Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Hi, Nick. We're so excited about the opening of your club, ICON, on December 28th, and can't wait to be there! How are you feeling right now?
Nick Lion: Besides my music, this is the realization of another great passion of mine. I've always enjoyed entertaining guests and hosting parties at my home, now I have a larger, much more luxurious playground to do it in. It truly is a dream come true for me.
DBB: Your club opening is really a b.f.d. (as Joe Biden might put it) for Queens and for the City of New York overall. What's involved in getting this to happen?
NL: It takes a village! [laughs] It's a huge undertaking, but along with the talent, dedication and love of a lot of individuals who believed in the vision and concept, we made it a reality. And it is a "b.f.d." for a venue of this type for Queens (Astoria) or anywhere. I don't think there is anything quite like it.
DBB: The club is located in Astoria, just over the bridge from the Bloomingdale's Belt in Manhattan. How easy is it for Manhattanites to get there?
NL: I lived in Astoria all my life and love it. It's the closest borough to Manhattan with the easiest most direct access. If you want to live somewhere other than Manhattan, yet be the closest to it, that's Astoria. Its a 15 minute train or bus ride over the bridge or a 10 minute car ride. That's why so many of our brothers and sisters are discovering it and making the move I think it going to be the next Gay Mecca, besides the Village.
DBB: Obviously, you're going for glamour, you're going for class, you're going for major excitement and entertainment. In your own press release, you are "taking the NYC dance club scene to a new level." What inspired you to do this, Nick?
NL: I just felt there was a lot missing from the current club scene these days. They've become repetitious and lackluster. I'm bringing back the classic "old school" days when clubbing was at its peak. When folks got dressed to "be seen" when they went out.You could go out and make new friends, talk, dance and even get lucky. Socialization is what's missing big time from the club scene. Except for special performances and occasions, you won't find t.v or video screens stealing the scene. They can watch T.V. or Music Videos at home anytime. I want my patrons to look at each other, talk to each other, not be hypnotized by the movie screen. At ICON, my patrons are the features, and the stars; not a Ke$ha video. Also important to me, no plastic glasses. Only real glassware and crystal, just as I'd serve my guests in my home.
DBB: You're near the Astoria movie studio that's opened a major new sound stage for film and tv. And you have claimed your club is about the "luxury & glamor of Rodeo Drive without the attitude." It's suddenly seems like Queens is the new Tinsel Town East, no? Do you feel there's a convergence of attitude and energy there?
NL: Definitely, with the great influx of gays and lesbians moving to Astoria, the tone, attitude and energy is becoming more colorful & progressive. It certainly could be the new Tinsel Town. I think today, with all the horrible events we're faced with day to day, we all need a luxurious, safe and super-friendly place to escape reality. When the world outside gets lonely and cold, ICON will be the place where you can get a hug with your cocktail if needed.
DBB: You've got hosts Sherry Vine and Laritza Dumont, Dj Amoroso, paparazzi are promised as are celebrity guests, all on opening night. This is really going to be a major happening, isn't it?
NL: The combination of all that talent and glamour, combined with the popping of flashbulbs, is sure to make for a combustible, memorable night of fireworks.
DBB: Nick, I imagine that opening a club in the City of New York is a Herculian effort, especially legally and financially. What is the reality of pulling this off in the City?
NL: It's a painstaking process in many ways, a lot of legal red tape, but the end result makes it all worthwhile. It was a year in the making, and I can't wait to kick open the doors on December 28th.
DBB: I know you'll have a whole Marilyn theme we can expect with ICON's artwork especially. Please fill us in about the Marilyn connection.
NL: Marilyn was always one of my fabulous obsessions and inspirations. Her beauty is timeless. She was an orphan that became an unforgettable legend. She was one of a kind and ICON, which was named in her honor, is also one of a kind. ICON is esthetically beautiful, and glamorous, yet like Marilyn, has a lot of heart. If given the choice to go out with friends to have a cocktail in a place that looks like a bowling alley or a place that shines bright like a diamond, I think and hope they'd choose the latter. I know I would! We're honored to have ICON chosen by Celebrity Portraiture,Tim Otte to premiere his fabulous Marilyn Monroe exhibit. Tims work will have a prominent spot on our red sequined wall. I'm a big fan and proud owner of his work. It's an honor to have him join us and an exciting addition to the festivities. It seems no matter what I do in my life, Marilyn seems to find her way in it, one way or another. And I love it!
DBB: This is obviously a labor of love, the realization of a dream and a fulfillment of ambition. How did you pull this all together and make it happen? And how long has it been from the inception of your dream to the reality of all this?
NL: As I mentioned earlier, it was a year in the making, but actually it has taken almost a lifetime to get it exactly how I imagined it to be.
DBB: Can you tell us about what you have planned for ICON for New Year's Eve?
NL: For our NYE Gala, I have legendary glamazon hostesses Amanda Lepore and Carmen Carerra in the house. There'll be lots of surprises, special guests, sexy dancers, surprise show, food, lots of champagne, and the greatest music by Mix Master Amoroso to dance us into the next year.
DBB: What do you feel will set ICON apart from other current clubs in NYC?
NL: Clubs have used every gimmick invented throughout the years. The most important difference between ICON and other clubs is the way our patrons will be treated. ICON is a place where you can expect a smile and feel like you belong. This will be a place where you will feel appreciated and know that we will always be happy to see you. I think that's the real difference I'm striving for. A place where you can lift your spirits along with your cocktail.
DBB: Nick, lots of love, luck and the success that you deserve. This is truly an electric moment for gay nightlife in Manhattan! Any final shout-outs to our readers?
NL: I know the social climate has changed out there today with all the technology, and they may feel its not necessary to go out to socialize and meet people anymore. But I believe human beings still need physical contact with each other, beyond all the texting and emailing. And I hope that ICON can motivate that type of socializing again and make us enjoy going night clubbing again. And we'll be there to greet them when they do.