It’s My Party & I’ll Cry If I Want To
3 Short Stories Of Nightlife Nightmares (Hollywood Edition)
1. The Real Slim Shady : So a few years ago, my girlfriend at the time and I decided we wanted to throw an event in WeHo for our LGBT friends in a venue that was pretty much the perfect fit and vibe for what we were looking for in the party we wanted to produce. At this time pretty much all of the events we were attached to or producing were because of our networks, following and mailing list. You wouldn’t really catch us at something that was wack and didn’t have a diverse crowd of people dancing and having a good time. I can’t quite remember how we met with this guy who was advertising the space but we decided to roll the dice and check it out. Most new venues in LA don’t last long, I’d say a 3-5 year shelf life if they’re lucky, Hollywood/WeHo being even more difficult to maintain. So we go and meet up with this guy, he seems legit. Introduces us to the security, bar manager, bartenders, and proceeds to give us a complete walkthrough of every nook and cranny of the place. We were asking the right questions to assess the situation while given the tour and he seemed to answer everything with the typical responses and expectations. Now at this time, we already had 1 or 2 other events going on in the following month or so, the majority of our funds were in the hands of others for deposits, almost like escrow on a house. So we were pretty tapped out, but we still wanted to do this party as the space was ideal and fit the criteria for our needs. Being that we were pretty much out of our own funds, it was a matter of getting sponsors who have been in bed with us for awhile with other functions, or asking one of our investors. We figured it was too short notice to hit up our typical partners and sponsors, so we got the money from 2 investors. She got 1 half of the bread together, while I obtained the other in lieu of them making a 10-15% on their investments. Having the money ready to go for the deposit on the space, we asked for a contract. The fact that we received the investment from 2 friends put more pressure and emphasis on us having a successful event. Saying as all of our other parties were very lucrative, we didn’t have any doubts about this one being anything but equal if not greater, and honestly we were really fucking excited to do something different. We get the contract for the space, negotiate the terms, kick it back and forth a bit until everything is correct and in order for us to feel comfortable with doing business with the space. After signing the contract, we send off the check as you typically would. At this point we’re ready to go, and start putting together the pieces of making the flyer, booking talent, setting up our marketing and promotional efforts, and generally getting all of our ducks in a row. About 3 weeks out from the event, we need some additional amendments made and we spend about 2 days of not being able to get a hold of the guy. His social media is active, so I hit him up online to no response, a day after messaging him that we couldn’t get a hold of him. All of his social media accounts magically vanish, not responding to emails, phone is disconnected. Oh and keep in mind, we already gave him the $$$ to lock in the date. So at this point we start to sweat a little bit for obvious reasons, let’s not forget the fact that the $ came from (2) people who trusted us greatly adding more fuel to the fire of this whole scenario. I call the venue, apparently in the timeframe of our contract and now, the ownership of the club has changed hands, there’s completely new operators, and nobody seems to know the guy who wrote up a contract and put names of former owners ( who hadn’t been attached to the venue in months ). We look at their calendar, the night that we were looking at is booked with some other event. At this point, I kinda fall into private investigator mode. I type in his name to google, see some old flyers in google images that have his logo on them. I start to look up the other companies/logos I see on the flyers beside his and begin reaching out to all of these random strangers with this whole story. The calls and messages generally started like ” Hello, I know this is going to sound really weird, but do you happen to know of anyone by the name of xxxxxxxx? with a promotional company called xyz?” the first three people I contacted literally had responses like “Wow, that guy again? yeah I know of him, he owes my brother xyz amount of money, if you see him to fuck off ” another answer was like ” Yeah, I’ve got a restraining order against him, he owes my sister a ton of money ” the calls just kept getting more and more hostile as I dug deeper and deeper. At this point, the event is essentially paused til we get to the bottom of the situation, but more importantly was us retrieving this money, otherwise we’d be on the hook for it. I keep going through these old event flyers and looking at the talent, the logos, the hosts, the clubs, and keep contacting more and more people to hear more of the same stories of essentially this guy ripping off about a dozen people, not paying back a cent and getting away with it. Now, I didn’t grow up with money, I’ve worked hard my entire life for everything that I have and I’ve never been the type to just “charge it to the game” or “let someone off the hook” because “it’s Hollywood” or “I mean what do you expect with people in nightlife or promotion”. I have to admit, I was pretty intrigued to hear all of the different people and stories of how they all managed to get taken advantage of by the same guy, and how nobody really gave a damn about catching the guy. Meanwhile I was hot on the case and building a pretty hefty story, logging these conversations, saving everyone in my phone as (Scammed) – Which mindfully, they still are in my phone if you’d like to see next time you’re around 🙂 even some of these people I’ve since built friendships with! Anyways, back on track – so he still is off social media and hiding, we don’t really have to cancel the event with the venue because they don’t know who this guy is and there’s nothing on the calendar or contract anyways besides forged signatures and other phony information. After