My night last night was crazy. To some, just another event. To others, the most exciting night of their life. For me, crazy. I decided at first, to write this down so I would never forget it. Then I decided to share it with you guys – outlining the top stories of my night.
Two weeks ago we had a meeting at Wayne Gretzkys saying a few people were being hand-picked to work and host the NHL induction afterparty for Chris Chelios. As it turns out, I made the cut. Most of us thought it was just a hockey party; Chelios, Wayne, the Bitove family, our usual VIPs. We were told to dress our best, look our best, and be our best. It was to be open bar, with a band, dj, tapas. Sounded fair enough. Our primary concern was what time we were closing – thinking maybe we could go home at a decent hour, having no idea what this night had in store.
After having countless discussions about the party.. finally, it arrived. I was up North Saturday and rushing back to the city Sunday to shower, dress, and “look my best”. In a hurry, as per usual I got to Waynes just before 6. There was a lot of setup, last minute prep to do – and we weren’t expecting any guests until 9.
It was just pushing 8:30 and our first guest arrived. He ordered a vodka soda cran and hung out at the bar. This leads me to funny story number 1.
Our first guest was hanging out, standing by the bar when our general manager walks in a hurry towards him sternly asking him if he can start turning on the music, get it going. She assumed that he was the DJ, here to set up. Meanwhile, it was not the DJ she was talking to – it was Cuba Gooding Jr. He turned around and replied “I’ll get the music going all night, baby” leaving our manager shocked and dumbfounded … Story number 1 – The time the manager thought Cuba Gooding Jr was our DJ.
Everything was set up, the band was playing, food was circulating and more people started to arrive. Just as I’m getting into the swing of things, I look to my right and there walks in Cindy Crawford and her husband, Rande Garber. Cindy flashes a huge smile and orders a Ketel one on the rocks while Rande hands me a shiny benjamin. Kid Rock and his entourage come in next. They order a few drinks and without any hesitation, start smoking cigars.. Inside. Would you tell Kid Rock he couldn’t smoke indoors? I didnt, so instead we found 6 ashtrays to lay out. The list of celebs gets bigger.. At one point I opened our bar tabs and the list was .. John Mcginley, John cusack, Eddie Belfour, Tie Domi, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Wayne Gretzky. I had a laugh to myself, staring at the list of names. All the A-lists were getting cozy, mingling, but all crowded in one tiny spot. I was wiping down the bar and I become shadowed by a huge mass. I look up and see a 6’6 man, asking me if we serve Don Julio reserve. Our house tequila is Olmeca, so no … Reserve was not on the menu. He says … “Well, I brought my own. I have a bottle in the car. My guy is going to get it. I’m going to give it to you and I want you to serve it to me all night. Only me, though. Noone is drinking my shit. What’s your name?”. I stared back blankly and just responded, “Tara.”
He extends his hand and goes, “Micheal Jordan. Nice to meet you” ……………Less than five minutes later I had a bottle of Don Julio reserve on ice. Story number 2: The time I met Michael Jordan.
Everyone seemed to be having a great time, a few speeches were given, the guests loved the food. Apparently though, a in house band and DJ weren’t enough entertainment. Someone convinced Kid Rock to play his own private show. For about half an hour, Kid sang Sweet Home Alabama and rock and roll covers – I’m telling you .. the place was NUTS! Camera phones everywhere, even one of our managers (shes 5’1) was up on some NHL’ers shoulders fist pumping. People were standing on tables, chairs, booths, the bar, loving this private show. Story number 3: The Time Kid Rock had a mini concert 5 feet from me.
After he performed he came straight over and ordered another Jim Beam and diet. The guests were calming down a bit. I did a few walk arounds to make sure everything was running smoothly. Wayne was fine, ordering 24 shots of tequila at a time and telling me he loved me. Wayne Gretzky loves everyone. I find Michael Jordan at a table by himself and ask him if he wants another Don Julio. Instead, he tells me to sit down. When Michael Jordan tells you to sit down, you sit down. He said that people had been bothering him for pictures, so he wanted a distraction. He told me to tell him something interesting. My first thought was okay .. “I grew up outside of Detroit”. Apparently it wasn’t interesting enough, because he started laughing at me and said, “Nope”. So I told him about my favourite place in the world, the Gili Islands – he liked that story and asked if I wanted to go back. “Lets go”, he said. Imagine?! After I realized I had been sitting there for a while, I left him to get attacked once again by people wanting to have a second with Michael Jordan. Story number 4: That time Michael Jordan used me as a distraction.
Michael had me as his go-to; Hiding his booze, making sure he had a lemon and a lime, distracting him. I pretty much was instructed to keep his drink full for the night. At one point I went into the VIP room and gave him his special drink… and standing next to Michael was none other than Chris Tucker. Meeting Michael Jordan is awesome, but meeting Chris Tucker is on another level. Chris Tucker yelled “Michael, why do you get your own drink bitch and I don’t? Wheres mine?” in his high, Chris Tuckery- voice. Honestly, if you see Rush Hour you already know the real Chris Tucker. He is the exact same. Sarcastic, hilarious, obnoxious. And ladies and gentlemen .. that voice does not go away. You will recognize that laugh from miles away. Story number 5: That time I met Chris Tucker and he wanted me to be his “drink bitch”.
Midnight came, 1oclock came, 2 oclock came. Michael and Kid Rock were sitting squished in a two seater booth for hours, hiding it seemed. Funny seeing a 250 pound man all scrunched up next to Kid Rock… The VIPs were dwindling down, starting to leave – or after-after party. People were highly intoxicated among other things, Chelios lost his voice, there was broken glass and garbage everywhere. The highlight of my night however was before Michael Jordan left. He said he wanted to give me a gift.. His Don Julio, Limited edition, reserve. I accepted, of course and with a quick hug, he was gone forever! Story number 6: That time Michael Jordan gave me a present.
Someone asked me last night which side of the bar would I prefer to be on. Yes, the guestlist was heavy, tickets were $500 to come to our party and its nice to get all fancy- but I really enjoy working these events rather than attending. If I wasn’t hosting, I would be waiting in line for drinks, trying to snap a picture of celebs, sneaking into the VIP room, while trying to find something to talk to Chris Tucker about. Instead, working these events – I have reason to schmooze with the A-lists. People stare at me as Wayne Gretzky hugs me, or Cuba Gooding calls me over .. they wonder who I am, how I get so close. If I wasn’t working the event, the A-listers wouldn’t confide in me. Michael Jordan wouldn’t have asked me to sit down and distract him if he thought I just wanted a picture. I wouldn’t get to hang out with Cindy Crawford and Chris Chelios, talk to them about their day, if I was just another person at the party. It’s funny though these celebs. They are really no different than the rest of us. It was just as if they were out with their friends ..but millionaire friends instead. They all have problems, they are REAL people, that do REAL things, like trip and fall (another good story).
Overall I had a BLAST at this NHL event .. and I have stories for days. Some I don’t feel are appropriate to put on display for the world to read, some would probably get me into a lot of trouble. For now, I’ll keep those ones locked in the bank. It’s like I have my own little TMZ.
‘Till Next Time.