Archive for the Party Machine Celebrities! Category

Everybody Thinks He Can Be A DJ!

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by djscottshirley

Loyal Blog readers have heard me say that everybody and his dog thinks he is a DJ now. Many have seen the now-viral photo of my chimpanzee DJ.

Just when you think you have seen it all, the trend becomes a royal mess – yes, HRH the Prince of Wales had to try it out:

Perhaps I should take up polo.

Teachers and the Arena DJ Experience

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities! on August 31, 2010 by djscottshirley

Teacher and Staff Convocation for Fort Worth Schools

It wasn’t the first time I had been the DJ in a huge arena setting; in fact, I have done this on many occasions through the years. This was my 3rd year to DJ for the FWISD Teacher Convocation.

I wheeled in a dolly with just enough gear for a table-top DJ booth, and plugged in to the central A/V system for the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. I opened the microphone, and tested with a hearty “Hello!”

A full three seconds later, we heard the responding “HELLOOOO!” Ah, yes, the arena sound experience! Nothing quite like playing for a group of 3,000 friends!

Annual gathering of 3,000 good friends in the Fort Worth School District.

My job is to entertain the teachers and staff from ALL the Fort Worth public schools for the hour before the program begins. Schools are seated by section, with everyone wearing their school colors and sporting signs and banners. Many also have props and noisemakers.

We keep the energy level high with crowd-pleaser songs, and get everyone up and dancing in the aisles. Cheerleaders and mascots from area schools jump in to ensure vigorous participation. We encourage healthy competition between the schools, and they respond with loud enthusiasm. The theme this year was “Believe,” and schools would be asked, “Do You Believe?” and the response was thunderous. After the morning session concludes for the Elementary Schools, we do the whole thing over again in the afternoon for the Secondary Schools.

Fort Worth Teachers bring it on!

I introduce the program speakers, and they start with introductions and awards for the highest-achieving and most improved schools. This year I was particularly impressed with the keynote speaker, Dr. Pedro Noguera from NYU. I liked his thoughts on education so much, that I bought his book, City Schools and the American Dream, and had him sign it for me.

DJ Scott and Dr. Pedro Noguera

I am a BIG believer in quality public education for all people, and the Fort Worth ISD under Superintendent Melody Johnson is working to become the best urban school system in America. I believe they have the people and the resources to actually do it. I believe in our teachers. I believe in our students.

I BELIEVE!

NOTE: At Party Machine Celebrations, we believe in our school system enough to support it. Each year we donate a FREE school dance to the school with the most successful United Way campaign, and we also offer discounted rates and free add-ons for all FWISD groups!

The Million Dollar Handshake

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities! on April 14, 2009 by djscottshirley

I was contracted to play at a party to honor the contestants in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The party was held at the beautiful Eagle Mountain Lake home of Dr. Bill Bonnell.

The house sits on a high bluff with a magnificent view. It had been featured on the cover of an architectural magazine, as an exemplary Texas-style waterfront home. It was a beautiful spring day, the kind where everyone just feels great to be alive. The air was charged with a vernal energy.

My assignment was to play music to entertain some of the greatest musicians in the world. The contestants were highly trained piano students from many countries, and their lodgings were in private homes owned by Cliburn competition sponsors. It was an honor to host a Cliburn competitor in your home; in Fort Worth society, it meant you had arrived.

Despite the auspicious nature of the guests and the awe-inspiring surroundings, the party flowed as most great parties do. I had worked in plenty of fine homes and beautiful locations, and had entertained my share of public figures. It was just another day at work, and I am not one who is easily starstruck.

Then I saw him, The Man himself, Van Cliburn, considered by many to be the world’s greatest piano player. I actually felt myself getting a little nervous as he strolled toward me in my DJ booth enclave. He had a graceful elegance in his movements that was both distinctive, and yet completely natural.

This was not like meeting professional athletes, entertainers, or politicians. This man was the Best in the World at his job, and I was, indeed, starstruck.

He introduced himself humbly and politely, as though it was he who was the one who was meeting the famous star. Then he gently shook my hand.

“Gently” is the key word here. I am accustomed to meeting people, and schooled in the theory that a man should have a firm handshake. Firm, but not too tight, nothing is more unsettling than some jerk who tries to crush your hand, in what is supposed to be a gesture of friendship. But a gentle handshake?

Van Cliburn receiving the Presidntial Medal of Freedom, the President receiving a Million Dollar Handshake

Van Cliburn receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the President receiving a Million Dollar Handshake

Then it hit me: This man’s hands are probably insured for millions of dollars! These are some of the most gifted hands on the planet.

I hope that Mr. Cliburn didn’t think I was one of those hand-crushing guys!

Former Party Machine DJ Wins an Emmy® Award!

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities! on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recently awarded former Party Machine DJ Craige Bandy the 2008 Emmy® Engineering Award for developing an innovative new overhead camera jib.

Craige accepts the Engineering EMMY for 2008.

Craige accepts the Engineering EMMY for 2008.

Craige worked as a Party Machine DJ from 1978 until 1986, when I decided to “go solo.” After that, I still referred my overbookings to Craige, knowing that he always did an outstanding job for Party Machine clients.

Craige and I shared the same philosophy of always seeking better ways to do things, as well as being gadget freaks of the highest order. Like so many inventors, Craige was a tinkerer, always building things and re-building them, until he is finally pleased with the outcome. It was this restless perseverance that earned him an Emmy®.

Craige started TriCam Video in 1986, and experienced early success with forensic video for the legal profession. Never one to rest, nor to be happy doing the same thing for very long, Craige built his own mobile video production trailer, and went on the road doing TV sports, award programs, and special events.