about a week his phone is back on, so my girl and I took it upon ourselves to call him every night between the hours of 10pm til 5am about 30x anyways because we were already up and it was no skin off our back. Eventually he said he’d meet up with us with the money after hearing countless voicemails and text. We literally filled his inbox to the point that it couldn’t take anymore messages. We agree to meet at The Falcon in Hollywood to get our money back. I end up waiting in the cold for this fool for almost 3 hours, eventually I see him show up in his pickup, drive by slowly, he sees me and bolts off. You could imagine how frustrating this is to be chasing your money like this. At this point, I start calling up the big homies infuriated explaining the situations, and seeing who’s interested in handling this shit in a not so polite manner. I look back at emails we exchanged, check the source and I’m able to find the IP address he was corresponding from. I plugged in that IP address and managed to find his place on Googlemaps! Low & behold, in the google street view screenshot, the same truck he rolled by The Falcon with and originally picked up the cash from and met us in was there, blocked in by 2 other vehicles in front of the garage on the driveway. At this point, we had already been more than patient. I did reverse phone lookups and more and managed to get a hold of his sister and mother. At this point, I sent over a cropped image of the google street view of his place, said we had already spoken to both his mother, sister and ex-girlfriend with the restraining order and he’ll either get us our money and some extra for the effort or we’ll be by his place to …take what we need to in order to make up for the wasted time, money and recover the balance. Surprise surprise, dude calls us back almost immediately and asks us to meet him in downtown Whittier at some sushi spot. I explain the severity of the issues at hand and state that if he’s not there this time and we don’t get our money returned in this attempt, we will be taking it into our own hands to solve the problem. Fast forward, we’re sitting at the sushi place eating, dude shows up in a brand new tux, gives us our money and then some… says maybe two words. neither of which were my bad or I’m sorry and then just disappears. Annnnnnnnd that’s all folks 🙂 so the bottom line, be very careful who you do business with, keep records, and cross-reference people. It never hurts to research the business and people you are intending on doing business with before actually doing business, that’s just being smart. plain and simple. Don’t Trust Anyone.
2. And For My Next Trick! – Ugh, so this was like 2011 or 12 I think? I launched a series called Westside Wednesdays at Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood with some kids I was helping with parties, we featured Warm Brew, Andre Nickatina, YG, Casey Veggies, and Pac Div alongside several other acts. Also had my homies from HamOnEverything on a bill or two – crazy to see how far we’ve all come. I’m only going to focus on one of those shows, because there was just all kinds of fuckery throughout this whole place. Let’s start at the beginning, so let’s imagine you just drove across town to catch YG who was a buzzing artist and blowing up right before your eyes. Now I can talk further about the bullshit I had to go through to even “make the show go on” … like calling my friend Nocando who had a connection to a guy named Brandon who was managing him at the time with Stampede, but we’re just gonna skip over that part and focus on the stupid club shit. Right, so imagine you drove across town to see this artist, you wait in line for 30-45mins while nobody is inside, you finally get to the front. They ask you for ID, then take it it from you, while simultaneously pushing you forward into the venue, so by the time you got upstairs and the bartender asks you for your ID – you realize that you somehow have managed to lose it between the doorman who asked for it prior, and the bar. Sounds like the start to a good night, right? So imagine getting back downstairs and the head / lead guard has your ID, and says they found it on the ground. Furthermore, they say you’re not allowed inside the venue (after paying) without an ID. Then they say if you want to get your ID back, you’ll have to pay them $40 and if you don’t have it, you’re going to have to leave because you cannot be inside the venue without a valid ID. Fun right? Well beyond that shady shit, so there was a moment where my homegirl Ashley who was working the door caught these guards running side deals all night, basically slip a guard anything from a 20 to a 100 under your ID in line, and he’ll have you step out, and enter through the alternative entry OR just walk you in past the door. Some people would pay in line, get the lineskip, then have to pay again at the door, but would be complaining at that point about having just paid someone (a guard) for entrance. This shit happened at least 5x in the night to the point that it was brought to my attention by Ashley who I then rounded up all the guards with and said stop fucking cutting side deals. We will take care of you guys at the end of the night, just please do your jobs right. Between holding the line in order to get impatient people buying into this garbage technique of a hustle. To the ID thing, to YG’s entourage of 40 bloods then all the people who went in behind them it was just a shit show from start to finish. His set was good, people who got in without the bullshit enjoyed themselves despite the discomfort of the room being packed with people who were there for more security/support than anything. The 30-50 people who got fucked with that night proceeded to write me and sound off. The owner said he’d talk to his crew the next day and take some action (yeah right) – long story short, nothing was done. Our series ended and we got the fuck out to never return. Again, just a moment of trust, and being on your p’s and q’s, this shit killed the customer experience and definitely ruined some peoples night, and it also cost us quite a bit of money at the door. Some people were leaving after seeing those in front of them just being whisked right in for an additional surcharge.
