Tommy D. I've got some pretty colourful feedback last time I posted about him here on Up Your Alley. Nothing beats controversy I guess. The truth is he works harder than pretty much anyone I know. So. I asked him for an Xtra Xposed because his shit is appraoching two years and any business that lasts that long gets my respect.
1) Who the hell are you and what do you do?
My name is Tommy and I am an event producer and promoter in Vancouver. I also am a profesional facebooker.
2) What everyone wants to know: what does the 'D' stand for, Tommy D?
of people want to know. My last name is VERY foreign, and is never
pronounced right. In high school, my friend Lesley game me the nickname
TommyDee because it was easier than my full last name. When I starting
doing the clubs and stuff I just went by TommyD cause I thought the two
E's were too girly...funny right? But the D can stand for anything,
somedays it stands for Tommy Driven, other days Tommy Douchebag, Tommy
Delicious because of you, Tommy Dazzle is another good one. It can even
stand for Tommy DON'T GET IN MY WAY...lol! My real last name can be
found if you REALLY want to know.
3) What motivated you to start TFD Productions...and who are your partner(s)?
had been doing smaller events for a couple years, some were great, some
bombed HARDCORE, but it's the nature of the beast right? I had done a
summer event that didn't do so well, and that was the year the Rapture
had been cancelled. After my little bomb I thought to maybe just retire
and get a grown up job. Then Michel Nadeau who was the first owner or
RAPTURE contacted me and mentioned that the trademark went back to him,
and if I wanted to buy it. My inital thought was HELL NO, but I sat
with it a couple days. Then Anna Thorsen (my current partner) and Kyle
Murphy (our old partner) somehow managed to convince me that we should
do it together. TFD used to stand for Two Flames & A Dame, then
after Kyle moved for work we just went by The Flame & The Dame. We
just wanted to do big events in Vancouver, cause there weren't any
being done anymore, and knew that we could do it. Anna had worked a lot
with Nordic Trax, and I did a bunch of my own stuff so we just combined
out talents and worked our butts off...and that's how it all started.
4) How difficult is it to be a successful gay event promoter in Vancouver?
SUPER HARD, but I guess you can say that about any city. You have to be
a good balance of business person, social butterfly, creative fool, a
good negotiator, and completely insane to want to do it. You have to be
able to attend a lot of events because if you don't support other
people, and charities, and groups, why the hell should they support
you? You have to keep yourself in the public eye (and hopefully for
good reasons), and you should try to be very approachable and
personable. Remembering people's names is CRUCIAL. It's happened to me
a couple times and I feel really bad if I've met someone 5 times and
STILL don't remember their names.
When you took over the Pride Rapture parties in 2007, things were a bit
of...how should I put it...a hot mess. How difficult was it to take a
year of failure and transform it into what you're promoting now?
whole thing with us taking it over was interesting. We kept it very
quiet for a while, then XTRA West got hold of the info around November
2007 and we were like "WELL, GUESS ITS OUT NOW!" People liked it, and
people thought we were crazy, and people hated it, as is the situation
with everything. We had everything piled up against us. A cancelled
previous year, Vancouver had fallen off the map with DJ's, we were
always the butt of some bullshit rumour. People wanted us to succeed,
but were expecting us to fail, that's the best way I could put it. But
we just kept it very positive, did our job, never lost focus, booked
the best talent EVER that year, and killed the event. 956 went through
the door of our first Commodore event. We just stood back and couldn't
believe it. The whole situation was so much bigger than us, and it was
really really REALLY overwhelming.
Since launching TFD Prodcutions, you've managed to earn yourself some
pretty fierce detractors. I'm thinking of the fake emails that went out
during Pride 2008 announcing that your events had been canceled and the
Craiglist profiles during Pride 2009 that called you a compulsive
over-eater and...once again...announced that your events had been
canceled. What's all this drama about?
HATERS...hahaha. My haters are funny. I never know how much I should
talk about the drama because that's not what I want to be known for,
but I'll talk a bit about it.
