Kayvon locals 400x400 Kayvon Zand

Kayvon Zand

Occupation Nightlife Curator, Talent Manager, Artist

Hometown Wilmington, NC

Current Residence Jersey City, New York

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Meet Kayvon Zand, a first-generation Iranian American father, husband, nightlife curator, talent manager (“mostly queer talent”) and artist. His favorite canvas, he tells us, is “creating ‘looks’ to wear for a fun night out on the town.” On a Sunday afternoon, you can find him in Central Park for a picnic with his family. As for a night out, his go-to spots are The Box and the Club Room at Soho Grand where he hosts a series of pop-up parties.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Wilmington, NC, where they filmed Dawson’s Creek. It’s very antebellum and coined as “The Hollywood of the South,” which I can never say with a straight face.

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
After 14 years living in NYC, we recently moved our home base from our Midtown East apartment and bought a row home in Jersey City. With our two children, three dogs, two cats, three doves, and 75-gallon saltwater tank, it’s crazy to have a home with three floors and a yard.

WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY BE?
DISCO DADDY!

WHAT CAN’T YOU TRAVEL WITHOUT AND WHY?
Got2B Glued Hairspray and baby wipes for my children and myself.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION?
With our crazy schedules—even the kids are booking gigs with their agency, lol—we have been doing these local beach trips in the summer. Even though it’s not an exotic destination, we have made Coney Island our yearly summer tradition. We get a hotel for a couple of days and do the amusement park, beach and, of course, aquarium. It’s special as it was our first little family vacay.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN NYC?
Perfect Sunday afternoon would be to pack a picnic with the family but do the Central Park Zoo first, rent one of the canoes in the little lake and do lunch.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE PERSON TO SHOW YOU “THEIR NEW YORK CITY,” WHO WOULD IT BE?  
It’s a tie between Klaus Nomi and John Sex. When I first started going out in NYC, I heard their names a lot, especially John Sex, as I have the big bouffant. After doing my research by way of my older peers and watching YouTube, since they have passed, I really feel they paved the way for so much of the culture I have enjoyed and participated in in NYC. If it had not been my reality, I would have said RuPaul, but I was lucky enough to befriend Ru before he did Drag Race and moved to LA. We used to roam around the West Village, and I learned so much about downtown culture and the scene from him firsthand.

WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU NOW–ANYTHING YOU’RE LISTENING TO, READING, OR LOOKING AT?
I’m forever inspired by The New Romantics of the Blitz [nightclub], especially Steve Strange of London. I always felt like NYC was London’s western sister. I listen to “Fade to Grey” on repeat, pretty timeless for me. Right now, I am really inspired by urban gardening and farming. I am about to make a small pond in our backyard. If I had my way, we would have ducks as well, but Anna would kill me. In our Midtown apartment, I put a goldfish pond which took up half of our patio haha.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NYC RESTAURANTS? WHAT DO YOU ORDER?
Black Barn Cafe in Chelsea Market for two reasons: one, their foraged mushroom macaroni and cheese; and two because my wife Anna is the operations manager. Miss Lily’s—best jerked chicken. Ravagh Persian Grill—best Iranian food in the city. Get the kabab Sultani.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SPOT IN NYC FOR DRINKS?
The Box NYC—only place you will get your drink served by a bartender in a real look! Also, I am there Friday nights hosting.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NYC BRUNCH SPOTS? WHAT DO YOU ORDER WHEN YOU GO?  
Black Barn Cafe has the best French toast, and I love the chili corn tostada. Chef John Doherty, previously executive chef at The Waldorf Astoria, has opened this gem with such amazing food.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR ART FIX IN NYC? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE NYC ARTIST?
I get my art fix from the clubs, and parties I throw. The hosts I hire come in such amazing looks, all made by hand the night of with very little resources. Many of the artists I know and admire are actually designers. You have to check out @pisssy_pusssy on Instagram, don’t let the name scare you, he is beyond talented and one of the nicest people you will meet. His designs are art, I really see him as the next McQueen.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LATE-NIGHT HANGOUTS IN NYC?
I’m biased with this answer as I throw events. I love the Box on Friday nights, still, after 10 years there is nothing else like it; such a great place for cabaret in a cool downtown setting. I also love the pop-up parties I have been doing in the Club Room in The Soho Grand Hotel. That space is so beautiful and hidden which always makes it fun to find and a great place for the right people to have a true NYC night.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNDER-THE-RADAR MUST-DO RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NYC VISITORS?
One of the coolest things we actually did was take an Uber to The New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx at 1am. Keep in mind they are only open from 1am to 7am. Even though it is intended for wholesale, they will let you in to purchase. I have never seen live crabs and fish right out of the ocean set up in a market—definitely one to add to the bucket list, and bring a bucket with ice, lol!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NYC STORES?
I love the Middle Eastern spice and grocery story Kalustyan’s, best place for quality saffron—get the Persian. Also, love B&Q trimmings on 38th and Broadway. That’s where we get our feathers, appliqués, and rhinestones for our outfits.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS?
Through social media, I have been connecting with the Iranian youth and listening to a lot of the new Persian artists out there, especially Sogand. My favorite genre of music is forever the ’80s, gives me the nostalgic NYC or London vibes. I think my faves are all over the place—from mainstream to Persian. I love Depeche Mode, Madonna, Googoosh (Persian pre-revolutionary singer), Javad Maroufi (Persian classical composer), Hercules and Love Affair, Anohni, and Jessica 6. I love my NYC queer music groups.

WHAT ALBUM OR SONG WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK TO NYC?
Hercules and Love Affair, “Blind.”

CAN YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE NYC MOMENTS?
I met my wife in the basement of a NYC goth club. My daughter Zara was born at Bellevue Hospital in NYC.

 

Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600