This past Tuesday I flew out to the City of Angels for several business meetings for Blue Marlin, the contemporary sportswear apparel company where I'm a board member and investor, and to visit Brad Beyer, a close friend of mine for almost 20 years -- we used to live in New York together and Brad and my brother, Kyle, have been best friends since they attended high school at Waukesha Catholic Memorial.
After a smooth and early-arriving flight on Midwest Airlines (here's hoping they fight off the AirTran -- formerly ValuJet -- bid, or I'll have to start flying out of O'Hare to get non-stop flights), I checked in at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, located across from Mann's Chinese Theatre and along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Roosevelt was recently renovated by New York's Thompson Hotels and is one of the trendiest places to stay in L.A., with the Dakota restaurant and Tropicana poolside bar. It's a scene not to be missed, and did not disappoint.
That evening, Brad and I were joined by Erik Stuebe, Blue Marlin's CEO, who had just flown in from San Francisco. Over a few poolside mojitos, Erik and I learned from Brad that Jericho had been canceled by CBS earlier that very day. Brad was naturally disappointed, but told us that's the nature of show business -- a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs. Given the circumstances, he was remarkably upbeat, making self-deprecating jokes and saying it was "onward and upward to bigger and better things."
I have no doubt that will be the case, as Brad has always remained true to himself and his goals, despite how tough it is to make it in such a fickle business. He's certainly had his share of success with "Jericho," "Sex and the City," "Third Watch," "CSI: Miami," "Law & Order" and "The General's Daughter," among other films and television shows. Indeed, the day after "Jericho" was canceled, Brad was off to auditions for a television movie and a new cable television series. I'm sure it won't take long for him to land something new.
We grabbed dinner that night at Geisha House, a Japanese restaurant-sushi bar-sake lounge whose celebrity investors include Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon and Sean Astin. Located in a formerly run-down area of Hollywood that is now home to LA's newest and liveliest restaurant and bar scene, it has a completely non-descript façade, while the inside features two levels of opulent Japanese decor abuzz with a crowd full of L.A. scenesters. (Note to Milwaukee's Saketumi: take a cue from Geisha House and put a surf 'n' turf -- steak and lobster -- roll on the menu).
Wednesday was a work day, as Erik and I spent the day meeting with agents (i.e., the real-life Ari Golds) at several top Hollywood talent agencies to discuss possible marketing opportunities for Blue Marlin in the media and entertainment industry. Although numerous celebrities have appeared in various media wearing Blue Marlin apparel, we are exploring establishing more formal relationships in the industry.
The highlight of the day's meetings certainly had to be arriving at one office lobby and sitting in a chair next to Al Pacino. I also had the chance to grab lunch with an old friend, Randy Bernstein, CEO of the sports marketing firm Premier Partnerships, and a former top marketing executive at World Cup 1994, Major League Soccer and Yahoo!.
At the end of the day, Erik was off to the airport, and Brad picked me up and we were joined by his lovely and charming girlfriend, Cory, for yet another sushi dinner (can never get enough sushi) at Sushi Roku located on the ocean in Santa Monica. (Note to OMC Vegas guru Drew Olson: they also have an outpost in Las Vegas in The Forum Shops at Caesars).
The evening ended with a final celebrity sighting, as I bumped into Calvin Broadus aka "Snoop Dogg," then headed off to bed for the morning flight back to Milwaukee.
Next week it's off to New Orleans -- the French Quarter, Bourbon Street and Pat O'Brien's for one of those infamous hurricane drinks. Having not been there since 1989, I'm looking forward to it, and to see how the city is faring these days after having suffered through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.