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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Beyond the Red Carpet and Velvet Ropes at ICON!

Icon opened up to a packed house with boys ~ and girls ~ lined up outside the velvet ropes in the clear but chilly New York City Saturday night. Nick Lion and Chris P did not disappoint with this classy Astoria venue that brought flare back to New York nightlife on 33rd St. off Broadway, just a few stops on the N train out of Manhattan.

I was greeted warmly by Nick shortly after I stepped into the club that has a sexy, red palette and Marilyn images galore. Marilyn even graced the door to the ladies' room (with James Dean denoting the men's room).

This was the first time the Icon club owner and I met in person, and there were hugs and smooches and good conversation as if we've known each other for years.

Ladies Room

The debonaire Mr Lion with champagne bar bartender
Nick said some very kind and touching things to me, personally, then took me by the hand (so we weren't separated on our way through the throng) to the champagne bar, where we toasted with a bit of the bubbly. The entire staff was polite and accommodating, from the doormen to the waiters. And they were, without exception, cute to boot!

True to his vision, there were no video screens or other media distractions in the club and people were indeed there to see and to be seen.

Classic disco played early in the night and I was won over as soon as I set foot in Icon and heard Dj Amoroso spinning the original Loleatta Holloway-Dan Hartman "Relight My Fire."

The crowd inside ICON
I entered, feeling refreshed after a disco nap at home and a long subway ride in from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens, nursing a 16-oz. coffee. I attempted "glam casual" look with leopard-skin shirt, black vest, jeans and dress shoes.  Nick showed me the coat check where I quickly doffed my black leather coat and my scarf. The packed house was generating a lot of body heat.

Also making the temperature rise indoors was Tazer, a go-go dancer at Icon, who gave me his business card. The tall, dark and handsome stranger also works as a masseuse and makes house calls. Come to think of it, I have been feeling kind of stiff lately and may need to be Tazered!

I also met the evening's hosts: Laritza Dumont and Sherry Vine, two very sweet and gracious performers and NYC LGBT icons in their own right. I told Sherry I first saw her at an early gig in the East Village, at the now long-defunct bar, Dick's. Sherry was singing Joni Mitchell songs with a guitar accompanist that night.

"Oh, my God!" Sherry exclaimed. "I remember that night so vividly. I don't remember what I ate for lunch today but I remember that night!" Short-term memory loss ~ ah, I can relate all too well!

The fabulous Laritza Dumont at ICON
I also mentioned to Sherry that one of the most amazing things I ever saw onstage was when she assayed the title role in a stage version of "Carrie" off-off-Broadway at PS 122 in the East Village. The f/x, on a shoestring budget were clever, funny & effective. I told her it was so much better than the much larger-budgeted "Carrie: the Musical" at the Lucille Lortel Theatre earlier this year.

"Did you see the movie remake?" Sherry asked, rolling her eyes. "I mean, I love Julianne Moore. BUT...!"

The divine Sherry Vine
Dj Amorosa segued into some heavy-hitting house music later in his set. When I left the club, hailing a cab back to Bay Ridge, there was still a line waiting to get inside. People, this is the hottest club in New York City right now. Be there or be square. Nick Lion is going to make this an extraordinary addition to NYC nightlife for sure. Take a quick trip across the East River to this boogie wonderland in a safe and bustling neighborhood of shops, restaurants and pubs to the latest and greatest addition to clubbing. Baby, it's cold outside but it's hot inside Icon! The fun is back in LGBT nightlife.

There were many paparazzi there who took many professional photo ops of Nick and I with their big cameras. Ironically, I never had someone snap a pic of Nick & I together on my iPhone!

Tuesday night will be another great night for the club. New Year's Eve Gala with hosts Carmen Carrera and Amanda LePore! Get there early, people.

ICON: where the happy people go!

Hot Dj Amoroso spins at ICON

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