Monday, November 30, 2009
The Thanksgiving Holiday is a big occasion in the Kenyan diaspora in the States. Kenyans usually gather in Atlanta for the 4 days for various events usually clubbing events but of course other groups do choose to tour the city on their own. Over different years the events have been run by one or more groups ranging from Kenyaniyetu, 2kat and other now defunct groups whose names I can't recall.
Anyway this year's events were being run by the TakeoverDJs, they have been in the business for a few years now and don't limit themselves to any one state. So this year due to the recession and prior commitments, I wasn't able to attend all the events but after watching the trailer for Wamba, the screening was a must to attend.
That Saturday evening of the screening, I was on my utmost Western time. I got free parking in front of the venue and strolled into the lobby. I had paid for my ticket online so all I had to do was pick it up (and save on box office fees). The crowd that showed up was moderate in size and pretty well dressed since the venue was at a Museum. They had a photographer who was taking pictures on the "red carpet" while people milled around and mingled. At that point I then thought the movie would then start at 7 pm. Come 7pm the theater doors had not been opened and the main organizer DJ Fully Focus and the rest of his crew were pacing in and out of the theater looking a bit harried. At this point in time people were getting slightly restless but were still in good spirits even though the lobby was not meant to accommodate so many people so quite a few people had to stand, 7.30 pm arrived and the Director introduced himself and said that there were "technical problems" and they were working to rectify them. At that point quite a few people went to the box office and got their refunds and left. Those who were left waited and then at around 8.30 pm the Director and DJ Fully Focus announced that due to some snafu or other they couldn't show the movie and that people could get their refunds from the box office and those who paid online would be refunded in 24 hours time, the Director did say though that he had a director's cut of the movie that he would show.
I did stay and watch the director's cut which was not the whole movie but around 1 hour's worth. The movie is most definitely worth watching and I shall be sure to try and get hold of the finished product. But in terms of organization, Takeover DJs get a big FAIL in that area. Call me harsh but this was not an event that was done on the fly but that had been planned for months, to add insult to injury people had to wait almost 2 hours (what would have been the screening time) to be told about "technical problems". The whole issue just resulted in alot of time being wasted and loss of face for the organizers; the only silver lining is that refunds are to be issued (failing which I can dispute the charges with my credit card company).
With that being swept aside, I need to comment on Kenyan events in Atlanta. Slowly over time, the number of groups holding events has dwindled. Part of it is of course due to the recession but another reason is that Kenyans are choosing instead to go to regular clubs, bars or just hold house parties. From my observations and discussions with a few Kenyans is that part of the reason is that too many of these groups became money hungry. Case in point cover charge, when you go to any regular club out here entrance is usually free upto 11pm or midnight depending on the club but when it comes to Kenyan bashes hosted by these groups you will pay cover charge irregardless of how early you come in (I do recall one bash by 2kat sometime back where it was free before 11pm but that was the exception rather than the rule). The same also applies to how late it gets, quite a few clubs stop manning the door at around 2 am or later; this doesn't apply for the Kenyan bashes. I do know that renting a venue is expensive but what some promoters do instead of depending on the cover charge to make money is that they split the cover charge with the venue owners and instead cut a deal where they make money from the drinks sold, given the amount of liquor Kenyans drink; that is a better route. There are ways to make money in the entertainment business while at the same time charging revelers less, other groups are doing it and I think the Kenyan targeting ones should do the same or at the end of the day people will vote with their feet.
Anyway at this point in time I am waiting for the usual barbs about how I am not supporting Kenyans, or how if I can do better I should do so myself among the usual comebacks you get for criticizing your own people. As long as the issue at hand involves my hard earned money, be sure that I am going to speak. Have a nice week people!