Enter The Weird & Wonderful World Of The Bartschland Follies

Walking into Chelsea's McKittrick Hotel is like walking into a time machine. By now most New Yorkers know that despite its name, it's not an actual hotel - in fact, I'd describe it as a piece of architectural performance art. Whether you're there for the eerie experience of Sleep No More, a drink at the lush Gallow Green rooftop, or some crooning musical stylings at the Manderley Bar, a night at the multifaceted, multi-venue space is sure to provide rich vintage delights. (If you couldn't already tell, it's one of my favorite places in the city.)

In keeping with its jazz age vibes, the McKittrick's roster of weekly and limited engagement events features the type of over-the-top entertainment so popular in the 1920s and '30s - magic (At The Illusionist's Table and Speakeasy Magick), jazz (every Sunday night), and masquerades (for Halloween and New Year's Eve).

But nothing quite embraces - and distorts - the throwback theme like the Follies. The Bartschland Follies. Like the famous Ziegfeld Follies, a production that captivated Broadway from the turn of the century through the 1930s, The Bartschland Follies is a theatrical revue featuring a rotating cast of performers. But unlike its OG counterpart, this madcap circus of a variety show is produced by Susanne Bartsch - the reigning queen of New York nightlife, known for throwing some of the best, biggest, and most outlandish bashes of the past few decades. Let's just say Ziegfeld couldn't even come close.

Unveiled in collaboration with New York burlesque star DeeDee Luxe and the McKittrick back in March, the show recently made its return to The Club Car for the fall season and, finally, I was able to see it for myself. As my poor, poor (but nevertheless curious) Instagram followers know thanks to my tiny-dot-topped story, I loved every second of it. And, my fellow weirdos, glamazons, and purveyors of the outrageous, you will too.

Like a Stefon skit come to life, this show has everything: operatic pole dancing, naked clowns, juggling stripteases, a penis that lights things on fire. JOEY ARIAS AND AMANDA LEPORE. And that's hardly even half of it.

Naturally, I pregamed the performance with cocktails up at Gallow Green, where I was introduced to a flawless woman donning a Barbarella-esque metal bikini. This, I learned (though her reputation had proceeded her) was DeeDee Luxe, a key collaborator and host of the weekly show. After working with both the McKittrick and Susanne for years, DeeDee brought the two together when the idea of a cabaret show came about. And while she loves the banter on stage, her favorite part is seeing the audience react. "People who haven't seen it before are like 'Oh my God!' It's just the energy and seeing people's moods just lift. Even for me - I'll be having a shitty day, then I see everyone I know, the performers, and it's so much fun. All of us put all our love into it and to see the audience [reacting] feels good."

I soon understood exactly what she meant. The whoops and gasps from the audience (me included) added to the exciting atmosphere, amping up whatever fascinating or funny thing was happening on stage. Indeed, audience participation occasionally went one step further - counterculture icon Joey Arias, for example, requested a straight male from a front table, who, once invited into the spotlight, was promptly disrobed. Not to mention the peanut butter sandwiches being thrown into the crowd from a place, um, down below. You'll just have to buy a ticket to fully comprehend that one.

Even considering every eclectic talent or they-went-there moment, however, perhaps the strangest (and most enjoyable) thing about the evening was how it didn't actually feel strange at all. Excuse me for bringing our current social firestorm into the mix here, but when the country seems to have embraced emboldened bigotry, this room felt like a concentration of what we love about New York: a judgment-free zone where people can be their unique selves and get celebrated for it, fire-starting penises and all.

The Bartschland Follies runs every Friday night at The Club Car at the McKittrick Hotel. Get tickets HERE!

Source: https://guestofaguest.com/new-york/nightli...

New York Nightlife Queen Susanne Bartsch the Subject of New Documentary

On the day I screened Susanne Bartsch: On Top, the new documentary by directors Alex & Anthony about New York’s undisputed “Queen of the Night” for more than three decades now, I was talking to a friend on the phone and she told me that the teenage daughter of a couple she’s friendly with had come out to her parents as transgender.

“She had been presenting as a boy for a couple of years now,” my friend, the mother of a teenager herself, said blithely. “So it wasn’t a big surprise.”

Not these days. It made me think about Bartsch and her merry band of gender-bending artists and drag queens and her buddies like Amanda LePore and RuPaul back in the day before he was a TV star. It’s a different world now but it started with people like her. As one voice says in the film but speaks for all of them, “Susanne has always accepted who I am. You’re part of her ensemble, part of her fabulous machine.”

The beginning of the movie, though, takes us behind the machine, when Bartsch is getting ready for an event she’s throwing and bickering a bit with her makeup artist as he paints her face and eventually plants a brown pyramid-shaped wig on her head.

“I never wanted to fit in with the norm,” she declares in in her heavily accented Teutonic voice. “With my Swiss background—everything was like clockwork!—so I was just, ‘No!.’

And, as soon as she could, Bartsch broke out, first to punk-era London and then to New York in 1981 when she moved into The Chelsea Hotel, home to Warhol’s Edie Sedgwick and Sid Vicious before she got there, where she still resides all these years later.

Soon Bartsch opened a store downtown, when such things were still possible in pre-Bloomberg New York, and started importing London designers nobody had heard of and bringing their clothes to Manhattan and later Japan as well.

“Susanne had an effect on three continents,” Valerie Steele says in the film. The fashion historian and director of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Museum puts her finger on why exactly Bartsch is so pivotal. “She’s a perfect example of how it’s not just one person who makes fashion,” Steele says. “It’s not just one designer, it’s a while lot of creative people in venues where the creativity is validated.”

