Marc Jay
ABOUT MARC JAY
Marc Jay is the man in the middle of the action - the guy with the best table, the most access - living the life that others only dream of. Here you will follow Marc behind the velvet ropes as he mingles and mixes with the most elite in Las Vegas. From nightlife to fashion, from music to events, this is where you'll meet the VIPs who shape Sin City.

Interview with Josh Green of Republic

posted on 09.24.2010

Marc Jay: Tucked away just five minutes off the strip is a brand new restaurant called Republic Kitchen and Bar. I’m sitting here with the Executive Chef, Mr. Josh Green. So, Josh tell us, your new place hasn’t been open long.

Josh Green: Well, we’ve been open about three weeks. We do American comfort food with a little healthy twist. What I mean by that is take all the comfort food from when you were a little kid and then make it a little healthier than normal.

Marc Jay: What days are you open and what kinds of specials are you doing?

Josh Green: We serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so it’s a large amount of hours that we’re open. We can service every type of individual: people that work in entertainment, people that wake up late—they can still have brunch and feel like they’re not left out. Also we’re open for lunch and for dinner Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch and then 4 p.m. to midnight for dinner. Then our late night menu goes from midnight to 2 a.m.

Marc Jay: When did you arrive in Vegas and how did you get into the cooking field?

Josh Green: I came out here when I was 18 from New York. I always had a passion for cooking—I loved it. So what I did was I just started going to hotel restaurant management school at UNOV and started getting more involved in hotel restaurants and cooking. I went to Disney World for two years, worked at Cinderella’s Royal Table and it was a great experience. I learned a vast amount of different areas in the kitchen. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I came back to Vegas and worked at a couple of restaurants on The Strip: Boa’s Steakhouse, Daniel Boulud, and a couple of other ones. I went to Chicago for a year, worked for a large company called Levee Restaurants which does concession catering and I learned a vast amount about the industry. Then I started my own catering business and traveled with a couple of bands and did a lot of Personal Chef stuff. I came by the opportunity to get involved with this restaurant and I took it and now it’s a great opportunity and it’s something that was always my dream.

Marc Jay: Now looking forward, it’s funny because obviously being from here, chefs in England have always been somewhat celebrities and I think now in America in the last few years these celebrity chefs are on TV, they’re in the magazines… where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?

Josh Green: I feel that my persona and my attitude can help me go to the next level on TV and maybe be that celebrity chef just because I’m a very humble guy. I don’t think my foods the best, I don’t think my food’s the greatest out of everybody’s, you know. I do what I do and I love doing it so I think that attitude is going to help me become the person I want to be.

Marc Jay: Now, believe it or not, when I was a kid I always wanted to be a chef. My dad bought a couple bars and I was working in the kitchen and I couldn’t believe how stressful it was and hot and everyone was screaming and shouting across. Is it the same in every kitchen or is it different from kitchen to kitchen?

Josh Green: It’s different from kitchen to kitchen because it depends on the chef. It depends on the type of chef that you are. If you’re a guy that screams like a French restaurant then you know the whole attitude of the kitchen is going to change. If you’re very calm, cool, collected then your kitchen is going to be calm, cool, collected and that’s the way I run it because if you start yelling at people, some people are able to deal with it and some people aren’t. So if you have a calm, cool, collected kitchen, everyone usually takes into that way of life and it’s just very relaxed.

Marc Jay: How many people work in the kitchen with you?

Josh Green: I have a total of 18 people that work for me. We have about eight that work lunch and about nine that work dinner. So it’s two different shifts, lunch and dinner, and everybody works pretty well together.

Marc Jay: What would you say your closest comparator is in Vegas, or is there one?

Josh Green: There really isn’t one. I guess the one that I feel most compatible with is Todd English’s Brew Pub on the Las Vegas Strip in Aria but ours is a different attitude. It’s great food at a moderate price and that’s what I think Las Vegas needed. You know, they need something where you can go and you can feel comfortable and you’re not going to pay that high dollar and you can go and feel comfortable there and you can go in shorts, you can go in t-shirts and you don’t have to be dressed up to go.

Marc Jay: And I think that’s the benefit of you guys not being in a casino, you being off the strip because it almost feels like a Mom and Pop kind of place. You come here and you know everyone, it’s like a local hangout and you’ve created that very well. I know it’s only been three weeks but have you had any special events that you’ve been catering for yet?

