party culture is a bad idea. Backlash is a bitch sniffing at Lezark's Christain Louboutin heels. Just ask Larry Tee about owning a scene. You can't.

I have this theory that Americans won't devote themselves to celebrities that have become famous before they've proven their indispensability. Take Paris Hilton, for example. Hilton became famous for simply being famous but tried to prove her worthiness in retrospect by recording an album and starring in a reality television show. Dane Cook is another example--the web savvy comedian acquired the most MySpace friends while he should have been working on his material instead. While most high school students think he's cool because he uses Instant Messenger, critics and people with brains feel otherwise.

Lezark is undeniably attractive. The friend I was standing with outside the aforementioned bar spoke about her "perfect face" all night--my friend is also not a lesbian.
I find myself slightly fascinated by Lezark only because my shallow-side feels a slight tinge of jealousy--I too wish the New York Times would write about how cool I am (even if it is for "five minutes") because, you know what? I am kinda cool. And as I wallow in my third decade of existence, I sometimes lament to Shana that I didn't "party" enough, and on occasion, I even want to check out MisShapes. But then I remember about me and vapidity. We're, like, not friends.

Three months ago, I interviewed the supremely talented Regina Spektor and we spoke about the downtown scene she was once a part of. We somehow started talking about the Internet's ultimate home of vapidity, Last Night's Party, a photography website documenting the nightlife culture of New York (incidentally, the photographer Bronques never ceases to freak me out). Spektor said, "I’ve been in that inner circle, and it’s fake. It doesn’t exist. They’re not having a better time than you just because the pictures look so glamorous. They can't be having a good time. They're working too hard on looking like they're having a good time." Spektor believes in the power of conversation (yeah, it felt just as hokey writing it as it felt reading it). Some people consider sitting around a table with a few friends and talking, a good time. Yes, beers are definitely encouraged. But what happens when you don't have much to say? What happens when the only common bond you have with your friends is the propensity to get drunk and go to the restroom for a "refresher?"

Eric was a successful party promoter for six months. He told me that he invested years into getting to the point where he could partake in that insane, whirlwind of a half-year. Eric went to parties night-after-night. Eric knew the doormen of every popular club and didn't have to wait in-line. Eric stayed out until 5 A.M. and woke up at 3 P.M. every day. As we walked through the serene Central Park, he told me, in hindsight, his life was a disaster. Appealing to the masses without a true, concrete incentive was stressful. It's great to have a scene but what happens when the scene goes elsewhere? After too much anxiety, Eric dropped out of the nightlife because he couldn't handle the all-surfaceness of it.

Lenny was a doorman at a popular club. This past Friday night, he told me clubs and scenes go through popularity waves (not a surprise) and that too much press and attention is the death knell. "That's how you attract the Bridge-and-Tunnel kids," he told me. "They wanna know what's the next scene. And the cool kids, the ones that made the scene, they move on." A few weeks ago, when I attended a Saturday night party at the Lower East Side's Darkroom, I completely understood Lenny's point. This was the stomping grounds of Lindsey Lohan, Scarlett Johansson, and a random Olson twin. Conversely, that night, I left after one drink. I could not be more turned off by a crowd. It's not that I demand celebrities in my presence but I have a low threshold for a room full of fraternity boys.

What's my suggestion for Lezark? Well, hypothetically, if we were in a room together, and she turned to me and said, do you have any advice for me? I'm not sure I would know what to say. I'm not her demographic. I'm straight, over twenty, and concerned about "life" and "the world." But if I thought about it real hard, I would tell Lezark to stop posing.
"Stop posing."
Sounds profound, right?
I'm not sure what it means either but maybe it would mean more to Leigh.

I went away for a weekend and Shana decided to go to MisShapes without me. She called me from the party to complain about its "lameness."
"It's pretty sad," she said. "It's all hyper-stylized teens checking each other out."
Shana told me she felt like she was in a high school cafeteria with a slightly better soundtrack.
"We're going home. This place is done."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished a book called "Confessions from the Velvet Ropes" which is about the guy who does the door to MisShapes and other clubs, and the NY club scene in general, past and present. There is a whole chapter devoted to the MisShapes and it's a bit critical and pretty funny. The guy who wrote the book used to go to clubs in the 80's so he has a bit of a historical perspective. There's a blog for the book:

11:28 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

Love the face of the girl in the picture, a natural beauty, a woman who doesn't need make up.

2:07 PM  

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