3. Cruisin For A Bruising – I feel like I’ll end this one on a high note as this story is kinda funny with some twists and turns. This happened on a Thursday night when LA has a residency called Respect, a dope gathering for people into Drum & Bass, Jungle and similar sounds. The regulars here are/were as consistency as Low End Theory’s crowd is for electronic instrumental production. Always a good time, community vibes featuring emcees, producers and dj’s alike. This event happened at The Dragonfly, a place I’ve blown the roof off of with a few events, and was happy to have a good relationship with. Bear their head guard was always there to greet people and his crew was solid and ethical. Anyways, so I was out doing my rounds, dropping on events that friends were producing and performing at, and was on santa monica blvd passing by and decided to drop in. I grab a drink at the bar, get on the dance floor a little, step outside for some air and to smoke some trees. This girl comes out of the hallway and walks up to me, asks for my name, introduces herself. She’s cute so I talk it up with her for a bit, meet her friend briefly who then disappears and leaves me to chat with this girl further. I ask if she wants to smoke, she says no, I go inside. At this point I felt like I had already been here too long, I normally don’t spend more than an hour or so in a spot unless it’s really jumping, I have friends with me or I just don’t have anymore stops for the night. So I end up going inside by the entry near the photobooth. She walks up and grabs me and begins to start kissing me. Now I’m not mad, again she was cute – I didn’t think she was drunk or on anything at the time so I was like, this is different, let’s see where this goes. back against the photobooth, we go inside of the booth and continue making out a bit. She starts taking off my belt, pants, etc, turns around and before you know it, we’re fucking in the photobooth. Irony here is this isn’t the first, or second time I’ve handled biz in a photobooth, but I had mixed feelings here because I literally just did an event a month or so prior and I genuinely respect the spaces that treat event coordinators/promoters and nightlife pros right. Plus I knew a handful of people there, and really just wasn’t completely sold. Too fast, too soon? Who knows. Anyways, a guard comes to the booth… he opens it up with me pants down. Of course it’s a guard I fucking know, and he’s like “awww it’s you bro? I don’t even know what to do at this point, do you wanna finish? want me to stand outside? I was like nah man, I’m good here it’s cool – I don’t wanna disrespect the spot. So I exchange info with the girl ( which I guess would’ve been smart to do beforehand ) – she says she’s gonna go outside and smoke, I say I’ve gotta bounce to Echo Park. She asks me to come back to her place, says she’s only in town for a few days from the bay. I say I live here, I’ll be around tomorrow if she wants to get together. I promptly go out front ready to leave and Bear calls me out saying “that was you? damn man, with xyz girl? yeah, she’s cute” so he convinces me that the girl is worth going after, verifies her ID wasn’t from LA, and was military. Said her friend was already in the car waiting for her…I tell him I’ve never in my life chased pussy and really just let things kinda take shape on their own. Somehow he convinces me to go with her. She comes out shortly after this convo and then asks me to follow her to her hotel in studio city. At this point, I figured you know, why not – I was already past the point of no return with her so I may as well just go further. I follow her up wilcox, she pulls into 7-11. I pull in behind her, grab some condoms, a gatorade and smartwater and ask if she wants anything. She already has her starburst and whatever the fuck else. I hop back into my car and lower the window, saying “so we’re good, I’ll meet you over there – it’s only about 13minutes away right” and she says yeah, closes the door. Friend is still asleep in the passenger seat. She moves her car into reverse and then slams into the front bumper of a BMW m6, smashing the front lights and grill. Then she immediately pulls into drive and jets out of the 7-11 parking lot and north into the freeway. The dude runs out of the store and chases her car on foot after cursing a bit then hops in his car and speeds out of the lot and up the freeway too. At this point her phones dead, I’m following him and I don’t see her car in front, but I’m assuming that he does with the way he’s driving. Eventually my GPS tells me to get off as the hotel is down the street, I take the exit, sit at the light and then just go to the hotel and wait… Her phones dead, my phones dying. So I wait in the parking garage of the hotel for 15minutes or so. At this point, I’m just like is it even worth it? This is such a crazy night, and now she’s committed a crime. I should just bounce. I express the story to my homie who was the guard by text and then head start heading to echo park keeping in mind that this is exactly why I don’t chase women haha. I get to the gas station before the freeway and think, maybe I should go back and just at the very least see if her and her friend are alright. I go back to the parking garage, the cars there – all fucked up, looking like she backed into the fist of the incredible hulk. I call her phone, dead. I ask the hotel manager/cashier person if he could tell me what room the two girls just went into, he said without a police escort he’s not permitted. I took that as a hint as I should definitely just leave and not come back. I go on with my night, drop by short stop, say hi to some friends, tell the story, shoot some pool, then head home. The next day she hits me up with paragraphs of apologies by text, tells me she’s got another day in town til she goes to Vegas. Adds me on social media, I see she’s got a kid… It was all too much for me. Haven’t seen or spoken to her since. Dragonfly is now closed, Respect DNB has moved. Haven’t seen Bear since (sadly), The End.
🙂 So I hope you enjoyed these stories, with over 7 years of events I’ve got some pretty funny, sad, interesting, cool and exciting memories to tell. Since these are all Hollywood, I’ll probably jump to DTLA next then maybe Westside or EchoPark/Silverlake/EagleRock… Even got some crazy SXSW and 6th street stuff from when I lived in Austin, and a few from when I lived in New York.