In the film, Bartsch is seen preparing for a 2015 retrospective exhibit at FIT with all her fabulous nightclub emcee costumes, digging through clothing racks jammed with garment bags before the fizz of the opening night. Talking about it this week in an interview just hours before the premiere in Los Angeles Tuesday and opening at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on Friday (and available on video-on-demand starting September 11), Bartsch says she had just met the directing duo the night before at one of her “On Top” dance parties.

“They were showing a little clip of a fashion designer and I liked it because it had kind of a Warhol feeling,” she says. She invited the pair to come to the museum opening and document it for a “five-minute thing” and thought that was it. “They called back a couple of hours later and said, ‘Would you do a documentary?’ I said, ‘Yeah,’ and it was that simple.”

Filmmaker Anthony says, “What was really great is that we didn’t know Susanne before we met her and, as we were creating the film, we were learning who she was and that was informing all of the decisions we made.” Alex chimes in, “We just went to the exhibit to see all of the fashion and when we got there and saw Susanne being Susanne we knew we wanted to do more than document the clothes.”

Of course one of the signature outfits in the FIT show is her 1995 Thierry Mugler wedding costume, consisting of a nude bodysuit and a sheer white structured veil that completely enclosed her like a futuristic pod. Her unlikely groom, several inches shorter and bulging with muscle, was gym mega-entrepreneur (“Look Better Naked”) David Barton, clad only in a matching nude thong, attended by 43 “bridesmaids” of all sexes and genders and their toddler son Bailey.

Today the marriage has gone kaput and Bailey is a Brown University student studying classical literature and he gives some of the most thoughtful commentary in the film.

“She’s so empathetic with everyone and gives me such good advice. I feel like that’s my mother,” he says. “When she gets dressed up, that’s not my mother, it’s a character she plays,” adding, “I think appearing like a normal person is a source of vulnerability for her.”

Or maybe not. Now that the wig has come off, so to speak, in the film, Bartsch reflects afterwards in the interview, “Originally I wanted people to say the film was fabulous and glamorous. You don’t really want anybody to know your shit because we all have it,” she says.

“One thing that I really liked is that I don’t care about wearing the wig so much anymore. Having seen the film, with nothing on, its kind of, ‘Oof! It doesn’t matter.’ It’s kind of a relief.”

Source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/new...

New Film Delves Into Life of Clubland's Most Flamboyant & Influential Party Queen

As a concept, nightlife is thought of as a frivolous and fun distraction, a form of entertainment that exists to provide escapism from the drudgery of daytime life, but it's more than that. Few can top New York promoter and party queen Susanne Bartsch in this regard and a new documentary, Susanne Bartsch: On Top, sets out — and pretty much succeeds — in proving it.

As a Los Angeles nightlife reporter, I’ve been hearing about Bartsch for years. Her glamorous getups, audacious entourages and otherworldly atmospheres, based in Manhattan, have been bringing out a mix of fabulous and famous denizens for decades. A few years ago, she threw a party in L.A. (a West Coast version of her shindig called Kunst) and it featured some of our most colorful characters and scenesters co-hosting and attending. Bartsch bashes are known for their dress-up and decadence, and anyone into fashion or club history is probably familiar with her name as she’s garnered attention not only in local publications like The Village Voice, but national mags such as Paper and the fashion glossies, too. A young drag queen from her crew, Aquaria, even won RuPaul’s Drag Race this past season.

Bartsch deserves mention alongside iconic NYC people, places and movements such as Studio 54, Andy Warhol and his Factory, the club kids of the Disco 2000 era, and the ballroom, drag and punk scenes — all of which she was either a part of or sought to celebrate in her own way. Even if you have no idea who this striking woman with the adorable Swiss accent was or is, you probably know a bit about one of the aforementioned hot spots and trends. In On Top, filmmakers Anthony Caronna and Alexander Smith not only put it all in context for you, they intimately explore how it all influenced their subject and how she influenced both fashion and pop culture in turn, not just in New York but everywhere.

The film begins — as many nights for Bartsch do — in her apartment in the Chelsea Hotel. A makeup artist is doing her face, fixing her hair and helping her get dressed for another over-the-top extravaganza, which happens to be at the new gym of her estranged bodybuilder/trainer husband. We learn about her personal life pretty early on — her unconventional marriage and separation, and her surprisingly conventional role as a mother. Archival footage shows the impresario at home raising her son (who, now grown, also speaks about what it was like growing up with attention-grabbing parents in the Chelsea while surrounded by artists and cross-dressing creative types).

Bartsch reflects on her family life in Switzerland, then her swinging days and nights in the U.K., which led her to open her own Chelsea boutique selling the edgiest London punk fashion, often from designers who would go on to be legendary. It wasn’t long before she was hosting and throwing parties where the flamboyant frocks she hawked by day could be shown off at night. It’s clear right away that Bartsch’s fantastic eye, unique style sense and zesty personality drove her into this glam life. You kinda can’t imagine her doing anything else, and when she explains that her motivations (like many in club promotion) are anything but superficial, you believe her.

And why not? Bartsch’s world is about celebration of life — inclusiveness, welcoming outsiders no matter their sexual preference, finances, race, age (Wikipedia lists her age as 50, and at the film's premiere last week she looked more fab than ever, even donning one of the outfits she wore in the movie from many years prior). Friends and fans sing her praises in the film, including RuPaul (whom she helped discover and who co-produced On Top), the Voice’s Michael Musto and several others in glorious, glitter-drenched getups throughout the movie. Additionally we see footage from her biggest bash of all, the Love Ball, which brought NYC’s ball and vogue-ing community together with drag and major celebrities, and raised millions for AIDS and HIV, then devastating the LGBTQ community in New York and L.A.

