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!





Get It Together Cleveland

5 10 2010

I just had a mini rant on twitter just now abt this whole paying to come into a parking lot thing for Browns games… Baffled by ppl who are outraged @ this $5 to tailgate thing. Its a private lot, they can do what they want. Now parking lots know how clubs feel!  Cleveland is so used to lowest common denominator entertainment that paying to see real talent is out of the question… Even if there’s free drinks inside that would negate the cover. Cleveland is so spoiled by everything bein free, or super cheap (lakewood), they scoff at ppl when they ask them to pay 4 stuff that ain’t theirs. Especially when stuff is posted saying that you have to pay! I don’t get it. I’m gonna walk into Lola and scoff when they tell me to pay those high ass prices. Just tell them that that is ridiculous.  See how well that works.

If it’s not cool there, why is it really cool anywhere else? On a side note, that’s why I hate Lakewood is so close to Downtown, because it lowers the value of stuff goin on here. Like I know cats that make almost 100k a year and choose to rent a room in Lakewood, rather than just live downtown. C’mon cheapskate. If ur young and single, there’s really no reason to not live dtown amongst other young people. It’s all a trickle down, but i digress…

Here’s the reality of the situation. If it’s not yours, pay. If you dont wanna pay, then start your own restaurant, parking lot, electronics store, car dealership, hotel, apartment complex, grocery store, etc. Simple as that. Until then… Don’t get mad when you see posted signs that say pay for that thing that it is that you want.

I have never complained I had to pay for some shit that wasn’t mine… It makes you look silly. Doorguys at clubs laugh at u and make fun of you after you walk away. #fact Don’t succumb to that crazy line of thinking.





DJ Pauly D To Play @ Tequila Ranch Saturday, October 9th

26 09 2010

So if you haven’t been keeping up w/ the Jones’ and paying attention to the happenings in Cleveland, here’s your nugget for the day. DJ Pauly D– of MTV Jersey Shore fame- will be in Cleveland on Saturday, October 9th to spin at Tequila Ranch on W. 6th st. There will be opening sets from DJ Kosherkuts and myself, The Goldfather.  Love it or hate it, you know it’s going to be crazy packed and so I’m just gonna go ahead and say that you should just purchase your tickets online now. You’ll be on the list and get your physical ticket at the show. Hurry, because it’s probably going to sell out!  See you there, beating up the beat!





roseangel

24 09 2010

So as most of you know, I really REALLY like Mexican food. In almost ALL of its forms. Mi Pueblo, Luchitas, Agave, El Jalapeno, El Rodeo, Momocho, Taco Bell (a shitty alternative, I know…. so sue me), and the list goes on and on. Hell, I even remember going to Rio Bravo Cantina in Mayfield, before they turned into Cantina Bravo or something and then that shithole Buca Di Beppo (throwing up in my mouth).  I had heard about this roseangel place through the grapevine and they said it was a taco place, with lots of options. So I’m thinking it’s going to be the Happy Dog of taco joints.  It wasn’t, but it actually wasn’t too far off.

The place is owned by Marlin Kaplan who was behind now-defunct One Walnut and also Luxe Kitchen and Lounge. His partner is Rosita Kutkut who was behind La Boca which was in the same space that roseangel now occupies. Now that we have the background out of the way, let’s talk food.  I had heard the place opened and was super eager to try it, and usually for my birthday, my family and I always go to a Mexican food spot… because I love it soooo much!  Back in the day I used to always get a ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  As I got older, I traded the brain freeze for the bubble guts, lol…. Looking back i’d still make the same choice. So it’s my mom, brother, sister and I and I say that we’re on the way to roseangel because it’s Mexican, it’s new, and it was my 1st choice. It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and we head across the river to the west side (oh no!).  We park and walk up to the place. As we step inside, some older dude literally yells “WE’RE CLOSED… WE’RE NOT OPEN TILL 5!” and immediately I wanted to punch him right in his fucking face. That’s no way to greet customers whether you’re closed OR open so I want to tell whoever that was to fuck himself. Absolutely and unequivocally.  I don’t know your fucking hours. I’m not glued to the paper or my computer looking who’s not open on mondays, or who is only open for dinner. I’m simple…. buying food at your establishment should be too. It’s a fucking Saturday at 3pm, why would you NOT be open?

