Giving NYC Nightlife What It’s Been Missing

As the editor of F.A.M.E NYC, I can testify that the phrase, “It’s not work when you love what you do” is true.  But I am not the only one that comprehends this sentiment. It is obvious from the picture above that Isreal Hagan (pictured left) loves his job.  Isreal is the co-founder of A-List Entertainment, a multifaceted marketing company that specializes in nightlife, fashion, nonprofit, brand endorsements, corporate liaisons and advertising.  On the company’s website Isreal says, “I honestly felt like NYC needed a facelift.”   A-List Entertainment has been injecting the life back into NYC nightlife one event at a time.  Their mission is to restore Manhattan as the place to be when it comes to partying.  Judging by the size of the crowds at their events and range of artists that they work with, it will not be long before A-List Entertainment can take their place in the pantheon of legendary promoters.  There is always pure electricity permeating through an A-List Entertainment event and Isreal is the Pied Piper in sunglasses, ensuring that each affair tops the previous one. 

Conquering the NYC party scene is not child’s play – it is a 24-hour hustle.  There is barely time for sleep, but Isreal took a moment to speak with F.A.M.E NYC and shared his thoughts with us about Manhattan nightlife, fashion and his favorite places in the city.

You stated, “I honestly felt like NYC needed a facelift.”  What prompted you to make this statement? 

New York City is supposed to be the Mecca of all things entertainment! Back in the days, way before my time, events had more meaning.  There was a hunger in the artists and the promoters to make as big of a statement as possible. I remember hearing stories of people who actually saw artists like Big Daddy Kane in a bath tub on stage and leaving with a spiritual fulfillment kind of like church [laughs].  And don’t even get me started with the party scene; people don’t even “dance” anymore.

How has A-List Entertainment assisted in giving NYC this facelift?

We are connecting the dots. Recently, we formed partnerships with CEG the company that represents the majority of Pop Culture like Jersey Shore, MTV Real World, etc. We also signed a strategic partnership deal with Buzz PR and their events are legendary! By combining our outlets and working diligently, we are bringing some of the most sought after events NYC has seen in years.

Those who know about NYC Nightlife know that the city is the main culprit in the decline of NYC nightlife.  How do you circumvent issues that some promoters and marketing companies have had with their parties and urban parties in particular?

There is no vision anymore. There are hundreds of nightlife hosts that don’t really understand what it means to host. It’s honestly the promoter’s job to make sure that people have as much fun as possible and that starts with the promoters themselves. I mean hey, take a trip to LA and then tell me what’s wrong with the promoters in NYC.  Furthermore the urban scene is tricky, as a lot of club owners don’t really want a dark crowd in their establishment.  Maybe it’s because statistically urban crowds ring higher bar numbers or maybe it’s the fashion statements they make to become trendsetters.  All jokes aside, business owners need a reality check. The year is 2011, cut the racism.   And promoters stop settling for used up venues to host your “urban event,” instead do something undeniable, contact your celebrity friends, lock in a few performances and get sponsors to back your endeavors. Keyword…sponsors.

If you could hop into a time machine and revisit any era in NYC Nightlife, which would it be?

Take me back to the days of Lotus, Tunnel, Lime-Light (House Heads) Eugene’s, the old Latin Quarters, etc. Speaking of LQs, I remember when the promoters at the time named Sergio Productions started merging crowds putting Latinos with African Americans…talk about hot.

What are the three most important components for producing a great event in Manhattan?

I could answer this question, but then I’d be giving our secrets away.  Just be very unique in your event planning, and be hands on with your Community Board.

 

A-List Entertainment also produces fashion events as well.  Do you guys have anything in the works for September?

We are in talks with a few special major brands! All I can say is Fashion’s Night Out will be a night to remember [smiles].

 Which brands/labels are essential to wear for a night out in NYC?