Josh Green: We did a grand opening party which has 1,200 people, a large amount of people, and we do Monday Night Football. Sunday’s brunch is gigantic and then we do a lot of off-site catering as well, you know, I have my catering clientele. We did a huge party last week at a mansion off the Strip where we catered for about 30 people.

Marc Jay: So not only do you cook here you can actually hire this company to come and do your catering at your special events? Wonderful. Now also this restaurant is two floors and I noticed upstairs you have Wii set up. Do people come here, have dinner and play Wii upstairs?

Josh Green: Yeah we have Wii and board games upstairs. Board games vary from things we used to play in the 80s till the present. We’ve got Trouble, Shoots and Ladders, stuff that you played as a kid so it interacts with the style of food that we do because the style of food that we do is all stuff that you used to eat as a kid. We took turkey TV dinners from the 80s and we took that to the next level. Now we have a nice plate with turkey meat, stuffing, a cobbler and a vegetable. So you’re getting a little bit of each and we also have mac ‘n cheese and different things that you used to eat as a kid. That’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to bring the kid out in the adult.

Marc Jay: So it’s not as I recall 5-star dining, but it’s almost like fun but still great quality and quite affordable dishes. 

Josh Green: Yeah everything’s homemade, everything from the dressings to the desserts to, I mean everything is homemade. 

Marc Jay: So how does your regular Monday afternoon or Monday morning start? Do you have to come in and prepare most of the dishes?

Josh Green: Well I have two prep guys that come in and prep all my stuff that I train them to do and I usually come in at about 9 or 10 in the morning, get everything ready for lunch, do lunch, take a little break from 3 to 4 to get myself back into the mind set of “let’s do dinner” and then we go into dinner and I leave at about 1 or 2 in the morning so it’s a long day but it’s worth it.

Marc Jay: So if you ever get a day off how do you tend to relax and enjoy yourself?

Josh Green: Sleep (laughs).

Marc Jay: I know a lot of chefs and I talk to all of them and they all say the same thing, they work like 70/80 hours a week or whatever it is and they never have a day off and is this just the way it is in the chef world?

Josh Green: Yeah, that’s what it is, if you have that much passion for it you love doing it and you don’t really think about the hours. Like I never think about the hours, I work all day long and it’s just never comes to tuition where oh you know I’m working this many hours and it’s not about that, it’s about getting the job done and doing it right and it’s like a saying they used to say, “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.” Well that’s what it is, if you can’t deal with it, then you shouldn’t be in it.

Marc Jay: If you had to cook any dish at all, what is your favorite dish to cook? Do you have one?

Josh Green: I love cooking seafood but my favorite dish on the menu is a hamburger. I love the hamburger that we do, it’s an 8 oz. hamburger with cheese in the middle and you take a bite and the cheese just drips out and its homemade Texas toast so we grill it. But I also love the miso cod, we take a miso marinade with orange juice and pineapple and we soak cod in it for 24 to 48 hours so it gets that flavor and then we poach it in the liquid where it becomes really nice and soft.

Marc Jay: Now I know you never have time off but when you do have time off and you go out to eat, where is your favorite place to go besides where you work? You must have a top three restaurants in Vegas.

Josh Green: It’s really tough because I don’t go out that much and I eat a lot of basics. One of my favorites is the Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. I love hamburgers and I’m a simple guy you know and a lot of chefs are simple people, they eat peanut butter and jelly and things that are easy to make. But Rao's at Caesar’s Palace, I grew up in New York and that Italian food I love it. And that’s really it from that aspect because I really don’t go out that much; I don’t get that much time off.

Marc Jay: So I have been hearing some amazing stuff about your Saturday and Sunday jazz brunch. The breakfast menu it seems incredible but for $16 you can eat almost as much and there’s some great selections. Tell us about what’s on the menu.

Josh Green: We have anything from eggs, French toast, waffles, smoked salmon platters. A banana wrap which is extremely different; it’s a yogurt, banana, peanut butter whole wheat wrap and strawberries and you know we also have pastries, breads, everything’s fresh, fresh-squeezed orange juice for $5, you can either get orange, grapefruit, apple tomato, all fresh-squeezed at the bar.

Marc Jay: Now what time does the brunch menu go from?

