A waiter sleeps between shifts at Zula last year.
A waiter sleeps between shifts at Zula last year.

Words to the Unwise

Dear cities,

You know, when our fair town grabbed its bid to host a Super Bowl, you all scoffed. Houston was too fat, too hot and too humid -- a ridiculously spread-out town with battered ozone, fake tits and swarms of mosquitoes...and mosquitoes with fake tits. Believe it!

Well, we proved you all wrong -- nanny-nanny-boo-boo and all that. When the dust settles, Super Bowl XXXVIII will go down in the annals of football lore as one of the game's greatest. But really, who cares? Truth is, the actual game lasts only three hours. It hardly determines how your city will be remembered after Super Bowl week. And we scored big there, too: A huge majority of out-of-towners had much more fun than they expected.

So, below are a few words of advice from the cream of the crop in their respective fields. Store their tasty nuggets somewhere safe and retrieve them when necessary. When your pissant town is called up to the huge-event big time, you can send me a thank-you note. Read on.

Hoteliers, listen up. Your rooms are gonna go and they're gonna go faster than a virgin teen's load. This isn't your regular dog-and-pony show, it's a national friggin' holiday! Here's some advice from one who knows:

Peter Melvin, director of rooms, Four Seasons Hotel: "Your first play should be to black out all guest and meeting rooms while the Super Bowl and the accompanying festivities are in town. Watch out for people calling in posing as a company looking for room nights because, more often than not, it's a ticket broker looking to score big. Also, set a minimum night's stay, paid in advance and nonrefundable, and be prepared to maintain the largest waiting list ever."

Yo, DJ. Take those headphones off a minute and direct your attention over here. There are going to be a crap-ton of parties during Super Week. Play your cards right and enjoy the feast. Fuck it up and never forgive yourself for self-imposed famine.

Andy "Champa" Moore, DJ and promoter: "Solidify your bookings early for Super Bowl weekend. There is nothing quite like carrying your records through 15 blocks of rammed, pedestrian-only streets to arrive at your home club and being told that they don't need you because they rented out the club to someone who brought their own DJ. Especially when you will likely be receiving offers from many other party producers. Communicate, follow up and solidify your deals with contracts!"

Calling all club general managers! You're going to have your hands full. If your place is hot enough (hell, even if it's not) you will be awash in OxyContin-popping celebrities and people willing to pay top dollar to ogle at it all. Try not to take too much advantage.

Chico Ramirez, GM, The Social Lounge: "It's a onetime event. Too many business owners forgot about this in their hustle to book the biggest and best parties out there. Don't forget about the people that pay your bills 365 days a year once the Super Bowl is gone. Take care of those that are here for the long haul."

Restaurateurs: Your staffers are going to scream out in back-breaking crotch-chafing pain during hour 12 of day three. They will be meeting the demands of busloads of bloated pigskin tubbies ready and eager to eat their weight in wings. Bring a sleeping bag.

Shepard Ross, GM, Zula Restaurant:

"1. Think LOCUSTS. I believe it was in the movie A Bug's Life that the ants had a mantra: 'They come, they eat, they leave.'

"2. You can NEVER have too much ice. Find out the nearest inexhaustible supply and pay whatever they ask.

"3. Charge twice as much for Red Bull (to make up for the cases your staff will need to drink to keep up the pace).

"4. Book whatever parties you can get, as this will allow you to prepare for the onslaught. Waiting until the last minute to accept offers will leave you scrambling to serve the zombified Super Bowl masses who will undoubtedly destroy your once-prestigious establishment.

"5. Did I mention the need for ICE!

"6. Realize that when you do open the doors to the throngs of adrenalized sports-enthused tourists, you will need the POLICE to protect your life, liberty and property.

"7. Charge COVER. After hours of drinking on the streets, you will be amazed how many people will pay $20 per person for the use of a clean bathroom and a place to sit.

"8. If you have booked the hottest party in town, every person you have ever met since the day you were born will call you the day before and ask for a FREE invite.

"9. After your busiest, most hectic event, don't assume that's the roughest it can get. It ain't over till the fat lady's on the plane back to Jersey.

"10. Work your staff hard. The hours will be unimaginable. They'll hate you for it, but they'll also make more in that one week than I make in a month. Think Nietzsche, he had it right."

Club owners: Remember, the Super Bowl is a lot like Christmas, a commercial/corporate game most often won by the highest bidder. This special week will bring a packed kennel of Pavlov's pooches all eagerly outpanting each other for a chance at the bell.

David Edwards, owner, Mercury Room: "The crowds will be bigger than you think. The 'promoters' will promise more than they can deliver. People will party more than you think they can. Try to sell out your place to a big corporate sponsor; they will pay more than you dreamed of. If not, keep the price reasonable and pack them in. Make sure you have plenty of security for crowd control. If you are in the 'party central' area, you will do great. If you are five miles away, then you will be empty. Good luck, get some rest, because you won't sleep for three days!"

So, there you have it. Sure, cynics will say our city's success with Super Week had more to do with visitors setting the bar of expectation so low Mini-Me could've hurdled it, but cynics are assholes. People were charmed by our sleepy town. Heed the above advice and join us in serious Super Bowl host ass-kicking!


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