Well my style is a lot different from everyone else’s [laughs]. I don’t really spend money of the conventional things because I work out [smiles], so I can only suggest what I wear.  First go to American Apparel and get an assortment of deep V-necks, the more color the better, price $25. Then head over to Banana Republic and get a fresh pair of Black Chinos, price $50. Next stop is Alexander McQueen for some high-top Pumas, price $250-$300. Add a summer jacket from Zara or Kenneth Cole and your all set!  Oh and accessories are a must.

Tell me more about Prostar.

Prostar is our way of providing the lost art of A&R. Through our connections with Universal Music Group and CEG, we are able to provide artists with professional development, product endorsements, branding and PR. We also get artists booked all over the country. The harder they work, they harder we work!

What does A-List Entertainment have planned for NYC this summer?

Besides our weekly events, I have taken a special interest in Katra on Friday nights. I have the Heavy Hitter DJ Big Ben, Mickey Factz, MTV’s Charlie B and La Mega making special guest appearances. This summer will be filled with surprise performances and celebrity guest every week.  We also have our hands tied into a few concerts to benefit charities; it’s always good to give back to the community.

Give us five of your favorite places to go in NYC.  They can include restaurants, theatres, museums and places to relax.

 Pinkberry in SoHo.  Don’t knock it till you try it.

American Museum of Natural History.  By far the coolest exhibitions I’ve ever seen.

Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  Take a date here … you can thank me later. 

Dylan’s Candy Shop.  Feels like you’re in the Willy Wonka Movie; try the Ice-cream.

Del Frisco’s.   A local celeb spot with great food. 

To learn more about A-List Entertainment and their services click, http://alistentnyc.com/.

Photo courtesy of Isreal Hagan

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Barbara Tucker: 25 Years In House Top Event for 2009

To me, house music is not just a genre of music; it is my religion, my culture – essentially a way of life.  House music and the culture it inspires is one of the last underground cultures to be born out of NYC.  Unfortunately the decline of parties and venues that truly support my culture have forced us to revolve in lounges that focus more on what your bar tab is at the end of the night than the vibe, the music and the amount of sweat that is dripped on the dance floor. 

It seems funny to think that the city that spawned my culture is now placing a stranglehold on us – forcing us to adapt or to fade to black.  It is a conversation I have had with many househeads – the chase for the experience we once had that seems to be beyond the grasp of our fingertips, but one we get to touch once in a while.   On March 19th, four decades worth of househeads made the pilgrimage to Webster Hall for Barbara Tucker: 25 Years In House. 

If house music is a religion, then Barbara Tucker would be a saint.  She is definitely one of the divas of our scene.  Her track record of 25 years in house music shows that she is one of the hardest working singers in the business.  Songs like “Beautiful People”, “I Get Lifted”, “Most Precious Love” and “Stop Playing with My Mind” are classics that every househead knows.

The room was filled and space was limited, yet it didn’t seem to matter.  Wherever there was space, househeads were getting it in, contributing to the beautiful vibe that was in Webster Hall that evening.   Seeing Saint Barbara on stage singing her classics made me feel as if I was 17 again, when I was first started venturing into different clubs in Jersey.   The incomparable Louie Vega, David Morales and Tony Humphries fed us the energy to dance well into the next morning and provided a memory that will be looked upon with fondness as we party into the next decade.  Besides the music, the highlight of the evening for me was watching La India and Barbara on stage with Louie Vega behind the DJ booth.  Watching the players behind “Beautiful People” on stage exceeded all my expectations for an evening that will be talked about for years to come.  In fact, people that attended the event were still talking about March 19th well into the summer of 2009.

Barbara Tucker: 25 Years In House offered memories for us to cradle in our hands, keeping us loyal to this culture.  Paradise Garage, Sound Factory Bar, Afterlife, Zanzibar, Club Shelter – all the major clubs that reigned in the NYC area was represented.  We danced and shared experiences with househeads that haven’t been seen in years.  It was a long overdue family reunion filled with love, music, dance and good energy – it was a househead’s dream.