But I’m a nice, forgiving guy so I decide that I’m going to give the place another chance at a date to be named later…. So a few days ago, later became the present and I took my friend Michelle out for her birthday. We walk in and everybody is super nice. We had the option for the patio, the lounge or the dining room (vaguely conjuring memories of Luxe). We chose the dining room. Our server was very nice, but not the welcoming type I like when I go out to eat. She never told us her name, or made any sort of small talk whatsoever. She was very robotic and EXTREMELY available. As in kept checking in. I’m missing the word I’m looking for, but she came back so many times, I’m surprised she wasn’t wiping our mouth after every single bite.  Looking at the drink menu, there’s definitely an array of options… All sorts of wines, bottles vs draft beer (including seasonals and fan favorites like Schlitz, lol), a bunch of specialty cocktails, margaritas with fresh fruit (plus) and of course sangria.

We are both starving, so appetizers are in order. We decide to go with the lobster nachos to start. We’re talkin about lobster, guacamole, lime, and sweet soy. Sounded fantastic.  Tasted even better:

In the end, there was a ton of guacamole on the plate, and I was thinking “hey, this is a mexican joint, where’s the salsa?” So I ask the server if there would be some salsa and chips coming, she said we could order some. What kind of Mexican place doesn’t give you chips and salsa to start? Even Luxe gives you bread before your meal.  I remember looking at the menu and seeing all the different types of salsa you could order. I would think they might give you some simple pico de gallo or something. Caost about $1 per 5 lbs, lol. Whatever…. so I ask for some extra chips (which I got $1.25 for. I could have ordered salsa and chips for like $3, huh?) because we had a ton of guac on the plate. Sneaky way to get ppl to buy more I say.

Lobster nachos out of here, here comes the main course. I ordered the battered perch, spicy chicken, and tres queso tacos with a side of rice and beans. Looking at the menu now, I see that you could order 3 tacos for $11.75 or order a la carte for $4.25.  I didn’t see that before, but looking at my receipt, she charged me 3 a la carte prices instead of giving me the plate for $11.75… Wow, having revelations just writing the review…. sneaky sneaky strike 2, robot server.  Take a look at my fare:

Heres a shot at everything:

Battered Perch:

Spicy Chicken:

Tres Queso:

Rice and Beans:

Now I will say, all of the tacos tasted great, but my first bite made me realize that they used cabbage instead of lettuce. This is not advertised on the menu. I fucking hate cabbage. So basically it’s like a taco Panini. Tons of cabbage, some sauce, and a bit of meat.  I’m not exactly the happiest dude out there at this point, but I eat it anyways. I didn’t even notice any cheese in the tres queso, it was a cheese sauce or something.  Either way, I could barely discern it. For $4.25, that’s unacceptable. Sneaky sneaky strike 3.  So all of this going on and our server is coming back ever 2.5 minutes, I’m kind of getting over this spot. Finish the food, got the hell up outta there. I usually give a 20% tip as a baseline, unless u do something really fucked up, more if it’s great.  After the sneaky stuff, I almost felt like I should deduct, but hell…. I was feelin nice.  I’m gonna tell you to go to this spot to try it, especially if you like cabbage, but I prob won’t be back until they switch to lettuce, give u a portions worth of meat instead of saying the tacos are super stuffed (w/ the cheap stuff), and maybe offer some simple salsa to start ur meal off.

Grades:

Atmosphere: A-

I’m sure the patio is pretty cool, but I didn’t go out there. I like the hardwood floors and how the place was divvied up like Luxe. Lounge and bar on the one side, dining room on the other. Also liked how the tables were spaced far enough apart so that you didn’t feel like you were on top of the next table.

Service: B-

Server was courteous, but she just checked back in too much. She was like a robot on a timetable, not one word of conversation outside of taking orders, no suggestions for first time eaters, and she practically dropped the check before we finished our entrees, but said, “there was no rush.” That’s wack. Makes your customers feel that ur rushing them outta there

Food: B

Rice and beans were amazing, the lobster nachos were fantastic (and i’m not even really a guacamole fan), but the tacos I expected more from… Woulda been an A- if not for the cabbage

Cleanliness: A+

Spotless from floor to ceiling

Price: B-

Not sure I got what I deserved for a $4 taco, then the server didn’t give me the 3 taco deal, so that’s a knock. Rice and beans were right on point. Super stuffed w/ cabbage and not much meat, and if you know me and Paninis, that’s not my thing, so knock twice for the 411.

Overall grade: B

Food was good, but not great, service was wasn’t BAD, but was robotic and nonstop, plus the premature check drop. Got 3 sneaky sneaky strikes too, so that speaks for itself. Like I said before, please go and make your own decision. I eat out a TON, so i’m very particular about the quality of food, service, and price. People in Cleveland are really taking advantage of the casual eater as an in general.  But it’s only because the customers aren’t demanding more, they are just going with it. This needs to stop. It’s a SERVICE based industry, ur not just purchasing a product at the store and rolling out. Put a little work on the service experience will ya Cleveland?





Lelolai Bakery & Cafe

27 07 2010

Lelolai's Bakery & Cafe

So my buddy Scotty is always checking into this Lelolai place on Foursquare and i’m like what the hell is it? I see he’s also the mayor of the place, so I get that he’s a fan, lol. I had some free time on my hands, so I decided to take a trip to W. 25th and see what the fuss was about. The weather was a far cry from the 100+ days we were having, so I was actually happy to be walking around and not sweating about a liter a minute, haha.  I come upon Lelolai, which is a couple doors left of Phnom Penh, and a couple doors right of now defunct nightclub, Moda.

I usually try to go to spots for lunch around 2 or 3pm. One because I get up later than the 9 to 5’ers and I have to get SOME work done before I eat, and two, I have this love/hate relationship with people, so I hate to be crowded.  Walking in around 3, there was only one other customer there and no one eating in (SCORE!), so i’d have the whole place to myself. Right when you walk in, you are greeted with the bakery counter (maybe this is why they put the bakery part first in the name), so you want to just stand there and oogle at all of the confectionery offerings before you even remember why you came there in the first place!  Making your way down the counter, you see the menu for the cafe portion of the business.  It’s not very big, but sometimes being good at a couple things is better than being ok at a lot of things. I really like empanadas, so I immediately gravitated toward those for my appetizer, not even thinking about the size of the cuban sandwich.  I figured, if I was too full after the empanada, I could always just take the sandwich home and enjoy it all over again, right?

I go for the beef empanada and remembered my coaching from Scotty and got the cuban. He also told me that the Tropi-Cola is to die for, but more on that later.  The older guy at the counter (puerto rican I’m assuming), asked me if I wanted the empanada first, then he’d bring the sandwich…. I was taken aback.  Almost everywhere I go, I’m always getting the appetizer and the meal at the same time…. at RESTAURANTS!  So imagine my surprise going to a cafe/bakery and they are asking me if I want something first. I was a fan already!  The empanada was good and basically what you’ve come to expect from ground beef in a fried shell.  Meat could have been a bit more flavorful, and the shell itself had been sitting for a minute, so it wasn’t as crunchy/flaky as it could have been, but this is also the game you play when you come for lunch at 3pm, AFTER the rush.  Overall though, it was a good starter.

Sitting in the dining area, I noticed that the place was clean, there was lots of sunlight from the huge storefront window, multiple fans to keep the place cool, and all the furniture was sunbeam metal patio furniture. Maybe it was the flood of sunshine coming in, but I actually thought that was kind of cool because I HATE eating outside. Too many things to contend with (bugs, wind blowing ur stuff away, ants, etc), and I just like to eat my food and enjoy my conversation.  So eating on patio furniture w/ the fans providing a breeze, being close to the window bathed in the sun made me feel like I was on a patio. Best of both worlds…. POW!

An extremely polite young man brought me my cuban, and I couldn’t wait to dig in.  For those of you who don’t know, the cuban sandwich (also called a Cuban pressed sandwich, or a mixto), “is a variation of a ham and cheese originally created in cafes catering to Cuban workers either in Cuba or in the Cuban immigrant communities of Florida, most likely Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. Later on, Cuban immigrants and expatriates brought it to Miami where it is also still very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread.” – From Wikipedia.  At Lelolai, this is called a “miami cuban.” I opted for the regular one which had ham, swiss cheese, pulled pork, lettuce, tomato and mayo (sorry to the fundamentalists!).

Cuban Sandwich

Digging in, I thought the sandwich had a good overall flavor profile… the bread had that good soft vs crunchy texture (hard bread and the roof of my mouth do not get along), the ham and cheese did its thing, and the pulled pork was nice and stringy.  I never trust a pulled pork sandwich that has big hunks of pork (attention to detail is a must!).  I killed it pretty quicky, and at the end it was just the right amount of food after my empanada.  Then it was all washed down with the Tropi-Cola, which bills itself as champagne cola or something… That was the most curious name i’ve ever seen for a can of pop and I even had to ask the guy at the counter if it had alcohol in it, since I recently stopped drinking (told you I was serious). It was a weird taste.  Imagine a coke/pepsi, but sweeter, fizzier, and this strange taste I can’t quite identify (vanilla + something….). I guess you’ll just have to try it for yourself. Overall a great experience.  I invite you to do the same… Look for the video after the grades…..

Grades:

Atmosphere: B+

Patio furniture inside was cool (whether they meant it to be like that or  not). Puerto Rican music playing in the background and the photos of PR on the wall made it feel like you weren’t on w. 25th anymore

Service: A+

You can always get an A if you just give me what I paid for, but asking me if I wanted my empanada as an appetizer and how courteous the young man was that brought me the food gave it the +

Food: B+

Beef in the empanada and the pulled pork could have been flavored a little better, but this may be how it is served in their home country, i dunno.  Food menu could have been a bit broader, but again…. More isn’t always better.

Cleanliness: B

This would have been an A, but when I went into the bathroom to wash my hands, I gave a cpl squirts, washed, and realized (after a strange feeling) that it wasn’t soap I was scrubbing with, it was hand sanitizer!  No soap in the bathroom.  Good thing I didn’t shit in my hand then, hahahaha!

Price: B

Empanada was just over $2 and the cuban was like $7, so it’s not unreal, but would thought I’d have more meat on my sammy. But keeping in mind that this is not a chain/franchise, and the meat prob isn’t created in a labratory, i’m cool with that. Viva la Inependents!

Overall grade: B+/A-

Great environment, good food, nice people… what more do you need?

And now for the fun part:





No Alcohol Allowed: Day 0

23 07 2010

No Alcohol

Hello my friends…. I figure it’s about time I got the fuck out of town. I have been meaning to do it for some time now, but contrary to what may seem like a fly by the seat of my pants kind of personality, I am actually quite the planner.  So many people have these plans to move and then figure it out when they get there.  These are usually the people who come back after 3 months and they have to move back in with their parents.  I would definitely consider myself a measure twice cut once kind of guy, so the time is now ripe for me to make my exit. I have a place to live, some work lined up, as well as a pretty large network of friends- developed from my multiple trips to the west coast.

So to further enhance my passion for the move, I have chosen to cut all alcohol out of my routine until I have a Los Angeles address. Yep, you heard right.  I WILL NOT DRINK ALCOHOL (IN CLEVELAND) UNTIL I HAVE A LOS ANGELES ADDRESS.  Now, when I say Cleveland, I mean Cleveland metro area, home, etc…. Not in Cleveland means I’m probably on vacation for a very finite period of time, so that’s ok. This means that every day that I am home, I working on my exit strategy.  Some people don’t believe in denying yourself anything. I am obviously not one of those people. I do believe in discipline, self restraint, and motivation.  But not to the degree that I would say i’m not having SEX until I move (I have principles, but I am a realist… geez).

So to keep me company, I’m going to do some video updates from time to time until things come to fruition. Here is my update from day zero (today, Friday July 23rd).  I look forward to cheers-ing you w/ a glass of water at the bar!





Kid Cudi Is Losing It….

23 07 2010

Ha ha ha ha ha…. In this day and age w/ camera phones and that, why on earth would you confront somebody at a show? Kid Cudi needs to learn to let his security do their job and worry abt singing, not fighting and then pulling a Milli Vanilli.