Hudson Lounge: Still No Agreement On What Happened

Categories: Spaced City

IMAGE_35.jpeg
Photo by Roy Odom
The HPD car that showed up as the Hudson Lounge party broke up
Hudson Lounge. Again.

Yesterday on Hair Balls and on the music blog, Rocks Off, we summarized the Hudson Lounge ordeal that has gripped Houston nightlife patrons, with accusations of racism and exclusionary practices strewn all over the comments section on both blogs, and on a few blogs written by other sites like CultureMap.

Michael Berry touched on the issue during his afternoon drive-time show on 740 KTRH, rapper Bun B picked up the Rocks Off story and retweeted it to his thousands of followers, and we started hearing whispers, some louder than others, of similar instances of alleged discrimination at other clubs around Houston.

One of the party's planners, Ray Odom, did say during a follow-up interview Monday afternoon that a Houston Police Department officer was on the scene last Tuesday night, for reasons unknown, as the party was being shut down. He sent us two pictures, one of the back of the officer and one of his vehicle.

We spoke with an HPD spokesman who said that there was an officer there, dispatched at 10:45 p.m. for a "patrol investigation," which could be anything. This doesn't indicate that cops were called for the Hudson party. No other notes were attached on the official report.

Late Tuesday afternoon we talked with the Hudson Lounge employee who met with Odom and another person to plan the party. (He asked not to be named.) Manager Keith Thompson was busy with opening duties at the bar, so he was unavailable. Owner Adam Kliebert has been out of pocket since New Year's Day and unable to be reached by Hair Balls or the Hudson staff, according to the employee.

The conversation with the employee cleared up some more facts that had been hazy on our end. He said he met with Odom and Vonn Butler twice, the last time on December 23 before the party. He says that the pair declined to rent out the bar for the party because, they told him, the cost was prohibitive. The first guest estimate by the pair was 90 people, which was then reduced to 50-60 by Butler a few days before the party date.

Confused yet? We sure are. This is now the third or fourth or tenth discrepancy we have heard in regards to the number of people at this party. By next week the party may very well be a small army or three guys and two chicks, depending on who we ask.

The employee did remark that the pair repeatedly let him know that this would be an urban crowd, a fact that he says they stressed. They went over Hudson's music and dress code standards, to which everyone was in agreement. The bar normally plays low-key lounge music, conducive to the venue's "swanky" vibe. They shun sandals, T-shirts, tennis shoes and will allow nicer polo-style shirts, which is par for the course for most upscale bars in Houston.

"We would welcome them back if they choose to return," said the employee. He did direct us to Hudson's public relations agent, Caroline LeBlanc from Studio Communications, in regards to any further inquiries into the matter. This was the first we heard of them having a PR presence.

CultureMap allowed Odom to write his own first-person blog entry on the incident, entitled "Houston nightlife: Where's the secret checklist when you're black?" which covered much of the same ground we discussed yesterday afternoon.

In his piece, he states that he and Odom had met with the event director four times and that they had a projected number of 200 people who were to show up, going by Facebook.

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Twilliams
Twilliams

Blacks always cry about something. I think the blacks should not be allowed into Hudson Lounge. It's Adam Klieberts bar and Adam has a right to serve whoever he wants. Would you be mad if Adam told the Nazi's they were not welcome at Hudson Lounge? Why is it acceptable to discriminate against legal Nazi groups, but you have to let blacks into Hudson Lounge? The blacks are just a bunch of racists themselves who want everything for free and live off welfare. Adam did you a favor by throwing you out of his club because you can't afford the drinks anyway. Why does every black man think white wome like them anyway? Why don't black men hit on black women? Why is it alright for blacks to discriminate against blacks, but when Adam discriminates against blacks, all the black people get upidity? I am watch the Houston Rockets basket ball games all the time so I am not a racists. I wouldn't watch blacks play basket ball if I were a racists.

KarlKetzer
KarlKetzer

What's the big deal here? It's a private establishment and should have the freedom to cater to whichever customers it wants. I am a white professional, and at the end of the day sometimes I just want to go somewhere and unwind around my own kind. Why is that so bad? Why is it OK for blacks to associate *as blacks* and no one gets upset, but whites are somehow forbidden to have their own spaces? Humans are hard-wired to prefer the company of their own kind. tinyurl.com/4w42985It's not "racism." It's just human nature. Recently I was with my date at some tavern on Washington Avenue when a bunch of blacks came and sat down at the bar. They started jabbering away and greeting their friends with "yo nigga." When every other word is "shit" and "mutherf*****," it gets old really quick. I paid the tab and left. To hell with "diversity."Hudson Lounge, here I come!

