Stephen Chukumba says: “Kudos to Hotel Rivington. Last night was a blast!”

I had a blast party hopping last night at a rooftop soiree in the Hotel Rivington.

Well I wasn’t really ‘party hopping’ in the traditional sense, but rather hopping from people cluster to cluster within one party.

It was a chore I had to do with my girl Flora Vaysanova, of FonLabs, who told me it was some ‘interactive’ function. ‘Chore’ because the last ‘interactive’ function she invited me to was straight Snorelax. But I’m down with the FonLabs clique (Sup D. Holla atcha boy), so I generally accept Flora’s invites (and she’s got the company card-can you say ‘expense it’).

When she told me I had to ‘dress nicely’, and not repeat the ‘100% Negro’ t-shirt incident, from our last outing, I was legitimately frightened about the night that lay ahead and the square set I was sure to run into (again). How long would I have to endure the ‘so what do you do’ query or offered response?

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to run up on the fly ensemble on the Rivington rooftop.

As soon as I hit the door, I spotted my girl Flora. I weaved effortlessly through the well appointed guests to her, and was promptly introduced to the two folks she was speaking to at the time. I’ve forgotten both of their names but they were with a cool company. The one led with ‘so what do you do?’ and a chill ran down my spine. I quickly extricated myself. If our paths are meant to cross again, they will. But for now. I’m out!

Disclaimer: I write this freshly home from this shindig, so it may be VERY stream of consciousness. Don’t hold it against me, but let me know what you think, when I’m done.

I resume.

From Flora I ran into Paula Moss (formerly of LA currently of NJ) and Judith Davis (formerly of Hearst, currently with Conde Nast), two fine sistahs perched by the hotel’s rooftop hot tub. I had my Red Bull on ice  and we chuckled about Commodore 64 word processors and Paula’s niece and nephew’s wonderment at seeing a corded push-button telephone.

Judith challenged me to tell her what the acronym WWD stood for (Women With Digital?). She was an (the?) editor for WWD and I stumbled around in my mind searching for the answer to her query, until she finally relented and told me ‘Women’s Wear Daily.’ Flora, who had joined us, knew this, of course.

I told her it was a fluke and I was going to poll everyone at the party to see if I was in good company with my ignorance. What do I know? I am man! Although I never guessed the actual name of the publication, Judith was, nonetheless, impressed with my ability to make an apparel connection and figure out the ‘Woman’ part without assistance. Thank you very much.

Flora whisked me away from the quizzing duo to meet Carlos and Jessica.  Carlos, a sculptor who counts the BET award trophy as one of his designs, elocuted on on the properties of mescaline and acid. Jessica, who provided therapeutic mental relief for stressed executives, delved into the metaphysical depth of yogis. I asked if they had read Carlos Castanada (to let ’em know I got down with the astral projection), before I was introduced to Luis for the first time (Ahem, pay attention).

After allowing me to dabble with Carlos and Jessica, I was introduced to Zach, who is on the verge of launching an online original song creation tool and social media portal. I can’t remember the name of his service (neither of us had cards to exchange), but Zach gave me the elevator pitch. Essentially, with a simple online interface, users can browse lyrics and beats submitted by aspiring and established artists and producers. Select one artist’s hot lyrics, combine it with another producer’s sick beat and BANG! You’ve created your own song.

The site would allow users to shoot the song to their friends, who could, in turn, share it with their friends (and so on, and so on, and so on…) If the song gets love and goes viral, folks cop it, and the revenue generated is split between the parties. Monetizing UGC…I love it. Plus, the service gives artists and producers a way to flip their shit! Hotness.

Oh, you’ve got beats in the can? Park ’em here and let’s make you some money!

Oh, you think you can spit? Prove it! How many people copped your verbs?

Digression. Sorry

Zach introduced me to Mike, a partner in the venture. We spit about the law, contracts and developers. And then to Luis. That’s twice. We talked application developers and sponsored research with top tech graduate programs, MIT, Carnegie Mellon.

From there, Flora redirected my attention to Jesse (short for Jessica, that’s two) her (Jesse’s) cousin’s wife (who’s name I can’t remember) and Vanessa. This trio was abuzz about how ‘chics be hatin’ on each other. (Of course) I joined in the merriment, offering ‘She think she all cute, don’t she?  She ain’t hardly all that!’ (in my best La’teesha) to which (fuel having been added to the fire) the buzzing began anew.

Jesse broke down the ‘hair weave’ hater…’That’s probably not even her real hair. Umm hmm, I can see the tracks. THAT’S a weave!) Fred’s wife dropped the ‘not-a-real-blonde’ hater…’You can tell she’s not a real blonde, look at her roots. She needs to touch that ratty shit up!’ Vanessa searched for answers..’What’s that even about?’ What is that about indeed, Vanessa. Indeed.

