Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Diamond Bar Center Wedding, 2018

14 Aug
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Notice Groomsmen in the Background

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to the Diamond Bar Center to provide bartending service for the fifth time at the venue. Diamond Bar Center is maintained by the City of Diamond Bar and is an excellent venue with scenic views and smart landscaping. I am always happy to go back there and like working with the system they have there for vendors.

The bride and I had done much planning for this wedding, as we went back and forth on the drink menu and shopping list in the months prior to the wedding. It is always nice that after much planning, everything comes together and is over with in a few hours, just as planned. For this particular wedding, the lighting and color coordination in the ballroom looked especially nice. I credit the wedding planner, DreamsComeTrueWedding.

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Storybook Wedding at Diamond Bar Center

For this wedding we had a two bar setup, with one bar outside the dining room for the cocktail hour, and then we moved inside to another bar for the main reception. The Diamond Bar Center has two very nice portable bars, and the staff and security there helped us move everything. Within 15 minutes we were able to break down the first bar and move it into the second dining room bar.

Diamond Bar Center Venue

  • Dining Room can accommodate over 300 people
  • Bar service is limited from 6pm until 10pm
  • Scenic views of San Gabriel Valley
  • Large outdoor patio area
  • Two portable bars available

We made several different easy cocktails for the guests, including Jameson and Ginger, Cactus Coolers, and Cosmos. Many of the guests were not drinking alcohol, and we had plenty of options for them, including Mango juice, orange juice and sodas. Part of bartending wedding is making Shirley Temples for the kids, and we made plenty of those at this wedding. Another successful wedding for Shaken Not Stirred at the Diamond Bar Center.

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Large Dining Room at Diamond Bar Center

The next three weekends in a row I will be going to the Palm Springs area to bartend a couple of birthday parties, and a wedding. I also have a baby shower and a corporate event to do in Los Angeles, and a going away party in Lake Forest. There was a slight chill in the air this morning, which signals fall is coming. My favorite time a year for doing events. Please follow us on Instagram.

Reptacular Ranch Wedding and 50th Birthday Cocktail Party

19 Jun
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Tequila shots at cocktail party

Shaken Not Stirred provided bar service for two big events last week – a 50th birthday cocktail party, and a wedding at the Reptacular Ranch.  On Friday I went to the Carthay Circle neighborhood of Los Angeles, which is south of Hollywood and bartended for a two hour cocktail party to celebrate the host’s 50th birthday. Then, on Saturday, I drove up into the mountains above Sylmar to the Reptacular Ranch to bartend a wedding (my second time at the venue).

I always like doing intimate cocktail parties and the hosts and guests usually like having me. The hosts like having a bartender because they can enjoy themselves and not have to make the drinks. The guests like it because they can get a variety of professionally made drinks. For this party I set up my portable bar in the kitchen and served drinks to five couple before they departed for a nice dinner in West Hollywood.

 

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Salud!

I served Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and Lemon Drops made with fresh lemons from my backyard lemon tree. Unfortunately, I think I used the last of the good lemons from the tree, and most that are left are over ripe. I created a new Elderberry Lemon drop using a dash of St. Germain, agave nectar, and fresh lemon juice, with a sugar rim. The guests had a couple of cocktails and left for dinner. Everyone was happy.

Reptacular Ranch Weddings

  • Petting zoo with exotic animals
  • Rustic secluded location
  • Bar with refrigerators
  • “Honey Wagon” style restrooms
  • Beautiful area for ceremony

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    Reptacular Ranch Ceremony

Saturday was my second time working at the Reptacular Ranch. The first time was back in August and it was literally 110 degrees up there. All the ice melted within 2 hours, and I had to drive down to Sylmar and pick up more. They have since made improvements and have refrigerators and a ice cooler near their newly renovated bar area. They also have a very nice new area with seating for ceremonies. For this wedding, the groom works for an ice company, and the weather was unseasonably cool, so we did not have to worry about ice.

