Buzzing my way down avenue A till just short of the corner at 4th street, I fly easily through the doors of a coffee shop located in the refreshing L.E.S. As I pitch from place to place in the small blue studio of this coffeeteria, I notice that she is not here...... or at least no one that fits the description I was given of Audrey Bernstein. Looking for a slender woman with blonde hair, I stopped several candidates as they passed by. None were she.

I ordered a house coffee with a double espresso dropped in it. It had been an all together blurry week. I do remember Monday very clearly however. That was the night of Flyers first year anniversary party held at Bowery Bar. The co-sponsor of the event was our momentarily missing Audrey. The party had been amusing and had an outdoor patio as well, which makes it clutch in the summer months.

But I digress. I then began to wonder if I should ring her line, when I was stopped short by wonderful blue eyes. She has a certain relaxed glow. Audrey is definitely the one you might find at the center of the hive; unquestionably Queen Bee material in a city filled with Drones and Workers.

 

Classy and clever Audrey Bernstein takes a few moments to sit down with IMNYC columnist Chef for an interview regarding the making of Mothra and other parties she is behind in various night spots around New York City.

The following is an excerpt from their conversation.

IMNYC (IM): So tell me a little bit about what you do, how you got started and when?

Audrey Berstein (AB): I haven't actually decided what the name is yet for what I do. I am not really a party promoter, I consider myself more of a party creator.... I create a party or situation and then promote that.

[She eyes me to see if I can feel where she is coming from, I do.]

And I started two years ago when I used to have parties all the time at my house; like Birthday parties, Thanksgiving Day parties, New Years Day parties and huge parties all the time.

I searched around and found this place called "E & O" and that's where I had my Birthday party. That night the owner was there and he said that, "it was the best party we ever had here. There are so many different types of people here..... do you what to do a weekly party?" So then I thought, well that might be fun. Two weeks later I started Mothra.

IM: At "E & O"?

AB: At "E & O". And it was basically a dance party. It is not called E & O anymore, but it was on Houston St. and it's now called Harmony. [We chat a bit about what is currently going on at that night spot. Consult *NYtimeout.com]

IM: I was at the party you held last week at Bowery Bar co-sponsored by Flyer magazine. [I wondered about how these affiliations take shape and arrive at an impressive gathering like it was]. So how did you guys get together over there?

AB: Well......so I started Mothra and and it was a dance party and every week we would have guest DJs on for an hour. Usually some indie rock star, like Elliot Smith, or Alec Empire from Atari Teen Age Riot or Matt Sweeny from Chavez, Cibo Matto, and it became incredibly popular. I don't know I think it was due to the fact that I have really great [and she says this in a way that flutters your heart] Friends. I have really great friends. I know alot of celebrities, artists and writers, actors and things. They're just a really great crowd and they would all get excited and they would all come down. And that was basically what that party was. When I moved it over to Bowery, it's such a big place that I wanted to bring other elements into it. I wanted to get more people involved. So I am doing parties with other peoples parties involved. NYLON Magazine had their launch party with me, or Flyer magazine had their one year anniversary with me or I am doing a party with Playboy in June. So it is kind of like bringing people together... which makes it fun.

IM: I'm curious about the people side of things. Like do these things come about formally or through friends?

 

AB: Friends and..., I guess Luck. I think I am very lucky. The NYLON party happened because I am friends with somebody whose wife was becoming their art director. She was coming to my parties and thought we were doing very interesting things, and she wanted NLYON to do a story on me and then they were doing a launch party. So it was only natural that because they had just written me up as the party girl in their magazine they would do their launch party with me..

Through that article someone found out I wanted to do a Playboy party. They said that they were doing business with Playboy and they wanted to put us together. [She glows like a fire fly].

Or there is the guest Dj's. I guess my friends know a lot of fancy people [She laughs] or musicians. And those people became the guest DJs.

IM: Did that involve Karaoke at all ? [knowing full well that she has been holding sing along soirees for some time now downtown]

 

AB: No, actually while I was doing the Mothra party and I was beginning to feel slightly bored, and I wanted to throw another party. So I had gone to Karaoke Bars in Chinatown with friends, and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen and done. I mean you couldn't get me off the stage; I was a little embarrassed about it the next morning .

