Into the Night with Frankie Sharp
If you live in New York, you have seen Frankie Sharp, or his work. You may not have seen him, though his face has been ubiquitous in local press over the past year and change. And why not? At this moment, he is one of the only people not just propping up, but nurturing New York nightlife, and driving It forward.
A Q&A With Frankie Sharp
If you live in New York, you have seen Frankie Sharp, or his work. You may not have seen him, though his face has been ubiquitous in local press over the past year and change. And why not? At this moment, he is one of the only people not just propping up, but nurturing New York nightlife, and driving It forward. Sharp began putting parties together in San Francisco, but has really found his footing in the 'New' New York. He is the mind behind now-mainstay parties like WestGay. We sat down to talk about his current projects, and what makes the night matter.
What originally brought you from San Francisco to New York? What keeps you here?
It was just time to leave good ol' San Francisco. That place, when you're in your 20's and not sure what you want to do with your life, cleverly makes you think you're getting a lot done when actually you've just been sitting in Dolores Park for the last 6 years. I just hit a plateau, creatively, socially, mentally. I may go back to raise a family there and buy more dogs or something, but its not terribly inspiring to me. But maybe... I just need to go back with a different perspective. With that, the move to New York only made sense. It works well with my blood pressure. I always say with every beautiful, inspiring, wonderful moment there is an equally disastrous, challenging and earth shattering moment and that's LIFE...the truth of it. And I love that.
What are you currently working on?
A few things. Right now, I'm producing and programming "Frankie's 'A Christmas Carry'" in December– a sort of Christmas rave/club night with Remy Ma. I'm also gathering all of my favorite DJ's, hosts, and performers that I have worked with all year to throw a bash to close the year off with a huge Performance. Tickets will go on sale this month for that. I'm also helping produce Kevin Aviance's Christmas Show/Revue also in December. And I'll continue to do my weekly nights, WestGay at The Westway in Manhattan and GIRLS at Lovegun in Brooklyn: both insane ragers that never quit!!!
Then once the New Year starts, I'll continue to throw great events and would like to focus more on producing Shows and Performances. I'm a theatre kid before anything else... the showman in me has lay dormant for too long now.
I also DJ weekly at different clubs and bars in The City as well as for fashion-y stuff all during New York fashion Week in the Spring and the Fall and been working a lot with my new friend, David Lachappelle on set, playing the soundtrack for him while he shoots. And I'm the New York Editor for London-based Fashion Magazine, Ponystep. So DECADENT right? I have a fun thing going...
Some of your parties have seemed like creative works themselves. Do you see your work as a contribution to the creative community?
Yes absolutely. BEFORE anything else, like money and all that, I love to give my friends a platform to express themselves "on stage," whether it's a literal stage they perform on or the table they're "hosting." The people I hire have larger-than-life personalities, and the characters they have cultivated seem like Art all their own. I'm glad to give them a platform to be their best selves. Nightlife is a pool of talent, art, creativity and originality, and we live to inspire each other. We need each other in this Community.
What is your relationship with nightlife at this point in your life? It's all-enveloping to be sure, but how have your attitudes towards it changed? Or have they?
It's given me the opportunity to work with my friends AND the chance to work with idols, artists, and musicians I'm obsessed with and look up to. THAT is the best part of what I do. Nightlife has also given me the chance to say the things I think are important to say, since I'm forcing people to pay attention to me and to share the things I love with everyone around me. On top of that, I make a great living. I'm extremely happy and grateful.
In your eyes, what is the recipe for a good night? What do you look for in a space? In lighting?
The recipe for a good night is music that feels like life's pulse... the night's heartbeat. Is it familiar? If not, is it inspiring? Does the music make you feel like your better self? Does it make you want to move grandly? It should.
And the crowd should feel sexy and approachable yet you should still feel cool, as if you're in the greatest city: our New York. That's what a good night needs. And positive vibes. I hate exclusivity and darkness. That's weird to me. I like guilty pleasures. Not that holier-than-thou, "I'm cooler than you" feeling, that's for insecure people who hate themselves. When celebrities come to my events, I make sure they're in the mix of everything; that's where the beauty and real fun lie anyways. There's no VIP section. It's just not necessary.
As for a venue, I look for the feeling of the space, if it "speaks" to me, if it feels like "a home" to the circus we want to create. I look for the ability/accessibility for the person coming to my events to feel like they can be in 20 different spots in the space and feel like it's never ending. Also, does it feel sexy? Inviting? Humorous? All of those things are important. I like venues to feel like you're stuck in a treehouse with GREAT lighting and endless possibilities– preferably reds and pinks (because everyone looks good in red hues). The space for my Christmas event " A Christmas Carry" is so beautiful. I can't wait to show everyone.
The way you dress has helped create an outsized character, even though you're a very approachable guy. How do you see the balance between clubwear and the openness of the scene?
I like to dress like a cartoon with a bank account; it just makes me feel correct. I like to make people laugh, or make them think of sex, or just think WHY? I think its fun/funny. I like pairing a tux with rubber Gorilla Gloves cause I feel Vaudevillian or I like to wear something that swings like capes and insane fringe, because then I'm a superhero, but mainly and secretly it's so people will part the seas when I need to get by to take care of whatever crazy stuff is going on at the club at that time.