Josh Green: The brunch menu goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. We have price tiers—one which is continental which is all your pastries and breads for $7.99 all you can eat, continental and hot dishes and the hot dishes range from French toast, pancakes, waffles, cheese blintzes, omelets, all for $12.99 and then we have specialties like my favorite is chicken and waffles and you know everybody is actually talking about those now. You know chicken and waffles is huge in population right now because it’s something that kind of blew up and then you can have all of those for $16.99.

Marc Jay: And for $16.99 you can have two dishes right? Or three different?

Josh Green: As much as you can eat.

Marc Jay: Wow that’s incredible value for money. Now I know going back you already mentioned about these TV dinners. Now in my day in England if you bought TV dinners it means you were broke or on welfare almost and this obviously isn’t the same kind of thing but it’s a bit more high-end TV dinners. Where did the concept come from for the two choices? I know you do two different TV dinners, where did they come from. these ideas?

Josh Green: Well one of my partners grew up with TV dinners and he said, “Hey why don’t we do a TV dinner?” And I was like, “That’s a pretty good idea.” So we took it to the next level and now we have either turkey or meatloaf. Meatloaf comes with garlic mashed potatoes, a vegetable and a cobbler and the turkey comes with stuffing, a vegetable and cherry cobbler so it’s kind of like everything vegetable, a dessert and a starch all for $14.99/$15.99.

Marc Jay: Wow, I’m guessing its real turkey instead of the old manufactured one so it’s all good for you.

Josh Green: The turkeys come in in the morning—they’re all fresh. Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh. It’s the freshest you can get for the price.

Marc Jay: Now if people want to find out a little bit for information on you yourself do you have a website or how do people get in contact with you, do you have an e-mail address?

Josh Green: Well you can go to chefgreen@republickitchenandbar.com, you can also check out republickitchenandbar.com and also you can check out our catering company which is Dream Culinary Group that’s also tied into Republic Kitchen and Bar but to find out about Republic Kitchen and Bar is republickitchenandbar.com.

Marc Jay: Well I’m gonna stay here and try my first TV dinner for about 20 years and thank you once again Mr. Josh and great seeing you.

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Lolita's Cantina and Tequila Bar Opening Party

posted on 09.03.2010

Marc Jay: Now, when you're a local in Las Vegas, it's not always about partying in the billion dollar casinos and running up and down The Strip. Sometimes you have to go off the strip to find some fun. I'm here right now at Town Square for the opening of Lolita's Cantina and Tequila Bar. Tonight is their Industry Wednesday night and I'm about to go inside and check out what's going on.

***

Marc Jay: I've finally made my way into Lolita's Cantina and Tequila Bar and I spot my dear friend, Mr. Brian Kip, who we know at Clubplanet because we’ve talked with him before. Tell us a bit about what you do here at Lolita's.

Brian Kip: I'm the Operations Manager for nightlife and I came over here about three weeks ago. We're here in our second week now, Wednesday, doing our local industry night.

Marc Jay: It's a little different from most places in Las Vegas because it’s sort of a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub, a lounge... Tell us a little more about the place. How is it actually structured?

Brian Kip: Lolita's is first and foremost a restaurant. We're the only Mexican restaurant in Town Square—very high end, both of our chefs come from very fancy backgrounds. But here in Town Square you've got a few other hot spots; you've got Yard House and you’ve got Blue Martini. Now with Lolita's, we're just trying to give the locals a little more of a different opportunity to come out and actually have some fun nightlife.

Marc Jay: I know there's a very special hologram inside. It's kind of unusual and special and it's the first time I've ever seen something like it. What actually is it?

Brian Kip: You know what, I think that's a secret. If we told everybody right now, I think every club in Vegas—especially here in Vegas—would jump on this technology. It comes from a gentleman back in the Bay Area in California and it's definitely one of our trademarks here at Lolita's.

***

Marc Jay: So I'm just catching up with my friend Enrique who is the Entertainment Director here at Lolita’s. Tell us a bit about your job and what you do here.

Enrique Lugo: I'm in charge of bringing all the dancers and the entertainment to Lolita's. We have professional dancers from the Pussycat Dolls and different shows here in Vegas, and they perform every 45 minutes, half an hour—we do little vignettes. We have singers, percussionists, DJs... so pretty much what I do is bring in all the fun for Lolita's.

Marc Jay: Now how do you find these girls? Is your background in choreography and dancing?

