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Phuket’s Michael Venezuela is mad about fame, and bringing it here

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket’s Michael Venezuela is mad about fame, and bringing it here | The Thaiger

PHUKET: He has danced with Jennifer Lopez, toured with Destiny’s Child, rubbed shoulders with OJ Simpson – in a Miami strip club – and talked his way into the Playboy Mansion. But why is Famous Nightclub’s Michael Venezuela so obsessed with fame and bringing celebrities to Patong? And why on earth does he wear that white suit?

The former MTV presenter, break dancer and model rolled up his sleeves and turned off his three phones to duke it out with Phuket Gazette Features Editor Fraser Morton.

Fraser Morton: You’re the Social Media and Special Events Marketing Director at Famous Nightclub in Patong. Why such a long title? I think you should change it to “The Fixer” or “Social Mike”; I think it’s less of a mouthful.

Michael Venezuela: It describes what I do.

FM: So what does it mean?

MV: It means I entertain.

FM: And what does that entail?

MV: My job at Famous requires me to run all the social media – Facebook, Twitter – for the club, book celebrities and DJs to perform, and make these people accessible to our guests at Famous.

FM: You recently hosted three Playboy bunnies at the club for a photo-shoot party. Why do you think people in Phuket think that’s entertainment?

MV: It was entertainment and the guests loved it. It was an experiment and it worked. The girls frolicked around the pool all day, while hundreds of people stood around watching.

FM: Sounds a bit perverse.

MV: We live in perverse times.

FM: And what about you, Mike? You were also a model. So you’re comfortable taking your clothes off for money?

MV: At a younger age, sure. I charge more now though.

FM: How did you get into modeling?

MV: It was 1996. I was 19. I had the chance to take a football (American) scholarship at Florida State University, or take a US$50,000 modeling contract in New York for Bloomingdales. I went with the money.

FM: So it was purely for monetary reasons?

MV: No, I wanted to be on TV and modeling seemed like a good route to go. It was a tough choice.

FM: Why do you care about fame so much?

MV: Always been that way. It’s a lifestyle that appeals to the youth of America.

FM: So I hear you’ve worked with some pretty well-known US celebrities. Care to share?

MV: Sure. I was a backing dancer in the late 90s [98, 99] for Jennifer Lopez. I was in the “If you have my love” and “Waiting for tonight” music videos. After that I went on a three-month tour with Destiny’s Child across the US.

FM: So what’s J-Lo like?

MV: Uh, she’s basically a Puerto Rican (Michael’s nationality) chick with a lot of “ass-itude”.

FM: What does that mean?

MV: “Ass-itude”, it means she has a lot of attitude and carries a big ass to back it up (Laughs) – sorry, Jennifer.

FM: It’s okay, I don’t think she reads the Phuket Gazette. You’ve been a TV entertainment reporter for MTV, E! and more. Who is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed?

MV: OJ Simpson in 2000 is one for sure. The funny thing was, I caught him at a strip club in South Beach, Miami. I was making a documentary about a porn star. I couldn’t believe he was there. We went up to him with the cameras rolling and started asking him questions…. He’s such a nice guy, but man, does he have a big head, literally. Such a big head.

FM: Anyone else?

MV: Michael Jackson in Beverly Hills. I collapsed. I don’t usually get star struck, but he’s always been a hero of mine. This was when I was a DJ for MTV. We were working with Black Eyed Peas and Michael Jackson came into the room when we were doing an interview. I was 21 at the time. When he walked into the room, my knees gave out. I was picked up by the security guards and Michael asked me if I was okay. It’s the biggest interview I never got (laughs).

FM: So you’ve been inside the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills….

MV: (Laughs) – I’ve been there twice. The first time we snuck in. It was a Halloween party. I was 21 years old. I was with one of my friends who looks exactly like Brett Favre (one of the National Football League’s most famous quarterbacks) and two other friends. My friend Todd (the Favre look-alike) dressed up like a straw man, and the rest of us were dressed as Umpa Lumpas (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). My buddy said he was Bret Favre, and the security guards let us in. We had the time of our lives.

FM: I don’t believe you. Did this happen?

MV: (Laughs) – It’s true, but I can’t say any more. I have to draw a line in the sand. I don’t want to be that guy that gets blacklisted for talking too much. Let’s just say the Umpa Lumpas had fun that night.

