Manage The Ticket Queue With Service Desk Software

mttqsWhat is ticket management? How does service desk software fulfill the function of ticket management? These are two important questions you will want to ask before you even consider doing a trial run of the service desk software. When the customer has a query or concern, he or she would either call the toll free number or send an email to the given customer care center. This is called raising a ticket. This is logged in by the person or system that receives the query. From this point on and until it is resolved, it falls into a queue. It is only after the representative has been able to resolve the issue for the customer that it can be closed. This whole process may take hours or even days in certain cases. However, it is the responsibility of the customer care representative or the company to ensure this process is executed smoothly and efficiently. The bottom line is customer satisfaction.

Any method of approach that can achieve 100% satisfaction for the customer can only be a worthwhile investment. In fact, one of the main reasons why products fail in the market is not the actual product itself but the poor customer service after the initial warranty period is over.  This has led to the sale of service desk software like hot cakes. Companies are willing to spend money on this application because they feel that it will pay off in the long term.

Using Of IT Asset Management Software To Lessen The Expense Of Business

IT asset management (additionally called IT stock administration) is a critical part of managing a company. It typically includes assembling hardware and software stock data which is then used to settle on choices about equipment and programming buys and redistribution. IT stock administration helps associations supervise their frameworks all the more viably and recovers time and cash by dodging unnecessary possession buys and advertising the gathering of existing assets.

Fittings possession administration involves the administration of the physical segments of machines and workstation organizes, from obtaining through transfer. Regular business practices incorporate a demand and support process, acquirement administration, life cycle administration, redeployment and transfer administration. A key segment is catching the money related data about the fittings life cycle which helps the association in settling on business choices dependent upon momentous and measurable fiscal destinations. IT asset management software portrays an uncommon type of stock observing programming planned explicitly to address the interesting needs of an IT supervisor. This means following anyplace from one to a large number of unique bits of hard or delicate innovation holdings and incorporating with servers, systems and administration work area as important to help troubleshoot issues rapidly and effectively. IT asset management software diminishes the expense and unpredictability of supervising IT assignments by furnishing a solitary vault for all data identifying with hard and delicate innovations, in addition to other stock that falls under the purview of the IT division.

The Processes Followed Towards RAID 10 Recovery

pftrOne of the steps in the process of RAID 10 recovery is to switch off the device at once so that it does not continue with storing of the data. Obviously, when raid 10 is failing, you would not want to find that it continued storing data as that would increase the volume that needs to be recovered. It would help if you also put down the events or actions in its proper sequence so that you can help the RAID 10 recovery team work more efficiently. Calling for assistance would be the smart thing to do in case you try your hand at recovery and fail miserably.

In this case, it is better to be safe than sorry. Call the professionals that understand RAID 10 recovery (like this company) and have them take a look at your documented list of events. It may help them in finding the problem that much quicker. It may also help if your drives have proper labels attached to them so that the team can replace them in exactly the right order. Above all, do not experiment when you have not taken backups. Being penny wise and pound foolish is one of the worst things you can do as you may find that the lost data is going to cripple your business. click here to read

The Need For Using RAID Repair Services

RAID is an abbreviation for –redundant array of independent disks. They are hard drives that work as a group to minimize loss of data. At other times, RAID works to increase processing speed. It is majorly designed to offer duplication of files to minimize chances of information loss. It has the capability of containing lots of data such as stored business data, movies, music and picture libraries. If one ensures that all the drives in the RAID array are in proper working condition, then there is no cause for alarm. But, in the event that the arrays are not kept in proper working condition, in case of a catastrophic event such as floods of fire, the RAID may have corrupted or lost data that calls for RAID repair.

Such circumstances may lead one to try fixing the problem on their own, which is not bad if there is some knowledge of data recovery. It is important to note that once you begin there is no stopping. Therefore, if one is not well versed with the task, it is better if to enlist the help of a professional who will assess the damage before presenting RAID repair solutions; unless you are prepared to lose your data permanently in case of a wrong move.

How Deviated Septum And Snoring Are Linked?

dssThe septum is supposed to separate the nostrils, but if it is deviated, it is not straight, so this can lead to serious snoring problems. When the airflow is not normal through the nostrils, the person breaths through the mouth, and since the airflow is restricted in this area, it causes vibrations and snoring. This type of problem must be medically treated, so the stop snoring pillows and mouthpieces usually cannot help.

The septum can get deviated due to some injury, and it causes constant inflammation and even bleeding. On the other hand, this problem can lead to another, the sleep apnea is where the nose passages are completely blocked, and the person cannot breathe normally. This can be very annoying since in most cases the patient must get up in the middle of the night in order to catch some air. This problem should not be self-treated, because only the doctors can fix the septum, usually through surgery. The most usual procedure includes removing all obstructions in the septum, if that causes the problem. If there are health reasons that require surgery, it can be covered by the insurance, so it is recommended for a person who suffers from this problem to visit the doctor, and not to spend the money or time of products, such as stop snoring pillows.

Are Snoring And Headaches Connected?

It is not unusual to suffer from a morning headache, especially for those who had too much drinks the previous night, or when blood sugar is going back to normal. Nevertheless, many studies have shown that causes of headaches should be searched in snoring and sleep apnea, as well. When this problem occurs, the snoring should be treated with mouthpieces or stop snoring pillows (some reviews are here), and when it stops, it should take away the headaches.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing due to blocked nasal passages. In that case, the brain is craving for oxygen, so if left untreated, this condition can lead to serious brain damage. Considering those facts, no wonder the headaches occur, so one must look for a treatment as soon as possible. On the other hand, the most usual symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, so there is the connection between snoring and headaches, and in this case, they are both consequences of untreated sleep apnea. Moreover, the snoring itself can cause further problems. For instance, due to constant snoring, a person cannot get a normal sleep and rest during night, so the headaches keep coming over. In this situation, it is not hard to find the cure, and all it takes is choosing among various stop snoring pillows, mouthpieces or chin straps.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Anti-Wrinkle Creams

images-03The effectiveness of anti-wrinkle creams is the subject of many debates up to this date. This is for the reason that there is no definite procedure that can measure its effectives in preventing or reducing wrinkles. The skin type of consumers is a significant variable to consider. People have different skin types. Therefore, it is hard to tell if the anti-wrinkle cream is really effective or not. Some products may be effective on particular skin types while others may not. The lifestyle of the consumers can also affect the results. If the consumer keeps a healthy diet, wears sunscreen all the time and avoids drinking and smoking while using an anti-wrinkle cream, she may notice considerable improvements after two months. The active ingredients that make up the anti-wrinkle cream are also very important factors that should be regarded. You may have heard about people switching from one product to another because they are not contented with the results. If you want to avoid getting into this kind of situation, you should read the reviews about the 10 best wrinkle creams so you would know which product is worth trying. It is recommended to consult a dermatologist before using any cosmetic skin care product. Read more

Anti-Wrinkle Creams: What You Should Expect From These Products

Everybody wants to have a younger-looking skin. This is the main reason why cosmetic skin care products such as anti-wrinkle creams are very popular. Anti-wrinkle creams claim that they can give your skin a younger-looking appearance. But these products are still requiring further research. Before you purchase an anti-wrinkle cream, it is essential to understand how it works and when to expect results. Anti-wrinkle creams contain certain substances that can promote collagen and elastin production. These are needed for the skin´s elasticity. If you are going to search for the 10 best wrinkle creams, you will find retinol, alpha hydroxyl acid; green tea extracts vitamins and minerals on some of these products. It is important to know that you will not get instant results by using anti-wrinkle products. You have to be patient because it may take two months or more before results become evident.  There is a need to use the product on a regular basis to achieve the results that you want. It is essential to understand that you may not acquire results that are similar to other consumers. Remember that you have a different skin type. Your lifestyle can also be contributing factor to the improvement of your skin´s appearance.

