Don Hills Memorial Fiasco W.I.P.ped By No More Mr. Nice Guy

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Don’t even read this as I’m so frozen and tired and not ready for months of non-global warming. It’s on days like this that I want to call Al Gore personally and tell him to shut the fuck up! How cold is it? I saw a cabby having a conversation with a pedestrian and his middle finger froze. That’s cold and old.  

Yesterday, in my first post in this new year of the Dragon or Mayan or whatever deity you kneel to, I told you my New Year’s Resolution was "No More Mr. Nice Guy." I’m gonna lose some friends in this process, but Facebook says I have 5000 of those and I feel I can afford to lose a few. Since I am not going out and have nothing new to report on, I will rehash this feud surrounding the Don Hill Memorial fiasco. The players are Trigger who runs Continental, Lyle Derek who throws those Dropout parties over at W.I.P. on Tuesdays, and Michael Schmidt who used to run Squeezebox at Don Hills before he moved to the left coast and broke a thousand hearts. Musto over at the Village Voice has done a great job covering this and I’ve said a few words. My last article lambasted Lyle Derek, the target of numerous attacks from Trigger. Lyle and I have talked in person and I told him he screwed up. I do believe his batty-eyed, plead-of-innocence claim that he thought the Don Hills Memorial at Irving Plaza was going to sell out and his little prequel-end run wouldn’t matter. Some people contacted me saying I had sided with Trigger and that is not the case. Trigger was wronger than wrong and I’m here today to make that clear.
 
I have been swamped with terribly long and grammatically challenged e-mails, texts, facebook messages, and calls about this disaster for about 2 weeks now and I am here to tell you: it’s just lame. As far as I can tell from all the bull-poo sent my way, Trigger completely screwed up what should have been a wonderful night. He dominated, changed his word, miscalculated, badly promoted, and showed the world how not to do an event, and then after weeks of laying low, he began to point the finger at everyone else. People I love and trust tell me that the failure of this gala lays at his feet and you can punctuate this sentence anyway you want.
 
Trigger, it is a crime to take on a big challenge like this and fail so badly. It is a bigger crime to blame others for what you created. The captain goes down with the ship and the responsibility. The failure of this event comes from your attitude, which permeated the atmosphere of the production and promotion. Many people involved did so reluctantly or dropped off because of this atmosphere. You claim to be a great friend of Don’s and I do not doubt that, but your behavior was extremely un-Don Hill like.
 
Here is a quote from many that underscores how people involved felt about the event going in. The name has been left out, and not because they could ever feign innocence:
 
Trig sent everyone an e mail saying no one was to do covers as He, (Trigger) was playing covers… again very odd behavior for a promoter, to feature himself instead of, jesse Malin, Bebe Buell, Richard Butler, Dave Johansen, & Manitoba. he’d pissed off EVEYONE by this point. Most had agreed to just fucking play the two songs & forgo any payment after Triggers insane whining.
 
The show didn’t sell because the love wasn’t there. Don Hill was all about love. Your attitude sabotaged the good feelings, the vibe necessary for success in these types of endeavors. This memorial did not have a Don Hills vibe to it. It had a Trigger "5 shots of anything for $10" vibe.
 
Lyle Derek is no innocent. He did an atrocious thing stealing a bit of thunder from Trigger’s imperfect storm, but there is no way that his action throwing a pre-Don Hill event at his Dropout weekly event caused any real damage. You knew before that Tuesday night party that your Thursday affair was not getting traction. You sent out emails discussing lowering of performers’ fees in the event of low turn-out. I spoke to the honchos over at W.I.P. where Lyle had his pre-party. A few hundred of the "I never pay for anything types" attended. Your insistence that this in-crowd could have bailed you out is at best naive.
 
The Don Hill event at Irving Plaza was ill-conceived. Charging a crowd like the Squeezebox crew $35 or the $25 or even $10 is not going to happen. First of all, the Squeezeboxers who would pay would have come early to see many of the acts on the "early" bill. A 1:30am start time for a club event in a venue that has never been club-friendly was an awful idea. Throwing $6,000 at an awful idea is an awful idea. To blame the late-night debacle for your failure to generate buzz about an event that was such an easy sell is ridiculous and callous. I hung out with Lyle the other night and he has moved on; Michael Schmidt and all the players are to be paid later as well. Don Hill too. Time for you.
 
Lyle shouldn’t have done what he did, but you, Trigger, are way out of line blaming him for your own abject failure to generate real interest in an event that could have been so much realer. The vibe wasn’t right, and looking around for a scapegoat and then blaming and indeed threatening a club hustler like Lyle isn’t justified or in any way worthy of a real-deal player. Trigger, you played way out of your league and your continuous attacks only alienate you from the crowd you so seem to want to embrace.
 
Worst of all, you attacked Michael Schmidt, one of the nicest, most honest guys ever to grace our scene. Without knowing who you were talking about, you blasted him with words and phrases that crossed the line into libel. He warned you about his ability to draw late and with pays. He has lived 3,000 miles away for many years and told you he didn’t know how many people he would draw. In your own words:
 
all of Michaels concerns were valid and i knew intuitively that i’d never take in the 6 grand i had invested in the SB part of the night alone,  to honor Don but I had made other such moves for this night like flying Frankie Inglese in to DJ cause Beavher and Soul Kitchen were also such a huge part of Don Hills. There was no palpable return on that financially but it was my intention to make this a night to honor Don in every possible way and to be as inclusive of everyone as possible.
 
You also stated that one of the reasons you went public with these attacks was: "honestly I simply need to vent!"
 
So Trigger, you have vented to Michael Musto, to me, and to everyone who would listen. As each vent came, you sounded more and more like the real reason for your real mess. You didn’t understand that the legacy of Mr. Don Hill was to lead not to bully, to learn not blame, to make better not criticize, to love those who didnt understand how much you need to love. Don wouldn’t have been squealing to the press, pointing fingers, or counting pays on his fingers and his toes. He had many nights fail and many succeed. He took them all in stride. His legacy is too strong to be tarnished by your bad behavior. Buy yourself a mirror and look at it for a long time. Then, apologize to everyone and we will all move on. I can imagine you reading this and saying "Steve, I though you were my friend!" I am, Trigger, thats why I’m telling it to you straight. Don Hill was a man and Trigger, it’s time for you to man-up and, as I said to Al Gore up top … just shut the fuck up.
 
I am DJing Thursday at Hotel Chantelle or I wouldn’t leave the house. Maybe if I were out I’d check out this Caden Manson/ Big Art Opening at Abrons Arts Center Playhouse (466 Grand Street) Thursday night. It figures to be a hot enough crowd to keep me warm. Heather Litter invited me for the performance she is in of Broke House:
 
Broke House is a new group performance from Caden Manson / Big Art Group and follows a narrative about the residents of a house and their hanger-on, once a documentary filmmaker arrives to capture their lives. On a skeletal set webbed with video cameras, the characters try to recall their given roles as inevitably the foundations of their dreams collapse, and they are thrown into the desert of their own futures. Part comedy, part ritual, part love spell.
 
I hope their landlord gives them heat in that Broke House.