FM: What about your family? Are they concerned with fame?

MV: No, not at all. They’re conservative republicans. Both very organized and business-minded. (Mike’s fiddling with his Blackberry when he answers this question).

FM: Hmmm, I notice you have three phones. Looks like the organizational skills passed over to you. Or is it the opposite? Why three?

MV: I have an iPhone, a Blackberry and a regular standard phone – I take in about 150 calls a day.

FM: Why so many? All work?

MV: Yup, to do with entertainment. Whether it’s to do with Famous (Nightclub) or clubs in Singapore – just constantly networking.

FM: The former Vice President of NBC Network, Peter Andrews, once said you were “one of the future’s leading eyes for nightlife entertainment”. Sounds like you gave up a promising future in the US. So why the move here?

MV: Well, I’ve been in the business for 14 years, and to be honest, Asia seems like the place to be. I was working in Las Vegas last year at Wet Republic (nightclub at the MGM Grand). I’ve managed to gain a large database of contacts in the US entertainment industry and I thought I could use them here.

FM: Since opening in December, Famous Nightclub has hosted DJs Roger Sanchez, Bob Sinclar and more. Is this all your doing?

MV: No, those two were already in motion before I came on board. Nothing gets done without Chris (Cole, Owner) and Tal (Derhy, General Manager at Famous). Chris is not scared to spend the money to get big names to come here. We’re in the entertainment business and Famous’ goal is to provide a level of entertainment service for Phuket that everyone is happy with.

FM: So what’s coming up next at Famous?

MV: There’s plenty to look forward to. Dirty Vegas will be here on April 7. Also, on April 13 we have Seb Fontaine and Phil Drummond playing. On April 23 we have Anthony Nero from the US coming.

FM: I heard you were trying to get singer “Apple” from the Black Eyed Peas to come play a

— Fraser Morton

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Bangkok

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb

The Thaiger

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Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | The Thaiger

Thailand is a hub of creativity; a country filled with artisanal culinary gems and art galleries that boasts creativity and innovation allowing cultural tradition to sit comfortably alongside the embrace of new ideas. Thailand never tires, and Bangkok remains popular, with Airbnb seeing an influx of guests during festivals and events such as Bangkok Design Week, which returns for its second year from January 26 – February 3.

The creative economy is thriving worldwide and in Thailand Airbnb have seen a clear synergy between the creative and sharing economies with recent Airbnb data showing there are 2,000 passionate Airbnb Hosts in Thailand who work in the creative industry.

Airbnb’s global digital platform helps creative entrepreneurs to support themselves, fund their passions and in many cases, showcase their creative work, in turn promoting local culture and authentic travel experiences to international and domestic travellers alike.

Held in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok – known for its creativity and centering around Charoen Kung Road, Bangkok’s oldest road – the second edition of Bangkok Design Week is held under the theme “Fusing Forward” and looks to build on its first year of success.
With almost 10,000 Airbnb travellers expected in Bangkok each day of design week, and almost a quarter of all creative Airbnb hosts in Thailand being based in Bangkok, we share some unique Homes across the city, ideal for those looking to enjoy Bangkok’s creative vibe.Between waking up from the comforts of a creatively designed home to attending hosted talks, travellers and locals alike are finding inspiration in this ever evolving golden city. Airbnb has also recently launched Airbnb Plus, which are a selection of homes intended for guests looking for one-of-a-kind, thoughtfully designed, beautiful homes with exceptional hosts.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger1) Anonymous Heritage Home

This rare and unique Thai house built at the turn of the 20th century, is made from golden teak wood and features antique objects, artworks, and high ceilings. Located in Silom area, the creative district is a short stroll away and the river boat for the old town and temples are minutes away.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger

2) Bā hào

A renovated 40-year old shophouse in the vibrant China Town area of Bangkok, Bā hào offers  Thai-contemporary inspired accommodation on the third and fourth floors with a shared living space on the second and an eclectic Oriental-style bar on the first floor.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger

3) Retro Chic Retreat

Minimalist and zen-like, this townhouse is located in the heart of the city yet offers a laid back feel away from the hustle. With five bedrooms, it’s ideal for a group looking to explore the city’s creative nooks and crannies.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger

4) Design house near Chatuchak Market and Ari

This architect-designed house is in a lovely neighborhood with many local street foods nearby, and easy access to Bangkok’s most popular creative hotspot Chatuchak Market, tourist spots and shopping malls.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger

5) J. No 14

This family-owned, antique design B&B is located between the old city and the new, and offers a truly unique accommodation experience located just 300m from the nearest BTS station and 600m from the nearest Chao Phraya River pier.