Enrique Lugo: Yeah, I've been a choreographer here in town for 10 years and I've been a choreographer for the last 30 years. I've been putting together shows all over the place for fashionistas, Chorro, many shows I've done over here in Vegas. They gave me a call and said they needed an Entertainment Director and Choreographer here and I came and met the owner and I love everybody here. It's an amazing place.

Marc Jay: It's kind of a bit different... it's a restaurant first of all, a bar, and then it turns into a nightclub. I don't know of any other place like this in Las Vegas.

Enrique Lugo: No, because there's only one. It is the first one. One thing that we've been doing and promoting a lot is our hologram. I videotaped it for the last three weeks and now we have new material on the computer showing the new technology. It's the only club in all of North America that has it.

Marc Jay: Now this hologram—just so people can understand it—it’s a hologram of a go-go dancer or a mariachi band and it looks like they're on stage performing. It's truly incredible. This technology isn't being used anywhere else, so how did they find it and bring it here?

Enrique Lugo: Well, the owner of Digital Illusions, that is the company that brought it over here, is very good friends with the owner of Lolita's. They both have clubs and they've been doing clubs all their lives so they've been together for almost 20 years. They came up with an idea to bring it over here and they brought it to me. The first time that we shot it, it was a little bit more for corporations and stuff like that, but now we’re bringing it to the entertainment. Today we have pretty much all the owners from all the gentlemen's clubs across the United States here in Vegas to come to see it because they're interested and want to do something like that.

Marc Jay: It must be a lot easier than working with some go-go dancers, a lot less stressful.

Enrique Lugo: Well you have some of the same stress because the technology can be a bit difficult, but yeah you're right, I don't have to handle the dancers. But in the meantime, you still need to have the bodies around and the girls dancing so it can give you a different feeling, you know?

Marc Jay: I understand there is a hologram competition that you're running. Are you involved in it? And what is the competition? I know there's a lot of money to be won.

Enrique Lugo: The best contestant will win their own hologram, so every girl is going to be competing to be on it.

***

Marc Jay: I'm hanging at the bar now with the beautiful Michelle. It's her first time here and I'm just going to ask her a few questions. So Michelle, you're here, it's your first time, what do you think about it so far?

Michelle Deraedt: The guy-girl ratio is pretty phenomenal – lots of girls, little amount of guys, girls are dressed cute, lots of drinks flying through the room, and the music is phenomenal.

Marc Jay: That's certainly not good for you if you're looking for a man. Is it less men for you to choose? Although, I'm here for you.

Michelle Deraedt: [Laughs] Marc Jay, I'll always be here for you, too.

Marc Jay: Now, did you come here to eat or do a bit of dancing? How did you hear about it?

Michelle Deraedt: I saw the restaurant when I passed through Town Square and my dining experience was amazing. The fajitas are amazing, the guacamole is phenomenal and the margaritas are top-shelf. Get salt on your glass for sure. My experience has always been great here.

Marc Jay: Now, I want to call you a “Vegas veteran”—not that you're old whatsoever, because you look 22—but I know you've worked in some places and you've been out many times. How do you think this place will do? Obviously it's not on The Strip, we're away from the casinos, we're in Town Square. How will people find out about this place? How will it attract the locals that it's trying to appeal to?

Michelle Deraedt: Well, being in the nightclub industry for seven years out here in Las Vegas, this place has a local joint and it's going to take off like a rocket ship. So if anyone wants to be involved in a local joint  that's pretty amazing, they need to hang on to this place's coat tail really quick because it's going to take off. The door's going to be packed in about a couple weeks, as soon as everybody starts hearing about it. Blue Martini is going to be old news soon. Lolita's is going to be amazing.

Marc Jay: It's quite funny how we live here and honestly, going to these big casinos and big nightclubs, I get very bored of it sometimes, so I look to go to much smaller, local bars. Do you find yourself in the same ship as me?

Michelle Deraedt: I always find myself in the same place as you. Being from Chicago, we like the local joints, not the big clubs; but when you work in them, you have to be in them. When you can escape to a local joint that's small and off The Strip and have a lot of local people on their days off, that's the place to be, and Wednesday night local night here at Lolita's is amazing.

Marc Jay: I think that leaves us to go get another margarita and do a bit of salsa dancing around the bar.

Michelle Deraedt: I think I agree with that too.

