Perception vs Reality: The Makings of an Overnight Celebrity

4 11 2010

 

Hey guys!!  Here’s an essay I wrote a while back after some crazy experiences and an awakening back in 2003 or 2004. I think this got published on some online outlets, and I had that shit on floppy disk and lost it, but I found the only paper copy in existence, lol. Now i’m posting it for u guys… Feel free to comment!

“I love it when you call me Big Poppa…” Don’t we all? Screaming fans, VIP treatment, flashbulbs of the paparazzi; wouldn’t you like to have that?  Well what if I told you this life could be yours for a night, heck maybe even a week if you’re on vacation?  You would probably say that life is reserved, blocked by that velvet rope that discerns the celebrity from the ordinary person.  I say that belief is played out: I can make you a celebrity overnight.  It’s all quite simple really, i mean, what makes someone a celebrity?  It’s all about perception.  We MAKE people celebrities.  Wait, let me re-emphasize: perception, perception, perception.  Got it?  Now follow this… if I told you the guy next to you was a bazillionaire, what clues could you use to see if I was telling the truth?  He could just have that look, maybe his car is an indicator (borrowed), or maybe he wears designer clothes (knock offs).  All of those things can be manipulated by anyone.  What makes him a celebrity is me making you believe that he is.  Altering perception through hype is gold.  Just ask Lil Jon or P. Diddy.  They get you pumped up, and you don’t even know why, but you just follow along.

I saw a movie called ‘Slackers’ recently and in it, one of the main characters narrated a sequence where he tried out his, “Seed of Doubt” theory on two girls at a college party.  “The technique to manipulating people’s perception” was easy he said. First he said what he wanted the other person to believe out loud. Usually he would be met with casual interest.  Then, once he got the person’s full attention, said it again with authority and conviction, making eye contact, and most importantly, believing it.  The response was complete adoration by a newly converted, star-struck fan.  I used to host a party downtown called, “Overnight Celebrity.”  Every person that came through the door was a celebrity.  As the host, I was at the beck and call of every patron there because who wouldn’t want to cater to someone of star caliber?  You are all celebrities as far as I’m concerned.  I hear the new radio ads for Moda’s Sunday night event saying the same thing.  Walk in a civilian, walk out an overnight celebrity, which brings me to my next point.

Aren’t celebrities just normal people like you and me?  Of course they are.  If you’ve seen ‘Matrix: Reloaded,’ remember back to when Neo confronted the Architect.  He went on to explain to Neo that, “his being was the sum of an unbalanced equation” that inherently flawed the matrix.  In essence, Neo was the epitome of the human race.  To some degree, I believe this is true in our world as well.  We as a society have a need to hold people in high regard i.e. movie stars, pro athletes, politicians, company presidents, etc.  Do they have special powers or do the impossible?  In most cases no, they just do things that we think we cannot.  So we put our hopes and dreams in them and place them on pedestals because we are afraid to do what they do.  Celebrities are the Neo’s of the real world.  The sum of what society believes to be the ideal of a person.  We want to be like them, wear their clothes, watch their movies, and look at countless magazine photos of them pumping gas and eating ice cream.  Look around, the fascination with celebs is like a virus.  We have gossip magazines, fan clubs, product endorsements, etc.  Why not get to enjoy a little of that life yourself?

I know some of you could care less, sorry to distract you from reading US magazine while simultaneously watching last week’s ‘The Bachelor/The Bachelorette’ in your J. Lo/Sean John sweatpants, listening to your new Ron Artest cd.  But I know some of you are glued to your screen and can’t wait for me to get on with how you can do it.  Here are some examples of personal, “research” conducted in the field.  Example #1: While on a trip to South Beach for Spring Break my senior year of college, two friends and I ran into a star NFL player.  Instead of asking for an autograph, I asked him what he did to let a club know he was showing up.  He said if knows he’s going somewhere in advance, he’ll have his publicist call in advance, if not, he’ll just show up because he’s very recognizable.  Luckily, I happened to do some research before I left home on movies that were coming out that summer.  I picked a movie with Toby Maguire because, ‘Spiderman’ was hot at the time.  The character in the movie, ‘Seabiscuit’ had a decent role for being a no name actor.  Kingston Decour was my celebrity.  The movie wasn’t coming out until the summer, so there was no way to verify the information. I called up a hot club on the strip and said I was a publicist for said actor.  At the end of the conversation, I had secured back door access, VIP table, bottle service, and security. Suffice it to say, all nine of us in our crew lived like kings that night!  And the best part was that everything was 100% absolutely free.  People were dying to give us all the perks and we were absolute nobodies.  Of course I captured it all on tape if you think I’m lying.

