The doormen. They are Dallas' gatekeepers, ticket takers, fight breaker-uppers and occasional crowd curators. Before you ever get past that velvet rope, or even show your ID, they are sizing up our city's finest and not-so-finest. The Overserved wants to introduce you to the gents and ladies letting you in and kicking you out of your favorite bar week-to-week.
First up, Tim Ziegler and James Gee, the venue managers from the Granada Theater. Texas transplants who found their way into the industry after leaving their respective corporate worlds, they both describe trading pay cuts for happiness. Their good humor and love for the job is evident; in fact, their whole team seems like a family. I mean, a family who will still kick you out of the Granada if you start a fight, of course.
"His name was Brandon!" Gee remembers. Tim and Gee haven't had to break up too many fights, but one fellow made an impression. "He was 6'5, stirring up trouble in the pit," Tim recounts, "and we have to take him down. But by the end of he was hugging us and telling us how awesome we were."
"What's really funny, " Tim says, "is what kids try to sneak in." He goes on to tell a story of an underage student who raised his shirt to wipe his brow while as he getting ID'd, only to reveal a six-pack of beer lodged in the waistband of his pants.
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I'd personally hoped for more stories of Dallas acting a fool, but Tim and Gee have far more recollections of late nights with musicians they admire or great stories of artists going above and beyond for fans. Gee recounts Rancid singer-guitarist Lars Frederiksen's gentle interaction with an 8-year-old fan. Tim brightens up talking about the simplicity of sharing a cup of coffee with Colin Hay, or Adele, sick and in the cold, taking pictures with every single fan. Or Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen playing in the back lot for the fans that stuck around, till dawn.
In a quick quiz, I pose three names to let in, kick out or sneak in: Dirk, Kanye, Michelle Obama. Almost in unison, Kanye is left behind. They agree to sneak the first lady in, and Dirk gets walked past the line.
The doormen may end up on the other side of the stage soon enough. Plans for a '90s country cover band made up of security team members, called Straight Tequila Nights, is an idea I can get behind. One their own, Drew, is currently in the second round of Mavs Maniacs auditions.
Still, they have some tips for show-goers: Cool it with the flash photography. If you don't like the line, get your ID out before you get to the front. And sold-out shows are really sold out, so quit telling every guy up front, "Hey, I know the owner." Just so you know, they've heard that one.