Time was quickly ticking away. The days flowed into the nights with as much ease as the booze flowed at the overly packed bars, and for many of us, this would be our last night in Las Vegas, which meant only one thing…
We better make it a good one.
Sunday is often a busy day for the JCK show. For folks driving into Sin City from local jewelry stores, Sunday is the day that their shops are closed, and if they’re not in a position to come for the entire week, it’s a good opportunity for them to visit the vendors and designers who they can only see here and nowhere else.
Sunday was also the only other day that you could pick up tickets for the Rocks the Beach party with Ron Thompson of Matchbook 30 (or something), being held at Mandalay’s Wave Pool. After learning from the mistakes of past RtB’s (raise your hand if you waited in line for hours to see Adam Levine last year only to be told you had to settle for his she-male impersonator on Fremont Street), JCK Events had the bright idea to set up ticket booths in a few select locations throughout the show. The concept was simple: you show up with your badge, they punch it, then give you a ticket. Once they were out of tickets, well, then no Rod Thomson for you, but at least you didn’t have to wait in the sweltering Nevada heat while standing directly behind that hottie who watched you lick salt off of the bartender’s fingers last night after your fourteenth lemon-drop shot. Awwkwaaaard.
Since some of the folks in my booth weren’t sure if they were attending, I took all of their badges and scored seven tickets to the show. Did I personally need seven tickets? Hell no. I didn’t even want to see Rahm Tomás once, let alone seven times, but whom I did want to see were my friends and my customers, so if for some reason I heard that they couldn’t get a ticket… BOOYAH! I’m a heroine and my popularity rating skyrockets. This worked out great, too, because all seven tickets were given out by the end of the day.
“Mom Faces” by Monica and me
With a mere thirty-six hours left in Vegas, I started to seek out the people in my jewelry life who I had yet to run into on this trip. I visited with the Oscar Heyman crew and had a nice chat with Tom Heyman about my blog and my Oscars post I had written about his brand. I saw Barry at Picchiotti and we exchanged information since he also lives in Atlanta and we have a lot of people in common. I swung by Omi Prive and FINALLY met Natalie Weisiger (who is AWESOME!), since we had only been social media friends up to this point. And then, I went to seek out my biggest fan…
Pretty much from moment one of this blog, Novell Design Studio’s Marketing Director, Rick Mulholland, has supported it. He’s Facebooked it, Tweeted it, posted it to LinkedIn, and even made it a part of the blog he writes. Without ever having met me, Rick has been more of a cheerleader than certain writers in my own field have, and it was time to finally put an actual face to the… well, Facebook profile picture face, I guess.
Novell’s booth, while being massive in its own right, seemed miniscule in comparison to its next-door neighbor, LeVian. Rick was behind one of his salespeople when I walked up, tapped him on the hand, and introduced myself.
Me: “Good to finally meet you in the flesh.”
Rick: “I know! It is. I’m sorry. My lips are chapped.”
Me: “Thattt’s okaaay? I hadn’t intended on kissing you, so, it’s all good.”
After embarrassing Rick by telling him that was the weirdest first line, ever (sorry, bro… it’s just too awesome not to share) we spoke for a few minutes about the show and how nice I thought their booth looked. If you know Rick, you know he’s a total hands-on guy in what he does. Not only is he talented from a marketing standpoint, but he is a tremendous writer and I encourage him to do it more. If I didn’t tell you there, amigo, thanks for being so positive about Adornmentality. I’m hoping you’ll join me as a guest blogger here in the future at some point.
With the clock counting down to the end of the show day, I started getting excited about who I’d be spending time with in a few short hours. Our Rocks the Beach experience from the year before resulted in a cabana photo that was all but used as the official beach party picture. This year, however, more of our Gems were coming, and more Gems means more laughs, so let’s get down to what you all came here to read about…
Ready for the beach (avec shorts!)
The vain a**hole that I am decided I would wear heels to the beach. You know what, that’s not really fair. I’m not that vain. I just like being tall, and if there was a chance I’d be standing next to Glamazons #1, #2, and #3 (aka Stephenson, Winters, and Gizzi), there was no way in heck I was going to allow myself to be referred to as “the short one.” I decided on wearing some killer strap booties with an Urban Outfitters feather-patterned dress and scalloped black shorts underneath. Yes, I said shorts. Just like when I was in Catholic elementary school. There, the shorts were to save yourself the embarrassment of the student body seeing your Strawberry Shortcake panties when Christopher Ranieri decided to lift up your uniform. At the beach, you do the exact same thing only the panties are Elsa from Frozen Victoria’s Secret and the boy is Dallas Selsey. I arrived when there was still a line though I didn’t even realize Erika Winters and Wendy Brandes were three people in front of me until about twenty minutes in. Wendy, in my opinion, is the sole reason that JCK Events will ALWAYS hold a concert in a pool. I never saw someone so excited to see such a mediocre well-known musician while standing in chlorine.