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Interview with DJ ATB

posted on 08.06.2010

Andre Tanneberger, known by his DJ alias, ATB, has been contributing to the world of electronic music since his days of working with dance music group Sequential One. Since going solo as ATB in the late 90s, he has only gotten bigger, blowing up the trance music genre and dance floors spanning from his hometown in Germany to Las Vegas, where he will be kicking off a residency at Rain this weekend. I recently caught up with ATB to find out more about his new Vegas residency and what he thinks of life in Sin City. Find out what he had to say below.

Marc Jay: How did you start as DJ?
ATB:
My first gig in front of an audience was as a live act. I started playing as a DJ after a couple of live gigs, because I searched for a possibility to play more tracks than just the tracks I had programmed and prepared with my synthesisers.

Marc Jay: When was it you realised you were a “superstar DJ”?
ATB:
I don’t think that there was “the one” special moment. Of course when I saw that “9 p.m.” entered the charts all around the globe, I was really happy to have had such a great start as a professional musician. But to work as a DJ is not just having one hit single. You have to work very hard every day to be constantly up to date with the current music, to always be able to offer the people new good tracks during your sets. There is so much creative output out there, the internet being a great factor in that.

Marc Jay: How dramatically different is living in Vegas to your home town in Germany?
ATB:
Well, of course you can’t compare such a unique and glamorous city like Las Vegas to my home town Bochum in Germany. The four weeks in Vegas for me will be more of a combination of my work as a DJ and having holidays in the beautiful wonder world of entertainment.

Marc Jay: “Till I come” is one of your most popular tracks. Did you know this would be a worldwide hit when you made/produced this track?
ATB:
No, I don’t think a producer can predict that a song will become a worldwide hit when he produces a track. There are so many factors that decide if a track will be a hit or not. There is no formula there.

Marc Jay: So what should people expect when they come to see your set at Rain at The Palms?
ATB:
100% ATB, meaning unforgettable nights with great music, good moods and people who love to celebrate.

Marc Jay: What is it you love about Vegas and what do you think separates Vegas form anywhere else in the world?
ATB:
Las Vegas is a really unbelievable city. It’s not my first time in Vegas, so I have come to know the unique shine that emerges from within the city. I think that Vegas is the city with THE highest quality of entertainment all around the globe, and I am very proud to be a part of this for my four-week residency at Rain at The Palms.

Marc Jay: What can we expect to see in the future career of ATB? What’s in the pipeline?
ATB:
Currently I am collecting new ideas for my next studio album. Playing for audiences around the globe is a huge creative input for me. I think I will intensify work on and finally produce the album in November/December of this year. Hopefully I will be able to release it at the beginning of next year, and I will then also start my next world tour to meet and celebrate with my fans all around the globe.

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Interview with Willard Witham Sr. of Las Vegas Party Jets

posted on 07.16.2010

Marc Jay: Now if you’re like me, you come to Vegas probably about 150 times a year and every time you’re at LAX, queuing up with the rest of the world. I’ve discovered an incredible way of traveling to Las Vegas from Burbank with my friend Willard of Las Vegas Party Jets.  Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a millionaire to rent a private jet now because there are some companies that offer some amazing deals. So tell us a bit about what your company does.

Willard Witham: The company is called Las Vegas Party Jets and we work in conjunction with Aaron Aviation. Primarily what we do is pick people up with chauffeured service from Burbank and Orange County and transport them directly to Las Vegas without any of the hassles of going through the security check points and dealing with all the hassles of the airport. Basically you get dropped off, or drop your car off, get straight on the plane, get to Vegas, get picked up by a limo, get taken straight to your hotel or straight to a club to start your adventure here in Vegas.

Marc Jay: Now people think that if they’re going to rent a jet for ten or fifteen people that it’s going to cost tens and tens of tens of thousands of dollars. But actually, your rates are very competitive because you can buy per seat, is that correct?

Willard Witham: Yes, you can. Currently we have 30 seats available on our Dornier 328 Jet. You can either get the air package, or you can get the air and hotel included for less than $1,000.

Marc Jay: What sort of schedule do these aircrafts follow and where does the plane take off from and land?

Willard Witham: We fly from Orange County on Thursdays, come into Vegas, and we depart from Vegas back to Orange County on Sunday. We also fly on Friday nights from Burbank coming to Vegas and fly back to Burbank or Orange County on Sunday.

Marc Jay: What are some of the new programs you’re offering clients?