Culture vultures will love all the glitz, fashion and hedonism depicted in On Top, and its subject is endearing throughout (even when she’s in a bad mood, stressed out or mad when a planned party look doesn’t come together as she’d hoped). A running thread throughout the film concerns an exhibit of her outlandish club looks to be displayed at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with — of course — another big star-studded spectacular attached. Seeing the show come together is one of the film's highlights.

Of course, documentaries depicting aspirational lifestyles are a dime a dozen these days. What makes this film different — and pretty special — is its obvious attempt to go deeper, to show that people we might consider life-of-the-party types are multidimensional. Bartsch set the bar in New York, throwing the kind of crazy kaleidoscopic soirees that Saturday Night Live'sStefon famously lampooned. But despite the stereotypes, what she was doing, and still does, is deep and important, even if it is mostly about escapism.

Going out and being seen, drinking, dancing, flirting, hooking up and enjoying whatever else the evening may bring doesn’t preclude prioritizing other things in life. And it is a fact that many of us who love after-dark fanfare also value a quiet, subdued and relaxed home life by contrast — maybe more than those who don’t go out at all. Social people are often the most antisocial when they don’t have to be, and they have lots of personal connections, creative ideas, thoughts and things to say beyond the flashing lights and thumping music wherein they choose to express themselves. Susanne Bartsch: On Top gives us a look at both sides, illuminating the Zenlike desire to nest and rest before taking flight once again into the night.

Source: https://www.laweekly.com/arts/the-purge-br...

How Queen Of The Night Susanne Bartsch Stays On Top

A Queer Icon 

In the last few decades of New York City nightlife, countless stars have passed through its glittering terrain. When it comes to those who shape it, however, the list is a short one with just a handful of people making an impact felt beyond the city. Susanne Bartsch, otherwise known as, "Queen of the Night" is undoubtedly the name at the tip of the tongue for all things extravagant in nightlife.

As a promoter, she's been creating wild parties for the young creative class. As a fashion influencer, she's been curating designers and introducing cultures across oceans. As an activist, she's raised millions  for AIDS research and made history with her 1989 star-studded "Love Ball." When I started the Love Ball things were very scary and nobody knew what to do, " she says. 

Hitting New York City in the early 1980's, the Swiss-born artist has always had a love for the unconventional. When she opened up a store selling London's punk fashions and designers from the world over, she introduced a fresh glance on the downtown scene. From the famous cast of characters she assembled for her parties over the years, she hired a young RuPaul and launched him into downtown stardom long before he was an Emmy-winnerwith a hit Television show and several more in production. 

The 'Real' Susanne 

While the nightlife diva exists in an ultra-glamorous world of creating dreamscapes of her events, the filmmaking duo behind the documentary, Anthony & Alex, aimed to present a new side of the icon. Together they created a stylish, cinema vérité account of Bartsch working on an exhibition of her famous looks for the Fashion Institute of Technology's museum in 2015.

"It came out more personal than I was expecting it to be," she says. In the film, the subject appears like never before: out of her fabulously abstract drag looks and maintaining her family life, where she takes up residence in the famous Chelsea Hotel. While the angle the filmmakers took was a pleasant surprise, it was as spontaneous and organically evolving as anything else Bartsch has ever been a part of. "I was a pioneer, I did what I felt like doing. I never planned, I never calculated I just do what I feel is right," she says.

Maintaining her Legacy 

With nightlife fixtures like Amanda LeporeMichael Musto and RuPaulsinging the “Queen of The Night” her praises, the film is as much a who’s who of gay icons as it is a profile of the esteemed promoter. For co-executive producers and the masterminds behind World of Wonder ProductionsRandy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the intimate look at the woman behind the parties is a long overdue recognition. "Susanne is a legendary figure who for years has been the queen of this underground creative culture," Bailey says. He adds," it's a very powerful documentary, it tells you lots of things I didn't know about her." 

While the documentary covers a small part of Bartsch's life in 2015, the nightlife queen has kept up her racing pace, throwing parties and nurturing young talent around the city. It's these experiences that endure well beyond the last call at any one of her parties and grow her legend in the hearts of anyone in attendance. "I am very grateful that whatever I did I enjoyed every minute of it- that’s the gift. I actually did this and I'm having a fun time. I’m expressing myself and creating art," she says.

Susanne Bartsch: On Top 

Named after of one Bartsch's weekly parties at the Standard Hotel, the film's title describes her position in nightlife as well as in culture at large. The film is now available on iTunes.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/roytelmontero...

Susanne Bartsch on Death, Lady Gaga, & Staying On Top of New York

Susanne Bartsch will go to the grave in a look. As dramatic as that may sound, it’s the only suitable ending for New York’s most sustaining nightlife icon. The Swiss-born artist has spent decades cultivating a legacy as the aptly-titled Queen of the Night with an endless stream of parties as unforgettable as the legion of personalities that attend them. Who else can say they hired RuPaul to work events long before he settled into superstardom and also recently gave a platform to queens like Aquaria who won the most recent season of Drag Race?

It is Susanne Bartsch’s fabulous world and we’re just living in it. Yet, despite these claims to fame and enough iconic looks to literally fill a retrospective at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum in 2015, Bartsch is unphased by the trail she has blazed for nightlife and the city’s LGBTQ community. As she explains over the phone from Los Angeles, “I just do what feels right. I’m happy to hear that I have left one and that people can relate to things I do. My goal is to keep creating and inspire people. My goal is uniting people.”