Wendy: “I don’t care who’s on the stage, IT’S A CONCERT IN A POOL! All concerts should be in a pool! Why do my friends not appreciate the awesomeness?”
I love this woman.
Heels in sand.
Once inside the gates, all of the normal people grabbed their Effy bag supplied with flip-flops and headed toward the beach. Erika Winters and I, still heel-clad, stumbled like morons walked as gracefully as ever across the sand to the big, bright, JCK sign where, along with Wendy Brandes, we created this year’s badass beach photo. After several poses and takes by our personal photographer, Peter Walberg, we were off to find the WJA cabana to grab ourselves some well-deserved spirits. Along the way we ran into the adorable Brittany Siminitz, the lovely Idazzle, (which of course, prompted us to pose for a Charlie’s Angel picture) and then another beautiful woman: WJA’s Colorado chapter president, Manon Crespi. If you’re wondering why, at 41, I’ve decided not to cover my gray hair, this woman is the reason. The first time I saw her was last year at Fana’s booth and she absolutely took my breath away. After being on the fence about whether or not I’d go the route of “Silver Fox,” this sealed the deal for me, and I told her as such the moment I saw her.
Kelly, Jill, and Sabrina
Brittany led the way to JCK which conveniently was directly next to WJA. (Rhyme much?) Holy. Freaking. Crap. I hit the industry-maven jackpot. At this point I’m going to just do a roll call of the “who’s who” standing before me in this tiny section of beach: Brandee Dallow, Jen Heebner, Mark Smelzer, Fran Penella, Lita Asscher, Diane Warga-Arias, Dallas Selsey, Craig Selimotic Danforth, Matthew Tratner, Victoria Gomelsky (and her twin sister, Julia), JEN CULLEN WILLIAMS, Amanda Gizzi, Natalie Weisiger, Andrea Hansen, Bernadette Mack, Mike Asscher, and the always dashing, Sam Jansen. Seriously, Sam Jansen? Why are you so damned good looking? I feel like Crest toothpaste needs you pay you $300 every time you smile. When you laugh I hear a “cling” sound effect like light reflecting off of a crystal champagne glass in a Cascade dishwashing liquid commercial.
I can always count on Jen Cullen Williams to play along
The night was already out of control by the time the cucumber-sized glow sticks started getting handed out. Whose idea was it to put one of these in my hand? Are you insane? You can’t give me a toy that looks like this! Inappropriate jokes are INEVITABLE, people! Sigmund Freud could have written his senior thesis on these things. Are you serious? Oh, wait, is Rab Thumas even on the stage? Ugh, okay… I guess I’ll go attempt to watch.
As a child of punk and early alternative music (think The Smiths/The Cure/The Ramones/Depeche Mode), and a young adult fan of all things grunge (Pearl Jam/Mother Love Bone/Mudhoney/Alice in Chains), I don’t really do “rock light” or “pop” when it comes to music. I either want to hear Chris Cornell scream at me until he busts a vocal chord, or I want to watch The Decemberists play a rock opera start-to-finish at Austin City Limits. They seem extremes and yet, they are not. What they are, however, is not popular, and so it’s fitting that I would like them, and that they would represent me.
At the JCK cabana
As Ron Thomas Rob Hummus Rob Thomas belted out his most notable (yawn) songs, there was one he started singing that I actually did somewhat recognize. It was the tune he made with Carlos Santana, so I began swaying to the guitar solo and singing along with what I believed were the lyrics…
Me: (Singing “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas) “Man, it’s a hot one/Eleven inches and my baby is done/I’m eatin’ ice cream and it melts… onto my tongue/But it tastes so cooooool.”
Matthew Tratner: “Those are definitely not the words.”
Me: “Sure they are!” (singing again) “My fried fajita/My Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa/I’m a pleasin’ it’s the seeeeeeasonnnn/So get in my poooooll.”
Matthew Tratner: (now laughing his ass off) “THOSE ARE NOT THE WORDS!!! What are you SAYING??”
Me: “Sing it with me, Matthew! (chorus) “And it’s just like the ocean/Under a tree/But it don’t matter if I’m in it and I need to go peeee-eee/You’ve got the kind of toaster that I like to see-eee/Make a Pop Tart, make it real, or else fughettaboudit…”
I’m fairly certain Matthew had to find a bathroom immediately after that.
Say “DRINK PASS!”
Once that song was over I needed to sit down. I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the musical mediocrity, and the cabana had a nice little area with cushy seats which is where I planted my posterior in order to catch my breath and tweet. The always gentlemanly CSD suggested that I pull my dress down as it was creeping upward toward my happy places.
