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.

 

 

 

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.

Bird Box, The Favourite, Vice, and more…

You know how sometimes you hit the Netflix jackpot? Or when there are a ton of good movies to see? This is not that time for me. I’ve been striking out. Bigly. (Please note this is just my opinion, if you liked any of these – bless your heart).

Bird Box – I like Sandra Bullock. I’m a fan. I watch The Lakehouse whenever I randomly find it. I even liked that movie she did with Ryan Reynolds, or was it Ryan Gosling? I don’t even mind that she’s had massive amounts of plastic surgery. I plan to follow suit at some point. But this movie… come on. Have you seen it? John Malcovich is in it for god’s sake. Sarah Paulson too! I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but there aren’t really any spoilers for the movie. You’ve already seen it right? If you have and you like it… why?? Tell me please! I’m just going to say a couple of things… 1) there weren’t enough birds in a box for me. I mean it’s not meant to be some under the radar title. It literally tells you how these people will survive. The birds in the box will help them. But when? Where? It happened once. Once. Come on. I need more. 2) You cannot row a boat for 3 days with a f’ing eye mask on! With two kids. You can’t. I can suspend a lot of disbelief. Like a lot. I like Hallmark Christmas movies. But this was crazy. And not the kind of crazy I can get behind, like the Bent Neck Lady crazy. Omg, did you watch Haunting of Hill House? If no, do it now!

The Favourite – yes I’m spelling it right. I had high hopes. I love everyone in it and it was about 68% good. It wasn’t awful. But it’s not my favorite. 🙂

Vice – after you get over the usual Christian Bale weight gain, which is no-doubt impressive, it’s an ok telling of the Dick Cheney story. The fact that it took 2 plus hours to tell an ok story was also a negative. Go for a nice walk instead. You’ll be happier.

Homecoming- I had high hopes. Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, what could go wrong? Hmmm, how about everything. The butter in my fridge is more interesting.

This is why I’ll be watching reality tv, Food Network, and make-up tutorials on YouTube. They never let me down. Everything else is for the birds.

Pop Culture Vulture – Summer ’13 Edition

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I like today’s title because it implies that this is some sort of long-standing series or tradition. That in my archives somewhere you can find Spring ’05 or something.

In reality this is only the 3rd post I’ve ever done on my insatiable appetite for pop culture. Everything from gossip mags to fashion to TV binge watching. Everyone that knows me and loves me forgives this slight flaw. Don’t get me wrong – I also love politics and world news. You and I could talk about the new Pope for hours. We could debate his “reformed views”.

But you know what’s more fun to talk about? These things:

  • Anything on Bravo. Top Chef. Top Chef Masters. Top Chef Losers. All of it. Andy Cohen and team plan their programing just for me, or so it seems. I know I’m repeating myself, I’ve told you this before. But it continues to be a very important part of my life and I think you need to hear it/read it again. The above photo is proof of my devotion. When we were in the cabin this summer, this is what I did the majority of the time there. I meant to write a post about it but I took naps instead. I’ll only highlight my new obsessions – not my oldies but goodies (All the Housewives, All the Million Dollar Listings, etc). I’m loving Below the Deck. What happens when an expensive yacht is chartered for a weekend of fun and sun? Who are the funny/kooky/crazy folks working the ship? Tune-in and find out people. It’s so good. It satisfy’s all my “behind the scenes” obsessions. I don’t really care about the party – I want to know who set the party up, and how, and what went wrong. I have to believe that some of this is staged (I can’t imagine paying $20,000 for a charter and then giving the OK for Bravo to show that I’ve brought an illegal substance onboard?) – but all is forgiven. One of my least favorite, favorite new shows on the channel is Newlyweds: The First Year. It’s kinda….Andy hold your ears…boring. All the couples are boring. I was excited about the Indian Bollywood dancer/singer gal and the beard..er…guy she married..but they are boring too. Once you get over how much of her face is botoxed, there’s really not much there. That brings me to my new classic. It’s Princesses: Long Island. Partly because these gals are in on the joke. Partly because I’d be friends with any of them. I love this show! Here’s a trailer for those who have never heard of it. Get thee to a tv set asap!!
  • Orange is the New Black. Like Game of Thrones, you just have to get through the copious amount of nudity (and all the Lesbian action). We gave it a shot because I was telling someone that my husband and I were sucked into a series on Netflix called Top of the Lake. So my pal suggested that I would also like this new show – which is actually produced by Netflix. Having now watched Orange, I’ve decided that he’s a total nut job. The two shows are completely different. Night and day. Totally. Like there is not one connection to why one person would like one and the other. But the weirdo was right – we love it. Funny. Uncomfortable. Sad. So good.
  • Ray Donovan. There are a ton of things wrong with this show. I can’t stand the woman who plays the wife. Jon Voight is good but the overacting may get annoying after a while. The plots are full of clichés we’ve seen before thanks to The Sopranos and Mad Men and Breaking Bad. But this show has one thing that none of the other shows have. One insanely sexy thing. Liev Schbreiber. I’ve loved him ever since The Daytrippers, Big Night and A Walk on the Moon. Watch all those movies now and then you’ll see why I would watch Liev in literally anything. Or nothing. Ahem.
  • The Bridge. I can’t watch it. I love AMC (or is it FX?) but I’m distracted by Diana Kruger as a Texas cop. Her German accent keeps seeping through and i just can’t look past it. I’m sure it’s a swell show, just not for me.
  • American Ninja Warrior. I have a 9-year-old son. Sometimes I have to watch things for him. All of those times involve some sort of wrestling, karate show. This is the best of the lot. Fun, short, full of action, and most importantly, short. Also I count watching people do physical activity as physical activity. Is that bad?

On another note – I’ve finally convinced my daughter to watch The New Girl and The Mindy Project. She loves them both, like any true child of my loins would and should.