Houston
Houston

Also the problem is when most of these places, where people like you "want to go at the end of the day and unwind around people of your own kind" - are becoming a norm than an exception - and have some shame when you say "people of your own kind" - what are you/ an animal or some species other than HUMAN?

Houston
Houston

If these type of businesses want to cater to only certain type of people, then it will make sense for them to put that on a banner outside their establishment, or on their website or facebook page saying "we only cater to these type of people".. it'll be good to see what happens in that case..

Calisaig2
Calisaig2

I thought this was an interesting exchange on CM. http://culturemap.com/newsdeta...

RWM2 wrote:Trust me, Adam will aggressively mess with white people too. I'm one of them, and I was kind of shocked at first, but we still manage to get along.

gilbert responded:RWM2...you don't seem at a loss for words, so I'm wondering if you might elaborate when you say that 'Adam will aggressively mess' with people of all color, and your personal experience with him in this regard. It seems from the rap sheet that someone posted here, aggressively "messing" with people might be one of Adam's pastimes, in addition to poker.-----------

I would second gilbert's curiosity: enquiring minds want to know.

Rwm2
Rwm2

Go back to the original disccussion and look if you want. The messing was verbal and the rap sheet is bogus.

ribalding
ribalding

I spent 10 years working in higher end bars and restaurants. This crap happens all the time. Why the uproar? Seriously. Here's how it usually goes down:

1. Group wants a reservation. 2. Group tells venue how many to expect.3. On the night of the event, 100 people more or less than the estimate show up.4. Bar crashes.

Why is this a story? Because CultureMap says it is? Color me jaundiced, but that doesn't seem adequate.

I will say "urban" groups tend to screw up their attendance estimates (to say nothing of ETA) more often than not. But an experienced events manager should expect it and plan accordingly.

Again, I ask, where's the story?

Kyle
Kyle

Unnamed event planner says 60 people were expected, the organizers say there were only 60-70 people in attendance, and Kliebert is running out of excuses. Another question Kliebert won't answer: Who expected 15-25 people? Certainly not your event planner, who expected 60ish. Certainly not you, who claimed in the Culturemap interview that you "didn't hear about all this until the next day."

And if you'll stick to the 15-25 figure: why in the world would you let such a small gathering take control of your music system? You wouldn't.

Come clean, man.

Tomas
Tomas

Actually you have no idea what you are talking about. For small gatherings at most venues music is informal. A playlist on an Ipod or CD's is used to keep from hiring a DJ or sound person when the profuts from such a small crowd will not offset the cost set DJ or sound person.

Guest
Guest

I still don't understand why neither side has anything in writing. The bar - being a professional establishment, or these party planners who swear there were meetings after meetings and no one has one thing on paper as to numbers or anything.

This story will change a million times..on either side. The bar closes down for reasons of too many people...understaff...too rowdy...or fear of things getting too rowdy. I still think that if the crowd had been predominately white the original issues would stand, and this wouldn't be at all a 'story'.

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Oh I can sure see has this could have happened as it happened to me but not in the bar/club business.

Middle managers reporting to me were wanting to surprise me with their skills at bringing in new business so they didn't bother with the paperwork.

And of course I was so ignorant I didn't anticipate they would try and go around the paperwork rules just to impress me.

Naturally, when I tried to fix the problem I overreacted because of fear and pissed off the customers.

Then I spent the rest of the month learning why my attorney has a $500k home and a $100k car...and I didn't.

Now I teach middle managers to ...Make Haste SLOWLY.::GP

Duce630
Duce630

You are assuming that Hudson had any paperwork policy, I imagine they don't. Many of these deals aren't done on paper in todays club scene. Very stupid on all sides.

Guest
Guest

I can see how it happens, and I can understand it. What's crazy is that it's gotten this much press. I can guaran-effing-tee that if this had been a white 'party' we wouldn't be hearing it...or at least near as much. Bar owner changing his story? Maybe because no one will shut up about it. No matter what the bar says, it will never be up to Odom's par. Period.

I learned from my mother, and working as a planner/manager of a venue for rent...IN WRITING my dears. Everything in writing - then there's no "Well we met a million times and I told you this!" :)

Guest
Guest

@Jkensawlandis - So, I've failed at 'many' businesses? So nice to see someone who knows me so well. But, unfortunately for you, you don't know me. And, no, I haven't failed at many businesses. I'm sorry to bust your bubble. But like most, it's easier to attempt to insult me than anything. You'd rather waste space to comment with something full of fluff than any accuracy.