Related | Bartschland Follies at the McKittrick Hotel Is an Evolution of NYC Cabaret

Far removed from the skyscrapers of New York, Bartsch has touched down in the city of angels for the premiere of Susanne Bartsch: On Top, a historic new documentary by filmmakers Anthony & Alex. Compounded into a tight hour and a half, the film is at once a greatest hits timeline of her life as well as an intimate look beyond the otherworldly costumes and precariously perched headpieces.

What began with a chance meeting at the nightlife icon’s famous On Top party at The Standard Hotel quickly turned into a deep dive into her influence across the spectrums of art, fashion, and activism — from inspiring Alexander McQueen collections to the 1989 “Love Ball” that set her on a path to raise millions for AIDS research.

We caught up with Susanne, Anthony, and Alex as Susanne Bartsch: On Top made its way to video on demand to talk about mothering generations of drag kids, retirement, and who RuPaul wants to play Susanne in a biopic.

OUT: Anthony and Alex, what was the most difficult part of filming this?

Anthony & Alex: The most difficult thing about doing this was being as sensitive as possible. We’re dealing with Susanne’s legacy. Every time something happens, you want to be there. There’s never an amount of time that’s enough to spend with Susanne to capture that. Wrapping anyone’s life up in ninety minutes is impossible.

Susanne Bartsch: There’s a lot that’s not there. It made sense to focus on the exhibition.

It has a good narrative structure leading to the big FIT exhibition. 

A&A: That was one of the most important parts of maintaining the backbone for the film itself. So much of Susanne’s art is ephemeral. You have to be there. We were very lucky that this thing was happening and going to be around for a long period of time while we were filming.

Susanne, you’ve been doing this for over thirty years. How has technology changed the way you interact with club culture?

SB: It’s definitely a challenge. In a way, it’s a gift because you can get a message out in one beat of a heart. The whole world will know. The downside is that people are so overwhelmed with too much information that they’re starting to ignore things. I’m still into phone calls and personal emails. I think it’s more important than ever to do events where people can look at each other’s eyes and feel the energy of each other. The cyber life is surreal. What’s really true? I could be an 18-year-old boy. It keeps me going when I see people get together and enjoy the beat of the music on the dancefloor. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see the joy on people’s faces and to give them a moment where they can be without their phone. It’s a brilliant, beautiful thing.

Ryan Burke in Susanne Bartsch: On Top. Photo courtesy of The Orchard.

Do you feel that you’re a mother to all of these drag kids you’ve met?

SB: They often call me mom. I guess it’s in my nature to nurture people. I enjoy helping and giving. I like people so it makes sense that that’s my role — giving people a club to be whoever they want to be and to let them grow. That’s the secret to being a mother. You have to let your child be themselves. That’s the recipe for mothering: you let people be who they want to be and accept them.

Did you have a mothering figure when you first moved to New York?

SB: Not really, no. I didn’t really know anybody. I came to New York for love and my boyfriend lived in the Chelsea Hotel so I guess the Chelsea Hotel is my mother. When I didn’t have any American dollars on me when I came back from Europe, they’d give me money at the front desk and I’d give it back to them later.

Anthony and Alex, you got your start in experimental live theater. Did you see parallels to that world in the club personalities you filmed?

A&A: This was probably ten years ago that we were directing and writing very experimental theater. It definitely took us back. What Susanne is doing now with The Follies at the McKittrick Hotel is not only so important because there’s nothing like it happening, but it is also very similar to what we were trying to do ten years ago. It’s so difficult to make that kind of theater work financially and to get people to come and see that. There was definitely a lot of people in that film that brought us back to those days.

Susanne, have you ever considered retiring?

SB: No. No retirement. I love what I do and it gives me energy. What would I be doing instead? Going on a trip is great but I would get bored. Creativity for me is gold. If you have an idea that comes from within and make it happen and people enjoy it, that’s the best thing there is. I’ll be in my grave in a look.

Susanne Bartsch in Susanne Bartsch: On Top. Photo courtesy of The Orchard.

Do you feel that you’ve done enough to leave a legacy or is there another goal you have that you want to reach?

SB: I have no goals. I didn’t do anything to leave a legacy I just do what feels right. I’m happy to hear that I have left one and that people can relate to things I do. My goal is to keep creating and inspire people. My goal is uniting people.

I think you’re doing pretty good so far. Towards the end of the film, you’re putting on an eye accessory and you say you won’t be getting any dick tonight wearing it. Have you ever used Tinder or anything to go on dates or do you just bring people home from the club?

SB: No, not yet. I haven’t had to do Tinder. I could be anything on these apps. I’ve been lucky and always had people interested in me. It’s all very organic. There’s nothing wrong with Tinder and all that stuff, but I’m around people all the time at these events.

Anthony and Alex, On Top was one of your first forays into nightlife and club culture. What did you think of that scene before you met Susanne? 

A&A: There was a really amazing party in Brooklyn when we first moved here about ten years ago. It was insane and then they shut it down and since then, we’ve had eight years of awful nightlife experiences. It was a bummer so we stopped going out and then when we found Susanne’s world, it opened up this entire thing that shut down to us eight years ago. I think that after this film, we’ll continue to go out more than we did because there is a sense of community that I didn’t even know still existed in New York and is really only at Susanne’s events.

We’re also big appreciators of art and all things pretty and the people who go to Susanne’s events are all incredibly special to see. When we were making the film, they were kind of intimidating. With the energy they give off, I forget they’re human in the sense that there’s such a beautiful ornate thing in front of you. People expressing themselves through the way that they look Is something that, by being with Susanne, has given us an appreciation that we’re almost addicted to. We have an incredible appreciation for nightlife now as an art form.

SB: It’s an art gallery.