Elements That Cause Early Skin Ageing

images-04The wrinkling process of the skin is inescapable because it is a natural process. Your skin will lose its elasticity as years pass by. Wrinkles, expression lines, pigmentations and discolorations will gradually show as you grow old. But it is vital to be oriented that there are elements which can make signs of ageing appear earlier. Exposure to UV rays can cause skin wrinkling. In fact, sun exposure is considered as the most dominant reason for acquiring premature skin ageing. Unhealthy habits such as excessive alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking can also do dreadful things to your skin. Excessive alcohol consumption could lead to dehydration that can cause skin wrinkling because cells would lose their plumpness. Cigarette smoking can constrict the blood vessels to the other layer of your skin. Your diet can also influence your skin´s appearance. Your skin will be prone to premature aging if your diet lacks antioxidants. These antioxidants are essential in preventing cellular damage because they stabilize free radicals. Insufficient sleep and stress can also affect your skin´s overall health. If you want to keep your skin youthful-looking, you must keep a healthy lifestyle and use sunscreen. You may use anti-wrinkle creams to reduce fine lines that are already present. Get the list of the 10 best wrinkle creams and determine which product would work for you best.

Data Recovery Prices Going Down

Data is all here.

According to some modern technology columnists of note, data recovery has become quite easy. This is because there is more software that is truly effective in getting data in a matter of minutes. Now, one does not have to worry about losing their data in any way because they can easily recover it. Whether it is a failed hard disk or deleted information that cannot be traced in the system, recovery is quite easier.

For this reason, data recovery prices are going down. In the past it was prohibitively expensive to have people recover data for you. People would just get back up storage to ensure that no matter what happens their information is safe. This has profoundly changed.

As more and more people realize the importance of data recovery processes, things will get simpler. This is because even more effective software towards this process will be developed. No data loss case is the same with the other. This is why experts treat each case separately. Data recovery costs can therefore, not be estimated offhand because they significantly differ according to the situation. However, data recovery prices are expected to continue going down and becoming more affordable in the future. This is why everyone should stop worrying too much about losing vital information on their computers and phones.

To the individuals who run their offices or staff who work for certain companies, it is always advisable to take care of any data that one could be dealing with; this is because of the consequences incurred when it is lost. Once a drive is damaged that means that some data has been lost and need to be recovered with immediate effect. Data recovery prices might go up depending on the time that one wants the data recovered.

Loose of data leads to a company’s business disruption hence leading to also loose of revenue. In most of the cases, data recovery prices will match other data services. Some companies will take it that data is very important and charge quite high while others think take data recovery as a normal data service and charge the same.

Ones you data are recovered, it is advisable to get a back up so as to avoid losing it again. Make sure that your computers are serviced frequently so that they don’t clash any time. Don’t allow anyone to do this job for you but a professional in the field like at Hard Drive Recovery Group (http://www.harddriverecovery.org/). Remember this is a very important part of your company’s income generating factor. Data recovery prices might go high depending on the size of the company due to the amount of data that might have been lost.

The Process And Knowledge
Data recovery is a very complicated process that can only be done by knowledgeable personnel. It is important to know that the data recovery prices will greatly very according to the various factors that are there. The types of data recovery to be done is one determining factor. This will be decided by the type of mass storage device one was using and how it was destroyed.

The kind of storage media will also determine the price and how it has failed. Various circumstances call for various measures in the process of recovery. Some processes will be much easier than others will and they will take less time to accomplish. The more complicated the process of data recovery then the more one will have to pay for it.

Occasionally, data handlers will have a flat rate for all data recovery services. This is to mean that whether the process is long or short one will pay the same price. This has several advantages but also disadvantages. Data can be destroyed by being overwritten or deleted by malicious people. It can also be lost by being infested by a virus. Corrupt files can still be recovered and made to look as good as new.

Some companies, like the one in the above video, suggest that you can recover busted hard drives yourself. What is important to note is that typically, the people who claim this are just trying to sell you a hard drive board!

Common Hard Drive Problems

When a hard drive fails, most of us get panic and need to know how can we fix it? The problem is hard drive problems normally can’t fix by the owners themselves and therefore the data recovery companies exist to help them. However, it will be useful to know some common hard drive problems.

Head Crash is one most common hard drive problem reported so far. When a drive fails, the heads come into physical contact with the platters, which contain the information. This is called a “”head crash”", which does not allow the hard drive to perform well. Head crash normally accompanied with a clicking sound or a scraping sound. Anyhow, you can’t fix this at your home as it requires a lot of training and a clean room. Another hard drive problem is Electronics Damage. This is actually a physical or electrical damage happens to the electronic PCB board of a hard drive. Other most common problem with hard drives is Stuck Spindle. Spindles spin the platters under the heads, lock up and won’t move. This problem comes with a whining sound. This is actually a very dangerous problem as it may damage the whole system of the hard drive. When hard drive problems occur, I usually call Hard Drive Recovery Group from Irvine, CA to get help.

There are some home-methods of recovering the data from a hard drive. Though using these methods are not highly recommended due to the lower chance of getting a good result, you can try as primary methods. However, if these are not worked it is highly recommended to consults a company who are doing this job in a professional manner. For example, you can “”freeze”" the hard drives by placing them in freezers. This occasionally works by correcting a spindle lockup problem. If your hard drive problem gets solved by this small attempt, you are lucky. Though this method is commonly used, it can cause several other issues, therefore not highly recommended.

Another hard drive problem commonly reported is electrical problem. To fix these problem many home users used to switch out of the electronics board of the drive with a similar or exact model electronics board. Sometimes this would work but this isn’t also recommended. These boards include very specific information for the operation. Therefore, using the wrong board on a drive can cause a head crash. This may come with platter damages subsequently.

Therefore, when you are using home methods, you should be more careful. Those methods can cause severe damages to the hard drive, which will end up with no use. After those get damaged due to improper methods, even an expert can’t fix them.

The POS Systems Industry Reawakens

The sixteenth annual POS Today conference attracted fewer than 300, about 10 of whom were representing merchants. Of the 40 or so bankers in attendance, only two were from banks that issue cards.

Conference chairman Stephen S. Cole of Cash Station Inc. lamented those low numbers during a session on pricing strategies, pointing out that issuers and merchants are two key groups in setting point of sale  and pos systems pricing.

While POS debit has its faults, “it’s a whole lot better than other payment systems I’ve seen.”

“The more plastics you carry in your wallet, the happier you are,” he said.

Exhibitors also expressed disappointment at the low turnout, a 25% drop from last year.

Nearly all the exhibitors complained that they were spending more time talking to each other than to potential clients.

One vendor suggested that POS Today is completely indistinguishable from another Faulkner & Gray conference, Debit Card Forum. He suggested that the two conferences merge, “to eliminate the redundancies, you know, just like the banks are doing.”