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Bar area at Reptacular Ranch

This coming week I have a cocktail party in Los Angeles on Friday night, a Summer Solstice party in Studio City on Saturday night, and then a birthday party in Beverly Hills, and a graduation party in Seal Beach on Sunday. That’s is the kind of week I like. Please follow us on Instagram.  

 

Manhattan Beach Celebration of Life

30 May
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Sailboats just off the coast

Sunday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service at a celebration of life in Manhattan Beach. I have done these events before working for other people, and this was the first time doing a “wake” as my own company. It was a very touching event, and I think much nicer than a standard memorial service. What a great tribute the family gave to their father who passed away.

The weather in Los Angeles has been gloomy for the past couple of weeks, but the weather was perfect on the day of this event. The house where the event was held was right on the strand, just a stones throw from the Manhattan Beach Pier. I have done parties there before and it is a wonderful place to throw a party. The hosts were expecting 50 to 75 people, but over 100 showed up, so I was busy.

I served a lot of beer, margaritas, a variety of vodka and whiskey drinks and was almost out of everything by the time we were through. The two sons of the departed gave very touching speeches about their father, as did some of his friends. I can only hope that my loved ones would do the same for me, once I am gone. It was emotional, but the overall mood was upbeat.

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Friends and Family listen to tribute

A Unique Celebration of Life

  • Much more upbeat than a funeral
  • Play the favorite music of departed
  • Hire a bartender
  • Closure for friends and family
  • Less expensive than traditional funeral

The owners of the house were friends of the family and they were nice enough to let them have celebration of life there. I used to live in Hermosa, and I always love returning there. I wish I had an event in the Southbay every weekend. Southbay people can usually drink, and the people at this event lived up to that reputation. Everybody held their liquor well though. It was a very nice event and the host commented that it could not have gone better, and I agree.

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Son gives tribute to his father

This upcoming week I have events scheduled in Venice, in Santa Clarita, and in Hidden Hills. A good start for the month of June. Later this month I have some weddings scheduled in Rancho Palos Verdes, Sylmar, and Silverlake later this month, as well as a pre 4th of July party in Villa Park. Please follow us on Instagram.

Palm Springs Pool Party

9 Apr
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Palm Spring party pad

Palm Springs is probably the pool party capital of the world, and there are rental houses all over that town devoted to that. Last Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred was in the house making cocktails for the host’s 40th birthday party at the Palm Springs party pad. This particular home is a six bedroom place with a very nice pool and outdoor bar.

New ordinances in Palm Springs ban outdoor music, which is kind of a buzz kill. Also, after 9pm guests can not make noise in the pool area. The hard partying ways of the old Palm Springs are a thing of the past with these new ordinances. I saw the signs posted near the bar area and I thought, what a bummer – regulations that limit fun? However, as the day went on, I kind of liked it – we are exposed to so much noise pollution all the time, it was kind of nice to just listen to the wind rustling through the trees.

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My bar station

I set up the bar out by the pool, and made several specialty drinks for the guests. I served my Spicy Jalapeno Margaritas, Cucumber Mint Gin and Tonics, Moscow Mules, Pimm’s Cup, and Manhattans. I also served different non alcoholic drinks for some of the guests. It was pretty windy, but not too hot. A great day for a pool party. When I bartend pool parties, I don’t just stand behind the bar and wait for guests to come to me. I take drink orders poolside.

Palm Springs Pool Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Use only plastic cups
  • Get some interesting floaties
  • Clothing optional
  • Keep the music inside your head

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    Pool party in progess with balloon arch

Some of the guests surprised the birthday boy with a balloon vendor. Baloony Tunes of Cathedral City came and setup a balloon arch for photo ops. Like I said, it was fairly windy, so that presented a problem for the balloon display, but it lasted long enough for the guests to get some cool photos. As I was finishing up for the day a private chef, Sarena Nelson was preparing the big birthday dinner. She looks very talented and hopefully I will work with her again.