Aquaria in Susanne Bartsch: On Top. Photo courtesy of The Orchard.

What do you all want people to take away from this film?

A&A: For us, we want people to take away a sense of personal individual empowerment by watching Susanne’s life and seeing someone who does what they want on their own terms. She enables people to do what they want in a beautiful way. Live outside or inside the box however much you want but just be true to yourself and know that you can do that.

SB: Don’t let fear run your life. My mother had a great line for us growing up. She said: “Winning or losing is not important, it’s important to play.” With the exposure from this movie, I’m getting so many messages from young kids saying I’m afraid and live in this small town. It’s scary what people go through.

Susanne, if there was a biopic made about you, who would you pick to play you?

SB: RuPaul suggested Lady Gaga. (Laughs) She would be perfect. 


Susanne Bartsch: On Top is now available on iTunes and all major platforms.

Source: https://www.out.com/out-exclusives/2018/9/...

RuPaul Pays Tribute to NYC's Queen of the Night in 'Susanne Bartsch: On Top' Trailer (Exclusive)

If you don't know who Susanne Bartsch is, then you haven't been to a good party yet.

New York City's Queen of the Night has been throwing lavish, Club Kid-filled fêtes since the late '80s, but she's so much more than that: She's an artist, an activist, a LGBT+ icon with an incredible legacy that's reflected on in the documentary, Susanne Bartsch: On Top. ET has the exclusive trailer, which includes an interview with one of the stars that Bartsch helped launch: RuPaul.

"Susanne Bartsch was the one who championed me and said, 'You have got a future. You are something special,'" RuPaul, who serves as an executive producer on the doc, explains over vintage footage of the two onstage. "More than any other time in my life, that's when I needed to hear that."

The trailer is also packed with glitter and wigs, voguing and cameos from some of Hollywood's biggst celebs. (Plus, you can peep Drag Race season 10 winner Aquaria at the 25-second mark!) Susanne Bartsch: On Top opens in L.A. on Sept. 7 and is available on VOD on Sept. 11.

Here is the movie's official synopsis:

"People have flocked to New York City to break free from the oppressive shackles of social norms and find themselves for decades; Susanne Bartsch has dedicated her life to creating a safe haven for just those people. The mother of avant-garde self-expression, Susanne creates imaginative spaces where people can live out their wildest fantasies night after night.

SUSANNE BARTSCH: ON TOP explores Susanne’s life and impact through never-before-seen archival footage, verité cinematography, personal testimonials, and highly stylized imagery. From quiet moments at home to the creation of deliciously debaucherous spectacles, Susanne juggles family life with the overwhelming stress of being a one-woman industry. At an age when most of her peers have slowed down, Susanne moves forward more determined than ever."

Source: https://www.etonline.com/rupaul-pays-tribu...

Bartschland Follies at the McKittrick Hotel Is an Evolution of NYC Cabaret

It’s just past 11 p.m. on a perfect June night in New York City. Nightlife queen Susanne Bartsch is holed up in her suite at the Hotel Chelsea, slinking into a sequined emerald catsuit and six-inch black patent platforms heels, preparing for her outrageous midnight encounter Bartschland Follies at the McKittrick Hotel.

Hosted every Friday at the McKittrick’s Heath venue, a cozy top floor performance space, Bartschland Follies is in many ways a traditional New York cabaret -- low cafe tables, candlelight, bespoke mixologists, singing, dancing, naughty bits, and generally the kinds of performers and experiences singular to New York City. A melange of performances from a cast of both nightlife stalwarts and up-and-coming showstoppers has Susanne’s smartly dressed patrons lining the cobbled sidewalk down below some three hours early. Once admitted, a wood-paneled elevator operated by a gorgeous young attendant takes one up and inside the Heath’s softly lit lounge and bar, where lilac colored mixed drinks and perfectly chilled champagne are offered aplenty along with a beautiful array of personalities and thrillseekers like model and activist Yasmine Petty and artistic muse Kyle Farmery.

Created in conjunction with producer (and Follies performance artist) DeeDee Luxe, Susanne chooses a new MC every week to assist her; drag king comedian Murray Hill often has the honor, as does the operatic drag queen Shequida Hall. One of the many delights at Follies is witnessing live the twisted, jovial banter between Susanne and her many guests and co-hosts.

“May I smell your bush?” Susanne asks Shequida in her famous Swiss-inflected dulcet tone, as the two well-heeled broads join each other on stage to begin the show.

“Bitch, my bush is a penis, bitch!” Shequida fires back, nonplussed.

“Well I’m down either way, my darling,” Susanne replies nonchalantly to roaring applause.

Backstage, the talent are putting the final touches on their makeup, fluffing their feather boas, pasting on pasties. “Talented, diverse, and sexy with a twist is what I look for,” Susanne says as she cheerfully peruses the lewks for the night. The Follies roster rotates each week and includes acts like clown-ensemble Fou York, contortionist and part-time mermaid Topher Bousquet, burlesque wunderkind Perle Noir., drag legend Sherry Vine, jazz singer Julia Rose, ballerina Lea McGowen, Russian acrobatist and exotic dancer Leonid the Magnificent, drag superstar Aquaria, break dancer and Mr. Rogers impersonator Invertebrate, and Peter Peter, who yoyos with his penis.

Because of its ever-changing cast of characters, it is almost impossible to know what you’re in for at each Follies; on one occasion, Albert Cadabra, a magician of sympathique dimensions, delighted and entranced his audience by setting torches ablaze using only the static electricity built up from his ass cheeks and nipples. On another, Sean Blue the juggler juggled dozens of glowing balls while simultaneously putting on a full strip-tease, complete with a lesbian audience member’s full-hearted participation.

