Early in the morning a few Fridays back I waited to board my flight to Los Angeles, where I would then, upon landing, be party-bussed to a party ferry that would take me to Catalina Island for Bud Light’s second annual “Whatever, USA” party. (That Gatling Gun-like repetition of the word “party” in such a short space is a rough approximation of the frequency with which you’re reminded of what exactly you’re attending when inside of Whatever, USA – a party. Not that I’m complaining; those reminders are always accompanied with a drink, so #whatever, #ImUpForIt.)
While waiting in line and tweeting about how I needed to poop – somehow that, and this trip to drink all weekend on Catalina Island at Whatever, USA, qualifies as “work” in my life – I overheard two hipster type guys behind me in midst of a debate about brunch. I could have crapped my pants on the spot and their conversation would still have been the most off-putting thing within a fifty-foot radius of the terminal.
“No, if you go there for brunch you’re basic. I like [name of place I forgot].”
“Yeah, but does it have a DJ?”
“What? Brunch is way better when there’s a DJ though.”
At first I wanted to turn around and angrily demand if the hipsters were daring God to rip the plane apart in mid air with their conversation that was so painfully deserving of smite. But then a peace washed over me, and in a silent prayer I told the Lord that I understood if he felt compelled to down our airplane and kill everyone on board just for the sake of removing these two from the planet, and that I was willing to sacrifice my life for this greater good.
Our travels ended up being safe, because God is just, and I assume saving a far more deserving death for them, one with less collateral damage and more irony, perhaps. Maybe an infection from a badly inserted ear gauge, or choking to death on their own beards in their sleep.
Anyway, those five minutes were the only part of my Whatever, USA weekend that sucked, and I got them out of the way at like 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. The next 60 or so hours were glorious.
The most accurate way to describe Whatever, USA that I can think of is to say that it’s a carnival for adults. It’s not “adult” in an Amsterdam sex carnival sort of way (that’s a thing, right?). Rather, it’s almost as if Bud Light literally took an actual carnival and gave it some weird but amusing grownup tweaks – I’ve been to both Whatever, USA weekends so far and if the next one had a booth where you could fight a clown, I wouldn’t be surprised. (Hint, hint, Bud Light.) Bud Light also filled said adult carnival with infinite beer supplies, and added an array of Parental Advisory performers like Snoop Dogg and Lil’ Jon, among others, so that’s all pretty fantastic as well.
As soon as I landed and got on the bus that was supposed to take me to the ferry I had a beer in hand. This was the case nonstop, unless I was sleeping, for the next two days. This is how I like my weekends to be, whether it’s a college football tailgate, a wedding weekend, or some gigantic marketing ploy/festival: more beer please. Nicely done, Bud Light.
Some highlights from the weekend:
1. Raging with the guys who run Big Sky Buckhead in Atlanta, whom I had met back in December during the SEC Championship. I could not properly document the weekend I had with them in this piece without photoshopping dozens of sailboats into the pictures of the seemingly unending stream of, uh, guests they invited back to their room for, uh, re-energizing breaks. So many platters, you guys. Suffice it to say that however hard you think you go, multiply that times a thousand and then you’ll at least be close enough to see the mountaintop on which they tower over you. It was impressive.
2. The shows. I’m not a big concert guy, per se, but the lineup was pretty perfect for a weekend long party. Lil’ Jon, Snoop Dogg, Girl Talk, Diplo, and Major Lazer were the highlights. They all delivered on the whole “let’s get this rowdy, Bud Light fueled crowd much, much rowdier” premise, which is why I assume they were there.
3. Interviewing Lil’ Jon, who was decidedly not sober. The highlight of that whole thing might not even be any questions of mine he answered, but listening to him call the writer who went after me “gay” over and over because he thought the guy’s shirt was stupid. Incidentally, Lil’ Jon loved my shirt, and when I told him it was from Brooks Brothers, he said that was his favorite store. I would not have guessed that.
Whatever, USA also took place right before the NBA Finals started, and somehow our rooting interests for the series came up. I told Lil’ Jon I was rooting for the Cavs because I wanted JR Smith to get a ring, to which Lil’ Jon replied that he loved JR Smith, and considered him a friend. At that point all I wanted to do was ask the PR people if I could have an hour alone with Lil’ Jon so that he could tell me every club story he’s ever heard of or been a part of involving JR Smith. Unfortunately this could not be accommodated.
4. The locals who drove us around on their golf carts all weekend. All of the nighttime festivities took place at the “casino” that was a little ways away from the main event area, and to help some of our drunk asses get there, the incredibly friendly Catalina locals taxied us to and from on the golf carts that they apparently traverse the island with. They were incredibly friendly. I want to retire on Catalina Island.
5. Scoring this shirt with one of the greatest liquor store logos in the United States of America.
6. The most patriotic boat I’ve ever seen that wasn’t an actual Navy vessel.
7. Free beer. So much free beer. All the free beer. Also free food. Free everything.
Long story short, go to Whatever, USA. Audition a hundred times. Just get there. It is worth it. Just don’t be these lunatics who decided they needed to exercise at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday..