GEORGE WAYNE & NUR KHAN

GEORGE WAYNE & NUR KHAN

FADE IN:

EXT. ROOFTOP, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY — LATE AFTERNOON

An uptempo beat pulses through an open-air bar that looks out on the Manhattan skyline from a Brooklyn rooftop. Patrons are lazily sprawled out on sofas, sipping drinks to combat the afternoon heat. GEORGE WAYNE steps out of an elevator, puts on his sunglasses, and struts to a corner table.

CUT TO:

GW flags down a waiter. Across the room, the elevator doors open and NUR KHAN emerges. Spotting GW, NUR walks to his table. NUR gives GW a hearty pat on the back, then sits down next to him, and orders a round of drinks.

GW
This is heaven, darling. Our relationship is special, Nurina — can I call you that? In my formative years, when I was a kid just trying to get into a club, you were always accomodating. We’ve known each other a long time. What, thirty —

NUR
We’re not that old! We met at Wax, I think, in 1994.

GW
I was at Allure magazine back then —

NUR
And R.O.M.E.

GW
All roads lead to R.O.M.E. [laughs].

NUR
Snap!

GW
I was at R.O.M.E. writing about Nur and Shalom [laughs].

NUR
I remember your Wax article very clearly.

GW
Remind me, what street was Wax on?

NUR
Mercer Street, between Spring and Prince Streets. This was before The Mercer Hotel opened. There was nothing there then. Remember, it was like the first tiny, super-rock star —

GW grabs NUR’s hands.

GW
Oh my god. Look at those jewels, darling!

NUR
It’s all Lazaro Diaz, whose store used to be right across the street from Wax. He actually made candleholders — silver and ruby candle holders for the tables there. We collaborate on everything now; we even did this jewelry together.

GW
Is that amethyst?

NUR
No, it’s blue sapphire and diamonds.

GW
It could double as a cock ring [laughs].

NUR
Your cock ring, maybe.

GW picks up a stray rubber band, stretches it between his fingers, and aims it at NUR.

GW
I’m Jamaican. Take that back!

NUR [looking at the rubber band]
That’s your cock ring [BOTH laugh].

GW
I remember Wax being small, and that all the supermodels went there. I’d walk in the door and you would be there with Shalom Harlow — the biggest girl in the business at the time — on your arm.

NUR
All the girls did the door back then [GW laughs]. It was funny as hell, and they got a kick out of it. You never knew which girl would be doing it on which night.

GW
The trinity: Shalom Harlow, Amber Valetta —

NUR
The whole gang [laughs]

GW
And Kate! Speaking of Kate…

NUR
Here comes a curveball [GW laughs].

GW
I have to tell this story. Back in the day — when the meatpacking district was a desert where Eddie Murphy used to go and get his trannies [NUR laughs] — you had an apartment there. A beautiful loft above what’s now Spice Market.

NUR
There were fucking cows hanging in the streets. Pastis and I were the only ones there. It was pretty gnarly back then, but damn, did I have tons of space in that loft!

GW
You were such a maverick. It was way back before meatpacking was a neighborhood. And I remember one day, I was on a stroll through the West Village and made an impromptu appearance at your loft. I pressed the doorbell at like 1:00 in the afternoon —

NUR
That was the wrong time to ring my doorbell back then [BOTH laugh].

GW
Fifteen minutes later, I finally went upstairs, and saw a face poking out of the door — it was Kate Moss! I was like: Kate?! I met her when she first got to New York City, at like seventeen years old. Little did I know that two years later, she would be hanging out with Nur Khan.

NUR
Those days are so fucking blurry. Back then, after the bars closed, we all would carry garbage bags full of beers and bottles of vodka to my place, like Santa and his helpers [laughs]. Things have changed, though. That was a long time ago.

GW
I was never there [laughs]!

NUR
Bullshit you weren’t. There’d be a party till noon the next day, almost every night of the week. That’s when we bonded. It was non-stop for a while. That’s why I checked out and moved to China in 2001. I had opened Sway — it was six years old by then — and I just wanted a break from it all.

GW
Talk about a visionary. You were one of the first to go to China. Was it Shanghai?

NUR
Well, first I went to London, where I stopped drinking completely and took up martial arts training again. I studied for two years with Shaolin monks who had set up a temple there. Their master was the Abbot of the Shaolin Monastery, the original, 1,500-year-old temple featured in the Jet Li movie, Shaolin Temple. He was able to get me in there as a Westerner, so I moved to China to train full-time. It wasn’t even close to Shanghai; it was at the top of Mount Song, in Henan province. Which may as well be the middle of nowhere, because it is seriously remote!

GW
Back in those days, China was nothing but smog.

NUR
It was ten hours of martial arts, every single day. Just full-on training. No chicks, no booze, no meat, all vegetables. I wound up staying for a year, and it was the best year of my life. When I came back to New York City, we re-launched Sway for a weekend, and Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode came to the opening party. The next day they called me about a project they were working on; we ended up partnering, and together went on to open Hiro and then the Maritime Hotel — my first foray into the hotel world.

GW
And now, here we are in Brooklyn. Look at that view!

NUR points to the Manhattan skyline.

NUR
It’s nice to look at Manhattan for a change. And I hate to say it, because I live there, but nowadays downtown New York is nowhere near as cool as it used to be. Not even close!

GW
Why would you say that?

NUR
The energy’s changed. It’s not nearly as artistic. It’s not nearly as creative, man. A lot of those types of people have moved over here, or elsewhere, because the rents have been jacked up so high. Creative types can’t flourish there anymore, and the business model that worked back then simply doesn’t work now. Unless you have a friend or know someone who can get a fantastic deal on a lease…

GW
I love Brooklyn, even though I can’t afford the $90 Uber fare to get here [laughs]. I know that when I go anywhere you are — especially The Electric Room — I’ll have the best time. An actress will inevitably show up; some crazy chick, like Paz de la Huerta. And we have the best conversations. I always leave inspired, and often learn something new.

NUR
I can teach this old dog new tricks? I did not know that, George.

GW
Did you just call me a dog [laughs]?

NUR
I just called you George, and I can’t believe that — you’ve always been GW from day one. And you don’t walk into a bar, you saunter. I even know your order: a mimosa, which we affectionately call a mimsy, but never in a champagne flute. It has to be in a wine glass.

GW
Don’t forget the spooge of Goose!

NUR
Whenever you’re coming to meet me, I know to be ready and waiting, mimsy in hand, when you walk in the door.

GW
That’s friendship.

CREDITS

Photography byChris Bernabeo

Conversation moderated byAnthony Rotunno

George Wayne is a New York City-based journalist who, before serving as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Allure, and other publications, founded the cult style journal R.O.M.E.
Nur Khan is a New York City-based nightlife impresario and a current proprietor of The Electric Room at the Dream Downtown, in Manhattan.

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THE END