Monday, May 14, 2012

Breaking: Eventbrite: "We will issue refunds"

Got confirmation from Eventbrite that those who request refunds for this event will in fact get them. The company was mum about total sales for the event, making it impossible to determine the scale of the fraud perpetrated in Austin on Saturday. If you attended Saturday's show, you can contact Eventbrite here. My own refund hasn't been processed yet but when it is, I'll post here.

Hi Julie-

I can't give you any sales information about ticket purchases for this event--we don't share that level of detail for any individual organizer or event.
What I can tell you is that yes, we have refunded purchases for events that were marketed fraudulently. And we will be issuing refunds to ticket-buyers for this event who contact our support team.


Eventbrite: "We are looking into this one."

Received the following email from Eventbrite's Press Team within 10 minutes of hitting "send": 
Hi Julie-

Thanks for reaching out about this event.

Eventbrite is a self-service software platform that event organizers use to ticket their events. What that means is that we don't have a role in the planning of events that are posted on Eventbrite, but we do have a dedicated team that investigates the validity of events that may be fraudulent.

We take this kind of feedback very seriously. And when we determine that an event is fraudulent, we do take appropriate action, which can include issuing refunds.

We are looking into this one, but unfortunately I don't have any further details yet.

Thanks for checking in with us,
Will keep updating as this develops.

Once again, with feeling, are Eventbrite's Terms of Service for Organizers:
In addition, events must be accurately and truthfully described when Organizer submits event information to the Site. If EVENTBRITE determines, in its sole discretion, that Organizer misrepresented an event or otherwise does not comply with this TOS, EVENTBRITE will have the right to cancel the relevant event (and all other events listed on the Site) and issue a refund to all Buyers.
And once again, with feeling, is the video featuring the party's promoter claiming that the event was a "hosted show," a term that did not appear in the original Eventbrite listing or in any of the press publicizing this event.  See image and video below.

Videos of R. Kelly's Hearbreaking Megafail in Austin

Two videos have popped up on Youtube of R. Kelly's "Hosted Show" on Saturday, including his abortive effort at singing to the crowd and the as-yet-unidentified MC trying to explain to a drunk, tired, booing crowd what a "hosted show" is and why they shouldn't be pissed. Perhaps someone should have explained to him that a "hosted show" is not what he advertised on the Eventbrite listing and he just admitted in public that he violated the terms of service. This one from the stripper platform where I was standing. This was the totality of his "performance" on Saturday.

Lost in Translation: Why Did Dell Invite a Danish Speaker to Tell Women in Tech to "Shut Up Bitch"?

Despite living in Austin and knowing several people who work for Dell I really don't know much about the culture of the company. Things seems fine, honestly, way up there in Round Rock. They financed a kickass minor league baseball stadium and that's primarily what I care about.

So color me shocked when a friend in an another tech company forwarded me this bitchy, ball-busting blog post from a Danish lady-writer: "Dress Code: Blue Tie and Male."

Apparently at some conference in Denmark for Dell's European team and other tech folks, Michael Dell made some perfectly saline remarks about cloud computing and Twitter and whatever and was upstaged by Mads Christensen, a man who, at Dell's [the company's] own choosing, "moderated" the event and made some, er, jokes. Hilarious jokes like:  
“The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy. What are you [women] actually doing here?” 
LOLOLOL. What we ladeez in the workforce absolutely need is to be thanked for inventing the rolling pin and to be told to "shut up, bitch" when we have dumb ideas. I don't know if this has any relation to the Dell team or environment here in Austin but wow...a transcontinental PR nightmare at a time when here at home we are having long overdue conversations about whether or not women belong in the workplace. Dell has a shiny webpage about "Women Powering Business" so what gives?

Read more here and here. This event looks to have not received any coverage in the US, though the conference was in April in Copenhagen. Any US Dell people care to weigh in?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury Like An R. Kelly Fan Scorned

Girl, please, let me tell you that I had a key in my ignition last night. On Friday while I was at work my friend D emailed me a truly earth-shattering announcement from Thrillist: R. Kelly was playing a show. An "Intimate Night w/R. Kelly" held at, wait for it, the Mansion, a former strip club that sometimes holds rave/hip hop parties outside of town.
The event poster

Now, I know Kelly. The man has never played a show in Austin for whatever reason--demographics of the city not right compared to Houston and Dallas; not enough interest in large-venue shows; too many hipster white kids who would totally attend. But I thought, what could be MORE Kellz-style than a private show in a strip club to show his Austin fans some love?

So I checked around. Friends at the Statesman, which published an announcement about the show, and on the Austin Music Commission confirmed that the event was a go. I bought a ticket. Just a $30 ticket; the lowest level. I convinced some friends to go with me. And here is the story of the night I touched R. Kelly.

When we arrived at Mansion, the $20 parking in the lot at the club was already full. People were dressed "classy and chic," as the event description mandated. The heels were high. The hemlines were short. The rhinestones were blingin'. People looked good. I bought a dress for the occasion and painted my lips. My companion wore a sequin mini and a copper leather bomber jacket. This was our one and only chance to see R. Kelly for chrissakes--we had to make sure he knew we meant it.

At 10:30 when we walked out onto the floor of the club, the VIP areas upstairs were full; the music was good; and a ton of well dressed black and white people packed the floor. The excitement was palpable. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and everyone there couldn't believe their luck. The $500 VIP level--table for 4 and a bottle of Ciroq--was sold out.

DJs Inverse, Bobby West and eventually Kurupt played decreasingly good music to try to keep the crowd interested. A promoter wearing gold aviators yelled about showing some love for R. Kelly. But by 12:30, my feet hurt and the black women of a certain age in the front were clearly about to get pissed.

The smoke machines went on; the music ground to a halt. Eventually R. Kelly did come onstage. He wore a red leather vest, black Ray Bans, and held a mostly-smoked cigar. Neither hand contained a microphone. He reached into the crowd; I was in the front and I touched his hand. Twice. It was surprisingly not sticky. The DJs kept playing music and we all started to look around, wondering how much longer we would have to wait.

He went backstage; I found a nearly-empty stripper platform to stand on and I could see he was in the VIP section, getting love. The promoter yelled to cut the music; Kells sang a few bars of "Ignition" and the crowd went wild. His voice was beautiful--exactly what we'd waited for. But then he stopped, handed the mic back.

The promoter invited "all the beautiful women" to come to the VIP; Kelly had not come all the way here, after all, to hang out by himself in this club. Many women pushed to the VIP; a lot of others were leaving. Kelly grabbed the mic again and the crowd got tense--was this it? But he said, "I want some ladies up here! All the beautiful ladies--it don't matter what you look like. As long as you got a beautiful heart and some love for R. Kelly, come up here to the VIP. Especially the drunk ones."

My friends and I, defeated, decided to bail.

The Eventbrite terms of service , section 7.2, explicitly prohibit the fraudulent marketing of events:
In addition, events must be accurately and truthfully described when Organizer submits event information to the Site. If EVENTBRITE determines, in its sole discretion, that Organizer misrepresented an event or otherwise does not comply with this TOS, EVENTBRITE will have the right to cancel the relevant event (and all other events listed on the Site) and issue a refund to all Buyers.

"Ignition", sort of
As soon as I got home, I emailed them a complaint and demanded my money back. As of this morning, I received an email from their customer service saying they had forwarded the matter to the event organizer. I'll report back here what happens. But if you too were snookered by R. Kelly and Exit Black Productions, you can contact Eventbrite and demand a refund.

Kelly, I love you, but you've got one less friend in this area code.