Willard Witham: We’re doing a “Hangover Package,” where you come in, say as a Bachelor party with a group of your friends, and we take you in a chauffeured limousine to a few different clubs within the city. We give you the time of your life, take you and drop you off at one of the adult entertainment venues within the city, and then pick you up again, and possibly on Sunday, send you over to a pool party. You have a good time there, and then we send you home all... hungover [laughs].

Marc Jay: I imagine people must thoroughly enjoy it [laughs]. Do people ever go missing on the way home? Will you ever fly someone there and then see that they don’t make it back to the hanger?

Willard Witham: I mean, that happens all the time. You gotta try to keep people in tune with what we’re trying to accomplish. But, I mean, this is Vegas, and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and people go off all the time and do their own thing. We haven’t lost a passenger yet, but there’s a possibility that we could. I’m sure, with a little help from our friends, we’ll get them tracked down and put them where they need to be.

Marc Jay: Do you offer in-flight beverages? What other entertainment do you have on the jets?

Willard Witham: As you depart from either Orange County or Burbank, currently, we pick you up at the airport, we get you on the plane, we have premium in-flight beverage service when you’re on the plane, which, you know, we provide the alcohol and the regular beverages.  Once you get here, you pull into our private hanger at our private terminal. Your limo is waiting for you in the hanger and it picks you up, takes you to your hotel, lets you get G-ed up to get ready for your night, then we come back and pick you up, take you to the club that you want to go to, pick you up again, take you to another club… We provide the whole package; you can encompass your whole weekend with us, if you’d like.

Marc Jay: Do you work with any particular hotels or nightclubs?  If so, which ones are you working with?

Willard Witham: Currently, I have negotiations with Haze, LAX, Pure, and Gold Lounge. We’re working on Minus 5, Sapphires, we’re looking into Surrender, the Encore Beach Club, Blush, XS… there are several clubs that we’re actually looking into, but currently the ones that I work with directly are Haze and Gold Lounge.

Marc Jay: So if I’m a bachelor, and I’m going to have my big bachelor party in Vegas, and I’ve got 20 of my friends coming with me, basically I can come to you and you can really fix my whole weekend?

Willard Witham: What I’d like to do if you had you and your friends is I’d like to pick you up in a stretch Excursion, take you by the Vegas sign, get a couple photos, take you over to Minus Five, give you a couple drinks, pick you up again, take you over to Pure, have a good time there, drop you off at Sapphires, meet a nice lady, and who knows what happens after that.

Marc Jay: Well it is Vegas, I suppose. So tell us, how did you fall into working and running this private charter?

Willard Witham: I came from a marketing background. I had my own publications, a few magazines that I worked with—Where At? magazine, Secret Networks magazine, Channel Islands magazine, The Excitement Guide, Las Vegas 411. I also did my own promotion company out in Ventura and LA County, and I also had my own entertainment companies in the adult market. I worked with several girls that were actually in the adult film business. Then I came out here, discovered a niche market with this private plane service. There isn’t anybody doing what we’re doing and I want to be able to give that to the general public so they can feel the VIP service that I believe they deserve.

Marc Jay: When I’ve looked into renting jets for friends of mine when we’ve actually come from LA, and I’ve done it a couple of times, I remember paying ten to fifteen thousand dollars. How do you keep your prices so affordable?

Willard Witham: The reason we are able to do keep the rates we have is that we spread it across the whole plane—we have 30 seats available. You’re speaking of the smaller planes—a Hawker or a Beacher—which primarily only holds about eight people. Our plane actually carries 30 passengers. The reason we can keep our cost down is because we can spread those cost among those people and then we have negotiations with the various different hotels and clubs to where we’re putting business into their hands, so they’re giving us a particular special rate.

Marc Jay: How are you marketing this in LA? Because I would imagine it’s much more appealing to the Southern California market.

Willard Witham: We have a couple different websites you can go to. Primarily you can go to www.flyaaron.com. You can also go to www.lasvegaspartyjets.com, www.lvpartyjets.com, or www.aaronaviation.com and find us. Our 1-800 number is 1-800-516-1939.

Marc Jay: So this company is growing on a daily basis; I think you’re up to three planes now, with more to come in the future. What’s coming up in the future?

Willard Witham: Actually, in the future, we’re looking at a Reno product: Reno to Vegas. We’re also looking into San Diego to Vegas, which would possibly be out of Carlsbad. We’re looking at Mesa, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona, Merced, California, San Francisco, possibly even Texas. I know that we got a plan to get flights out to Rocky Point to get people to go see the Mayan resorts out there and we’re also looking at Catalina Island.

