John Varvatos and his VP Donna came by my studio for a talk. We had a long talk. In the end I was impressed with John. He worked hard his whole life and did well-- OK- many people succeed. What I discovered about John is that he shares and he gives back.
Once a month he turns his Bowery store, the old CBGB's, into a music venue. He brings in bands and puts on free shows. One of his shows brought back the NY Dolls- first time I photographed the NY Dolls- was a great night. Varvatos along with a major record label, set up an international battle of the bands, and the winner got a recording contract.
My opinion of John Varvatos has changed. I respect him. I was able to get Dave Terra to write an article in his BRM- Beyond Race Magazine- on Varvatos. Dave, as expected, did an excellent job- great article- brilliant photos.
After the article came out- John sent me a copy of the magazine-- and here is what I wrote back to John- starting with my complementing Dave for the fine article. AS a side bar- Dave considers me one of his mentors-
Thanks for the hand delivered note and magazine today.
Not to be brash or anything, but I had total confidence in David doing a good job. I have complete faith in David's abilities, his ambitions, his drive, his desire to make a solid and high quality magazine, and his sincerity in trying to do the best he can do. I have appreciated and respected David's hard work and drive. Starting with a somewhat modest beginning magazine, delivered by hand. And, of course, it was often his hands and feet that did the walking, talking, distributing, selling the magazine. Each magazine succeeded in doing better than the one before. He has, and we all appreciate this fact, gotten to the point of having a world wide distribution network. Not to suggest a magazine on every rack, in every store in the world, but it has a reach in Europe, Australia, and Asian.
Not only has the magazine gotten legs, but the quality just continues to get better and better. David inspires me.
Next, I would not have compromised, what I hope is, our mutual respect for each other by sending some incompetent. That said, I am glad that you liked what he did. I thought that the article was well thought out, and presented John in a realistic, strong, and beneficial way. The photographs are beautiful and powerful. John is on the cover.
My only distraction is-- "My G-d- how come he cannot make me look that good????"
Anyway- I got the note today about-- Varvatos Brings Its Bowery Act To Las Vegas. On the one hand I could say I am not surprised, but the reality is, in this financially difficult time, with all the hardships the best of business minds are facing, for John to keep expanding in a way that follows his dreams boarders on his being a genius. Accept from my more humble corner of the world- a good luck- and may that spirit which brings goodness to the world keep filling John's sails with all that is good.
BTW- I see a little of the Varvatos brilliance in David.
as a side bar- let's not forget Donna- she is a serious and important player in this mix of high octane testosterone.