Me: “No, it’s cool. I’ve got these on just in case (showing him the shorts).”
CSD: “Oh, shorts! Smart! With this group, you never know when you’ll need them.”
Me: “So true. Plus, I can do this if I want to…. (lifts right leg up over head)… See!? Thirteen years of ballet wasn’t wasted.”
After the paramedics revived CSD, I looked around and noticed Mike Asscher – yes, THE Mike Asscher… of the Royal Asscher family – looking at me, frighteningly. I mouthed to him “Did you just see me do that?” to which he nodded his head “yes” before I crawled into a hole and died.
“Are you LEGGING UP?”
In a nutshell, the cabanas were the place to be. Monica called me out for “legging up” which resulted in a fantastic picture with us, Amanda Gizzi, and Jen Williams, (who, by the way, is ALWAYS good for revelry and ridiculousness. Love you, Jen. Wish we had more time together.) And at one point, a person in our group (who shall remain nameless) handed me a stack of drink passes. Now, let’s be real, here. I’m probably the perfect person to hand a stack of drink passes to because I grew up in blue-collar, Democratic Philadelphia, and I believe that the wealth should be spread.
Me: (channeling Oprah Winfrey) “YOU get a drink pass!!!!!!! And YOU get a drink pass! And you! And YOU! AND YOU GET ONE! YOU GET A DRINK PASS! AND YOU GET ONE! Here you go! And you and you and you! You all get a drink pass!!!!”
The saddest part of this entire story is that the night was only half over at that point…
As we made our grand exodus from the beach to Eye Candy, a young Amerasian man (or as I like to refer to him… my next victim) was waiting on the path to invite us to a nightclub as his (his words) “personal guests.”
Young Amerasian Man: (speaking to Brittany, Jesse, Erika, Peter, Monica, Wendy, and me – all of who are clearly not ladies.) “Hello Ladies. How was the concert?”
Young Amerasian Man: “Ladies, my name is Mike, and I would like to invite you all as my personal guests to… “
Oh how we’ll miss those Eye Candy nights
Before he finished his sentence, I feel that someone in the group – likely someone on the soberish side… maybe Monica – had this thought… “This poor kid. He has no idea what he just stepped into.”
Me: “Wait… you’re MIKE? As in, *the* Mike??? Oh my God, Mike, we were looking for you! Where’ve you been, Mike? It’s been centuries!”
Young Amerasian Man: (blushing and clearly flustered) “Well, um, thanks (uncomfortable giggle) Yeah. So, ladies, I’d like to give you these passes to join me at club…”
Me: (still walking with my group toward Eye Candy and as obnoxious as I’ve ever been in my life) “OH MY GOD, GUYS! MIKE WANTS TO GIVE US THESE PASSES!!!!! Mike, you’re the best, buddy! You’re so… you’re just… Mike, where were you all night? Were you with Ron Thompson on the stage? We were looking for you! Guys (turning to my crew), weren’t we just saying that we hoped Mike showed up with the passes to that awesome club as his personal guests?”
This went on for about another five minutes until good ol’ Mike got the hint. Leave us alone, junior club promoter. We’ve got people to see and drinkies to drank.
This actually isn’t a real picture. It was taken from one of CSD’s dreams.
Once inside, the bubbly started flowing and the dance floor became our second home. There’s Alexis Padis! And look… it’s one of Craig’s Girls! And more of Michael Schechter, Raymond Hak, and that stumbling drunk girl who was here last night and will be tomorrow! Eventually Monica and I found a nice spot in the corner to sit ourselves down and take in our surroundings. It was wonderful to breathe this experience in; to watch the interactions of the various walks of industry life. Designers laughing with manufacturers. Editors doing shots with PR people. Retailers chatting with wholesalers. And us – two very tall, happy bloggers – toasting our lives and our friendship with two glasses of Vegas champagne.
I slept contently that night. I fell asleep happy in my own skin. I feel for people who don’t love what they do; who loathe getting up and going to work every day. I feel for those who can’t find happiness in their field, or their relationships, or even within their supposed friendships. I drifted off feeling our warm industry’s arms around me, holding me just tightly enough to let me know they were there, but loosely enough that I could still change positions when I needed to.
To all those mentioned in this and every “Tale” and the many names I wasn’t able to list, I thank you. You play a part in my world, and you make Vegas fun, year after year, and moment after moment.
To all those who read these recaps and especially to those who reached out to me about them, I am ever grateful that you’re smiling because of them. I enjoy the hell out of writing this blog, and knowing that you’re reading makes each post even more special.
To Vegas, don’t ever change. Stay just as Sinny and as Citiesh as you ever were, ‘cause I’ll be back, whether you like it or not.
And this, my friends, is what’s referred to as… The End.