Example #2: In Ft. Lauderdale, I want to a club with a friend, a camera, and a mission.  I wanted in the club for free, free drinks, and film it all for my friends to see what went down that night.  I approached the manager, gave him the schtick about how we worked for a small production company and did a globe trotting party show similar to E! Wild On. We just wanted to film inside to get a feel for the club and put it on our show.  Walked past the line, free drinks all night, and proof that it happened.  Mission Accomplished!

Example #3: I was out downtown one night just after Thanksgiving with a friend of mine.  I had this article in mind when I decided to perform a series of social experiments using my friend as a guinea pig.  A nubile co-ed approached us and struck up a conversation.  WHen my friend leaned over the bar to order a drink, I discreetly told the woman that he had a part on the hit show, ‘Las Vegas,’ but was spending the holidays in his hometown.  I built the story up more a la “Seed of Doubt” technique and she promptly asked my friend to dance.  Some time later, back by the bar, a friend of that girl approaches my friend and starts dancing with him, threw her arms around his neck and started kissing him!  Must be nice to be a t.v. star. Believe it or not, a player for the Browns tried to talk to her afterwards, trying to repeat the results I bet, but she went back to my friend.  Simply amazing!

My last example taked place at the House of Blues Grand Opening.  At an invitation only event, there must be tons of VIP’s right?  But to be backstage you have to be a special person right?  Absolutely wrong.  Who am I?  I’m just a humble promoter/cell phone salesman who just happens to know a bunch of people.  Probably by accident anyways, but there I was chatting with the VP of House of Blues International.  This was sandwiched between face time with Dan Ackroyd and Jim Belushi, and the locals who brought HOB to Cleveland.  Did this come by accident? No, because in my mind, I already know I’m a celebrity, the general public just doesn’t know about it yet. We ALL are!  I’m a gatecrasher to show other people that it can be done.  But the difference between me and the other gatecrashers is that I fit the part.  If you have the attitude and act like you’re supposed to be there, you’re a welcome guest.  Get something back for all those duckets you spend at the club.  Make someone appreciate your presence.  Like that MasterCard commercial where Peyton Manning is cheering on the everyday people.  That’s how it should be.  Let the stars be awe struck by you, not the other way around.  As far as I’m concerned, the person reading this is a celebrity, just like the guy who just passed the Bar exam, and the woman executive at KeyBank who calls the shots.  If you are going out, there, making it, doing your thing and spreading the love… you’re it to me.

Andre 3000 said it best in Outkast’s song, “Elevators:” “I replied that I’ve been going through the same things that he has. True I got more fans than the average man, but not not enough loot to last me, till the end of the week I live by the beat like you live check to check. If you don’t move your feet, then I don’t eat, so we like neck to neck.”  With that said, I want everybody who reads this to get their butts downtown and take the self esteem up a notch.  Hold your head up and party like a rock star.  Don’t be surprised if an average guy like me asks for your autograph.  I love celebrities, and you love it when I call you big poppa, don’t you? Way to go superstars!





A Friend In Need, Fucked Up Indeed

16 10 2010

Man…. I just got home from a night that I’d prob rather forget, and to cap it off, I thought I was going to go to one of my fave places to eat late night, Casbah Cafe (Right to the left of Barflyy) and go home with a smile on my face, but as I left my friends and made my way to my apt building door, i spot a homeless guy trying to look for scraps of food/cigarettes. He picked up a half a pizza crust, and tossed it back to the ground.  As he was throwing it down, I was literally right next to him and found myself cupping my whole sandwich (which I was gonna save from the food spot to eat on my own couch), while I turned towards my door and punched in my code to get into my building (where I wouldn’t have to worry about people hitting me up for money, food, time, or anything else I felt like I couldn’t share).

As I stood there waiting for the elevator, a feeling came over me.  I’d like to say that feeling was guilt. I feel like it was more than that. Like I was thumbing my nose at my fellow brother in need. Dude had on a beat up pair of shoes, some sweatpants, a plastic bag on his head under his had, and a dirty overcoat. He never even spoke to me while he was looking at that pizza crust. He didn’t ask me for shit, seeing me as I went into the building my domicile was housed in.  This is what got compounded into the overwhelming feeling that told me that I had forgone the Christ-like attitude we are supposed to have for our fellow man at a baseline level. Had I come so far that I couldn’t relate to a person who had to live hand to mouth?  Do we all think that we have come that far? Have we become so comfortable as middle class (to wealthy), that we feel like we should just give money to organizations instead of helping the people in obvious need right in front of our faces? I’d like to think that we all still maintain that nagging feeling to help the people we see who need it.

Have you seen those meters that tell us to give the change we would otherwise give panhandlers, that were put up by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance? Or the signs that say that we shouldn’t give to people on the street?  I think it’s a good idea in theory, but I think that things like that desensitize us to the people that really do need help that don’t even ask for anything. Studies show that most homeless people don’t even ask for money. So instead of seeing someone with their hand out, and turning off to anyone else who has their hand out, or looks like they are homeless and could POTENTIALLY ask us for something, maybe we just need to train ourselves to just see past the panhandlers, and try and seek out the people who DON’T ask, yet we know that they are in need. Like we all are. It’s just that they just need more than we do.

Back to my story….. I’m standing there in my building lobby wondering what’s taking me so long to go and find the guy and give him the sandwich and i’m reminded by a story my mother once told me. In this particular story, she told me of being in an open park. Grassy knolls all over the place and tons of visibility. A person asked her for help. She obliged, giving up the coins in her purse with no hesitation. No sooner had she turned around, she felt the need to give a second look and found- to her surprise- that the person who had just been standing in front of her had literally disappeared. In a public park! With no trees around! Hundreds of feet from any sort of cover!  You can take it to mean what you will, but I think that we are all tested in certain ways that make no sense at all, but are all part of the bigger plan to teach and mold us.

So anyways…. I’m sure  now you are wondering what happened to the man in the dirty overcoat… I’m certain that I have drudged the story around enough, lol.  In the end, I waited for the elevator to hit the lobby, took a small bite of the sandwich I had waited so long to devour (to see if it was fit to eat…. and because I was starving, lol. I figure if I’m gonna do a good deed anyways, I at least have to sample the merchandise!!!), and went back to the street in search of the man.  As I went after him southbound on E. 4th, there were about 10 people that he had passed by that had not given him a second look, and he did not bother them in return. Upon hitting Prospect, I caught up with him and asked if he wanted my sandwich. “Steak and cheese,” I told him, and he thanked me. No patting myself on the back, or drawn out reason I was giving it up. I just gave him the sandwich and turned back to go home.

Writing this is no pat on the back for myself either. Yes, in the end I did the right thing by most accounts, but writing this is a public chastisement of myself and why I not only didn’t help him sooner, but why I neglected to act IMMEDIATELY when I recognized a person in real need. If you take nothing away from this, just remember that lesson. Don’t wait for a person to ask you to help them, look for the people to help and just do it, if you can.

It’s about bedtime now, so I’ll leave you to it, but thanks for listening…. I’m sure i’ll have more crazy shit to talk about soon, but I do wear my heart on my electronic sleeve, and would be remiss if I didn’t share this with you while it was terrorizing my brain…. Until next time….1





Golden Child Productions Takes On Cleveland (A couple years ago)

8 02 2010

So I get home today and I’m uber excited to start weeding through my stuff to find clothes to send to goodwill. I’m moving soon and I like to pack light.  Esp when you’re moving cross-country.  My goal is just to fit everything into my Navy seabag, and put the rest in a trunk that i’m going to ship.  That’s just how I roll.  So during this cleansing process, I came across this thing that I wrote a few years ago between 2005 and 2008 I think. I can’t even remember why I wrote it, but it was sandwiched between an Ernst & Young business plan handout and a survivalist exercise that I saved from one of my business classes in college (thanks Prof. Wayne Yerxa (can’t remember if that’s his last name or not, oops!)), so I guess it had something to do with that.  This was based on the first incarnation of a promotional company I started, Golden Child Productions, which has since changed to Luxe Lifestyles, just in case you start to get lost.

So for your enjoyment, I am gonna copy it down and why don’t you guys tell me what you think… k?

Over the past decade, Downtown Cleveland has experienced a reinvention. It is still a long way from fruition, but the signs are evident.  Once known for its industrial output, Cleveland has highlighted its large professional class. Lawyers and doctors abound and thrive in such institutions as Jones Day, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals. Some of these institutions are world renown. Cleveland is also investing in biotech, R&D, as well as moving steadily into the technology age with companies like Hyland Software, One Cleveland, and Thunder::tech leading the charge.

What these companies all have in common is the need for tech savvy, educated, young people to fuel growth, bring new perspectives to foster innovative breakthroughs, as well as replace a burgeoning baby boomer working class ready to retire.  Jobs are a key element in attracting and retaining talented young people. But factors such as housing, low cost of living, and entertainment are needed to round out an ideal young professional lifestyle.

People come to Cleveland for many reasons, and the number of people who do is steadily increasing.  Places like Tremont and Ohio City are experiencing rapid growth. Downtown Cleveland is also attracting more residents. Only only needs to point out the thriving Warehouse District, E. 4th Neighborhood, the up and coming Avenue District, the Pinnacle, and the Flats Redevelopment Project for proof. The creation of these trendy, urban chic developments means trendy, urban chic tenants are asking for them.  Economic development will surge downtown as various businesses, products, and services spring up to accomodate.

In markets such as downtown Cleveland, entertainment is always a high priority. Some people like sports, some the theater, some are into concerts, and some prefer the club/bar scene.  With the upcoming influx in population, Cleveland needs to find a way to bridge the entertainment gap and do its part to ensure that the elements of attraction and retention (see earlier definition) are put in place.

Golden Child Productions recognizes these elements and seeks to put a lifestyle concept into play that will meet these, and many secondary needs as well as increase the quality and breadth of entertainment offerings for young people.  The young professional market will always be a niche, but a very powerful one, and the company that can successfully corner that market will always be coveted because youth drives the marketplace.





I Take Bein An Asshole To New Heights

26 01 2010

So my buddy who plays for the Cleveland Indians came in last night for press week.  Let’s call him “Sean.”  In the previous few weeks, I have been trying to set us up with these two girls Laura and She-ra (names have been changed).  I have known Laura for a long time and she’s always kinda been a little hard to gauge.  She chases athletes and what not, so figure out your own impression…. I won’t lead you.  So she has a roommate and they live close to me/bars downtown.

So this planning has lead to last night when we go out.  I tell them early to meet us at Liquid.  I meet up with Sean and we head over.  We catch up and grab a drink… Good times.  He’s a really good dude and it was good seein him.  A few drinks later, the ladies meet us out and we continue to have some cocktails and tell tall tales, lol.  Laura asks me if I like to eat late at night…. I obviously say yes and she says that we should get some pizza from Panini’s and then head back to their place.  So the 4 of us head over there after the bar closes.  I leave with my drink still in my hand from the bar, lol.  We have a run in w/ this drunk guy that was also at Liquid and I wind up having to tell him to get lost.  I continue to tell him to get lost, and wind up pushing him away.  Of course he falls and everyone in the bar has to turn around and see what’s up.  My friends (whom i wasn’t even out with) see what’s going on and they immediately get in the guys face, askin why he’s messin with me.  I got great friends…but i digress.