Rumors about a merger between BankAmerica Corp. and NationsBank Corp. hit their peak on Monday, and comprised a good bit of the coffee break chatter at the conference. Independent sales organizations were salivating over the prospect of a coast-to-coast merchant territory such a deal would offer.

***

People in the point of sale debit industry seem positively eager to tap into the public sector.

Mary Kilby, vice president and director of marketing for Internet/Most, endorsed the idea, citing the concept of “government as retailer.”

She explained that if point of sale debit could be used for payments, “if I’m the county recreation department, I can compete with the local YMCA.”

Francis X. O’Leary, treasurer for Arlington County in Virginia, suggested debit cards could be considered for future use in meeting “mandatory” bills, which include taxes and parking tickets, and “discretionary” bills covering matters such as day care and recreation.

Can point of sale debit be effectively sold on television? It depends on where you live.

“Many consumers are still slow on the learning curve … even the word ‘debit’ causes some consumers confusion and concern,” said Debra Lipp, point of sale product manager for the Magic Line network, who advocated the use of television advertising.

But Cindy Ballard, senior vice president for Pulse network, said television advertising would be impractical for her company due to the regional nature of such coverage. Some of the seven states in which Pulse operates – Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Mississippi – are among the nation’s largest.

“In a market as big as Texas, it would be too costly to utilize TV effectively, and to have an ongoing, effective ad campaign,” said Ms. Ballard.

“Using television advertising across Texas would be impractical, whereas localizing it in Chicago or Detroit would work,” she said.

***

For many, the question is whether there’s a place for both credit and debit. But perhaps the real question is whether both on- line and off-line debit can exist.

Donald Maurer, senior vice president of Gensar Technologies, commented that “debit doesn’t eat credit, but are on-line and off- line debit competitive? I feel that if on-line debit doesn’t react, it may slowly disappear.

“On-line debit will become, not a thing of the past, but it will have” limited uses, he concluded.

The last session of the conference – “Adding Zest to a Mature POS Market,” by MAC network director Philip Valvardi – drew a respectable crowd, about 100 people. Mr. Valvardi immediately undercut his assigned theme by telling the audience that there is no such thing as a mature point of sale market today.

“If debit were mature, people would feel confident leaving their cash and checks at home, and I don’t think that’s true,” he said.

Speaker after speaker made it clear that annual growth rates of even 10% are not good enough. The underlying theme of every scheduled presentation was finding ways to expand the debit business.

Bankers and processors said the on-line debit could go further if store cashiers would remind consumers of that payment option. William Gerstein, owner of Mr. G’s Finer Foods, gave a half-hour talk on how Mr. G’s cashiers have become very effective salespeople for debit, mostly because of generous incentive programs for the cashiers.

Other merchants were less sanguine about their chances for success.

“Honestly, we’re still trying to get our cashiers to smile and say hello to the customers,” said a representative from Target Stores Inc.

In a break with tradition, the conference organizers added several smart card and electronic commerce sessions to this year’s program. Response from attendees was less than enthusiastic; these sessions were among the least well-attended.

Even those who attended these sessions were unconvinced that either smart cards or electronic commerce would have any impact on the day-to-day business of retail banking anytime soon.

When presenters started having problems with the audio-visual equipment, one audience member turned to a colleague, saying, “I don’t think the average Joe is going to be into this information highway stuff. Look at all these experts who can’t get their things going. Consumers don’t like to change. That’s what I think.”

The Server Technology Behind Roxyplex!

Now that we’ve managed to get this website up and going and looking pretty good, I have to say that I have had to look at a lot of technical issues when it comes to having this on the server. I haven’t actually had to look into a server repair company yet, but I am working on a backup plan so that the site never really goes down. I’m looking at a bunch of different raid configurations, and it appears as if a raid 10 is probably the one that I want to go with for the site going forward. I’ve heard that raid 10 is a really good raid configuration because it has a lot of redundancy that a raid five server probably doesn’t have.

I get what you’re thinking: why should I care about the fact that this website is hosted on either a raid five or a raid 10 configuration? The answer is simple: if you are looking for some of the great content about international clubbing and other stuff that is included on this site, it is important to remember that there is technology underneath this. Although it may look good on your android phone and may seem like just a regular every day thing, server technology is a lot more important to the way the web is constructed than you might think. I also have decided to go with the raid 10 configurations because I am looking at some of the pricing for raid recovery at http://www.harddrivedatarecovery.org/pricing.html, and I have to say that I am surprised at what I’ve seen. I think if you go with a raid 5 servers you are probably going to be taking a lot of risk with your website, and that is certainly something that I do not want to do with roxyplex.com. I want to have this as a major resource and I do not want to have to pay for raid recovery down the line. This is why I think probably having the best server array is going to be very beneficial for the site going forward. If anybody knows anybody who offers server specific repairs and/or advice, I would recommend that you contact me through the site. I am definitely in the market for somebody who can help me if the site begins to have any kind of problems or I experienced some kind of server failure.

Anyway, I’ve got a meeting with a couple of local web hosting companies and I am going to look into just what kind of technology they have for the servers. It should be an interesting meeting, to be sure.

Just Where Do The Actors In New York Hang?

On the circuit of hangouts, watering holes, taverns, gin joints (of all the gin joints in all the world . . .), eateries, saloons, grilles, speakeasies, et al, that are frequented by every conceivable member of the big town’s performing-arts community, the above quotes sum it up. It’s the fantastic range of choice–first, of where to go, and second, of what to choose once you get there–that really stands up under scrutiny (and a few cocktails). Surprised? Would this be the Big Apple otherwise?

From lush dining extravaganzas to down-and-dirty drinking/carousing, exquisite Old European decor to sawdust and smoke-filled “dart pubs,’ we went “on tour’ to track down the hot spots and cool jewels that among stage and screen folks are where it’s at these days.

Approximately 25 joints were chosen and visited, primarily on the basis of tradition and word-of-mouth from those who know–a “straw poll,’ if you will. There was an amazing litany of responses from various personnel on the trail–after they got over the initial fear that they were under Board of Health investigation or something–and, generally speaking, a lot of it boiled down to the same things: actor-types like the places because of (pick one from column A, two from column B) “tradition,’ “location,’ “ambience,’ “comfort,’ “economy,’ “prestige,’ or, oh yes, the quality of food and drinks.

Other factors: These are most definitely places to see and be seen, so the rosters of “heavyweight’ regulars and visitors–fictional or otherwise–are electrifying. Name a Broadway actor, a prime-time TVite, a big-time director–hey, name any celeb–and chances are great that he/she “is one of our best customers’ or “stops by for a drink now and again.’ Let’s just say that one wonders how Al Pacino finds the time to work, since he was mentioned at more hangouts than we can count.

Quite a few respondents were quick to add that August may not be truly representative of their drawing power–”Everybody’s out doing summer stock,’ or at least “you should have been here last night’– and that the coming weeks are when things really start to cook. In that sense, then, Back Stage is right on time in providing this recap, if you’re planning your fall “hangout’ itinerary (and aren’t we all?).

These places are caught in films and on tv (sometimes showing characters with Back Stage tucked under their arms), they appear as subjects of entire plays, and they’re often your second home or your strategy headquarters. It was not a terribly scientific process, so if we overlooked your favorite stop for script-reading over a plate of nachos, kindly refrain from contacting Back Stage indignantly–otherwise you’ll receive bemusement and a shrug as your answer.