Marc Jay: Now another question: if there are all of these groups coming into Vegas, what about the people that live in Vegas who want to go out? Is there anywhere they could go? And if so—I know you have to refuel—how far can this plane travel?

Willard Witham: Actually, our plane can travel anywhere within a thousand mile range without having to make a fuel stop. One of the things that I’m looking into that I think is very interesting is going out to, again, Catalina Island. I think it would be a beautiful market for people in Vegas because we deal with so much heat, and everybody likes to go to the beach. I’m trying to look into an island product and a beach product.

Marc Jay: If there are groups in Las Vegas that fancy doing a trip somewhere else, they can contact you as well, and your reservation hosts will help them with that?

Willard Witham: We’ll do our best. If they can’t travel on our plane, we’ll look into another possible charter and see if we can get them onto another plane to get them to whatever destination they desire.

Marc Jay: Well, I think I’m going to wrap it up because I’m heading off to Burbank in your lovely plane with your beautiful hostesses. So I’m going to sit back, have my cocktail, and enjoy my smooth flight to Burbank.

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter! Click here to become a fan of Inside Sin City with Marc Jay!

Interview with DJ CLA

posted on 07.09.2010

Marc Jay: So as long as I can remember, men have been dominating the DJ world, but right now, there is a very special girl, by the name of DJ CLA, who has been playing in Vegas and on the West Coast making a storm.  Today we’re at Azure Pool, where she’s getting the party jumping. Tell us a bit about yourself.  Where did you come from?  How did you become a DJ?

CLA: I come from California. I fell into DJing. I was in college and it was a side job that I did on the weekends… extra money, you know. One day I was at a gig, and I was watching the crowd dance. I think I was getting paid $20 an hour at that time, and you know, that’s pretty good for an hourly rate. It didn’t feel like work for me and that’s when I realized I wanted to DJ. I was like, “Wow, everybody’s happy around me, I’m playing music, they’re dancing, they’re having a great time. Maybe I want to pursue this a little bit more.” So I bought my own turntables, practiced at home, hit up house parties, fraternity/sorority parties, and just got my feet wet here and there. I graduated college, ended up moving to Vegas, and then, meeting a lot of people in this town and this industry, I saw that you could make a living being a DJ here. So, I just got into the scene here, made good connections, good friends, learned from them, went to clubs, and studied my friends who DJed. Luckily, a lot of my DJ friends are guys that have been in the industry for like 15 years, so it definitely helped as a female, because female DJs weren’t really big during the time that I started. But I think in the past four or five years it’s really started to come up. You want to see a hot girl, right?

Marc Jay: I love watching you. I always think watching you in the booth alone is an experience because you’re jumping up and down every minute. You’re having your own party in the DJ booth.

CLA: Hell yea! I have my own party! You know, I want to have a good time just like the people out there.  If they see the DJ having a good time, then they’ll have a good time. That’s how I am, if I see somebody having a good time, I want to dance and have a good time.

Marc Jay: Now I know you play all over Vegas, but give us some places where you’ve played in town.

CLA: I’ve played at Voodoo Lounge—I was a resident there—it was one of my first residencies. I’ve played at Club Rio and right now I’m a resident at TAO, I’ve been there for about two and a half years—TAO and Lavo. I played at Revolution, the Beatles Lounge, and I’ve done a couple one-off events over at Jet.

Marc Jay: I see you so often at the airport. I feel like you must work at an airline.

CLA: Yea, I live in my suitcase.

Marc Jay: How do you get most of these bookings, and where are you playing mostly now?

CLA: Unfortunately, I don’t have a manager right now—I do it all by myself. I have friends who support and love me and believe in me, and I think it’s mainly word-of-mouth, so I get referrals from that.  I’ve played in New York... I used to be a resident in the Bahamas; once a month they’d fly me out there.  I’ve been to New Orleans, Portland, and Texas recently and I go to LA a lot. I work for a promotion team out there who’s gotten down to San Diego, to Orange County, Huntington Beach.  Oh, and I go to San Francisco once a month—every third Friday, I have a residency up there. I just try to hit up the market—you know, West Coast is where I’m from and where I live, so that’s pretty much my base. I hope to do more internationally next year… that’s my goal.

