My Golden Memories Of Beige

Categories: Nightlife

beige musto-6.jpg

Tomorrow night's gay lounge Beige -- at B Bar -- will be the last after many years of twink schmoozing and celebrity drop-ins.

Here are my misty, water-colored memories of the bash:

Shockingly, in this age of bombardment via Twitter and Facebook, there wasn't any promotion at all for Beige! There were no invites, no ads, and no reminders!

People just knew by gay osmosis to go there.

And it would really fill up in the summer with an indoor/outdoor mix of gay types -- though the vast majority of them always seemed to be 32-year-old twinks who "worked in retail" and wore Marc Jacobs -- sometimes literally.

It wasn't much of a mix at all, but it was just enough of one -- with drop-in surprises -- to pave the way for some shocking happenings.

There was the night five years ago when a big club's Halloween party got closed down, so the crazy clubbie crowd swarmed down to Beige, mixing with the moussed twinks and creating quite a festive circus.

I'll also never forget the time I spotted race-car driver Jeff Gordon and entourage, who had wandered into B Bar on the wrong night and were gradually figuring that out.

Promoter Erich Conrad -- who did the event, originally with glamorous Edwige Belmore -- gave me lots of stories for a 1998 column on Beige, which will be in my next book.

He told me that back in the day, when the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 was improbably there, all fighting, the DJ started playing high school marching band music as some kind of comment.

He also relayed the bit about how a PETA rep allegedly went up to someone there, soon after Princess Di's death, and said, "Got any Di jokes?" It turned out to be Di's stepbrother!

But since Beige brimmed with attitude, so many of the cute guys there ended up going home alone. In fact, I think I'm the only one who ever got picked up there!

As time went on, the elaborate free dinners and drink tickets became scaled back, and sometimes even the hostess could only get you a comp soda by sweet-talking the bartender.

That's when I knew the writing was on the bathroom wall (where, by the way, there's a photo of me from the '80s! I peed many a night while staring at my younger visage).

But it wasn't the economy that killed Beige. It was the complaints from neighbors, who don't like noise.

Please! I don't like their noise.

Photo: Alex Geana

P.S.: Here's the Times piece on Beige, which I was quoted in.



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14 comments
Musto
Musto

Thanks for weighing in, Derek. And thanks for all those years of firm benevolence! It was major.

Derek Neen
Derek Neen

When I came on board about a year into it, Beige had a kaleidoscopic somewhat Felliniesque wild west saloon feel about it, incredibly fun but utterly lawless. In order to steer her through the treacherous waters of NYC regulation enforcement, community boards, assorted petty and not so petty criminals and the like she needed a firm but benevolent presence out front perhaps even with a modicum of style and humor. The former pair I knew I could provide, the latter is for others to judge but as the months turned to years and the celebs came and went the thing that is indisputable was the strong sense of family that was shared by so many. So many b-days, graduations, promotions, weddings, Broadway openings, film premieres, record releases... you get the idea. The number of personal and business relationships germinated on Tues nights at B-Bar was staggering. I know Beige had the rep of having too much attitude but scratch the surface and you'd find you. Maybe a bit insecure, possibly a little vain but good intentions none the less just looking to step out, share some laughs, grab some ass all the while trying to make it happen for yourself in a tough town. We had a great team over the years and I'm forever grateful to Erich for inviting me to be a part of it. Warm summer nights in the garden with a glass of red and some of the nicest, coolest people I ever met will be my golden memories of Beige.

P.S. Thanks for the support throughout Michael , it did not go unnoticed.

rolph
rolph

You mentioned him in "Bye Bye Beige" on this same blog.

Musto
Musto

Sorry, Billy. I did mention you in another writeup, but omitted you here. My mistake!

Billy Beyond
Billy Beyond

BEIGE was started by BILLY BEYOND and Erich Conrad at 103 2nd Ave. Edwige came the third week after Serge Becker asked us to bring the party to the struggling Bowery bar. The first invitation featured a picture of Kim Novac in a sweater. The famous paint chip invite was the first one at the Bowery bar and was designed by BILLY BEYOND who was also the DJ and entertainment coordinator for the first few years. Billy's musical program of lounge standards was unique in Manhattan at the time and ushered in lounge music phenomenon nationwide. Without BILLY BEYOND there would have never been a BEIGE. How soon they forget!

Dave
Dave

When B-Bar first opened, people complained that it was insensitive to open a high-end restaurant on a street filled with people struggling to survive. Now the high-end neighbors think the place isn't good enough?

F. Packer
F. Packer

"Gay Osmosis"? OMG! That's my yoga instructor's name!

Almay
Almay

Does that mean B Bar will cancel ALL parties or only the gay one, pray tell?

JonnyOneNote
JonnyOneNote

Considering that the high-rise luxury apartments came AFTER Beige, I don't think the "neighbors" have a right to complain. Or perhaps their fee-hungry Realtors forgot to mention that fact when making the big $ale.

Cazwell
Cazwell

i cant believe a club in new york can actually CLOSE from "complaints from the neighbors"??? Dont move to downtown New York CIty if you cant deal with noise!!

Barkley
Barkley

I hate those kinds of trendy gay things where everyone's stuck-up and thinks they're the shite. The worst things about the gay community are the shallow, appearance-based attitude and the crappy way we treat each other.

Twonks
Twonks

I found it attitudey and boring but glad someone had fun there.

Timon
Timon

Tomorrow night will be off da gay hook.

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