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Strict new rules for Palm Springs

This weekend I get to stay close to home and will be bartending a private event in Westwood. I have other events in the LA area later this month. Next month will be very busy with graduation parties, weddings, and birthday parties. Please follow us on Instagram.

 

Three Day Wedding Event at the Galvan Estate

4 Apr
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Father walks bride to her wedding at the Galvan Estate

Last weekend I provided bartending services for three days at the Galvan Estate in Palm Springs. I arrived on Thursday night to bartend the rehearsal dinner, showed up again Friday for the wedding, and then wound up the weekend bartending the pool party on Saturday. It was my third time doing an event at the beautiful Galvan estate.

The hosts of the wedding were from Winnipeg, Canada, and most of the guests had either flown in or driven from there. They say it a 33 hour drive from Palm Springs to Winnipeg. Westjet offers direct flights to Palm Springs from various destinations in Canada. As I am learning, Palm Springs is a favorite destination for Canadians. One of the guests at this event flew all the way from Thailand.

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Guests mingle in bar area

The rehearsal dinner was a breeze and I served a lot of red and white wine, beer, and simple mixed drinks. The next day for the wedding, I brought in an extra helper. We made two signature drinks for the arriving wedding guests. So I made 40 drinks in about fifteen minutes before the ceremony. Later we prepared just as many glasses of champagne for the toast. Everything was smooth sailing from then on.

Galvan Estate Wedding

  • Heated pool
  • Large wet bar outside
  • Another bar inside
  • Large area for ceremony
  • Big outside dining area
  • Gas barbecue grill

For the pool party we had a keg, and I served blended margaritas. It was a very nice crowd to serve for three days, and everybody seemed to have a good time. I had another wedding going on in Lake View Terrace that night, and I send another bartender to do that one. Once the pool party was over I drove back to LA and stopped by that wedding to help out a bit.

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Groom and groomsmen share cigars

This weekend I am returning to Palm Springs to bartend an all day pool party. I have events coming up later this month in Westwood, Brentwood, and Stevenson Ranch. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.

Shaken Not Stirred Shows up Strong for 2017 Holiday Season

29 Dec
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Venice Corporate Event

Shaken Not Stirred had its best holiday season to date and so far in December we have completed 21 events, with two parties still to go. When I first started doing this blog, I would write one blog post for every event I did and that has gotten harder and harder to do as I do multiple events in one week. It has a been a hectic season, and I am a little relieved that it is over, but as far as I know, all of our clients were happy and there were no major problems.

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My son bartending in Hollywood

My goal this year for the month of December was that I would save as many dates as possible for repeat customers and referrals. For the most part I did that. I had great repeat customers book parties in Valley Village, Hollywood, Venice, San Clemente, Silver Lake, Van Nuys, Reseda, Santa Monica, and Simi Valley. I didn’t have to travel too far, with San Clemente being the furthest I went during the month of December. I picked up some great new clients in Simi Valley, Hermosa Beach, Santa Clarita, and Moorpark. I am probably forgetting someone, but will remember them later.

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Casino themed holiday party 

I had multiple bartenders, including, Tanner, Edie, Matt, Melanie, Thomas, and Will helping me. Some of the bartenders went out and completed gigs on their own and I got great feedback from all of my clients. We literally served thousands of cocktails over the course of the month. We went through gallons and gallons of vodka, whiskey, and tequila. We emptied cases and cases of wine and beer.

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Reseda Christmas party

Highlights included the big casino night in Venice, the annual Christmas party in Hollywood for the Better Call Saul production company, the Spacex launch, and numerous wonderful home parties, food, drink, and music. I sampled all kinds of fantastic food, from tacos, prime rib, pork belly, steaks, and many ethnic delicacies.

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Venice Christmas Party

This weekend marks the final chapter for Shaken Not Stirred in 2017. Saturday I will drive to Huntington Beach to bartend a 40th birthday party/whiskey tasting. On Sunday, I get to stay in the San Fernando Valley for New Year’s Eve – I will be doing a NYE party in Sherman Oaks. Looking forward to a great New Year and already have several dates booked in January, February, and March.