Marc Jay: When you look at the top 100 DJs, there probably aren’t even 10 girls on that list. Why do you think that is? What advice would you give to girls reading this who want to pursue a career of DJing?

CLA: It’s been a male-dominated industry since the beginning. Unfortunately there are gender stereotypes—like, oh, guys can do things better than girls—but I want to prove that as a female in this industry I can rock it the same or even as better than a guy. Just being surrounded by positive friends and DJs who support you is great. It’s not competition, it’s just about love and teaching and sharing your knowledge. Fortunately, I’ve had friends like that like Vice, Eric D-Lux, Scratchy, a lot of the Skam artist DJs.

Marc Jay: So a lot of people notice you, not just because you’re a great DJ, but because your whole arm is covered in tattoos. What do they symbolize? When did you get them done?

CLA: The reason why I got this and a lot of tattoos on my body are because of a period in my life. I love Japanese culture. On my left arm are cherry blossoms and I just started adding a Geisha girl and butterflies. Cherry blossoms symbolize femininity, power, change—I’ve been going through that.  And a Geisha is a person of the arts—they’re good at their craft, whether its poetry, music, conversation—they’re loyal to whoever they’re with.  I’m loyal to my music.  I’m loyal to getting forward and just being positive and pushing out the music. My compensation is just seeing everybody happy and just being humbled by people who come up to me and say, “You’re an amazing DJ. Thank you for tonight.”

Marc Jay: I also hear that you’ve just taken a new residency at a new hot spot pool. Tell us a bit more about that.

CLA: Yes, I just got Azure Pool at the Palazzo Hotel Fridays. It’s called “Femme Fridays,” with female DJs. It’s amazing.  It’s a really nice intimate pool.  Everybody has a good time, they tan, and there are great day beds, cabanas, and the food is amazing. I just had a wrap—a vegetarian wrap—and it was actually really, really good, made by Wolfgang Puck. I like this pool. If you don’t like that crowdedness and not having your own space, and you want to dance, this is an amazing pool to go to, for sure.

Marc Jay: How would you describe your style of music?

CLA: I play everything from hip hop and R&B to reggae and house. I love house and electro—deep, vocal, soulful house. I think being open to many genres as a DJ will open more and more doors for you, instead of limiting you, and it definitely has brought me so much farther than if I was just DJing hip-hop or if I were just DJing house.

Marc Jay: You say you don’t have an agent at the moment. How does somebody get in touch with you if they want to book you for a special event?

CLA: Yes, for sure. I have my own website, www.djcla.com, MySpace—it’s myspace.com/spinningaddiction. I also have a twitter @DJCLA and a Facebook as well (facebook.com/djcla).  My booking information is on my website. There are also a couple mixes you can download from there as well as a resume with past residencies, a bio, pictures… so you can find me on there.

Marc Jay: How did you come up with your name? 

CLA: Well, you know, it was so hard to figure out a DJ name, so my best friend actually came up with a name for me. C for Carla, my first name, and then LA because I’m from the LA area—so CLA.  Also, during that time, LL Cool J’s song had sprung—it used to be one of the popular songs and in the beginning of the song he goes, “They call me Big LA,” so she’s like, “This should be your start-up song.” I would just throw that on during house parties and everybody would get wild, so I just stuck with it.

Marc Jay: Tell us what the future holds for you. Where do you see yourself in the next five, ten years?

CLA: Next year, my goal is to go international.  I want to hit up Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, you know, just get in that kind of market, because if you go international, it’s pretty big. The states are limited—you can only go so far. I also really want to get into producing, making my own beats.

Marc Jay: Who are your top favorite DJs?

CLA: It’s crazy… some of them are big, and some of them are not, because some of them are my friends, and I still look at them as rock stars, but they’re also personal to me.  So, number one is Vice. Vice is amazing, reason being he’s so versatile and he always knows how to keep up the energy. For house music I love Deadmau5, Morillo is always amazing, Roger Sanchez—I saw him for the first time in Miami at WMC. There’s also Chuckie. I love his beats, his electro beats, the horns just gets everybody hyped.  And Guetta is good, I love seeing Guetta.

Marc Jay: Finally, is there a message you want to give to our Clubplanet readers?

CLA: For all the support and all the love from my fans and people who respect female DJs going into this craft, and have an open heart and have open ears and an open mind… thank you for ROCKING IT OUT!

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter! Click here to become a fan of Inside Sin City with Marc Jay!

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