“Susanne's a legend and a friend and we are over the moon with excitement with the reception that Bartschland Follies has received so far!" says McKittrick Hotel special envoy Cesar Hawas.

Kyle Farmery, a Susanne stan, offers support and encouragement to any creative human who needs it at Follies.

“I think Susanne does an incredible job of finding new and fresh talent, and putting on shows that no one has ever seen before,” Kyle commented. “Follies is a twisted cabaret circus full of incredibly talented performers who are trailblazing their own paths, and Susanne gives them the space and the opportunity to do that.”

Joey Arias, who brings their signature smoky cabaret crooning and sexy heckling to Follies each week, waxes poetic about the show.

“Susanne has an eye for the bizarre, the beautiful, the different. What makes Follies at the gorgeous McKittrick Hotel different is that when you come here on this night, it’s an exposure. You're exposing yourself to these elements that are like falling rocks from outer space. You're getting slammed over and over by all this beauty and glamour and fun and wit and bodies all types. You’ll see cock sucking a microphone or vaginas on fire… it’s hysterical what goes on here! But what's important is: exposure to the exposed.”

Gender-bending burlesque duo and real life couple Kitten & Lou, who’ve been making waves in the international burlesque scene for the past number of years and joined the cast of Follies recently, credit Susanne as the driving force behind the continued success of New York City nightlife.

“Susanne was one of the first show producers we worked within New York and we’ve always been dazzled and gagged by the incredible universe of gorgeous art weirdos she’s built around her. There’s definitely something special about Follies. It’s all the queer, over-the-top glamour and spectacle you’d expect from a Susanne event, but presented in an intimate, sexy venue with a cool underground vibe. You never know what you’re going to see!”

Amanda Lepore, who performs regularly at Follies and has known Susanne for years, points out the superior taste level of this cabaret.

“Susanne has always hired eclectic performers with different styles, and the taste level at Follies is so over the top, extravagant, and decadent,” she explains as she parts her painted scarlet lips to show her immaculate smile. “So come see us at the McKittrick Hotel, I promise you won’t believe it.”


Source: https://www.out.com/entertainment/2018/7/0...

The Orchard Acquires RuPaul-Produced Doc ‘Susanne Bartsch: On Top’

EXCLUSIVEThe Orchard has picked up the US distribution rights to Susanna Bartsch: On Top, an eponymous documentary about the Swiss-born party promoter and well-known figure of New York City’s gay and downtown nightlife.  RuPaul is on board as an exec producer along with Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato of World of Wonder, the production company behind RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Anthony Caronna and Alexander Smith, the filmmaking duo who go by Anthony&Alex,  wrote and directed the documentary, which was produced by Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker. It world premiered at Toronto’s Hot Docs.

Bartsch is recognized for contribution in 1989, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, where she organized the first Love Ball, which raised over a million dollars for AIDS research while also putting the Harlem vogue balls on the radar of both high fashion and Madonna.

“We’ve known Susanne personally for many years, so we’re thrilled to champion the release of this incredible documentary,” said World of Wonder co-founders Barbato and Bailey. “We believe ‘The Queen of the Night’ will resonate with our tribe and is a perfect fit within World of Wonder’s catalog of programming.”

RuPaul is also featured in the film along with Amanda Lepore, Michael Musto, and her husband David Barton.

Susanne Bartsch: On Top will hit theaters on September 7 followed by a digital release on September 11.

Source: https://deadline.com/2018/07/the-orchard-r...

The Vogue Edit: What We're Loving This Week

I am all about the night life really, and I’m looking no further than Queens of the Night Susanne Bartsch and Amanda Lepore to get my fix. Every Tuesday Le Bain hosts their legendary night, ‘On Top’ which is located on the picturesque rooftop of The Standard High Line. What’s even more impressive, Le Bain also boasts a plunge pool on the dance floor and a crêperie on the “grass”-covered rooftop. To say I’m excited is an understatement unworthy of the city that never sleeps…

Source: http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/vogue-edito...

TIMEOUT.COM 15 wonderful things to do in NYC this weekend

Fri 18

The Bartschland Follies McKittrick Hotel; 11:30pm; $25–$75
When the clock strikes midnight at the McKittrick on Fridays, the club kids take over. Enter the sublime nightlife fantasy of downtown icon Susanne Bartsch at her weekly summer residency, at which she welcomes circus performers, drag divas, burlesque stars and beyond to unleash their most avant-garde creations onstage. She's joined by a rotating cast that includes Dee Dee Luxe, Shequida, Aquaria, Joey Arias, Amanda Lepore, Sherry Vine, Fou York and Dirty Martini for this wild experiment.


Source: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/15-wo...

BARTSCHLAND FOLLIES Extends at the McKittrick

The McKittrick Hotel (530 West 27th Street, NYC), home of Sleep No More, and Queen of Nightlife Susanne Bartsch are expanding their Bartschland Follies collaboration with new dates and a larger venue. Bartschland Follies will return on four Fridays, May 18 - June 8, at midnight.

The McKittrick combined forces with Bartsch to create the Bartschland Follies - an eclectic and eccentric cabaret extravaganza - where a night at the opera collides with a burlesque circus for a high fashion, madcap and unforgettable entertainment experience.

The doyenne of downtown herself hosts each week with Ziegfeld babe Dee Dee Luxe, drag super star Shequida, and a roster of thrilling performances by NYC club kids and nightlife fixtures Joey AriasAmanda LeporeSherry Vine, Aquaria, Fou York, Dirty Martini and many more. Acts range from musical numbers, strip tease and circus feats to art installations, comedy and contortionists - all presented like you've never seen before.

