Liar Liar, Pants on Fyre

Did you watch the documentaries on The Fyre Festival? Hulu and Netflix both have a version of this story. I watched both. If there were 6 versions I would have seen them all. I can’t get enough. I watched the first one twice. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me try to explain…

A young, upstart entrepreneur from NYC decides to partner with Ja Rule to host a music festival on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas (once owned by Pablo Escobar) in 6 months.

Why does he think he can do it? Because he’s been hosting “parties” for a few months in penthouses all over the city. Ja Rule performs at one of those fun parties and decides, “yeah, ok, I’ll partner with you on a multi-million dollar event”.

What happens next is a mash-up of ego, lack of experience, lack of leadership and lack of morality. It’s a hot mess.

Billy McFarland, the young entrepreneur that I mentioned earlier is either a smart dude who let things go out of hand, or a sociopath who let his ego lead every decision he made. Maybe a bit of both.

The documentary tells a month-by-month, day-by-day story of everything leading up to the non-festival. Here’s what they did first. They created a slick, well-produced teaser. They filled it with top models. They went to the island where they wanted to have the festival, stayed on private yachts (not on the island) and partied for a few days while they filmed the promo. Turquoise seas, beautiful women, expensive boats, it had it all. The promo was incredibly well produced. I think you can still watch it somewhere on YouTube. The company they hired to do the teaser gave them an incredible digital and social presence. Their website was super slick and their marketing was off the hook. Really high-end and modern.

They spent the next few months designing an experience. Luxury tents. Luxury villas. Beautiful packages that made you feel like you were going to a music festival in some private piece of heaven. And it had a price tag to match. Each package was thousands of dollars. And they all still sold out, in record time.  Through their social campaign (which was genius), they sold every package they had. All the tents. All the villas. Sold.

Just one problem. There were no luxury villas or tents. All the images were created. Nothing was real.

Turns out the island they originally wanted couldn’t be used. The owner of the island had only one deal-breaker in the contract – don’t mention Escobar – so what did they do? They mentioned it in the first teaser. Game over.

Luckily Great Exuma was near-by. This island, under other circumstances, was a much better place to host a festival. It had infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Sadly, by the time they decided to go there – everything was sold out. The only thing they were able to get was some undeveloped real estate on one side of the island by the water. They grabbed it.

The details of what went down are so crazy. Instead of luxury tents – they put up hurricane tents left over from the last season.  There weren’t enough homes on the island to get for private villas, so those who signed-up and paid for one got a tent too. And they didn’t even have enough crappy tents. 380 for 900+ people attending.

Not enough food. Not enough bathrooms. No plan B for rain. The attendees were f**ked. The musicians who agreed to perform weren’t any better. There was barely a stage – let alone multiple stages for a festival. Most of the acts started dropping out. Still, the producers let the event go on.

In the end, it was a nightmare. You can google how much of a nightmare it was.

I can’t tell you how validating it was to see those documentaries. I watched the first one with my husband. The entire time he kept turning to me and going, “ohh babe, can you believe it?”. Even he knew. He knew because he’s been married to an event planner for 20 plus years.

I couldn’t believe it. But I could believe it. It was totally believable. Let’s be honest. People think they can do it. On the surface it’s a job that literally everyone thinks they can do. Oh you planned your sister’s shower? Sure! You can be a planner! You organized the office pot-luck lunch? Sure, you can plan a 1,000 person event. Go for it.

I would re-title those documentaries as, “So You Think You’re An Event Planner?” or “You Are Not A F**king Event Planner”.

Go ahead. Roll your eyes. I know. You’re a teacher (love teachers), or a nurse (love nurses), or whatever. You are impacting the world. You’re maybe literally saving lives. But here’s what I know for sure. I know that in this world of big picture thinking, one thing is lost. Execution. No one likes to say they execute. Everyone wants to be a “strategist”. Big thinking. Not big doing.

Ok, sure, you had a really great idea. A world-changing idea. Awesome. Good for you. Can you actually execute it? Can you plan the steps it’ll take to get it done and make it happen? Can you think 10 steps ahead to all the problems that might pop up and solve them before they happen? Can you manage the emotional toll it’ll take on people to get them to do what you want them to do for your idea to come to life?  And can you do it without complaining and whining? Better yet, can you work for never-ending hours and days while pretending to be happy and smiling the whole time? Can you be a 20 year professional that’s managing million dollar budgets while still being asked to get someone a tampon in the middle of an event – and do it without question? If the answer is no. Please, for god’s sake, go back to your day job. If the answer is yes, welcome. You are welcome here. In the group of people who immediately start figuring out how to get something done.

When I saw those documentaries I was so moved. In the last few years, a value has been placed on people who can weave a good story in 280 characters. People who can produce slick, marketing ads and pieces that last about a minute or two. They are digital geniuses. They can make an idea viral. Get a million impressions. Which is great. But guess what they can’t do? They can’t execute. They can’t figure out the one million things that need to go down before something happens.

Billy McFarland had no planners working for him. He had digital teams and marketing teams. He had supermodels and rappers. He even had someone called a “producer”. But no planners. To give credit where it’s due – he did have some people with festival experience that he ignored. But those people basically went along with a plan they knew would fail.