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Simi Valley Christmas Party

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SpaceX test over Moorpark

Southern California Event Business is Booming

8 Nov

The Southern California event business is really taking off as the economy heats up. There are actually more events than there are bartenders. When I first started doing this as my own business – the competition was fierce. I had to scrap for every event that I got. Now, it seems there are way more events coming up than there are bartenders to do them. 

I used to write a blog post about every event that I did. Now, I do so many events that it is hard to keep up with the blog posts. Shaken Not Stirred has provided bartending service recently at corporate events in West Hollywood recently, a fundraiser in Mid City LA, a huge Halloween party in San Bernardino, and a very nice wedding in Coachella. I will recap the bigger events here.

San Bernardino Halloween Party

Saturday, October 28th was probably the biggest party night of the whole year in Southern California. I had so many requests for Halloween parties, but this one I booked months in advance. The hosts of this party do it up big. They literally spend months decorating their workshop into a Halloween extravaganza. Guests come in from all over the country to attend.

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Shots!

This was the first year that the host hired professional bartenders, and I think he was quite pleased with us. We served all kinds of drinks and shots and managed the liquor inventory. Guests self served themselves beer and frozen margaritas, but we kept busy from 9pm until 4:30 am. Great party and I hope we are asked to return next year.

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Fellow bartender, Thomas

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More shots

Mid City LA Fundraiser

I was referred to the hosts of this event from another client, which is always nice. They wanted me to purchase all of the alcohol, and that is a service I provide in some cases. They were expecting 125 guests, so I recommended they have two bartenders, and I made a list of alcohol and supplies they would need.

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Live music at Gallery 38

The event was held at Gallery 38 on West Adams Boulevard, mid city. Gallery 38 is a somewhat small space and will not really accommodate 125 people. So, only about 75 showed up and that was just right. I felt bad that there was so much alcohol left over, but they can use that at another event.

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Friends gather for a drink

The fundraiser was to benefit Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit that helps former gang members transition back into society after serving time in prison. Artists donated art works to the cause and they were on display on the walls of Gallery 38. They also had poetry readings and live music. It was a fantastic event and I was happy to be present for it.

Coachella Wedding

This was my third wedding at the Corona Yacht Club in Coachella. It is a great venue on a secluded ranch just south of the ten freeway. This venue has everything a couple could want for a private wedding. The photo opportunities alone at the venue make it worthwhile.

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The wedding party

For this wedding, they had us set up a bar on the lawn near the ceremony for the cocktail hour. We served beer and wine to the guests for an hour or so, and then moved it to the main bar where we served cocktails for the rest of the night. I hired a bartender local to the area, and he worked out great helping me, and I will be sure to use him again.

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Newly married couple

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shots!

This weekend so far I have an eighties themed party in Studio City, and a birthday party in Porter Ranch scheduled. Please follow us on Instagram.

Five Events in Two Weeks: From the Mountains to the Sea

19 Sep

I have been so busy doing the actual work or running a bartending service, I have neglected doing my blog posts. Shaken Not Stirred has provided bartending services at events in Fillmore, San Diego, Bermuda Dunes, Valley Village, and Studio City over the past two weeks. The events included a wedding, a corporate event, a bachelorette party, and two birthday parties. I did some traveling and two of the events were within 10 minutes of my house.

Fillmore Wedding

I have done a couple of events in the town of Fillmore in Ventura County. It is always nice going out there and it is a small town of 14,000 people that is not on any major freeway. The wedding was held at the City Hall, just next to the old train station in the center of town. It was a perfect day for a wedding, and the they had the city hall decorated real nice.