Now since they were all cute (honey, ignore this part), I heard the voice of victims (and not vain assailants), so it was hilarious to listen to them share their genuinely offered perspectives. We talked candidly about the fact that dudes just don’t deal with each other on that level (unless they’re bitch asses) and how annoying it must be. We commiserated on the (sometimes) wack dynamic of female on female interactions.

Before I could complete my thought, Flora grabbed me once again, to introduce the Dominican massive. Literally, it was a massive Dominican posse. They were at least seven deep, and had taken over one whole corner of the roof. If you include Luis (who I was again introduced to in this DM-sweep), Fred Tom (cousin to Jesse, married to the cute chic who’s name I can’t remember), Zach and Michael, they were almost a dozen strong. Throw in the chics with them, there were 14.

I hit ’em all up. I was introduced to and gave pounds all around, but all I’ve got right now is Buddha (not ‘Booty,’ as I called him initially…no-homo!) and Mike…It’s a wrap for my memory right now- gotta work on that.

And they came to party.

Bob Marley dude.

Again, I digress.

Fred Tom (I fucks wit’ Fred Tom – if ya wit’ me stand up!) and I, joked about being the father of girls, and what that REALLY means to be a dad (all my NRA card carriers throw ’em up! Lic’ a shot!) Dude had me dying. I was laughing so hard, it felt like I had been to the gym, busting it out with my trainer. I’m saying, my abs were burning B.

When I recovered sufficiently, we shot the breeze about the mobile industry and the digital space in general. We ended up figuring out that we might could do a lil’ bid’ness, and I was once again, introduced to Luis (that’s 4, if you’re counting), who said he would shoot an NDA over.

Luis (who I now felt like I knew intimately since virtually everyone here introduced me to him – did I say he happened to be the host?) had me doubled over recounting the story of the fly Asian chic. Apparently at his last function, there was this modelesque Asian girl who rudely barged through Luis and his set (without even an ‘excuse me’) only to walk her fly ass smack into a clear glass wall (she mistook as the route to egress). She completely fell out (she hit the wall full stride) and rolled around on the ground in pain, and (I’m sure) sheer embarrassment.

The next thing you knew, there were 15-20 pointing onlookers (as opposed to the original 8 she had insulted with her lack of home training), who were all now hooting and hollering loudly at her sorry state of affairs. Cries of ‘That’s what you get with your rude ass!’ and ‘Oh Shit! Did you see that?!’ To make matters worse, there were allegedly all kinds of ballers and industry cats in the cut.

Hello Insult. I’d like to introduce you to injury. I think you make a lovely pair.

My stomach hurt. My ribs hurt. My jaw hurt. Clearly fucking with these cats was hazardous to my health. By 10:42 (got there at 8, nice little run), I though it appropriate for me to bid all a fond farewell, and hit the bricks back to Jersey.

On the way home  at the PATH station at WTC (parked the Jeep in Hoboken), I ran into Kelvi. Now Kelvi’s a kid I’d been mentoring through my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, since he was in seventh grade, while I was at RU. I’ve been running into casually since I left New Brunswick and we spent the time waiting for the train caughting up. We were so engrossed in conversation, that he followed me back to Hoboken, and I dropped him off in his little gated community (2 stops off the GSP from me).

Kel was the reason I’m getting home at 1:45. If I hadn’t bumped into him, I’da been home by 11:30, easy. But it was well worth it. For 33 (to my 39), the kid had some good sound perspectives on life and we vowed to up the pace of our interaction and dialogues.

Since I’d promised Judith that I would blog about this night (and there’s no time like the present), this post is probably populating your email at 3:52 a.m.

Now I’m off to bed (my homage to those passionate FBers who religiously sign off with that lil’ ditty).

Was I babbling incoherently?

I’ve given only the most cursory review of this post, so feel free to drop me a note and let me know whether this stream-of-consciousness blogging is any good.


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3 responses to “Stephen Chukumba says: “Kudos to Hotel Rivington. Last night was a blast!”

  1. Great share here on this site and I like your take on things. One thing I have witnessed is what we think about is 100% what we get. We create our own reality.


  2. ummm my name is Flora Vaysanova…lol


  3. Paula Moss

    Stephen…I could actually hear you speaking these words. This was a great read and I thought I had a fab evening until I read your blog. You’ve got the meet & greet gene many lack. It was my birthday weekend and I’m just getting around to touching base with all my email friends. I haven’t forgotten your words of “Girl, just take your laptop and find you a spot and start writing..a blog” (or words to that effect). I Will!!! Nice meeting you and Keep my old ass in the loop.


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