As far as haters go, I think it's just incredibly sad. There is a
person, or people, that will sit behind the safety of a computer screen
or use a fake Facebook account, and make facebook groups, and
craigslist ads about me eating too much, or owing money to people, or
lying to everyone about my events, and it honestly just means NOTHING
to me, mainly because it's all completely false! I have never once lied
to the public about anything, and if anything does change, we inform
them RIGHT AWAY and always keep everyone in the know.
Right now these people don't exist. I have guesses as to who they are
and so does everyone else. Unless they come and say it to my face, it
really is nothing. That anonymous email slamming us that went out last
year as well was funny. Of course my initial reactions is complete
anger. I was LIVID! But how is that going to help me? I have to be
careful because if I respond to it, I look like the asshole. Again,
until whoever it is actually goes public which I DOUBT they will
because everything they said just didn't happen...quite the opposite
actually, it means nothing. I have more important things to do than
worry about those sad sad people, like...come on. I actually read that
email a lot even now. I don't think I will ever delete it.
AND FOR THE RECORD - I'm not a compulsive over-eater, I'm just hungry a lot!
7) What has been your best event to date and why?
Recovery 2009 baby. Tony Moran, Nina Flowers, Rob C. It was crazy. 1128
people through the door. Can you believe that? Funny enough I thought
last year was hard, but this year was harder. We had to prove that we
weren't just a flash in the pan - one year good luck company. We REALLY
stepped everything up, huge stage productions, moving video screens,
one of the hottest DJ's, the HOTTEST performer right now. People were
dying, I haven't seen tickets sell that fast to a pride ever...we were
actually sold out Saturday for that event, and released a few more at
the door that night. There was actually a lineup outside of the
Commodore to get in, it was awesome. SO MUCH FUN...I wanna go back!
8) What's the best party you've ever attended? (not your own)
Good question. I have three.
- Rapture 2005, with Manny Lehman and Circuit Mom.
- Stereo with Victor Calderone Black and Blue...so good.
- White Party Miami 2004 Peter Rauhofer at Mansion. THAT WAS SUCH A
GOOD PARTY! I remember walking there alone cause my friends I went with
were tired, so I went first, and I walked in and thought "HOT this
venue is cute!" then kept walking and realised that was only the
entrance room. When I got to the main room...I DIED. It was Prince's
old mansion I think and they changed it into a club. It was SO busy
people were hanging from the staircases, and the chandelier...insane.
Best party for sure. Miami is serious. They are serious about partying
down there. Everyone is ripped, and built, and tanned, and steroided,
and plastic. Intense.
9) Who's your favourite DJ right now?
Lira was incredible when he was here. What he played just made me dance
like crazy which hasn't happened in a long time. I think there were
only 6 of us there, but we had SUCH a great time. I can't wait to work
Peter Rauhofer is always amazing.
Kimberly S holds a very special place in my heart and always will.
It's funny, before I had clear favourties, but now it's more like OK, what does everyone ELSE like?
10) Who would be your dream booking?
TENAGLIA - The greatest DJ in the world, for real. He barely plays over
in North American though. He's so good, but I don't know if everyone
here would get him, or knows who he is even. Anyone else like Peter,
and Tony and Nina I have booked, so I just book the ones I'm dying to
11) What's coming up next and where can people learn more about your events?
2yr anniversary is on the 19th, which is super hot. Ana Paula from
Brazil is coming she's AMAZING. We're doing a lot of stuff in the venue
(PULSE), it'll look very different I promise.
Then fingers crossed
we've got a Halloween show coming up. New Years is another one we're
looking at, we've never done one but I think it might be time. Then
PRIDE of course...I can tell you that it will be called RAPTURE X: Ten
years of RAPTURE...hot right?
All of our info is on our website www.tfdpresents.com
OR our facebook group The Flame & The Dame
Or just email me on facebook, I'm on it all day everyday.