As I look around the room I begin to notice an influx of people coming and going, models, film makers, documentary makers, Ronnie Cutrone (one of the original members of Andy Warhol’s the Factory) and what Stuart himself likes to jokingly call his harlots ( a wondrous ensemble of fashion models, writers , performance artists critical thinkers and people literally off the street who are tirelessly committed to the cause).
“I like to take them all. They each offer something unique, beautiful and are entirely dedicated to the cause. Sleep. No one sleeps here. Ever. No matter which floor you go on (there are 6 floors in this 10 000 sq foot space) at any time of the day there is something always going on. Whether it’s a film being made to challenge bi carbon emissions and the Californian Electric grid system on the 5th floor, music being made and produced on the third floor (with co founder) Kevin Tooley and co producers Robert Aaron and Johnny Dark with in house sensation Dog Soldiers(which includes the modern day reincarnation of lead heart throb Gabriel Friedman) , a photo shoot, an exhibit or a think tank mission here in this office, it’s always going off. And frankly that’s what I want. “
For a moment I try to absorb the veracity of what’s being said to me before Sarabeth suddenly leans over and takes out a portable video camera and starts filming.
“I hope you don’t mind. You never know when this will become useful and I’m just loving this moment.”
Without skipping a beat Stuart now continues “It’s a project that’s being a long time in the works and I’ve fought tooth and nail to make it work and to be honest we’re not out of the wood works yet but now that we have some key players involved I really think we can continue and make this place a legacy.”
I stop, light a cigarette before coyly asking Stuart who ‘those key players’ are.
“Well there’s a lot of crazy shit I can tell you about, you could write a book about it. Of course there’s Ronnie Rivellini one of the founding principals who has been instrumental in securing initial financing and the vision of the place but there’s also Sung Baek the immortal Grandmaster Samurai swordsman out of Korea who will also be operating a therapeutic healing center downstairs.”
I take a deep drag before Stuart continues.
“You know I don’t know if I should tell you this but I just have to just so you can get the essence of what this place is about. We were in the midst of trying to secure financing when Sung Baek approaches me and offers me his collection of prizewinning swords. So there he is telling me that this stuff is at least worth $25, 000- $40,000 and that I should use it as collateral. So there’s me thinking and I kid you not, I swear I’m now riding my bike with these fucking blades across my back in the streets of Manhattan in the hopes that someone can give us some money so we can keep this vision alive… So I finally get off my bike and walk into Sean Parker’s apartment (one of the founding members of Facebook) who looks at me and asks ‘What the fxxx I’m doing?’ So there I am pleading with him telling him that we need this money, that the landlord has got to be paid and that I’m willing to use these blades as collateral when Sean finally turns around and says ‘You need a check, why the fxxx didn’t you just tell me.” I turn to go and leave the swords on his sofa and then that’s when he screams after me ‘what the fxxx I don’t need your swords.”
Stuart’s eyes lights up as he tells this story and it’s this fire, madness and commitment of vision that has also emboldened other patrons such as Sahara Media, producer of the publication of ‘Honey,’ and Daniel Kay of Daniel Kay Diamonds as well as Johnny Stats co owner of ‘Global Construction.’ Ostensibly though Stuart and his principal partners hope to take the nurturing of vertical businesses to main street where he hopes to sell each by product for a healthy profit.