The Influentials: Scenesters

Leigh Lezark, "MisShapes" D.J.Photo: Roger Deckker

Leigh Lezark
D.J., “MisShapes”
Equal parts Louise Brooks and Kate Moss, Lezark is a downtown “It” girl–cum–marketing phenomenon. Her vampy little-girl-lost look was made for the club-scene photos at, and thanks to a never-ending stream of celebrity D.J.’s—Madonna, Hilary Duff, Hedi Slimane—her weekly “MisShapes” party at Don Hill’s continues to draw L-train mods. And so the product-placers have descended, showering the 21-year-old with freebies in the hope that she’ll propel them to the head of the class. Because where one hipster goes, another inevitably follows.

Jeff Stark
Creator, Nonsense NYC
This one-man clearinghouse of fun is responsible for the social calendars of thousands of New Yorkers. Nonsense NYC, the 34-year-old Stark’s e-mail newsletter, doesn’t just list the best secret loft party in town, it lists the best absinthe-fueled secret loft party with a live accordion band and jury-rigged amusement-park rides. Forget bottle service: Stark’s fan base is more likely to trek out to a warehouse in Queens, where hundreds gathered a few months ago for a paintball-by-numbers party he threw, or take to the city streets in lurid costumes to push shopping carts, as thousands did for his Idiotarod, a takeoff on the Alaskan husky race. Thanks to him, what might be a series of unrelated (and sometimes unfortunate) events feels more like a movement.

Amy Sacco
Owner, Bungalow 8
If Marquee’s Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss are the playboy princes of New York nightlife, Sacco is the queen bee. She turned a tiny potted-plant den into a synonym for posh exclusivity—status guarantees entrance and vice versa—and she’s managed to defy the rapid cycles of nightlife boom and bust by never relaxing her door policy, even if it means the club is empty. The more democratic Marquee may be more popular, and with a kingdom that extends all the way to Tao in Vegas, Tepperberg and Strauss may even make more money. But it’s Sacco’s velvet rope that still matters most.

Behind the Velvet Rope of the Undulating Curve of Shifting Expectations!

There is no life cycle shorter than that of a hot nightclub: Obsolescence is practically part of the marketing plan. Clubbers are alreadyanticipating the Hamptons season, where the annual game of musical chairs is under way. When the music stops this year, Cain Southampton will find itself in Jet East’s former (and now much larger) home. Over on 27th Street, the Pink Elephant has pulled big opening crowds with superstar D.J.’s, raising the question of whether it has any more tricks up its sleeve. There’s less room inside the tiny yet media-saturated G Spa—by the time clubbers actually get in, all the celebs they’ve read about will probably have gone. “MisShapes” proves there is nightlife after hipster death: After attaining most-hated status last year, it’s still going strong at its new Don Hill’s home. Next: Influentials in Food

The Influentials: Scenesters