Airbnb is also supporting a new wave of creative entrepreneurs, where we see more creatives becoming Airbnb hosts. Meet local artists and spend the afternoon with them through Airbnb Experiences.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger

6) Lai Rod Num: Thai crafts gold workshop

Lai Rod Num is an ancient Thai craft using gold leaf and black lacquer painting which is often used in the decoration of temples or palaces pillars, window and door panels, ceremonial bowls, jewelry boxes, and much more. You will learn more about the craft and in the workshop using an adapted modern technique have the chance to create your own craft piece which you can take home.

Experience the creative vibe during Bangkok Design Week with Airbnb | News by The Thaiger

7) 1970’s photo shooting with blogger

Blogger and photographer Tommy will show three completely different faces of Bangkok, in three different neighborhoods, highlighting Bangkok’s diversity and the most beautiful points of the city. Guests will experience classic Bangkok architecture as well as the ‘hipster’ side of Bangkok with its hidden graffiti, street art and how local people live, and amazing Bangkok views.

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Bangkok

Bangkok Airways celebrates the arrival of its 40th aircraft

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways celebrates the arrival of its 40th aircraft | The Thaiger

Bangkok Airways has welcome the latest Airbus A319 as the local airline’s 40th aircraft when it arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The event was led by Dechit Chareonwong, vice president of Flight Operations and joined by Nijjapat Piyapant, vice president of Ground Operations.

This aircraft type, the latest incarnation of the short-haul A320, consists of 144 economy class seats and will serve popular domestic and international routes such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Samui, Krabi, Myanmar (Yangon, Mandalay), Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh), India (Mumbai) and Vietnam (Danang).

The airline is adding Vietnaese city of Cam Ranh as a new route starting January 25.

Currently, Bangkok Airways’ fleet consists of 4 ATR 72-500s, 11 ATR 72-600s, 16 Airbus A319s and 9 Airbus A320s.

Bangkok Airways celebrates the arrival of its 40th aircraft | News by The Thaiger

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Entertainment

International Hip Hop sensation at Sugar Club Phuket

The Thaiger

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International Hip Hop sensation at Sugar Club Phuket | The Thaiger

Sugar Club Phuket is hyped to host the Thailand premier of US Hip Hop sensation Rae Sremmurd, live on Tuesday, January 22.

Ever since Rae Sremmurd exploded onto the scene with SremmLife bangers “No Flex Zone”, “Unlock the Swag” & “No Type”, Hip Hop parties just haven’t been the same. Brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi may be relative new-kids on the block, but they’ve already build massive success, notably since their Gucci Mane-featuring SremmLife 2 single “Black Beatles,” and the accompanying online Mannequin Challenge rocketed them onto the international circuit.

More recently, their viral fanbase was gifted a fist-full of freshness when the trio of LPs on SR3MM arrived last year. A stand-out album with guest features from the likes of The Weeknd, Travis Scott and Future was always expected. But the inclusion of a strong pair of solo albums from Swae (the smooth ride of ‘Swaecation’) and Jxmmi (the trappier ‘Jxmtro’ with a stunning rap from Zoë Kravitz) proved the duo’s star quality beyond question.

To quote Swae Lee: “We gonna be in one of the Hall of Fames; it doesn’t matter if it’s the hip-hop, the opera, or whatever, we’re going down in history for something. There’s gonna be statues of us. We gonna go hard while we’re here. We’re going to make classic, timeless music and make a mark on these motherfuckers.”

Witness the rise of a legend at Rae Sremmurd’s first show ever in Thailand, only at Sugar Club Phuket – live on Tuesday, January 22.

Facebook Event​ HERE

Email​: ​[email protected]

Phone​: +66 98 889 8590

International Hip Hop sensation at Sugar Club Phuket | News by The Thaiger International Hip Hop sensation at Sugar Club Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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