So, in keeping with the diversity theme: bon appetit, smoke “em if you got “em, votre sante, here’s lookin’ up your old address, salud, and CHEERS.

Barrymore’s 267 W. 45th St. 391-8400

An absolutely superb location and a fair amount of tradition combine to give Barrymore’s a solid rep. Within shouting distance of a bunch of Broadway houses, it’s made up in a classic Olde English pub style with the ambience to match. Up to 90 percent of the crowd in the post-theatre hours are show people, says manager Mike Kerr, but “you’ll see big Broadway stars in here slapping rope-pullers on the back,’ adds Tom McKeon, an actorcustomer.

Kerr insists that Barrymore’s is “the best-kept secret on Broadway’ (a likely story), and to prove it he produces a theatre-district restaurant recap from that day’s New York Post which fails to mention Barrymore’s, in business for about 12 years under that name. The darkish two-room set-up (one a former tailor shop), surrounded with stained glass plus ancient photos and lithographs of theatre lore, can handle nearly 70 at the tables and a dozen or so at the sizable bar.

Two notable features: Kerr claims that Barrymore’s is the only area joint to offer a separate “theatre snack’ menu day and night (chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, calamari, etc., from $1.75-7.95). Also, the regular menu notes a tradition, dating back to John Drew’s era (the 1860s): On a Broadway opening night, the staff sends a basket of apples to the theatre, with each apple bearing the name of a cast member.

“We go as Broadway goes,’ says Kerr.

Menu notes: Primarily American (veal, steaks, burgers, fish, etc.) plus sandwiches, soups, many salads, specials. Top price: $14.95. Desserts (“awesome,’ says Kerr): $3.50-3.95.

Hours: Mon. 11:30 am-1:00 am; Tues.-Sat. 11:30 am-3:30 am; Sun. 12:30 pm-7:30 pm

 

PHEBE’S 361 Bowery 473-9008

This is the “southernmost’ stop on the gin-joint tour, a look at the “Sardi’s of Off Off Broadway,’ the “Ellis Island of the Lower East Side,’ and, by several accounts, a god-send and a savior for this transitional neighborhood.

Phebe’s, impossible to miss from blocks away with its blaring yellow letters on the side of its building, opened on the same day as the nearby Truck & Warehouse Theatre in 1969. The T & W shut down, but Phebe’s remains, as the “only reasonable place in the area for actors,’ says long-time employee Joseph Blunt, a composer. “Some of the best deals in Off Broadway history were signed here: “Torch Song Trilogy,’ “Hair’ . . . it’s now in some ways “the office’ for Ellen Stewart and the La Mama people. I mean, people like Lanford Wilson, Sam Shepard, and Michael Bennett have written scripts here, and Robert Patrick’s “Kennedy’s Children’ has Phebe’s as the setting. A lot of actors come into town, call their friends, and know that if they’re not home they’re at Phebe’s.’

The late Lester Nichols, original founder, is mentioned with considerable respect and admiration for his efforts in providing and maintaining Phebe’s for the artistic-minded regulars and for his causes on behalf of the then-sagging area. “Lester would plant trees, pick up garbage, give publicity to the shows and credit to the actors, lend props, and try out new food combos on actors,’ says Ozzie Rodriguez, a resident director at La Mama and a frequent Phebe-ite. “It’s because of him that many actors and dancers actually get jobs while here.’

Phebe’s (“open 365 1/4 days a year’) is quite a bit larger than it looks (258 legal limit, 55 tables), especially since Nichols bought the bar next door years back and expanded. The hushed, muted-wood set-up gives a dark-and-light feel and is dotted with posters and candle-lit tables, surrounded by expansive windows on two streets. Menus are broad and very American, with accents on the burgers and sandwiches.

The “cast’ over the years is among the most interesting anywhere: Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Tennessee Williams, Anthony Perkins, Harvey Fierstein, Harold Prince, a guy named Pacino . . . “Everybody from Buddhists to mudmen eat burgers at Phebe’s,’ says Rodriguez.

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Rap Master Who?

How many divisions does the pope of Walden Puddle have? Several, political commentators like to say, since when Garry Trudeau draws a line, millions of eyes faithfully follow it to the end, even when the end involves a tour of President Reagan’s brain–though in the case of Reagan’s brain, sundry newspapers dropped an editorial curtain over the offending comic strip, and the millions must have dwindled. Trudeau is a valuable man, in short, and it’s very nice to see him collaborating with Elizabeth Swados on “a partisan revue” at The Village Gate. There are seventeen songs in the revue, each more partisan than the last. “Rap Master Ronnie,” the title song, offers a rap routine intended as a “Reagan Campaign Message to Minority Voters,” in which the President soullessly recites herky-jerky rhymes over funk rhythms, while Secret Service agents breakdance and chant backups. “Say, we want Ron, the cat’s pure sex,/he’s the man who signs your monthly welfare checks.” In “The Class of 1984,” four revolting yuppies croon, “We’re entry-level assholes on the rise” and come out for social Darwinism. A chorus of right-wing ministers sing for intolerance. Another song lampoons the gloulish Elliott Abrams, officer in charge of making optimistic reports about human rights under fascism. A man and wife sweetly declaim against feminism. “Must I have it all?” she sings. And the mustn’t and she won’t, we realize, because nearly every song in Rap Master Ronnie shows Reaganism kick social equality, tolerance, broadmindedness and dignity for all, down the stairs and into the ditch, where they are scheduled to remain.

She doesn’t cameo, but she should!

There’s a good deal of pathos in Rap Master Ronnie. A melancholy marine Writes to Brooke Shields from Beirut. A derelict reflects on life on Park Avenue, where he occupies a bench. Pathos is by and large the strongest emotion of the evening, and pathos mixed with Trudeau’s satiric geniality can get a little tiresome. I kept wishing Trudeau and Swados would stand up and blast the White House, but good. I wanted to see mudballs; I’ve wanted, many of us have wanted, to see mudballs all campaign long. I wanted to go on a tour of Reagan’s brain. Mario Cuomo pointed the way when he proposed a campaign that would raise questions such as, Why did the President leave his first wife? Why doesn’t the President ever see his grandchildren? (Naturally, Cuomo suggested these questions with Ciceronian delicacy by saying they were questions he would not raise.) On the level of politics, a barrage of unprincipalia would make an excellently principled point: that Reagan stands for hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of all the right-wing pospelers who, like Senator Roger Jepsen, preach family values while cavorting in whorehouses or, like Senator Paul Laxalt, talk probity while deriving their power from the Las Vegas Mafia. Why shouldn’t the President be shown as the scheming hypocrite he is? On the level of theater, a more vicious satire than Rap Master Ronnie would at least get us pounding the table. There was vicious satire in the days of Lyndon Johnson. Barbara Garson’s Macbird was a classic of viciousness. Let the President run into mightly Barbara Garson in a dark alley, and you have the feeling national affairs would be in good hands. But I would be less confident if it were Trudeau and Swados lurking among the trash cans and dim shadows.