"It's such an honor be The McKittrick Hotel's newest resident. There is always something outrageous and unexpected at Bartschland Follies," says Bartsch.

Following a sold-out engagement at the hotel's jewel box speakeasy Manderley Bar in March and April, the weekly midnight residency is moving to a larger space with afull-service bar, state-of-the-art staging and capacity to accommodate extra revelers.

Tickets range from $25 for General Admission to $75 for Reserved Seating, and are available at www.mckittrickhotel.com. Doors open at 11pm and all guests must be at least 21 to enter.

The McKittrick Hotel is located at 530 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001. For tickets, reservations and additional information, visit www.mckittrickhotel.com or call the Box Office at 212-904-1880.

For a full schedule of Sleep No More performances and events, visit mckittrickhotel.com/calendar.


Source: https://www.broadwayworld.com/off-broadway...

5 Films to See at the BFI Flare

Fashion, art, nightlife and the queer scene - all of these territories have been touched and remade by Susanne Bartsch's far-reaching tendrils. The club scene curator has quietly been nurturing artistic talent since throwing her first party, Savage in New York, thirty years ago. Legendary doesn't cut it - we need a new word to describe the queen of club kids, and it's high time she was given this homage to her unique and enduring career.

Source: https://www.dojoapp.co/story/bfi-flare-21-...

Nightlife Icon Susanne Bartsch Is Launching A Cabaret Show

The weird and wonderful Susanne Bartsch has been shaping underground nightlife in New York for decades. Her parties are legendary, and now she's inviting you to experience one.

This weekend she's launching a month-long residency at the McKittrick Hotel, the home of Sleep No More and a slew of whimsical watering holes. Taking over the spot's sexy, velvet-draped jazz club, The Manderley Bar, with her limit-pushing brand of debauchery, Bartsch, in collaboration with Dee Dee Luxe, presents The Bartschland Follies.

A perfect nod to the 1920s and the famed performers of the Ziegfeld, the eccentric midnight show will feature a rotating cast of after-dark characters from Joey Arias to Amanda Lepore, resulting in a cabaret extravaganza that falls somewhere between madcap burlesque and a full-on circus.

Guests can sip one of the Manderley's classic gimlets (or go the extra mile with a Pernod Absinthe cocktail) to truly set the mood.

Performances will run every Friday through April 13th. Get tickets HERE!

Source: http://guestofaguest.com/new-york/nightlif...

BARTSCHLAND FOLLIES Will Open At McKittrick's Manderley Bar

The McKittrick Hotel (530 West 27th Street, NYC), home of Sleep No More, and Susanne Bartsch in collaboration with Dee Dee Luxe, announce the Bartschland Follies, a weekly midnight residency in the hotel's jazz age-inspired speakeasy Manderley Bar. The Bartschland Follies will take place on Fridays from March 16 - April 13.

The McKittrick Hotel is combining forces with Bartsch to create the Bartschland Follies - an eclectic and eccentric cabaret extravaganza, where a night at the opera collides with a burlesque circus for a high fashion, madcap and unforgettable entertainment experience.

Doyenne of downtown Susanne Bartsch herself will host each show and feature a rotating roster of performances by nightlife fixtures including Joey AriasAmanda Lepore, Shequida, Aquaria, Fou York, Dirty Martini and many more.

"I am so excited to have a new home at The McKittrick Hotel," says Bartsch.

Manderley Bar, the jazz-inspired concert hall and speakeasy in the heart of adult playground The McKittrick Hotel, welcomes guests for drinks and live music nightly during Sleep No More performances, and after-hours often with no cover.

The venue's classic cocktail list includes a McKittrick Gimlet, Champagne Cocktail, daily Bartender's Choice Punch and a Pernod Absinthe concoction called The Green Beast. Bubbly and wine by the bottle are also available, as is an expansive spirit list highlighting bourbon, rye and single malt Scotch whiskies, to enjoy during performances.

Tickets range from $25 for General Admission to $75 for Reserved Seating, and are available at https://mckittrickhotel.com/events/bartschland-follies. Doors open at 11pm and all guests must be at least 21 to enter.

Manderley Bar is located in The McKittrick Hotel at 532 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001. For tickets, reservations and additional information, visit mckittrickhotel.com/manderley-bar or call the Box Office at 212-904-1880.

For a full schedule of Sleep No More performances and events at The McKittrick Hotel, visit mckittrickhotel.com/calendar.

Susanne Bartsch (@Bartschland) is New York City's patron saint of transformation and inclusion. The parties she's thrown for three decades-from Paris to Tokyo-have provided a venue for countless creative souls and "creatures" to express themselves, come together and forget the hum-drum of the everyday. Since 1987, Susanne has become notorious for the beautiful, strange, and outlandishly dressed people who flock to her events, at venues like The Soho Grand Hotel, Le Bain & The Top of The Standard. The colorful crowd has followed her for 3 decades and still gather at her current weekly bashes in New York and special events around the world.

For additional information, visit www.susannebartsch.com.

The McKittrick Hotel (@TheMcKittrick) is home of the immersive theater spectacle Sleep No More, year-round rooftop bar Gallow Green, jazz age-inspired speakeasy Manderley Bar and The Heath, a full-service restaurant and performance venue - currently home of the new storytelling experience Flight. The McKittrick is also renowned for elaborate costume parties and one-of-a-kind events, including The McKittrick Masquerades, and regularly hosts intimate live concerts and music festivals.

For additional information, visit www.mckittrickhotel.com

Source: https://www.broadwayworld.com/off-broadway...