Sports like boxing and martial arts offered special challenges for camera operators. Craige saw the need for being able to have a camera overhead, that could swivel 360 degrees around a boxing ring, move smoothly, and zoom in close. This would require a lightweight, remote-controlled camera and a robotically controlled jib crane. Not satisfied with anything that was available, he decided to build his own.

Early prototypes were crude, but effective, with later versions being sleeker, smaller, and more controllable. Concerns for safety and reliability forced some components to be machined from titanium, and others to be fabricated in lightweight carbon fiber. Working with his brother Ed Bandy, who brought in aerospace industry knowledge and experience, they raised overhead camera jib technology to soaring new heights (sorry, just couldn’t help it!) See this high-tech invention here.

360logo1s

Craige operates several 360 Overhead Jibs in his mobile production business, and he has sold units to ESPN and FOX Sports. The 360 Overhead Jib created new Point Of View applications for entertainment video, and was used in the 2007 CMA Awards broadcast and the Concert For Katrina, among other stage applications.

Before being an innovator in TV and video production, Craige began his DJ career at Six Flags Over Texas, and spun records (remember them?) in several area nightclubs including Tiburon in Arlington and Papagayo in Dallas. His DJ business was called Good Times Discos.

Craige lives in Grapevine with his wife Stasia and son Cole, who wants to play Major League Baseball. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, golf, sailing and travel, and has an un-healthy interest in extreme sports. Craige enjoys coaching Little League baseball.

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee!

Posted in Party Machine Celebrities!, Party Machine Sports on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

You never know when you may encounter a celebrity.

It was Fight Night at the Dallas Petroleum Club, and I was the DJ for the event.

Definitely a different kind of event! There was a real regulation boxing ring, and real boxing, including title fights in several weight categories. There were scantily-clad models who carried signs into the ring to announce the next round, for which I played crowd motivation music. And of course, the ubiquitous bell.

But the boxing fans were all dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns, while enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres and sipping champagne! Formal boxing, only in Texas!

Perhaps an odd juxtaposition, but it was a great event with an enthusiastic crowd. But they really got loud when I announced our celebrity guest of honor: Angelo Dundee. It was a sight to see men in tuxedos and lovely ladies in evening gowns clamoring for his autograph…a group that I ultimately joined!

Angelo Dundee will always be able to show how to throw a punch!

Angelo Dundee will always be able to show how to throw a punch!

Mr Dundee’s biggest claim to fame came as cornerman for Muhammed Ali, but his distinguished career has included working with 14 other World Boxing Champions, including George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard.

It was Angelo Dundee who developed the so-called “Rope-A-Dope” technique (named by Mr. Ali), a technique that I have occasionally used on drunks at parties.

Mr. Dundee was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

LearJets, Hula Skirts, and Congressmen

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities!, Weird Things at Parties on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was asked to play music in an airplane hangar.

It wouldn’t be the first time, but this party was different. Hosted by Staci’s Jet Center at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, this one turned out to be a political fund-raiser.

The hangar was immense, and even with an area the size of a football field blocked off for the festivities, there was still plenty of space for several good-sized aircraft, including Ben Fortson’s LearJet.

The party had a Pacific Island theme, with Tiki bars serving tropical libations, and an impressive buffet. The “social lubricant” flowed freely in hopes that well-heeled guests would open their hearts and minds (a.k.a. “wallets”) to some area candidates for public office. It flowed so freely, that it was not long before the drinking was “fierce and hand-to-hand.” We had us a party!

An airplane hangar filled with the Movers and Shakers of North Texas politics, all of them three (or more) sheets to the wind, was a heaven-sent gift for a Party DJ. They were putty in my hands, and I could get them to do anything. Conga lines, limbo contests, and all manner of line dances and silliness ensued.

I even got several men to put on grass skirts and coconut shell bikini tops, and hula dance!

Alright, plenty of mobile entertainers have done this, I know. But, I got the Speaker of the House to do it!

People who hear this story always ask me, “State or U.S.?”

To which I answer, “Yes! And with each other.”

The Honorable Speaker Jim Wright

The Honorable Speaker Jim Wright

That’s right, I got the honorable Jim Wright, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to dance with Gibson D. “Gib” Lewis, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Both in Hula skirts.

It’s hard to describe this on your resumé, but you gotta admit, no one else has done that!

Everyone’s Favorite Sports Fan

Posted in Party Machine Celebrities!, Party Machine Sports on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

Back in the day when Dallas Cowboys stars Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones used to show up at our Party Machine events, they often had a friend in tow, who was not an NFL player, but still a celebrity (and a playa) in his own right.

“Crazy Ray” (whose real name was Wilford Jones, no relation to Too Tall) was the unofficial, but sort-of official mascot of the Dallas Cowboys, and certainly their biggest fan ever. From the inception of the Cowboys franchise, until his death in 2007, it was said that Crazy Ray missed only 3 Cowboys home games.

Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones, appearing in a wheelchair for one of his final Cowboys games.

Although not officially on the payroll, the Cowboys did provide Ray with an all-access pass and parking permit for home games. He was part of Cowboy fan culture.

Perhaps Ray’s best performance as an unofficial mascot was when he would clown around and wrestle with the Washington Redskins unofficial mascot, Zema Williams.

He was known for his western-style outfits, often wearing chaps and a vest with a ten-gallon hat, and for entertaining the fans with magic tricks. He had a whistle that became a trademark, letting the fans know that “Crazy Ray is here!” and was often seen galloping on a little toy stick-horse, always a comical sight.

Ray stopped galloping after losing a leg to complications from diabetes, and ultimately lost his battle with heart disease at age 76.

Our hats are off to you, Crazy Ray! Party on!