The four of us wind up at the girls’ house and we smash the pizza and start to play some games.  We throw a couple of darts and play some Foosball…. (my team loses :(, btw).  It’s getting late and it’s about that time when you decide what’s what and who’s with who.  So all of a sudden it’s just 3 of us.  Laura disappears and I’m assuming she’s in the bathroom, or slipping into something more comfortable, lol.  Sean and She-ra head to her bedroom and I’m a little confused.  I look around, realizing that i’m alone and I try to find Laura.  She’s laying in her bed w/ the covers up and tells me that I can sleep on the couch.  I immediately walk out of her room and go looking for Sean.  He comes out and he’s in his underwear, so obviously his night is going exponentially better than mine.

Laura comes out of her room and wonders what’s going on.  I say i’m leaving cause Mr. Sims does not sleep on couches (why should I? I live downtown!) and I let her know how I’m feeling.  I feel like I should tell you that I’m super drunk at this point and prob should have already been sleeping.  So I gave Laura a piece of my mind and proceed to walk out the door in the snow, in the cold, and it’s  5am.  As i’m leaving/getting home, I obviously have more to say to Laura and then the drunk texts start flowing.  Here’s the play by play….

Me: All that time convincing me u weren’t a whore for nothing? Ppl always said u were and I stuck 4 u. (Doesn’t the fact that she told me to sleep on the couch say she’s NOT a whore?  I’m still pissed because she obviously sleeps around.  She has a “batline.”  She works at the Ritz…. Baron Davis sent a picture to her phone that is her screen saver…. you do the math, again… I’m not gonna lead you (though i already did!))  p.s. I think I’m still drunk as I’m writing this.  I woke up at 3:30pm today…

Me: Guess I was wrong…….

Me: And you….. Yankee haters, your momma loved to sex up the slaves

Her: Ha marcus no one i who knows me even knows u. And if i did anything tnite it proved i wasnt

Her: What r u even talking about? (that’s a good fuckin question!!!!! and it gets worse!)

Me: Hahahahahaha so u think. I had been asking abt u @ work from ur bosses. Now I know what kinda person u are, lol. Like I said…. find out who ur dealin with (don’t know why I said that, cause I have no idea who her boss is, lol)

Me: How sweet would it be if u were fired and I was laughing?  Your choice player.

Her: You arent making sense.  I was nothing but nice to you.

Me: Pass… if u think that, u think like the nazis. U wanted for me to get out of ur house

Her: I told u u could stay.  Im just not the kind of person to let someone sleep in my bed the first time we hang out (Um… u have a batphone, yet don’t have an important job, and/or are not an important person within ur company).  No one sleeps in ur bed?  So i guess we shoulda just did it on the couch?

Me: I didn’t ask to sleep in ur bed. You’ll b hearing from.  My lawyer

Her: Umm ok i said u could sleep on the couch. U didnt want to. Goodnight

Me: Welll sweet dreams. Couch it is not

So let me just say that results are not typical.  I had no fucking clue what I was talking about.  I reread my txts and i was mortified… But what is a monday night if you don’t have a story to tell?  I’m not THAT important, but I have some hilarious stories to tell. Some are good and some are bad, but I feel like I have to recount my experiences.  If I don’t, I’m sure I’ll forget and you won’t be able to laugh at me!!





NYE ’09

30 12 2008

Ah New Years Eve…. That wonderful time of the year when we lie to ourselves about what we’re going to change for the upcoming year and of course, make ridiculously high expectations for what we know is going to be the biggest disappointment ever (just like the Browns).  Going out for NYE is super overrated…. The best new years I have ever had were the 2 house parties I had on Maplegrove in South Euclid… 32 bottles of liquor, 3 kegs, dj, multiple cases of beer, pizza, and of course tons and tons of people… I think a part of me died those nights (sigh).

So with that in mind, where is everyone headed tomorrow?  You could take a sick day on Friday and have a very long weekend out of town (in town for that matter), or you could go to one of the many, many parties going on downtown, coventry, little italy, willoughby, west side, etc….  Like I said, you know it’s usually a disappointment so choose wisely Indiana Jones…. One false move could lead to disaster!

Here’s a handy poll… Don’t see your answer?  Just write it in under “other”