Flavor Flav worked the room, in this case a retro-fitted dance club, and he was seeking data.
“Let’s go! Let’s go! When’s your birthday?!” he called out as he slid through the crowd, his clock-neckpiece flashing under the strobes. “July 26? You’ve got a birthday comin’ up! Happy early birthdaaaaaaaay!”
And so it went as Flav was among the celebs who descended on Jack Daniel’s House No. 7, a temporary party fortress that took over Thunderbird Boutique Hotel & Lounge at 1215 Las Vegas Blvd. South. This was the latest pop-up party experience sponsored by the legendary whiskey company, which is official liquor sponsor of the NBA (yep, the league has that).
The event ran Friday and Saturday nights and was tied to the Vegas Summer League tournament at Thomas & Mack Center. Ex-NBA stars Alonzo Mourning and Allan Houston repped the league, with such name-checks as Rick and Corey Harrison of “Pawn Stars,” pro BMX competitor Ricardo Laguna, Laugh Factory at the Tropicana headliner Murray Sawchuck, famed Donald Trump impressionist and comic actor John Di Domenico, and Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine among those to take in the two-night fete.
This was the type of event where you are continually asked, “Are you having a good time?” because, honestly, there were many elements not conducive to a good time. Long lines into cramped themed rooms, no natural flow of activity, humidity inside and out, a temporary corporate takeover of a uniquely Las Vegas business, and the possibility of being run over by a roller-skater carrying a pizza.
Actually, the Sin City Roller Girls were something to behold as they meandered through the crowd, carrying extra-large pizzas to the revelers around the complex. They were in full uniform, too, ready for contact.
In all, it was actually a distinctly entertaining event. In this whirlwind party tour, I met a couple in a hippie-themed room who had celebrated their wedding vows after meeting at Woodstock (they claim by Janis Joplin), only to make it all legal weeks later in Vegas by an ordained Elvis impressionist. Side-show artist John Shaw was dressed as a janitor, performing his nails-into-the-nose routine.
A room dedicated to the showgirl, another where a woman was being tattooed as she sipped from the sponsor beverage. An open basketball court where I drained 2-of-3 long-distance J’s (hoop form, and jargon, still in fine form). An operating barber shop. A karaoke party hosted by bachelorettes. “Barrel Man” Kevin Sanders, who oversees the company’s barrel building and made the trip from Lynchburg, Tennessee, for the two-day event. A bluegrass band in the Single Barrel Bar. A rock room staging a performance by a band fronted by Cassie Stone. A “rave” room and also a space to fight with pillows. An upstairs, VIP speakeasy, where legendary entertainer and Jack Daniel’s imbiber Frank Sinatra played on the turntables.
Oh, and a wedding where the bride was played by Las Vegas PR rep Miranda Lopez, who simply would not break her panic-stricken character. I know because I tried shaking her out of the role. “Hey! How’s your sister? Your mom?” No luck.
There was something for everyone in this quick-hit experience. The compound began taking shape Tuesday and is hauling out Monday. But not before I was able to grab Flav, who asked, “Yo! When’s your birthday!?” when I told him March 3, he said, “Yeaaaaah! Fellow Pisces!” He’s March 16, as it turns out, and is a big fish in this whiskey pond.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.