 

IM: That's great.

AB: Yeah. But I was slightly concerned that no one would want to come after the first time, but I was talking with some of my other friends and they told me "what are you talking about? All of our friends are ego-maniacs of course they're gonna want to go on stage every week and sing". So it just became this big thing and everybody got so in to it. It was really fun and you got to go on stage and sing. And pretty soon there would be people takin' their clothes off, getting up in big groups and singing, and celebrities would get up and sing and everybody got excited about it. Everyone couldn't believe that Michael Stipe was getting on stage and singing. And it just blew up.

IM: Yeah, I notice that a lot of the L.E.S has gone the way of Karaoke Bars. It seems to me that a once held jewel of Chinatown has now surrendered to the gravity of the Lower East Side. I mean, on my way over here I must have past about five Drag Karaoke bars that just sprouted out of nowhere?

AB: Well anyway I threw Karaoke on Wednesday and Mothra on Mondays. And from the Karaoke these people from VH-1 came down, just to check it out, and they sort of fell in love with it. And decided to make a show out of it. Luckily they want Russell and I to be in it. [She floats on that one for a second] and all of my friends. We have been working with their team over the last six months.

Hi [She waves and smiles at someone entering the Pink Pony]. Where was I.

IM: The show.

AB: Right! So anyways, We're booking the show, we're shooting it on June 22nd at the Kit Kat Club and it is going to be a Celebrity Karaoke show.

IM: Is it a one time event or taped?

AB: Taped at the Kit Kat Club for V-H1. We're running it as a special / pilot, so if it is successful we will be doing a series.

IM: Brilliant! [ I began wondering; That the art of Karaoke lies somewhere in the fact that it is an indulgence. It is connecting with media. And it is singing popularized songs in a way that makes most leave it in the shower. Audrey seems to enjoy the spectacle of it all. And maybe I just might be talking to the most extraverted-closet singer in history. So I ask her].

Audrey, what makes midnight Karaoke work for you?

AB: Well, I think the night life here in New York right now is pretty boring. Everybody's going out to make contacts; to network, to talk about business or to see who is out or whatever. And I found that people weren't having fun anymore and it seems that the bigger the party is the more boring it is. And Karaoke......

IM: is more intimate?

AB: No... not really that it's intimate. It is just that there is nothing else to do there but laugh and sing and have fun. Like picking your song and waiting for it to come up and getting all excited about it or getting real nervous. You get to hear people say "I'm not singing, I'm not singing". And when they begin to see other people getting up and doing it they start to think they can do it themselves "Hey they can do it I can do it". Then they start looking through the song lists and they say "Oh my God this is a great old song, I love this song". So they get there courage up and go up on stage. When they're up there, they are like rock stars.

And the really beautiful thing about Karaoke is that if you go up on stage and sing and try even a little bit, you get so much love from the audience. It's really a nice feeling and atmosphere for everyone. The most important thing is to have fun, to laugh and have a good time. It is not the time to talk about business".

IM: What are some of the things to expect from you in the near future? Do you have any summer plans for parties... I mean the city in the summer is a hot ticket all over the world?

AB: I want to have more theme parties, not just a weekly party. I [once] had an art show at one of my parties where I had forty artists each do a piece with the toy, light-Brite. That was really great because it got a lot of people involved and brought more people to the core of it. So it ended up not being me throwing a party for everyone but rather it becomes more interactive and gets people more involved. So I would like to throw more art show parties this summer.

Something else that was fun was a dress up party I had where everyone came in ski outfits. We decorated the whole place like a ski lodge and gave away snowboards and skis. It was so much more than going out to a regular old party "should I dress up, should I not dress up?" But this time it was like "I am going to get the most outrageous outfit I can and it is going to be so funny."

"So I guess theme parties is more what I would be interested in this summer".

delete yourself.

CREDITS:

Article: Chef

Photo: IMNYC

Audrey's Wardrobe: Alpana Bawa