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Fillmore City Hall

I set up my portable bar on the side of the courtyard and served drinks for approximately 150 people. The host rented a margarita machine, which I had never used before. It seemed easy enough, but it presented many problems. First of all, it kept causing the breaker to switch off, because it pulled so much power. Then it started leaking and leaked out half of its contents before I could get it to stop. It takes at least two hours for the liquid to get slushy, and then the drinks don’t taste very good. I wouldn’t recommend. Other than that, it was a very nice wedding in an idyllic setting.

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Margarita Machine – I don’t recommend

San Diego Corporate Event

I don’t try to get a lot of work in San Diego, because it can be an odyssey getting there and back from the SFV. One of my corporate clients asked me to go down there, and of course I couldn’t refuse. I have done several events for this company in orange county. They are usually product launch events, as was this one. I served drinks for about 100 people. Another successful corporate event.

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San Diego Product Launch

Bermuda Dunes Bachelorette Party

On Friday I drove to Bermuda Dunes to bartend a bachelorette party. Have you ever tried to spell the word “bachelorette”? The host wanted specialty cocktails that required a bit of preparation.  One of the drinks was a watermelon/cucumber margarita. I premade the mix for that using fresh ingredients.  We discovered at the party that the drink benefitted from fresh jalapenos. The ladies had six bottles of booze and wondered if that would be enough for nine people. “If you drink all of that booze, you will be in the hospital. Well, they went through 90 percent of it, and they all were still alive when I left. They loved the drinks.septem4

Valley Village Birthday Party

I only had to drive five minutes from my house to do this party. The hosts have a really nice house in Valley Village with a very smartly landscaped yard that is perfect for entertaining. I made my special jalapeno margarita mix, but unfortunately did not bring enough. There were 70 guests and everybody wanted that for their first round. I was out of that in one hour. So the host had to run and get more supplies. I made the French 75, classic champagne cocktail and was surprised how many of those I served. I want to give a shout out to Salinas Churros that were there. They had an incredible churro cart that they built themselves and their churros were delicious. The churro cart was a big hit.  I served drinks until 2 am and until almost all of the booze was gone. Went through at least 10 bottles of tequila.

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Rager in Valley Village

Studio City Surprise Birthday Party

On Sunday I ended the week by bartending a surprise birthday party in the hills of Studio City. This was a referral from another job I did, which I always appreciate. This was a very mellow family event and kids were there swimming. They had a life guard,  which is always a good idea. I served margaritas, Moscow mules, and beer. It was a very mellow event, which I was grateful for after the two ragers I did before.

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Hills of Studio City

This coming week I have two weekday corporate events in Woodland Hills and West Hollywood. I have three events on Saturday and am sending multiple bartenders out to Mission Viejo, Villa Park, and Silverlake. Shaken Not Stirred has booked 17 events in September and the month is just flying by. I have events in Culver City, Burbank, and La Verne before I close out the month of September 2017. Follow us on Instagram.

 

Three Labor Day Weekend Events For Shaken Not Stirred

5 Sep
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Pre Wedding Party in Winnetka

Labor Day Weekend was a busy for Shaken Not Stirred, as I did three great events around Los Angeles. On Friday I bartended a pre-wedding party in Winnetka, on Saturday did a rehearsal dinner in Hancock Park, and then wrapped up the weekend with 40th birthday party in Valley Village. I served hundreds of drinks and met hundreds of new people.

The pre-wedding party in Winnetka was a traditional Lebanese affair, and they have a name for it, but I can’t remember what it is. The groom’s family was of Lebanese descent and they had a DJ play Lebanese music. I set up my portable bar in the backyard and served drinks to nearly 100 guests. The Mediterranean Bistro of Porter Ranch catered the event and they served a fantastic variety of Mediterranean favorites. I love Mediterranean food, and particularly Lebanese food and two of my favorite restaurants in LA are Lebanese.