Susanne Bartsch's Doing a Weekly Party at the McKittrick Now

For the next five Fridays, NYC nightlife icon Susanne Bartsch will be hosting a weekly party at The McKittrick Hotel's jazz-age speakeasy, Manderley Bar. It's called the Bartschland Follies—and seeing as this week's event sold out in under a day, you should probably secure your tickets to next week's sooner than later.

The event has been heralded as an eclectic and eccentric cabaret, where a night at the opera meets a burlesque circus. A rotating crew of nightlife fixtures including Amanda Lepore, Joey Arias, Aquaria and more will be making appearances.

Mar 16—Apr 13, 11pm, $25—$75, Manderley Bar at The McKittrick Hotel, 532 W 27th St (between 10th and 11th), 212-904-1880, tickets here


Source: https://www.urbandaddy.com/articles/41905/...

Bartschland Follies Cabaret Set for the McKittrick Hotel

The Bartschland Follies, a weekly midnight residency is set to play at the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, at the venue's jazz age-inspired speakeasy Manderley Bar. The show will take place on Fridays, March 16-April 13.

The Bartschland Follies is described as "an eclectic and eccentric cabaret extravaganza, where a night at the opera collides with a burlesque circus for a high fashion." Susanne Bartsch will host each show, which will feature a rotating roster of performances by nightlife fixtures including Joey Arias, Amanda Lepore, Shequida, Aquaria, Fou York, Dirty Martini, and more.

Bartsch's parties, which she's thrown for three decades are described as having "provided a venue for countless creative souls and 'creatures' to express themselves, come together and forget the hum-drum of the everyday. Since 1987, Susanne has become notorious for the beautiful, strange, and outlandishly dressed people who flock to her events."

For tickets and more information, click here.

Source: http://www.theatermania.com/off-broadway/n...

W Fort Lauderdale hotel debuts $55 million renovation with party

The W Fort Lauderdale hotel threw a grand-reveal party to show off its $55 million makeover on March 8.

The evening included a concert from breakout neo-soul singer Sabrina Claudio and a pop-up fashion display by nightlife event producer Susanne Bartsch.

The renovation, which started in the summer of 2016, includes all the hotel’s rooms and residential suites, as well as the pool area, meeting spaces and what the W calls the Living Room, its version of a hotel lobby/lounge.

Nightlife impresaria Susanne Bartsch presented a pop-up fashion display at the grand-reveal party for the renovation of the W Fort Lauderdale hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach. (Rod Stafford Hagwood / SouthFlorida.com)

Partygoers also got a sneak peek of El Vez, the oceanfront restaurant from James Beard Award winner Stephen Starr, which is set to debut soon. Starr already has a popular eatery on the property with Steak 954.

New also is Sushi Bar, with its menu designed by sushi chef Shuji Hiyakawa, a protégé of Masaharu Morimoto, the star of “Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America.” Next up will be Mingle, a 4,000-square-foot ballroom.

On the WET Deck pool area of the W Fort Lauderdale hotel during the grand-reveal party for the renovation of the Fort Lauderdale beach resort property. (Rod Stafford Hagwood / SouthFlorida.com)

The oceanfront hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach also announced the launching of a weekly lineup of events, including:

Mondays: “Mondays Are a B@#&%!,” with hand and arm massages offered by Bliss Spa technicians and a bar for attendees to create their own organic body scrub.

Tuesdays: “Bollywood Night,” where the hotel will offer cocktails and complimentary henna designs.

Wednesdays: “The Studio,” which will feature live art demonstrations.

Thursdays: “Off the Wall,” which will allow guests to pick out their own songs for the DJ to play.

Fridays: “Heat Wave,” when visitors can start the weekend with Latin music, free cigars and specials on mojitos and rum.

Saturdays: “Neon Lounge,” which will have a retro ’80s vibe with a live DJ spinning.

Sundays: “Saxxxy Sundays,” featuring live jazz.

For more information, go to WFortLauderdaleHotel.com.

Source: http://www.southflorida.com/video/sf-laude...

RuPaul Praises “Queen Of The Night” Susanne Bartsch: “You Gave Me My Big Break”

Susanne Bartsch: On Top screened Thursday night at NewFest, New York’s LGBT film festival, where RuPaul was on hand—well, on video—to fete the empress of nightlife.

“Susanne, you gave me my big break at the Copacabana back in the ’80s, and today you continue to inspire all of us,” Ru said in a taped message. 

“You provided a platform, and safe spaces, where LGBT artists can express themselves,” Ru gushed. “You brought our tribe together.”

Born in Switzerland, Bartsch has been a force to be reckoned with since the early 1980s, bringing together uptown and downtown at unforgettable parties, store openings, product launches, and more. (Her Love Ball raised millions for AIDS research.) 

You’re just as likely to bump into a Grammy winner or top designer at a Susanne Bartsch event as you are a drag queen or streetwalker.

Anthony&Alex’s new documentary chronicles Bartsch’s impact on nightlife, celebrity and New York itself, with interviews with Ru, Michael Musto, Amanda Lepore, and of course, Bartsch.

“You were really the one who championed me in New York—and really got me propelled to a place where I could pay my bills,” Ru told Susanne in a 2014 episode of RuPaul Drives.

“We were a good team,” the nightlife icon replied. “You were just such an addition to what I was doing. I started out with just me dressing up and eventually I wanted hookers and looks and god knows what and in the end it was Lady Hennessy. You were somewhere in between.”

Below, check out some of Susanne’s show-stopping moments with Marc Jacobs, Joey Arias, Cyndi Lauper, Pat Fields, Donna Karen, and, yes, Cher.

Source: http://www.newnownext.com/rupaul-susanne-b...