The music in Rap Master Ronnie accounts for some of the geniality. Swados has a gift for stylistic variety. The songs she has written with Trudeau are disco, calypso, funko, ballado and blueso, and you do get a feeling of musical fluency, which is satisfying. But there’s little depth to the score, possibly because of the constant stylistic shifts, nor do the lyrics always work especially well with the music. The performers–there are five, of whom Reathel Bean and Catherine Cox stand out–often have to cram oversize declamations into their mouths, as if they were eating giant sandwiches with lots of tomato and onion dribbling out the sides.

But why complain? At least Trudeau and Swados have gone after the Great Communicator. No sign in their revue of that terrible blight creeping across select liberal and left-wing columns recently, which makes otherwise sane individuals think Reagan is indistinguishable from Mondale. The dementia hasn’t reach The Village Gate. And at one point during the performance, I did find mysefl nursing a particularly bitter thought, for which Trudeau and Swados deserve the credit. Those of us who are more or less the same generation as these two artists have spent our adult lives, apart from four dubious years under Jimmy Carter, living under a Republican shadow. Ever since we’ve been teen-agers we’ve had to go home and wash whenever the President utters a remark. That’s no way to live. How old will we be when things are different? Ready for Social Security? Except there will be no Social Security.

Cabaret Continues To Perform

There’s a lot to celebrate during the Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets’ (MAC) Annual Cabaret Month. The past year has seen unprecedented progress for clubs large and small, and cabaret as an art form is in better shape than at any time since the mid-1960s.

Many factors have contributed to the continuing boom in the field, and the boom itself has produced some interesting side results. After long years of drought and neglect, the genre has finally reached the flash point where success in and of itself breeds more success. It’s still not an easy business, but it’s no longer like pulling teeth to get attention from the press and public.

Despite the high rents in Manhattan and all the other negative economic factors involved in starting any new, small business, it’s been a banner year for new cabarets and established enterprises opening or re-opening cabaret rooms as an expansion of their regular business. The growth curve, once led by the explosive expansion of comedy clubs, now seems to be steady and right across the board.

Cabaret continues to thrive.

There have been losses, most notably Nikell’s and Panache Encore. But both those spots closed for reasons having nothing to do with their own business. Panache closed because the restaurant which housed it went under, and Nikell’s because of a whopping rent increase at the end of a long lease.

Indeed, the drain of closings has slowed almost to a halt, particularly in the badly hit jazz field. Jazz clubs continued to suffer even as cabaret began to thrive, but the worst seems to be over. The situation has stabilized, and more new clubs opened in the jazz field in 1988 than closed in the preceding few years for a net gain.

Brand new clubs have cropped up all over town. Eighty Eight’s opened in April and became an immediate success. Rainbow & Stars Cabaret, the new flagship in the industry, received incredible publicity when it opened in early 1989, and has also been a smash hit. Rags To Riches joined Caroline’s at the Seaport as a venue for major names in comedy. Though comedy club openings have slowed a bit, Club 1407, Wonderland, the Village Gate and other spots have provided new performance space for aspiring and established comics.

The increase in performance space has been most notable in already established businesses. Maxim’s, Regine’s, Nell’s and the Doral Hotel have all started entertainment policies featuring cabaret performers. After a false start last year, the Slate came fully on line as the Chez Beauvais this year. Dannys’ Skylight Room in the Grand Sea Palace and Leslie’s Cabaret at the Ristorante Eleonora continue to do well. Cafe Gian Luca and the Zanzibar & Grill have given over space for jazz performers.

It’s hard to determine if there’s any direct connection between the boom and the improved legal climate in New York, but recent court decisions favoring unlicensed cabarets certainly made it easier for club owners to operate. Removing restrictions on the number and kind of instruments allowed on stage has permitted a qualitative improvement of the shows themselves, making cabaret even more appealing to the public. Owners no longer fear precipitious action by the Consumer Affairs Department, and are getting freer about publicizing their performers.

Signs Of Confidence

If there’s a trend developing, it would certainly seem to be in favor of flashier, more sophisticated clubs. All of the newer rooms are posh in comparison to the cabarets which sparked the boom, and the fact that entrepreneurs are spending money in such a fashion indicates that business people are confident in the future of cabaret.

That confidence also expressed itself in 1988 in a round of renovations and upgrades in well established clubs. The Oak Room at the Algonquin, Mostly Magic and the Ballroom had major face lifts–including vastly improved sound and light systems, Palsson’s is getting ready to reopen a totally refurbished room, the Plaza plans to reopen the Persian Room as the Rose Room and the St. Regis is also renovating. Serious money is being spent on cabaret.

That money manifests itself in other ways which help performers and also create an atmosphere which encourages customers to keep on coming. The technical capabilities of the rooms have improved radically, and while there’s still room for improvement (particularly in some of the supposedly better clubs), the sound and light systems in the main line cabarets are superb.

Money is also being directed into advertising and public relations. You see far more club ads in every paper today than you did even two years ago. Even some of the smaller clubs (or, more frequently the performers in the smaller clubs rather than the clubs themselves) advertise in the major papers, and almost every club advertises somewhere. There’s also a whole fleet of cabaret press agents and promoters these days. Ad money encourages the papers to maintain coverage, and press agents help oil the gears.

Good Press Coverage

Certainly the most significant contributing factor to the upsurge in public interest in cabaret has been the tremendous increase in press coverage. In 1983, when MAC was founded to promote cabaret, there were only five critics of import reporting on cabaret (excluding solely jazz critics). In 1989, there are (again excluding solely jazz) two critics at the New York Times (Stephen Holden and John Wilson), three at the New York Post (myself, Bill Ervolino and Pamela Bloom), three at the Daily News (Hank Gallo, Don Nelsen and Pat O’Haire), two at Variety (Joe Cohen and Martin Schaeffer), one at Newsday (Stuart Troupe), one at the Observer (Rex Reed), two at Back Stage (Bill Ervolino and myself) and a host of critics for smaller publications who will cover cabaret acts.

Though many of the critics named above cover a wide variety of events, some are exclusively cabaret or comedy critics (a completely new development–covering cabaret as a career is a recent specialty made possible by the boom itself). In addition to these direct reporters, there are scores of other writers and editors at every publication named above feeding into the system with feature stories, interviews, photos in columns, etc.

Television continues to lag behind, and local news coverage of cabaret is a city-wide disgrace. Being in New York is an advantage in every way except if you’re trying to publicize local events. Still, Joe Franklin has been a loyal friend and “Live At Five” and “People Are Talking” have been supportive. On cable, “Tomorrow’s Television Tonight” continues to feature cabaret, and “Cabaret Beat,” devoted entirely to the club scene, has become a popular show. Radio pays a great deal of attention to cabaret, and local DJ’s have begun to plug shows by playing records when performers are in town.

But the real surprise in 1988 was the amount of publicity garnered by the Manhattan cabaret boom in national magazines. Time, Newsweek, People, Omni and Elle have all taken notice of cabaret for the first time. And, while these features tended to concentrate largely on the high visibility clubs, smaller clubs like Jan Wallman’s, the Duplex and Don’t Tell Mama were all mentioned.

Record Industry Interest

The record industry has also rediscovered the club scene. Atlantic Records has released an incredible array of albums devoted to new and old cabaret stars. CBS, Elektra and Columbia have also had major releases in the field. Audiophile and DRG continuously release albums by cabaret performers. And, led by big sellers like Michael Feinstein and Cleo Laine, these records are doing well.

Audience Increase

Of course, the bottom line is the audience increase. I would conservatively estimate that the solid core audience (those who see acts on a frequent basis) for cabaret has quadrupled over the past three years, the regular audience has tripled and the occasional audience has doubled. Walk-in business is becoming a dependable quantity in cabaret, and so is business brought in by feature stories and reviews.

The new audience seems split between older patrons returning to cabaret after years of feeling that there was nothing going on, and younger, new patrons who are discovering cabaret for the first time. It’s becoming an “in” thing to do, and being the “in” thing never hurts. Restaurants, once described as the “theatre of the 80s,” are losing ground as an entire entertainment package as the public begins seeking more complete evenings out. Entertainment seekers disillusioned with theatre and tired of discos are also turning to cabaret as an alternative form.

There’s also a direct correlation between the growth in the audience and the improvement in the quality of the performers appearing in town. The fact that there is an audience today has encouraged major stars to return to cabaret in New York. Patti Page (after a 30-year absence), Joan Rivers, the McGuire Sisters, Tony Bennett, Barbara Cook, Yma Sumac, Peggy Lee and a host of others have either reappeared or returned to regular performing in New York because 1) there are now rooms for them to play, and 2) there’s a potential audience.

By the same token, the drawing power of those names has unquestionably pulled people into the clubs either for the first time or for the first time in years. It may only be a small percentage of them who return to see other acts, but that represents growth nonetheless. They’ve also helped draw press and public attention to cabaret through the publicity power of their names.

Lengthier Runs

Another new, significant trend can be seen in the length of runs being offered to known and even relatively unknown performers. Five years ago, there was rarely a thought of giving a performer an open-ended run in the hope that an audience would develop for them. Today, it’s becoming a prevalent situation in some of the leading small clubs.

It’s a mixed blessing. Top acts are tying up the key nights in what used to be easy access clubs, and getting a booking is getting harder for untried newcomers. The number of purely showcase rooms has declined simply because most of them have developed a strong stable of superb performers who can draw on a regular basis. But the quality of the performances has increased tremendously. Vanity act bookings (once a major economic necessity for any club trying to stay in business) have been banished to the off nights, and in some cases, banished outright.

Though that’s clearly an improvement for the field itself (and a further inducement to repeat customers who used to worry about wandering in on the wrong night), it has made it harder for talent to develop naturally in the city. Even comedy club open mike situations are tightening up because of the surplus of experienced, trained comics in the city.

The counterbalancing advantages to the experienced performers, however, are enormous. Such cabaret stars as Nancy Timpanaro, Lois Sage, Judy Kreston and Barbara Lea, who have virtually unlimited weekend runs at Eighty Eight’s and Jan Wallman’s respectively, have benefited both in terms of honing their performances and in increasing their audiences.

It also used to be that a new act that did well petered out because of audience exhaustion and the inability to get regular bookings. Club owners–having been burned frequently by great acts that, through no fault of their own, simply ran out of audience–were reluctant to approve extended engagements. Now owners are taking that chance and it’s paying off for them and for the acts.

Still, the incredible diversity of performance styles continues to be cabaret’s most marked characteristic and, I suspect, its major appeal to the public. Computerization has taken place for a lot of the music, but it is not without its pitfalls. There are, of course, always going to be hard drive failures and room for data recovery companies like this one. But as performers use backup hard drives and other key protections against hard drive crashes, the need for such services is lessened greatly. Indeed, there’s room for everything in cabaret, including the development of new styles. The synthesis of jazz and cabaret-style singing, for instance, has created a whole new type of jazz performance that’s far more accessible to the general public than mainstream jazz.

Charting MACNYC’s Accomplishments

At least part of the credit must go to the Manhattan Association of clubs and Cabarets, which has with great difficulty begun uniting the field. Though it was organized around a mere handful of clubs when it started, it now represents a healthy cross-section of the field and member clubs include almost all the major venues in town outside the jazz arena. The comedy clubs have come on board in force, as have ritzy rooms such as Maxim’s and the Oak Room.

MAC has also provided a greater sense of identity for and communication between the various components of the business. MAC-run seminars create an opportunity for valuable networking in addition to their inherent educational purpose. MAC provides recognition and validation for cabaret performers, and has done much to eradicate the notion that cabaret is a hobby instead of a career.

A key function of the organization is the MAC Awards, the only awards recognizing cabaret, comedy and jazz performers in New York based on both peer and critical evaluation. The system isn’t perfect–no system of awards is–but it’s a major improvement over no recognition at all. And it’s also garnered valuable publicity for cabaret and for the winners.

Using It As A Springboard To Fame

Some nore must also be taken of the increased mobility of cabaret performers to other venues. Kathy & Mo, Wallem & Tolan, Michael Feinstein and other cabaret acts have moved almost intact on and Off Broadway. Such upward mobility attests to the fact that casting directors, producers and talent agents are once again finding out that cabaret offers them a fertile field of discovery.

More and more producers, in the face of high rents and decreased inexpensive rehearsal space, are using cabaret to showcase and try out theatrically-oriented ventures. Nunsense and Forbidden Broadway have been huge successes, and neither would have been possible had they had to go the usual route. That kind of success doesn’t go unnoticed.

The things can only get better from here. As the size of the audience continues to increase, so does the effect of word of mouth and press coverage. Eventually, the cycle may go bust again. But we haven’t even begun to approach the crest of the wave and the end is nowhere in sight.

Comedy Clubs Remain A Serious Moneymaker

Stand-up comic Joy Behar, a former secretary who worked for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” parlayed her exposure at clubs like Catch a Rising Star and the Greene Street Cafe, into her own talk show (“Way Off Broadway with Joy Behar”) on the Lifetime network. Mario Cantone, another talented young comic, was recently signed up as the host of a new children’s show for WWOR called “Steam Pipe Alley.” And Colin Quinn is now the announcer on MTV’s new show “Remote Control,” a show hosted by yet another stand-up veteran, Ken Ober.

There isn’t enough room here to list the many other comics who’ve derived TV, film or commercial work from appearing in the clubs. It’s safe to say, however, that their number is rapidly growing, and, good or bad, the end appears to be nowhere in sight.

“It’s a situation that is accelerating at a very rapid pace,” observes Cary Hoffman, owner of the uptown club Stand-Up New York, “and one which is altering stand-up tremendously. We’re seeing comics today developing cleaner, more generic acts–television acts. They are also much more concerned with their acting abilities. A lot of them are even taking acting classes. By now, they are all familiar with the story of how Carl Reiner came into the Comedy Store and discovered Robin Williams. To many of them, stand-up has become a quick steppingstone to television and films.”

Catch a Rising Star owner Richard Fields agrees: “We have close to 100 performers appearing regularly at Catch, but I’d say only two or three of them see stand-up as a long-term goal. The rest are waiting to be discovered. And, while they wait, they can earn $30,000 to $75,000 a year. Our management company currently handles some acts–people who are not major stars–who are earning two to four thousand per week.”

Many of the clubs aggressively pursue casting people, inviting them to stop in, have a drink and sample that night’s acts. “Casting people call us all the time,” Cary Hoffman notes, “and yes, we do pursue them. The comedy clubs are now viscerally connected to films and just about every other medium. ABC, for example, has a pilot development program and they are always in the clubs looking for people to build pilots around. They want comics.”