@Kim H. It may be difficult for you to hit 'Refresh' now and again...or better yet, subsribe to get an email when someone comments. I know it's better to think that I sit with a sweated brow, foaming at the mouth...it suits your purpose of leaving nasty comments to a stranger. White party-Black party - go talk to Mr. Odom...he's best at describing the racism in this issue. He's trying very hard to comment to just about everyone that it's a racist issue.

@Exleywes1 - There is no reason not to have anything in writing - regardless that it's not a rental facility. When there is to be a 'reunion' or a party in an establishment, it's good business practice to have something in writing as to the agreement of the parties involved. The reason to have something in writing - this story. It's good for either side. The 'planners' claim meetings and the bar doesn't. As far as your being 'mean'...I'd take that as an insult if I were a writer or a reporter or anything close to that. I'm not. I don't write a column or report the news or happenings. I'm just a Houstonian commenting on a blog. I'll be sure to check out any prerequisites in the future for leaving comments on a blog.

For the most part I agree with Whiskeyr9 : 'A bar closes down early, some idiots are annoyed by it, and the Houston Press has to run story upon story about this complete non-story? For Christ's sake. The only thing even making this a story are the ridiculous allegations of racism. Yawn.'

What's even sadder is those hiding behind their monitors namecalling me for simply voicing my opinion.

Jkensawlandis
Jkensawlandis

I think we should grant Dawn wide latitude in her remarks as she, like Dan Patrick, has failed at many businesses, absorbing life's brutal lessons, yet still retaining the vigor and time to lend us the expertise we all need to succeed in understanding how businesses really operate on a day-to-day basis.

Kim H.
Kim H.

"Maybe because no one will shut up about it." - Dawn

Including you. To say you disagree so much and can't understand what people are complaining about, I see that you can't keep your eyes off of the screen nor your fingers off the keyboard.

And there you go again with the "white party"/ "black party" foolishness. Your ignorance is doing the most.

Exleywes1
Exleywes1

Dawn, do you not read well? The reason that there was nothing in writing is because there was no rental of the place. There was no bottle charge or minimums or anything formalized. And the stuff like that, which would have been in writing, is not the bone of contention here. I don't mean to sound mean, but your comments are some of the daftest I've seen. Please give it a rest or go the CM site and post your digital litter there. Thanks.

Whiskeyr9
Whiskeyr9

A bar closes down early, some idiots are annoyed by it, and the Houston Press has to run story upon story about this complete non-story? For Christ's sake. The only thing even making this a story are the ridiculous allegations of racism. Yawn.

ThurstonH3
ThurstonH3

Oh, I wouldn't go so far to call it a non-story.

It's more of a Tom Wolfe-ish illustration of how whites and blacks still don't mix comfortably even in today's world, where a basically decent, if spoiled, guy like Adam would post a shot of himself with a black guy as his FB pic. It's about how reality intrudes on abstraction, even when the initial intentions were honorable.

I'd agree with VL4's analysis above: Adam rolls up to his club, a Master of the Universe in his Range Rover, sees a lot of unfamiliar black faces, hears music he didn't know, receives no slaps on the back or friendly winks and handshakes...and suddenly he gets spooked.

That is a mistake, of course. He should have taken a hit, or deep breath, and turned on the charm, chatting up his guests. Instead, he panics and declares the party over. And now he's compounded this mistake by going into hiding and staying silent.

Chauncyg70
Chauncyg70

Funny you mention that FB profile pic of Adam's. I've noticed that it's been changing lately to feature various black guys posing with Adam.

I think it stems from his PR folk advising the ole "a black-guy-of-the-day" social media strategy. If he can just show himself with enough dudes and chicks of color, it will completely debunk this racism charge. Hopefully the pics won't get too intimate.

Jupitermars
Jupitermars

Completely agree with this: Bonfire of the Vanities all the way!

I think there's a story beneath this one waiting to be told.

Duce630
Duce630

If its a non-story... why did you bother to read it?

VL4
VL4

Imagine, a day where we claim to have achieved diversity yet still need to proclaim to a venue that the audience will indeed be "urban." As a black male, I am anything but "urban" and resent being identified as such by my own or others. Let's be real clear about what took place here. Anythingdeemed to be threatening to white americans, IS. period! The owner, despite a loose agreement and a handshake saw way too many black faces, heard some unfamiliar music and decided to CLOSE DOWN HIS ESTABLISHMENT and GET RID OF the blacks at any cost. In fact, he so assumed,there would be merited hostility to so called HPD to assist with getting the undesirables out! Later,much like many white owned establishments that commit the same offenses; they dont realize how fast descrimination and racism travels and with ityour reputation in the community. Let's face it,and admit racism is among us, and always will be.

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