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105 degrees in Hollywood Labor Day Weekend

Shaken Not Stirred in LA

  • Top Pro on Thumbtack: 91 5 star reviews
  • Established, December 2013
  • 15 five star reviews on Yelp
  • Top performer on Gig Salad
  • Done over 400 events

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    Guests mingle at Hancock Park Rehearsal Dinner

On Saturday it was deathly hot in Los Angeles. It was at least 105 in the SFV, and I thought it would be cooler in Hancock Park. I was wrong. When I arrived to set up, I instantly was soaked with sweat when I got out of the car. There was no breeze at all and it was like a sauna even in the shade. As the sun went down it eventually cooled off a little. I served margaritas and other drinks to a crowd of 60 people. The party took place in the backyard of a very nice Hancock Park home.

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Guests enjoy home movie in Valley Village

On Sunday, the day before Labor Day, I drove only five minutes away to a home in Valley Village to bartend a 40th birthday party. The host had told me her friends were heavy drinkers. She told me how much alcohol she had purchased and I thought it would be enough. I was wrong. We ran almost completely out an hour and a half before the end of the party. Some of the guests ran out to get more. DJ Richie Rich provided the jams.

This coming weekend I have a wedding scheduled in Fillmore, and nothing lese so fa, but that will probably change. I have events scheduled in San Diego, Valley Village, Culver City, La Verne, Villa Park, and Burbank. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.  

West Hollywood Book Signing Event at Book Soup

24 Jul
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Crowd waits for Adam Novak sighting…

Thursday night I returned to Book Soup in West Hollywood where I held my Los Angeles book signing – this time as a bartender for another writer. Book Soup is one of the few remaining independent bookstores in Los Angeles and they hold weekly book signing events and if you have never been there, it is a must see in LA. The writer, Adam Novak posted a bid request on Thumbtack for a bartender, and he mentioned in the request it would be held at Book Soup. I put in a bid and mentioned that I had also held a book signing there.

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Adam Novak warmly greets his fans

The writer, Adam Novak, called me and asked me if I was “Rob Neighbors, the screen writer”. He said that he worked in the story department at William Morris agency for years and he remembers my name coming through there on screenplays. I told him, that yes, I was said writer. Do I feel bad that I am now a lowly bartender, who once had a promising screenwriting career?  No, I may get another shot at that, but I made some big mistakes along the way that derailed everything. One thing about it, I have never been envious or jealous of other people’s success. If other writers have great success, it means that it is obtainable. I make money as a bartender now, but that doesn’t define me. It is an honest living. Thank God I wasn’t good at raising money for movies, as my friend was, who is now doing 13 years in a Federal pen.

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Adam Novak looking tough

Authors Who Have Done Book Signings at Book Soup

  • Adam Novak
  • Sonny “Bones” Donato
  • Howard Stern
  • Rob Neighbors
  • Ann Margret

Adam Novak was doing the reading and book signing for his newest novel, “Freaks of the Industry.” He gave me a signed copy, and he signed it, “Keep on Protecting and Serving,” referencing my movie, “LAPD – to Protect and Serve.” I can tell Adam has a tremendous memory and pays attention to detail. I gave him a signed copy of my book, “Palm Avenue.” He read passages of his new book at the event and he is hilarious. He is a very skilled wordsmith, and the structure of his novel is different than anything I have seen before. I have started reading it and I am laughing out loud at something on every page. The book I’m sure is full of thinly veiled references to actual people in the industry. Writers walk a tightrope when they do this – Truman Capote wrote a send up of all of his society pals, and they ended up casting him out. He subsequently died a miserable alcoholic death. Hemingway did it too and he ended up blowing his brains out with a 12 gauge.  

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Truman Copote dressed for winter

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Ernest Hemingway with Cat

Anyway, back to bartending. I brought another bartender with me, because Adam wasn’t quite sure how many people would show up. He had a good crowd and we served wine, beer, and soft drinks. I guess they almost sold out of books, which is the goal. Adam was great guy to work for and know. I love Book Soup as a venue and I hope to return there many more times, as a writer, and God forbid a bartender (jk).

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Author Adam Novak and Rob Neighbors