Hard NYE

Lots of action going on. Went to the first annual “Hard” in Downtown LA. Good stuff. I was amazed at how quickly things go when you’re on the “VIP List.” It was good to see Steve, Cobrasnake, and Justice come by when we were in line. For Steve to say, “Hey, Francis!” was cool. It was funny getting the “who’s he” look from those around us in the line, if you can call it that. Very short line, metal detectors, and an ID check and we were in. It was a bit odd with everything pretty much being organized inside the warehouses and blocked off streets. It definitely gave the sense of a good old block party. I have to say that open bar ’til 1:30, GOOD. Lines when people started coming en masse, BAD. Luckily someone made the discovery that the “Beanie Man” really made strong drinks. They also didn’t really adhere to the two drink/person rule. Got my social lubrication of choice, G&T, and we were set.

Now here’s where it gets complicated. Three stages (we only found two) and everyone was wanting to see someone different: Steve Aoki, Peaches, Justice, Uberzone… As it turns out, everyone listed was on the stage we first found, so it was convenient. What was not convenient, was getting separated. I suppose it’s inevitable. Seven or eight people all going in different directions in different speeds is a recipe for disaster. Luckily we were locked and loaded on the tech front. iPhones and other devices definitely were working overtime that night. Hell, I even dropped mine for the first time. It was pretty scary. You know how something happens and it seems all slow motion, then you see your phone on the ground and you just stare? Yup, happened to me. Luckily, no damage to the phone, just to the case. Man, I need a new one.

So different directions. We start looking around. Funnel Cake booth (yum), Indie 103.1 booth, Dim Mak booth (where I see Mark AKA Cobrasnake and he takes a picture), and lastly the bacon wrapped hot dog/torta/elote booth (definitely going to hit that one). We come across the other stage and it’s terribly random. First case of missing persons. Lost my sister and Rachel. Literally turned around and they were all Keyser Soze. Time to spark up the iPhone… Find out they are by the VIP bar. Make our way over.

It’s now about 10:00 PM. Steve Aoki time. I’ve seen him spin before. I wasn’t prepared for this. He was nuts! He got going and did his thing and then the sound went out. Stupid sound guys. It was sort of funny cause he was going crazy telling the sound guy to get it together before he even started. As per usual, the crowd still got crazy, especially when Steve crowd surfed.
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Getting to the point of seeing Peaches was a chore too. We weren’t there when she started. VIP bar again. I went out with Rachel who wanted to get closer. The crowd had gotten huge and dense. I got separated from her, and I’m quite good at getting by people in crowds. Decided to head back out, but now I was alone. This was not a good prospect since Peaches was going to be going to the countdown. The prospect of standing alone for the countdown and eventual turn into aught 8 sort of freaked me out. My fingers feverishly typed text messages as if I was setting fires on a desert island to get rescued. No response. I started calling people. No response. This was an ominous sign and it might set a tone for MMVIII to be a massive SUCKFEST. Ten minutes to countdown. No one. Five minutes to countdown and everyone appears out of the crowd. It was like the scene from “Tombstone” where Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holliday are walking down the street to meet the outlaws. It was great. 3. 2. 1. Happy New Year!

Justice comes on after the countdown. Great set. Party a little bit over there and head back in to the VIP lounge area. We all realize that we’re hungry. It’s off to the bacon wrapped hot dog booth. Yeah. As it turns out, we end up with not only the hot dogs, but also tortas. Apparently the tortas were finger licking good. Trust me. You had to be there. We stammer back the VIP lounge. There’s a lot of interesting things going on, including things being projected on walls that I didn’t notice before.

We’re sort of losing steam. Everyone begins sitting around. I start getting antsy. Start wandering around aimlessly. On my way back I bump into Cory Kennedy, but more on that later. It’s about 1:30 AM, so we all hit the bar for our last free libations. As it turns out most of us are opting for agua at this point. I turn to Peroni. :) One of our fellowship really wants to see Uberzone. They don’t come on until 3:00 AM. Thinking about this was like thinking of getting to Mordor. We would of course, soldier on.

My sister and I decide to go to the backstage area. We are met with the question, “You have your wristband?” I flash him what I’ve got on and he steps out of the way. Nice. I don’t know why we didn’t decide to do this earlier, but here we are. It’s sort of a random fiesta of people clustered about where was more “off to the side of the stage” than backstage. See Steve and give him congrats on the set and for the event. He puts both hands on my cheeks and starts shaking my head back and forth as he says, “Francisssss!”
I sort of feel like I just saw a relative I hadn’t seen in forever or that I was a dog. Not quite sure. I look around more and who do I see?? MAGGIE! Now, I haven’t seen her for ages. I ninja my way toward her and she goes crazy. She’s doing work covering the event for Defamer. She’s with Ann too! Bonus! Ann, as you may remember runs Fancast.com. It was definitely great to see them and catch up a bit with Maggie. Honestly, I love these two.
My sister sees one of the guys from Justice. Not the one she likes, but one of them nonetheless. She hopes that he’ll eventually appear, but in talking to Gaspard, he reveals that Xavier has left. No dice there. We’re about to go back up to the “off to the side of the stage” area and I see Cory Kennedy being interviewed by someone. Perhaps most of you don’t know who she is, but she’s a blogger and then some, so she’s cool in my book. I go up to her to get a photo for what you are reading right now, and she says, “Sure. Come on.” and she’s pulling me away towards Steve who is calling out to her to leave. She comes up to Mark AKA the cobrasnake and we say our what’s up again. He asks if I had a good time. I of course say yes. My sister suggests that we all take a picture, so here it is:
Scene photographer extrordinare (I’d love to just travel around and cover parties and such) and blogger/internet celeb who gets more hits in an hour than I probably have since I started. Nice. Reconnect with Maggie who needs to hit the stage to get Uberzone. We vow to better keep in touch. My sister and I keep looking around and decide it’s time to go. Both of our phones at this point have gotten the “where are you” text from Rachel. We go.

We look around for the rest of the fellowship and don’t find them. We look around the crowd that is watching Uberzone, and don’t see them. We look in the usual places: The VIP bar and lounge area. We do laps hoping to find them to no avail. Perhaps they are already home, we think. My sister calls Rachel to see where she is. She says she’s outside. Now we both think she’s right outside the lounge area. Not so much. Come to find out she’s in her car by the valet. Hop on in the planet ride, and mosey on home.


~ by Francis Orante on January 1, 2008.

4 Responses to “Hard NYE”

  1. Awesome time!!! Thanks again and I’ll ty to stay with the pack more often next time.

  2. Nice rundown of the night, I was there too (VIP as well) and I thought it was amazing. What happened to Steve though, they just cut him off.

    Thats the only thing that I was pissed about, that and the fact I ran out of room on my cameras 2GB memory card.

  3. “I don’t care. That’s bullbleep. Bleep you. Seriously I don’t care.”

    I really wish you had hung out like originally planned, however I feel as though the evening could not have gone more swimmingly for you. (I believe all parties included here can swim, now enough out of you).

  4. how was peaches?

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