Comedy Gets Serious

This growing interest in comedy among industry types as well as audiences, continues to bring big bucks into the clubs. But, as new superstars emerge from the stand-up pack, even the mega-venues like Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are beginning to feel the heat.

Rock may still rule on the road, but according to the music trade newsletter Pollstar, stand-up is beginning to make significant advances at concert hall box offices. Pollstar’s recently-released list of the top 100 touring acts included five comedy headliners with average nightly grosses that really rocked.

Eddie Murphy, of course, was number one among comics for the year. (No surprise there–he was also 1987′s top movie draw, thanks to “Beverly Hills Cop II” and his stand-up concert film “Raw.”) The “Saturday Night Live” alumnus, who got his start doing stand-up at clubs here in town and on Long Island, ranked number 28 overall among all touring acts with an average gross income, per date, of $181,114.

The other four on Pollstar’s list were Howie Mandel ($73,970), Jay Leno ($44,010), Sam Kinison ($39,169) and the double bill of Louie Anderson and Roseanne Barr ($34,364). Not bad for a night’s work, especially when you compare the obvious financial differences between carting a comic from town to town, to moving a rock act–replete with band members, instruments, sets, tech people, smoke bombs and what have you–over the same distance.

Stand-up veteran Freddie Roman, who played three nights at Caroline’s at the Seaport last month and is set to return for additional dates later this year, says he was surprised to see Anderson and Barr, both virtually unknown a year ago, crack the Pollstar list so quickly. And, though he was hardly stunned by the figures, he was quick to add that “if you had mentioned numbers like that to me ten years ago, I would have laughed in your face.”

Roman, who now divides a good deal of his time between high-paying gigs in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, got his start in comedy at the age of 14, playing the hotel circuit in the Catskill Mountains. “In the early ’50s,” he says, “there were 300…maybe 400 hotels you could work and they always needed comics to fill the slots. As audiences became more sophisticated, though, more and more hotels started to close. For the comics it was disastrous, particularly for the younger ones. There weren’t enough places to go around.”

Nowadays, there are so many rooms for young comics to play–some 500 and counting, nationwide–that, at times, it almost seems as if there aren’t enough comics to go around. Manhattan’s appetite for comedy is especially voracious, with more than a dozen clubs featuring comedy on a regular basis, and a dozen or so more in neighboring suburbs. Add to that list the cabarets and theatres which feature comedy and comedy troupes occasionally…and the improvisational groups with their own theatres…and the performance art spaces with their own comedy shows, and the list could conceivably stretch from here to…oh, how about Lansing, Michigan–a city, according to Freddie Roman, which “now has two very nice clubs, too.”

The club surge, once considered a fad within the entertainment industry, is now being taken very, very seriously. Catch a Rising Star, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange only months ago, is now in the midst of a rapid nationwide expansion. This year alone, according to Richard Fields, Catch will open new rooms in Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Washington, Atlanta and Dallas.

Remembering London’s Club Scene

Despite general gloom in the entertainment world, nightclubs for the young and seriously trendy are the happening scene (as they say in the business)

FOUR o’clock on a Sunday morning in Trafalgar Square, there are usually a couple of hundred people waiting at bus stops. Some wear scruffy bomber jackets, some shiny leggings, some are in black with their faces painted white. In Brixton, Notting Hill, a Hackney an Camden, hundreds more wander along the pavements, some off to bed, some to another club.

London is Europe’s main clubbing city. Rome and Madrid have big scenes, Berlin and Amsterdam have variety, but only London has the size and the mix. According to the British Tourist Authority, in 1989 4% of European tourists said they came to dance. The Japanese are joining in, too: Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues in the West End has a regular crowd of Japanese in impeccable designer scruff.

New York has the high-fashion film-star clubs, but London has a bigger grassroots scene. Part of London’s advantage lies in its relative racial harmony. Blacks, who make most of the music, are essential to serious clubs. London imports black American music generated in places that American whites would not venture into-acid house came from black Chicago, for instance-then produces a version for its mixed-race clubbers.

The recession has hurt some clubs. Members’ clubs have had a bad time: people are unwilling to pay a big signing-on fee. Places that rely on tourism have suffered. The older, plusher end of the market has been hit: yuppies with mortgages have cut down on the champagne. Some clubs have closed, some changed hands. Adrian Flack, owner of the small and fashionable Brain Club in Wardour Street, says things are now picking up: “I can really relate to what the chancellor is saying.” But the West End is still thick with rumours of closures.

To keep full, West End clubs have been letting out their premises to promoters and disc jockeys who are in closer touch with the more resilient end of the market, known as the hardcore. The hardcore is under 22, does not own property and may well still live with its lucky parents. If it is in work, it has money to spend. It is serious about music, and will not be seen dead in a place that plays the charts. james Style, who writes on clubs for the independent, reckons that there are 30,000 determined clubbers in London, compared with 20,000 in the mid-1980s.

Fashionable drugs encourage clubbing: they keep you awake all night. Ecstasy, at E15-20 a tab, is the most popular; for those with less money, speen is [British Pound]12-15 a gramme (enough for ten people for an evening). Unlike alcohol, which makes young men aggressive, ecstasy convinces people that the world is their friend, so hardcore clubs tend to be rather amiable places.

Acid-house parties, the most visible symptom of the nightlife boom, were stamped on last year by new laws. Clubs, encouraged by the regular extension of dancing licences until 6am, have picked up the custom. According to Dave Swindells, clubs correspondent for Time Out, new venues are opening more often: three years ago, a couple of new clubs opened in a year, whereas now there is a new one every month or two. About 50 heterosexual clubs are mentioned in Time Out. But by no means all clubs are listed. Advertising is not cool-serious clubbers rely on word-of-mouth-and unlicensed clubs do not seek publicity.

The hardcore market is highly fragmented. The biggest scenes are:

* Acid house. The music is Fast and furious, the crowd is a bit maler, whiter and more working class than others. The clothes are baggy and deeply unsexy. No smooching.

* Hip-hop and rap. The people are younger, blacker and flasher – “Lycra-ed out”, as other scenes put it. There is more sex in the air and an occasional whiff of violence.

* Funk/soul. Slower music: some clubs guarantee a maximum number of beats per minute. The customers smooch and chat.

* Reggae. Gentle jamaican music, now having a revival.

Beyond these are the Latin, African and jazz scenes, grunge music (favoured by hippies), the Goths (black clothes, white-painted faces, found in the intrepid Fox in Soho).

Since the customers are easily bored, venues offer different scenes on different nights, and promoters and DJs hop between venues. The DJ is the key to success. Top DJs have taken over much of the ground that pop stars used to occupy. As well as music, the customers want a bit of art: promoters employ artists to design light shows.

The business can be exceedingly profitable. A top DJ can make [British Pound]700 an hour, appearing at three venues a night. Since inverted snobbery demands that the premises should not be too plush, rents are low. VOX, a popular new place in Brixton, happens in a former warehouse customers are welcomed by a large “Loading and Unloading” sign, and descend into the club in an industrial lift). Other places are squatted: according to a promoter, if you find a good railway arch, spend [British Pound]3,000 on hot DJs and incidental costs and get the word around, you could get in 1,000 people at [British Pound]8 a head.

