|Gerard McNamee Jr.|
image courtesy (Phoebe deVito)
|Born||Bronx, New York|
Gerard McNamee Jr. (born August 5 in The Bronx, New York) is an American actor, singer, art curator, producer and director. He was the director of operations of New York City’s world-famous Webster Hall and the curator of The Quarterly Art Soirée. McNamee, affectionately known as "Hip Priest," and "Sir Gotham" from his acting roles is looking to add "Director of Nightlife" aka "The DON" to that list as he is actively seeking the mayoral appointment."
Early Life and Career
The eldest of five children, McNamee was born to the former Helen Scales and Gerard McNamee a NYC transit police (NYPD) officer. He was educated at Our Lady of Mercy Grammar School in Hicksville, Long Island and St. Mary’s Boy’s Preparatory High School in Manhasset, Long Island. As the son of Irish immigrants, he was raised on traditional Irish and country music and later influenced by the music of The Clash, The Rolling Stones and The Pogues. While celebrating his 8th grade graduation he was introduced to DJing when a family friend showed up with a music rig and a six-inch-high plywood riser that transformed the calm gathering into a discothèque. Inspired by the power of music to move people, McNamee would purchase a DJ deck of his own and begin producing block parties and neighborhood events.
Following his graduation from Fordham University, Rose Hill with his BS in Business Administration, McNamee replied to a classified advertisement in The New York Times that read "Night Club Manger Wanted, 40,000 square feet of adventure... 5 years New York City experience necessary... Fax Resume." McNamee had experience operating and booking bands and DJs at the Bronx River Yacht Club. He was hired by Lon, Steve and Doug Ballinger in January 1993 to run the legendary and world-famous Webster Hall. During his tenure as the face of the venue, McNamee hosted a constellation of stars. In May 1997, McNamee left Webster Hall to pursue his own business adventures. He started by purchasing a bar in Hunter Mountain which he christened SixMileCross in homage to his father's hometown in Northern Ireland. Over the next several years, he would open additional locations of "The Cross" in Montauk, Long Island and City Island, Bronx, NY.
For several years in the mid-2000's, McNamee traveled up and down the East Coast as a cowboy with The Great American Frontier Show (GAFS). The GAFS worked with rescued animals including black bears, cougars, a buffalo, several different breeds of horses, oxen, Texas longhorns and various farm animals. It was a reenactment of the American Frontier.
In 2008, McNamee returned to Webster Hall. During this time period the club would claim its mantle as the number one nightclub in New York City. According to Pollstar Magazine, as of August 1, 2016, Webster Hall was the #1 Club Venue in New York by concert ticket sales, and #3 in the world. Stars who graced the stage during McNamee's tenure include notable guests:
- Kings of Leon
- President Bill Clinton
- Tom Petty
- Paul Simon
- Noel Gallagher
- Liam Gallagher
- White Stripes
- Tame Impala
- Green Day
- Patti Smith
- Vampire Weekend
- Lady Gaga
- Axl Rose
- Arctic Monkeys
- Nine Inch Nails
- Paul Simon
- The B-52's
- The Killers
- Waka Flocka Flame
- Faith No More
- Nate Ruess
- Jessie J
- The Brian Jonestown Massacre
- The Wombats
- The Mighty Mighty Boss Tones
- Chance The Rapper
- Zeds Dead
- Wiz Khalifa
- Vance Joy
- Lenny Kravitz
- Snoop Dogg
Following a concert in 2008, McNamee met the art curator Jenny Mushkin-Goldman with whom he would found The Quarterly Art Soirée to restore Webster Hall's history of presenting classical arts, charity benefits, and emerging artists in the spirit of Marcel Duchamp.
In July 2017, McNamee announced through a Facebook post that Webster Hall's historical home had been purchased by Brooklyn Sports Entertainment, a unit of Anschutz Entertainment Group known as AEG, with a planned three year closure to allow for updating and futureproofing of the building's infrastructure. The Facebook post went viral and was cited in numerous leading news sites across the globe. The former venue staff, including McNamee, honored the history of the hall, announcing the "end of an era" series with concerts featuring Michelle Branch, Good Charlotte, Action Bronson, Skillrex and Nine Inch Nails.