One of the things that is the most troublesome about the documentary isn’t the attendees, ok fine, they didn’t get a music festival. Uptown problems. They had to go back to Miami with their miniature dogs and flower halos. Boo hoo. To me, the saddest part was that the island residents were dragged into making this nightmare happen. Hundreds of workers signed up to help Billy and his crew. No one got paid.

So maybe calling Billy an entrepreneur is wrong. He’s a cheat. A fraud. A con man. And I know that’s what this story is really about. But what I got from it was so different. His story validated and brought to life everything I know to be true. You can be a big idea guy or gal. You can be good at tweets and posts and ‘grams. You can get a thousand likes, and a million impressions, but can you bring that vision to life in the real world? A world full of bad weather, cancelled flights, broken technology, and unhappy people? Can you handle it? Maybe. But let’s be honest, probably not.

 

 

 

I was promised a snow storm

I’m here on the couch moping with the cat. Where is my storm?? I really wanted it. I am so ready for it. I mean I didn’t buy bread or milk or anything, but mentally I’m ready for it. I’m ready to cancel plans. Ready to not leave the house for the next 48 hours. Ready to not shower, stay in my pjs, and take intermittent naps all day long. I had planned on making my husband feel guilty for not getting firewood. I was looking forward to that all week. Now I got nothing.

And it’s almost 40 degrees outside. WTF. I think I just saw a peek of sun. So frustrating.

Now I’ll be expected to do things. Empty the dishwasher. Put my contacts in. Get off the couch. This isn’t what America is about! I can’t even depend on weather I was promised.

My daughter drove back to school yesterday so she’d beat the storm up in New York. I bet they’ll get a foot. Or two. Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, you make me sad. I’m not mad at you. Just really disappointed.

Monday confessional

Ok let’s just say today wasn’t the winningest day I’ve ever had. The theme for my day would be, “two steps forward, three steps back”. Or is it,”three steps forward, two back”? You know what I mean.

Things that were done got undone. Technology was not my friend today. I went to go pick-up dry cleaning that I never dropped off. True story.

Anyway – not my day.

It was time for chocolate cake and tv.

But because this is opposite of good day – I didn’t even get this right.

The cake looks good in that pic, because I FaceTuned it. What is that you ask? New favorite app. Spend the $3.99. Treat yo self. As I was saying, the cake looks good but it was just ok. Not that I expected anything else from it. It’s a boxed, aisle cake. I wish it no ill will. It was a sad attempt at saving my day.

And the tv… I know I know. I should have known better. Even with my low-brow tv habits I haven’t succumbed to The Bachelor (ok I watched season 1-3 but those weren’t bad). But there’s been so much chatter about it that I gave in. It was a weak night.

Oh god was it bad. Like so bad I am shook people aren’t talking about how bad it is.

The premise is interesting. He’s a virgin. There’s a house full of vipers after him. It could be so bad it’s good, but it’s so bad that it’s sad. Weird and uncomfortable. Perfect for my day.

I’m just going to bed. We can try this all again tomorrow.

I like big hoops and I cannot lie…

I’ve never met a big earring I didn’t like. I can’t help it. And the queen of all big earrings is the hoop. Yes people, the hoops you stopped wearing in 1987. I never put mine away, they left high school with me and are alive and well in 2019! I also brought my smokey eye and love for tights with me from the 80s. It’s all working out fine for me.

Actually I got even bigger, hoopier hoops from a dear friend (love ya Julie!). These are the size of a baby’s head… in other words, perfect. I think the only other people still rocking them are the Real Housewives of NJ and maybe Jlo. I’m in good company.

Ok… go continue your Sunday. I just needed to tell you that right now.

Girls girls girls

This is a short little story about my baby girl and her group of baby girls.

Random fact… all their names start with either A or B or J or K. I’m not sure what that means but it means something… right?

They’ve known each other for years, some longer than others. They’ve gone to the same schools and different schools. They’ve made good and bad choices together. They’ve drifted apart and drifted back to together.

Each is on a different path, in a different place. But when they come home, they come together. In the past few years they’ve created traditions of their own, kept connected. It makes me so happy.

It doesn’t just make me happy for them, it makes me happy for us. The world. I’m so excited to see what they will do. Where they will go.

When Kera was little and she’d bring home a new friend, I could always tell the ones that were the real deal. They would be the girls who said hello, came into the kitchen, sat down for a chat. These are those girls.

She has a great group of guy friends too – but nothing makes me happier about the future then seeing these smart, witty, beautiful gals. We are going to be ok.

Now if only they’d let me hang out with them…

Is your underwear drawer full of joy?

