Serge Becker is an integral figure in Manhattan nightlife. In the 80’s he started as a DJ with eclectic taste, being involved in both the punk and hip hop scene. Then he became the art director of legendary nightclub AREA, a major celebrity hotspot which filled the void of Studio 54’s closure. It’s just so crazy, growing up I admired AREA for it’s artistry in invitations and themes, so to work for the person behind it was surreal.
Joe’s Pub, La Esquina, The Box, Miss Lily’s, he’s directed videos for Nine Inch Nails and is now the creative director at the Museum Of Sex.
Personally, I think of him as an interactive artist, since I’ve seen the impact his designs at Miss Lily’s has on people; the way it affects their person, awakens, stirs, loosens something within. No one enters those spaces and leaves unchanged. Soho is easily my favorite: the record tables, record covers as wallpaper, smut plastered on the wall behind the service station, the difference between the front and back of the restaurant. This is why I was his favorite, don’t get me wrong he had a few, but I was most like him. That artsy, erudite, socialite, party, old school glamorous, scandalous, rock n’ roll, about the b.s, cool Manhattanite. A reminder to him that the splendor of New York hasn’t utterly vanished.
Serge is the one thing I miss most about Miss Lily’s. He saw me as a person, not a caricature. While he would ignore most people, literally not saying hi, he adored me. We talked about art, drugs, the social scene. One Christmas he literally brought his prime rib down just for me, completely ignoring Simi the bartenders attempts at conversation.
He didn’t assume anything about me, he asked.
On my birthday he sent shots, champagne and dessert to my party of 15. Probably one of my best birthdays yet, everyone had the best time, no one remembers it. All of us felt we were in a fever dream, probably because the bill was $750 and I kid you not, on GOD, there was $100 TOPS, TOPS, spent on food (not including endless free shots). I kept trying to order a meal, it just didn’t happen. My co-workers were stunned by our ability to drink like fish. We were wasted beyond belief. I got a text the next day from some Italian guy I met on the bathroom line, no recollection. He started off with an inside joke too…awkward af, I didn’t know what he was talking about.
Serge made sure to send me a list of his favorite movies on my birthday, since I was a film minor at one point and we loved movies. We loved art in general, but film was our thing.
Anna Wintour on the other hand abhors him. She’s the reason Miss Lily’s Soho doesn’t have a liquor license, selling soju and sake as substitutes. As head of the community board, her objection was due to Serge Becker’s involvement in establishments like The Box.
I opine something went down between Anna & Serge, crossing paths on the 80’s art scene. No one can convince me otherwise. Anna Wintour as an enemy is major though. Again this is where I met Mick Jagger, our regulars were celebrities. This place was the Studio 54 of restaurants. I saw Anna twice outside Lily’s, three times total in my life.
When I exited on terrible terms, my co-workers reported Serge was crestfallen. Thanks to the complicated nature of things I won’t go into, I had to leave him behind. But, I know he’s watching knowing he was right all along, I’m extraordinary. I’ll never forget our David Bowie moment (read Serving Looks,Serving Maripol), they were friends.
I’m fortunate to be woven into the tapestry of people I grew up revering. It was an honor working for Serge, even when he was playing mind games. Even when he was insanely OCD, like the time he came into Graceland complaining everything was a mess before an event. No one agreed.
“What?” Melody, another server and I say in unison.
He then proceeds to pull an entire iron out of nowhere, staring at us. It’s my belief that he planted it behind the couch as a test. Serge always knew I was a star, no one knew I’d be an icon though (as in I conned those hoes into incriminating themselves and emptying their pockets). There you have it the Serge Becker I’m constantly talking about. Via: Aleim Magazine & Gawker