What started off as a group of approximately 20 techies from Los Angeles and San Francisco turned into a mosh pit of SXSW-ers from across the land within an hour. At this point of the night, the schmoozing turned into smooching, and corks popped like clockwork, as people who had been chasing one another down all night finally came together in one place.
|Kurty D and Amanda Coolong|
|VIPs: Greg and Mike|
Come 1:30 AM the crowd began to thin, and people started brainstorming about where to get noms. It goes without saying that whenever large groups of people try to collectively make decisions, they dawdle and loiter. The loitering vicinity ended up being the main entrance of The Driskill, which I'm guessing didn't make hotel management happy. However, last call was a good hour away, so a handful of people including one of the flashmob's hosts and new media expert Brian Solis, angel investor Paige Craig, and some of the LA Weekly crew sat down at an outdoor table and ordered pizza.
|Security threat: champagne at The Driskill|
The scene was starting to dwindle, and there was a full bottle of unopened champagne ripe for the taking. Just as our stomachs started to expand from warp-speed bread and cheese consumption, a tall distinguished man wearing a suit and an earpiece approached the table and grabbed Craig's champagne glass out of his hand.
"You need to leave," said the man. "We're closing."
Not yet finished drinking his champagne, Craig grabbed his glass back from the man and told him he wasn't done. Tensions and testosterone levels began to rise.
About five seconds after that, the same hotel manager grabbed a glass out of someone else's hand. This of course led to an argument, and additional security men approached the table telling us all to leave because the police would be arriving soon.
The Driskill, like any Austin establishment must abide by Texas law, which mandates that all venues stop serving alcohol after 2:00 AM. Security approached our table at 2:15 AM, so it's understandable that they wanted everyone out of there.
However, there is a professional and polite way of doing things, and there is a rude and obnoxious way of doing things. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the course of action The Driskill's security men took falls into the latter category. There was no approaching the table and calmly asking the customers, who had just dropped several bottles worth of expensive champagne money into the bar that night and the night before, to please leave the hotel. There was no calmness or politeness exhibited at any point during the entire process. There was only aggressiveness and a lot of grabbing.
Needless to say, The Driskill just lost some damn good business this week. We weren't fans of the music they played upstairs, anyway. Coincidentally, I am Foursquare mayor of The Driskill. Should we have hotel management send us a free bottle of Cristal?
Favorite OH of the party: "Wow, a lot of people wanna get f@!#ed at South by Southwest."View more photos in the "SXSW Parties: TechSet, Tweethouse & (Another) Driskill Flashmob" slideshow.