Thank you Patty for letting me know about Tidying up, my new Netflix binge. I know I’m late to the party. Marie Kondo and her tidy revolution have been around for a couple of years. I’d never heard of her or her books or her YouTube videos. Where have I been?? I know… living in filth and wearing clothes that basically drain my soul! Here’s her books which I’ll never read now that she has a show on Netflix and videos on YouTube…

I’m hooked! I’m folding shit into neat little rectangles that stand up as we speak. You’ll know what I’m talking about after you watch her or read her… yeah right, just watch her. At first I was weary. I’ve seen enough Hoarders to know the basics. But never has a clean-up show started with a tiny, tidy Japanese lady greeting the house, kneeling on the floor, with eyes closed in meditation. Never has a hoarder been asked,” does that pile of newspapers bring you joy?”. The idea that you need to feel joy from every item in your home is crazy. And nuts. And wonderful.

In her theory, if an object no longer brings you joy – you say thank you and goodby to it. Easy. And so hard.

There’s something so mesmerizing about her folding things. Go on YouTube and spend some time watching her fold shirts, pants, and underwear. I did. For hours.

She goes by KonMari. And whatever KonMari is telling me to do – by Buddha I’ll do it!

I started this weekend. Here’s a peek into what one of my drawers looked like before… don’t judge! KonMari would not approve of judgement…. this is a sock, underwear, Spanx drawer.

I kept the dryer sheet in for the pic to keep it real. Incase you needed more realness.

So I dumped everything out. And with each piece I said to myself,”does this bring you joy?”. And to be honest – the majority didn’t. I had underwear older than my kids. That was easy. But I had moments of doubt too. Do my Spanx really bring me joy? Hell-to-the-no. But being able to eat a bagel does, and so in the end… yes there is some indirect joy in those straight jackets. I bet KonMari never had this issue, why would she, she’s wallet sized.

Anyway here’s my JOYFUL new drawer…

Not a bad start! I see the bottom of my drawer… you know what that means? Time to shop! Kidding. Maybe.

What’s wrong?

I met my husband when I was 19. I’m not 19 anymore. Which means I’ve been with him for a very very very long time. We’ve grown-up together. Built a life together. He likes to say that he knows me better than anyone (mostly true except when it comes to my coffee order, food order,  etc). In all seriousness he does know me well. He knows I don’t like restaurants with too many TVs, it gives me heart palpitations. He knows I prefer to end all good times by midnight or earlier. He knows I don’t like to PET animals. I like animals. I wish them well in the world. But I don’t like to touch them. He loves a good dog/cat rub. He’s saved me from appearing cold and heartless many times by blocking an oncoming pet. He loves me like that.

I think I know him really well too. For instance, I know that potholes bother him like inequality bothered Martin Luther King. I know that sounds like a massive exaggeration, but really it’s mostly true. Actually I’m not sure anything in the world bothers him like bad infrastructure. He’s fallen in love with dumpy towns simply based on clean, well-paved roads. The other love of his life – besides his wife, kids and good roads – is grass. No. Not weed. Actual grass. He loves a good bed of grass. Or yard of grass. Or whatever it’s called. Nothing makes him happier than new grass sprouts. He’s like a proud father.

But for all our mind-reading of each other’s habits, wants, like/dislikes, etc, he still insists on asking what I consider the worst question known to man-kind, “What’s Wrong?”.  I know that sounds like an exaggeration too. But it drives me bananas. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve asked that question to him….our entire marriage. I don’t have to ask. I know. I know because I listen. I see. I remember. That’s how I know.  I don’t know with everyone. I have to ask friends. I sometimes have to ask my kids. I also ask my co-workers. “What’s wrong?”. Fill me in. What have you been up to? What’s keeping you up at night? But usually, like 99.999% of the time, I know what’s wrong with my husband. It’s a work thing. Or a health thing. Or a schedule thing. I ask questions like, “does your knee still hurt?” or “What happened today with that _____?” filling in the blank of whatever work issue he’s told me about. You get it. And some of the time… wait for it….I don’t even ask! That’s right. You wanna know how to have a long marriage? If you sense your spouse is upset in any way, ignore it. Let him/her talk about it or let it blow over. I know this goes against most marriage advice you get from say…experts…but letting it blow over is a very powerful marriage tool, in my opinion.  Not good for all occasions, but it comes in handy sometimes. Your mate seems frustrated, irritated or moody? Go for a walk without them. Leave them alone for a bit. Works like a charm. Except when it doesn’t. In which case I go back to my earlier point, I’m no expert. You’re on your own.

If there is something wrong with me, there are only a handful of reasons for my salty mood. 1) Him. 2) Work. 3) He ordered my Chinese food incorrectly.  That’s about it folks. It really doesn’t get more interesting than that. Why doesn’t he know that? Him asking a broad, open-ended question like, “what’s wrong?” just makes me angrier, and I probably wasn’t even angry in the first place, just distracted or annoyed. Maybe I watched a commercial and now I’m sad thinking about how I never packed my kids a healthy bento box lunch. Maybe I heard the news and realized it was the end of the world. Or maybe I just ate tomato sauce too late in the day and now I’m paying for it. There’s too many ways to answer that question!  If he just narrowed it down a bit, it would be better. Or, even better, let it go. Let it blow over. The old blow-over technique that I’ve been trying to teach him for two decades. You see what I’m saying here?

What am I saying here? I don’t even know.  I think I’m just complaining. Or whining. See how easy it is to get me to open up? You didn’t even ask me anything.

 

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries