Good Night Mr. Lewis: Sizing Up the Blog Competition

imageTime for a sit-down with Brittany Mendenhall of popular nightlife blog Chichi212.com. Brittany and I met at the L Magazine nightlife awards where we were both judges. We constantly talk now, exchanging information following events and stories. Her youthful look at the scene gives you what’s happening, while I’m more involved in the why’s and what-may-happen’s.

So you’re the writer, publisher … I’m the editor-in-chief.

Editor-in-chief, you’re the publisher, and at the end of the day you sweep out the joint. What do you write about? It’s not really a nightlife blog … it’s more social news, events and gossip — that’s what it is.

But it’s club-centric. You write about what happened in clubs last night? Yes, yes. I also write about sample sales. That too.

When I read it, it reminds me of Gossip Girl in its mentality, that it’s very light and fun and a little bit gossipy. I’m a light and fun person. I never put gossip under my name. There’s a name for gossip — it’s the Cheshire cat. That’s not me, that’s “the other people.”

So basically Cheshire cat on your blog is you really, but it’s your alter ego? Yeah, its like when people say “a little birdie told me …” I hate that, I think it’s lame. So I have a Cheshire cat, because it’s cooler than a bird.

Are you referring to Down by the Hipster? Everybody says that though. Guest of a Guest uses it too, and I think it’s stupid.

I use it too, but I use it because the other people do it … I guess it’s kind of fun. You go out a lot, you hit all the clubs. Do you come from a specific clique, or do you travel in a lot of circles? I travel in a lot of circles. I have lots of friends that are promoters, I have lots of friends that are models, I have lots of friends that are DJs and club kids, so I really go wherever I’m invited for the night.

What are the trends you’re writing about? Is bottle service a thing of the past, or is it here to stay? How do you feel about it? I think there will always be people who enjoy bottle service. It’s because we’re accustomed to it. I want to go to a club, I want to be able to sit down, make my own drink and not have to fight everybody at the bar. And I won’t go somewhere unless I have a table — I will not, that’s just me. But, you know, times are tough, people aren’t buying bottles like they used to. So pickings are slim, but I think people will always want bottle service, just because we’re used to it.

What are your five favorite clubs? I like Ella, I like Socialista, Bungalow 8, Pink Elephant, and, oh I don’t know … what’s the other one … Southside.

Five most hated — clubs you don’t like the most. Well, not necessarily hated, but that you don’t go to? Marquee, Tenjune, Mansion, Mr. West. Prime. Those are my five.

What don’t you like about the five worst, and what do you like about the five best? The five worst, mostly their décor. I think Marquee is ugly, I think Mr. West is so ugly. I don’t like the colors in Tenjune. That’s pretty much what it is … a lot of it is size, I don’t like large clubs. I don’t want to spend four hours in a place that’s ugly.

You are aware that I designed Marquee? Yea, and I don’t care. It’s still ugly.

Do you like any of my work? I do, I like Aspen. Aspen Social. I think it’s beautiful, but Marquee, not so much.

That’s fair. It’s a very functional club and most people like it. But I understand … I think Marquee has a certain look, and I’m very proud of it. It’s done very well for me, but I can understand you want something a little more flamboyant. In the clubs that you like, what do you like about them? I like the atmosphere; most of them are places I can dance. Oh! The other one is 1Oak, love 1Oak! Yes, yes! I like places I can dance. I’ve become very big on DJs, like I’ll follow a certain DJ where he goes every night because the music is good. So that’s pretty much what it is — it has to be pretty, it has to have good-looking people in it, and it has to have good music.

When did you start writing? Well, I’m a journalism major, so I kind of shelled out a lot of money to write. And then I had a job where I didn’t write at all, so that’s how I started my blog. I was blogging when I should have been working. I had to feed the creative side of my brain.

Are you getting rich on the blog? No, I’m going into debt on the blog … no, I’m not really going into debt on the blog. The blog doesn’t make any money — I mean hopefully it’ll make money soon. I haven’t really had time to focus on that.

So why do you write? Oh, because I love it. I love it and it comes with great perks. I get to go to openings, people know who I am when I go places, I get lots of free stuff, I don’t have to wait in line, it’s great.

Are you looking for scoops or gossip, or are you just sort of reporting on the feel of the scene? I mean if people send me gossip and it’s good, of course I’ll post it. But I’m not out looking for the scoop. If it comes to me, great, but I pretty much just give my take on what’s going on and say a lot of things other people don’t.

In a perfect world, what would you want to get out of your blog? In a perfect world, I’d like my blog to pay my bills. I’d like to stay home all day and blog and then go out all night so I have stuff to blog about and then my bills would magically be paid because my bog generates revenue. That would be nice.

We were sitting here before, and we were talking about my blog, and you said that basically everybody has a blog. And I admitted that seven months ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, and I started writing for Joonbug, and now I’m over at BlackBook. Is everyone getting a blog? Is it getting too crowded in the nightlife blog culture? I don’t think it’s too crowded … every blog has their own voice and everybody has their own selves. Down by the Hipster is very different from Guest of a Guest, which is very different from my site and most people read … oh and its very different from Good Night Mr. Lewis. And a lot of people who read my site read the other three, and a lot of people who read the other three also read my site. People just want as much information as they can get, I guess.

How many blogs a day do you read? Between 20 and 30.

And do you use them as sources, or just for fun? Certain ones like the celebrity gossip blogs I read for fun because I don’t post any of that on my site, but the other things, usually just to see what’s going on, what’s opening, what other people are talking about, and making sure I don’t say the exact same thing as someone else.

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