On the other hand, nobody may come. Fashion is a slippery business, and the fashionable are fickle by nature. This has discouraged the big entertainment chains, which leave the hardcore to young entrepreneurs with a feel for what their demanding peers want. The business is run by people in their early 20s, black and white, whose lack of interest in publicity probably has something to do with the tax authorities. Interviews with them are interspersed with calls from their parents asking if they will be home for dinner. Some make a lot, and many make a living.

Students rock the house!

There is some biggish investment going on, though. The most happening place at the moment, the Ministry of Sound, which opened two weeks ago, is huge, licensed for 1,200, with a sprung dance floor and a sound system, said to be the best in Europe, that directs thunder at the dancers and quiet at the alcohol-free bar. Set in the grey concrete of south London’s Elephant and Castle, the club has the atmosphere of a high-security jail. Searchlights scan the queue, fearsome bouncers frisk the customers down to the bottoms of their cigarette packets and police vans cruise suspiciously. It is supposed to give customers the frisson of an illegal acid-house party. They seem to like it.

In one way, recession has helped the club business: the property slump has increased the supply of venues. Sir Terence Conran’s Docklands venture at Butler’s Wharf collapsed last December; with the development in limbo, warehouse parties have started happening there. A DJ speculates that this Christmas, there will be a rash of illegal parties in unlet Docklands buildings. Why not, he suggests with a visionary gleam, in Canary Wharf?

Fresh News: New Orleans Club Adopts Air Cleaners

Everything in New Orleans is funky – everything but the air.

Buck Sardi, co-owner of Ponchartrain Air Conditioning, a 10 year old contractor, enjoys a project that presents a challenge, particularly when the project is new and there are lots of parts to the puzzle.

One of Sardi’s most recent challenges was to engineer and install climate control for City Lights, a chic new night spot in the heart of New Orleans’ revitalized warehouse district.

In a sense, City Lights was already a success, thanks to a sister club, Ditka’s City Lights, i downtown Chicago. Given New Orleans’ burgeoning visitor trade and a proven formula, the owners believed the club had excellent potential and were very specific about what they wanted.

A top priority was a pleasing, humidity-balanced environment–a tall order for a club that sits four blocks from a river in a city known for its 90 F, 90 percent RH climate. The second requirement was for air that was free of odors and smoke.

The building that houses City Lights is a stately turn-of-the-century structure with brick walls, wooden trusses, and massive exposed beams. The real key to the building’s charm, however–and one of the major challenges to effective climate control–was the 40 ft high cathedral ceiling.

One of the special effects used at City Lights is a high humidity vapor that bounces a rainbow of laser lights above the dance floor. The vapor is emitted near the ceiling, and the system had to be engineered so that the lighting effects wouldn’t be destroyed by the air conditioner or the air cleaner. Assurances also had to be given that the high water content of the decorative smoke wouldn’t compromise the effectiveness of whatever air cleaner was selected.

Ponchartrain Air Conditioning selected air conditioning equipment that would provide City Lights with 100 tons of cooling capacity. Three units continuously supply 4500 cfm of outside air–7 cfm per person when the club is at capacity. Because Ponchartrain sells a variety of air cleaning equipment from several manufacturers, Sardi had a number of options for this part of the project. Test data and references from other contractors influenced his decision to install passive electrostatic air cleaners.

These units are distinctive in that they are available with several types of inserts for combating different contaminants. In this case, the units were equipped with charcoal inserts that remove a wide variety of atmospheric contaminants, including tobacco smoke and the gases that always emanate from new building materials.

A major benefit is the units’ passive design, which does not consume electricity and does not use a power back or other device that can create service and warranty problems. Also, each air cleaner is permanent, with an indefinite service life. As is the case with all charcoal inserts, absorption of smoke and other contaminants will eventually saturate the insert. When this occurs, a simple replacement of the insert is all that’s required. The only other maintenance ever needed is periodic cleaning with plain water or a common household spray cleaner.

Clubs Change Hands In Louisville

Rascals and Caddy’s have been sold, and Coconut’s Beach & Safari Club is changing hands, as prominent Louisville nightclub owner Mark Suna decides “what to do with the next half of my life.”

Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Suna, a 38-year-old teetotaler who had been a fixture among area night owls for about 15 years (Lone Star Saloon, Sophie’s, Jock Stop), said he’s burned out and tired of fighting a shift in public opinion against alcohol consumption.

“There’s been a definite downswing in consumption,” he said. “Liquor has become taboo. Some people equate a bar owner with a drug dealer. It’s gone haywire.”

DJ Frank not affected by the sale.

What eventually became Suna’s burden is what the clubs’ new owners describe as a “great business opportunity.”

Bruce Hicks, manager and co-owner of Rascals in the Watterson Towers on Bishop Lane, said: “This is an established business, a sound investment. It is centrally located (near Watterson Expressway’s intersection with Bardstown Road). I fell in love with this place.”

Suna founded Rascals nine years ago on the site of the former Peter Outlaw’s nightclub.

In a business where nightclubs come and go, Hicks said, Rascals has been a mainstay. “It’s sort of a landmark in the business.”

Hicks and business partner Michael Antonelli recently acquired the business. They jointly own John’s Liquors at 13th and Hill streets.

Hicks said Elaine Nunn of V.R. Business Brokers of Louisville put the nightclub deal together for the partners.

Antonelli is also owner of Mike’s Village Cleaners in the Village Square Shopping Center, Middletown.

Hicks said a lunch menu is being added at Rascals to attract workers in the Watterson and nearby office towers. A happy hour, with free buffet, is held 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Recorded top 40 and rhythm-and-blues music is played by request.

Meanwhile, Charles “Bud” Nichols and the Woodcox family of Louisville acquired Caddy’s, which is located at Old Shepherdsville and Poplar Level roads.

They will start managing Coconut’s, 3027 Hunsinger Lane, on Feb. 1, with an option to buy the business, Nichols said. Coconut’s was formerly known as Boomer’s Club Cafe & Deli, which Suna launched in 1989.

Caddy’s, which Suna founded as Mardi Gras in 1986, is located on a five-acre tract with plenty of room for a miniature golf course and volleyball courts that are proposed there within the next year, said Paul Woodcox.

Woodcox said the recent onset of a recession doesn’t bother him in the least.

“People who aren’t spending their money on big-ticket items will spend (modestly) at the bars,” he said. “The best time for the bar business is a recession.”

Nichols said outdoor-benefit concerts are planned this year at Caddy’s. Inside, there is a pub and a larger room that houses a nightclub. Total seating is 300.

The Woodcox family’s principal business is Jericho Painting & Special Coating Co. of Louisville. It is the holding company for Caddy’s.

Nichols has a minority interest in the nightclub.

Woodcox said live entertainment, mostly bands, are planned for Caddy’s and Coconut’s.

“That will be our knockout punch,” he said.

As for Suna, he will remain as a business consultant to Nichols and the Woodcox family. For the long term, he said, he is eyeing the possibility of starting a recycling business. “Paper, plastics, manure, things like that.”

He does not believe he will return to the nightclub business–as he did a decade ago after a hiatus of several months.

He also may launch a new career as an agent, representing an unusual breed of client: The eleven parrots that live with him.

The self-described “Bird Man of Louisville,” he’s training the birds to ride little bicycles, and he donates their talents for outings sponsored by the Dream Factory, an organization that grants the wishes of critically ill children.

“I’d also like to lease out the birds for Broadway shows,” he said.

But he’s in no hurry about switching careers.

“I just want to take it easy for a while,” he said.