McNamee is a member of SAG-AFTRA and has acted in co-starring roles on The USA Network's White Collar, Fox's The Following, Netflix's The Get Down and indie films Hip Priest, and A Killing Day. In 2017/2018 he featured in Volkswagen's national ad campaign for the 2018 Atlas SAE called America, set to the soundtrack "America" by Simon & Garfunkel.
During the making of a documentary on Webster Hall's history, McNamee met the film director Gregg De Domenico who would write and shoot the short film Hip Priest for him. In an interview with the New York Daily News, De Domenico was quoted saying "[McNamee] has a James Dean, old-world movie-star presence.” Hip Priest premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre as part of the Holly Shorts Film Festival and showed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. McNamee began moonlighting as an actor while continuing his duties as curator, spokesman and director.
Over the years, McNamee has been featured as a singer at the Our Land Festival at Lincoln Center and at Joe Hurley's Irish Rock Revue at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre, Highline Ballroom and Soho House in New York City.
In 1994, McNamee's brother Brian died in a tragic fire in Burlington, Vermont. McNamee is close with his parents, Gerard Sr and Helen, his sisters, Eileen and Mary Clare, and their children, Ruadhan, Noah and Emilia. He maintains ownership of the East Village watering hole East Village Social on St. Marks Place. McNamee rides a Harley Davidson and lives in New York City in Chelsea.
- "Gerard McNamee on acting, singing, flirting with Madonna, hanging with the Clintons, and his Irish parents - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
- "Webster Hall director campaigns for 'night mayor' gig". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
- "Interview: Gerard McNamee – Webster Hall's East Village Badass | Live4ever Media". Live4ever Media. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Webster Hall's GM Gerard McNamee Tells His Origin Story - BlackBook". BlackBook. 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Renovations to shutter NYC's historic Webster Hall". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Inside Webster Hall's Last 10 Days As an Independent New York City Institution". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
- "Brenda to stir Angela's 'Ashes'? — Irish Echo". irishecho.com. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
- "IT BARES REPEATING: CINDY IS NUDE AGAIN!". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "PollstarPro: 2016 Mid Year Special Features". Retrieved 2017-09-02.
- "Webster Hall VP Heath Miller Talks Pollstar 'Nightclub of the Year' Nomination". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "A Soiree With The Arts In Mind". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Two Major Haiti Relief Benefits at NYC's Historic Webster Hall | The Stewardship Report". www.stewardshipreport.com. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- Romano, Evan (2017-07-10). "Webster Hall (As We Know It) is Closing In August". Brooklyn Magazine. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Webster Hall to rock one last time in 'The End of an Era' show before yearlong closing". Metro US. 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Gerard McNamee on acting, singing, flirting with Madonna, hanging with the Clintons, and his Irish parents - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Willie Robertson says 'Duck Dynasty' clan is flying high". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- Johnson, Richard (2017-05-07). "Webster Hall manager lands Volkswagen commercial". Page Six. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Volkswagen Looks for America, With Help From Simon & Garfunkel, in This Poetic Cross-Country Trip". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
- "HIP PRIEST: Inspired by a Photograph". RED HOT-SOCIETY. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
- "Rachel Maddow calls Dick Cheney her dream guest". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
- "Thieves beat a path to the Leonora club's door in Chelsea". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
- "Joe Hurley's Annual Irish All Star Rock Revue - Live Music News and Review". Live Music News and Review. 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
- Nicole LaRossa (13 March 2006). "Nightlife Picks". New York Magazine.
- "Webster Hall's GM Gerard McNamee Tells His Origin Story - BlackBook". BlackBook. 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
- "Webster Hall director throws his hat in the ring for city's 'night mayor' gig". Retrieved 2017-08-24.